Another Celebration is in the books, and that means another attendance record. Celebration Orlando attendance was more than 70,000 people, StarWars.com says. That’s up from Anaheim’s 65K in 2015, and double our last Orlando outing in 2012. No wonder things got a bit… Messy. Attendees, look out for the surveys and be sure to fill them out.
We learned before the con that the next Celebration won’t be until 2019 – probably skipping the overseas outings that we had in 2014 and 2016. The leading speculation seems to be that we’ll be headed back to Anaheim, but since we didn’t get a location on Sunday we’ll be left hanging for a while longer. On the plus side, Pablo made a cannon canon.
In the meantime, here are a few other things we learned that I never got around to writing up, because cons are crazy.
Jaina, the oldest child and only daughter of Leia Organa and Han Solo in decanonized Legends timeline, has had at least one figure from Hasbro in the past, plus a Bishoujo-style statue from Kotobukiya. The new figure will take some time: The fruits of last year’s poll – Darth Revan and Sabine Wren – aren’t expected to hit the shelves until late this year.
The Star Wars Fan Figure vote finalists are in, and it’s a Legends-heavy field this year: Jaina Solo, The Force Unleashed’s Starkiller, Darth Talon from the Legacy comics and even our own namesake Mara Jade. Rounding out the choices are The Clone Wars’ Captain Rex and bounty hunter Dengar.
(Were certain Legends zealots doing some targeted ballot-stuffing to ensure this outcome? Oh, definitely. Yet in the grand scheme of things, they clearly followed the rules, and there’s no malice to be done here. An action figure hurts no one, so let them have their fun.)
Mara won this a couple years back, and even the resulting figure was something of a disappointment, I don’t really feel tempted to vote for her again. (That Fan’s Choice was her third Hasbro figure, and every single one had to be wearing that silly catsuit, apparently.) Having three women in the finals might be unprecedented, but I don’t find any of the choices all that exciting. Vote as you will: The winner will be announced at Hasbro’s SDCC panel on Friday.
Yes, Daisy Ridley is listed as playing “Jaina Solo” on IMDB at the moment. But, as Ridley herself tweeted today, “guys the world and his wife can update IMDB.” Don’t trust it. The only actors we have official character names for are our returning alumni. (And note Carrie Fisher is now listed as only “Leia,” not “Leia Solo.”)
Episode 7 News is back with some clarification on their previous Mara Jade rumor. Their source now has a name – JediDigger – and they say his info comes from “discussions between people inside Lucasfilm and it’s licenses.”
The gist of his clarification is that they’re using the existing Expanded Universe characters as a template. The actual characters we get will be based on folks like Mara/Shira Brie, Jaina, Ben and such, but with different names – like the oh-so-convenient Korriban/Moriband confusion.
“This can not be made clearer, the post ROTJ EU launched in 91 is dead,” he says. “No story from Outbound Flight forward counts.” This all comes “the request of Disney, Kathleen Kennedy and Howard Roffman.”
But “the love of Luke Skywalker’s life” is a “character George Lucas has had since the end of Return of the Jedi,” which seems like it could conflict with the idea of basing her on Mara… Or does it? It’s not like we haven’t seen a similar character from Lucas before.
They’re also claiming that Michael Arndt has “moved on to Episode 8″ and that Abrams has met with Timothy Zahn. UPDATE: Zahn himself says this part isn’t true, which casts even more doubt on the rest.
So that’s a big rumor dump – but again, not a particularly trustworthy one: Taking the EU characters as templates is significantly less dramatic a change than I would expect. I continue to be skeptical.
We have reports that a The Clone Wars DVD/Blu-Ray announcement is coming tomorrow, and everyone hope really hard that Chiang and McCaig show something, anything, that they’ve been working on for Episode VII. I wouldn’t expect any casting news until Kathleen Kennedy on Saturday, but stranger things have happened!
Ashley Eckstein’s Her Universe is bringing the expanded universe to SDCC! They’ll be debuting a new Mara Jade tee using Daryl Mandryk’s art from the Choices of One paperback cover, and a Jaina Solo tee using John VanFleet’s art from the Sword of the Jedi teaser image. Only 100 of each will be offered at the con, however, and they’ll only be online “for a limited time only.” They’ll be online during SDCC.
It also sounds like they’ve revamped their booth, which is promising.