To the surprise of no one, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director Rian Johnson will be on a Celebration Orlando panel on Friday, April 14. The Last Jedi panel is expected debut the film’s first trailer, or at the very least a behind-the-scenes feature, as the con is expected to launch the movie’s first wave of publicity. Expect some other “special guests” to appear as well.
For the past few Celebrations, the first big movie panel has featured the upcoming release, while a second on Sunday focuses on the other upcoming films.
The new Star Wars Show also features more Rogue One behind-the-scenes and a visit to Sideshow.
UPDATE: Johnson took the occasion to post a new behind-the-scenes shot on Tumblr:
Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston comes out today from Disney-Lucasfilm Press in hardcover, eBook and audio. It tells a great story that helps fill in some of the critical gaps between her departure from the Jedi Order in The Clone Wars and her appearance as the Rebel agent, Fulcrum, in Rebels.
In early September, author E.K. Johnston was a guest panelist at Salt Lake Comic Con, where she discussed her novel on two panels: “The Life and Times of Ahsoka Tano” (alongside Pablo Hidalgo, Amy Ratcliffe, and moderated by Bryan Young; panel available from Full of Sith) and “Star Wars Books: Writing the Force” (alongside Christie Golden, Cecil Castellucci, Matt Martin, and moderated by yours truly). Here is an abridged transcript of the panel, focusing on Johnston’s responses to the moderator prompts and panelist discussion as relating to writing the newest chapter in the story of Ahsoka Tano.
Here’s what Johnston had to say (trying to stay spoiler free) on the behind-the-scenes of writing Ahsoka: Continue reading →
In addition to James Luceno’s Catalyst, the Rogue One fiction lineup will include a young adult novel about Jyn Erso from Star Wars newcomer Beth Revis (Across the Universe.) Greg Rucka (Before the Awakening) will return for a middle grade novel featuring Baze Malbus and Chirrut Îmwe. The preliminaryversions of the covers above were spotted earlier by Jedi Bibliotek. They’ll both be out on May 2.
Catalyst will be the first of the Rogue One books to hit the shelves, on November 15th. The second wave will drop with the film on December 16, and includes The Art of Rogue One, Pablo Hidalgo’s Rogue One Ultimate Visual Guide and ebook versions of the two novelizations: Alexander Freed’s from Del Rey and the junior version by Matt Forbeck from Disney-Lucasfilm Press. Freed’s will be in hardcover on January 3, while it looks like Forbeck’s won’t be in print until March 28.
We’ll learn more about the 40th Anniversary publishing plans in the coming months, although the official site says “legendary Star Wars talent such as Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, and Tom Palmer would be reuniting” for an anniversary book from Disney-Lucasfilm Press. One component of the program would seem to be a new collection of the newspaper strips, also spotted by – you guessed it – Jedi Bibliotek.
Time for a new colossal-sized episode of Star Wars Story Talk as Yowie the Skunk, Baby Jawa, and I cover the latest in Star Wars stories, and we have a lot to talk about: a few recent Star Wars events and check out not one, not two, but three Star Wars books! I give a recap of all the Star Wars goings-on at Salt Lake Comic Con, held at the beginning of September, plus talk a bit on Star Wars Day at the San Diego Padres, and dive into three books: the newest Star Wars Little Golden Book: I Am a Princess, and Star Wars: Aliens of the Galaxy by Jason Fry and the newly released Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual History, Updated and Expanded Edition by Pablo Hidalgo. Plus an update on Wear Star Wars Every Day and a triple dose of Baby Jawa fun time! Continue reading →
LEGOLAND California announced a major addition to their LEGO Star Wars Miniland to open in March 2017. While the Carlsbad theme park currently has Star Wars miniland dioramas representing key scenes from the first six films, as well as a jumbo-sized Death Star model, they are planning a whole set of scenes to build The Force Awakens into their fantastic Miniland style.
Joined at the press conference by a lifesize LEGO R2-D2, LEGOLAND California Resort’s General Manager Peter Ronchetti detailed the plans for The Force Awakens Miniland Model Display at the theme park:
“Right now, at our secret Model Shop in Carlsbad, Master Model Designer Nik Ehm of our Merlin’s Magic Making team is working on creating six scenes that represent the first 30 minutes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” said Ronchetti. “There are two primary focal points – the more traditional character-driven scenes on the planet of Jakku, and an enormous LEGO model of the Star Destroyer Finalizer. At 16-feet long, it will be the longest LEGO Star Wars Miniland model ever created!”
According to the press release, the scenes, which will be in the center of LEGO Star Wars Miniland and feature lights, sound effects and animation that bring the scenes to life, will include:
Kylo Ren’s capture of Poe on Jakku
Rey’s rescue of BB-8
Poe and Finn’s escape from the Finalizer
The wreck of Finn and Poe’s TIE Fighter
Rey, Finn and BB-8’s escape from Niima Outpost
The escape from the Starship Graveyard
The park announced that this new model display will open to the public for their annual LEGO Star Wars Days on March 4-5, 2017, perfect for spring break.
