If you’re looking for something to read over the weekend, we’ve got you covered. Here’s every review, editorial, list, feature, column, and rant published by the /Film staff and our team of freelancers over the past week.
According to wdwnt.com, Disney is surveying guests about a potential Star Wars resort hotel experience at Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios. The experience, which would take place on an actual Star Wars starship, would include the opportunity for fans to experience a 2-day story set in the Star Wars universe – a continuous, story-driven entertainment experience that unfolds over the course of 2 nights, personal interactions with Star Wars characters, live performers throughout the starship, and other programs like flight training, ship exploration, lightsaber training, and personalized secret missions. The all-inclusive experience would also feature luxury accommodations, all meals, featured entertainment and dinner shows, park admission to the Star Wars themed land at the Walt Disney World Resort (a new land opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019), and access to a pool area and water garden, ﬁtness area, on-board cantina, and robotic droid Butlers. As WDWNT points out, the concept is only a survey at this time, but the existence of concept art and the inclusion of the Star Wars-themed land in the plans probably means they are pretty serious about following through.
In this Celebration-centric edition of Star Wars Bits:
An official video recapping the best moments of Celebration 2017.
Hayden Christensen’s true feelings about sand.
An announcement about the return of the Vintage Collection of toys.
Darth Vader nearly had his own spa on Mustafar in Rogue One.
Star Wars Celebration Orlando was a huge success, and while you can read our news recap of everything you need to know, this slickly-produced official video from the Star Wars YouTube channel is a heartwarming reminder of the joyful fandom that loves these movies so dearly.
Speaking of Celebration, JediNews reports that this year’s event has set a new record as the most highly-attended Star Wars Celebration ever with more than 70,000 attendees. That’s more than the average attendance of an NFL football game. Nice going, fellow nerds!
During an interview, erstwhile Anakin Skywalker actor Hayden Christensen was asked about his true feelings about sand, since his character famously whined about how “irritating” it is in Attack of the Clones. But Christensen was game to answer, and seemed like he had a good sense of humor about it.
If you like original Star Wars radio dramas (and honestly, who doesn’t?), GeekTyrant points us to the full performance of Smuggler’s Revenge, which filmmaker Kyle Newman (Fanboys) directed a live reading of on stage at Celebration. Cast members included David Collins, Catherine Taber, Tom Kane, Vanessa Marshall, Steve Blum, Mathew Wood, Sam Witwer, and Warwick Davis himself in a story about Han Solo set between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.
Last week, Disney and Lucasfilm announced a new contest in their Force For Change initiative, a charity fundraiser through Omaze that gives Star Wars fans the chance to participate in some once-in-a-lifetime movie-related experiences. Today, Omaze released a new video in which fan favorite Warwick Davis, who has played a number of characters across the Star Wars movies, gives a spoiler-free tour of the Han Solo movie set, and the coolest part gives us a peek at a brand new creature from the film. Take a look at the new Star Wars alien below.
Here’s the full video:
And here’s a screengrab of that multi-eyed alien:
I’m far from an expert when it comes to Star Wars aliens, but I certainly know a slick-looking leather jacket when I see one, and this may be the most stylish alien in the galaxy. (Any chance it could be Vin Diesel’s Xander Cage under there?)
While I kinda dig the multi-eye look, I’ve gotta be honest: I wish Lucasfilm’s Imagineers (or whatever their term for designers is) would start pushing some serious weirdness in that galaxy. How many bi-pedal humanoid creatures do they expect us to believe exist out there? I understand the basic concept that it’s easier for audiences to relate to things that look at least a little bit like them, but I’m hoping that as the Star Wars universe continues to expand in the coming years, we start to see stranger and stranger designs.
In any case, each donation you make through Omaze counts as an entry to win three prizes: an overnight stay at the famed Skywalker Ranch, a walk-on role in the upcoming Han Solo movie, and a trip to L.A. to join the cast of The Last Jedi at the world premiere later this year. One grand prize winner (and a guest) will win all three prizes, and the proceeds support UNICEF and the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Han Solo: A Star Wars Story (or whatever its official title will be) arrives in theaters on May 25, 2018.
