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.
In case you didn’t think reports about Star Wars Episode VII could generate more anxiety than October 24’s screenwriter shakeup story, last Thursday brought us something even more potentially nerve-wracking. The Hollywood Reporter is claiming that there was a divide between Disney CEO Bob Iger and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy over when to release Episode VII. The article alleges that Kennedy and “most of the film’s creative team” have been pushing for a delay into 2016, while Iger remains “adamant” that the film’s release timeframe “not budge.” More specifically, Iger is planning for a Summer 2015 release to fit his “Star Wars game plan.” Meanwhile, the script for Episode VII, which Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams recently took over from Michael Arndt, “isn’t close to ready,” according to several inside sources. And in what might be the most interesting part of this story, J.J. Abrams himself “is said to be more in sync with Iger’s desire to meet the 2015 release target –– which allows zero margin for error –– at all costs.”
J.J. Abrams may not be saying much about Episode VII’s release date, but he did give an interview to The Times magazine in which he discussed his fondness for the original trilogy and his understanding that other fans have the same fondness for the prequels. “I loved how Star Wars had that sense of a world far beyond the borders of what you can see and have been told – it’s one of the things it did so brilliantly,” Abrams said, according to The Daily Telegraph, reporting on the Times story (which is behind a paywall). “The beauty of that movie was that it was an unfamiliar world, and yet you wanted to see it expand and to see where it went.” On the subject of the prequel trilogy, Abrams acknowledged that younger fans have strong positive feelings about the newer movies, saying, “A lot of kids who saw all the prequels when they were young really do identify with those movies as much as my generation identified with the originals.” Abrams has said before that he’ll try to make Episode VII look like the original films, with their grittiness and minimal computer-generated imagery, but it’s great to hear that he recognizes the value of the prequels and isn’t trying to isolate them from the continuing Star Wars cinematic experience.
We’ve got a couple of interesting book tidbits this week. The first is that Random House published the Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual by Ryder Windham yesterday. The manual was produced in partnership with Haynes, the U.K. car manual company, and it includes all-new artwork by Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas alongside Windham’s in-universe text. I’ll have an interview with Windham posted on TheForce.Net in the next few days, but in the meantime, I invite you to check out several page spreads courtesy of io9. Windham also blogged about writing the manual for The Official Star Wars Blog.
The Official Star Wars Blog posted the second “author’s cut” from The Essential Guide to Warfare, in which Del Rey editor Erich Schoeneweiss and author Jason Fry discuss bits and pieces of the manuscript that didn’t make it into the final book. This entry is about a rivalry between two ancient Coruscanti factions, the Zhell and the Taungs. You may recognize those names from the epic story Dha Werda Verda. You may have never heard any of these proper nouns before. Either way, if you enjoyed The Essential Guide to Warfare, check out this author’s cut and stay tuned for more blog posts in this series.
Eric Geller is a college student majoring in political science whose interests include technology, journalism, and of course Star Wars. He co-hosts The ForceCast podcast and manages social media for Star Wars fan sites TheForce.Net and Rebelscum.com. He is originally from the Washington, D.C. area.