“At LEGOLAND California Resort, we pride ourselves in innovation, creativity and memorable experiences for our millions of guests we see each year and 2017 continues that tradition,” said Ronchetti. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens set records as the top-grossing film nationally of all time and we’re excited to bring it to life here in our popular LEGO Star Wars Miniland!” said Ronchetti.
Other upcoming additions to the LEGO-themed resort in 2017 include an expansion for the LEGOLAND Water Park, called Surfer’s Bay, and the addition of NINJAGO themed rooms and suites to the main hotel, replacing the castle themed rooms, with the plan to open a new separate LEGO Castle themed hotel in 2018, in front of Sea Life Aquarium.
The new The Force Awakens model will be replacing the model currently in the center of LEGO Star Wars Miniland: a large diorama depicting the Battle of Christophsis from 2008’s The Clone Wars animated film. This diorama, which features Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-wan Kenobi and Captain Rex leading clone forces against an army of battle droids and larger weaponry amid the crystalline buildings of Christophsis, is one of the original seven dioramas from when LEGO Star Wars Miniland opened in 2011. I hate to see older exhibits taken down, but a sixteen-foot Star Destroyer towering over the guests will certainly bring a wow factor as a centerpiece to the whole Miniland experience that just isn’t there presently. I’d love to see a built-out Niima Outpost, complete with Unkar Plutt’s shop, and the spaceport, and will be interesting to see how they incorporate a different scale for the spaceship chase dioramas.
While I am certainly looking forward to seeing The Force Awakens brought to LEGO Star Wars miniland, I still feel that there is so much more they could do – after all, there’s Rebels and the LEGO The Freemaker Adventures also to build on, and by the time this opens in 2017, Rogue One will have been released. But I also know that there’s not a lot of real estate in the LEGO Star Wars Miniland area without doing some major surface regrading as the area is terraced on the side of a hill. Hopefully they are planning ahead to where will they put the eventual Episode VIII & IX displays!
Check out the official announcement video for a sneak peek at some of the early renderings of how the new models will appear in Miniland (For just the Star Wars portion of the announcement, watch from 0:19 to 0:49):
As part of the pre-show entertainment before the Mark Hamill panel at Salt Lake Comic Con last Thursday, a dance crew came out to bring the Force into balance with a Jedi and Sith dance battle on the main stage at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Did the Light Side prevail, or did the Dark Side get to boogie on home? Watch and find out!
We’ve got a jumbo episode of Star Wars Story Talk (AKA the show formerly known as Unboxing Star Wars) as Yowie the Skunk, Baby Jawa, and I cover a whole sandcrawler-load of the latest in Star Wars stories. Baby Jawa does her first reaction video, watching the Rogue One trailer, and Yowie and I talk a bit about Star Wars Celebration Europe, San Diego Comic-Con and review Aftermath: Life Debt, the new novel by Chuck Wendig! Plus a little update on Wear Star Wars Every Day, a visit from a Loth-cat, and of course some Baby Jawa fun time!
→ Trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – I am really excited for this movie and this trailer just pushes it up another notch. But how will Baby Jawa react to her first movie trailer viewing?
→ Star Wars Celebration Europe – Big thumbs up! A whole ton of fun and a lot of work. Plus seeing old friends and making new ones while in London!
→ Star Wars at San Diego Comic-Con – Even though there wasn’t a big movie panel, Star Wars still brought a lot to San Diego, including the Rogue One costume display and the publishing panel.
→ Star Wars: Aftermath – Life Debt – Chuck Wendig increases the scale and brings in some favorite film characters into the post-ROTJ era as the heroes help track down Han Solo as he’s disappeared while trying to liberate Kashyyyk. Solid read!
→ Loth-Cat Plush from Star Wars Celebration Europe – A big hit! Mrowwwl! Help me come up with a name for this grinning feline!
Podcasts: Thanks to Coffee with Kenobi for having me on the podcast as a featured guest to talk Bloodline, Life Debt, and Wear Star Wars Every Day, and thanks to Skywalking through Neverland for bringing me on the show to discuss Wear Star Wars Every Day.
Salt Lake Comic Con: Check out my schedule at Salt Lake Comic Con (Sept 1 to Sept 3) or just view the general Star Wars-related programming, featuring Mark Hamill, Jeremy Bulloch, Lucasfilm Story Group members: Pablo Hidalgo, Leland Chee, and Matt Martin; also including Star Wars authors, artists, and voice actors, and the Full of Sith podcast crew: Bryan Young, Amy Ratcliffe, and Mike Pilot.