Hasbro design director on The Force Awakens, embracing female fandom


Fast Company has a profile of Hasbro Star Wars design director Steve Evans, focusing on The Force Awakens rollout. Of special interest to us, some words on the changing market:

“I’m actually very, very fond of the three-and-three-quarter inch Rey figure,” Evans says. It’s an appropriate choice, and not just for the fact that Rey is one of the main characters in the next Star Wars chapter. That figure symbolizes a radical shift in the action figure market—and the Star Wars toys market in particular.

“It’s because of what it stands for,” says Evans. “Just because of the way it’s embracing girls into the brand more. I have a son and two twin daughters and my girls are infatuated with Rey. They think she’s brilliant.”

Back in the ’70s and ’80s Star Wars action figures were thought of as something to be made just for boys. But Evans says that’s all changed now. And not only are the artificial gender action figure barriers are coming down, now they’re designed to appeal to people of all ages.

As for The Force Awakens, “as we lead up to December 18, there’s a certain amount that gets released,” says Evans. “There are certain surprises from our product line that no one knows about, that we’ll release leading up to the movie, at the movie, and beyond the movie.”

Domhnall Gleeson: General Hux is “merciless”


In a new interview with Total Film (via gamesradar,) Domhnall Gleeson says that J.J. Abrams described General Hux as “merciless” – or did he?

“Yeah, I mean you look at him and you realise he’s not a good guy! He’s got an English accent so he can’t be good.” He said. Gleeson went on to add that Abrams described Hux as “merciless”, before getting worried he was giving too much away, “Is that what he said?”.

You might think that the chance to be a part of the new Star Wars film would be a dream come true, but although Gleeson is definitely excited, he explained that’s not why he took the part. “Yeah, it’s fun to do different things. I hadn’t played anybody like that before. Star Wars is amazing, J.J. Abrams is amazing, but the thing to do was play something different. That’s what got me really excited.”

The full interview will be in Total Film’s November issue, which is supposedly on sale now.

The Force Awakens books: Wave 2 officially announced


StarWars.com has the word on some of The Force Awakens books that’ll be released with the movie on December 18th (in addition to The Art of, which we heard about last week.) It’s mostly kid stuff, but there is DK’s standard Visual Dictionary for the movie, and a book from Greg Rucka called Before the Awakening:

A companion piece to the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens character novels, Star Wars: Before the Awakening is an anthology book that focuses on the lives of Rey, Finn, and Poe before the events of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The novelization(s) of the film are both under “still to come,” so no cover reveals there just yet, but we know the eBook for Alan Dean Foster’s version will be out the 18th, with the hardcover dropping January 5.

Disneyland’s Seasons of the Force begins November 16

launchbayThe Disney Parks blog has announced the starting date for Seasons of the Force at Disneyland: November 16. Star Tours will get a new scene inspired by The Force Awakens (probably Jakku) and the Star Wars Launch Bay will open. This will also see the limited-time reskinning of Space Mountain as Hyperspace Mountain and a new version of Jedi Training that will incorporate Rebels characters.

There will also be “an opportunity to revisit favorite scenes from classic Star Wars films,” which sounds like there’ll be no special The Force Awakens preview at at Tomorrowland Theater.

Details for the version at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando are forthcoming, but I expect most of this (except Hyperspace Mountain) will be doubled there.

The Force Awakens: Tour Jakku with a new 360 video


StarWars.com debuted a 360 video – itself a brand-new feature – on Facebook this afternoon, letting fans ‘ride’ Rey’s speeder through a part of Jakku. This is the second time that The Force Awakens has been an active participant in introducing a new feature on a social media site. Last time was Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) and their new widescreen option.

→ Per a new survey, The Force Awakens and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 are not just the most-anticipated releases of late 2015, but the most-anticipated fall/winter movies in the five years this specific survey has been done.

→ In a new interview with GQ Style, John Boyega says he cried when he read the script. He’s on one of the three covers of the latest issue.

Reviews of the Original Trilogy retellings: thumbs up!

So You Want to Be a JediOver at BigShinyRobot.com, I’ve got reviews of this week’s new books for younger readers from Disney Lucasfilm Press. All three are great reads, taking the original trilogy films and telling them from new perspectives.

A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken is told in three parts, each from a different point of view as the three heroes recognize the simple labels they’ve got, and grow past them. Lots of great Leia stuff in the first third (including extra scenes), and Wedge makes a good appearance in the Luke section at the end.

The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz put the reader square into the action by putting them in the role of Luke Skywalker. Great getting into Luke’s thoughts and emotions, plus lots of Jedi lessons at the end of each chapter to help readers become more mindful.

Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side! by Tom Angleberger amps up the fun and excitement of Episode VI. More explosions, more sound effects, more Ewoks, and more funny footnotes! Plus witness the tragedies of Moff Jerjerrod and Romba!