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 a movie 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.
Lucasfilm issued a production update on Sunday to inform the public that Star Wars Episode VII will be taking a two-week hiatus in August to accommodate schedule changes following Harrison Ford’s leg injury. The update says that Ford “is doing well and is looking forward to returning to the set soon.” Ford was spotted walking with a crutch in London last week.
The more exciting piece of news from that production update is that last year’s months-long open casting call in the UK and the U.S. has yielded some results: Crystal Clarke and Pip Andersen will be joining the cast of Episode VII. Andersen, a British actor who is skilled at parkour, and Clarke, an American actress studying in the UK, are the first actors we know to have been discovered during open casting. Nothing is known yet about their roles, although Andersen’s parkour proficiency will almost certainly factor into his character’s identity and behavior.
One person who does know a lot more about Episode VII than the rest of the world is Clerks director and longtime Star Wars fan Kevin Smith. Abrams invited Smith to visit Pinewood Studios last month, and although Smith signed an NDA, he was able to speak for eleven minutes about his set visit and reassure skeptical fans without giving anything away. Smith’s lengthy discussion of the experience, which came during a Q&A at the Neuchatel International Film Festival in Switzerland, can be viewed here, beginning at the 35:00 mark. It’s incredibly tantalizing to hear Smith discuss watching Abrams shoot a scene and stepping aboard the Millennium Falcon. Smith’s fan cred is solid, and his amazement at what he saw, conveyed enthusiastically albeit cryptically, should reassure anyone with serious doubts that Episode VII is in good hands.
We may not be learning much about Episode VII for a little while, but San Diego Comic-Con is just around the corner and promises to be packed to the brim with news about Star Wars Rebels and Disney’s Star Wars literature program. Del Rey will feature a special free paperback advanced reader’s edition of John Jackson Miller’s Star Wars: A New Dawn (see cover below) that will also include excerpts from the upcoming novels by James Luceno, Kevin Hearne, and Paul S. Kemp. They just announced that they will also release a free eBook sampler that will contain excerpts from all four of the new novels beginning July 15. In addition, you won’t want to miss Del Rey’s own panel and author signings at the Del Rey booth.
Lucasfilm publicist Tracy Cannobbio teased that there would be “lots happening” for Rebels this month, and word on the street is that Rebels will be a major part of the Star Wars presentations at SDCC. In addition to whatever is revealed at the convention, Disney XD will debut a new extended look at Rebels on Monday, August 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The clip will follow the Disney XD premiere of Phineas and Ferb’s Star Wars special. Haven’t heard about that crossover episode? Check out a trailer for it below.
Let’s close out this week’s digest by congratulating our friends over at Lucas Online who just launched an all-new StarWars.com. The new site features updated Databank entries, streamlined news articles and blog posts, and a new-and-improved community section with links to fan sites and podcasts. It also marks Lucasfilm’s digital integration with the Walt Disney Company, sporting a discrete button to show and hide the Disney.com navigation bar that graces Disney’s other corporate domains. Browse and enjoy (and don’t miss this fun Easter egg while it lasts!).
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.