4 things we learned at Celebration Europe

GL, KK and JJ. (Lucasfilm)

Another year, another Celebration… And now we can rest. For a few weeks, anyway. For those of you who weren’t in Germany, who didn’t wake up before dawn to catch news out of Germany, or who maybe just had other stuff to do this weekend, here are the headlines.

“Real locations and special FX”
Kathleen Kennedy inferred that we’ll be seeing more of a mix of effects – not just the digital stuff, which is pretty much inevitable, but also some more traditional model-based effects and such as well. HitFix’s Drew McWeeny addresses this – and the staggering pressure that Episode VII has to live up to:

I love that much of what I’ve been hearing seems to match what Kennedy is saying. I’ve heard that Lawrence Kasdan is considered by everyone else in the process a pretty great resource, and a really lovely collaborator. And I’ve heard that ILM is building a lot of actual models for this film, that they plan to shoot the models and digitally composite on a much larger scale than the last trilogy. It’s an aesthetic choice, evidently, and I find it very exciting to imagine big ILM model units working to build out the world.

Kennedy knows the gig, she’s clearly taken the time to understand what’s going on with fandom – and I don’t think she’s the only one. This is, as McWeeny said, a fragmented fandom. There are a lot of voices, and the stakes for this movie, for the whole franchise, are high. Will they manage to please everyone? Probably not: There are fans who will love or hate Episode VII no matter what. But I think it’s a good sign that they’re willing to try, and that shows in what little they’re willing to tell us so far. What’s behind closed doors? Hopefully something even better.

John Williams
John WilliamsOf course this was the big ticket news out of the con, and while I understand being disappointed that we didn’t get more, it’s still rather reassuring to have Williams back on board.

There’s been some confusion about whether he’s back for just one movie – the official site says just Episode VII, but apparently onstage, Kennedy said he was coming back for all three. And maybe that’s the plan, but just not on paper yet. In any case, it’s good news.

Rebels
rebels logoWe may not have the whole enchilada yet, but Dave Filoni did give fans enough to sate their appetites, it seems. He made it clear that the style is very much based on Ralph McQuarrie, that the stories will be told in order and showed off some concept art… One of which may be Alderaan.

And the Wookiee Gunner points out that we’ve actually been seeing new ship The Ghost all along! Tricky, tricky.

Celebration VII
And we have our next convention! In all honesty, I welcome the gap: We could all use a little time and space to save, as much as Lucasfilm will need the time to prepare. Let’s not forget, the Celebrations started as a way to get fans excited about the new movies… And think how much they’ll have to show us a month or so before the thing even comes out!

The venue change isn’t much of a surprise… But I really doubt we’ve seen the last of Orlando. After all, Disney does have two theme parks.

Anaheim Convention CenterAlas, Celebration announcements always bring a round of disappointment: We all want it close to us, but there are a lot of people to please and no matter where the thing is, some folks aren’t going to be able to come. The convention center may not be as cavernous, the plane tickets may not be as cheap, etc. It’s sad but there’s no pleasing everyone, ever. We all just have to deal, one way or another, and wait to see how the experts surprise us.

But still, I’m hopeful about California and very happy with the return to the original pre-movie schedule. Hell, I might even go to the theme park for once. Might.

And remember, news hounds: Patience. They’re not going to give us everything at once. They’re going to dribble it out slowly, they’re going to deny things, the rumors will keep flying. (All this has happened before… All this will happen again.) It’s our lot to wait it out and see what emerges.

Sunday roundup: Looking forward to 2015 and Celebration VII at Celebration Europe

@starwars: A most impressive gathering of @501stLegion members at #StarWarsCelebration! As one Celebration ends, another is announced… Celebration VII (which may not be the official name, but we’re going to call it that, damnit!) is set for Anaheim, California in April 2015. Star Wars Celebration Anaheim (the official name, apparently?) will be held at the Disneyland-adjacent Anaheim Convention Center from April 16-19, reverting us back to schedules of the original Celebrations. Does this guarantee us a May release date for Episode VII? Let’s hope so. Tickets will be on sale August 7th.

What else went on in Essen today? Well, Mark Hamill spoke, and while it didn’t make the official recap, apparently he did do a voice on The Clone Wars – a Darth. But he’s also open to voicing a villain on Rebels.

Speaking of… Here’s Dave Filoni and Warwick Davis.

Other panels today included ‘The Fett-Tastic Four’ (with surprise Temeura Morrison!) and the Jabba’s Palace reunion and, of course, the closing ceremonies.

This isn’t the end of coverage – we expect the usual flood of nightly additions as folks wind down, plus more as people return home and get a chance to think, upload pictures and etc – so check back!

Saturday roundup: Kathleen Kennedy, Dave Filoni and Carrie Fisher take the stage at Celebration Europe

Kathleen Kennedy and Warwick Davis (StarWars.com)Well, obviously two big bombs got dropped today: The return of composer John Williams is official and we got our first look at the new cartoon, Star Wars Rebels. Kathleen Kennedy also talked about chatting with J.J. Abrams and using “every tool in the toolbox” for Episode VII, implying that we’ll be seeing a mix of CGI and practical effects.

