Celebration Anaheim: Alan Dean Foster returns for The Force Awakens novelization

tfa-novelAlan Dean Foster is writing the novelization of The Force Awakens, Del Rey revealed today at their panel at Celebration Anaheim. It’ll be out in eBook on December 18, the day the movie comes out, with a hardcover to follow on an unspecified date in January.

Foster was the ghostwriter for the original Star Wars adaptation (credited to George Lucas) back in the ’70s, as well as the author of the first actual Star Wars novel, Splinter in the Mind’s Eye. This won’t be his first return to the franchise: He also wrote a prequel novel, The Approaching Storm, which came out ahead of Attack of the Clones.

This was already floating around, but it was confirmed that Del Rey is repackaging A New Dawn and Tarkin together as Rise of the Empire. We learned that that book will contain three new short stories, one of which ties into Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath. (Sadly, that’s just about the most we heard on Aftermath.)

That was just about the only real news out of the Del Rey panel that wasn’t already revealed earlier in the con.

As for Marvel, we got a few things: Greg Weisman will be writing the second arc of Kanan; They will be doing an adaption of The Force Awakens, but not anytime soon. Star Wars #6 is not John Cassidy’s last SW comic for Marvel… And Simone Bianchi will be drawing Star Wars #7, which is a one-shot Obi-Wan story on Tatooine.

Video: The Force Awakens stars backstage at Celebration

The newest Star Wars stars discuss Celebration, their Star Wars histories, filming The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams and more behind the scenes in Anaheim. There’s also video with Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy, Carrie Fisher and Anthony Daniels, and Mark Hamill and Peter Mayhew.

Celebration Anaheim: More on The Force Awakens and the new trailer

reyThe atmosphere here in Anaheim for the reveal of yesterday’s new trailer for The Force Awakens was amazing, perhaps the top Celebration moment ever for me. The crowds are insane, the Arena was huge and we were up on the third tier, but the excitement was palpable. And the trailer itself… Well, you saw it.

I doubt I’ll be able to put together any coherent thoughts about it while still at con, but thankfully there are plenty of others who’ve taken on the task. We also saw several behind-the scenes photos (Hitfix has the gallery) for the very first time.

For a general overview, check out Christian Blauvelt’s take over at the BBC, or the shot-by-shot analysis at Vulture. Meanwhile, Devin Faraci at Badass Digest is pretty sure that BB-8 will be the film’s breakout character, and I’d find it hard to argue with him – I don’t think anyone was disappointed when the droid rolled out on stage. Magnets, what can’t they do?

Another big draw here is The Force Awakens exhibit, which mostly features items we’ve seen the trailer, but is still amazing. And it reveals at least one thing that immediately caught the interest of supergeeks – new names for what has become of Empire and the Rebel Alliance. The Imperials of TFA will go by ‘the First Order,’ while the Rebels are now ‘the Resistance.’ Curious, no?

And as for Jakku, the desert planet we saw in the teaser? Well, the battle that downed that Star Destroyer is one “not long after the Battle of Endor,” and it’ll be downloadable for the Battlefront game on December 8.

And with that, we’ll leave word from John Boyega, who returned to Twitter yesterday:

Celebration Anaheim: Battlefront novel, Lando mini and Shattered Empire details

IMG_2761A couple of quick updates this morning: We’ve learned at Celebration that Alexander Freed will be writing Battlefront: Twilight Company, the November novel from Del Rey.

(The actual Battlefront game was this morning’s big draw, but more on how that’s relevant to us later. )

Marvel has been dropping their news ahead of their panel as well. First we learned that a Lando Calrissian limited series will follow Princess Leia. It’ll be from Charles Soule and Alex Maleev and issue #1 comes out in July.

And this morning, some Shattered Empire details. The limited series will be written by (as we knew) Greg Rucka, with art and cover from Marco Chechetto. (Is the Phil Noto piece just a variant?)

The Del Rey and Marvel panels are tomorrow, so no doubt we’ll learn more then.

Yes, we saw a new trailer for The Force Awakens!

