(May 4, 2019) BREAKING: "Journey To: The Rise Of Skywalker" Books and Comics Unveiled

May the 4th be with you indeed! Today StarWars.Com released a rundown of all of the upcoming “Journey To: The Rise Of Skywalker” stories. With 21 upcoming stories of various forms being revealed, I will not cover all of them, but I will give a rundown of some of the big ones. For the full list check here

What becomes obvious immediately is that Lucasfilm is willing to pull the curtain back quite a bit here. With the time between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, there was such a small amount of in-universe time that passed, and an unwillingness to unveil much prior to The Force Awakens.  This time around all bets seem to be off, with stories about our leads set continuing significantly past when we last saw them, and a direct emphasis of the war going on. It reminds me a lot of the massive Clone Wars Multimedia Project after Attack of the Clones was released.

“In this Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novel, Poe Dameron, General Leia Organa, Rey, and Finn must struggle to rebuild the Resistance after their defeat at the hands of the First Order in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

“On the run since the destruction of the Starkiller Base, General Leia and the remaining handful of Resistance have barely managed to survive, much less strike back against the superior forces of the First Order. Running low on options, Leia decides to reach out to her former allies, the Mon Calamari, whose shipyards once powered the Rebel Alliance.”

“Join Finn, Poe, and BB-8 on a dangerous-but-necessary mission for the struggling Resistance. With over twenty possible outcomes, readers will have to choose to carefully in order to keep Finn, Poe, and BB-8 safe from the evil First Order.”

“When a distress plea goes up from the isolated planet Minfar, Resistance heroes Rey, Poe, and Rose hear the call! Together they will face down a First Order battalion, terrifying flying creatures, and a weapon that could change the course of the war!”

“In a series of original stories, the mighty Wookiees of Kashyyyk must defend their home against the armies of the evil First Order. Plus, R2-D2, C-3PO, and BB-8 team-up on a top-secret spy adventure for the Resistance.”

Among these stories set after Episode 8, there is an exciting amount of direct conflict between the First Order and The Resistance. This war between them does not even have a name yet, and past the Cold War, has not had much in the way of real concerted moves by the Resistance. It will be nice to see what our heroes can do when actively campaigning against the First Order. 

On top of that the Adventures issues and Marvel’s “Allegiance” show aliens getting directly involved. It is sad that both the OT and ST did not have many aliens in the ranks of their heroes till their third films, but better late than never to show that far far more than humans are fighting back. 

As for “Spark of The Resistance” it would not be a “Journey To” series without Phil Noto’s amazing artwork, would it?  There is also another adult novel that will be set right before Force Awakens. 

“In this Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker young adult novel set just before The Force Awakens, a restless teenager sets out to discover what connection his mysterious Force powers have to the fabled Jedi and what the Force has in store for him.”

It is anyone’s guess as to if the protagonist is Kylo or not. The character on the cover seems to be him, with his armor in particular being visible. However Kylo seemed more or less involved in his orders given what we learned from Resistance and other sources, so why he would be restless and trekking about without his mask right before TFA is suspect. That and of course Kylo is not a teenager just before TFA, he was 29 at that point. 

Now for non-narrative books. 

“This fully updated, comprehensive, and detailed encyclopedia explores the characters, creatures, locations, vehicles, and technology found throughout the entire Star Wars galaxy. Ultimate Star Wars New Edition is an in-depth visual guide packed full of exhaustive information about Star Wars, including The Last Jedi, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Star Wars: Resistance and a sneak peek at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

With the previous Ultimate Star Wars, being written for Legends and then released during canon with added canon material leading to it being the most divisive and confusing source in the Disney-Era. This new version that knows what it is from day one, will be a godsend for those of us who have argued day and night over the original. 

“Go behind the scenes of the biggest movie franchise of all time in this immersive and interactive book to see how the most iconic vehicles in the galaxy—from the Millennium Falcon to X-wings and TIE fighters to AT-ATs and the Death Star—were created and used in the films of the Star Wars saga. This collectible book includes special interactive elements, including six-page booklets, accordion folds, and flaps that reveal the magic behind the movies with concept sketches, molds, digital imagery and more! Plus, get a sneak peek at some of the vehicles from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker!”

