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!

Abrams Back on IX, Quick Hit Thoughts

Hoo boy, I go on vacation and Colin Trevorrow gets dumped from IX and JJ Abrams gets brought back to finish things out (after it sounds like Rian Johnson turned down the offer). We’ll have a podcast to discuss this more in depth soon, but some quick hit thoughts before I go steal some gear to record a show.

  • In hindsight, our pie-in-the-sky hopes of an Ava DuVernay/Michelle Mclaren/Patty Jenkins lead IX may have been a lot more pie-in-the-sky than we thought. To be clear, getting a woman to direct IX was definitely my hope and first choice, but that likely was done in by…
  • The timing of Colin Trevorrow’s dumping likely created some additional requirements for a new director. First, it appears that the script was in need of major work, so someone familiar with working with the Story Group was a must. Second, they would need to be able to integrate into Lucasfilm’s very unique collaborative filmmaking approach, and integrate fast. With production on IX needing to begin rather soon, it probably means Lucasfilm ideally needed someone who has done this before. That leaves a small (at this point) stable of directors in Abrams, Johnson (declined), Gareth Edwards (reshoot drama, for whatever that means), and Ron Howard (still working on the Han Solo film). Bringing a new face on board likely was not in the cards this late into the game.
  • Chris Terino, of Batman v Superman infamy, is co-writing with Abrams. Which… yeah. Let’s all hope that working with someone not named Zack Snyder results in something markedly better.
  • Speaking of writing, one wonders just how troubled the original Trevorrow script was. This will be the third and fourth person to have a go at this.
  • I’m going to ask everyone that’s re-litigating the merits of The Force Awakens to watch this Movies with Mikey review, which perhaps was the only one that adequately contextualized the long odds it had in succeeding the way it did. I’m sorry it didn’t do anything new for you, personally, white men. I’ve got a piece coming next week to discuss the Well Actuallying of The Force Awakens.
  • Put a woman on the next standalone Star Wars film. Full-stop.

Getting a woman to direct IX I think would have been the ideal outcome, and frankly, a woman probably should have been on IX from the beginning. But given everything above, I get why Lucasfilm decided to bring Abrams back to close things out. Stay tuned for an emergency podcast discussing the last week of wild Star Wars news.

Holonet Blast #26

Ever so foolishly, we took last week off because it was Labor Day weekend and it was Force Friday II and what could possibly happen while we were all supposed to be busy reading our new books and playing with our new toys? Oh what sweet summer children we were… Things happened. Oh dear did things happen.

Colin Trevorrow is no longer directing Episode IX and honestly, not many people are wiping away tears of sorrow. Moral of the story: do not mess with Kathleen Kennedy.

Disney’s being the worst and putting their Marvel and Star Wars films on their exclusive streaming service which is fine and whatever because that’s why I own DVDs.

Paul Bettany is apparently in the Han Solo film though according to Ron Howard’s Twitter. I don’t have anything snarky here.

In ‘things you can get’ news, there will be a very pretty convention exclusive edition of From A Certain Point of View available at NYCC that will come presigned by some of the authors. The soundtrack for The Last Jedi will be out on December 15th and there will probably be a track titled “Luke’s Noble End” on it. (Sorry, Nanci. I’ll start running now.)

To round out the week on a high note, go watch the new Star Wars Rebels Season 4 trailer again and sob over the Space Married perfection with us. The new season kicks off on October 16th.

Rumor: Rian Johnson to write and direct Episodes VIII and IX

Normally we don’t do rumors, but this one appears to have some legs. Deadline is reporting that Rian Johnson will be writing and directing Episodes VIII and IX.

Johnson will take over the core film franchise, and he’ll get started quickly and this will be his preoccupation for quite awhile. Johnson made his directing debut on the respected indie Brick, and then jumped to mainstream science fiction by writing and directing Looper, an inventive time travel thriller that starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. It would be hard to imagine him taking on a higher profile challenge than two consecutive Star Wars films. I’ll tell you more when I know it. Johnson is repped by CAA.

As mentioned in that snippet, Johnson headed Looper, a time traveling film met with mixed but mostly positive reviews. His indie film resume (as well as some of his work on Breaking Bad) have won him acclaim.

This isn’t confirmed yet, but multiple major outlets are jumping all over this one.