Star Wars Bits: The Planets of ‘Han Solo,’ Some Love For Aunt Beru, and Some Pressing Canon Questions

The Empire Strikes Back - Han Solo

In this edition of Star Wars Bits:

  • A possible look at the planets featured in the Han Solo movie.
  • An interview with the editor of From a Certain Point of View.
  • Author Meg Cabot shares her love for Aunt Beru.
  • Ron Howard shares more Han Solo set pics.
  • Pablo Hidalgo answers some pressing (and nerdy) canon questions.
  • A new Thrawn novel is on the way.
  • And more!

Making Star Wars says they know every planet that shows up in the upcoming Han Solo spin-off movie. And here they are:

  • Corellia
  • Kessel
  • Iridium
  • Savareen
  • Vandor

And if you’re not the person who knows what all of those names mean instantly (and props to those of you who do!), they offer a breakdown of each planet is at the link above. However, many of you may be familiar already with Corellia (Han Solo’s home planet) and Kessel, which is most famous for a certain “run.”

However, at least one of those planets shouldn’t come as a surprise. Director Ron Howard confirmed Corellia on Twitter with a picture from the film’s set.

STAR WARS: FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW has a great interview with Elizabeth Schaefer, the editor tasked with assembling the 40 short stories collected in the new book From a Certain Point of View. Here’s a sample:

At the very start of this project, I sat down in front a blank Excel sheet and proceeded to fill in the names of all of my favorite authors. It was a dream list of people I’ve always wanted to work with. The craziest thing was how many of them said yes. The first-timers were universally invested in getting the lore right. Everyone wanted recommended reading lists — I think Sabaa Tahir went out and bought Star Wars: Kenobi on the spot to make sure her Tusken Raider story felt authentic!

You can read the whole thing at the link above.

aunt beru

In another great interview, author Meg Cabot explains why she chose to write about Aunt Beru in From a Certain Point of View and how this minor character is far more important than most people realize:

I chose Beru Lars right away. I was actually super paranoid that someone else might have chosen her first. But fortunately, the Force was with me. One of the reasons I wanted Beru so much is that I had just seen a guy dressed up for Halloween as a stormtrooper, carrying a sign that said “I Shot Aunt Beru.” After I finished laughing at how funny that was, because it was a little funny, I got mad. The Aunt Berus of this galaxy and the next never get any respect! I mean, I get it, it’s a funny gag…but without Aunt Beru, Luke would never have saved the galaxy. So I’d been kind of looking for a way to tell Aunt Beru’s side of the story when Elizabeth [Schaefer, the editor of From a Certain Point of View] contacted me. I still feel like the Force had something to do with it.

If you don’t have time to read From a Certain Point of View, Star Wars Explained has put together a handy video explaining how the 40 short stories plug a bunch of tiny plot holes scattered across the movies. That’s pretty handy for all the nerds out there (we say with love, counting ourselves among the nerds).

Meanwhile, Star Wars Explained has dedicated another episode to R5-D4, the red astromech droid that Uncle Owen almost bought instead of R2-D2. And this new story diverges from its original expanded universe story. You can learn how in the video above.

In other book news: Thrawn is back. In book form! And Timothy Zahn, who created the character in the old extended universe and returned him to the new canon with this year’s new Thrawn novel, is returning to the blue-skinned military mastermind. A new book is coming next year and you can check out a mysterious teaser above…

Star Wars The Last Jedi 38

When asked about J.J. Abrams returning for Star Wars: Episode 9, John Boyega was his typically charming self:

“Yeah, I’m really happy [and] really excited. I actually sent him an email and asked him if the real reason is because he misses me. And I think that’s what it is – that’s the only reason why he came back, and I appreciate that.”

Yeah, we’d miss hanging out with John Boyega, too. But in an interview with Coming Soon, Boyega removed the wink and spoke a bit more seriously about working with Abrams again on Episode 9:

“I think what’s fantastic is it feels like it’s coming back full circle. I don’t know nothing about the script, the story. I don’t know where Finn’s going, I don’t know where Rey is going, but definitely I feel this is the war to end all wars in this movie. I’m interested to know how he will handle that. I’m asking so many questions and I haven’t had a chance to kinda sit down and write J.J. a message just to say congratulations and I’m stoked. My fixation now is that he needs to get some SLEEP and GEAR UP because we’re doing another one of these movies, mate! But I think he’s gonna do a great job, as always. He’s J.J.”

