First Star Wars spinoff film is Rogue One; Rian Johnson (and MAY 2017) confirmed for Episode VIII

ro-headshotsStarWars.com confirms that the first standlone film will be called Rogue One.

Starring Felicity Jones, directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Chris Weitz, the story is based on an idea from John Knoll, who’s one of the executive producers. The film will shoot in London this summer and is due out December 16, 2016.

They’ve also (finally!) confirmed that Rian Johnson is writing and directing Episode VIII, which is set for May 26, 2017. A RETURN TO MAY!

Much of the personnel here we’ve already heard about, but the title Rogue One is our first detail that really points to what kind of film this will be. A female X-wing pilot? Bring it on.

Star Wars Magazine is on hiatus, not the Insider

star-wars-magazineUPDATE: It’s not the Star Wars Insider going on hiatus, it’s sister publication Star Wars Magazine, which used to be a Clone Wars-based publication, Jedi News corrects. So basically, nevermind. (And that explains why I didn’t get the hiatus email!)

Per their website, Star Wars Magazine hasn’t put out an issue since October.

The Star Wars Insider, which has been published by various companies over the years, traces back to Bantha Tracks, the original official Star Wars Fan Club newsletter. The current numbering began when it was called The Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine; It was renamed to Star Wars Insider in the early ’90s.

The current publisher of both is Titan Magazines, which handles a number of franchise publications.

Star Wars Insider #156 is in stores now.

How much does the galaxy know about Darth Vader in the new canon?

anh-vader-corridor

There are several issues with the old Expanded Universe that I was hopeful would be addressed in the new Star Wars canon, and chief among them is how much the general public knew about Darth Vader and his connection to the Skywalkers.

When the EU started in earnest in the early ’90s, Vader’s identity as Anakin Skywalker and his relation to Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa was still a secret: It’s actually a huge plot point throughout Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy. But as the EU, um, expanded, it became less and less so, until it was just public knowledge not only that Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker, but that both Luke and Leia were his kids. It doesn’t seem like it was ever planned or addressed: It just happened, and the full implications were almost never addressed. Such were the early days of continuity. But with the old EU now set aside as Legends, how much does the galaxy actually know?

We might already have an answer.

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Journey to The Force Awakens: Aftermath synopsis points to book being set just after Return of the Jedi

And just like that, we have our first blurb for the most relevant (so far) of the Journey to The Force Awakens books, Aftermath, from Barnes & Noble.

The second Death Star is destroyed. The Emperor and his powerful enforcer, Darth Vader, are rumored to be dead. The Galactic Empire is in chaos. Across the galaxy, some systems celebrate, while in others Imperial factions tighten their grip. Optimism and fear reign side by side. And while the Rebel Alliance engages the fractured forces of the Empire, a lone Rebel scout uncovers a secret Imperial meeting…

A new character seems likely, which is a bit of a downer. My level of excitement for this one is really dependent of who’s writing it. It’s not Mary Franklin, as the URL suggests: The theory is that Untitled Novel #4 was at one point the long-canceled nonfiction book on fandom by Franklin and Bonnie Burton in some database or another. (via)

Journey to The Force Awakens is on, and it’s big

star-wars-craniodsgnOh boy.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Journey to Episode VII – of which we’ve already heard about in drips and drabbles – will in fact encompass 20 books and comics across the various publishers. (Including such things as ‘sticker books,’ so it’s not exactly the New Jedi Order all over again, thankfully.)

“The Force Awakens is an extraordinarily, heavily guarded storyline. To track it, a lot of top-secret meetings were happening up in San Francisco as we worked through this program,” says Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide. The company is managing the release through its own imprints as well as at least seven outside companies, among them sci-fi publisher Del Rey, Dorling Kindersley, and Marvel Comics.

The only Del Rey book mentioned is Star Wars: Aftermath – no author is given, but it certainly sounds like something in the new gap years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Marvel will put out at least two TFA prequel stories, including one from Threepio’s perspective.

The YA books – the one we’ve primarily heard about thus far, do get authors:

Cecil Castellucci (author of Tin Star) will write Moving Target, an adventure following Princess Leia; Jason Fry, who earlier wrote Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy, will be the author of The Weapon of a Jedi, about Luke Skywalker; Claudia Gray, author of the Evernight series of fantasy books, will write a book titled Lost Stars; and Greg Rucka, a comic book scribe and writer of the Atticus Kodiak novels, will pen Smuggler’s Run, a Han Solo tale.

We knew about Claudia Gray, and Jason Fry is (so far) our only returning author. Now, we wait for more from Del Rey and Marvel… Cross your fingers.

Out this week: Star Wars #3

marvel-sw3On Wednesday, head to the comic store (or your digital equivalent) to pick up Marvel’s Star Wars #3. (It has at least one variant cover.)

The new Star Wars Insider, #156, will also be out in the wild.

We’ll have more Darth Vader and Princess Leia comics in the coming weeks, and our next novel is the paperback release of John Jackson Miller’s A New Dawn on the 31st.

Star Wars canon’s first LGBT character to appear in an upcoming novel

kemp-sithIt’s not the first time Star Wars has featured LGBT characters, but an upcoming novel will be the first to introduce one into Star Wars canon as it now stands.

Paul S. Kemp’s Lords of the Sith, out in April, features Moff Mors, a lesbian and “Imperial who has made some very serious mistakes but is an incredibly capable leader and spends much of the book working hard to prevent absolute failure,” Bryan Young at Big Shiny Robot reports.

“There should be diversity in Star Wars,” Del Rey editor Shelly Shapiro told Young for Full of Sith. And what more is there to say than that?

Today in The Force Awakens: Meeting Rey, the IMAX sequence, and (false) second trailer reports

spoilers-swirl-daisyMaking Star Wars has a report today about how we met Rey and how the Millennium Falcon IMAX sequence plays out. We already knew that the Falcon sequence we saw in the trailer is part of it, but Jason goes into further detail. Or possible detail. In any case it sounds pretty cool.

→ And speaking of trailers… There’s a rumor floating around today that gives a supposed play-by-play of the second trailer. While there is not a doubt in anyone’s mind that there will be a second trailer debuting at Celebration, it won’t be that one, per Jason. And honestly, I trust Jason more than I do the sites originating/spreading this rumored breakdown, almost all of which draw from concept art and other reports from (you guessed it) Making Star Wars.