Critical reaction to Heir to the Empire. At the StarWars.com blog, Mark Newbold takes a look back at how the first Star Wars novel of the modern era has been received over the years.
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.
StarWars.com has been featuring a number of important dates on both the site and through social media – and today’s is one particularly relevant for our purposes! The Facebook numbers are pretty impressive, even for the official account – More than 13,500 likes, more than a thousand shares and almost that many comments.
And, of course, without the Thrawn Trilogy, would there be a Club Jade? Probably not.
The tweet’s doing pretty well, too!
#ThisDayInHistory – 1989: Timothy Zahn gets a call confirming that he has been hired to write the novel that will become Heir to the Empire.
— Star Wars (@starwars) November 6, 2013
Why don’t these guys have a Tumblr yet? (If you want to reblog it there, we did the honors.)
The latest ForceCast celebrated Star Wars Reads Day with a big slate of interviews.
The Pablo Hidalgo and Leland Chee interview starts at 0:46. They discuss what they’re reading, their first Star Wars reads, how they started at Lucasfilm, the evolution of their jobs and killing Yaddle.
Razor’s Edge. Fangirl has some exclusive art of the book’s cast, plus an interview with artist Magali Villeneuve. (Follow the link to see the whole thing!) Author Martha Wells chats with This Blog is Full of Words, Geek with Curves and Jedi News. (I’ll have more Razor’s Edge links later in the new release post.)
The blogside. At the official blog, editor Jennifer Heddle talks about the process behind Kenobi, while Bryan Young discusses the cinematic influences behind some of the books. Meanwhile, on my personal blog, I wrote a guide to the Expanded Universe for casual fans.
Street date shuffle. Can we still call it ‘street’ date for an eBook? The enhanced eBooks for Making of Return of the Jedi, The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars have been pushed back to October 22, Star Wars Books has announced. The hardcover Making of Return of the Jedi will still be out on October 1.
Interviews. Suvudu had the transcript of John Jackson Miller’s Facebook chat, plus Shelly Shapiro and Brian Wood. Eleven-ThirtyEight chats with Jason Fry, Star Wars Union with Alan Dean Foster, and Target Audience magazine has Timothy Zahn.
Reviews. James was impressed with Dark Times: A Spark Remains #3.
Street date shuffle The release of Martha Wells’ Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge has moved up a week again, this time to September 24, Del Rey tweeted yesterday. Meanwhile, the paperback for Timothy Zahn’s Scoundrels is set for November 26. As always, the dates hang out on our schedule page.
Elsewheres… Time Traveled Tales, a book of short stories that features Aaron Allston, Mike Stackpole and Timothy Zahn among others (like CJers Janine K. Spendlove and Bryan Young) may have passed its original Kickstarter goal of $7,500, but with 17 days to go you can back it now to help add second stories from Stackpole, Allston and Zahn. Meanwhile, a $5 donation guarantees you an eBook version of the anthology.
Reviews. Great dialogue and fun characters highlight James’ enjoyment of Legacy #3, he’s impressed with Jan Duursema’s action art in Dawn of the Jedi: Prisoner of Bogan #5, was caught off guard by Dark Times: Fire Carrier #5 and wonders if a boom is too big for Star Wars #6.
Chat. Pablo Hidalgo will be chatting on the Star Wars Books Facebook page this Friday, where we’ll be sure to ask him all sorts of weird stuff about Episode VII. Or something.
Review. Ania and Sauk are on the run, and we get a new awesome droid character in Legacy #2
Actors. An Australian DJ (?!?) is claiming that John Noble will be playing the villain in Episode VII. You probably know Noble as Fringe’s Walter Bishop, or from Lord of the Rings, where he played Denethor, perhaps Middle-Earth’s least stable father figure. Like Walter Bishop, I have my skeptic face on.
Abrams alumni Keri Russell would be down for Star Wars, because once again, who’s going to say they don’t want to be in Star Wars?
And finally, Ewan McGregor doesn’t know anything about the new movies, but it seems like he’s still game. He’ll be talking about his new film, Jack and the Giant Slayer, on Ellen this Friday.
