Disney’s Bob Iger on Rogue One, the future of Indiana Jones

thr-igerIn a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Disney’s Bob Iger talks about the futures of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, as well as the challenges of running Disney.

On Rogue One:

I’ve seen Rogue One. I’ve seen not only an edited picture but I’ve seen significantly more footage than was even in that picture. That’s actually going to be a fine film.

Iger doesn’t expect Indiana Jones to become as extensive a franchise as Star Wars, but he does say that Indy 5 won’t be a one-off. “We’re focused on a reboot, or a continuum and then a reboot of some sort.” On Harrison Ford:

Well, we’ll bring him back, then we have to figure out what comes next. That’s what I mean. It’s not really a reboot, it’s a boot — a reboot. I don’t know.

That’s… Intriguing? But anything after Indy 5 all seems a way off at this point.

The interview also goes into the ever-present parks and ESPN business.

What we’ve learned about Rogue One from Entertainment Weekly: Vader, the Ersos and a Clone Wars import

ew-rogueoneThe publicity blitz for Rogue One begins with an Entertainment Weekly cover, introducing more of the story to mainstream movie fans, getting the word out that this is set before A New Hope, involves the Death Star, and all the other things your less-obsessive friends and family need to know. (Or, well, a few things you couldn’t tell them after the teaser trailer.) Here’s what we learned today:

Darth Vader is back
It feels like rumors about Darth Vader being in the film have been running rampant since day one, so it’s not at all a shock that EW comes straight out with it. (Also confirming that James Earl Jones is back to voice him, though multiple people will be donning the suit.) And hey, remember the mainstream? The mainstream LOVES Darth Vader. The marketing for Rogue One is absolutely going to use the guy, even if he just appears in 5 minutes of the film. It’s happening. Plus, it’s nice not to have to write around the utterly obvious any more. We also learned that Vader will only be used “sparingly.”

A Clone Wars character comes to the big screen
ro-sawBut the big surprise today wasn’t Vader, it’s the reveal of who exactly Forest Whitaker is playing. He’s Saw Gerrera, a character who was introduced on The Clone Wars but was originally created by George Lucas for the live-action series that never happened. Pablo Hidalgo talks a bit more about that on the latest Star Wars Show, and how Saw ended up in the movie. Dave Filoni talked to Comicbook.com about the character’s jump to the big screen.

Of course, there’s even more from Pablo on Twitter. The key quotes, I think: “The idea, and we talked about this in Season 5, is that Saw was a key architect of the rebellion. But he’s definitely not Mothma or Organa,” and “Think of Saw as the uncle mom and dad don’t talk about. Something bad went down. He’s ‘disowned’ to some degree.”

StarWars.com also put up a feature on Saw: Ten things to know about the character, by our pal Amy Ratcliffe. Note that his hme planet, Onderon, originates in an early Legends source, the 1993 Tales of the Jedi comics.

New (to us) Imperials

ro-w-krennicBen Mendelsohn is confirmed to be playing Director Orson Krennic. He’s trying to crush the Rebels while avoiding Vader’s wrath – and “palace intrigue” gets a mention, which is sure to please some.

He’s intended to be something of a contrast with the cold brand of Imperial epitomized by Grand Moff Tarkin, “Krennic runs a little hotter than that, so that’s kind of fun and it’s a little bit different,” Lucasfilm head of story development Kiri Hart tells EW. “He is unpredictable and volatile.”

ro-ew-deathtroopers

The new black deathtroopers are “a new, deadlier breed of commando stormtrooper” who are “asked with hunting down and destroying the fragmented Rebel uprising.” There’s still a lot of questions about their purpose (and why we don’t see them again) but you can’t deny that they look pretty cool.

Welcome to the jungle

Rogue One introduces a new tropical paradise planet – as yet unnamed – that’s evokes the South Pacific and World War II. It was partially shot in the the Maldives.

ro-ew-stormie-waters

Another location glimpsed in the new photos has tundra.

Meet the Ersos
Lead Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) has “a checkered past,” Kathleen Kennedy says. “She has been detained [by the Rebellion] and is being given an opportunity to be useful. And by being useful, it may commute her sentence… She’s a real survivor. She becomes a kind of Joan of Arc in the story.” The decision to have a female lead was made by John Knoll before he knew about Rey.

ro-ew-jyn

The beans were already spilled by Mads Mikkelsen, but it’s confirmed that he’s playing Galen Erso, Jyn’s father. EW describes him as “the galactic version of nuclear pioneer J. Robert Oppenheimer,” and Lucasfilm isn’t sharing many details just yet. Interestingly, they’ve also not released a photo of Mikkelsen in costume.

The rest of the gang
We also get a few details on the rest of the principal cast. Some of these we saw partially in that book leak from few weeks back. The group’s diversity is intentional. “People are coming to the Rebellion because something has happened that has galvanized or politicized them,” says Hart. “The question just becomes: What are those triggers for different people in different places?”

ew-ro-cassian

Diego Luna is Captain Cassian Andor, “a by-the-book Rebel intelligence officer.” He’s a bit weary but has a commitment to the long fight.

Chirrut Imwe and Jiang Wen (LFL)

Chirrut Imwe and Jiang Wen (LFL)

Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe “very much still believes in everything the Jedi were about,” and that sounds very much like the tenets of the Church of the Force, the group led by Lor San Tekka that we saw briefly in The Force Awakens. Jiang Wen’s heavily armored Baze Malbus is a friend of Chirrut’s who’s supportive but not so much into all that Force business. The two are inspired by The Hidden Fortress, ala Threepio and Artoo, Kennedy says. Besides his staff, Chirrut also carries a brand-new weapon that could spark some debate until we see it in action.

