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.
On Thursday, Lucasfilm announced that it had set a release date for Star Wars Episode VII, and that date is December 18, 2015. This news puts to rest the speculation that the film would be pushed back into 2016, and as Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn says in the press release, it reflects Disney’s desire to “ensure [the] extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture.” There’s not much more to say about this story, except that I’m looking forward to seeing the film whenever it is released. I doubt many fans will enjoy camping out in frigid temperatures as opposed to balmy weather, but most people will persevere. We are, after all, talking about many of the same people who camped out overnight in the freezing rain to see George Lucas at Celebration III.
The other big story this week was the commencement of open casting for Episode VII. On Friday, through a geo-targeted post on its Star Wars Facebook page, Lucasfilm confirmed that a new U.S. casting call was indeed set for the next Star Wars film. The website, which has recently been updated to display a giant Star Wars logo, lists two roles for which interested parties can audition. They are “Rachel,” a seventeen-year-old girl who lost her parents at a young age, and “Thomas,” a young man who grew up without a father and “doesn’t have the strongest sense of himself.” You can submit an audition video online in which you read dialog from a sample script, called an audition “side.” There are also four in-person U.S. casting calls, one each in Chicago, IL; Troy, MI; Austin, TX; and Nashville, TN. Check out the audition website for more information about those opportunities.
Those same Episode VII auditions also began in the UK last week, and the local British press was there to cover the throngs of fans who lined up for a chance at stardom. If you want to see pictures of the crowds and read stories about the hopeful actors and actresses, head over to TheForce.Net where we’ve collected the links. From what I can tell, the crowd began forming at 4:30 a.m., auditions began at 11 a.m., and casting agents turned away the crowd after seeing the first 1,000 people and giving callbacks (second auditions) to seventy-five of them. One report said that the interviews lasted two minutes and that men were asked for their name, age, and favorite movie.
Amid all the hubbub about the change of screenwriters on Episode VII, J.J. Abrams addressed the reasons for him and Lawrence Kasdan replacing Michael Arndt during a media conference call for his TV show Almost Human. According to Abrams, the decision came down to timing. “It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be,” Abrams said in response to a question from Deadline. He also said he would be open to working with Arndt in the future, calling him “one of the best writers around.”
Last week saw the release of a really cool new book. Ryder Windham, Chris Trevas, and Chris Reiff joined forces once again to produce the Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual, which was released on November 5. I already mentioned it in my previous HoloNet Digest, but now I’m bringing you the ensuing media coverage. I interviewed Windham for TheForce.Net, and he also spoke to Club Jade, the 501stCast, Roqoo Depot, Full of Sith, and Star Wars Action News. You can also check out reviews at Knights’ Archive and Lightsaber Rattling.
As far as comics are concerned, this week we’re getting Star Wars #11 by Brian Wood. Not sure if you want to start reading this series? Check out some recent reviews of the series by TheForce.Net reviewer Justin.
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.