Star Wars News from C2E2

Star Wars fans didn’t have to wait very long to get comics and books related announcements from C2E2 out in Chicago but it was all rather vague.  At a retailer breakfast this morning, it was announced that Marvel will be releasing a three issue comic plus a standalone issue in October that will be related to Rogue One.  No writer or artist has been announced yet.  We don’t know any other details but it’s likely filling a similar role to what Shattered Empire was for The Force Awakens.  The Star Wars Free Comic Book Day offerings will be $1 a pop copies of some of the previously released books, mostly #1s.

At the Star Wars books panel this afternoon, the big announcement was Star Wars: Catalyst.  Arriving on October 4th, the novel will be a prequel to Rogue One… and that’s all we know.  Author announcement is forthcoming.  Start the betting pool.

Outside of the Rogue One pattern, we did learn from Claudia Gray that a character from Lost Stars will make an appearance.  You may also start the betting pool on this one.  Claudia Gray also mentioned that the reason for the Bloodline’s delay was that she wanted to see The Force Awakens before finalizing her draft but also that this is a book about Leia herself  and not Leia defined by her roles as wife or mother.  For fans of Mark Waid’s run on the Leia comic, it sounds like Gray had the option to pull from the book but didn’t so don’t expect Queen Evaan to appear.

The Star Wars books panel featured Claudia Gray, John Jackson Miller, Jeffrey Brown, Adam Bray, and Elizabeth Schaefer.  You can read Newsarama’s liveblog here for some of the more fun tidbits that panelists mentioned throughout the hour.

10 Things I Learned Working the Del Rey Booth at NYCC

DR at NYCCAs many of you probably know, I was lucky enough to not only attend New York Comic Con last weekend but to also spend a fair amount of time behind the table of the Del Rey Star Wars booth. Erich, Tom, and everyone were awesome for letting me help out so much.  Working the booth a great way to see and chat with a bunch of different Star Wars folks (Apologies to Pablo for asking about Barriss again and a weird as heck Legacy question). It also definitely gave me a different view of Star Wars fans as a whole.  Therefore, it only seems appropriate to share a few things I learned during my time behind the table.

1. Nothing gets people’s attention faster than yelling “Free Star Wars! Come and get it!”

Over the course of four days, we handed out about five thousand copies of the sampler and twenty-five hundred of Tarkin. That’s a lot of Star Wars! There are very few people in this world who are going to say no to a free Star Wars book when you hand them one unless they already happen to own it. And when you start handing people copies directly? They will start flocking like crazy. On a related note, people will also try really hard to get you to just give them one of the freebies that are purchase or preorder incentives. (Pro Tip: Asking to have one when you aren’t buying something probably won’t work. You’re more likely to get one when you don’t expect it.)

2. It takes all of an hour before you just start nodding when people ask if you’re Del Rey.

And then it takes you at least a week to break yourself of the habit of saying “we” as seen in Exhibit A above. Mostly, it was just easier to say when you were behind the table for hours each day and it just wasn’t worth the effort to explain that no, I’m actually a Star Wars blogger fan who just happens to be handling your purchase today. The Square reader makes you look super official and people don’t notice that your badge says ‘press’ and not ‘exhibitor’.

3. You develop your selling pitches for each of the books really really quickly.

I now have a great one for Rise of the Empire that can be tailored to include Lords of the Sith and Aftermath depending on what else the person has read. Heck, I’ve even got one for Heir to the Jedi (despite not super digging the book) that’s entirely true, sounds nice, and never once has me say that I love the book. You also learn to adapt them for whoever you’re talking to. I did, however, find it amusing when someone asked whether they should get Aftermath or Heir to the Jedi when Chuck was standing next to me and they clearly had no clue who he was. (Spoilers: They ended up buying both.)

And on a related note…

4. I really enjoy saying “ADMIRAL Rae Sloane” in a way that’s both enthusiastic and, upon further consideration, probably more than a little weird.

So maybe I’m just really excited about the Levers of Power story that Jason Fry wrote and maybe I just really want everyone to read about Admiral Rae Sloane at the Battle of Endor. Okay yes, she was part of my sales pitch but she’s also the coolest and every Star Wars fan needs to know about her. My baby’s all grown up and kicking butt at Endor and I’M JUST REALLY REALLY PROUD OF HER, OKAY?

