The new Insider has named the stage hosts for next year’s Celebration Anaheim. Returning are James Arnold Taylor (Celebration Stage,) David Collins (Digital Stage) and Gus Lopez (Collecting Track.) There are new hosts for the Behind-The-Scenes stage, which has been the domain of Pablo Hidalgo for the past several cons: Jason Swank and Jimmy Mac McInerney of RebelForce Radio. Is Pablo too busy with his Story Team duties? Will he only be acting as a panelist, in line with his Story Team duties? We worry.
Can’t end the year without a list, can we? Here are our staff’s picks for the ten best books of the year.
Be sure to check out more favorites at StarWars.com. They asked us to do the literature portion, but other contributers include Kyle Newman, Ashley Eckstein, TFN’s Eric Geller, Steve Sansweet, and Bonnie Burton!
10. Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle by Daniel Wallace, Pablo Hidalgo, Gus Lopez, and Ryder Windham
Rounding out the list is the one book that has it all. Expanded Universe history? Check. Oddball merchandise? Check. Museum exhibits? Early versions of Yoda? Mark Hamill on Broadway? Check, check, and you better believe it. Star Wars Year by Year compiles over four decades (yes, four) of highlights, lowlights, and trivia – think of it, perhaps, as The Essential Franchise Chronology. But its scope goes beyond Lucasfilm productions. The authors also spotlight various milestones in science, pop-culture, and politics, giving readers a sense of the events that helped shape Star Wars, as well as how Star Wars changed the world. – Stooge
9. The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance by Sean Williams
Setting the stage for the eventual release of The Old Republic MMO, Fatal Alliance builds up the worlds and character types, and then throws them all into the fray against a new threat. Sean Williams captures the look of this era, and brings together some new enjoyable characters. It’s a heist caper that unfolds into a tale of espionage and war. It takes a little while to set up the players, but the endgame is well worth it. – James
8. Millennium Falcon: A 3D Owner’s Guide by Ryder Windham
The saga’s most iconic ship is revealed! Ryder Williams’ text is sparse but clever, the illustration work by Chris Trevas and Chris Reiff shines, and the layer-by-layer design is icing on the cake. Kids will love it and adults will delight in the technical specs and (in-character!) modification notes. It’s a just plain fun book – certain to entrance even the most jaded fan for at least a little while. – Dunc
7. Fate of the Jedi: Vortex by Troy Denning
With Luke and Ben and their new Sith allies having defeated a more sinister evil, you’d think that Troy Denning would take it easy on the Jedi Order, but Abeloth’s demise in Allies is just the beginning of a series of explosive events. Faster that you can say “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal”, the Sith bring it. Chief of State Daala brings it. The Mandalorians bring it. Tahiri’s prosecutor brings it. So it’s up to a couple of Jedi, and Han and Leia to strike back – and when they bring Lando and droids to help, you know it’s going to get heavy as the Jedi shake things up against their adversaries. – James
6. The Sounds of Star Wars by J. W. Rinzler and Ben Burtt
A book that needs a volume button? Not to worry, this is more than just a gimmick. To fully explore the audio awesomeness of Ben Burtt, The Sounds of Star Wars has a built-in soundboard which plays over 200 (unmixed!) effects from that galaxy far, far away. So you can read about the crazy ways he made these sounds, then listen to the fantastic end results! Plus, Mr. Burtt has enough behind-the-scenes stories to fill ten volumes – and for a quadruple Oscar-winner, he’s remarkably humble. – Stooge Continue reading
Both Amazon and DK’s site gives Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle the release date of yesterday, so it ought to be in stores now. Penned by the all-star team of Pablo Hidalgo, Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham and Gus Lopez, the book has been picking up lots of good buzz.
Tomorrow brings the final (or, not so much) issue of Legacy, #50. I’m pretty sure I heard that there were copies in Orlando, but… Well, let’s just say I barely got out that way. In any case, we can all pick it up in the comic store in the morning.
Dan Wallace confirmed the book and shared some additional details on Year by Year with us yesterday, but now StarWars.com has an item on the book – including some early cover art and the addition of Gus Lopez as a writer. They also give us a short Q&A on Adventures in Hyperspace, which is being penned by Scholastic regular Ryder Windham.
We’re still waiting on word of Sean William’s The Old Republic novel – as yet, Sue Rostoni is “unable to either confirm nor deny.” (Don’t panic: That’s pretty standard.) Though audio versions have shown up on RandomHouse.com.
StarWars.com takes another trip into the Lucasfilm Archives to check out what fans would be getting (or least, asking for) way back in 1978.
And while collectors today may have a hard time getting their hands on those late-70’s gems, they can at least console themselves with Gus and Duncan’s Comprehensive Guide to Star Wars Collectibles, which can be pre-ordered from Paizo now.
I try to only listen to about one podcast a year – life, or rather, the amount of it I allot to blogging, is far too short – but I couldn’t avoid the latest Force-Cast since it’s basically an extended interview with Lucasfilm’s Head of Fan Relations, Steve Sansweet. (Yes, it was worth it, though the intro… I need to paraphrase Lorelei Gilmore: Shorten it, decute it.) Anyway, here’s what I learned:
- A bit about about Celebration Japan – and C5. (Listen for yourself, or see previous entry.)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia is a project of not just Steve and Pablo, but an entire team – containing such luminaries as Dan Wallace, Bob Vitas, Mary Franklin and… Chris Cassidy!
- The Encyclopedia will contain “close to a million words” and their intention is not to create new canon (at least not on purpose) but to “take advantage of what’s out there.”
- Steve has another collecting book in the pipeline… Not a price guide, there’s one of those coming from Gus Lopez and Duncan Jenkins.
- There’s no Grievous in The Clone Wars movie – his presence in the trailer is due to tv show footage.
- Host Jimmy Mac sings Steve a song. It’s mildly amusing.
The podcast on the whole is a manageable 23 minutes, so I would recommend you listen to it yourself – at least if you want to hear more about Celebration Japan or the Encyclopedia.