STAR WARS: Expectations Until Celebration
There’s not a lot of big things happening in the world of Star Wars this month, as February tends to be a down month in the ongoing Disney cycle of promotion. Star Wars: Rebels is on hiatus, but will actually return in time to finish off the season ahead of Star Wars Celebration. It’s looking more and more like Star Wars Celebration will be the first time we see footage from The Last Jedi, but it might not be a trailer, and Celebration is likely also the first time we’ll get some real news and a plot description about the currently-in-production Han Solo movie, which we got a Billie Dee Williams tidbit about this week!
The Last Jedi Celebration Expectations.
First things first – let’s set some expectations for the first look at The Last Jedi, which – if rumors end up being correct – will not be a trailer, but will be a Behind The Scenes sizzle reel, much like the one Rogue One got at Star Wars Celebration: London. There were a few people posting ridiculous rumors about exactly when a The Last Jedi trailer would drop during the Superbowl last Sunday (“it’ll be the first commercial during the first break during the first possession!”), that ended up being hogwash. The real rumblings are that because Star Wars Celebration Orlando happens earlier in April than London happened in 2016 that it makes the most sense to debut The Last Jedi there to the Star Wars faithful. It wouldn’t be out of character for the first trailer to show up at the end of an Episode VIII Celebration panel, but the first footage we’re going to get of The Last Jedi will likely be, like, Mark Hamill standing on a fake rock in the wind and the Skywalker theme playing.
The Maul-Man Cometh
Which means we’re in a dry period for Star Wars news with Star Wars: Rebels on hiatus before dumping the final seven episodes on us. We know we’re going to be coming back to finish up the story of Sabine confronting the Mandalorians about joining the Rebel Alliance, but new episode titles and descriptions for the last five episodes reveal a bit of a surprise: We’re going to get to the Obi-Wan Kenobi/Darth Maul showdown before the big, season-ending two-parter. I would have thought that they’d save the big lightsaber fight for the finale like they did with season two’s Vader/Ashoka showdown, but apparently there are bigger fish to fry in the two-parter this time:
3×18 “Secret Cargo” – Airing 3/04/2017
When a routine refueling mission goes wrong, the Ghost crew find themselves transporting an important rebel leader across the galaxy, pursued by Imperial warships.
3×19 “Double Agent Droid” – Airing 3/11/2017
Chopper and AP-5 team up to infiltrate an Imperial station to steal needed codes, but an Imperial specialist turns the droids against the crew to cause chaos.
3×20 “Twin Suns” – Airing 3/18/2017
Reacting to a vision of Maul, Ezra defies Hera and Kanan to travel to a remote planet in hopes of stopping the former Sith lord from carrying out his plans.
3×21 – “Zero Hour – Part One” – Airing 3/25/2017
In final preparations for their attack on Lothal, Phoenix Squadron’s plans are disrupted when Grand Admiral Thrawn discovers their location.
3×22 “Zero Hour- Part Two” – Airing 3/25/2017
Trapped on Atollon with the rebel base under siege, Hera and Kanan fight to keep the squadron alive, as Ezra attempts to rally help from an unexpected source.
I’m interested to see who the Rebel Leader is in “Secret Cargo” considering the preceding episode “Through Imperial Eyes” will deal with Agent Kallus’s new position. After that, I’m less psyched to pause for a droid episode (third verse, same as the second and the first!) before finally diving into whatever happens between Maul and Obi-Wan. It’s going to be interesting to see if Ezra’s “help from an unexpected source” in the finale has to do with the outcome of that battle…also – JEEZ, we just get to see that battle. Can it be the whole half-hour? I’d give up the droid episode.
The third season of Rebels wraps up on March 25th, which only gives us a few weeks until Star Wars Celebration Orlando begins on April 13th and will probably include a Star Wars: Rebels season four panel. That’s going to be a point of key interest as it sounds like Rebels might end itself after season four, when it shows us another angle of Rogue One’s Battle over Scariff. Presumably that will be around late winter/early spring next year, when we’re all concerned with the sequel trilogy timeline – they’re gonna pull us back to Scariff!