The fate of fan-favorite character Ahsoka Tano has been kept a mystery since that climactic confrontation in the season two finale of Star Wars Rebels. A whole season has gone by, and it seems like we are no closer to getting any answers. But did the Star Wars Rebels season 4 trailer secretly reveal the fate of the former Jedi? Let’s dive into a new theory that involves some exclusive comments from executive producer Dave Filoni.
The Mystery of Ahsoka’s Fate
The Star Wars Rebels season two finale “Twilight of the Apprentice” ended with a confrontation between Ahsoka and her old master Darth Vader in an ancient Sith temple on Malachor. Ahsoka declares that she is no longer “a Jedi,” which is a convenient excuse to allow the character to survive the series and live on during the New Hope era. But Ahsoka stays within the crumbling temple and stalls Vader, allowing the Ghost crew to escape.
The ending leaves Ahsoka’s fate as a bit of a mystery, with the character following an owl into the darkness just before the temple collapses. Fans have been clamoring for answers ever since. Season 3 of the series has come and gone, and still, we have little to no information about the fate of the former Jedi.
Dave Filoni on Ahsoka’s Fate at Celebration 2017
Star Wars Rebels creator Dave Filoni teased throughout the weekend that he would have information about Ahsoka’s fate at Saturday morning’s Star Wars Rebels Season 4 presentation. But Filoni didn’t say anything about Ahsoka during the panel. He wore a t-shirt that said “AHSOKA LIVES?”, but after they premiered the trailer, he appeared on stage with a slightly modified version of the shirt.
When asked about the t-shirt change during the press conference, Filoni jokingly acted like he didn’t know what the reporter was talking about. But as you can see in the screenshots above, Filoni’s t-shirt changed to “AHSOKA LIVES!” I asked Filoni about Ahsoka in an exclusive interview following the panel, and here is what he told me:
“Well, first of all, the character and the way people feel about her really amazes me. She’s really become this thing within Star Wars that I think transcends Rebels or Clone Wars. People love that character, they believe in that character. They’ve read the book, it’s fantastic, it sold really well. Which is something I was really interested in with the book. I wanted to see could Ahsoka hold her own like any of these major characters who get their own books. So I’m very careful with all of her moves as a character, and what we do. One of the biggest challenges I had was that episode where she has the confrontation with Darth Vader. I was able to think about that for a long time and get it right. I love those episodes. We’ll see. I have to be very careful where I go from here. I feel like there is a lot built up, almost to the point that anything I do won’t satisfy. But I’ve had a plan, and I plan on executing that plan as we move forward, and we’ll see what that means.”
As for what that plan might be, the following is entirely speculation, but the result might line up with reality. So if you don’t want to theorize about how the new trailer may have confirmed Ahsoka’s fate, please turn away now.
What Happened to Ahsoka?
The key to this mystery might lie in a set of 10 digital trading cards that were released for Topps’ Star Wars: Card Trader app. The set was announced at last year’s Star Wars Celebration Europe, with Dave Filoni releasing never-before-seen bold three-color (red, black, and white) artwork depicting the final moments of “Twilight of the Apprentice.”
The cards show Ahsoka walking through a triangular arch into the remains of the temple, and what Filoni has described as her “psychological, subconsciousness” journey “into the underworld.” We see her follow an owl-like creature, known in the Star Wars universe as a convoree, through the water to a set of stairs…her ascension from the underworld perhaps?
The last image in the series shows Ahsoka stepping through what appears to be a portal circled by a series of white Wolves. Could these wolves be the key to solving this mystery?
The Mantis Daughter Theory
/Film reader Alessio Pasquali points out that the convoree might be a reference to the Mortis arc from The Clone Wars. That series featured two Force users, Daughter and Son, who could transform into animals – a griffin and gargoyle. Ahsoka is poisoned by the Son and becomes a servant of evil. In order to save her, the Daughter sacrifices her own life, giving over her remaining life force to the Jedi.
