Matthew Ruddle, marketing manager for Penguin Random House UK, dropped a few news bits on the livestream Sunday morning. Most notable is that Alexander Freed (Battlefront: Twilight Company) is writing the Rogue One novelization.
He also revealed that Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn novel will be a prequel to his appearance on Rebels. “You’re going to get to see how Thrawn got to his position of power, how he became so respected in the Empire, and just what makes him such a brilliant villain and tactician,” Ruddle said.
Alas, he couldn’t share even that much detail on James Luceno’s Catalyst, which was also announced yesterday. “If you’re going to be watching Rogue One, you need to read Catalyst,” Ruddle said. “It ties in, it connects dots.”
Grand Admiral Thrawn was revealed as a villain in Star Wars Rebels S3, and that’s not even the whole of it. Timothy Zahn – who gave his blessing to the Rebels version via video – is writing a canon Thrawn novel that’ll be out in April 2017.
The Rebels Thrawn is being voiced by Lars Mikkelsen, Mads Mikkelsen’s brother.
Thrawn, who originated in Zahn’s Heir to the Empire in 1991, is the first Legends character to make the jump to the new canon.
When asked if Mara Jade could be next, Filoni was fairly straightforward: “No, not likely.” (I am, for the record, more than okay with that.) Filoni also said that the ysalamiri aren’t making the leap to canon, although there are some visual nods to them in the production design of Thrawn’s introduction.
On his Facebook, Zahn said he’s just turned in the first draft of the novel.
The trailer also featured Wedge Antilles and a Force sensitive character named Bendu, who’s being voiced by Fourth Doctor Tom Baker. For more on everything else about Rebels S3, head to StarWars.com.
Two episodes were show (but not livestreamed) and you can read one review, with some spoilers, over at io9.
Filoni and Lucasfilm’s Kiri Hart talk about how the show makes Thrawn work on Sunday, comparing him to Vader as a villain: “We want to treat him like a big time villain, as much as Darth Vader,” Filoni said. “But on the strategic, military side of things.”
The Force Awakens will make its pay cable debut on Starz September 10. Their timing could be better, but they’ve whipped up a nice teaser. The movie is the last under Disney’s deal with the channel, and future films will debut on Netflix.
Among the reveals at today’s publishing panel: Expanded Universe vet James Luceno is writing Catalyst, the Rogue One companion novel. We also got the cover, which is pretty neat, but no more details than that. (Still a mystery: The adaptation.)
Most of the things at the panel were kids books, but we also learned about a few new Star Wars Insider short stories. There’ll be two new Blade Squadron stories, including one in September that ties into Aftermath: Life Debt. (The Insider also had their own panel.)
There’s a new Galactic Atlas that’s written from an in-universe perspective, featuring “600-700 individual illustrations.” A new Complete Locations will cover Starkiller Base, Maz’s castle and Rey’s AT-AT home. And Jason Fry’s Weapon of a Jedi is being adapted for younger readers as Luke and Lost Jedi Temple.
The first surprise at the Rogue One panel was Gwendoline Christie hosting. The second was the poster, and the third is the behind the scenes clip we see above.
John Knoll revealed that he first came up with the idea of a the story when he first heard rumblings of the live-action series, during the filming of Revenge of the Sith. He put it away when he learned more about George’s concept for the series, and pulled it out again when the spinoffs were announced. Check out the original concept art of the team.
Edwards also confirmed that the beach planet is named Scarif, and later cast revealed another planet, Jedha. Apparently people make Force-based pilgrimages there – Edwards compared it to Mecca. This appears to be the market planet, and where we meet Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen,) Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed.) Edwards had more to say on Jedha in a post-panel interview – it’s certainly an intriguing addition to the galaxy.
Mark Hamill was his usual self at his Celebration Europe panel today, and while he can’t talk much (at all, really) about Episode VIII, he did rave about Rian Johnson:
I was looping Episode VIII yesterday, and there’s dialogue in there, I thought, ‘Oh boy, I can already see this on a t-shirt. Rian Johnson is amazing. He’ll make you forget all about ‘May the Force be with you.’ He’s come up with so many new catchphrases.
Props also go to the fan who took advantage of a stumble where Mark forgot Rey’s first name to get him to reveal her last name, though Mark didn’t take the bait. Entertainment Weekly and /Film have the highlights.
Dave Filoni, Ashley Eckstein and Pablo Hidalgo discussed the past and future of Ahsoka Tano at Celebration Europe today. Fans got a first look at her upcoming Funko POP figure and the cover for E.K. Johnson’s Ahsoka novel, both coming in the fall. The novel’s cover art is by Wojtek Rus, Jennifer Heddle has revealed on Twitter.