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‘Star Wars Battlefront II’ Scene Delivers the Final Commands of Emperor Palpatine

Star Wars Battlefront 2 Cinematic Scene

One month before Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues the story of the Skywalker saga, the canon of the Star Wars universe will expand with a new story that fills in the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

Star Wars Battlefront II will include a new campaign mode that tells a canon story in the Star Wars universe from the perspetive of Iden Versio, the leader of a band of Imperial troops known as Inferno Squadron tasked with carrying out the last orders of Emperor Palpatine, left behind in the event of his death. A new cinematic scene from Star Wars Battlefront II shows how Iden Versio receives her orders from the deceased Emperor in the wake of the destruction of the second Death Star.

Watch the Star Wars Battlefront 2 cinematic scene released on the PlayStation YouTube channel:

The clip comes from the aforementioned single player campaign where Iden Versio is at the center of the 30-year quest to avenge the death of the Emperor, continuing to wage war against the New Republic, even in the wake of a crucial loss for the Empire. As you can see, despite the fact that Emperor Palpatine is dead, he has a surrogate hologram (of which there are probably several dispatched) delivering his final orders for the Empire, under the name Operation Cinder.

If that name sounds familiar, that’s because it was a major part of the story in the Marvel Comics series Journey to the Force Awakens: Shattered Empire. The operation calls upon Imperial troops to create chaos on planets across the galaxy by striking them with artificially created environmental disasters in the wake of Emperor Palpatine’s death.

During this scene, we learn that Iden Versio’s father is an Imperial officer, one who has been entrusted with information that the Inferno Squad leader is not yet privy to. In fact, when Versio asks about her next target, the surrogate hologram gets a little aggressive and refuses to indulge information to her. Perhaps this lack of transparency from a hologram of a dead man will create some dissension among the Imperial forces. Maybe even Versio herself will end up turning against the Empire, refusing to take any more orders not give to her by a living commander, turning her from a villain into a hero.

We’ll find out when Star Wars: Battlefront II arrives on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 17, 2017.

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Theme Park Bits: ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ Ride Concept, ‘Star Wars’ Galactic Nights, 35 Years at Tokyo Disneyland


In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • See what a Nightmare Before Christmas ride might have looked like, as envisioned by one Imagineer
  • Cars characters get into the Halloween spirit by dressing up at Disney’s California Adventure
  • The Star Wars: Galactic Nights event is returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Get details on how Universal Studios and Legoland are incorporating VR worldwide
  • The parent company of Louis Vuitton is bringing a steampunk theme park to Paris
  • Details for Tokyo Disneyland’s 35th-anniversary celebration have been announced
  • And more!

First, a few follow-ups from last week. In case you were not already sold on visiting Disney’s California Adventure for Halloween (and c’mon, you should be, even NASA scientists have turned out), Disney Parks Blog has shared some nifty photos of the Cars characters in costume. On Twitter, they also posted a pic of the Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house at Disneyland Park.


Fans of this seasonal version of the ride, based on Tim Burton’s 1993 stop-motion musical, might get a kick out of seeing old concept art for a Nightmare Before Christmas attraction that never came to be. The design above comes by way of Disney Imagineer Christopher Merritt. Disney and More has some additional illustrations posted.

In another life, perhaps, we could have had coffin ride vehicles. Alas, parkgoers in Anaheim will just have to make due with the sight of grim grinning ghosts. Or they can always bask in the return glow of a new and improved Fantasmic!which still boasts the best black dragon of any show by that name.


Over on the East Coast, meanwhile, the Walt Disney Presents gallery has now opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The full model for next summer’s Toy Story Land is on display. Inside the Magic also has video of some concept art for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, as well as the first available part of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge model.

On December 16, the day after Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters, Hollywood Studios will be hosting a sequel of its own for Star Wars: Galactic Nights. This special, one-night-only event, which requires a separate admission ticket, will allow fans to don costumes and enter the park — on a red carpet, no less — for an epic Star-Wars-themed party.