The once and future directors. HuffPo’s Mike Ryan has a great article exploring the Star Wars directors thus far. And at the Star Wars Blog, Bonnie Burton has the relevant quotes from her past interviews with J.J. Abrams.
Solo, solo. Hollywood.com’s Christian Blauvelt talks about casting (and writing) a younger Han Solo with Scoundrels author Timothy Zahn. Since the conversation naturally turns to casting Thrawn, Zahn spoke a bit more about casting his characters back on January’s book tour for Scoundrels.
Money matters. George Lucas has filed to cash out his Disney stock – the 37,076,679 shares that were half the purchase price for Lucasfilm. (Note: The move doesn’t mean he has to or even will sell immediately, just that he can.) In any case, it was announced early on that Lucas would donate the company’s purchase price to fund “educational issues.”
Rebels. Austin at Fandom Apocalypse takes a look at what we know about the forthcoming Rebels series that was announced last summer. He reached out the authors Martha Wells and Kevin Hearne, who are handling books on Leia and Luke.
The blogside. Tor’s Ryan Britt explores the differences between A New Hope and its novelization. What’s a duck? And Tosche Station’s Bria continues her EU retrospective after Endor with True at Bakura and Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor. And over at Big Shiny Robot, Bryan lets the darkness take hold wondering if The Clone Wars won’t be coming back at all.
Podcasting. After something of a hiatus, EUCantina’s EUCast is poised to make their return soon. In the meantime, here’s Episode 0. And if you’re interested in podcasting, Tosche Station host Brian wrote at length about the gear you’ll need and what he uses.
Frames gets cheap(er.) TheForce.net spotted an Amazon listing for a paperback edition of the fancy screenshot book Frames. At $150 retail it’s still not pocket change, but seeing as the original would set you back $3000… Amazon being Amazon, we’d wait for official details before pre-ordering, though.
Del Rey had a Facebook chat with Timothy Zahn for Scoundrels today, and it was… Very busy. I admit I skimmed most of the actual questions, but I can verify that all of Zahn’s answers are free of spoilers for Scoundrels.
There was a lot of old ground covered, but we did get a surprisingly detailed look at what Zahn has pitched to Del Rey. He begins:
If there are to be more books, and if LFL/Del Rey/Disney decide to let me write some of them, I have a trilogy project to pitch where the third book would also be the third book of the Hand of Judgment series (Allegiance and Choices of One). Again, I don’t know if that will happen.
A Fel or Chiss novel would be fun. As a matter of fact, the trilogy I mentioned above (which I’ll pitch if I’m invited to do another book) would have one book heavily involving Thrawn and the Chiss. (The middle book, btw, would feature Mara being sent to stop an assassination…against Vader. Imagine the fun they would *both* have with *that* assignment.) The proposed series title is The Maestro Trilogy, if anyone wants to star nagging Del Rey. (No, seriously, *don’t* nag. Just ask politely…)
When asked about his favorite era:
At the moment I like writing in the Ep 4/5 gap, partly because the characters are so much fun in that era and partly because the territory hasn’t been as well explored. However, I understand there are several books now scheduled in that time, so it may start getting crowded.
As to other eras, the Old Republic era has a lot of good writers who are working there, and I’m not sure whether Del Rey is planning to go beyond Legacy of the Force right now. If the Ep 3/4 gap is ever opened up (LFL so far has kept that off-limits) there are a bunch of stories I could tell there.
And naturally he was asked quite a bit about the sequel trilogy and how it relates to his books:
Actually, I think Disney will do right by LFL. Their record with Pixar and Marvel indicates they know how to step back and let the people who know what they’re doing just do it. With Kathleen Kennedy now helming LFL, and with all the wonderfully talented people already in place there, I’m expecting good things to come. Of course, if Disney decided they wanted a couple of TV shows, and just *happened* to think of Mara Jade or the Hand of Judgment, I would certanly not stand in their way.
As to whether any of my characters might show up in the sequels: Again, no idea what’s being planned, but I would naturally love to see something I’ve done up there on the Big Screen.
Overall, I find myself hoping (yet again) that Del Rey finds a different way to do these chats. Sure, a couple good things came out of this one, but it was a bit of a mess…