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Star Wars News & Features

News and information from a Galaxy Far Far Away, and sometimes a little closer to home.
    Caution: Potential Star Wars Episode VIII major spoilers lurk within this article; read on at your own risk!
    If you're hoping to remain spoiler free for Star Wars Episode VIII then you may need to stop reading as new rumors have surfaced regarding the role that Jurassic Park star Laura Dern will play, and how this will affect other established characters. Consider yourself warned!
    The new rumors point towards Dern's character being a high-ranking officer or politician working with the Resistance, and she is said to have an "antagonistic relationship" with Oscar Isaac's Resistance ace-pilot, Poe Dameron. According to Latino-Review a key scene involving Dern comes after Carrie Fisher's General Leia is gravely injured in a First Order attack, while other scenes hint at Dameron deliberately disobeying orders.
    Further speculation about the character suggests that Dern's character may even be a political rival of Leia, and wants to see a strong central government rather than increased sovereignty for individual systems. This could conceivably tie-in with upcoming Claudia Gray novel Bloodline, which is said to see Leia face-off against political rivals in a pre-The Force Awakens setting where the New Republic is trying to counter growing threats to peace in the galaxy.
    Star Wars Episode VIII is due for release on 15 December 2017.
    At C2E2 in Chicago this week, Del Rey and Marvel have revealed an accompanying prequel novel and 3-issue comic series to tie-in with upcoming Star Wars spin-off movie Rogue One.
    Del Rey's Elizabeth Schaefer announced the prequel novel for Rogue One will be called Catalyst and will release in the fall of this year, but sadly this is all we know so far as an unfinished cover was shown and the author's name remains a mystery.
    Schaefer also revealed a bit of information about July's upcoming second instalment of the Aftermath trilogy, Aftermath: Life Debt - "Before Han can settle down with Leia, he has one last debt to pay. This is a story of our favorite BFFs on Chewie's home planet." She also mentioned that Claudia Gray's novel Bloodline, set before The Force Awakens, focuses on Leia and her role in the New Republic and the rise of the Resistance.
    Marvel also announced a 3-issue comic series plus a one-shot in October that will provide further backstory for Rogue One.
    According to reports by The Hollywood Reporter, Lucasfilm and Disney's search for a young Han Solo has narrowed down from over 2,500 applicants to just three candidates.
    An insider has revealed that tests were being performed with the three hopeful Han's on London last week, but official sources are remaining charactaristically tight-lipped on the matter.
    The three reported candidates remaining are said to be Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction), Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service), and Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Ceasar!)
    It is currently unknown whether these were screen tests or costume tests, but the select group appears to have been picked from an earlier shortlist which was previously released featuring around 10 actors in total.
    The as-yet-untitled Han Solo spin-off film is to be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and is currently scheduled for release in May 2018.
    Drewe Henley, known for his role as the Red Leader, Garven Dreis, in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, has passed away at the age of 75.
    The British actor had several film and television roles in the 1960s and 70s but retired from acting due to depression, making Star Wars his last appearance on screen. Although the original cut of the film only included Henley's scenes in the cockpit of his X-wing starfighter, the special editions added a previously deleted pre-battle scene with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Biggs Darklighter (Garrick Hagon).
    As leader of Red Squadron in the Battle of Yavin, Henley's small role was a pivotal one that has left an indelible stamp on the Star Wars saga.
    According to reports, Alan Tudyk's role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been revealed. Needless to say, this article may contain spoilers!
    Making Star Wars reports that Alan Tudyk's role will be that of an Enforcer Droid, who's appearance is said to resemble a mash-up of Warner Bros.' Iron Giant and EV-9D9 from Return of the Jedi. Rather than the cuteness we saw in BB-8's design for The Force Awakens, Tudyk's Enforcer Droid is an apparent evolution of the Clone Wars era Super Battle Droids, reflecting the grittiness of Rogue One. 
    The Enforcer Droid is apparently an ex-Imperial droid that has been captured and reprogrammed to serve the Rebel Alliance as they carry out their mission to steal the Empire's plans for the dreaded Death Star.
    For a full description of the character, check out the original article on Making Star Wars.
    Rogue One is set for release on 16 December 2016.
    The upcoming Han Solo spin-off film will be an origin story not just for Han Solo, but also for the friendship between the smuggler and his wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca, Bob Iger has confirmed.
    The reveal came from the Disney CEO during a conference about the studio's future Star Wars plans, according to The Wrap. It is difficult to imagine a Han Solo tale without Chewbacca, but the confirmation that Chewbacca will be part of the story is something that will no doubt please fans.
    The as yet untitled Han Solo film will be directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord and is currently expected to be released on 25 May 2018, but no announcement of who will play the young Han Solo has been made.
    Professor Tony Dyson, the man who built the original R2-D2 has died aged 68.
    He was found in his home on the Maltese island of Gozo after neighbours grew concerned after he had not been seen for a few days and called the police. A post-mortem is being carried out, and is expected to find that he died of natural causes.
    Dyson was commissioned to create eight R2-D2 props for use in the film series, based on the concept created by Ralph McQuarrie. Four of these were remote control units, two manually controlled units with space for Kenny Baker to be seated inside, and a further two 'throwaway' units, such as the one thrown across the Dagobah swamp in The Empire Strikes Back.
    He was also responsible for creating numerous robots for electronics firms such as Sony and Toshiba, along with props for other films, such as James Bond film Moonraker, Superman II, and the robot dragon used in Dragon Slayer. 
    Professor Dyson moved to Malta in the 1990s, and had been known to appear at island's comic conventions 
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be coming to home video in April, the official website has revealed.
    The film will be recieving an early release on Disney Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere digital formats on 1st April 2016, with Blu-ray and DVD versions available in stores from 5th April. The release date for the 3D version has not yet been announced, but is due later this year.
    Bonus features (which may vary depending on format) include:
    Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey - a behind the scense look at the making of The Force Awakens, with new footage and exclusive interviews with the cast and crew. The Story Awakens: The Table Read - cast members reflect on the day they first came together to read the movie’s script Building BB-8 - behind the scenes with the creators of Star Wars' newest droid Crafting Creatures - behind the scenes with the creators of the film's new alien creatures Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight - a closer look at the lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren John Williams: The Seventh Symphony - the composer shares personal insights of his work on the Star Wars saga ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force - a look into the movie's digital visual effects Force For Change - see how the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative has united Star Wars fans all over the globe to help others Deleted Scenes - the scenes that didn't make the final cut  
    Disney has revealed concept art for the upcoming Star Wars Land theme park to views of Disneyland's diamond celebration television special, The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60.
    A Star Wars theme park has been rumored ever since Disney picked up the franchise from George Lucas, and was finally confirmed by chairman Bob Iger during Disney's D23 Expo in August 2015.
    The show featured some artwork we already saw from D23, but also revealed new information about the 14 acre park which will feature a Millennium Falcon ride and an interactive experience of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Other areas shown in the previews include a restaurant, cantina, and a walkthrough street bazaar.
    The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60 is available to watch on ABC’s official site.