In addition to the regular Star Wars attractions on offer at Hollywood Studios, there will be an interview with one of the stars of the franchise, as well as a panel discussion on the future of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. And get this: there will be Ewoks on hand, and a DJ, meaning the whole thing could theoretically dissolve into a teddy bear luau like at the end of Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars fans, this is your chance to celebrate the love (yub, yub)! Galactic Nights lasts from 7:00 p.m. to midnight. You can find more information about it on Tickets are available on the Disney World website.

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See the New Trailer For ‘Star Wars Rebels’ Fourth and Final Season

Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Trailer

The Rebellion is far from over, but it’s time for Star Wars Rebels…to end.

The Disney XD series will wrap up its fourth and final season, following the weary and embattled crew of the Ghost as they finally join up with the larger Rebellion that we know from the original trilogy. The new trailer for the fourth season teases just that, as well as more Thrawn and surprise appearances from the Imperial villains of Rogue One.

The trailer touches base with all of the crew members of the Ghost, with Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar) paying back her people for their help, aspiring Jedi Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) seeking out guidance from the Force and encountering some mystical Force wolves, Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) struggling to cope with his blindness, and Ghost pilot Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall) seeing her career in the Rebellion begin to take off.

Star Wars anthology film Rogue One will play a more prominent part in this season, as Star Wars Rebels follows the timeline just before Rogue One takes place. One such connection is Director Orson Krennic, the Death Star special weapons supervisor played by Ben Mendelsohn, getting name-dropped in the trailer — though don’t expect to see an animated Mendelsohn grace the series with his appearance.

It’s always fun to make it feel like it’s part of this big world,” Star Wars Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni told Entertainment Weekly in an interview about the upcoming season. “But the cape alone would be half my budget, just to make it flow.”

However, Rogue One character Saw Gerrera (with Forest Whitaker returning to voice the character), whose appearance was cut short in the film, will appear in the series to investigate the possibility of an unknown superweapon being built near Geonosis, according to EW.

But what of the crew of the Ghost, who we have followed for three seasons? They are still recuperating from their great battle with Thrawn, who will still act as the Big Bad of the season despite the Rogue One villains circling the story. Dave Filoni told EW:

“I don’t think of them at the end of season 3 as too victorious, as much as they just got away. They lost a lot of resources, they lost the initiative to have an attack to free the world of Lothal or knock out the Imperial factory there. In the end, yes they got away, but that’s kind of all they got. Now they have a lot less.”

The fourth and final season of Star Wars Rebels premieres on Disney XD on October 16.

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The Coolest ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Items You Can Buy on Force Friday II

Star Wars The Last Jedi Toys

Tonight at midnight will officially begin the onslaught of Star Wars: The Last Jedi merchandise that is Force Friday II. The retail celebration brings the first toys, books, games, clothes, lunchboxes and more that are tied to the upcoming sci-fi sequel from director Rian Johnson. With so many items coming to shelves, we wanted to highlight some of the coolest stuff you’ll be able to get your hands on.

Just so you know, director Rian Johnson has said that he doesn’t think any of the toys being released for Force Friday II have any spoilers in them at all:

So that means you can peruse this story and Star Wars toy aisles to your heart’s content, and you won’t ruin the mysteries of Star Wars: The Last Jedi unless you’re trying to go into the movie without knowing anything at all.

Check out our favorite Star Wars The Last Jedi toys and collectibles below.

Star Wars The Last Jedi Black Series - Luke Skywalker Star Wars The Last Jedi Black Series - Praetorian Guard

Hasbro’s Black Series 6-Inch Figures

These continue to be the best action figures in Hasbro’s huge arsenal of toys. Standing at 6-inches tall, they’re the most detailed and articulated Star Wars figures that you can both easily get your hands on and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. The first wave of Black Series figures will include Luke Skywalker, as seen at the end of The Force Awakens, Rey in her new training gear, Resistance mechanic Rose Tico, Finn in First Order Officer uniform, Kylo Ren, a Praetorian Guard, Poe Dameron, General Leia Organa and Maz Kanata.

