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.
We’ll begin this week with comments by Jay Rasulo, Disney’s chief financial officer, at an investor conference on September 12. According to Variety, Rasulo described Star Wars as an “evergreen property,” said that “the market is extremely hot for everything Star Wars,” and added that, as far as the franchise’s cross-platform potential is concerned, “The sky’s the limit.” Rasulo also said that Disney planned to expand Lucasfilm’s slate of licensing agreements by inking international deals for Star Wars beginning next year. There are also plans for Star Wars “housewares” and other product categories in the same vein as Disney’s Marvel property.
Most notable was Rasulo’s comment that Disney’s Star Wars spinoff films will be “origin story film[s].” This is the first time that anyone at Disney has characterized the spinoffs so explicitly. When he first announced them back in February, Disney CEO Bob Iger referred to them as “films derived from great Star Wars characters that are not part of the overall saga.” Of course, it’s possible that “origin story” was just a throwaway comment by Rasulo. But, then again, it’s also possible that it wasn’t.
Rasulo’s comment was particularly interesting in light of a rumor that cropped up the same day. Bleeding Cool’s Brendon Connelly reported that “casting for a young Han Solo has been happening for a few months now, alongside the casting for Episode VII.” Connelly said that Disney whipped up a brief description of the role (“about as useful as ‘Han Solo, but young’”) and opened auditions, but wasn’t sure if anyone had read for the part yet.
I see two potential problems with a young Han Solo film. The first is that casting a teenage or young-adult Harrison Ford is going to be very tough. The second is that for many fans, myself included, a Han Solo origin story would diminish one of the character’s key aspects: his mysterious, even shady, loner past. Put simply, Han has been places and seen things that made him into the man he was in the Mos Eisley Cantina in Episode IV. This is just my opinion, but I think that his checkered past works better if it is left up to our imaginations. All of that being said, it would not surprise me if Disney were quietly preparing such a film. We’ll just have to wait and see.
In the interest of doing some public service work for the Star Wars community, I’d like to point out my debunking of a rumor that surfaced on Monday about Han Solo and Boba Fett spinoff films. The report that launched all the excitement –– from entertainment site Nuke The Fridge –– caught my attention with the headline “STAR WARS: HAN SOLO and BOBA FETT ‘Origin Movies’ Confirmed.” What? Confirmed, you say? By whom? Well, according to the story’s lede, “Disney CEO Bob Iger is confirming that Han Solo & Boba Fett spin-offs are already in the works.”
I knew right away that this was not true. Had Iger confirmed such a plan, I or someone else at TheForce.Net would have heard about it already –– probably as soon as Iger made the comments to CNBC or one of the other outlets to which he gives interviews. Suffice it to say, the report was indeed incorrect. The writer from Nuke The Fridge misread a story from MovieWeb back in February that was based not on Iger’s words but on an anonymous source.
Based on how much play this story has been getting in the past two days, I figured that at least some of you, dear Unbound Worlds readers, would have seen it by now. In case you haven’t already seen me debunk the report, you can do so here. And if you don’t mind, please share that link with anyone you see promoting Nuke The Fridge’s story. It’s in everyone’s interest to get our facts straight and to remember that immortal truth: Nothing is confirmed until someone at Disney or Lucasfilm says it is.
From the erroneous report to the plain-old rumor. The Hollywood Reporter claimed back on September 11 that Episode VII director J.J. Abrams was “converting a portion of his Bad Robot headquarters into production spaces” for the first Star Wars sequel. You may remember that Abrams publicly disdained the idea of moving to London for a year for Episode VII production, saying it “drives [him] insane.” If THR’s report of a new “green room, sound studios and other … facilities” is accurate, it could suggest that Abrams is getting a deal-sweetener right about now.
Speaking of Star Wars Rebels, Lucasfilm announced that it would be bringing the series to New York Comic Con (October 10-13), along with other programming celebrating the galaxy far, far away. Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo will host a panel about the series on Saturday, October 12 at 2:45pm. Although the StarWars.com announcement is vague (“fans at NYCC will get a first look at new art from the series, and learn new information about the formidable forces of the Galactic Empire”), the NYCC website’s description provides a bit more information. In addition to the text that appeared on StarWars.com, it reads:
Luckily, there are those who are brave and daring enough to stand up against the oppressive Imperial might: the crew of the starship Ghost. Star Wars Rebels follows their adventures as they carry out thrilling missions against these dark forces.
This sounds exciting (and a bit Scooby Doo-ish). I’m really looking forward to Star Wars Rebels and I can’t wait to see what we learn at New York Comic Con.
As we get closer to the September 24 release of Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells, more Razor’s Edge material is surfacing to draw readers into the book. Del Rey’s Star Wars Books Facebook page posted the third and fourth micro-excerpts, and Megan from This Blog is Full of Words interviewed Wells about Leia’s strengths, character diversity, and the differences between fan fiction and tie-in novels. In addition, Hollywood.com featured an interview with Wells along with an exclusive excerpt from the novel.
Del Rey is also working with my Unbound Worlds colleague Tricia Barr to reveal exclusive Razor’s Edge character art over at her blog. Be sure to tweet about this awesome artwork using the hashtag #RazorsEdgeArt and more will be revealed in the coming days.