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.
This has been an unusually light week for Star Wars news, but one interesting story did surface on Friday: Jedi News obtained a photo of a Star Wars licensing roadmap that was distributed in a brochure at the European Brand Licensing Show. The brochure mentions a number of things we already know about –– from the premiere of Star Wars Rebels to the Star Wars/Phineas & Ferb crossover special –– but there are also a couple of new things, as well as further evidence of a rumored project. The brochure mentions a “Choose Your Side” marketing campaign that will bridge multiple Disney brands next Spring/Summer; a series of Darth Vader-themed TV specials also in the Spring/Summer 2014 timeframe; the launch of some kind of digital library for Star Wars content in Fall/Winter 2014; and the release of Episode VII the Spring/Summer 2015 timeframe.
The “Choose Your Side” campaign sounds familiar, as does the digital library, and the mention of Episode VII’s release window is further confirmation that the rumor about Episode VII moving to December just needs to die already. The Darth Vader TV specials are the obvious headline-grabber here.
Given that the specials’ Spring/Summer 2014 timeframe puts them just a few months before the premiere of Star Wars Rebels, it’s not hard to imagine them tying into the series in some way. They could be all-new animated stories setting the stage for the show. They could be short videos cobbling together existing content related to Vader. We really don’t know. If the specials are indeed new stories, then they could give Lucasfilm Animation the chance to tell some fascinating stories with Darth Vader before they shift their focus to the new villain in Rebels, the Imperial Inquisitor. The Inquisitor’s introduction has many fans wondering if we’ll see Darth Vader in the show. If the answer turns out to be “no” or “rarely,” it might be nice to use Vader to set the tone of the series in advance, even if he subsequently takes a backseat to the new guy.
Lucasfilm still has not publicly acknowledged the roadmap or its contents. When reached for comment, a Lucasfilm spokeswoman told me, “We don’t have any announcements right now, but stay tuned for more information.” This lack of official information, combined with the many possibilities for Darth Vader TV specials, has led to a lot of speculation and high expectations among fans. I was initially one of those expecting big things from these specials. Now, however, I’m not so sure. My sources suggest that this project is likely to be something smaller than what everyone seems inclined to predict. Exactly what form the specials will take remains unclear. With Lucasfilm keeping quiet about this and other items on the roadmap, we will just have to wait and see.
Yesterday, Random House released the “enhanced edition” eBooks of J.W. Rinzler’s The Making of Star Wars, The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, and The Making of Return of the Jedi. The eBooks have a list price of $17.99 and are available in the Kindle and iBooks stores, as well as other marketplaces. Yahoo! Movies, Mashable, and Entertainment Weekly were given behind-the-scenes clips from the original trilogy to illustrate the kind of bonus material that makes these enhanced editions so valuable. Yahoo! and Mashable got clips from A New Hope, while EW got a clip from Return of the Jedi. According to Lucasfilm, each eBook includes “around 30 minutes of rare behind the scenes video, around 15-20 minutes of rare audio interviews, and additional art work and photos.” This is on top of all the text and art found in the print editions. You can check out a complete directory of the video and audio bonus material here. If you own an eBook reader or tablet, I highly recommend that you pick up these enhanced-edition eBooks.
Eric Geller is a college student majoring in political science whose interests include technology, journalism, and of course Star Wars. He manages social media for Star Wars fan site TheForce.Net and Rebelscum.com, and he also co-hosts The ForceCast podcast. He is originally from the Washington, D.C. area.