Star Wars The Last Jedi Black Series - Admiral Ackbar and First Order Officer Star Wars The Last Jedi Black Series - Executioner Star Wars The Last Jedi Black Series - Stormtrooper Star Wars The Last Jedi Black Series - Snoke Star Wars The Last Jedi Black Series - Praetorian Guard

Those are all the figures that will be available across various retailers, but there are also exclusives you can only get at certain locations. For example, the First Order Stormtrooper Executioner (aka First Order Judicial) will only be available at Target. Meanwhile, that First Order Stormtrooper with the plethora of weapons will only be available on Amazon, and there’s a different version of the Praetorian Guard that you can only get there too. Maybe you’d like a two-pack of Admiral Ackbar and an unnamed First Order Officer can only be bought at Toys R Us. And finally, there’s that awesome Supreme Leader Snoke with his throne you can get at GameStop for $ 35. Be careful though, because some of these exclusives may not be available on Force Friday, but later this fall instead. (via io9 and The Hollywood Reporter)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Elite Series Figures Star Wars: The Last Jedi Elite Series Figures Star Wars: The Last Jedi Elite Series Figures

Disney Store’s Elite Series Figures

Though the Black Series figures may be the best and most affordable, a close second are these die-cast Elite Series figures. These figures are only available from the Disney Store (online and retail locations) or Disney Parks gift shops. The first wave includes Kylo Ren, Luke Skywalker, Rey, R2-D2, First Order Judicial Stormtrooper (Executioner), Praetorian Guard, Chewbacca (with Porgs), Finn, Poe Dameron, Rose Tico (with BB-8), C-3PO, Captain Phasma and Supreme Leader Snoke. (via and Yahoo)

Star Wars Elite Series Die Cast Action Figures inspired by Star Wars: The Last Jedi (characters included: Kylo Ren (unmasked), Rey, Luke Skywalker, First Order Judicial Stormtrooper, Praetorian Guard, R2-D2). A premium line of die cast action figures featuring characters inspired by Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Available exclusively at Disney Store,, and Disney Parks.

Star Wars The Last Jedi Funko POP Vinyl Star Wars The Last Jedi Funko POP Vinyl Star Wars The Last Jedi Funko POP Vinyl Star Wars The Last Jedi Funko POP Vinyl Star Wars The Last Jedi Funko POP Vinyl Star Wars The Last Jedi Funko POP Vinyl Star Wars The Last Jedi Funko POP Vinyl Star Wars The Last Jedi Funko POP Vinyl Star Wars The Last Jedi Funko POP Vinyl

Funko’s POP Vinyl Collection

Of course there are going to be an ample amount of Funko POP Vinyls featuring characters from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The line-up will feature many of the characters from the rest of the action figure lines (not all are shown above), but there are some new ones too, such as Benicio del Toro’s mysterious character DJ. It’s funny that his name isn’t officially DJ, but that’s how he’s being referred to on packaging. Could DJ end up being his real name after all? His hat say something in Aurebesh, but all we can make out is either “Jorn” or “Join” so it could be a phrase or a name. We’ll have to wait and see. Plus, notice that there are two alternate Prateorian Guards, each with different helmets and weapons.

For a closer look at all of the Funko offerings for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, check out this official unboxing video, or head over to Funko’s blog for the full reveal of all of their various little collectible figures.

Star Wars - Rey Premium Lightsaber

Rey’s Premium Lightsaber

There have been plenty of premium lightsabers over the years, and this one was even released as Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber before. But now it’s officially Rey’s and you can get your hands on this latest version of the weapon that’s been handed down from Anakin Skywalker for years for yourself. However, this one is only a Disney Parks exclusive, so make room for it in your vacation luggage.

Star Wars The Last Jedi - Porg Pillow and Chewbacca Blanket

Porg Pillow and Chewbacca Blanket

We can’t help but fall in love with the cute, puffy little Porgs from the planet Ahch-To. We’re hoping that they don’t turn out to be the most annoying little creatures ever and are maybe a little better than the Ewoks. Therefore, we’re cautiously optimistic about this adorable Porg pillow that comes with a blanket featuring Chewbacca and his new little bird friends. Even your aunt might love this Star Wars item from Northwest.

Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

LittleBits Droid Inventor Kit

For any kid who has every wanted to build their own droid but doesn’t have the parts to do so, this little Droid Inventor Kit from LittleBits should do the trick. You can reconfigure parts to come up with your own droid, give it special abilities through the app that works with the kid and take it on missions. It’s perfect for the pint-sized nerd in your life.