5. Some people really believe that the fake The Force Awakens promo covers were around an actual copy of novelization.

They were not. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, those were actually around a copy of Aftermath and a Danielle Steel book. So, you know, close. The Aftermath II and III and the Bloodline covers were also fake. I’m pretty sure those books don’t even exist yet but that certainly didn’t stop people from trying to get their hands on them which actually became quite humorous after a while.

6. Most of the people who come to the booth are genuinely excited about Star Wars and at least mildly interested in all the new canon books you have there.

For those of us who mainly exist in the online world of Star Wars fandom, we sometimes forget plenty of fans aren’t a part of those discussions. For every person who loved the Expanded Universe, there are three others who never really got into it or who perhaps had never heard of it but who are now intrigued by these books that are a part of the canon. Those are the people who are really fun to talk to because you can bond over Star Wars things that you both enjoy and then just maybe you can get them excited about new Star Wars books or characters that they haven’t heard of yet. Introducing people to this broader world is a genuine joy.

7. …but there are still people who will come up and express their disappointment about the Legends thing. Some of them will come back multiple times to do so.

This was probably a no brainer but yep, I got to interact with some Legends folks! Very few people will be rude to your face though… they’ll just mutter comments as they walk away or say them loudly as they walk by because either they’re being passive aggressive or because they think you can’t hear them?  Honestly, I can’t say anyone was particularly bad. This wasn’t the Facebook comments in real life. Some folks just aren’t going to move on and that’s just that.

But uhhh… folks? I know you miss Legends. I miss Legends. But uhh… don’t try and Kickstart the EU. I can’t even begin to explain all of the reasons why that won’t work.

8. Alexander Freed is the master of working a signing line.

While I’ve never been on the signing end of things, I imagine that it’s not an easy task to repeatedly say hi and have a brief conversation with someone while also signing your name on a poster or book for the dozenth time. Freed not only moved the line along quickly but also took the time to actually talk to everyone. It’s doubly impressive that he even did so on Sunday afternoon when everyone was tired. Honestly, the mastery is difficult to describe unless you got to observe it. It’s an art form.  (By the way, you should all get excited for Twilight Company!)

9. Luke Skywalker is going to die at least 20 times in Aftermath: Life Debt and they will all be Nanci’s fault. Or N4N-C1’s fault.

It’s confirmed news. Sorry, Nanci. Right out of the Wendig’s mouth during his Saturday signing. Just wait until we get to Aftermath: Empire’s Electric Boogaloo! HE’S GONNA DIE A HUNDRED TIMES. AT LEAST.

10. Working on the other side of the book table is a hell of a lot of fun and the Del Rey folks have the best jobs in the world.

Need I say more?

Tosche Station Radio #114: Publishing Madness

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Our Celebration recap continues with Megan from Blog Full of Words joins us to recap the publishing news from Celebration. We highlight the announcements and highlights from Del Rey and Marvel’s panels.

Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net and a part of Majestic Giraffe Productions. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of Tosche-Station.net. You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and Audible.com.

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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.

Dark Disciple Gets a Cover And a Release Date

Dark Disciple CoverDel Rey revealed the cover for Dark Disciple today, the forthcoming novel by Christie Golden.  The novel is based on an unused storyline from The Clone Wars and stars Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos.  The cover is the work of artist Matt Taylor.

Del Rey also announced the book’s official release date: July 7th, 2015.  (Keep in mind though that this could be subject to change.)

You can read their full press release here.

PSA: Stop Being Rude to Del Rey

The folks in the Star Wars office over at Del Rey are probably in line for Sainthood at this point.

It’s been over four months now that they’ve been putting up with mountains of abuse and crass comments all across social media. Pick any post on their Facebook page since April 25th and I can almost guarantee you that there will be some sort of comment that either asks for Legends back or puts down the new canon with varying levels of rudeness that range all the way up to making me sick with how ill-mannered they are. And yet, at every turn, the team replies to comments politely and with the utmost class.  It doesn’t seem to help though as the abuse continues day after day.

All of that needs to stop.

Now.

Way back in April, I had hopes that the fandom would collectively go through the stages of grief together for the Expanded Universe and then have civility restored within a month or two. I was so wrong. If you’re looking for an in depth perspective about this movement to “save” the Expanded Universe, Eric Geller at TheForce.net put up an excellent and thorough look at it across multiple mediums.

