Report: Disney wants Star Wars back from TBS, TNT

Disney is trying to buy back the broadcast rights to Star Wars from Turner Broadcasting, which currently has them through 2024, says Bloomberg. They apparently want them for their own streaming service.

I admit that I am a bit doubtful, since it seems like streaming and broadcast rights for older titles ought to be separate? But I’m hardly an expert on this sort of minutiae, and Disney might want the exclusivity for their own service regardless of what the TBS/TNT deal allows.

TNT started showing the first two trilogies in September 2016, and got The Force Awakens this year. Rogue One is due in 2019 – if Disney doesn’t find the magic number to get them back, that is. The TNT deal was reportedly worth “at least $250 million” – Bloomberg pegs it as $275 million, and says TNT wants “programming to replace the lost films” as well.

Thrawn: Alliances debuts at #1 on NYT bestseller list

Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn: Alliances will debut at #1 on the New York Times’ bestseller list next week, Random House has announced. This is the fifth adult Star Wars novel overall and only the second non-adaptation to make it to the top of the list. Zahn is also the only Star Wars author to have two #1s in the franchise – his first being Heir to the Empire back in 1991.

Plenty of Star Wars books make the top 10, but other previous NYT #1s include Alan Dean Foster’s The Force Awakens in 2015, Sean Williams’ The Force Unleashed novelization in 2008 and Terry Brooks’ The Phantom Menace novelization in 1999. E.K. Johnston’s Ahsoka was #1 on the Young Adult chart in 2016.

There’s also a new Zahn interview at Yahoo, where he discusses the new book, Thrawn, Heir and the increasing unwieldiness of Legends.

J.J. Abrams: Starting Episode IX is “bittersweet”

J.J. Abrams posted his first tweet to his personal account to mark the first day of shooting on Episode IX. “Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go.” he tweeted. “Grateful for @rianjohnson and special thanks to George Lucas for creating this incredible world and beginning a story of which we are lucky to be a part. #IX”

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Flashback: Our first official looks at The Force Awakens

With Episode IX due to begin filming on August 1, let’s take a look back at our first official dispatches from the set of The Force Awakens

The clapperboard photo (#dayone) was tweeted by @bad_robot on May 16, 2014, while an official video for Omaze/Force for Change featuring director J.J. Abrams and the creature we now know as BobbaJo arrived on May 21.

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Episode IX begins filming August 1, confirms Williams and Fisher

J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX will begin filming on August 1 at London’s Pinewood Studios, StarWars.com has announced, confirming that Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher (via unused The Force Awakens footage) will be returning.

Interestingly, the release calls IX “the final installment of the Skywalker saga.”

As expected, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd are also returning. They’re being joined by new (to Star Wars) faces, Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant.

A late addition to the release was Keri Russell, the only new-to-Star-Wars actor rumored for this round.

More details on the Fisher footage:

The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” says Abrams. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”

Composer John Williams and Director of Photography Dan Mindel are also returning.

Upcoming Star Wars fiction leans into the prequel era

The extended gap between movies sees Star Wars publishing reaching back to the prequel era for their most high profile SDCC announcements. Coming from Del Rey we have Master and Apprentice, a Qui-gon and Obi-wan novel from Claudia Gray (Bloodline, Princess of Alderaan). And from Disney-Lucasfilm press there’s the long-rumored Padme novel, Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston (Ahsoka).

The Padme cover is by Tara Phillips, who editor Jen Heddle says she “found on Deviant Art.” Both books will be out in early 2019 and up for pre-order soon: Master and Apprentice in February, and Queen’s Shadow in March.

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