A whole heap of Star Wars book news has come out of San Diego Comic-Con, some expected, some not. (This is all in addition to what we heard the other day!) Most are, naturally, tie-ins to The Last Jedi. We learned that longtime Star Wars writer Jason Fry is writing the Del Rey novelization of the film. Franchise newcomer Elizabeth Wein is writing Cobalt Squadron, “the harrowing story of the courageous bomber pilots and technicians of Cobalt Squadron.” The novel for young readers will feature Rose and Paige Tico.
→ Rogue One made $71.1M through Friday, and is still well on track for a $145-150M weekend.
→ It says sad things about the state of women’s paychecks in Hollywood that it’s actually news that Felicity Jones was by far Rogue One’s highest-paid cast member. A more bizarre wrinkle: Jones has a single sequel option in her contract. (Though I’m not sure why THR brings up “a young Luke Skywalker stand-alone” in relation to that, considering that the only speculation regarding Luke and Jyn was Jossed by the film itself.)
→ /Film takes a look at the trailer footage that was missing from the film.
→ Phil Noto has graced us with some Erso art.
→ All the crazy, convoluted ways that the Rebels stole the Death Star plans in the old Expanded Universe. They’re almost all video games, which… Okay.
→ Are Chirrut and Baze a couple? “I think that’s all good. Who knows? You’d have to speak to them,” Gareth Edwards says.
→ Your moment of zen: Ranking Star Wars’ “sweet space capes.”
Well, there’s a movie out this week. Whether you see it first thing Thursday night or wait for the weekend, know one thing: The Rogue One books are out on Friday. Namely, the novelization by Alexander Freed (eBook only,) the Rogue One Ultimate Visual Guide by Pablo Hidalgo and The Art of Rogue One. I haven’t seen any of them yet, but based on prior experience I say get the Visual Guide first.
For those looking for a different sort of prequel, there’s Poe Dameron #9 on Wednesday.
There’s a great interview with Doug Chiang on the latest Star Wars show, where he talks about learning from Ralph McQuarrie and working on Rogue One. There’s also another J.J. Abrams commentary preview, Rogue One trailer reactions, and some Battlefront stuff.
Pablo Hidalgo talks about the Lucasfilm Story Group on this week’s The Star Wars Show, and it’s a must-watch. (’96 GenCon? We knew him when.)
And here’s the extended half-hour interview:
With most of the book news (for our purposes) dropping at Celebration – the authors of Catalyst and the Rogue One novelization and Thrawn – the SDCC panel was fairly light on news, but there was plenty of discussion.
There were two cover reveals, though: The Art of Rogue One and the back cover of Aftermath: Empire’s End, which you can see below.
Happy 39th birthday, Star Wars! To celebrate, we’ve got a new episode of Unboxing Star Wars! Yowie the skunk, Baby Jawa, and I review some of the latest crop of Star Wars Little Golden Books: I Am a Droid, I Am a Pilot, and I Am a Jedi, as well as I give my recap on the James Clyne and Iain McCaig presentation and The Force Awakens concept art exhibition at Gnomon in Hollywood. For more info on the presentations by Art Director James Clyne and Concept Artist Iain McCaig, check out my article on starwars.com: Designing The Force Awakens. Also, check out photos from the concept art exhibition and the artists’ presentation. Plus random fun with Ponda Baba, and then some Baby Jawa fun time!
→ I Am a Droid – Thumbs up! Written by Christopher Nicholas and illustrated by Chris Kennett, this Little Golden Book focuses on different aspects and roles of droids in Star Wars. My favorite of the bunch, though possibly could have done without a page showing a droid being tortured.
→ I Am a Jedi – Just OK. This Little Golden Book by Christopher Nicholas and illustrated by Ron Cohee talks about the basics of what a Jedi is and what a Jedi can do, and a little about the Force and the Sith. Nothing from The Force Awakens, but it does reveal the identity of Darth Vader, just in case you want to save that revelation for later in your child’s life.
→ I Am a Pilot – Just OK. By Christopher Nicholas and illustrated by Alan Batson, this Little Golden Book showcases a bunch of different pilot characteristics in Star Wars and some of the more famous pilots. Sadly, none of the pilots in the book are women.
→ Episode VII: The Art of James Clyne & Iain McCaig at Gnomon Gallery, Hollywood – Go see it if you’re in the area! There’s almost fifty pieces on display, pretty evenly split between Clyne and McCaig. I *think* all of the displayed artwork can be found in The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but here’s a chance to see it in a larger format. The exhibition runs until July 20, 2016.
Note: No Aqualish were harmed in the filming of this program.
Over at IGN, an interview with costume designer Michael Kaplan, and how the looks evolved for characters both old and new.
→ Our own James interviews Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens author Landry Q. Walker at StarWars.com, while comic writer Charles Soule talks to ComicBook.com about Poe Dameron #1. Soule also did a guest post for StarWars.com.
→ A look at how Rey’s isolation is framed in the film.
→ StarWars.com also presents their list of the ten best The Force Awakens moments.
With the actual Making of book not due out until October, The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a must-read if you want a look at the development of the film. /Film runs down some of the possible plot points – warning, a lot of them are pretty deeply weird, or at least that’s the impression the book gave me. (The article barely scratches the surface.)
The Force Awakens is heading for a $200 million opening weekend, according to the early estimates. That puts it in sight of Jurassic World’s $208.4M record, something many doubted would be possible due to the usual holiday box office trends.
Disney says that it brought in $57M from the Thursday night previews, with Friday showings likely bringing the total to $100M.
→ John Williams talks about the score with the Los Angeles Times, including what seems to have become the score’s standout, ‘Rey’s Theme’. Meanwhile, you can listen to the full score on several streaming services, including Spotify.
→ Daniel Craig made a cameo after all, according to Entertainment Weekly, though I’m also seeing a lot of skeptical fans due to… Accent reasons.
→ Is there a backlash yet? I guess?
→ Badass Digest looks at the Resistance, the First Order and the Republic. Y’all may want to pick up Pablo Hidalgo’s Visual Guide to the movie.
→ Speaking of today’s book releases, io9 has a look at some pieces from The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
→ And speaking of books in general, author Chuck Wendig on the movie – and which Aftermath character we saw on screen.