J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy’s “special guests” included the new trio – Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac – who confirmed some of what we’d already heard and/or guessed about their characters. We also got to see the (real!) BB-8 and Artoo, plus their makers, and of course Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Peter Mayhew also showed up. I’ll be back later with more, but for now just keep an eye on @clubjade, where I’ve been far more active than on the blog. (Sorry!)

In the meantime, you can backwatch the panel yourself!

And another video that StarWars.com dropped on us today:

Here’s just the BB-8 portion of the livestream:

There’s a Force Awakens exhibit at Celebration

Fans started picking up their badges in Anaheim today, and a sign pointing towards The Force Awakens Exhibit was soon spotted. Here’s the description:

Here's a look at the description for #TheForceAwakens exhibit at #StarWarsCelebration #SWCelebration #SWCA #SWCATips

A photo posted by Parks And Cons (@parksandcons) on

Celebration Anaheim: More from the store

The latest – maybe last? – batch of item reveals for the Celebration Anaheim store are here, and now they include the first bit of The Force Awakens swag. (A portion of the proceeds will go to UNICEF as a part of Force for Change.) There’s also a nifty Rebels crew jacket, some messenger bags, and a few other curiosities.

Celebration Anaheim will be streaming live

swca-live665Just in the nick of time, we have the Celebration announcement we knew was coming: The con will be streamed live on StarWars.com. Beginning with the J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy’s panel, they promise “30-plus hours of live streamed content.”

Here are a few of the things they’ll be showing:

…Discussions with actors Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Ian McDiarmid, and several other performers associated with the Star Wars saga. Additionally, StarWars.com and Verizon will be live streaming the Star Wars Fan Film Awards; the Smuggler’s Bounty radio drama; EA’s new Battlefront videogame; and several other exclusive Celebration events that might otherwise be missed by members from Star Wars’ global fan community.

StarWars.com will also have live interviews with celebrity guests in a “Star Wars Cantina set.” It all begins at at 10:00 a.m. PST, Thursday, April 16.

Star Wars Celebration: Last-minute tips, maneuvering and where you’ll find us

2/3rds of the banner up Monday morning. (@missingwords)

2/3rds of the Celebration banner up Monday at the Anaheim Convention Center. (@missingwords)

Banners and other preparations are well underway in Anaheim today as many of us start packing and arriving.

There are a few unofficial events you might want to add to your schedule: The Podcast Listener Meet-Up Thursday evening, hosted by our friends at Full of Sith, and #AhsokaLives Day on Friday, when Ahsoka-decked fans will meet for a group photo at 3 p.m. by the convention center’s fountain. And don’t forget to wear your tackiest gear on Saturday to honor Aaron Allston.

Con tips
Amy Ratcliffe has a nice overview of tips at StarWars.com, and she covers at lot of Anaheim-specific stuff that we’re not quite up to yet. Another good overview is the visual guide from Parks and Cons, including a walk around the convention center from Monday afternoon.

On that note, many of our own convention tips have been updated for Celebration Anaheim, most extensively lines and the autograph hall. Our most popular tips include photographing fans in costume, avoiding con crud, basic human decency 101 and a quick guide to Q&As.

Where to find us
Follow @clubjade and @jamesjawa for live updates during the con, but there are a few places we’re sure to be:

swca-buttons→ James is one of the masterminds behind the Bounty Hunt. This probably isn’t the place to catch him for a chat, but if you want a spot there’ll be some limited registration on-site at the Marriott next to the convention center. He’ll also be on the panels From a Certain Point of View, and Building a Thriving Local Fan Club on Sunday.

→ I’ll be on Friday’s Star Wars Journalism panel, and I also hope to make the Podcast Listener meetup.

→ There will be other Jaders around… Maybe you’ll see them.

→ Yes, we have buttons! I’ll have the logo and #beardwatch buttons on me at all times, but I’ll only take Yub Yub Commander out on Saturday – so try and make the Tribute to Aaron Allston. We only have a limited supply of Yub Yub and #beardwatch, plus a few remaining SPF 66 ones from last Celebration.