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.
Rumors about Star Wars Episode VII’s script and its casting process have been swirling for several weeks, and while the production team wasn’t ready to put all the speculation to rest, director J.J. Abrams did offer a few updates on the film’s status at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. Abrams confirmed that the movie’s script was done, and also verified the rumor that Breaking Bad star Jesse Plemons was being considered for a role, though he didn’t elaborate. The next day, USA Today reported that Abrams had commented further on the production process, saying that filming would begin in May and that casting announcements would begin in the ever-popular “soon” timeframe.
Lucasfilm on Thursday opened its new production facility in Singapore to much media attention. The building, which is shaped like a very shiny sandcrawler (the roving warehouse used by the Jawas in A New Hope), houses a Yoda fountain like the one at Lucasfilm’s San Francisco headquarters, a 100-seat theater, and “state-of-the-art digital production capabilities,” as CNBC put it. Kathleen Kennedy, George Lucas, and Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore, attended the opening of the facility. While they were there, Kennedy made some interesting comments about the Star Wars spinoff films. According to Kennedy, “There is no attempt being made to carry characters [from the spinoff films] in and out of the saga episodes.” What this means in practical terms will become clear once the main characters of the spinoff movies are announced and we see how the sequel trilogy shapes up, but for now, this is an early indication that Lucasfilm feels no need to shoehorn in linkages between the two types of Star Wars movies.
We have six days to go until the release of the novel Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber, but in the meantime, how about some short story news? If you enjoy Prequel era stories with a touch of Lovecraft, you’re in luck. On Friday, Del Rey announced its next Star Wars Insider story: “Hammer,” by Edward M. Erdelac, which will appear in Insider #147. The story takes place on a remote planet as the Clone Wars wind down, and it features “a troubled Padawan” who “discovers an ancient Sith relic from the annals Old Republic history.” You can see some of the art that will accompany the short story in Del Rey’s announcement post on Facebook.
For you gaming fans, IGN has posted a new video interview with actor Sam Witwer, best known to a Star Wars audience for his roles as Starkiller and Palpatine in The Force Unleashed video games and as Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Heck, even if you don’t enjoy video games, I recommend you check out the interview for some great discussion of the differences between the original and prequel trilogies, the goals that Witwer and the game designers considered in creating Darth Vader’s Secret Apprentice, and other aspects of the crucial inter-trilogy time period when the game is set.
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.