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.
As is often the case, we start with a pair of Episode VII rumors. The Boba Fett Fan Club reported from a film industry event in LA that frequent J.J. Abrams collaborator Dan Mindel will serve as cinematographer on Episode VII, and that, more significantly, the movie will be shot using 35mm film instead of digitally. While this rumor is unconfirmed (and Lucasfilm has yet to reply to requests for comment), it would make sense given what Abrams told an audience at the Produced By conference this summer: “I have not yet shot a movie digitally. Film is the thing I am most comfortable with. If film were to go away — and digital is challenging it— then the standard for the highest, best quality would go away.” I am not familiar enough with motion picture technology to say what this means for Star Wars. At the very least, though, it’s a step toward visual continuity with the existing movies, and that strikes me as a good thing.
This week’s other rumor is a report from –– Pause for a moment. Who do you think? Yes, you guessed it. –– Latino Review. They heard two pieces of Episode VII information from their ever-talkative sources. First, they’re saying that the “early next year” estimate for when principal photography will begin actually means January 21, 2014. That seems reasonable to me. It’s consistent with what we’ve heard from Lucasfilm publicly and it (almost) maximizes the amount of time in 2014 that the crew will have for production work. Latino Review’s second tidbit seems more dubious. They’re claiming that the Badass Digest report from last week, the one saying that Disney will release Episode VII in December, is accurate. “Disney/Lucasfilm are so far behind schedule,” they write, “that Episode VII will in fact be released around Christmas 2015.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do not believe this rumor.
Switching gears here, I want to highlight something encouraging that I saw over at gaming website Polygon. They had an interview with EA Games president Patrick Soderlund, and several of his quotes signaled that EA is taking the right approach to Star Wars video games. When asked if DICE, the EA studio that is working on the Battlefront game, is scrutinizing the work that was done on Battlefront 3 before the closure of LucasArts, Soderlund said, “We didn’t toss anything out.” He added that his company is even extending its research beyond the immediate past. “We’re looking at the old games. We have access to everything that was done during the LucasArts era. But we do want to take our own stance.”
To me, this is the perfect mix of respect-for-what-came-before and vision-for-a-brighter-future. EA clearly has plans of its own, but it’s not going to ignore the great work that preceded its acquisition of the license. Dear EA: Study the X-Wing and TIE Fighter games. Study Republic Commando. Soderlund also said, “The most important thing for me is that we take the Star Wars license and come up with games where peoples’ jaws drop. We need to do with this what [Batman: Arkham Asylum] did for the Batman license.” I agree, and when you combine the traits that made certain LucasArts Star Wars games so popular with the technology that EA now has at its disposal, you have a recipe for success.
EA’s new Battlefront title won’t be released any time soon, but if you need a new game to tide you over until then, check out Star Wars: Force Collection. It’s a basic “card battling” game incorporating characters and ships from Star Wars. Konami Digital is publishing the game, and it’ll be available on September 4.
Yesterday saw the release of Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller. It’s my favorite Star Wars novel of the year so far, and it’s one of my all-time favorites as well. Predictably (and happily), this has been a pretty Kenobi-heavy week. Entertainment Weekly posted a clip of James Arnold Taylor (the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars: The Clone Wars) reading one of Obi-Wan’s meditations from the book. Here at Suvudu, we rounded up Miller’s #KenobiCountdown tweets, where he provided behind-the-scenes insights and musings in the month leading up to his book’s release. Miller also mapped out the locations used in the book over at The Official Star Wars Blog.
Miller also made the interview rounds to discuss the novel’s many questions, answers, and themes. I interviewed Miller for TheForce.Net, and there are also interviews with Miller at Mashable, FANgirl Blog, ElevenThirtyEight, Coffee With Kenobi (MP3 link), Tosche Station, and Roqoo Depot.
In other book news, we have a synopsis for Empire and Rebellion: Honor Among Thieves by James S.A. Corey. This synopsis, which comes to us courtesy of the Edelweiss catalog, promises an “old school, action-packed, Space Opera epic” featuring Han Solo rescuing a rebel spy and using the spy’s intel to follow a deadly trail. Honor Among Thieves is currently set for publication on March 4, 2014.
Fans of Star Wars comics may be interested to know that there is now a teaser trailer and multi-page preview for The Star Wars #1, the debut issue of a new Dark Horse series based on George Lucas’ rough draft for A New Hope. The trailer and inside look were posted on The Official Star Wars Blog last week, but in case you missed it, you can find all the preview-y goodness here.
We may have just finished recovering from Star Wars Celebration Europe II, but things are already starting to fall into place for Star Wars Celebration 2015 in Anaheim, CA, April 16-19, 2015. The official Celebration website has been updated with several important deadlines. If you want to host a panel, get a media pass, participate in the art show, or exhibit in the main hall, you might want to familiarize yourself with the appropriate deadline so it doesn’t rush up on you. We may be 596 days away, but I can already hear the Kool & The Gang soundtrack as I type this.
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.