Holonet Blast #21

This week in Star Wars news, we have items relating to the Han Solo film. the From a Certain Point of View anthology, and Marvel comics. Also a news item very fitted for my interest!

Kieron Gillan will take over writing duties for the Star Wars comic starting with Issue 38. Art will continue to be by Salvador Larocca. The two were the creative team behind the first Darth Vader comic series. Gillan also writes the Doctor Aphra series.

Wednesday, the Star Wars show announced that John Powell, composer of How to Train Your Dragon and the Bourne series, would be writing the music for the still-untitled Han Solo film.

Del Rey posted the final cover and author list for Operation Blue Milk, aka the From a Certain Point of View short story anthology.

Finally, Mark Hamill was honored by the City of San Diego with Mark Hamill day and a dedicated street in his honor. Hamill lived in the San Diego neighborhood of Clairemont during middle school and his freshman year of college. Personally, I think every day should be Mark Hamill Day!

Holonet Blast #16

It’s time for the weekly Holonet Blast! And, uh, I guess some stuff happened this week.

First, on Tuesday, it was announced that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are no longer directing the untitled Han Solo film. Cue the Star Wars fandom giving a collective, “Huh?!” Especially since they’ve been attached to the project for so long, and there was only three weeks left of filming.

Of course, fandom immediately began speculating about the reason for the change. The official statements were rather vague, and cited creative differences.

Kathleen Kennedy said: “Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who have assembled an incredible cast and crew, but it’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways. A new director will be announced soon.”

Lord and Miller said: “Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this cliché is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew.”

The next item of speculation was, who takes on directing now? Several names were suggested, including Lawrence Kasdan (which would not have been possible due to Director’s Guild rules), Joe Johnston, and Ron Howard. Then, on Thursday, the official announcement came that Howard will assume directorial duties on the project.

Kathleen Kennedy said: “At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago. With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume the 10th of July.”

Howard is an accomplished actor and director, known for George Lucas’ American Graffiti, Apollo 13, and he won the Academy Award for A Beautiful Mind. And, as the internet reminded everyone this week, he was the narrator on Arrested Development.

Stay tuned for this week’s episode of Tosche Station Radio where Nanci and Brian will provide our very mild takes regarding this news.

In other news, USA Today released an excerpt for Inferno Squad. Poor Iden Versio has bad luck when it comes to watching Death Stars explode.

Rogue One will be coming to Netflix next month, so if you haven’t picked up a Blu Ray or digital copy, now’s your chance to relive the heartbreaking death scenes of the entire main cast!

Finally, have you been waiting for news regarding Star Wars Land at Disney parks? Good news: we’ll probably getting some info at D23, as an entire pavilion will be dedicated to the new lands. There will also be a panel about Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. D23 will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center on July 14-July 16.

Holonet Blast #12

Welcome to another installment of the Holonet Blast! I have returned to dry land to only two pieces of Star Wars news from Marvel – nothing nearly as major as J.J. Abrams being named director of Episode VII, but what will ever top that, truly?

First off, Mace Windu is the latest character to receive the miniseries treatment. Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic: Mace Windu is a new five-issue series coming in August, written by Matt Owens and illustrated by Denys Cowan. It’s set just after the start of the Clone Wars, so expect an action-packed miniseries where the Jedi have to learn to accept their new roles as soldiers.

For over a thousand generations, the Jedi have been the peacekeepers of the galaxy…but now, at the dawn of the Clone Wars, they find themselves in a new role: generals in the Army of the Republic. As Mace Windu, one of the Jedi’s greatest warriors, leads a small unit of Jedi into battle shortly after the war begins, the Jedi must make peace with their new role, or be lost to the violence around them!

The second bit of Marvel news jumps a bit farther ahead in the timeline. Star Wars: Rogue One — Cassian & K-2SO Special #1 is a 40-page short that tells the story of how – you guessed it – Cassian met K-2SO. Also released in August, it’s written by Duane Swierczynski with art by Fernando Blanco. Prepare to have your head-canons smashed!

