Video: Mark Hamill and James Arnold Taylor chat backstage at Celebration Anaheim


Backstage at Celebration, Mark Hamill chats with James Arnold Taylor about Star Wars and shared some family photos from the Return of the Jedi set. (The Force Awakens stuff starts at 7:20. #Beardwatch!)

A bunch of other Celebration videos have gone up over the past few days as well, most pulls from the livestream, including interviews with Billy Dee Williams, Ray Park, Joel Aron, Doug Chiang and Christian Alzmann, among others. And then there’s con highlights that played during the Closing Ceremonies…

Hallmark will have two The Force Awakens tree ornaments this winter

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The 2015 Hallmark Dream Book is out, and it contains some – but not all – of the Star Wars ornaments we saw at SDCC. Curiously, there are two The Force Awakens ornaments that are yet to be revealed. Odds are probably good that one is a BB-8, but the other?

UPDATE: Jedi News found out that the Admiral Ackbar we saw at SDCC will be a limited release for Hallmark’s Ornament Premiere on July 11. It will only be available in stores.

Head beneath the cut for a shot of the Dream Book’s Star Wars page.

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Out this week: Princess Leia #3, Ultimate Star Wars, Lords of the Sith

Princess Leia #3 (crop)It’s the last week of April, and that means Paul Kemp’s Lords of the Sith is out on Tuesday. That’s the same day you’ll be able to pick up Ultimate Star Wars from DK, the first fully canon reference book.

On Wednesday, comic fans will find Princess Leia #3 waiting for them, as well as a second printing of Darth Vader #3.

Our next novel will be Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple, out on July 7. Also dropping that day is William Shakespeare’s The Clone Army Attacketh.

Fisher, Ridley and Boyega on The Force Awakens

ridley-boyega-ewThe latest Entertainment Weekly has a spread on The Force Awakens. You can read the print article here, but they’ve also been posting expanded interviews with some of the cast.

So far we have Carrie Fisher, who called herself “the custodian of Leia” and reveals that her part in one of the sequel drafts “wasn’t what I thought Leia should be.” Then Daisy Ridley, in what may be her first major Star Wars interview. And today, we heard from John Boyega.

No Oscar Isaac yet, but he did do a nice interview with IGN where he revealed some of the research he did for the part.

Photos: The Force Awakens exhibit at Celebration Anaheim

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You couldn’t step into The Force Awakens exhibit without seeing at least a dozen cameras snapping away, so I have no doubt you’ve seen much of this already. There may be many like it, but under the cut is mine.

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The Force Awakens catchup: BB-8, livestream highlights and more

swca-bb8-jj-kkThe New York Times had a great feature on BB-8 over Celebration weekend, revealing two things. First, that the version during filming was “a prop built on rollers” – not the fully functional one we saw on stage last week. As mentioned by Kathleen Kennedy onstage, Disney CEO Bob Iger connected the dots, bringing in Sphero to help produce a practical model. And secondly, that a mini toy version – about the size of an apple and controlled via smartphone – will be in stores this holiday season. Bigger versions will (naturally) show up at Disney Parks. Of course, if you can’t wait that long, you can always get a Sphero and make your own….

→ Also in the NYT, a nice look at the folks behind Celebration and Star Wars, including Mary Franklin and Matt Martin.

→ StarWars.com has posted many of the livestream bits (Day 1, 2, 3, 4) as standalone videos: Interviews with Bob Iger, Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, Peter Mayhew and John Knoll and a very beardy teaser breakdown

→ Tosche Station were MVPs this Celebration. They have a thank you to Kathleen Kennedy and a nice roundup of what we learned about The Force Awakens. They also recorded several panels, including John Jackson Miller’s Writing in a Shared Universe, an interview with Ashley Eckstein, the (painful) canon panel, Star Wars Journalism, Del Rey, the Aaron Allston tribute and What Leia Means To Me

→ Mike Cooper at Eleven-ThirtyEight didn’t join us in Anaheim, but he did do some analysis of the teaser and other things we learned about TFA there.

→ An ode to Gary Fisher.

Riz Ahmed, Sam Claflin in talks to join Rogue One?

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Badass Digest reports that Nightcrawler’s Riz Ahmed is in talks to join the Rogue One ensemble. They also compare the film to Dirty Dozen and Magnificent Seven – in the sense that we can expect a sizable main cast – so I expect we’ll be seeing quite a few new names before filming begins in a few months. Hell, not long after the Ahmed news dropped, The Wrap reported that Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games) “is being eyed” for a role.

Felicity Jones is so far the only announced cast member for the film, but we’ve also heard that Ben Mendelsohn is in play. The film features a “band of resistance fighters” who steal the Death Star plans, we learned on Sunday.