    Episode VIII update: Space Bear

    By Andy, in The Movies,

    With filming now under way on Star Wars Episode VIII, the internal production codename for the lastest installment has been leaked in a picture tweeted by Carrie Fisher. "Space Bear" has been confirmed as the internal working title, which is unlikely to have any bearing (please excuse the pun) on the plot of the movie. Working titles, such as Return of the Jedi's "Blue Harvest" are typically used to mask the identity of a production to avoid unwanted attention.
    With the success of The Force Awakens behind them, the production team are undoubtedly expecting fierce interest from fans and members of the press hoping to catch a big scoop, and with that in mind the security team of Episode VIII have vowed to take down any camera-laden aerial drones they spot hovering over filming locations. They intend to use firearms and their own defensive drones in order to fend off this Attack of the Drones.
    Filming started back at the Irish island of Skellig Michael, home of Luke Skywalker's mysterious solitude on Ahch-To. To minimise the time spent in this precious location filming will reportedly move to Ceann Sibeal, also in Ireland, in April. There has also been a set constructed at Pinewood Studios that will serve as the island retreat, so we can definitely expect to spend more time with Luke on Ahch-To, which seems to be the sequel trilogy's answer to Dagobah.
    It was announced some time ago that some filming will be completed on location in Croatia, and new reports suggest that there may be a chase scene filmed in the historic town of Dubrovnik, which has notably also been seen on television as the city of King's Landing in HBO's adaptation of Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik is likely to be portraying a new planet or location we have not seen before, although some have speculated that the city which was beseiged in 1991 would make a good fit for a war-ravaged Naboo.

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