Artwork courtesy of Joshua Stolte
Welcome back to the Star Wars HoloNet Digest, a weekly feature where I bring you a recap of the latest news from the world of Star Wars. Whether it’s an Episode VII rumor or a noteworthy author interview, you’ll find it here. Let’s check the HoloNet and see what happened in the past week.
Congratulations are in order for Mr. George Lucas today. After recently getting married and winning a Daytime Emmy Award, Lucas’s year is getting even better thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts. Today, on behalf of the NEA, President Barack Obama will present Lucas with the National Medal of Arts in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. He is one of a dozen recipients of the medal this year. The NEA, which manages the National Medal of Arts, describes it as “the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government.”
Less than nine months after acquiring Lucasfilm, The Walt Disney Company will begin integrating it into its events with the annual D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. The expo, an event for members of Disney’s fan club of the same name, will feature a significant Star Wars presence, according to an announcement from Disney Consumer Products, the merchandising unit of the Mouse House. The DCP Pavilion at D23 will feature “Darth Vader: The Evolution of a Villain,” which “showcases the development of the iconic villain from early concepts to striking realization.” Plus, Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo will present a panel entitled “Crash Course in the Force: Star Wars Saga 101,” to “give Star Wars newbies and experts alike a thorough grounding in all matters of the Force and the Star Wars legacy.” The D23 Expo will run from August 9 to 11 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The latest Star Wars Expanded Universe novel, Star Wars: Crucible by Troy Denning, was released yesterday. I interviewed Denning for TheForce.Net, and I highly recommend checking out our conversation after you’ve read the book. He and the editors at Del Rey and Lucasfilm have evidently given a lot of thought to the events in Crucible and the future that they set up. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Luke, Han, and Leia are getting ready to hand over the reins of evil-vanquishing and Sith-fighting after so many decades of adventuring across the galaxy and serving as the tip of the spear for the galaxy’s “good guys.” As Denning explained to me in our interview, “We didn’t want to do anything permanent, so we didn’t want to kill the Big Three, but we wanted to show them coming to the realization that it was time to pass the torch.”
This past week saw a veritable bevy of news and announcements for Star Wars Celebration Europe II, which is just sixteen days away. The full exhibitor list has been posted, information about the after-hours “Cantina Crawl” and the Bounty Hunt is available, and the Celebration Store merchandise list has been revealed. You might also be interested in Rancho Obi-Wan’s CEII exclusives, which include a patch and a t-shirt. To sum it all up, Celebration Europe II is fast approaching and the news and information just keeps hitting. Between the events, the activities, the after-hours fun, the merchandise, and the can’t-miss programming like the Star Wars Rebels preview, CEII is sure to be a whirlwind of a convention.
This was a light Star Wars news week, and I want to close it out with something that’s not new, just thought-provoking. Bria over at the Tosche Station blog has written an excellent article exploring the need for more diversity in the Star Wars saga. She begins by noting the strikingly minimal amount of diversity among lead characters in EU novels, but she then discusses the importance of diversity across all media. This may not seem like a major issue to all Unbound Worlds readers, but it is. What kind of heroes do you want Star Wars TV shows, books, and movies to present? How limited and homogenous can the franchise’s selection of lead characters be without jeopardizing its status as a cultural trailblazer? After all, science-fiction and fantasy have always been about pushing boundaries –– using a fictional setting to explore issues and present ideas that are still not mainstream in the real world. I recommend reading article and considering it carefully. As Bria points out, the Sequel Trilogy can “set a precedent for years and for stories to come” by deciding to diversify its main cast. Check out the full article right here.
Eric Geller is a college student majoring in political science whose interests include technology, journalism, and of course Star Wars. He reviews The Clone Wars TV series and manages social media for Star Wars fan site TheForce.Net. He also co-hosts The ForceCast podcast. He is originally from the Washington, D.C. area.