Hold on to yer butts, we’re getting a trailer.

star-wars-force-awakens-official-posterYesterday afternoon starwars.com graced us with the official poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, along with confirmation that, yes, we’ll be getting a new trailer (the first full-length trailer, and the last one, apparently), tonight during Monday Night Football. The trailer will air during halftime, which should be around 10 pm eastern time.

Around the same time yesterday afternoon, three short teasers started airing on TV and were released on the internet. You can see them combined into one video below.

Tickets will go on sale immediately after the trailer airs. If you’re lucky enough to live near Disney World, there will be a special opening night event at Hollywood Studios. Brian and I will be there with bells on!

Last but not least, after the trailer drops I’ll be taking part in a special “Trailer Council” organized by Bobby Roberts from the Full of Sith podcast, and featuring voices from other Star Wars podcasts. You’ll be able to catch the recording on our feed within the next few days. And of course, we’ll have our own trailer analysis on this week’s episode of Tosche Station Radio and a reaction post tomorrow on the blog.

trailer council

Star Wars Film News out of D23

TFA poster

The announcement of Star Wars Land wasn’t the only big news to come out of D23 today.

  • Con attendees were treated to a new Drew Struzan poster for The Force Awakens.
  • J.J. Abrams, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, and Harrison Ford all made appearances at the live action films panel. Kathleen Kennedy was unable to attend as she was bringing her daughter to college. Awwwww.
  • J.J. Abrams revealed the film’s current runtime is 124 minutes.
  • Colin Trevorrow, of Jurassic World fame, was officially announced as director of Episode IX. The movie is set for release in 2019.
  • Rogue One is currently filming principal photography.
  • The standalone films will no longer have the “Anthology” subtitle, but rather “A Star Wars Story.”
  • The cast includes: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, and Riz Ahmed.
  • And that Rogue One cast photo below? Yeah. That’s awesome.

rogue one cast photo

The speculation begins in the comments section!

Han Solo Anthology News!

Entertainment Weekly dropped some more articles about Harrison Ford’s return as Han Solo in The Force Awakens, as well as a few tidbits about the anthology film. Here’s the important bits:

  • Kathleen Kennedy says they don’t want to reveal too much information about Han’s backstory, and the movie will surround an event or events in Han’s life.
  • Judging from the film’s directors, and Han’s personality, the movie will be an adventure comedy.
  • The Han film is one of the first anthology ideas they came up with.
  • Han will be in his late teens or early 20s.

Del Rey Updates: Rise of the Empire and Battlefront Descriptions Announced

mill__cvr_all_r1.inddAmong all the Monarchy Discussions and The Force Awakens news drops this week, we’ve also gotten some updates from Del Rey regarding upcoming novel releases.

First, blurbs for the three new short stories in the Rise of the Empire novel bundle have been released.

MERCY MISSION by Melissa Scott
Years before she led the crew of the Ghost, Hera Syndulla was a young pilot looking to make a difference in the galaxy. Hera sets out with Goll — a close ally of her father, Cham Syndulla — on a dangerous mission to help the citizens of her homeworld, Ryloth, now languishing under the might of the Empire.

BOTTLENECK by John Jackson Miller
When Grand Moff Tarkin is tasked by Emperor Palpatine to investigate a dispute slowing Imperial production on a backwater planet, he expects an easy mission. Instead, Tarkin must forge a tense alliance with Count Vidian, the Empire’s newest rising star and a most capable rival. Matching wits and risking betrayal at every turn, the two powerful Imperials duel to gain the upper hand…and elude, at all costs, the price of failure.

THE LEVERS OF POWER by Jason Fry
As Imperial and Rebel forces clash on and above the Forest Moon of Endor, Admiral Rae Sloane commands from the bridge of the Star Destroyer Vigilance. At a time where the stakes could not be higher, Sloane works to protect the Death Star and ensure Imperial victory, all too aware of the uncertain future for the Empire that may lie in the aftermath of the battle.

Young Hera? When Tarkin Met Vidian? ADMIRAL RAE SLOANE AT THE BATTLE OF ENDOR? Sign me up!

Second, Random House released a blurb for Battlefront: Twilight Company, the upcoming video game tie-in from Alexander Freed.

Among the stars and across the vast expanses of space, the Galactic Civil War rages. On the battlefields of multiple worlds in the Mid Rim, legions of ruthless stormtroopers—bent on crushing resistance to the Empire wherever it arises—are waging close and brutal combat against an armada of freedom fighters. In the streets and alleys of ravaged cities, the front-line forces of the Rebel Alliance are taking the fight to the enemy, pushing deeper into Imperial territory and grappling with the savage flesh-and-blood realities of war on the ground.

