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Star Wars Holocron Blog

What’s New in Star Wars – September 2020

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

More Thrawn, more Vader, more Aphra, and more Star Wars in general will be arriving soon this September. Timothy Zahn’s Chaos Rising, the first installment in a new Thrawn trilogy, may be the most popular title arriving this month, but September is full of interesting, different projects exploring unique aspects of canon. Below includes a list of upcoming Star Wars projects in the month of September:

September 1 – Chaos Rising

It’s uncommon that a creator is able to introduce an iconic character and continue to develop this character and expand his story over 30 years, but the great Timothy Zahn has done just that with Thrawn. First introduced in the Legends novel Heir to the Empire, Thrawn has featured in Star Wars Rebels, Zahn’s canon trilogy, and Jody Houser’s comic series and the character’s journey will continue to grow in this first of three new Thrawn novels in the Ascendency trilogy chronicling Thrawn’s origins in the Chiss Ascendency. 

September 1 – Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Rebellion Vol. 4

Also on September 1 is the newest installment in the Star Wars Legends Epic Collection series, a series of re-printings of classic Legends comics released by Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics, and others. Each collection in the series, including the newest fourth volume, features iconic Legends comics told in chronological order, a contrast to previous anthologies or onimbisues that group works by themes, stories, or characters. The fourth volume includes Star Wars: Rebellion (2006) 1-16, Star Wars: Boba Fett – Overkill (2006) 1; Material from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic/Rebellion (2006) 0, and Star Wars Tales (1999) 3, 15, 17, 21.

September 8 – This is Luke

This is Luke is an upcoming children’s book published by Disney-Lucasfilm press chronicling the journey of Luke Skywalker as told in the animation style of the Galaxy of Adventures shorts. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “This Level 1 early reader with stickers introduces young fans and reluctant readers to Luke Skywalker, one of the most iconic characters from the Star Wars Saga and features a fun new illustration style from the celebrated Galaxy of Adventures animation shorts (with over 3 million views on the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel). Padawans learning to read will love this fresh take on a format parents know and trust.”

September 8 – The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu

Star Wars meets The Sims in the latest downloadable pack for the greatly popular video game. This content pack focuses on the world of Batuu and includes characters and locations from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

September 9 – Star Wars 6

Charles Soule’s terrific Star Wars line continues in the sixth issue of the series. The terrific cover of Luke wielding a yellow lightsaber is enough to entice even the most casual of Star Wars to give the series a read. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “THE PATH TO JEDI WISDOM…OR A DEADLY TRAP OF THE DARK SIDE? THE FORCE led LUKE SKYWALKER to someone who can provide him with great insight into the path to JEDI wisdom…But their meeting will change Skywalker FOREVER. Luke thought his duel against his father, Darth Vader, was the ultimate test. But Luke’s trials have only just begun. The galaxy needs Luke Skywalker. And a Jedi needs a weapon! Meanwhile, Vader continues his search for his long-lost son, and the REBEL ALLIANCE finds itself on the verge of losing all hope.”

September 9 – Star Wars Insider 198

The latest issue of Star Wars Insider features an interview with Snap Wexley himself Greg Grunberg, Elizabeth Grullon speaking about her role as Second Sister in Jedi: Fallen Order, and includes a list of Palpatine’s top 5 apprentices.

September 15 – Star Wars: Fascinating Facts

Pablo Hidalgo delivers another reference book with Star Wars: Fascinating Facts, detailing tons of fun facts about the nine films in the Skywalker saga. The publisher’s summary is as follows:
“Star Wars: Fascinating Facts is a compendium of hundreds of little-known facts about all nine episodes in the Skywalker Saga—from behind-the-scenes on-set tidbits to stories about how the tale of Star Wars was created. Profiles of important characters and early drafts of scripts show what might have been, details of how famous scenes were filmed, and other firsthand accounts from cast and crew members.”

September 16 – Darth Vader 5

Greg Pak’s Darth Vader series has been breathtaking so far and we expect the fifth issue to continue this trend. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “A QUEST FOR TRUTH…A JOURNEY OF DESTRUCTION! DARTH VADER’S search for revenge against those who hid his son Luke reaches a terrible climax – at the tomb of PADMÉ AMIDALA. What secrets does he learn? And who will pay as a result? All the answers are coming – in the ruins of POLIS MASSA – the birthplace of Luke Skywalker!”