As a fleet junkie this is set to be my new bible, though I do lament the lack of Prequel content on the cover. I get that the PT did not have the same focus on (say it with me) “real sets, practical effects”, but it did some great design stories and the work put into digital models is just as time consuming and skillful as physical models. Yes there is one image of the Tribubble Bongo there, and  I am sure that content will be in there, but with all the images for ST and OT content; only one being dedicated to the three films worth of painstaking work on digital and some physical models is genuinely frustrating.  ROTJ gets the big picture, and a small one of the speeder, couldn’t the speeder be replaced with the speeder from AOTC which was practical, or the ETA-2s from ROTS? 

“The official behind-the-scenes concept, production, and post-production art for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Go inside the creative process behind the most anticipated film of the century. The latest trilogy in the Star Wars film series brings the Skywalker Saga to a close and The Art of The Rise of Skywalker will take readers into the creative process behind visualizing the epic worlds, creatures, characters, costumes, weapons and vehicles of the landmark conclusion more than 40 years in the making.”

The final line of the synopsis could easily just be about this being the end of the Skywalker saga, but I really hope it means that this book will be giving us an in depth look at all the original ideas tossed around during the filming of the Original Trilogy that never got used. A lot of stuff about Palpatine changed back and forth even during the shooting of ESB and ROTJ, so some clarification and possibly unseen transcripts would be amazing. 

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary is a 200-page definitive guide to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, revealing the characters, creatures, droids, locations, and technology from the new film. Packed with 500+ images and information, plus cross-sections of new vehicles, as penned by Star Wars scribe Pablo Hidalgo, it’s a must-have for all fans who want to go beyond the movie experience.”

It appears this will be a combination of the “Incredible Cross-Sections” and the Visual Dictionaries. I liked how expansive the TLJ ICS was able to be, but yeah in terms of cost it is good that we will be able to get both in one book like Rogue One did. 

(March 27, 2019) BREAKING: Star Wars Dooku: Jedi Lost Audio Drama Announced

Star Wars has had a long history of audio books for prose, comics, and films going back to the 1980s. Now Star Wars is about to take those decades of well produced audio adaptations to the natural evolution: audio dramas. Today March 27th official Del Rey twitter account unveiled an original audio story from Penguin Random House Audio focused on Ventress discovering Count Dooku’s past.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Let&#39;s try something new.<br><br>STAR WARS DOOKU: JEDI LOST by <a href="https://twitter.com/cavanscott?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cavanscott</a> our first AUDIO ORIGINAL story, with <a href="https://twitter.com/PRHAudio?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PRHAudio</a>, following Asajj Ventress as she delves into the mysterious past of Count Dooku.<br><br>Created with a full cast. On-sale in audio on APRIL 30th<br><br>(art by <a href="https://twitter.com/AmcbToraidhe?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AmcbToraidhe</a> ) <a href="https://t.co/T2M2tCDpRp">pic.twitter.com/T2M2tCDpRp</a></p>&mdash; Star Wars Books (@DelReyStarWars) <a href="https://twitter.com/DelReyStarWars/status/1110983857912856579?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 27, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Along with a synopsis for the story

Writer Cavan Scott may be familiar to Star Wars fans from his work on IDW’s Star Wars: Adventures comics. the Tales From Vader’s Castle mini, and the Adventures in Wild Space novels. Tales from Vader’s Castle issue 2 heavily involved Dooku, however Cavan’s credentials for this project have more to do with his wealth of work for Big Finish Productions.

Big Finish is famous for their massive library of Doctor Who audio dramas that started up during “The Wilderness Years” between the end of the original show’s run and the 2005 relaunch. Big Finish continues today with a heavily interconnected universe of Doctor Who stories, that use the original casts, including modern actors and any classic series actor.

Cavan Scott wrote several Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 audio dramas for Big Finish, so his professional work with this underused medium makes him an amazing choice. Personally I am a strong supporter of bringing back the audio exclusive format, and thus seeing Star Wars fully dip it’s toes into original audio stories is great news.