Leading the charge are the soldiers—men and women, human and nonhuman—of the sixty-first mobile infantry, better known as Twilight Company. Hard-bitten, war-weary, and ferociously loyal to one another, the members of this renegade outfit doggedly survive where others perish, and defiance is their most powerful weapon against the deadliest odds. When orders come down for the Rebels to fall back in the face of superior opposition numbers and firepower, Twilight reluctantly complies. Then an unlikely ally radically changes the strategic equation—and gives the Alliance’s hardest-fighting warriors a crucial chance to turn retreat into resurgence.

Orders or not, alone and outgunned but unbowed, Twilight Company locks, loads, and prepares to make its boldest maneuver—trading down-and-dirty battle in the trenches for a game-changing strike at the ultimate target: the very heart of the Empire’s military machine.

The Force Awakens News from Entertainment Weekly

jj-abramsSometimes, the best news is the kind that nobody was expecting.

Earlier this week, Anthony Breznican of Entertainment Weekly revealed on Twitter that there’d be no new trailer or footage from The Force Awakens shown at Disney’s upcoming D23 convention. This wasn’t much of a surprise, since director J.J. Abrams revealed prior to San Diego Comic Con that the next trailer wouldn’t be released until the fall.

Today, however, EW released a slew of articles and photos from the upcoming issue, featuring interviews with J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, information about character names, and a badass cover of Kylo Ren. Club Jade has an excellent roundup on what we’ve learned so far.  Here’s some of my highlights:

  • Kylo Ren is not the character’s given name. He comes upon it after joining a group known as the Knights of Ren. Also, his broadsaber is a weapon of his own creation. Could he be the Sith fanboy we’ve all been dreaming of?
  • Kathleen Kennedy persuaded Abrams to direct the film by asking him a simple question: “Who is Luke Skywalker?” While Abrams and Kasdan don’t reveal any new information about Luke’s role in the film, or even what he’s been doing up until that point in the timeline, it’s clear that he’s still a major influence in the Galaxy Far, Far Away.
  • Rey rescues BB-8 from a soccer ball style net, held by an alien named Teedo and his luggabeast. How does Teedo come upon BB-8? And does Rey have a history with the droid before rescuing him? That’s still unclear.
  • Yes, there’s a reason the surnames of Finn and Rey are still a mystery.
  • There’s a photo of John Boyega in stormtrooper armor next to the crashed TIE fighter, that can be seen in the Behind the Scenes reel from Comic Con. Odds are he’s the one flying that thing, perhaps out of the hangar that we see in the second teaser. “Fly, yes. Land, no!”

As if this isn’t enough new information for us to digest, Breznican teased more news coming tomorrow, featuring everyone’s favorite scoundrel-turned-general, Han Solo. Stay tuned….

Happy May the 4th: Vanity Fair reveals more character photos, names

Right after midnight, Vanity Fair posted their cover article for the June The Force Awakens issue, complete with a video and picture of Kylo Ren sans mask.

More photos were revealed this morning, including one of Poe Dameron looking super dashing next to his X-wing.

poe

Also revealed was that Lupita Nyongo’s CGI character, Maz Kanata, is a pirate. A PIRATE!

Vanity Fair will be revealing one final photo tomorrow via their newsletter.

Update 12:05PM – Gwendoline Christie IS Captain Phasma/the chrometrooper

phasma

Continue reading

Get Ready for Force Friday on September 4

kylo box

Prepare to be very, very tired on September 4.

Starwars.com has announced that all The Force Awakens merchandise — including apparel, toys, books, comics — will go on sale at 12:01 am on Friday, September 4. Retailers will participate in Midnight Madness events, just like during the prequel era. The mysterious villain Kylo Ren will feature on packaging.

Planning to purchase your haul on September 4? Be sure to document your experience using the hashtags #ForceFriday and #MidnightMadness.

Brian and I won’t be there, because September 4 is the first day of Dragon Con. I feel very bad for Brandy, the rest of the SWatDC volunteers, and all of the bloggers and podcasters who are going to have to read very, very fast when they get home.

Anyone know of good toy stores near Downtown Atlanta?

Rise of the Empire Short Story Authors Announced

mill__cvr_all_r1.inddAt Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, Del Rey announced a new bind-up of A New Dawn and Tarkin called Rise of the Empire, that will feature three new short stories bridging together the two novels and providing further insight into the power of the Galactic Empire.

