This week in The Force Awakens: Publicity shots, future release dates

STAR WARS RUMORS: Take seriously at your own riskJason at Making Star Wars has seen a yet-unreleased publicity picture of Han, Leia and Chewbacca. Yes, Leia! It’s a January miracle.

→ In a Disney shareholder meeting, Bob Iger praised Episode VII (why wouldn’t he?) and reiterates that we can expect VIII in 2017, IX in 2019, and hints that there may be more Episodes after this. (Which, to be fair, we’ve known since the start. None of this is really new information, people are just treating it like it is.) /Film unpacks the statement, and while I think they’re reaching at parts (“these characters” to me reads more Star Wars in general than just the new folks) the analysis is pretty sound.

→ Oscar Isaac revealed to HuffPostUK how J.J. Abrams reacted to Harrison Ford’s leg injury, which kind of makes it sound like Ford slipped the guy some of the good drugs, honestly.

Star Wars 7 News claims to have some very spoilerly details about Isaac, BB-8 and the beginning of the film. And Latino Review says we’ll see practical versions of a familiar alien, which will likely be reused for the spin-off.

Rumor: Did Tatiana Maslany land the Star Wars spinoff role?

Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)Total Geeks claims that Tatiana Maslany got the role we heard that she (and several other actresses) were testing for last week in the Gareth Edwards’ standalone Star Wars film. They also say that she’s the lead, and noticed that Maslany has recently withdrawn from an off-Broadway play “due to film scheduling conflicts.” (The only upcoming film on her IMDB at the moment has already completed shooting.)

UPDATE: The Mary Sue is backing up the original report with a source of their own – but I don’t expect official word will be quick.

We still know very little about this film, aside from the ongoing scripting choices – and a lot of rumors. Hopefully that changes when filming begins soon, maybe as early as February, but likely not until spring.

Out this week: Maul: Lockdown in paperback

In stores now, the paperback edition of Joe Schreiber’s Maul: Lockdown. It’s Legends now, if that matters to you, but James gave it a B+ when it first came out last year.

Next up is something new, Kevin Hearne’s Luke Skywalker novel Heir to the Jedi on March 3. It’s been getting some very mixed early buzz.

Report: Chris Weitz is the new writer for Spinoff #1

rumors-swirl-sw-yavinChris Weitz is the new writer for Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars spinoff, The Hollywood Reporter says today. Weitz’s writing credits include About a Boy and Disney’s upcoming Cinderella. THR was the first to report that Gary Whitta had left after completing the first draft of the film.

The Weitz news comes despite reports from /Film and Cinelinx that Simon Kinberg would take over.

The first spin-off, which we recently heard was testing actresses Tatiana Maslany and the Mara sisters, is expected to begin filming at Pinewood in the spring for a December 2016 release.