In the season two finale of Star Wars Rebels, we saw a convoree fly by just as Ahsoka walked towards the arches in the temple. Could this convoree be a visualization of Daughter from Mortis? The winged, owl-like bird shows up twice in the series: once in “The Mystery of Chopper Base” right as Ahsoka and Ezra are getting ready to depart for Malachor, and again after we see Ahsoka’s retreating in the temple.
Is Ahsoka the Wolf in the Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Trailer?
And then we can jump back to this weekend, where DisneyXD premiered the trailer for the fourth and final season of Star Wars Rebels. For the most part, the trailer is character-based with no big visual surprises. But after the voice over reveals “we never imagined it would end like this,” we see a shot of Ezra and Sabine riding a mythical looking white wolf through the foggy darkness.
Remember that last piece in Dave Filoni’s art series featuring Ahsoka walking through a portal surrounded by white wolves. Is it possible that Ahsoka now has the power to transform herself into this wolf-like creature? Before coming upon this theory, I asked Filoni about the wolf in the trailer, and he laughed:
“It’s in there because I love wolves, and I think I’ve threatened to put wolves in Star Wars and the Story Group all know that I love wolves. It was really all of them saying let’s do this. And in the very beginning of the show, season one when I was working with Greg Weisman, Ezra says a little rhyme: ‘Loth-cat, Loth-cat, Loth-wolf run. Pick a path and all is done.’ And so it really cues into that. Loth-wolves are a thing that have been there and we’ll find out why we haven’t seen them. It’s exciting. It’s something ever since Carroll Ballard’s Never Cry Wolf, which was a film that hugely inspired me as a kid. I’ve always been interested in, and I’ve found a way to weave them in to the tapestry of this story. I won’t say what they are about. I’m glad people are interested in them, and that’s probably a good thing. We’ll have to see where it goes.”
What do you think? Is Ahsoka the Loth-Wolf? Star Wars Rebels season 4 will premiere on DisneyXD in Fall 2017.
When Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought the sci-fi saga back in a big way, Star Wars invaded every type of media you could think of, from comics to TV shows to video games. The latter resulted in the revival of one of the most popular video game franchises to take place in a galaxy far, far away: Star Wars Battlefront.
Though Star Wars Battlefront was a big bestseller before The Force Awakens hit theaters, the game ended up disappointing even some hardcore Star Wars fans by not having a campaign mode (creating fast boredom) and having some clunky gameplay, both as a soldier on the ground and as a pilot in space. Thankfully, it sounds like all those problems will be resolved when Star Wars Battlefront II arrives later this year.
Watch the full Star Wars Battlefront 2 trailer and get details on the video game sequel below.
A teaser trailer for Star Wars Battlefront IIleaked a few days before it was meant to debut at Star Wars Celebration, where a much longer, more revealing trailer (watch above) revealed plenty of new details on the game. The panel from the convention also provided us with even more information, especially on the anticipated single player campaign mode. So let’s start with that part of the game.
Star Wars Battlefront II Campaign Mode
Easily the most exciting aspect of Star Wars Battlefront II is the new single player campaign. Rather than having a story that follows someone on the Rebel Alliance, as many Star Wars video games have done before, we’ll be following a female special forces Imperial soldier named Iden Versio (played by Janina Gavankar), the leader of an elite group known as Inferno Squad. If that sounds familiar, it’s because they’re also getting their own Star Wars book this summer.
Iden Versio has been raised on Imperial beliefs and propaganda for her entire life, growing up on a new planet created specifically for the game called Vardos. It’s an Imperial haven that is the perfect breeding ground to brainwash new recruits into joining the Empire and fighting for the cause. The Inferno Squad can do anything and everything, but they find themselves at a loss when the second Death Star is destroyed as seen in Return of the Jedi.
The campaign will follow Iden (who has a flying droid sidekick) and her squad as they try to avenge the Emperor and maintain control of the galaxy during the 30 year period that exists between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Here’s how the campaign is officially described on the Star Wars Battlefront II website:
Forge a new path as Iden Versio, commander of Inferno Squad—an Imperial special forces unit equally lethal on the ground and in space. Encounter many of Star Wars ‘ greatest characters in a story of revenge, betrayal, and redemption that spans 30 years.
