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.
It seems like we’re learning more about Episode VII every week. On June 19, an authentic (if partial) casting call for the first sequel leaked onto the Internet. Bleeding Cool was one of the first sites to pick it up; I subsequently verified its authenticity with a Lucasfilm spokesman. The casting call, while not very descriptive or informative, gives us a vague idea of what to expect as far as main characters go. It calls for a “late-teen female, independent, good sense of humour, fit,” a “young twenty-something male, witty and smart, fit but not traditionally good looking,” and “a late twentysomething male, fit, handsome and confident,” among others. Head over to Bleeding Cool for the rest of the details. Just to reiterate: Lucasfilm has confirmed that this information is accurate, and casting for Episode VII has begun. (To anyone at Bad Robot Productions who is reading this post: I’m not sure how expansive your definition of “not traditionally good looking” is, but feel free to call me.)
Here’s an interesting story from the gaming world. During an interview with ComputerAndVideoGames.com, EA executive Patrick Söderlund revealed just how adamant EA’s DICE studio was about getting the chance to develop a new Battlefront game. As Söderlund puts it, “they were just like, ‘we would kill to make this game’ and the whole studio started talking about it like, ‘please give us this game.’” It’s nice to know that the folks at DICE, who made the similar Battlefield series of first-person shooters, are such fans of Star Wars that they lobbied heavily for the Battlefront project. Now that the game has been announced, we’ll just have to wait and see what the super-fans at DICE deliver.
There are two book tidbits this week, one announcement and one update. Let’s start with Joe Schreiber’s upcoming horror novel Maul: Lockdown. LucasBooks senior editor Jennifer Heddle has already mentioned the presence of gruesome scenes, and Del Rey’s Star Wars team noted on Twitter how exciting the Plagueis/Sidious dynamic is. If you want a better idea of what the book is about, check out the new blurb available on the book’s Random House product page. I’m not normally a fan of novels with more than the usual amount of gore, but I’ll be picking this one up for sure. Schreiber’s Death Troopers and Red Harvest were gory enough to fit the genre but tame enough to avoid disgusting me — a tricky balance, I’m sure.
The other book news relates to technical manuals. Now hang out a second, stifle that yawn! This isn’t just any technical manual. This is the owner’s manual for the Death Star. Specifically, it’s Ryder Windham’s Star Wars: Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual, featuring art by Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas. If those three names sound familiar to you, dear manual geeks, it’s because they collaborated on The Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual as well. This new manual, also published by Del Rey in collaboration with real-life car manual company Haynes, will be released on November 5. Final cover art should debut at this summer’s San Diego Comic Con.
On the convention front, we have two new names for Celebration Europe II next month in Essen, Germany. The first is a cast member: Mark Hamill, who played a young farm boy in the Original Trilogy will be at the show to sign autographs and speak on the Celebrity Stage. The second new attendee is part of Star Wars’ legendary crew, although given the work he did to bring the saga’s most famous astromech droid to life, you could reasonably call him a cast member as well. That’s right folks, Ben Burtt will be beeping and booping it up at CEII, meeting fans and discussing his work on the saga. The roster of celebrities attending the convention keeps growing, so keep checking back for more updates.
As we wrap up this week’s HoloNet Digest, I wanted to bring your attention to a great article over at The Official Star Wars Blog that explains an important concept of the Prequel Trilogy: midi-chlorians. In the article, Lucasfilm editor and redoubtable scholar of Star Wars lore J.W. Rinzler discusses Force sensitivity, Force potential, and related ideas, drawing on archival material that he uncovered while writing The Making of Return of the Jedi, which will be out this Fall. If your friends ever ask you what the heck is up with those “Force mitochondria” (actual term I have heard used to describe them), point them to Rinzler’s excellent writeup.
Finally, congratulations to George Lucas and Mellody Hobson, who tied the knot this past Saturday during a ceremony at Skywalker Ranch. Among the attendees were Samuel L. Jackson and Ron Howard, who both tweeted their congratulations over the weekend. Veteran PBS host Bill Moyers officiated at the wedding, with Lucas’ son Jett serving as his best man and his daughters Katie and Amanda acting as bridesmaids. We want to wish Mr. Lucas and Ms. Hobson all the best, and we know that the Force of love will always be with them.
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.