Today in The Force Awakens: The review embargo is in

tfa-kylo-finn-reyWe’ll be seeing the first The Force Awakens reviews on Wednesday, December 16th at 12:01am PST. Plan accordingly. In Hollywood, things are shaping up for the Monday premiere, which will have “Academy Award levels” of security and crowd control.

The Force Awakens will be featured on CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday, and in the preview video we get to hear some of John Williams’ new score.

→ Today’s best bet: Samuel L. Jackson and Gwendoline Christie chat for Interview magazine.

→ J.J. Abrams has more praise for coffee enthusiast Pablo Hidalgo from in the Toronto Sun. Elsewhere, he talks about The Raid stars with /Film.

→ Costume designer Michael Kaplan on Kylo Ren’s helmet for Time.

Vice News did a half-hour piece on Adam Driver’s Arts in the Armed Forces organization. (Guess what made the headlines?)

→ Also: Phasma and Rey action figures flying off the shelves, Lupita Nyong’o was on GMA this morning, and Anthony Breznican on Bobbajo.

Hasbro design director on The Force Awakens, embracing female fandom

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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.”

Did The Force Awakens merchandise just reveal a plot secret, or is it only marketing synergy?

tfa-artoo-lighter

Start prepping your theories, because according to Jedi Temples Archives an unexpected original trilogy figure will be a part of The Force Awakens action figure line. Now, it’s not someone so unexpected that I think one really needs a complicated theory, but fandoms gonna fandom. Still, ‘Qui-Gon’s Noble End’ this isn’t.

→ Since today marks exactly one month until Force Friday, we’re seeing a few bits about the toy launches. Making Star Wars has some fuzzy Walmart signage pics, and Toys R Us put up a press release – though with no direct mention of The Force Awakens. (Expect that shoe to drop closer to September.)

→ Even Del Rey got in the spirit, with pics of Aftermath book covers being printed.

→ And finally, Simon Kinberg talked a little about the Story Group – apparently the very early days, as Michael Arndt is mentioned – to Entertainment Weekly.

Sabine Wren only female finalist in Hasbro Fan’s Choice poll

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Well, the votes are in, and Rebels’ Sabine Wren was the only woman to make the finals in the Hasbro Fan’s Choice poll, up for vote now on StarWars.com. The other finalists are Ben Kenobi (A New Hope,) Lando Calrissian, Darth Revan from the Knights of the Old Republic games, General Grievous, a Gamorrean guard and a snowtrooper. When I voted, Revan had a strong lead, with Obi-Wan second and Sabine in third.

The winning character, to be announced at SDCC, will be made into a 6″ Black Series figure.

Several other women made the finals at individual sites: Mara Jade was #1 at Topless Robot , #2 at Making Star Wars and #3 at Yakface, among others. Asajj Ventress and Ahsoka Tano (The Clone Wars version) also made a strong showing – here’s an informal countup of all the sites that posted their results publicly.