What Rian Johnson asked J.J. Abrams to change about the ending of The Force Awakens

Rian Johnson had (at least) one request for J.J. Abrams about The Force Awakens‘ ending – to have Artoo go with Rey instead of BB-8, so the classic droid could be reunited with Luke Skywalker. Luke, naturally, is central to The Last Jedi:

“Figuring out where his head was at was the very first thing I had to do when writing the movie. I had to crack this. And it had to be something for me that first and foremost made sense. Why did Luke Skywalker go off to this island?” Johnson says. “That was the starting point, and that’s what the entire movie explores.”

So Luke’s self-exile – and his reasoning – is a key factor in the film.

Time for some Wear Star Wars Every Day auctions!

While I finished up the wear-a-thon part of my Wear Star Wars Every Day charity fundraising project after completing the entire year of 2016 by wearing a different Star Wars apparel item each day, the project is now moving onto a new phase with extra fundraising through the auction of donated clothing. Starting us off for Star Wars Day and the first week of May, we have five t-shirts and a hat up on eBay for folks to bid on. Or you can just donate directly to the Wear Star Wars Every Day site to benefit Collateral Repair Project, a non-profit that provides emergency assistance, education, and community support for urban refugees in Amman, Jordan.

Here’s what we have in this first round of auctions, with 100% of the proceeds going to Collateral Repair Project:

Win a Star Wars notebook collection!

Since Star Wars Day is coming up later this week, let’s kick May off with a contest! Chronicle Books recently released a Star Wars Notebook Collection to celebrate the 40th anniversary of A New Hope. This three-pack of blank lined notebooks features iconic ANH artwork on the front, back, and inside covers, as well as spot quotations throughout the notebooks. Each notebook has about 60 pages, and is 6 x 8.5 in. Perfect for keeping a journal while you’re waiting for some escaped droids to show up and start you on your hero’s journey. Thanks to our friends at Chronicle Books, we’re giving away one three-notebook set to a random winner!

Want to win? Simply leave a message in the comments of this post by the deadline of 11:59 pm EDT on May 5, 2017, and we’ll announce a random winner on May 7. We can ship the book to a winner in the U.S. or deliver it to you in person if you’ll be attending Origins Game Fair in Columbus in June or San Diego Comic-Con in July.

Good luck and May the 4th be with you!

Star Wars out this week: So many Rogue One tie-ins

Tuesday is a big Rogue One day for releases, with two brand-new novels for younger readers. Beth Revis’ Rebel Rising is about Jyn Erso, while Greg Rucka’s Guardians of the Whills gives us some backstory on Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus. There’s also the paperback edition of James Luceno’s Catalyst, which gives us some background on Galen Erso and Orson Krennic, and first came out before the movie.

On the comic front, Wednesday brings Rogue One #2 and Poe Dameron #14.

It also happens to be the first week of May, which means May 4 is Thursday. We expect plenty of puns, some sales, and a movie marathon on TBS. Fair warning: Traditionally this has not been a huge day for news, so don’t get your hopes too high.

Han Solo and the Character Name Rumors

Making Star Wars has heard two names – both female – for the Han Solo standalone. One seems to be a puppet/voiced character (Phoebe Waller-Bridge, maybe?), while the other seems to be a major character with “top billing” – so likely Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton. That said, the names could be set pseudonyms.

→ Speaking of Clarke, she told the Los Angeles Daily News that talking about the Han movie “even scarier” than doing so for Game of Thrones.

io9’s Evan Narcisse makes the case that Donald Glover’s funk album proves he has the mindset to make Lando Calrissian his own.

Star Wars News Net has heard that they might be filming for three weeks on Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands.

→ Disney has released the schedule for their D23 Expo in July. We hope to learn a bit more about the Han film (and likely The Last Jedi) at the live-action film panel on Saturday, July 15.

Kylo’s cape is for real: Fuzzy look at Ren, Rey in The Last Jedi

A Battlefront II image unearthed on Reddit gives us a distant and fuzzy look at new togs for Kylo Ren and Rey. Kylo definitely has a cape (as rumored,) while Rey seems to be sporting a Jedi-style obi belt.

UPDATED: Slightly higher res versions have been found! Kylo’s cape looks to be leather and in bad shape, but maybe wrinkly capes are just hot right now. (Right, Krennic?) Rey has gained a textured layer, and her belt also looks to be leather

These are noted as “movie production stills,” not game images.