Star Wars The Last Jedi - LEGO BB-8 Star Wars The Last Jedi - LEGO TIE Silencer Star Wars The Last Jedi - LEGO Star Destroyer

The Last Jedi LEGO Sets

As always, there are a bunch of new LEGO sets being released in conjunction with The Last Jedi. The first wave includes several new vehicles like the Resistance Transport Pod, the First Order Heavy Scout Walker, Kylo Ren’s TIE Silencer, a Resistance Bomber, the First Order Heavy Assault Walker, the First Order Star Destroyer, and a BB-8 made entirely of LEGO.

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New ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Character Reveal Coming During Force Friday II

Star Wars Force Friday II

We’re just one week away from Force Friday II, the big merchandising event that will see a slew of Star Wars: The Last Jedi toys, clothing, posters, books and more thrown on shelves as part of Disney and Lucasfilm’s massive hype machine that we happily crank up each and every week. While most of the secrets of The Last Jedi will likely be kept intact, it doesn’t mean there won’t be some details gleaned from the event. In fact, part of the Force Friday II promotion will include the reveal of a new character through the “Find the Force” augmented reality event accessed through the official Star Wars app.

Find out more about Star Wars Force Friday II and this special promotion below.

This video explains how you can unlock characters in the Star Wars app by participating in Force Friday II:

As you can see, by scanning the “Find the Force” logo, you’ll unlock characters in the app, almost as if they were trading cards. Apparently at least one of the characters you’ll be able to unlock during the global event that spans three days at 20,000 retail locations spread across 30 countries will be a never-before-seen character from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Will this be a new key character in the Star Wars saga or are we talking about getting a glimpse at another Constable Zuvio here? It’s difficult to say, but it’s a relatively cool way to keep fans active on the Star Wars app while also unlocking new information about the movie.

You can use the Star Wars app right now to get an early look at the Porgs in augmented reality before the treasure hunt for more characters goes live next week for Force Friday II on September 1st. In fact, once you start the treasure hunt, you’ll be able to post photos and videos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtags #FindtheForce and #Sweepstakes throughout that weekend for a chance to win the ultimate fan experience: tickets to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere in December.

If you’re wondering where the best place to go for Force Friday II is going to be, has all the details on the various events and parties that certain retail locations are having. Some establishments like Target, Walmart and Meijer will be opening at midnight to start selling The Last Jedi merchandise immediately. Other retailers have their own exclusives and whatnot too, which you can find about in much more detail right here.

Happy hunting, and may the Force be with you!

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Hasbro’s Star Wars Forces of Destiny Unboxing

Hasbro's Star Wars Forces of Destiny Unboxing

Hasbro’s Star Wars Forces of Destiny unboxing

Last month, Disney and Lucasfilm released a series of Star Wars Forces of Destiny animated shorts featuring the female heroes of the Star Wars galaxy. Now Hasbro has provided the opportunity to do a special Forces of Destiny unboxing featuring dolls of (click links to purchase) Princess Leia and Wicket from Return of the Jedi, Rey and BB-8 from The Force Awakens and Jyn Erso from Rogue One. Check out the unboxing in the gallery below!

RELATED: Sands of Jakku: First Star Wars Forces of Destiny Episode Online

Developed by Lucasfilm Animation, Star Wars Forces of Destiny remains true to the Star Wars canon, showing how choices both big and small ultimately shape the destinies of beloved characters. The animated micro-series is available on Disney YouTube ahead of a two-part TV special featuring eight additional shorts on Disney Channel in fall 2017. Fans will be delighted to hear familiar voices in the series, including: Daisy Ridley (Rey), Felicity Jones (Jyn), Tiya Sircar (Sabine), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano) and Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata).

Star Wars Forces of Destiny will also be supported by global product extensions, such as books, apparel, bedding, and toys – including the new line of ‘Adventure Figures’ created by Hasbro, which bridges the gap between traditional action figures and dolls. Each individually-designed figure features dynamic action, like Rey swinging her lightsaber, along with multiple points of articulation to help recreate the characters’ adventures and heroic moments with different poses.

RELATED: Watch the Ewok Escape Episode of Star Wars Forces of Destiny

“From Princess Leia to Sabine Wren, Star Wars heroines are unique, and we wanted to represent that in the product line for Star Wars Forces of Destiny,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, when the series was first announced. “The result is the creation of our new ‘Adventure Figures’ that celebrate the power and stories of these incredible characters and allow kids to recreate their most heroic moments at home.”