Though Iden Versio will be the main character of the campaign, you’ll still get a chance to play as Star Wars icons like Luke Skywalker, as well as one of the awesome new additions to the game, Kylo Ren.
New and Improved Multiplayer Battles
Along with the new campaign mode, the coolest thing about Star Wars Battlefront II is that it spans all eras of Star Wars. Players will be able to take part in massive 40-player fights in locations all across the Star Wars galaxy. That means there will be characters, vehicles and locations from the prequels, the original trilogy and the ongoing sequel trilogy. Though there will be some pieces of the Clone Wars included, there was no word on whether any characters or vehicles from Star Wars Rebels would make it into Star Wars Battlefront II, at least not yet.
There will be new vehicles in space and on land (for example, you’ll get to ride a tauntaun this time), though you’ll have to unlock them for use by achieving various gameplay goals in a given round as opposed to just stumbling upon a power up in the level like the current game. DICE enlisted the developer Criterion, who worked on the Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission to help create ships and vehicles that control well in combat, something that was a little difficult to master in the first Star Wars Battlefront.
As for the soldiers themselves, players will be able to upgrade and customize their troopers with new weapons, abilities and other customized details. There will also be classes introduced to the multiplayer mode this time, likely unlocking more weapons and abilities as you continue to play.
Furthermore, the major Star Wars heroes and villains who will be playable (and not just used a power-ups during battle anymore) can also be customized and upgraded. Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren, Rey, Yoda and Darth Maul are just some of the Star Wars icons confirmed to be included in the game, and you’ll be able to give them distinct abilities to make them even more powerful. And don’t worry, because soldiers will have their own upgrades available that allow them to stand a chance facing the heroes, unlike the first game where they were extremely difficult to kill.
All of these details regarding Star Wars Battlefront II have the makings of a sequel that improves upon all of the shortcomings of the original game. It would appear that EA listened to everything fans said they wanted from a new Star Wars Battlefront game and added them to Battlefront II. We’ll find out when the game hits PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One on November 17.
Thanks to io9 and Polygon for providing us with specifics on the game from the Star Wars Celebration panel that took place this past weekend.
It’s an unfortunate given when you do a prequel series that you have to explain where your never-before-seen characters are during the action of the main franchise. This is something the Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars creators have struggled with — and the show’s fans have worried over — as the Disney XD animated series prepares to draw to a close with its upcoming fourth season.
Spoilers for Star Wars Rebels ahead.
The easiest solution to explain the absence of vibrant, beloved characters whose adventures take place before the original Star Wars films, is to kill them off. We can call this the Rogue One strategy. But what’s the point of having a rich, expanded universe if you don’t occasionally hint at its dense mythology?
Interestingly, it is Rogue One that reveals the fate of several Rebels character after the final season. The mention of “General Syndulla” and a quick glimpse of the droid Chopper and the ship TheGhost in the first “Star Wars Story” film seemingly ensure that certain members of the cast survive the fourth and final Rebels season.
Hera Syndulla in particular may even The Last Jedi, thanks to the Forces of Destiny animated shorts designed to highlight female heroes. The shorts are considered part of official canon and Rebels voice actress Vanessa Marshall is reprising her role as Hera Syndulla alongside Princess Leia in a short set during the events of Return of the Jedi, as Entertainment Weekly describes:
“Perhaps most intriguing to movie fans will be the story set on the Ewok moon of Endor from Return of the Jedi. Although plot details are under wraps, Hera Syndulla from Rebels and Princess Leia team up for an adventure with Han Solo – and lots of little furballs carrying primitive weapons.”
It’s exciting stuff. And if Hera, Chopper and the rest of the Ghost crew do make it past the Rebels season finale, there are options for them to become fully realized on the big screen in more Star Wars anthology films, or even to appear alongside beloved main heroes like Rey and Luke.