Today Del Rey revealed the cover as well as the authors for the three short stories: first time Star Wars author Melissa Scott, John Jackson Miller, and Jason Fry!

Rise of the Empire will go on sale October 6.

Star Wars Rebels Returns June 20

rebels logoDidn’t get to see the Rebels Season 2 premiere at Celebration Anaheim? Good news — you won’t have to wait until fall to see it! IGN has reported that Rebels will return with the hour-long special, “The Siege of Lothal,” on June 20.

The bad news? The remainder of Season 2 won’t air until the Fall. Cue Vader Noooooooos!

If you need a Star Wars fix right away (and who doesn’t?), IGN is also reporting that Disney XD will be showing several specials this weekend in celebration of International Pun Day, also known as May the Fourth.

  • “Star Wars Rebels: The Ultimate Guide,” a half-hour special recapping the entire first season of “Star Wars Rebels” (Monday, May 4 at 8:00 p.m.)
  • Marathons of “Star Wars Rebels” season one and “LEGO Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles”
  • Sneak peek at “LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales,” an all-new series of event specials that will premiere on Disney XD this summer.
  • Star Wars-inspired episodes of “Phineas and Ferb,” “Kickin’ It” and “Lab Rats.”

 

Celebration Anaheim Publishing News

The publishing news from Celebration Anaheim was light this year, but considering most of the news we got at the last Celebration never came to pass (I’m looking at you, Sword of the Jedi), maybe that’s a good thing? We did get some important bits of information, though, and one item in particular I think most of the blogosphere is very excited about.

landoThe Marvel and Del Rey panels ran back to back on Saturday, although all the Marvel news was released a few days earlier. The Marvel panel featured C.B. Cebulski, Jordan White, Jen Heddle, and Leland Chee. It was announced that Charles Soule and Alex Maleev will be writing Lando, a limited release series that will take the place of the current miniseries, Princess Leia. The first issue will be out in July. While Lando doesn’t have the Millennium Falcon during this pre-A New Hope time period (Han already won it), it will feature Lobot! The panel also announced the Shattered Empire team, which includes Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto. While the audience praised Marvel’s Original Trilogy adaptations, the panelists confirmed we won’t be seeing The Force Awakens adaptation any time soon as there’s just too much security surrounding the film’s release.

Jordan White recapped the current Marvel releases, and revealed that “Star Wars #7”, a one-shot about Obi-Wan on Tatooine, will be drawn by Simone Bianchi. Stuart Immonen will take over full-time artist duties for John Cassaday starting in issue #8. We also learned that “Princess Leia #1” was Mark Waid’s first ever number one selling comic, and that Greg Weisman will be writing the second arc of “Kanan”. One final piece of news out of Marvel is that Jen Heddle will be moving off Marvel and Frank Parisi will be taking over her duties. Despite the lack of news, the panel was interesting and revealed some neat insights, and it was great to hear so much enthusiasm from the audience. Most questioners were especially pleased by Princess Leia, which was heartening to see.

The Del Rey panel featured Shelly Shapiro, Jen Heddle, John Jackson Miller, James Luceno, and Christie Golden. We already knew a Battlefront novel was coming, thanks to its placement in the novel timeline and Friday’s battlefront panel. Battlefront: Twilight Company by Alexander Freed will focus on what it’s like to be a soldier in the front lines during the Rebel Alliance. It’s good for gamers and non-gamers, and will not be a novelization. Look for that in November. The second not-really announcement was that A New Dawn and Tarkin will be repackaged into a single edition titled Rise of the Empire and feature three new short stories, one of which will link to Aftermath, the first post-Return of the Jedi novel in the new canon (which was announced prior to Celebration).

As for Lords of the Sith, which comes out next week (look for a review from Brian!), Heddle stated that the book will give us some insight into Hera’s view of the Empire. The novel features her father, Cham Syndulla, in a major role leading the resistance on Ryloth. Christie Golden discussed the production of Dark Disciple, coming in July, and how she worked with Dave Filoni and the story group to adapt the unproduced The Clone Wars scripts.

fosterFinally, in the best troll of the convention, the panel opened for Q&A. An older gentleman stood up and asked if he could write The Force Awakens novelization. After some back and forth with the panelists, they said “why not” and invited him onto to stage. Surprise–it was Alan Dean Foster! He’s currently at work on the novelization, which will be released in ebook format on December 18. Yes, you heard that right: we won’t be getting the novelization prior to the film. Hallelujah! A hardcover version will come a few weeks later. And the spoiler-phobes like me rejoiced.

You can listen to the entire Del Rey panel here, and be sure to check our Twitter feed for our live tweets of both panels.