Rumor: Episode VII characters to be based on the Expanded Universe

Skywalker/Solo family in the NJO

Episode 7 News is back with some clarification on their previous Mara Jade rumor. Their source now has a name – JediDigger – and they say his info comes from “discussions between people inside Lucasfilm and it’s licenses.”

The gist of his clarification is that they’re using the existing Expanded Universe characters as a template. The actual characters we get will be based on folks like Mara/Shira Brie, Jaina, Ben and such, but with different names – like the oh-so-convenient Korriban/Moriband confusion.

FRYSQUINT: SEQUEL TRILOGY RUMORS: Take seriously at your own risk.“This can not be made clearer, the post ROTJ EU launched in 91 is dead,” he says. “No story from Outbound Flight forward counts.” This all comes “the request of Disney, Kathleen Kennedy and Howard Roffman.”

But “the love of Luke Skywalker’s life” is a “character George Lucas has had since the end of Return of the Jedi,” which seems like it could conflict with the idea of basing her on Mara… Or does it? It’s not like we haven’t seen a similar character from Lucas before.

They’re also claiming that Michael Arndt has “moved on to Episode 8″ and that Abrams has met with Timothy Zahn. UPDATE: Zahn himself says this part isn’t true, which casts even more doubt on the rest.

So that’s a big rumor dump – but again, not a particularly trustworthy one: Taking the EU characters as templates is significantly less dramatic a change than I would expect. I continue to be skeptical.

Sword of the Jedi trilogy is still on hold

We heard something similar not so long ago, but here’s what Golden just tweeted. The story group has been a pretty hot topic lately, but it’s not exactly a mystery – though we’re probably not going to get anything definitive on their decisions for a while yet.

Personally, I’m doubtful that Sword of the Jedi will ever see the light of day (and I’m certainly not going to cry over it,) but who knows? It’s not like they haven’t surprised us beforeSword of the Jedi

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Roundup: Pregaming at Celebration Europe

@jamesjawa: Rehearsing on Thursday at the Celebration stage at #StarWarsCelebration - it's Warwick Davis! pic.twitter.com/Kx1TWLleS7

Celebration Europe doesn’t officially begin until Friday (which, for those of us in the states, means really early Friday) so the big event of the day in Germany today was the press conference. But StarWars.com did drop a nice video featuring Ashley Eckstein talking about fan groups.

From the fans, we have some pictures from the floor. Bleeding Cool has a couple pages of pics and no clue about Her Universe, while Jedi News gave us our first look at Hasbro’s Darth Plagueis figure.

And speaking of, we’ve been sadly neglectful of Caravan of the Force, in which several fans have been documentimng their travel from London to Essen.

Oh, and here’s a preview from James, even as he warns us that the wifi situation is lacking:

Now let’s hope the 501st don’t get him too drunk:

Newswatch! Can we expect any major news out of the con for Friday? The big-ticket panels are Attack of the Clones 3D at 12:30 p.m. CEST (6:00 a.m. EDT,) Ben Burtt at 1:30 p.m. CEST (7:30 a.m. EDT,) Doug Chiang and Iain McCaig at 2:00 CEST (8:00 a.m. EDT) and Secrets of The Clone Wars at 3:00 p.m. CEST (9:00 a.m. EDT.) Anthony Daniels is on at 4:00 p.m. CEST (10 a.m. EDT,) The Clone Wars screening at 5:00 p.m. CEST (11 a.m. EDT) and Ian McDiarmid is on at 6:00 p.m. CEST (noon EDT.) The night’s capper is an outdoor Return of the Jedi screening at 7:30 p.m. CEST (1:30 p.m. EDT.)

We have reports that a The Clone Wars DVD/Blu-Ray announcement is coming tomorrow, and everyone hope really hard that Chiang and McCaig show something, anything, that they’ve been working on for Episode VII. I wouldn’t expect any casting news until Kathleen Kennedy on Saturday, but stranger things have happened!

(Confused by the timezones? So am I. All praise World Time Buddy.)

Her Universe debuts Mara Jade, Jaina Solo tees

hu-mara2hu-jaina

Ashley Eckstein’s Her Universe is bringing the expanded universe to SDCC! They’ll be debuting a new Mara Jade tee using Daryl Mandryk’s art from the Choices of One paperback cover, and a Jaina Solo tee using John VanFleet’s art from the Sword of the Jedi teaser image. Only 100 of each will be offered at the con, however, and they’ll only be online “for a limited time only.” They’ll be online during SDCC.

It also sounds like they’ve revamped their booth, which is promising.

There are a few other debuts, including their new Walking Dead line, but you know we’re biased.

UPDATE: Here’s the chat link, and huge thanks to Ashley for the kind words!