The Last Jedi cast gets silly

In the lead up to The Last Jedi, much of the world is interested in what the actors have to say about the movie and the characters they play. I, on the other hand, would rather watch these videos all day long. (No spoilers in any of them, FYI. And yes, I might be posting them all here so I have them in one place and can watch them over and over again.) While you go crazy waiting for VIII, please enjoy the cast being silly.

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Nanci’s Top 10 Luke Skywalker Appearances

I am known around these parts as the Luke Skywalker fan. He was my favorite Star Wars character when I first started liking Star Wars, and that distinction has never changed. In anticipation of The Last Jedi, I thought it would be fun to rank the ten greatest Luke Skywalker appearances, from both Canon and Legends. My criteria are threefold: characterization and agency, appropriate use of the Force for the time period, and impact on other characters. Note that I am not including live action appearances, because it’s almost impossible to rank Luke in the Original Trilogy and his cameo in The Force Awakens, while wonderful, isn’t enough to judge his character in the Sequel Trilogy. Without further adieu…

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Holonet Blast #36

So, uh, there was some news last week. That tends to happen when Anthony Breznican and Entertainment Weekly grace us with pretty covers and articles.

We’re less than three weeks out from The Last Jedi and the TV spots have been airing in earnest. If you want to avoid them, be wary while watching any Disney-owned TV channel. If you, like me, are gleefully sucking up every bit of official news and footage, head over to the official YouTube channel to check out some of the spots in glorious high definition. (Be warned, one of them includes some Wookiee on porg violence.)

Entertainment Weekly continued its preview of TLJ, with an abundance of articles ranging from newcomers Kelly Marie Tran and Laura Dern, to Snoke’s evolution over the trilogy, to the relationship (or lack thereof) between Rey and Kylo, and teasing whether Luke and Leia will eventually reunite. There’s also an article about Luke’s return to the Millennium Falcon, complete with a new photo. If you want more pictures, check out the photo gallery here. EW also revealed the name of the so-called crystal fox: it’s called a vulptex.

We also got some book news, including a new excerpt from Canto Bight and the final cover for Thrawn Alliances. The cover is beautiful, the Vader-Thrawn dynamic is going to be awesome, and I can’t wait to hear more about this book.

Finally, are you excited for the new AR experience coming up at Disney Springs in Florida and Downtown Disney in California? Diego Luna teased the fun on Twitter.

That’s it for this week! Only two more blasts until The Last Jedi! Ahhhhh!

Rebels Review: Rebel Assault

Pew pew pew pew pew!

This week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels fulfilled a lot of fan wishes while marking the end of the first half of the fourth and last season of the show. It seems odd that we’re already at the mid-season hiatus when the show has only been back for four weeks and seven episodes total. While it’s nice to have episodes air back to back, it feels like this season is barreling to a close and I’m not sure how exactly everything is going to be able to tie up by the end of the season. Regardless of those concerns, this episode of Rebels did a lot of things well and only missed the mark for me a few times. It’s without a doubt my favorite episode of the season so far, and one of my top favorites overall. More spoilery thoughts after the cut!

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Review: The Legends of Luke Skywalker

There are lots of stories about Luke Skywalker. Some of them might even be true. – Ulina

The Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu is one of the few books of the new canon to be about Luke Skywalker, much less feature him as a character. As such, it was pretty much guaranteed that I would enjoy this book on some level. However, I was surprised by how much I loved it. It’s one of my favorite canon novels, right alongside The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry, another middle grade novel about Luke. Weapon and Legends share another similarity, in that they both feature framing stories in which Luke is portrayed as a mythical hero. The difference is that Legends never outright uses Luke’s POV; instead, six crew members of the ship Wayward Current exchange stories about Luke while on the way to Canto Bight. It’s a novel that portrays Luke as a folk hero, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever read another book that does as good a job depicting Luke’s relationship with the Force and the galaxy at large. Which is quite the feat, considering we never get inside Luke’s head.

The framing story follows a set of deckhands who help a stowaway escape detection and get off the Wayward Current into Canto Bight. They exchange stories as a way to distract themselves from the horribleness of jumping into the bilge to hide. (Sound familiar?) What better way to pass the time than discuss one of the most famous and mysterious figures in the galaxy, Luke Skywalker?

