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.
We’ll start with an interesting development on the World Wide Web. (Does anyone still call it that? … Okay, I’m being told no one calls it that anymore.) Last Wednesday, Lucasfilm registered a bunch of new domain names, and speculation commenced as to whether these were registrations forward-looking in nature or simply designed to protect the Star Wars intellectual property. The new domain names, which include gunganfrontier2.com, starwarswolfpack.com, and wookieehunters.com, are particularly interesting in light of last week’s news about Electronic Arts acquiring the license to publish Star Wars games. Might we actually see a sequel to Star Wars Episode I: The Gungan Frontier? Or perhaps a new first-person shooter where the Wookiees are the prey? The purpose of these registrations is anyone’s guess. If you’re looking for a laugh out of this news, I recommend Forbes contributor Carol Pinchefsky’s take on what Gungan Frontier sequels might look like.
In more official news, StarWars.com confirmed a few days ago that Episode VII production will take place in the United Kingdom. This marks the seventh of seven feature films in the franchise to use the U.K. as its production base, most likely due to the British government’s attractive Film Tax Credit. Filming will most likely move beyond the soundstages in London and span the globe, but this is a nice bit of continuity for information-hungry fans who don’t know what to expect from the first sequel.
J.J. Abrams has been making the rounds to promote Star Trek: Into Darkness, but in every interview, the host manages to work Star Wars into the conversation as well. The latest example of this was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Monday night. Stewart and Abrams’ conversation is both funny and encouraging, because while he doesn’t reveal anything, Abrams’ spirit and energy with regard to his Star Wars directing role is obvious to anyone watching. I highly recommend that you check it out.
In Celebration Europe II news, Peter Mayhew has been announced as the latest celebrity guest attending the convention. Mayhew’s decision ensures that legions of fans at the event in Essen, Germany, in late July will get to meet the towering actor who played Chewbacca. More importantly, it allowed StarWars.com, in its announcement of this news, to use the most obvious and appropriate headline ever.
Speaking of events, Star Wars Weekends kicks off on Friday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. James Arnold Taylor is already tweeting excitedly about his role as the Official Celebrity Host (a.k.a. overall event presenter). Ashley Eckstein –– who will host the activities on the Behind the Force stage –– has helped fuel the excitement by announcing a new line of Her Universe Star Wars items that will debut at the Disney event. The Her Universe press release notes that this year’s special offerings, which range from tank tops and dresses to a limited-edition Return of the Jedi 30th anniversary necklace, will be on-sale at Darth’s Mall, the event merchandise area. Fans can also meet, get an autograph from, and take a picture with Eckstein throughout the weekend.
This week’s book news begins with Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void author Tim Lebbon. Following Into the Void’s release last Tuesday, the first-time Star Wars author discussed his book with Roqoo Depot, Jedi News, and us here at Suvudu. Into the Void is a great read for any Star Wars fan, because, as the first book in its all-new publishing era, there’s no backstory for you to depend on in order to enjoy the book. The protagonist, Lanoree Brock, is compelling, as is her mission, and if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself wanting another book starring Brock in the future. I hope to have my own interview with Lebbon posted over at TheForce.Net in the next few days.
In other news, io9 revealed the cover for Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller, which features a young-looking Kenobi staring down the reader with Ewan McGregor’s iconic Jedi resolve. Kenobi, which takes place between Episodes III and IV on Tatooine, will be released on August 27, 2013.
Lastly, Tor.com offered up a great read for Expanded Universe fans and Sequel anticipators alike a few days ago with their article What Star Wars: Episode VII Could Lift From the Expanded Universe. There has been a lot of debate and discussion about the proper role and place of the EU in the Sequel Trilogy –– some fans want the Sequels to ditch the EU altogether, while others see a place for certain literary elements onscreen. Tor’s Emily Asher-Perrin looks at seven elements of the Star Wars publishing cosmos that would make interesting additions to Episode VII. A few of them are obvious and probably uncontroversial, but others may provoke more intense conversation. At any rate, it’s food for thought, and if there’s one thing we Star Wars fans excel at, it’s thinking about future Star Wars projects.
Lastly, I’d like to wish a very happy birthday to George Lucas. The man who started it all turned sixty-nine yesterday. George, none of this would be possible without you. I say this with total sincerity: thank you.
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.