September 16 – Star Wars Adventures 1

One of the most interesting projects on this list, Star Wars Adventures 1 is the first issue of a new, monthly series featuring stories about two fan favorite Star Wars characters. In this first issue, set in between the events of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, Rey, Finn, and Poe travel to a remote planet to continue Rey’s Jedi training, but soon meet trouble when they encounter First Order forces. The other story in this issue will center around Darth Vader.

September 22 – Star Wars Adventures Vol 10: Driving Force

Volume 10 of Star Wars Adventures collects issues 24-36 from the series of comics directed toward middle-school aged children. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “With hotshot Resistance pilot Poe Dameron captured by pirates, it’s up to BB-8–and Rapier Squadron–to save the day! Then, in this story set before A New Hope, Princess Leia Organa faces the most challenging task of her young life: teaching Amilyn Holdo how to drive a speeder! But both learn an important lesson after finding themselves in the dangerous lower levels of Coruscant. And finally, witness one of the many lessons Rey learned from Luke Skywalker during her time on Ahch-To.”

September 22 – Star Wars: Age of Resistance

The great Star Wars: Age of Resistance series of comics comes together in this hardcover compilation of all of the series’ issues. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Concluding the Age of Star Wars – epic adventures featuring your favorite characters from all three film trilogies! This final volume spotlights the heroes of the Resistance and the villains of the First Order! Witness the moments that define them, the incredible battles that shaped them – and their eternal conflict between light and darkness! Solo stories spotlight major figures from Star Wars Episodes VII-IX – including Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Rose Tico, Maz Kanata, Vice Admiral Holdo…and the loveable BB-8! But in the growing darkness, Kylo Ren, Supreme Leader Snoke, Captain Phasma and General Hux are waiting…”

September 23 – Bounty Hunters 5

Ethan Sacks and Paolo Villanelli’s Bounty Hunters series has taken many by surprise as one of the most interesting Star Wars comics currently running. The publisher’s summary of the latest issue is as follows: “BATTLE OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS! Only one man can stop BOBA FETT from executing his long sought vengeance. But can VALANCE survive the battle of the two greatest bounty hunters of their age? Why did NAKANO LASH betray her team during their doomed mission to CORELLIA? The answer could ignite an all-out crime war across the underworld and change Valance’s life forever.”

September 29 – Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Empire Vol. 6

September features yet another Epic Collection, compiling different issues of Legends comics – this time focusing on the Galactic Empire era. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The Force unleashed! The Empire’s power is at its peak – but not every problem requires military might. Sometimes all you need is the right agent, in the right place, with the willingness to get the job done. An agent like Jahan Cross! But when Boba Fett is framed for murder, Cross finds himself in a situation that even he may not be able to handle! Plus, learn the origin of Vader’s secret apprentice, the deadly Starkiller – a story of treachery, deception and the overwhelming power of the Force. And witness the early years of Leia Organa!”

September 29 – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Screen Comix

The Empire Strikes Back Screen Comix is a graphic-novel adaptation of Episode IV, retold in the Screen Comix format to commemorate the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back.

September 29 – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary Special

Originally intended to release earlier this year, this anniversary special is a Star Wars Insider deluxe collector’s edition magazine featuring interviews and previously unseen images from the iconic film. 

September 30 – Doctor Aphra 4

Aphra’s journey continues in the fourth issue of Alyssa Wong’s series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “RING OF FIRE! Trapped and betrayed, DOCTOR APHRA fights to escape the cursed city of VAALE before madness overcomes her! Meanwhile, RONEN TAGGE’s sinister plan for the RINGS OF VAALE approaches fruition. Will Aphra be able to thwart him in time?”

September 30 – Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars – Battle Tales 5

The Battle Tales comic series continues with a new adventure featuring Obi-Wan, Anakin, Rex,, Cody, Grievous, Padme, and more!