And yes, you can buy the Rebels logo t-shirt online.

StarWars.com also live-blogged the Carrie Fisher event, and highlighted some fan stories. They also shared a video from yesterday with Warwick Davis, Doug Chiang and Iain McCaig.

Newswatch! Sunday is by far the lightest day on the schedule, so those of us on this side of the pond may take the opportunity to sleep in, at least a little. There are still plenty of panels, but for our purposes I think we only need to keep an eye on two of them: Mark Hamill at 2:30 p.m. CEST (8:30 a.m. EDT) and the Closing Ceremonies at 4:00 p.m. CEST (10:00 a.m. EDT.) Will we learn the date and location of the next Celebration?

As for the hoped-for Big 3 confirmation… If neither Kennedy or Fisher said anything, I doubt Hamill will, either. Next milestone is in two weeks at Disney’s D23 Expo, and the rumors have already been churning. Patience!

EUbits: Fan artist takes on Rebels-era Mara Jade

ENGELHA5T's Mara Jade and Palpatine (crop)Fan art. Lucasfilm may not have revealed what (most) of the Rebels character design will look like yet, ENGELHA5T on DeviantArt has created several OT-era characters in the style of The Clone Wars. Of particular interest to us would be Mara Jade, but there’s also Han and Chewie, Thrawn and Pellaeon, a teen Leia and even a Luke, may of them with cardbacks as well. You can check out his full gallery, but be warned it does contain some more adult works, though they do seem to be hidden if you’re not logged in to DA.

Del Rey. We actually heard about it way back at Celebration, but now Del Rey has officially announced their Star Wars Action Team. It’s not quite up and running yet, but the general gist is that you “spread the word” and get points. Please don’t break down any doors. On that note, here’s some of the swag they’ll have at SDCC.

Comics. Newsarama has a first look at the next arc of Dark Times, A Spark Remains.

The blogside. At the official blog, Dan Brooks praises Matthew Stover’s Revenge of the Sith adaptation, while Jennifer Heddle talks about why Leia is awesome.

Reviews. Over at Big Shiny Robot, James reads Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #3,The Clone Wars: The Smuggler’s Code and Legacy #4, where Ania Solo learns sometimes shooting first isn’t the best solution.

Rumor: Rebels cast also heavy on the teenagers

McQarrie X-Wing

Bleeding Cool follows up their Episode VII casting scoop with a Rebels tidbit: The cartoon will also feature a mainly teenaged cast:

Not only is the show about the formation of the Rebel Alliance, taking place in the narrative space between Episodes III and IV, the title also riffs on the main characters. I’ve learned that most of them are teenagers. Rebellious teenagers? Well, that’s the reference, at least.

Does this mean we’ll see Leia in the Senate? A young Wedge Antilles? It’ll probably be an all-new slate, but who knows who might show up?

Rumors: Spinoff films will feature Solo, Fett, new cartoon to show genesis of the Rebellion

SPINOFF RUMORS: Take seriously at your own risk.JoBlo has a source who told them that the first two spin-offs will feature popular rumor subjects Han Solo and Boba Fett. No details on Boba, but the Han film “will focus on Han and Chewy’s [sic] relationship, potentially on how they met and became partners on the Millennium Falcon.”

Both movies have been rumored for a while now, though JoBlo also says that the idea for a Yoda film has been dropped due to LEGO’s The Yoda Chronicles.

A Boba Fett movie is, of course, inevitable, and either Daniel Logan or Temuera Morrison could return for the role, depending on where in the timeline the story falls. Casting a young Han Solo would be significantly more of a challenge… But no doubt there are plenty of actors willing to try.

Their source also claims that the Rebels cartoon will “focus on how the rebel alliance was formed,” which doesn’t give us too much of a hint of where it fits in the intertrilogy timeline. Sure, we saw the political roots of the Rebellion begin in the cut scenes of Revenge of the Sith, but parts of the Expanded Universe imply that the Rebellion we meet in A New Hope was formed by coalition of groups working against the Empire. Not that the EU material guarantees anything, but it’s an idea with plenty of story potential to be mined.

It’s official: Rebels is your new Star Wars cartoon

One of Filoni's TIEsWell, here’s your new animated series: Star Wars: Rebels, set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope just as heavily speculated. It’s helmed by Dave Filoni, Greg Weisman and Simon Kinberg and will be coming in Fall 2014.

The action-filled series is set between the events of Episode III and IV — an era spanning almost two decades never-before explored on-screen. Star Wars Rebels takes place in a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape. Details about the show are a closely guarded secret at this point.

The show will debut with an hour-long special on the Disney Channel before moving to Disney XD for the duration.

Fans will get a first look at the show at Celebration Europe.