Among the reveals at today’s publishing panel: Expanded Universe vet James Luceno is writing Catalyst, the Rogue One companion novel. We also got the cover, which is pretty neat, but no more details than that. (Still a mystery: The adaptation.)
Most of the things at the panel were kids books, but we also learned about a few new Star Wars Insider short stories. There’ll be two new Blade Squadron stories, including one in September that ties into Aftermath: Life Debt. (The Insider also had their own panel.)
There’s a new Galactic Atlas that’s written from an in-universe perspective, featuring “600-700 individual illustrations.” A new Complete Locations will cover Starkiller Base, Maz’s castle and Rey’s AT-AT home. And Jason Fry’s Weapon of a Jedi is being adapted for younger readers as Luke and Lost Jedi Temple.
The first surprise at the Rogue One panel was Gwendoline Christie hosting. The second was the poster, and the third is the behind the scenes clip we see above.
John Knoll revealed that he first came up with the idea of a the story when he first heard rumblings of the live-action series, during the filming of Revenge of the Sith. He put it away when he learned more about George’s concept for the series, and pulled it out again when the spinoffs were announced. Check out the original concept art of the team.
Edwards also confirmed that the beach planet is named Scarif, and later cast revealed another planet, Jedha. Apparently people make Force-based pilgrimages there – Edwards compared it to Mecca. This appears to be the market planet, and where we meet Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen,) Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed.) Edwards had more to say on Jedha in a post-panel interview – it’s certainly an intriguing addition to the galaxy.
Mark Hamill was his usual self at his Celebration Europe panel today, and while he can’t talk much (at all, really) about Episode VIII, he did rave about Rian Johnson:
I was looping Episode VIII yesterday, and there’s dialogue in there, I thought, ‘Oh boy, I can already see this on a t-shirt. Rian Johnson is amazing. He’ll make you forget all about ‘May the Force be with you.’ He’s come up with so many new catchphrases.
Props also go to the fan who took advantage of a stumble where Mark forgot Rey’s first name to get him to reveal her last name, though Mark didn’t take the bait. Entertainment Weekly and /Film have the highlights.
Dave Filoni, Ashley Eckstein and Pablo Hidalgo discussed the past and future of Ahsoka Tano at Celebration Europe today. Fans got a first look at her upcoming Funko POP figure and the cover for E.K. Johnson’s Ahsoka novel, both coming in the fall. The novel’s cover art is by Wojtek Rus, Jennifer Heddle has revealed on Twitter.
Rebels head honcho Dave Filoni invaded stopped by the latest Star Wars Show with the first clip from the show’s third season.
The episode also features an interview with Rogue One director Gareth Edwards and a lot of talk about the upcoming Star Wars Show from London. (We promptly got a full live-stream schedule for the weekend.)
Good news for folks who had trouble with Chuck Wendig’s first Aftermath novel – the sequel, Life Debt is far more accessible. No, Wendig doesn’t change things up too much, but plotwise, the book is slightly more traditional. (Those who can’t move beyond his writing style, well… Good luck.)
It also helps that we’re well past The Force Awakens. The first Aftermath found itself targeted for a lot of things, but I think the most notable (and least discussed) was the burden of expectation. As the first important canon novel to tread into the newly-cleared territory after Return of the Jedi, it was bound to disappoint readers who thought they’d be getting Heir to the Empire 2.0 – or at least Truce at Bakura 2.0. The reality turned out to be something more off the beaten track and with Life Debt, we have a far better idea of what we’re getting.
With the ground laid in the first book, Life Debt gets off the ground quickly. Wendig is free to use (sparingly) characters like Han and Leia in the A-plot, which gives readers an anchor. But the majority of the action is still with the newer characters.