A few other items on starwars.com caught my attention this week. First, James Floyd interviewed Greg Rucka, author of Guardians of the Whills, as well as Beth Revis, author of Rebel Rising. They’ve also got an interview with Pablo Hidalgo about how the real-life history of the atomic bomb inspired Rogue One. Finally, if you weren’t able to attend Celebration, the official YouTube channel recently published the full Animated Origins and Unexpected Fates panel.

If You Liked Thrawn, You Should Read…

While I’m a big fan of the new canon, I also love (some of) the books and characters that are part of the Legends timeline. When the Legends reboot was announced, I was sad not because those stories were coming to an end, but because I’d miss the characters I’d grown to know and love. That was why I was so excited when it was announced at Celebration London that Grand Admiral Thrawn would be the new villain in Season Three of Star Wars Rebels. Not only that, but Timothy Zahn would be writing a book about Thrawn’s rise to power in the Empire.

Thrawn‘s release date has come and gone, as well as the ThrawnCast podcast, in which we revisited the Thrawn Trilogy. Although Thrawn dies at the end of that trilogy (spoilers!), his influence and appearances in Legends do not end with The Last Command. If you’re interested in reading more about Thrawn, but aren’t sure where to start, I present a roadmap to Thrawn’s appearances in Legends. (This also serves as a roadmap to other Zahn books and stories, because pretty much everything he wrote had Thrawn’s fingerprints on it!)

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Review: Guardians of the Whills

Greg Rucka has certainly been making his mark on the Star Wars canon. First was Smuggler’s Run, the Han Solo middle grade novel, then there was Shattered Empire, the first post Return of the Jedi comic, then Before the Awakening, which told background stories about The Force Awakens protagonists Rey, Finn, and Poe. Now comes another middle grade novel about Baze and Chirrut, my two favorite characters from Rogue One. I’ve enjoyed all of Rucka’s Star Wars stories, so I was super excited to see what he did with Guardians of the Whills. Did he live up to expectations?

In a word, yes. More after the jump!

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Luke Skywalker and the End of the Jedi

“I know only one truth: It’s time for the Jedi to end.”

The first trailer for The Last Jedi ends with Luke’s shocking declaration about the future of the Jedi Order – that there is no future. After all his explorations of the galaxy, all the knowledge he’s gained about the Force, he’s concluded that the Jedi must die out. This is a result of Kylo Ren’s fall to the dark side and Luke’s subsequent hermitage/depression. He blames himself for what happened, and believes the Jedi Order will keep on destroying itself if it continues. He has become jaded, cynical, and fatalistic.

Or so some people believe. I, on the other hand, have much different thoughts. Luke isn’t calling for an end to the Order because he’s given up. On the contrary, he knows exactly what he needs to do now, and Rey is the only person who can help him.

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Rebels Review: Twin Suns

“Twin Suns” featured the long-awaited rematch between Obi-Wan Kenobi, now a hermit on Tatooine, and Maul, once a Sith, now a wanderer bent on getting his revenge. Ezra is also along for (most of) the ride, because this is Rebels so of course he is. Whether or not this episode lived up to the hype will depend on your certain point of view. As for me? Well, I was…whelmed.

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Making Our Own Audiobook: Our Empire’s End Reading Adventure

When you and your husband receive one copy of a book you’ve both been dying to read, and you’re both super wary about spoilers, there’s only one logical solution: read the book aloud to each other!

We received our review copy of Empire’s End on a Friday evening, when we got home from work. I immediately proposed the idea that we spend the weekend (thankfully with no pre-existing plans!) reading to each other. Brian agreed. All in all, it took about sixteen hours to get through the entire book: two hours Friday night, eight hours Saturday afternoon and evening, and six hours Sunday morning and afternoon. We took turns reading so we could eat and rest our voices. It was a great time, and we’d like to share it with you.

Minor spoilers after the cut.

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Rebels Review: Warhead

“Warhead” is one of those episodes that, after first viewing, some fans might call “filler”. It’s mostly character focused and doesn’t make huge advancements in the season’s overall plot. However, to dismiss this episode as unimportant would be doing it a disservice. While it’s not my favorite episode of the season so far, I really enjoyed spending more time with Zeb and loved his interplay with AP-5 and Chopper.

