On Wednesday, the Vader Down storyline wraps up in Star Wars #14 and Darth Vader #15. There’s also the second Darth Vader collection, Shadows and Secrets, in trade… And although it shipped last week, Obi-wan & Anakin #1 was actually supposed to go out this week, so if your comic shop got the memo you may not have been able to find it on sale.
In other book release news, Del Rey officially announced today that Claudia Gray’s New Republic: Bloodlines and Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Life Debt have both been pushed back two months each. (Something that’s been reflected on our book release schedule for a while now.) Bloodlines is now due out May 3, and Life Debt on July 19. They’re our next two new novels, though there are a handful of paperback rereleases in the meantime, including the first Aftermath on March 29.
Both io9 and The Daily Dot explore things we’ve learned from Alan Dean Foster’s novelization that aren’t in the movie – including things that got changed. There are some possible hints at the big question regarding Rey, but remember that the novelizations have a rather tenuous connection to canon – they only really count when they’re supported by what’s in the actual films. (As for Rey, I’m not up for picking any teams yet, but I do plan to explore the question of her possible origins at some point.)
→ What happened to those lightsaber scenes, and other things that we saw in the trailer but didn’t make the final cut? J.J. Abrams explains to Entertainment Weekly.
First and foremost, yes, we’re getting the first Star Wars movie in a decade this week – a lucky few (hundred? thousand?) tonight in Hollywood, and the rest of the world a few days later, depending on your location.
→ Settle your bets: The crossguard blades on Kylo Ren’s lightsaber “are raw power vented from the primary central blade,” per the description on display at Disneyland’s Star Wars Launch Bay. (IGN has a tour.) We already knew he built it himself, but the design is “ancient.” (via Reddit)
→ Speaking of Kylo, we haven’t seen much of Adam Driver lately, but he did tell Vulture that he found SDCC to be “intense” and “surprisingly moving.”
→ The Force Awakens is skipping some early award shows, says The Wrap, but the only one here you may have heard of is the Screen Actors Guild Awards. It will be out in time for consideration for the Academy Awards.
→ Variety says there was indeed new music from The Force Awakens in the Shondaland spot.
The Wall Street Journal writes about how Alan Dean Foster’s The Force Awakens novelization won’t be available in hardcover until January – something we’ve known since April. (The ebook will be out on December 18, along with the movie.) It was, not surprisingly, due to a request from Lucasfilm:
David Moench, the Del Rey spokesman, said the publisher would have preferred to put out the hardcover edition out on the day the movie opens in order to capture more sales.
“We would love to release both formats of the novelization simultaneously and not miss the holidays,” he said, “but we recognize the importance of protecting the story for the fans.”
Apparently, fans still prefer the physical books:
“It’s a collector’s mentality,” said Scott Shannon, Del Rey’s publisher. The “Star Wars” titles the publisher has issued have “way over-indexed” in terms of physical book sales to digital copies, said Mr. Shannon.
Perhaps the most interesting bit of information: Del Rey has sold more than 1.2 million Star Wars books in the past twelve months. (Only Aftermath and Lords of the Sith get namechecked.) That number extends to 70 million over the life of the license (including Bantam). It’s not clear if that number goes back to 1977 or 1991, but I suspect ’77. It would be interesting to see the numbers for at least the previous novelizations, but alas.
Fun fact: Although many Star Wars books have made it onto the New York Times’ Best Seller list, only four have made it to #1: The Return of the Jedi Storybook by Joan D. Vinge, Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire, The Phantom Menace novelization by Terry Brooks and (go figure) The Force Unleashed novelization by Sean Williams.