What do you think of Star Wars Forces of Destiny? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Photo: Is Disney Building a Star Destroyer From ‘The Force Awakens’ In Star Wars Land?

star wars finalizer

One of the most amusing things about watching the construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at both Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida has been seeing familiar designs take shape in the middle of active construction sites.

Now, a new Star Wars land construction photo hints at another location guests will probably visit during their journey: the interior of a First Order Star Destroyer.

Like other theme modern park lands, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will offer an immersive experience that includes dining, drinking, shopping, and simply existing in an exacting replication of a beloved fictional world. It will also include two major rides at opening: one that puts you in control of the Millennium Falcon and one that will put you in the middle of a battle between Resistance and First Order forces. The latter, which has become known as the “Battle Escape” ride amongst theme park fans, is our focus today.

Check out the construction photo below from MouseInfo, who note that the distinct shape of that interior wall looks an awful lot like the docking hangar of the Finalizer, the Star Destroyer commanded by Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

There’s not a lot we know for sure about this still untitled (at least in public) attraction, but we do know that it will employ that new-fangled trackless technology that powers next-generation rides like Hong Kong Disneyland’s Mystic Manor and Disneyland Paris’ Ratatouille attraction. Rather than follow the same path every time, this tech allows vehicles to change paths, rotate and turn at different times, and communicate with other vehicles to provide near misses and coordinated movements. It’s cool stuff, especially since the ride vehicles themselves will be “piloted” by an astromech droid.

And it’s those ride vehicles themselves that actually make it pretty clear that this is most likely the Finalizer and that this is most likely the setting of the “Battle Escape” ride. After all, a model of the ride vehicle at D23 noted that vehicle is a “First Order Fleet Transport” and is used to “traverse the interiors of massive ships.” Oh, and they’re programmed with access codes allowing them to get around easily, which is pretty convenient for a theme park ride!

So, Disney is building a ride where guests escape a big battle in a vehicle used to transport First Order troops around ships. And Disney is currently building a structure that looks very much like a Star Destroyer from the new movies. We may not know the specifics, but we can put two and two together: this ride will almost certainly send you driving through the interior of the Finalizer, trying to escape as war rages around you. And past construction photos seemingly promise that First Order walkers will be involved as well.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is currently under construction on both coasts with an estimated 2019 opening date.

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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’: The Bond Between General Leia and Poe Dameron Explained

Carrie Fisher The Last Jedi

In the Star Wars: The Last Jedi behind-the-scenes sizzle reel that debuted at this year’s D23 Expo, Carrie Fisher said the upcoming sequel is powerful because “it’s about family.” Sadly, her words have taken on a whole new meaning in the wake of her sudden death at the end of last year: it will now be about watching the final time this actress – who, for many fans, has felt like a part of their pop culture family for 30 years – steps into the role of Princess-turned-General Leia, one of the most iconic sci-fi heroes ever conceived.

In Entertainment Weekly’s latest barrage of Star Wars news, there’s a story about the bond Leia shares with Oscar Isaac‘s Resistance pilot Poe Dameron, her impact on his growth as a leader, and the vulnerable place we find the Resistance at the start of the new film.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson says that Leia’s character “to some degree or another has been defined by loss through this whole saga, starting with the loss of her home planet. She’s just taken hit after hit, and she’s borne it, and she focuses on moving forward and the task at hand.” In The Last Jedi, Leia is mourning the death of her husband Han Solo, who was murdered at the hands of their son, Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren. The suffering the character has gone through is something that Johnson spoke to Carrie about when he started writing Episode 8.

We’ve previously been told that despite Fisher’s death, her role will not be retroactively changed in this film. But according to Johnson, “watching the film, there’s going to be a very emotional reaction to what she does in this movie.” We’ve also heard that Leia’s impact will be felt for years to come, even though she may never appear on screen in a Star Wars movie again.

Leia’s character in The Last Jedi has a special relationship with X-wing pilot Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac. Poe is “in some ways a surrogate son for Leia,” Isaac tells EW. “But also I think she sees in him the potential for a truly great leader of the Resistance and beyond.” It seems as if Leia is encouraging Poe to take up more of a leadership role in the Resistance:

“Poe’s arc is one of evolving from a heroic soldier to a seasoned leader, to see beyond the single-mindedness of winning the battle to the larger picture of the future of the galaxy,” Isaac says. “I think Leia knows she won’t be around forever and she, with tough love, wants to push Poe to be more than the badass pilot, to temper his heroic impulses with wisdom and clarity.”