Bob Iger’s Legacy
It may feel like a weird time to be thinking that far ahead in Star Wars promotion, but that’s already begun as evidenced by Bob Iger’s comments during a Disney investors financial update meeting. Probably most shocking is that Iger said he might extend his tenure as Disney CEO for a third time, some are speculating this is so he can oversee the expansion of Star Wars fully under the Disney umbrella. Iger let slip that he’s already seen a cut of The Last Jedi and that it’s a beautiful continuation of “the Skywalker Saga” (don’t read into it!). Together with the official announcement that the Star Wars sections of Disneyland and Disney World will both open in 2019 to the general public (AKA, the year the sequel trilogy ends and Disney proves they saved Star Wars). Not to get to business-y on you, but that’s a hell of an Iger legacy at Disney, especially after he followed up Michael Eisner, who ballooned Disney’s park holdings under his tenure and oversaw the revival of Disney feature animation (“oversaw” being a key term – check out the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty for more). It’s hard to run a giant company who controls some of the most profitable properties of all time….writes Da7e trying not to acknowledge Pirates of the Caribbean even though the last one made a billion dollars, what-is-wrong-with-people.
While we’re still talking about marketing, an interesting rumor hit JediBibliothek (via SWNN) regarding product for The Last Jedi. The rumor is that the “Force Friday” for Episode VIII is being scheduled on Friday September 1st. That seems like a long way off, but lines up pretty nicely with previous Force Fridays. I’m not saying plan to get your new Kylo Ren figure with his cool Vader-like cape (that he wears in this new one) by standing in line months in advance, but I AM saying maybe don’t go to Burning Man this year, you’ll miss Force Friday. Plus, I hear Burning Man is “over.”
She-3PO and The Falcon
That’s about all there is to report on the “new” side of Star Wars, except, you know, the young Han Solo movie. This new Star Wars Anthology film, being shot under the working title “Red Cup” because RED SOLO CUPS, GET IT?!?! Started production at the end of January and is going strong. The recent bit of casting news is that Fleabag star Pheobe Waller-Bridge is joining the project in a “CGI” heavy role, which likely means a performance capture role. My podcast co-hosts have shorthanded this unknown character She-3PO, because it sounds like she’s going to be a droid, although I wouldn’t count “alien” out of the mix just yet either. I don’t mean to be a species-ist of the Star Wars Universe, but when we gonna get a Twi’lek in live action that isn’t a momentarily glimpsed side character?
The new stars of Han Solo have met with the old stars of Han Solo, which included Billie Dee Williams meeting with Donald Glover to talk about Lando. Although mostly tight lipped, Williams did mention the interaction in an interview with THR for the Lego Batman Movie:
You recently had lunch with Donald Glover. What’d you talk about?
He’s a very delightful young man, I must say. We had a very nice lunch and we talked for a very long time and it was very easy. He had questions about [Lando]. I guess he was doing what normal actors do, they just want to find out what direction they want to take so they gather their information. So, we just sat and talked and I didn’t want to impose on anything he wanted to do, he’s got his own ideas, I would imagine. I know he has his own ideas. He’s a very talented young man. In fact, I was listening to some of his music [Childish Gambino, Glover’s musical alter-ego] and it’s pretty good stuff.
What type of ideas was he proposing?
Not to any great extent, I think he basically just wanted to see me, meet me, get to know me a little bit and probably figure out a way to use me in developing his character.
And towards the end, the part that confirms the brief synopsis of what the movie is about (!!!):
Have you talked to Harrison Ford about his thoughts on watching his character played by someone else?
Yeah, this one is about how we established our relationship and the question of the Millennium Falcon. I have not spoken with him, he’s too busy.
After spending the years 1983-2016 not giving Millennium Falcon fans much to go on, the new Disney era of Star Wars is really into making sure Star Wars’ iconic hunk-of-junk stays the most important ship in the galaxy.