Spoilers after the cut:

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Rebels Review: The Occupation and Flight of the Defender

The past two episodes of Star Wars Rebels marked a departure from the previous two episodes. First, unlike “Heroes of Mandalore” and “In the Name of the Rebellion,” we saw a return to the half-hour episode format. Second, the Ghost crew returns to Lothal for the first time since last season’s “An Inside Man.” Much has changed on Lothal during the Imperial occupation, and Mon Mothma has finally granted Ezra the mission he craves: to save his homeworld.

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Holonet Blast #31

It’s that time of week again, time for the Holonet Blast! Last week, Ron Howard surprised us all by showing fan favorites Tag and Bink on set of the Untitled Han Solo film. This week, Howard celebrated the end of production by revealing the film’s official title on Twitter – SOLO: A Star Wars Story. Yes, it’s predictable, but what else were they gonna call it?

The official site also noted the occasion. The release date is still listed as May 25, 2018, but I know I’m not the only person who would like to see that date shift to December.

In a bit of bad gaming news, EA shut down Visceral Games, which was working on a single player Star Wars game. The game has been transferred to another studio. In happier news, we also got a trailer for the single-player campaign of Battlefront II.

Fans of the Disney parks? You know we are! A new sequence involving Crait from The Last Jedi will be added to Star Tours starting on November 17! 

Speaking of The Last Jedi, new character DJ will have some backstory revealed in a Marvel comic coming in December. New characters explored in books and comics?! This is my surprised face.

Holonet Blast #27

Boy howdy, there was a ton of news last week. That’s what I get for going on vacation!

As reported in last week’s Holonet Blast, Colin Trevorrow is off Episode IX. Last Tuesday saw the announcement of Episode IX’s new writer AND director, none other than The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. He will be writing the script along with Chris Terrio. Abrams is obviously experienced in directing well-received and hugely blockbuster Star Wars films, so there’s no doubt he’ll do a great job on Episode IX. While a woman or POC director (or a WOC director, there’s a novel thought) is definitely something that is needed in Star Wars, a safe choice like Abrams to finish out the trilogy is probably warranted here.

Not only did Episode IX get a new director, but it got a new release date, as well: December 20, 2019. Cue the cheers for Star Wars in December! Now, if only the Untitled Han Solo Film could get moved to December, as well.

In The Last Jedi news, CBR is reporting that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a cameo. This makes sense, as he previous worked with director Rian Johnson on Looper and Brick. Apparently he’s voicing an alien.

On Wednesday, the Star Wars Show announced the cover for the upcoming anthology Canto Bight, and the official site revealed some info about the four novellas: Saladin Ahmed’s “Rules of the Game;” Rae Carson’s “Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing;” Mira Grant’s “The Wine in Dreams;” and John Jackson Miller’s “The Ride.”

In other book “news,” The Last Jedi novelization will be released on March 6, 2018. This differs from the novelizations for The Force Awakens and Rogue One, in which ebooks were released on the same day as the film and the hardcovers a few weeks later. Pablo Hidalgo noted on Twitter that this is not a delay, as no previous release date was announced and this was the date initially agreed upon by all parties. If you follow Jason Fry on Twitter, he’s currently hard at work writing the novelization, which I am stoked for, no matter when it comes out.

Luke and Leia will star in a comic one-shot arriving December 27: Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Storms of Crait #1. The comic, written by Ben Blacker and Ben Acker and art by Mike Mayhew, will depict the Luke and Leia searching for a new rebel base during the Galactic Civil War. Crait, of course, is a new planet in The Last Jedi, and was also featured in the recently released Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray.

And in our last bit of literature news, the audiobook narrators for From a Certain Point of View were announced: Jonathan Davis, Ashley Eckstein, Janina Gavankar, Jon Hamm, Neil Patrick Harris, January LaVoy, Saskia Maarleveld, Carol Monda, Daniel José Older, and Marc Thompson.

Not only that, but the anthology’s authors have been revealing the titles and subjects of their short stories on Twitter. Check the hashtag #FromACertainPOV on Twitter to see the nifty social cards. I also created a Google doc with all the stories announced so far.

Phew, that was a long post! Let’s see what news Star Wars has for us next week, shall we? Enjoy!

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.