While I’ve written up a few articles already for what I managed to see at Celebration Europe 2016 mid-July, but I’m not going to be able to cover all of what I did and didn’t see in as much detail as normal. However, this article will cover the best of the rest in regards to news and reveals you might have missed (and I didn’t make a separate article for), including the very unsurprising reveal of the young Han Solo actor, some teases from Rian Johnson regarding Ep. VIII, author reveals for upcoming Rogue One related novels, new Battlefront DLC bringing space battles and Rogue One content this year, and more!
The below tidbits come from the Future Filmmaker’s panel, which I watched from the Star Wars Show’s stage. There’s a liveblog version over at the official site as well as a recap video (but not the full panel).
In news that probably only surprised your grandma that doesn’t know how to use the internet still, Alden Ehrenreich has been officially cast as Han Solo in the upcoming A Star Wars Story film based around the younger days of the lovable smuggler and his companion Chewbacca. In a funny bit between Phil Lord, Chris Miller, and Kathleen Kennedy, the directors revealed they saw over 3000 actors and the very first one was Alden, so they apologized to Kennedy for wasting so much money. Veteran scriptwriter and Star Wars-alum Lawrence Kasdan (who’s writing the film with his son but either where at the panel) was adamant they get Lord and Miller for the film and just from their presence on stage (even for only a little bit) I can agree they seem like a great fit for it. As for Han Solo, Alden seemed kind of muted or overwhelmed during the panel, but when John Boyega (Finn) sat down next to him and said Alden even smiles like Harrison Ford, my concerns washed away. He was interviewed by the Star Wars Show shortly after the reveal.
As for Ep. VIII, a couple BTS pictures were revealed with nothing spoiler-ish of course, nor where there any real concrete details about the film, but Rian promised to see everyone next year at Celebration Orlando. This is the year of Rogue One and even announcing a title could derail focus from the first of the spin-off films, so I appreciate them being more coy about Ep. VIII and giving RO a chance to breath a little. The only real concrete detail we got about the upcoming sequel to The Force Awakens was that it picks up right where Luke and Rey left off (as teased in the production announcement video). But if you do want to start speculating about Ep. VIII, Rian provided a list of films he had cast and crew watch before filming the sequel: Bridge on the River Kiwi (the only one I’ve seen prior to this), Twelve O’Clock High, Gunga Din, Three Outlaw Samurai, Letter Never Sent, and Sahara (1943), which IGN has a good rundown of each film and how they could influence the movie. Ep. VIII was confirmed to have finished filming only a few days after CE ’16 wrapped.
Upcoming Novels and Books
The novel news comes primarily from the Star Wars Publishing panel, which has a liveblog on the main site. For the reveal of the cover for the Ahsoka novel, check out my Ahsoka’s Untold Tales coverage, and the announcement of the Thrawn novel is in my Rebels S3 panel coverage.
Get your Rogue One books here! The publishing panel covered a broad array of upcoming books, while revealing authors for two Rogue One novels already announced. James Luceno will be writing Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, which is a tie-in book said to be well worth a read before seeing the new film at the theater, though no plot details were given. Luceno last wrote Tarkin, his first of the new canon which I found to be a mostly entertaining novel, and it’ll be interesting to see what his attention to minutia and sometimes glaring info-dumping can bring to the Rogue One story. The film’s novelization is being handled by Alexander Freed, who’s first Star Wars novel was the excellent military sci-fi story of Battlefront: Twilight Company; He seems like the perfect fit for what continues to be described as a film that’ll put the ‘wars’ in Star Wars.
Outside of the adult novels, a lot of attention was spent on the young to middle-aged readers books coming out, all being done in the hopes to get kids excited about reading (and Star Wars fans for life, but that part doesn’t necessarily always go said). The most interesting reveals of the bunch is the adaptations of several “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens” books, including The Weapon of the Jedi and Moving Target (and maybe eventually Smuggler’s Run and Before the Awakening), with WotJ being named Luke and the Lost Jedi Temple (including new art for the stories!). There was also a lot of discussion from the two authors, Cavan Scott and Tom Huddleston, writing the Adventures in Wild Space series (which focuses on two kids who lose their parent to the Empire and do whatever they can to get them back), who both talked at length about how their experiences with their children or nieces and nephews helped inform their takes on the child-aged stars of the novels and how much fun it’s to see their work being referenced in material yet-to-release. Our own writer Chris is covering review duties of the series, which won’t be UK-exclusive anymore and will be heading to the US by next year!