Riz Ahmed’s Bodhi Rook is the group’s lead pilot. “He flies a lot of cargo, one of his key jobs,” Kennedy says. “And he tends to be a little tense, a little volatile, but everybody in the group really relies on his technical skills.” Here’s another photo.

Alan Tudyk’s droid K-2SO (Kaytoo) is described by director Gareth Edwards as “a little bit like Chewbacca’s personality in a droid’s body. He doesn’t give a s— about what you think.” Looks like Chopper is getting some company in the ‘cranky droid’ department. Here’s a full body shot.

Edwads also confirms that there are two background aliens who fight with the group, but “they’re not necessarily front-and-center.”

Head to EW for more details.

Report: Episode VIII, Rogue One footage shown at Licensing Expo

viii-0prodtease-rey2

Steven Weintraub of Collider claims to have spoken to people who’ve seen footage of Episode VIII and Rogue One at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas.

Weintraub isn’t sharing any details – all those who actually saw the footage must be under NDA or it would be all over the internet by now. But if this is true, it seems likely it’ll be unveiled publicly at next month’s Celebration Europe. We already know that Rogue One will be featured heavily, but we’re still not quite sure how much to expect from VIII. But note that they’ve already shown more of it than we saw of Rogue One at Celebration Anaheim!

UPDATE: Making Star Wars says the VIII footage is the Skellig Michael stuff linked above, while the Rogue One stuff was photos of the sidekick droid. Apparently Alan Horn did joke that the VIII title is imminent, but given that they’re almost done with filming that seems fairly obvious.

Also out of the Expo came the news that Star Wars and The Force Awakens helped to lift licensed merchandise sales 4.2%.

Second excerpt from Aftermath: Life Debt features pregnant Leia, the Force

aftermath-life-debtMashable has our second excerpt from Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Life Debt, featuring a pregnant Leia Organa trying to commune with the Force.

We already knew Han Solo and Chewbacca played a part in the book – in addition to the title and the Millennium Falcon on the cover, they show up in the first excerpt – but this is our first look at Leia in the time period immediately following Return of the Jedi.

On Twitter, Wendig confirms that the Leia chapter isn’t an interlude, and that it is missing some formatting.

(Dare I hope that Ben is born here and we learn if his last name is Solo or Organa? Not to mention why his name is Ben? But, as Wendig says, we must manage our expectations.)

Aftermath: Life Debt will be out in hardcover and eBook on July 19.

Old live-action series plans would have had Palpatine turn because of a “heartless woman”

palpatine

I was never particularly enthralled with anything we heard about the old live-action series that Lucasfilm was working on back after Revenge of the Sith, but the new details that came to light last week make me even more glad it was shelved before Lucasfilm’s sale to Disney.

Cory Barlog, a God of War creative director who worked at LucasArts for a time in 2009 and got to read the scripts, told VentureBeat (via) about one plot point of the show:

“It was the most mind-blowing thing I’d ever experienced. I cared about the Emperor. They made the Emperor a sympathetic figure who was wronged by this fucking heartless woman. She’s this hardcore gangster, and she just totally destroyed him as a person. I almost cried while reading this. This is the Emperor, the lightning out of the fingers Emperor. That’s something magical. The writers who worked on that, guys from The Shield and 24, these were excellent writers.”

The Emperor turning because of a woman? It’s like an MRA wet dream. If they wanted to make me grateful for the (boring, harmless and no longer canon) Darth Plagueis novel, well, success!

Although we certainly know at this point that anything with George Lucas’ involvement was not going to be seamless with the Expanded Universe, I do have to wonder if those scripts are why James Luceno’s first iteration of the Plagueis novel was canceled in 2007. The book eventually did come to fruition for a 2012 release, several years after we learned the project was “on hold.”

Star Wars out this week: The Force Awakens comic adaptation

Head to your favorite comic shop on Wednesday for The Force Awakens #1 by Chuck Wendig (Aftermath) and artist Luke Ross. Marvel being Marvel, there are also several variant covers.

For the Legends fans, there’s a new Epic Collection, Rebellion Vol. 1, collecting several issues of Dark Horse’s Empire, Star Wars and the Vader’s Quest miniseries.

While we were drinking: Rebels S2 Blu-ray, ILMxLab and more

This past weekend, much of Club Jade was at our annual gathering at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, including yours truly. Here’s some of what we missed:

rebels-s2-blu→ The second season of Rebels is coming to Blu-ray and DVD on August 30. The Blu-ray has a special feature of Dave Filoni reflecting on Ahsoka Tano’s showdown with Darth Vader.

Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg, and Frank Marshall discuss getting J.J. Abrams on board for The Force Awakens, IX director Colin Trevorrow and more.

→ Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB has teamed up with VR startup Magic Leap to develop new Star Wars immersive content.

→ Chewbacca Mom Candace Payne now has her own (custom) action figure from Hasbro.

→ Writer Marjorie Liu talks to Amy Ratcliffe about her Han Solo comic.

→ The latest episode of Tor.com’s Rocket Talk podcast features Alexandra Petri, the Washington Post columnist who’s behind Emo Kylo Ren.

→ Disney World’s Hollywood Studios has a new nighttime Star Wars show.

→ Mara Jade fans: There’s a fanfic exchange for the character just starting on Tumblr, with several prompts still available.