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 announcement or a noteworthy author interview, you’ll find it here. Let’s check the HoloNet and see what happened in the past week.
Star Wars Insider #146, which is available now, contains a very interesting interview with Star Wars Rebels executive producer Greg Weisman. In the interview, Weisman discusses the ensemble lead cast and gives away a small tease: two of them will be women. “We have two strong female leads in the show among our set of characters and we think they are going to be fan favorites very quickly,” Weisman remarks. “That’s always been a personal priority for me in all the work I’ve done, to have a strong and diverse cast of characters, both in terms of gender and race.”
I was thrilled when I read this. Weisman and his team clearly learned the lesson that The Clone Wars taught to future Star Wars creators: strong female characters are just as welcome among Star Wars fans as strong male characters. Given the fact that Dave Filoni, who was incredibly involved in Ahsoka Tano’s development, is now a fellow executive producer on Rebels along with Weisman, this wasn’t exactly unexpected. Thanks in large part to Filoni’s direction and voice actress Ashley Eckstein’s performance, Ahsoka grew from a somewhat annoying and even disruptive character into one of the show’s highlights, with a personality and set of motivations that made her story arc a joy to follow. Given the Ahsoka-centric way in which The Clone Wars ended its televised run, it’s only fitting that her impact translate into the development of female leads in Rebels.
On the literature front this week, The Official Star Wars Blog posted a new Essential Guide to Warfare “author’s cut” covering Xim the Despot, and Del Rey’s Star Wars Books Facebook page posted the third micro-excerpt from Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber (out January 28). If you’re a fan of comics, you might be interested to know that Star Wars #12 from Dark Horse, written by Brian Wood with art by Carlos D’Anda, is on sale now.
On the subject of literature, I’d like to throw out a quick plug for The ForceCast, if I may. On last week’s show, we discussed Star Wars literature gifts, from novels to comics to magazines. Most of our recommendations were released in 2013, but we also recommended several older books. If you’re considering these kinds of gifts for the Star Wars fan in your life –– or if you want to get someone started in the Expanded Universe –– you might enjoy our discussion.
Our next news item isn’t exactly Star Wars-related, but it’s certainly Lucasfilm-related, and more to the point, it’s a story about a Lucasfilm move franchise getting a new lease on life. I’m referring of course to Howard the Duck. Just kidding! On Friday, news broke that the Walt Disney Company had acquired the marketing and release rights to the Indiana Jones film franchise. The price of the acquisition, which transferred the rights to Disney from previous owner Paramount Pictures, was not disclosed. Given that Harrison Ford has said that he’s interested in returning for a fifth movie, I’d imagine that another Indy film may be likely.
Here’s a heartwarming story to close us out this week. George Lucas and Mellody Hobson recently donated $25 million to a children’s program called After School Matters, which helps kids find safe and responsible ways to spend their after-school time. Hobson is the chairwoman of the group’s board. In a news conference about the donation, Lucas said, “It’s an amazing, amazing program. All you have to do is walk through the program and see what goes on here to just realize how important it is.” So thank you to Mr. Lucas and Mrs. Hobson for making a difference in the lives of Chicago schoolchildren.
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.