Don’t expect the Resistance to fill that void of the Republic, who were destroyed by the Starkiller Base in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Johnson says the Resistance is “a small band that’s now cut off, on its own, and hunted when the Republic is shattered.” The fact that the republic is no more means that the Resistance is “isolated, and they’re very, very vulnerable.” And while the First Order took a huge hit at the end of Episode 7, they are still a massive organization primed to take over the galaxy.

And don’t expect a slow build, either. Johnson mentions that the heat is “immediately turned up on the Resistance,” with everyone being “put in a pressure cooker right away, and relationships crack and strain under that pressure.” I wonder if that includes any friction between Leia and Poe?

Laura Dern The Last Jedi

Meanwhile, Laura Dern’s character, Vice Admiral Holdo, is a commander in the Resistance who likely has a history with Leia Organa. Johnson says part of the fun of this movie is figuring out what Holdo’s relationship is with the other characters in the film. Is she an adversary or a friend? The behind the scenes video that was released at D23 Expo shows Leia and Hondo having what appears to be a very friendly meeting, but maybe there is some underlying deception going on within this small but growing resistance? We do know at some point in the film she picks up a blaster and gets in the middle of some intense action.

The Last Jedi should mark the final time we’ll see Fisher on screen as General Leia; Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy revealed that Episode 9 co-writer/director Colin Trevorrow started over with that script following her death and she won’t be a part of that sequel, so we’ll cherish seeing her one last time in a galaxy far, far away later this year.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theaters on December 15, 2017.

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Theme Park Bits: Updated ‘Pirates’ Video, Star Wars Land Construction, and the Few ‘Fantasmic’

Star Wars Land Model

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Watch video from the new additions to Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Commentary on and photos of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
  • The Great Movie Ride is being sent out in style.
  • The Slinky Dog coaster track has been finished,
  • Retro Epcot merchandise is on the way.
  • Watch full video of the new Fantasmic.
  • And more!

The controversial update (which Imagineers explained at D23) to Pirates of the Caribbean that modifies the scene with the redheaded woman being “auctioned off” to salacious pirates has gone into effect at Disneyland Paris. Now, she’s a pirate herself, overseeing a treasure auction and armed with a rifle. You can watch the first footage of it above, months before this change will take place at other parks.

Even more impressive is the new Captain Barbossa audio animatronic, which transforms from human to skeleton before swinging his sword at passing guests.

The Great Movie Ride is set to close forever on August 13, but D23 Gold Members will be able to send it off in style. This special event begins at 7:15 a.m. at the entrance of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and latecomers will not be allowed to join (so plan carefully). Details remain scarce, but it will be a “behind-the-scenes experience” that comes with breakfast and a special gift.

As The Great Movie Ride closes its doors, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is starting to take shape across the park. Here’s some very interesting construction going on at the location of the Millennium Falcon ride show building.

And while it will be a few more years before we can ride it, here’s a great look at the ride vehicle design for the other Star Wars attraction in that land, which will plunge you into a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

You may remember that highly detailed Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge model from D23. If not, you’ll still enjoy this guided tour of the intricate and gigantic model with Imagineer Scott Trowbridge. If you want to know more about this model and how this land was designed, spoke with Lucasfilm designer Doug Chiang about working on the land:

The process is pretty in-depth, because we’re trying to anchor something that’s very grounded in the Star Wars universe, yet add something new to it. So it’s a very fine line of where that balance should be. For this land in particular, we were very careful because we wanted to create something fresh that would be timeless. You know, like a film, these have to exist for years and years, and so we wanted to make sure that we captured that perfect note. 

One of the interesting challenges for this was to find a world that felt exotic enough, and yet felt familiar. So one of the key things that we did was really play around with scale and the idea of petrified formations. It’s that blend of something that’s exotic, but then exaggerating the scale quite a bit and then creating a whole world based on that one idea. If you look closely, there’s history built into it. There’s history built into the landscape and history built into the structures themselves.

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The post Theme Park Bits: Updated ‘Pirates’ Video, Star Wars Land Construction, and the Few ‘Fantasmic’ appeared first on /Film.


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