Celebration goes back to Anaheim for 2020

It’s going to be a quick turnaround as the next Celebration is next year – and a return to Anaheim, which is welcome news after Chicago serenaded us with both rain and snow. (Which, if Indianapolis 2005 is any indication, we’ll be hearing about for a while.) We’ve had back-to-back Celebrations before, but usually alternating U.S. and international destinations, so going from domestic to domestic will be interesting.

With no new movie that year, expect Galaxy’s Edge to get a lot of attention – the Anaheim convention center is only moments away from Disneyland. It’ll also be the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and the 15th of Revenge of the Sith. It looks like Reed will be back as well: They’ve already reskinned the website.

(Disney’s own D23 is biannual and the next one is this August, so there won’t be another until 2021.)

No date just yet, which has led to some speculation that it may be later in the year… We’ll find out soon enough, I’m sure.

Rian Johnson is waiting for Episode IX (almost) just like everyone else

Rian Johnson, at CinemaCon for his next film, Knives Out, talked Star Wars briefly with MTV’s Josh Horowitz. He does admit he’s gotten the chance to talk with IX director J.J. Abrams a few times, but says that overall he’s just happy to be in the audience for this round.

(Of course he knows a lot more than any of us, but hey.)

He also taked about “chugging away” at his next Star Wars film and talked around the latest Benioff and Weiss rumor.

Have a plush Darth Maul your way at Celebration Chicago

StarWars.com has a first look at 30 of the official store’s sure-to-be-many-more-than-that exclusives, with the highlight being a $30 Darth Maul plush that comes with three interchangable legs, because why wouldn’t he? There’s also plush convorees, lothwolves, and gorgs that are also puppets, plus the expected variety of t-shirts and other wearables.

But my other pick is this Death Star “succulent planter,” because it’s just so very random.

Her Universe is bringing a whole new Star Wars collection to Chicago

Her Universe is launching a capsule collection for Celebration Chicago called “Sisters of the Force,” featuring items inspired by several Star Wars women. (And they’re bringing back one of their originals, the “Padmé nouveau” tee.) Ashley Eckstein talks to StarWars.com about the inspiration behind each piece, or check out the gallery under the cut.

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Dawson’s Black Spire is a not-so-stealthy Phasma sequel

Delilah S. Dawson’s next Star Wars novel, Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire, isn’t just a theme-park tie-in – it’s also a follow-up to her first, Phasma. As widely hinted and speculated when the book was first revealed, the novel’s lead is Resistance spy Vi Moradi, who was an important part of the first book. Here’s the blurb:

After devastating losses at the hands of the First Order, General Leia Organa has dispatched her agents across the galaxy in search of allies, sanctuary, and firepower—and her top spy, Vi Moradi, may have just found all three, on a secluded world at the galaxy’s edge.

A planet of lush forests, precarious mountains, and towering, petrified trees, Batuu is on the furthest possible frontier of the galactic map, the last settled world before the mysterious expanse of Wild Space. The rogues, smugglers, and adventurers who eke out a living on the largest settlement on the planet, Black Spire Outpost, are here to avoid prying eyes and unnecessary complications. Vi, a Resistance spy on the run from the First Order, is hardly a welcome guest. And when a shuttle full of stormtroopers lands in her wake, determined to root her out, she has no idea where to find help.

To survive, Vi will have to seek out the good-hearted heroes hiding in a world that redefines scum and villainy. With the help of a traitorous trooper and her acerbic droid, she begins to gather a colorful band of outcasts and misfits, and embarks on a mission to spark the fire of resistance on Batuu—before the First Order snuffs it out entirely.

Vi was one of the Phasma characters featured on posters that came with the novel if you bought it at certain stores.

I wouldn’t expect Phasma herself, given the book’s time frame, but there is another character hinted at up there. (Ssh, it’s a spoiler for those who haven’t read Phasma.)

Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire is due out on August 27 (up just a tad from the first annouced date, September 3) in hardcover and ebook, just in time for the Florida version of the Galaxy’s Edge theme park to open.

The full cover, with art from GFFA regular Darren Tan, is under the cut.

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Rumor: Are Benioff and Weiss heading to the Old Republic?

We’ve heard unverified rumblings before that the first of the non-saga Star Wars films from Game of Thrones’ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would come out before Rian Johnson’s, but today we have a time frame from Star Wars News Net: It’s up after IX, with filming to begin in the fall.

They – or rather, their source, who they say has “worked on every Star Wars film since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm” – also claim that the films will be set in the Old Republic era, which will perhaps be most familiar as the Legends (i.e. currently noncanon) video game Knights of the Old Republic and various spinoffs, which include the still-active MMO The Old Republic.

If Lucasfilm’s aim is indeed to “appeal to a more Game of Thrones style audience.”, the still somewhat controversial pick (a couple of not-in-the-books rape plots on Game of Thrones, and that whole Confederate thing) of Benioff and Weiss suddenly does make a lot more sense.

To be honest, this whole thing reads to me like a repackaging of earlier (and even shakier) rumors and fan theories/wishful thinking, so I can’t put a lot of faith in it. (If you’re curious, the first KOTOR-centric movie “rumor” dates back to early 2013.) But as little as it appeals to me, there’s no doubt that the Knights of the Old Republic games and their offshoots are beloved by many fans. It’s hardly inconceivable that Lucasfilm might want to take a whack at them in canon. But, as always, I’m skeptical.

Consider that we still know next to nothing about anything happening past Episode IX, which could change at Celebration. For the moment, let’s just hope this rumor doesn’t lead to another round of “Rian got fired” from the angry bros and their short attention spans.

Oscar Isaac on finishing up Star Wars with John Boyega

In yet another interview, Oscar Isaac talks about how Episode IX was the most fun (again) but also does some heavy lifting for Finn/Poe (or Finn & Poe, however you care to read it):

I think the one thing I can say [about Star Wars: Episode IX] is that it has been the most fun for me, particularly working with John Boyega because we have just had so much more to do together and we just really connected in a great way. It was really a wonderful way to finish it for me because John was the first person I met right when I screen-tested. It was just with me and him. So it just felt like a real full-circle thing.

We do have some illicit evidence (by which I mean possible spoilers) that points towards their adventure.

Celebration roundup: Galaxy’s Edge panel gets pinned down

→ Of course there’s a Galaxy’s Edge panel coming to Celebration. Honestly, at this point, it’s a little surprising they’re not theming the whole con after this thing. Here’s hoping there’s a neat floor setup somewhere. (Bring the booze, guys. You’ve done it before.)

→ Erin Kellyman (Enfys Nest) and Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks) join the guest list.

→ More costuming tips, this time on The Clone Wars folks.

→ Also: Tattoo Pavilion details, first look at the merch, and the official hashtag (sign).