Artwork courtesy of Joshua Stolte
Welcome back to the Star Wars HoloNet Digest, a weekly feature where I bring you a recap of the latest news from the world of Star Wars. Whether it’s an Episode VII rumor or a noteworthy author interview, you’ll find it here. Let’s check the HoloNet and see what happened in the past week.
No week would be complete without at least one Star Wars spinoff film rumor. This week, the fine folks at Cosmic Book News brought us an interesting description of a proposed spinoff film. This spinoff would take place between Episodes III and IV; star Ewan McGregor reprising his role as Obi-Wan; feature a resurrected Maul hunting down Obi-Wan on Tatooine; and possibly involve a young Luke Skywalker. You may remember that I described the last Cosmic Book News rumor report as the result of someone “filling out Star Wars movie synopsis Mad Libs after reading post-Episode VI Expanded Universe novels.” This rumor sounds like it sprung out of the same type of uninformed speculation. After all, there’s already a non-canon comic in the Expanded Universe with this exact plot. (Cosmic Book News’ source says merely that “the idea is being tossed around.”)
Fans excited for Star Wars Weekends this summer will be happy to know that Disney has posted a first look at the event merchandise. There are cups, pins, calendars, hats, and toys all festooned with the 2013 Weekends logo, which features Mickey Mouse on a speeder bike to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. I went to one of the Weekends in 2011 and had a blast. Ashley Eckstein and James Arnold Taylor were great hosts, and they’ll be back this summer to discuss The Clone Wars and interview celebrity guests. The merchandise tent housing all of the wares for purchase was called “Jabba’s Hutt,” and it also featured clothing from Eckstein’s Her Universe brand.
In book news this past week, Random House updated their catalog page for Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void to include a lengthy excerpt from the book’s first chapter. Into the Void will be author Tim Lebbon’s first entry in the Expanded Universe and the first novel in the nascent Before the Republic era.
The week’s biggest confirmed news came from the world of comics, when Dark Horse Comics announced that it will publish an eight-issue adaptation of George Lucas’ original Star Wars screenplay. Fans who have never heard about Lucas’ earliest conception of the galaxy far, far away might be surprised at what will fill the pages of this Dark Horse miniseries. For one thing, Han Solo is a six-foot-tall alien lizard. For another, Luke Skywalker is a general and he inhabits the same universe as a Jedi named Annikin Starkiller. I found it interesting that Lucas originally wanted to call his film The Star Wars. I guess he, like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, must have been advised at some point to “drop the ‘the.’”
I’ll close out this week’s HoloNet Digest with a recap of the Star Wars April Fools’ jokes that took the Internet by storm on Monday. Here at Suvudu, we regaled you with news of John Jackson Miller’s new novel trilogy based on Zen Studios’ Star Wars pinball game. I may be biased, but I don’t think I’ve seen a better example of marketing gibberish parody than “Transmedia Synergy Optimized in Brand-Aligned Trilogy.”
ThinkGeek’s Star Wars joke products are perhaps best known for becoming actual products. This year, they adapted the classic game of cornhole to the galaxy far, far away, bringing us the Death Star Trench Toss. It’s only $124.99, which is a really low price when you consider that it doesn’t exist.
Numerous other sites kept the Star Wars jokes coming. Roqoo Depot broke several pieces of April Fool’s book news, from Karen Traviss’ Imperial Commando II to Troy Denning’s Killik Harvest. Club Jade explained Disney’s decision to put Star Wars in the vault until the release of Episode VII. EUCantina reported that Lucasfilm would release The Clone Wars soundtrack as an audio cassette exclusive. My fellow Suvudu contributor Tricia Barr wrote about a surprising part of the forthcoming The Clone Wars bonus content on her blog. And my colleagues at Rebelscum posted the first pictures of Hasbro’s new line, dubbed “The Modern Collection.”
We learned from Geeks of Doom that Michael Bay was set to direct a spinoff film focusing entirely on Jar Jar Binks, because apparently the cheap and tired jokes never go out of style. Then there was Tor.com, which reported that Michael Arndt’s screenplay for Episode VII would, in Arndt’s words, “contradict the continuity and events of all the existing Star Wars films.” (That one might have hit a little too close to home for some fans who are actually worried about the film’s impact on the Expanded Universe and existing Star Wars lore.)
I hope everyone out there had a great April Fools’ Day. If you fell for any of these jokes besides the TCW soundtrack report, you really ought to have known better. (Okay, so maybe I believed the soundtrack story for, like, a second or two. What can I say? I really want that soundtrack.)
Eric Geller is a college student majoring in political science whose interests include technology, journalism, and of course Star Wars. He reviews The Clone Wars TV series and manages social media for Star Wars fan site TheForce.Net. He also co-hosts The ForceCast podcast. He is originally from the Washington, D.C. area.