Ellen Page and Jessica Alba join Empire Strikes Back live-read

ellen-pageJason Reitman’s live reading of The Empire Strikes Back has their Han and Leia in Ellen Page and Jessica Alba. Reitman says on Page:

“In casting Han, the most important thing is: Who has the most interesting, ironic approach to life? And when I think of that, I think of Ellen Page. She’s a small human being who has the energy to fill Madison Square Garden.”

The Empire live-read, which also features Aaron Paul as Luke, takes place tonight at the Ace Hotel Theater in Los Angeles – and it’s already sold out.

The Force Awakens true and false with Andy Serkis

EW122614→ Andy Serkis dispels a couple of The Force Awakens rumors in a chat with Entertainment Weekly: He’s not playing more than one character, and he’s “not leading a band of gymnasts or acrobats.”

Episode VII is (naturally) featured in the next issue of the magazine, which looks ahead to 2015 and is teasing some additional stuff in addition to Serkis. EW stuff we’ve seen online but not in print includes Mark Hamill and the cards. Or maybe we’ll see some other stuff in the next few days. (Cross your fingers.)

→ If you’re still stuck on the broadsaber, Popular Science got some real swordsman to weigh in.

→ Rumor corner: Making Star Wars describes a new kind of fighter.

Aaron Paul, J.K. Simmons headline Empire Strikes Back live-read

aaron-paulDirector Jason Reitman is staging a live-read of The Empire Strikes Back tomorrow night in Los Angeles. The line-up includes Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul as Luke Skywalker, J.K. Simmons as Darth Vader, Stephen Merchant as C-3PO, Dennis Haysbert as Lando Calrissian and Kevin Pollak as Yoda.

But who’ll be playing Han and Leia? Hoping for some surprises…

Maisie Richardson-Sellers admits she’s in The Force Awakens

Maisie-Richardson-Sellers2Maisie Richardson-Sellers was one of the first actresses whose name we heard connected with Episode VII, and although she was never confirmed by Lucasfilm, she’s now at least allowed to admit she’s in the movie. She tells Refinery29 that Star Wars was her first screen acting job:

It is really strange, but it’s also fantastic. I’d always done theater, and his was my first screen experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to introduce me to the world of screen acting.

On Star Wars in general:

I grew up watching them and I’ve always been fascinated about how they use the epic nature of the story — but also make it really personal. It has tender relationships, and it’s funny and quirky. I feel it’s really well-rounded and that’s why it’s so popular; it’s so accessible for so many generations and backgrounds. Even though it’s such a surreal story, it feels very true. All the relationships are very true. It breaks down the age old story of good versus evil in a very accessible manner.

On keeping secrets:

I had to sign many, many contracts. It’s very, very secret. But, everyone who’s working on it loves and respects the franchise so much, they all want to keep it a secret. We wanted to hold it tight, so it wasn’t hard for anyone. It wasn’t a forced thing; it’s our little child which we’re going to present to the world in a year.

She’s also appeared on CW’s The Originals.

Rumor: Another character name for The Force Awakens?

rumors-swirl-ladytroopersWe have a new character name for The Force Awakens this morning – one Captain Phasma. Stitch Kingdom dug the name out of some trademark registrations.

But whose role does the name belong to? Speculation quickly pinpointed Gwendoline Christie, no doubt due to the name’s feminine sound and previous rumors, but it’s probably a last name, which means it could be anyone. Remember how there were also rumors that Christie’s character was originally male?

Marvel remastering original A New Hope adaption

Marvel is reprinting their first Star Wars adaption next year in hardcover, CBR reports today. The comics by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin will be fully recolored by Chris Sotomayor and feature a new cover from Adi Granov.

While I find the old school coloring charming – the new version just looks super generic, at least in the example provided – I have no doubt this will find plenty of buyers. (Presumably the original versions will be available in January’s Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years.) The ‘remastered’ adaption will be out in April, followed by similar editions of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi later in the year.

Athena’s Daughters 2 highlights women, diversity in speculative fiction

athenas-daughters-2Today marks the launch of the Kickstarter for Athena’s Daughters 2, a collection of short speculative fiction by diverse women about diverse women. In Athena’s Daughters 2, publisher Silence in the Library set out for the second time to produce an anthology where women were involved in all aspects of the creative process, from the artists to the authors, the editors to the project managers. We hope that you will support this exciting short story collection of science fiction and fantasy by some wonderful writers.

A year ago, Silence in the Library ran a Kickstarter for the first Athena’s Daughters anthology. That successful campaign funded the first anthology, a companion anthology, Apollo’s Daughters (stories about women, but written by men), and the production for Athena’s Daughters 2. For Athena’s Daughters 2, Silence in the Library had an open call for submissions.

I was thrilled and honored to have a story accepted to this amazing anthology. Athena’s Daughters 2 marks my first published fiction since the Star Wars stories I wrote with Club Jade co-founder Chris Cassidy for Tales of the New Republic and Star Wars Gamer.

Athena’s Daughters 2 has many other ties to Club Jade. CJer Elizabeth Bridges also has a story featured in the anthology, her first original fiction story!

athenas-pennyblossomJanine Spendlove, also a CJer, co-edits Athena’s Daughters 2. Janine, an active KC-130 pilot in the United States Marine Corps, is the author of the War of the Seasons trilogy. She co-founded Geek Girls Run with, among others, BrightCopperPenny, another CJer, and maker of Penny Blossoms. If you check out the Kickstarter page, you’ll see the special Penny Blossom that BrightCopperPenny designed just for Athena’s Daughters 2; it’s available both as a $15 add-on and for a $22 pledge!

Silence of the Library has published many CJ alums and friends, including Janine, Bryan Young, Ron Garner, Mike Stackpole, Tim Zahn, and the late Aaron Allston.

I hope you’ll click through to read more about this amazing project and watch the hilarious musical video that accompanies it, complete with filking, chorus line kicks, and Vegas-style showgirls! Athena’s Daughters 2 needs your support.

Mark Hamill on Episode VII secrecy, ‘drones’ and hating the beard

hamill-beard-gotgWe got two new Mark Hamill interviews today, as he continues to promote Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, and it’s not like The Force Awakens just isn’t going to not come up. With the Chicago Sun-Times, he talks about secrecy measures of the internet age:

“It’s the first time I’ve ever been on a movie set where if you go from your trailer to a soundstage, you have to put on an enormous robe with a hood that hangs down over your head. I asked one of the production assistants, ‘What’s this all about.’ They told me, ‘Oh, it’s because of the drones,’ flying overhead, taking photographs of people walking to the soundstage.

“Really, it’s come to that? In the old days, the studio was like a sanctuary. You were protected from the outside world. You could relax. Not anymore!”

He told Entertainment Weekly that he and the other old-timers knew in advance they weren’t going to be featured in the teaser.

And of course, lots about the beard.

You’ll hear Yoda in the next episode of Rebels

Muppet Yoda is not impressed.

Yoda, as voiced by Frank Oz, to appear on Rebels, TV Guide reveals today. Alrightly then. There won’t be a physical appearance, but you’ll hear his voice in the show’s next episode:

“I felt personally to keep Yoda as this disembodied thing it would confuse the audience less,” says executive producer Dave Filoni, who also directed the installment. “I didn’t want you to think Yoda could be teleporting from planet to planet.”

Rebels returns from hiatus with ‘Path of the Jedi’ on January 5th.