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 two weeks.
Let’s get started with some unfortunate news. On June 12, while filming Star Wars Episode VII at Pinewood Studios in London, Harrison Ford injured his ankle and was taken to a local hospital. There has been a lot of breathless reporting about this story, most of which is coming from sources less reputable than The Hollywood Reporter, whose original story I’ve linked to above. On June 16, THR learned that Ford’s injury meant that he would not be able to resume filming for two months. However, according to their sources, production continues at Pinewood, and the film is still set for a December 18, 2015 release. We at Suvudu wish Mr. Ford all the best on his recovery.
Rumors have been flying left and right about Episode VII’s villains and its sets, but if there’s one thing you should remember during this crazy news cycle, it’s that you shouldn’t trust everything you read online. The latest person to stress this message is Daisy Ridley, whose role in Episode VII remains unknown. After the actress noticed that the Episode VII IMDb page listed her as playing Jaina Solo, she reminded her followers to be skeptical: “the world and his wife can update IMDB,” she tweeted. That tweet has since been taken down, but we’ve preserved it in our story on TheForce.Net. Tweet or no tweet, Ridley is right: Anyone can edit IMDb, and just because edits are reviewed by an unknown group of contributors, that doesn’t mean you should trust what IMDb says any more than you would trust an unsourced claim on Wikipedia.
A brief bit of hiring news in the middle of this week’s roundup: Lucasfilm has a new Head of Production and Development. Tony To, who was formerly the Executive Vice President of Production for Walt Disney Studios, joined the company last week. He reports directly to Kathleen Kennedy and will oversee all live-action and animated projects in Lucasfilm’s pipeline. According to Variety, these include “several TV projects in various stages of development.” We can count Star Wars Rebels as one of those projects –– but “several”? The plot thickens.
Speaking of Star Wars Rebels, Billy Dee Williams confirmed the longstanding suspicions of many fans when he told an audience at Disney’s Star Wars Weekends that he would be voicing a character (I wonder who!) on the series. Shortly thereafter, Williams’ manager confirmed it for the world to see when he replied to my tweet about the news, writing, “Glad we can talk about it now! Very excited to be part of this project!” I’m very excited as well. It’s too bad that Williams wasn’t announced as part of the cast of Episode VII, but I’m looking forward to getting my Billy Dee fix regardless.
Also on the Rebels front, get ready for a new preview of the series. A preview that The Hollywood Reporter calls “an extended look” will follow Phineas and Ferb’s Star Wars special, which airs on Disney XD on Monday, August 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT.
If you’re a fan of Star Wars: The Clone Wars but you don’t have Netflix, you can now access the sixth season, a.k.a. “The Lost Missions,” on a variety of other platforms. Netflix’s exclusive deal with Disney has ended, and the bonus content episodes are now available for purchase in streaming and download stores operated by Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sony, and Verizon. Go forth and enjoy!
Let’s take a moment and examine the road not taken, shall we? If you’ve been a Star Wars fan for more than a few years, you probably remember hearing about the famous live-action TV series that George Lucas was overseeing, a series that would push the boundaries of what could be done on television and blend the darkness of The Sopranos with the galaxy far, far away. That series obviously never happened, but many of the writers who sat around a table with George Lucas for planning session after planning session have spoken about the work that they did. The latest person to do so is Stephen Scaia. In the course of promoting a Kickstarter project for an Indiana Jones fan film, Scaia described what he wrote for the Star Wars live-action series. “We told the story of how Han met Chewie and how Lando lost the Millennium Falcon,” he said. “I even got to pitch a Boba Fett action scene with his rocket pack.” You can hear Scaia discuss his Star Wars writing work in a video on his fan film’s Kickstarter page. Click here and scroll down to where it says “The George Lucas Story.”
Last week, the Electronic Entertainment Expo dazzled video game fans with the latest technology and the hottest upcoming titles. Among the companies holding press conferences at E3 was video game giant Electronic Arts, which has a multi-year Star Wars game distribution deal with Disney. As expected, the company debuted a new trailer for their eagerly anticipated Star Wars: Battlefront game, which you can see below. Hear from the creative team behind the game and learn how they are bringing their passion for Star Wars to bear as they design and develop this reboot of the Battlefront series. The game is expected to be released next spring.
If you’re going to San Diego Comic-Con this summer, be sure to stop by the Del Rey booth and pick up an advance promotional copy of Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller. This advance reader’s edition, the cover for which you can see here, is exclusive to SDCC 2014. It contains the complete book –– the first canon Star Wars novel in the new unified universe –– and it includes excerpts of Del Rey’s other new Star Wars books, Tarkin, Heir to the Jedi, and Lords of the Sith. You won’t want to miss this limited-edition freebie at SDCC.
Finally, if you like trailers I’ve got another trailer for you. Last week, Chronicle Books released a trailer for Star Wars: Goodnight Darth Vader. This book by children’s author Jeffrey Brown –– whose previous Star Wars work includes Darth Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess –– will be released on July 22.
Eric Geller is a journalist from the Washington, D.C. area. He co-hosts The ForceCast podcast and manages social media for Star Wars fan sites TheForce.Net and Rebelscum.com. He also contributes to The Official Star Wars Blog and Star Wars Insider.