Here’s the deal folks: every time you are rude to the Del Rey people and every time you advocate for boycotting the new canon, you are not helping. You are making the situation infinitely worse and it is absolutely not going to bring back Legends. Do you really think that the people in charge of Star Wars are going to be eager to bring back an aspect of the galaxy far far away to appease a part of the fan base that can’t seem to find civility if it hit them over the head? Plus, Del Rey likely has very little control over whether they get to publish books in the Legends continuity right now. That power likely resides with Lucasfilm and the story group so you’re not even heaping your undeserved hate on the right people. (Not that I think anyone deserves this.)

I miss Legends. I really do. I will probably be 80 years old and still grumpy that we don’t have more books about Wraith Squadron or even that Shatterpoint sequel story about Nick Rostu and his adventures in the war as Mace Windu’s aide. The Legends books will always have a very special place in my heart and on my bookshelves. But I am not going to bombard the Del Rey people incessantly with my desire for more Legends.

Need another reason aside from common courtesy? Let’s talk business. If you’re in charge of a major franchise and lots of aspects of that franchise start failing, are you going to try and invest more time and money in it? Probably not. So by encouraging people not to buy books from the new canon (which they might actually be interested in) and by encouraging them to boycott Rebels and the Sequel Trilogy, you are doing everything in your power to hurt your cause.

And while we’re on the subject, stop comparing this toxic and hateful campaign to those advocating for more gender equality in Episode VII and in Rebels. They have been conducted in completely different manners and those wanting to see more representation for women absolutely have not rudely bombarded those who are just genuinely committed to trying to make the best Star Wars they can.

I suppose I should put a disclaimer in here. Yes, I understand that not everyone upset about Legends is acting like this. Yes, I think that some of the movement is infinitely worse than others.  No, I do not want to minimize your strong feelings and love for the Expanded Universe. Clearly not all Expanded Universe fans are behaving badly but all of us need to stop tolerating the behavior of those who being uncivil.  The incessant rudeness and abuse needs to come to an end.  Please.

We can be better than this, fandom. I know that we can be better than this. Cut the crap and let’s get back to being Star Wars fans and not discourteous jerks to people who just want what all of us do: good stories told in the Star Wars universe.

Del Rey releases first seven chapters of A New Dawn

new dawnThere’s no winning if you’re Del Rey’s Star Wars team right now. The inevitable changing of the Expanded Universe to its current Legends status was bound to upset folks, and their Facebook page has been flooded with angry comments ever since. It’s worth pointing out and reiterating that this change was outside of their control. More importantly, it was something that needed to happen with new films on the horizon.

Keep that in mind when you see Del Rey’s peace offering: the first seven chapters of A New Dawn. They’re proud of the new direction Star Wars literature is going and the least you can do is give it a chance.

We’ll Always Have Coruscant

It happened. The news broke today that the existing Expanded Universe would be shifted into a ‘Legends’ label and all books from here on out would be a part of the new overarching cohesive canon.  I think it’s fair to say that we all know the fandom went a little crazy from the news even though, to be honest, it wasn’t entirely unexpected.

Let’s get a few things out of the way first. One, no one should take this as an opportunity to gloat. That’s tacky and tasteless and if you do so, you are a disservice to the fandom. Two, no one will ever be able to take these books from you nor the chance for you to introduce people to your favorites. Del Rey will continue to publish them under this new Legends banner. Three, suggesting that those involved in the decision hate the Expanded Universe is just false and I invite you to watch the video they put together if you think they do.

This moment was coming, folks. We’ve all been talking about the probability of it for almost as long as we’ve known about the Sequel Trilogy. And to be honest, I think that those of us who have been quietly mentally preparing for it are handling the news a little better than those who didn’t.  I’d also like to take the time to note there that I am not immune to the completely losing my mind just a little and spinning around as a whirlwind of questions about just what all of this means in the long run go through my mind.  So apologies if anything in this piece seems rambling or a bit poorly phrased at times.

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Del Rey hints at “A New Dawn”

new dawnWell what have we here? Del Rey updated the cover image on the Del Rey Star Wars Facebook page to hint at… something.

All we know right now is that the release schedule for the remainder of 2014 and beyond Kevin Hearne’s Luke Skywalker novel is empty. Could this be a new book to fill in the empty space this year? Given the Tatooine sunrise, maybe a Kenobi sequel?

Or could New Dawn signal a reboot is coming? Well, given that Episode VII isn’t out yet, that’s probably jumping the gun. Either way, something is coming.