The plot of the episode is fairly straightforward. The Ghost crew, minus Zeb, leave Chopper base for some exercises. Zeb stays behind to keep watch over the base, and he’s forced to spend time with two droids that drive him bonkers. Meanwhile, the Empire has been sending spy droids to find the rebel bases. One of these droids lands on Atollon, is attacked by the giant spider creatures, and picked up by Zeb, who thinks it’s just an old protocol droid. Once back at the base, the droid impresses AP-5 with his inventory skills and is put to work…and then AP-5 mentions this is a rebel base. Once that revelation happens, the droid morphs into attack mode. Zeb, AP-5, and Chopper are forced to work together to defeat the droid and figure out a way to keep the Empire from finding their base.

Despite the fact that this is a mostly a character focused episode, important things happen that are definitely going to have a payoff later in the season. First, we learn that Thrawn is going to desperate measures to find the Rebels. Although he’s defeated at the end of the episode, he’s narrowed the search down to 94 possible planets and knows that finding Chopper Base is inevitable. I, for one, cannot wait to see Thrawn’s master plan finally take shape.

We also get another appearance of Kallus. He’s passing information to the rebels about the droid program right under Thrawn’s nose. Judging by the last scene of the episode, I can’t help but think that not only is Thrawn narrowing down the locations of the various rebel bases, but also the identity (or identities?) of Fulcrum. (Although I’m not convinced he doesn’t already know Kallus is Fulcrum.) I find myself waiting with bated breath for Kallus to be revealed as a spy. Whenever that happens…well, I don’t feel very confident for Kallus’s future in the Empire.

We learn more about Zeb, but also AP-5 and the rest of the rebel cells. Many viewers, myself included, have wondered where AP-5 has been all season. Especially in the Geonosis episodes, where having a protocol droid would have been very useful to communicate with the surviving Geonosian, Klik Klak. We learn in “Warhead” that AP-5 is in charge of inventory on Chopper Base, so it makes sense that he’s not been in the field. We also see Hera and the rest of the crew going off to run exercises. I’d love to see what these entail! Do they join with other cells? What does the rebel fleet look like at this time? (To no surprise, the Wedge and Hobbie cameos made me very happy. I’m glad they’re involved with Phoenix Squadron and hope they get more screen time in later episodes. Especially episodes involving X-wings.)

This episode was written by Gary Whitta. His humor and character work really shine, and I hope he continues to write additional episodes. “Warhead” wasn’t the best episode of the season, but it was solid, raised a lot of questions for future episodes, and shed much-needed light on some characters who aren’t in the spotlight as much. I can definitely use more of that in Rebels.

 

State of the Book Club

Confession: I’ve been slacking on the Book Club. I can blame a lot of things for this. The Thrawncast readings have taken up more time than I expected. I’m also trying to keep up with Tor.com’s Vorkosigan saga read-through as well as the Wraith Squadron arc for Rogue Podron. Then there was Rogue One (I still haven’t read the novelization yet), family in town for Christmas, and — oh yeah — my own writing to focus on.

Needless to say, we skipped December’s pick, Radiance. But it’s a new year and I want to make a new effort with the Book Club. No more excuses! I’m cheating for the first three months and picking books I’ve already read — the Mageworlds trilogy by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald. I love them (the lead is basically Jaina Solo), and I hope you will, too. (For those of you looking forward to reading Radiance, don’t worry, we haven’t skipped it for good!)

Here’s a revised Book Club schedule for 2017. As always, it’s subject to change, and as always, if you have any suggestions, be sure to let me know!

  • January: The Price of the Stars by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
  • February: Starpilot’s Grave by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
  • March: By Honor Betray’d by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
  • April: Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
  • May: Radiance by Catherynne Valente
  • June: The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley
  • July: Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace 
  • August: Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
  • September: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • October: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • November: Ash by Malinda Lo
  • December: Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns (releases December 5)

If you haven’t joined the Book Club yet, be sure to do so on Goodreads! You’ll have to request membership before it’s approved.