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.
The biggest news of the last week was Disney’s announcement that it was closing LucasArts, the video game division of Lucasfilm. The company said it had “decided to shift … to a licensing model” for Star Wars video games. Layoffs reportedly hit 150 people, resulting in the effective cancellation of Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, two projects that had been in development within the division. Disney said it would continue to explore options for licensing those titles out to other developers, but a source told Kotaku that that wasn’t likely to succeed. Around the time of the LucasArts announcement, Variety reported that layoffs were also hitting Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic division as part of the fallout from the downsizing of Lucasfilm Animation.
Reactions to the LucasArts news poured in from around the Internet. Hollywood.com put together a look at LucasArts’ best and worst games. Raven, the company that developed the Jedi Academy and Jedi Outcast games for LucasArts, released the source code for both games in tribute to its former publishing partner. The CEO of Obsidian, which developed Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, expressed regret at LucasArts’ closure but added that “we would love to” pitch Disney a Star Wars game for outside development. If you’re interested in reading more LucasArts reactions and analysis pieces, I compiled a number of them over at TheForce.Net.
There have also been a few developments relating to Dark Horse’s comic adaptation of George Lucas’ The Star Wars screenplay. J.W. Rinzler offered a few comments to Hollywood.com for its initial post about the comic. Rinzler said he was “having a blast” adapting the screenplay to fit the comic medium. Two days ago, Entertainment Weekly posted an interview with Mike Richardson, the founder of Dark Horse, and Randy Stradley, who edits the company’s Star Wars comics. The two discussed Dark Horse’s relationship with Lucasfilm, its The Star Wars comic, and more. Regarding Disney’s rumored decision to take the comic license away from Dark Horse and move it in-house to Marvel, Stradley said, “We’ve been told … we’ll hear something about the future of the license sometime this year.”
If you’re a comic book fan and you can’t wait for The Star Wars to get your fix of the GFFA, there’s a lot out there already to whet your appetite. Last Friday, Brian Wood, Corinna Bechko, and Gabriel Hardman took to Twitter to answer questions about their ongoing Star Wars comics for Dark Horse. Wood is writing Dark Horse’s Star Wars, while Bechko and Hardman are working on the second volume of the Legacy series. Club Jade posted highlights of the Twitter chat, which ranged from behind-the-scenes writing insights to comments about canon to hints of future plot developments.
Disney has been slowly releasing information about this summer’s Star Wars Weekends, and we recently learned of the latest addition to the celebrity guest roster. Billy Dee Williams will be attending Weekend IV, June 7-9, 2013. Williams joins Ray Park (Weekends I and II) and Warwick Davis (Weekends II and III) on the list of guests who have been announced so far.
StarWars.com’s March Madness-like tournament This Is Madness wrapped up early Tuesday morning with a final showdown between Yoda and Darth Vader. With 100% of the precincts reporting, Yoda was declared the winner. He beat the Dark Lord of the Sith 60% to 40%. (Lord Vader was not pleased, but he conceded about as gracefully as one could hope.) ESPN’s late-night TV show UNITE announced the results just hours after Louisville beat Michigan on the basketball court in the championship round of the NCAA tournament. Tom Kane, the voice of Yoda from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, joined the UNITE crew for a special segment celebrating Yoda’s victory.
I’d like to end this week’s news roundup with a public service announcement. Dave Wolverton, author of The Courtship of Princess Leia, is facing a traumatic family situation right now, and Star Wars fans can help. Wolverton’s son Ben was recently in a serious accident. He’s currently in a coma. Wolverton’s official website has put together a “book bomb” to raise money for Ben’s medical care. You can pick up a copy of Nightingale or Million Dollar Outlines, two of Wolverton’s books, by using the purchasing links on the event’s Facebook page. You can also donate money directly to Wolverton’s family right here. Let’s help one of our own and show the world once again why Star Wars fans –– especially EU readers –– are the most generous, kindhearted people in the world.
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.