How Thrawn Almost Changed the Course for Rogue One
But what of the not-so-nice characters from Rebels? It turns out Grand Admiral Thrawn was a major unseen force in Rogue One, with the actions of the blue-skinned villain having repercussions in the live-action world.
In the third season finale of Rebels, Grand Admiral Thrawn decimated the Rebels in a devastating battle, the repercussions of which reverberated throughout the galaxy. In fact, the effects of that big battle was one of the reasons the Rebel Alliance didn’t trust Jyn Erso right away and send the Alliance to Scarif, Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni said.
“You see the after effect of [Thrawn’s victory] in Rogue One. They’re really hesitant to actually fight. It takes a lot to draw them out because they lost.”
The fourth and final season of Star Wars Rebels starts in Fall. Rogue One is out now on Blu-ray.
Perhaps the biggest mystery leftover from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with the exception of Luke Skywalker’s recent past, is the question regarding the identity of Rey’s parents. Fans have debated and theorized as to whether she’s the daughter of Luke Skywalker, the estranged daughter of Han Solo and Leia Organa, a descendant of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine or some random girl who just so happens to be Force sensitive. Thankfully, it sounds like that mystery will be addressed in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Here’s an interview clip where director Rian Johnson was asked whether we find out who are Rey’s parents:
For those who can’t watch the video, director Rian Johnson is at first leery about saying anything about Rey’s parents, but then responds cautiously and cryptically, “It’s something that’s going to be addressed in the movie.” When the interviewer follows up by asking if there would be clarification as to whose Rey’s parents are, Johnson starts to answer, “It depends on – I can’t say. I was about to say something. You almost got me!”
Johnson fell back to repeating, “It will absolutely be addressed in the movie. It’s tough, because this is the other element of the secrecy of it all. There are lots of surprises in this movie. There [are] lots of twists and turns, and I really want people to experience those when they see the movie for the first time. How we address that and how you feel about it and what happens with that is one of them.”
There’s no real way to discern what that means yet, but it’s almost as if Rey’s parentage doesn’t have an easy explanation as most fans have though. Perhaps when Rian says her parentage will be addressed, he means that we’ll learn about who they are without necessarily finding out specifically who they are.
One interesting tidbit that supports that train of thought came from an interview with Daisy Ridley at Star Wars Celebreation this weekend, which further indicates that we might not learn exactly who Rey’s parents are in this movie, though they will be addressed in some form. Speaking with MTV, Ridley was asked about her reaction when she found out who Rey’s parents were. She thinks for a moment and then responds:
“The one thing I have seen, because I did some ADR last week and saw a clip of something that I didn’t know was going to happen in it. I was like ‘Oh, wow. Okay.’ I think quite a few questions that people have are answered in this.”
That tells us literally nothing about who Rey’s parents are, but it does tell us that Daisy Ridley may not yet be privy to the identity of her character’s parents. If she did ADR (automatic dialogue replacement, or looping) for a clip that she hadn’t seen, then it sounds like there’s a scene that she didn’t appear in but has some kind of voiceover part in it. That means this could be some kind of revealing Force vision or a flashback of some sort where the audience learns something about Rey’s past as she talks about it, but maybe she didn’t fully understand as a child.
One theory that seems to have gone out the window at this point is Rey being Luke’s daughter. In another interview with Fandango, Daisy Ridley confirmed that Luke has no idea who Rey is. That doesn’t guarantee that she’s not Luke’s daughter, but that seems rather unlikely, especially since Mark Hamill even made a remark “accidentally” referring to Daisy Ridley as his daughter during The Last Jedi panel before changing his tune. It was an intentionally made joke, and if that were true, he likely wouldn’t make a joke about it, despite it being a funny way of fueling the fan theories and keeping the mystery intact.
As of now, I’m thinking that maybe we learn that Rey was orphaned at a young age, but we don’t know where she came from before that. Maybe Rey doesn’t even know who her real family is and that’s a mystery she’ll have to uncover herself with the rest of us. At this point, anything is possible, and we’ll just have to suffer for another seven months before we get the answer.