Star wars

“We’re try­ing to fuse the looks of our show and the look of Rogue One”

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

When the or­gan­is­ers of Star Wars

Cel­e­bra­tion booked Lon­don’s Ex­CeL Cen­tre for this year’s do, they prob­a­bly had lit­tle idea we’d be just a few stops on the Dock­lands Light Rail­way from an

ac­tual Star Wars lo­ca­tion. Be­fore we made our pil­grim­age to Ca­nary Wharf tube sta­tion (as seen in the

Rogue One trailer), how­ever, we thought it might be best to take in some bona fide Star Wars news. Here are the big­gest sto­ries we dug up be­tween the mer­chan­dise, the cos­play and the mind-bog­gling num­ber of peo­ple get­ting Star Wars tat­toos on site…

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story marks out new ter­ri­tory for the se­ries. The Force Awak­ens may be the big­gest movie ever made by some­one other than James Cameron, but that was a con­tin­u­a­tion of an old story, and a long-awaited re­turn for screen icons like Han Solo, Princess Leia and (al­beit briefly) Luke Sky­walker. Rogue One, how­ever, is a stan­dalone tale about a bunch of un­known Rebel fight­ers on the hunt for the Death Star plans that kick­start A New Hope – with Mon Mothma the most fa­mous rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the good side, will the pun­ters still care about Episode 3.9? Go­ing on the re­ac­tion of the Star Wars faith­ful to Cel­e­bra­tion’s Rogue One panel, the an­swer is a re­sound­ing yes. Even new Big Bad, Di­rec­tor Or­son Kren­nic (Ben Men­del­sohn), got a stand­ing ova­tion when he ar­rived in the hall in full Im­pe­rial re­galia, flanked by a pair of new-look Deathtroop­ers.

As well as the be­hind-the-scenes siz­zle reel that Lu­cas­film re­leased on­line im­me­di­ately af­ter the panel, we were treated to a Cel­e­bra­tion-only teaser. Not too much new footage, but we did see Felic­ity Jones’s Jyn Erso as a child, and Darth Vader’s sil­hou­ette in the trailer’s fi­nal shot. “I can’t tell you what role he plays in the film be­cause I don’t want to give that away,” teased di­rec­tor Gareth Ed­wards. (He did, how­ever, re­veal that Vader will say the word “Power”.)

Be­yond that, we learned the names of a couple of plan­ets – the trop­i­cal par­adise planet with the AT-ACTs is called Scarif (the Mal­dives in real life), while the more de­serty world (the Star Wars galaxy is packed with them, it seems) is Jedha. “Es­sen­tially the Mecca of Star Wars in that peo­ple go to on pil­grim­ages,” re­vealed Ed­wards.

We also got a bit more info on the char­ac­ters, like the fact that Riz Ahmed’s pilot Bodhi Rook still works for the Em­pire while moon­light­ing for the Re­bel­lion – “Peo­ple work for big or­gan­i­sa­tions, they don’t be­lieve in ev­ery­thing

they do,” he said – and that Jyn’s dad Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) has an in­trigu­ing his­tory. “I can say that’s he’s a sci­en­tist and he at one point in­vented some­thing so beau­ti­ful, so fan­tas­tic that it might change the uni­verse,” said the ac­tor.

STAR WARS: REBELS

At first glance, you’d be for­given for think­ing that the big­gest news ahead of Star Wars

Rebels’ third sea­son was cos­metic: young Padawan Ezra Bridger’s got a buz­z­cut; Man­dalo­rian Sabine’s changed her hair colour again; lone Jedi Kanan (re­cently blinded by Darth Maul) has grown a beard! But there’s much more to be ex­cited about in the proto-Re­bel­lion – and not just be­cause, as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Dave Filoni put it, “We’re try­ing to fuse the looks of our show and the look of Rogue One, bring­ing the colour­ful things in our world closer to that.”

For starters, there’s a Time Lord pres­ence, as Tom Baker shows up to voice a gi­ant Force­sen­si­tive be­ing called the Bendu. And then there’s the “whip fans into a frenzy” news that Grand Ad­mi­ral Thrawn, blue-skinned neme­sis of the old Ex­panded Uni­verse, is show­ing up as this year’s Big Bad. He’ll be voiced by Sher­lock’s Lars Mikkelsen (brother of Rogue One’s Mads), and his cre­ator, Ti­mothy Zahn, is writ­ing a new

Thrawn novel. Throw in a new jet­pack for Sabine, a dark­saber and some Em­pire-af­fil­i­ated Man­dalo­ri­ans (“I may or may not be re­lated to some of them,” said Sabine voice ac­tor Tiya Sir­car), not to men­tion a resur­gent, out-forhim­self Darth Maul try­ing to lure Ezra to the Dark Side, and you’ve got a very ex­cit­ing era in the Star Wars galaxy. As for the ques­tion of whether Ah­soka Tano sur­vived her sea­son two fi­nale scrap with Darth Vader? “I’m not go­ing to say ex­actly, but you might not have seen the end of Ah­soka,” teased Filoni.

Rogue One opens on 16 De­cem­ber. Star Wars Rebels sea­son three will air on Dis­ney XD this au­tumn.

Di­rec­tor Or­son Kren­nic lets the oc­ca­sion go to his head. You would, wouldn’t you? Ben Men­del­sohn with Death Star (not to scale). Jyn Erso (Felic­ity Jones) on a break from re­belling.

Im­pe­rial of­fi­cers know how to party. Rogue One stars Jiang Wen and Riz Ahmed. The Rebels crew show off their new looks. Grand Ad­mi­ral Thrawn: a man with a peren­nial case of the blues.

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