 As for the story itself, Dooku’s past is something that has rarely received much in the way of direct attention. There have certainly been a wellspring of stories with him alluding to it, or it being discussed with the most fascinating of snippets, but never a full story set during his time as a Jedi focused on him. Fan outcry for such a story has been a constant since AOTC, but especially with the fascinating glimpses we saw in the works of Jude Watson and James Luceno.

Above all else, the ties to Dooku’s time as a Jedi, and relationship with Yoda are the backbone of my favorite Star Wars story bar-none: Yoda” Dark Rendezvous by Sean Stewart. So if Cavan Scott can make me feel even a sliver of the emotions about Yoda, Dooku, Ventress, and the nature of master and apprentice; that that book did, then we are all in for a treat.

(Apr 12, 2019) BREAKING Star Wars Episode 9: Rise of Skywalker Title and Teaser revealed at Celebration

The first panel for this year’s Star Wars Celebration Chicago was entirely focused on the final installment of the sequel trilogy. With Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and the cast present for the first real reveal for episode IX, the purported finale to the Skywalker Saga. Hosted by The Late Show’s Stephan Colbert.

So throughout the panel we got several nice photos of the sets and costumes and the character name for Naomi Ackie’s character: Jannah. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adzYW5DZoWs (IX Trailer Edit Out)

So the teaser, first thing is first; we get a good look at Rey as a Jedi knight while Luke monologues about the legacy of the Jedi being on her shoulders. Rey’s lightsaber is repaired though given Daisy keeping it vague in the panel makes one wonder if she will get another one. 

The planet that was shot in Jordan features heavily, there is still no real way of telling if it is a location we have seen before, though it really easily could be Tatooine. We see all kinds of tech in the sequence there with our heroes fighting against some sort of TIE speeder, jetpacked Stormtroopers, whilst riding a very cobbled together speeder. 

During the panel several aliens were shown, some of which appear to be connected to the Resistance given gear similarities. With the new alien in the picture with Snap being confirmed by JJ to be an ally of the Resistance. Seeing more alien diversity among the heroes is always good.

The Resistance itself does not feature in full force directly, but what seems to be an A-wing landing at a Resistance stronghold city is shown, as well as those aforementioned aliens shown during the panel who seem to have Resistance-esq gear. There is also Kylo fighting against Resistance troopers in a forest. There is also a sequence with an A-wing flying through a battle by what seems to be a Resistance or Republic (given the colors) Imperial Class 1 Star Destroyer.

Kylo is not wearing his helmet in the forest fight, however we do know he will be using it after it is repaired with some red glue holding it together. The teaser shows a furry-handed short creature fixing the helmet, though I have no clue if that corresponds to any revealed aliens for the film. 

Said forest may actually be Endor, which almost certainly is the location of that final shot with what seems to be a chunk of the Death Star IIs dish. The idea of a partly submerged DSII was something tossed around during the earliest concept art days for The Force Awakens. 

A glimpse of how Leia will be worked into the film using footage of Carrie from TFA is shown. It seems there was a scene of her looking at Han’s Medal of Bravery from A New Hope, as well as inserting IX Daisy into the scene in which the two hug from TFA.. 

Rose does not appear to be in the teaser, however the panel did provide a photo of how she will look in the film, and it appears she will still be a part of the main cast. She has not been in many set photos which gave pause to some, however ideally this is just due to the sheet depth of content we are yet to see. 

Billy Dee Williams was present at the panel, with a photo of him on set being show; though eclipsed by the moment in the trailer with him laughing while flying the Falcon with Chewie.

Billy Dee Williams was present at the panel, with a photo of him on set being show; though eclipsed by the moment in the trailer with him laughing while flying the Falcon with Chewie.

Dark Empire, love it or hated, has become a punching bag over the years, at times simply over bringing Palpatine back. It is nice to see the concept getting new life, it was an idea Lucas was on board with after all when Veitch did it in the 90s. Any story can work, you just have to make it work. 

On a final note, the title: Rise of Skywalker. Much like The Last Jed there are so many possible meanings and/or subjects for that the title could refer to. The safest bet is that Skywalker is symbolic, continuing on from Episode 8 with the theme of Luke becoming a legend fully.