Last, but definitely not least, were all the encyclopedias, maps, and non-fiction titles coming. Big highlights include: the staggeringly comprehensive Ralph McQuarrie book, which includes all of his work and text from interviews he had about each piece alongside them; overall, it looks monstrous to behold and will be a must-have for collectors of BTS material though don’t expect to get this one cheap, folks; Egmont’s Galactic Atlas, a rather massive-in-size book which details locations all over the galaxy, is written in-universe by an Ithorian who’s never left his planet. Intriguing way to approach the book (could it be an easy way to cover up any future discrepancies by saying this cartographer never actually left home?), which makes me actually interested in it. You can check out a preview page over at Jedi-Bibliothek.
Rest of my Gallery (the liveblog link above includes hi-res scans of the images I took pictures of, fyi):
Upcoming Video Games
Much like at this year’s E3, there wasn’t much in the way of reveals or big news for upcoming video games. Of note, the biggest reveal was the Death Star DLC (releasing September) teaser for Battlefront, showing off the much requested feature of space battles coming to the game and introducing two new hero and villain characters: Chewbacca and Bossk. Even more interesting for Battlefront was the reveal of the final DLC pack Scarif, which brings the titular beautifully tropical planet from Rogue One to the game, including Jyn Erso and Director Krennic as playable characters! From the space battles and getting to run around Scarif with Battlefront’s stunning graphics (the one thing I wouldn’t shut up about in my review), this might just be enough to bring me back.
Visceral Games and their still unnamed project was represented by Amy Hennig, who received quite the applause when it was her turn to talk (and rightfully so!). She didn’t get to reveal anything about the game, but her discussion on how she approached writing the story really highlights why fans should be excited she’s at the helm of this game. What made the Uncharted series of video games for the PlayStation system such huge successes was the way they so convincingly and lovingly recreated the feeling of an Indiana Jones film in video game form. Hennig was able to do this because she first deconstructs the films she’s trying to emulate so she can find all the pieces that make them tick and then reconstructs her own version of it. For Star Wars, she talked about how there’s always an underdog, a group of people who rely on each other, and multiple plans running simultaneously that could bring everything down if someone doesn’t do their part. She and the team have been working on what that means not only for the story, but for gameplay. Two new concept art shots showed two characters sneaking around the outskirts of an Imperial controlled area, which fits in with Hennig’s words about a group of people and could hint, at the very least, that there’ll be an AI companion with the playable character. Like last year, I got a chance to run into Hennig and actor (most recently on 12 Monkeys, a fantastic sci-fi show!) plus fellow writer for the Visceral Games’ project, Todd Stashwick, and thanked both of them for their respective feats and told them how I trust them with their upcoming project.
Also in the panel: the reveal of the 5th anniversary expansion for The Old Republic, “Knights the Eternal Throne,” along with the promise of more news to come soon about this big anniversary for the game, while the Galaxy of Heroes mobile game has more raids in the works and some possible Rogue One related things coming to it as well.
We still have a review of the VR experience on the way, just as a heads up!
Goodbye to SWCE 2016 and Upcoming Celebrations
The closing ceremonies video hits all the right emotional chords from the weekend and the logo for the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars’ release was revealed, likely to be covering a lot of real estate at the convention next year. If there’s one year you should definitely think about attending, it looks like Celebration Orlando 2017 is going to be it. See you all next year!
Cosplay Gallery and Celebrity Sightings (SWCE 2016)
Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Panel/Press Conference Details: Trailer, Grand Admiral Thrawn (& Novel), New Characters (SWCE 2016)
Star Wars Rebels Season Three Premiere Review: “Step Into Shadows” (SWCE 2016)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Panel and Costume Exhibit (SWCE 2016)
Ahsoka’s Untold Tales Panel Impressions (SWCE 2016)
SWCE 2016 News Roundup Pt. 3: Ahsoka Untold Tales and Future Filmmaker Discussion Panels Announced
SWCE 2016 News Roundup Pt. 2: Panel Schedule is Live, Exclusive Art, VR Experience (UPDATED)
SWCE 2016 News Roundup: Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Premiere, Rogue One Props, Podcast Stage
Star Wars Show Launches, Reveals Special Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 Rogue One Panel (SWCE 2016)
Search demo Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission Teaser, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Demo Impressions
EA Provides Minor Updates on Upcoming Star Wars Video Games from Visceral Games, Respawn Entertainment, and More
LEGO Game Expands The Force Awakens Lore, Respawn Entertainment Working on New Star Wars Game
Video Game Review: Star Wars: Battlefront (2015)
Star Wars VR Experiences from ILMxLAB Teased
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Video Game Set to Release June 28th
Star Wars: Battlefront Beta Impressions with Video
Footage And Details For Cancelled Rogue Squadron Games
Choice Isn’t an Option: The Future of Star Wars Video Games (Part 1)
Always On The Move: The Future of Star Wars Video Games (Part 2)
A Good Blaster At Your Side: The Future of Star Wars Video Games (Part 3)
Lead Uncharted Writer Joins Visceral Games Star Wars Project
EU and Gaming: Thoughts on Their Relationship