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 two weeks, since we took last week off due to San Diego Comic-Con.
Speaking of SDCC, a number of stories came out of the convention that are worth mentioning here. Book publisher becker&mayer! showed off some of their upcoming Star Wars titles, including The Bounty Hunter Code, a specially-packaged in-universe book by Daniel Wallace. The book will be out on October 15, 2013. You can watch Unbound Worlds’s first look at The Bounty Hunter Code here. Meanwhile, Wallace tweeted a photo of the boxed set that will include both of his previous in-universe tomes, The Jedi Path and Book of Sith. That product will be out next year.
At Del Rey’s Star Wars Books panel at SDCC, fans got a first look at the cover for the second Empire and Rebellion novel. This one, written by James S.A. Corey, will be called Honor Among Thieves, and it’s currently set for a March 4, 2014 release. Check out the cover image here. Also, Unbound Worlds’s Matt Staggs has a full report from the Del Rey panel, which is well worth reading if you missed being there in person. There’s also a good series of live-tweets from Club Jade’s James Floyd available here.
Fans attending the panel were also treated to three pieces of rare behind-the-scenes video, including a never-before-seen blooper reel from Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope that features a clip where “Alec Guinness … gets whacked in the face by Chewbacca’s arm in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.” Lucasfilm’s J.W. Rinzler found the footage (first in audio form and then on video) while doing research for this fall’s The Making of Return of the Jedi. Enhanced eBook versions of all three of Rinzler’s original trilogy Making of books will be released when the print version of Rinzler’s Jedi book comes out on October 1. Each eBook will include video, audio, and additional artwork and photos not found in the print versions.
The other Star Wars news out of San Diego Comic-Con was that there will be a Star Wars/Phineas and Ferb crossover episode next year. Phineas and Ferb, a popular show on the Disney channel, becomes the first Disney program to get a Star Wars crossover since the company bought Lucasfilm last fall. (R2-D2 and C-3PO appeared on Disney’s A.N.T. Farm in November, but that was scheduled and arranged before the acquisition.) Disney’s press release announcing the Star Wars-themed episode of Phineas and Ferb describes it thusly:
The event episode’s story begins a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away – in summer. Phineas and Ferb are living happily on Tatooine, just one moisture farm over from Luke Skywalker. They love simply hanging out and creating new adventures under the twin suns but find themselves thrust into a global rebellion when the plans for blowing up the Death Star accidentally fall into their hands.
There has already been a crossover of sorts between Phineas and Ferb and the GFFA. Star Wars: The Clone Wars fans will recognize the voice of Perry the Platypus as that of Dee Bradley Baker, the man behind all the clones and many other characters and creatures throughout TCW.
The Star Wars theme park rumors are back and better than ever. This time, word is that Disney CEO Bob Iger convened a special meeting of the company’s board of directors at Disneyland to pitch them his new park ideas and secure their support for his budget request. According to Disney fan site MiceChat, those ideas included “a new Star Wars themed makeover for the messy Tomorrowland section of Disneyland.” As for Disney World, there are only modest plans to expand the Star Wars presence there, mostly with concepts borrowed from the Disneyland project.
I’m personally bummed that Disneyland is the rumored focal point for Disney’s Star Wars theme park plans. Orlando is so much easier for me to get to than Anaheim. That’s an incredibly selfish perspective, of course, and I’m sure that whatever Disney does will be carefully thought out and destined to please me when I eventually make it out there. And this is still just a rumor, so I’m eating a grain of salt as I type this. MiceChat notes that we shouldn’t expect any confirmation of Star Wars park plans until Iger can get the board to sign off on his budget, and even then, his team of “Imagineers” will need to flesh out their ideas before they’re ready for public consumption. Color me intrigued!
From theme parks to action figures: Hasbro Inc. recently renewed its license to produce Star Wars action figures, playsets, and other merchandise. They signed an $80 million deal that gives them the toy license until 2020. The deal, which also covered Marvel licensing rights, included $225 million from Hasbro to account for Sequel Trilogy-related merchandise.
Celebration Europe II starts in just a few days, and the final trickle of announcements is about to subside. This week we learned about a special issue of Star Wars Insider (a variant cover of Issue #143, guest-edited by Celebration Celebrity Stage host Warwick Davis) that will be available at Titan Entertainment’s booth (120) in the Exhibit Hall. Lucasfilm Events Lead Mary Franklin also blogged about social media integration that will allow fans to tweet questions for CEII’s celebrity guests. Twitter hashtags like #AskLuke (for Mark Hamill) and #AskKathy (for Kathleen Kennedy) will be monitored during the Q&A sessions, and you can start tweeting your questions now. You can also submit your convention photographs using the hashtag #StarWarsCelebration and they might be included in a presentation during CEII’s Closing Ceremonies.
Lastly, we’ve got a story for all you amateur geologists out there. Apparently there are roving sand dunes in the desert called barchans, and tracking them is kind of difficult. Well, a team of geologists is using satellite photos of the Mos Espa set in Tunisia to monitor these barchans’ progress across the Tunisian desert. Learn more from The Atlantic or read the geologists’ paper in the journal Geomorphology. This is really interesting and cool, but now I really want to see barchans in a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel.
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.