For reference, a condensed list of upcoming projects in September without descriptions is included below:

September 1 – Chaos Rising   

September 1 – Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Rebellion Vol   4    

September 8 – This is Luke    

September 8 – The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu to be released  

September 9 – Star Wars 6    

September 9 – Star Wars Adventures Annual 2020    

September 9 – Star Wars Insider 198    

September 15 – Star Wars: Fascinating Facts  

September 16 – Darth Vader 5    

September 16 – Star Wars Adventures 1    

September 22 – Star Wars Adventures Vol. 10: Driving Force    

September 22 – Star Wars: Age of Resistance  

September 23 – Bounty Hunters 5    

September 29 – Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Empire Vol. 6    

September 29 – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Screen Comix    

September 29 – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary Special    

September 30 – Doctor Aphra 4    

September 30 – Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars – Battle Tales 5

Images courtesy of Disney-Lucasfilm Press, Marvel Comics, IDW Publishing, Star Wars Insider, and Electronic Arts

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

Closer Looks at LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: Squadrons, and The Sims 4 Star Wars Expansion Pack Revealed

by @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

The opening night of Gamescom 2020 brought Star Wars fans plenty of excitement, with new footage and information from upcoming gaming projects being officially released.

At the event, a brand new trailer for LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, one of the most anticipated of the new Star Wars games, was released, showcasing all nine movies in glorious LEGO fashion. The trailer shows off what LEGO games do best: conveyed movies’ iconic, dramatic moments with plenty of humor and fun amidst challenging, immersive gameplay. From young Anakin Skywalker podracing on his home world of Tatooine to Rey and Kylo in battle, the trailer shows off many of the iconic moments of the Saga, along with fun moments like a group of Porgs in Luke’s Jedi cloak.

The game will be available on a variety of different consoles, including PS5 and Xbox Series X, along with the already announced PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. As well as the regular version, fans can opt for the Deluxe Edition of the game, which features an image of Darth Vader on the cover and a slip cover that, when removed, reveals the true face of the iconic Sith Lord in brick form. The Deluxe Edition also comes with six DLC character packs, including Rogue One, The Mandalorian, and The Bad Batch content. Those who buy the physical copy of the Deluxe Edition will also be treated to an exclusive mini figure of Luke Skywalker drinking blue milk. Unfortunately, fans will have to wait a little while longer before playing the highly anticipated game, as the trailer confirms that it’s set to be released in Spring 2021, not this fall as previously reported. Based off this trailer, it’ll certainly be worth the wait.

The other Star Wars game in active development, Star Wars Squadrons, also received a new trailer. Dubbed a “Single Player Preview”, the trailer gives fans another look at the gameplay, in which gamers can fly both TIE Fighters and X-Wings for both sides of the Galactic Civil War. Fans also got a glimpse of Hera Syndulla, Rae Slone, and Wedge Antillies during the reveal. Star Wars Squadrons is currently set for release on October 2, 2020.

Journey to Batuu, a Star Wars DLC for The Sims 4 was also revealed. Those who have visited Galaxy’s Edge will be familiar with Batuu, the planet at the center of the theme park attraction. Rey, Kylo Ren, and Honda will also appear in this expansion. Journey to Batuu is scheduled to release on September 8th, 2020.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, EA, and Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment

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Top 10 Clone Troopers

by @holocronGeorge and @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

One of the (many) great things The Clone Wars accomplished was humanizing clone troopers, making them unique characters with individual personalities, looks, and arcs. The clones introduced in Attack of the Clones and later expanded upon in Revenge of the Sith were visually stunning and played integral roles in some of the saga’s best moments, including their arrival during the Battle of Geonosis and, of course, Order 66. However, the films, given their obvious emphasis on Anakin’s character and the broader political machinations that led to Palpatine becoming Emperor, simply did not have much of an opportunity to individualize the clones. Conversely, The Clone Wars, as a television series spanning over 100 episodes, had ample opportunity to flesh out the clones and excelled in doing so. With so many brilliant clones to choose from, each with their own distinct journeys and traits, this list was difficult to whittle down to 10. Here are our top 10 clone troopers:

10. Wolffe, a.k.a. CC-3636

Like Rex, Wolffe has an interesting character arc that spans both The Clone Wars and Rebels. Serving Plo Koon in The Clone Wars, Wolffe was a renowned strategist who accompanied the Jedi Master on a number of adventures, including Koon’s attack on the Malevolence, liberating slaves from the Zygerrian slave empire, and even losing an eye to Asajj Ventress during the Battle of Khorm. Years later, Wolffe continued to play an intriguing role in canon, now as a seasoned trooper accompanying Rex and Gregor. Wolffe’s initial distrust of Kanan and the Rebels and eventual loyalty to the cause was a great evolution to his arc, beginning all the way back in The Clone Wars, and culminated in Wolffe’s participation in the liberation of Lothal.

9. Gree, a.k.a. CT-1004

Sporting one of the coolest clone trooper looks, Commander Gree featured in some terrific early episodes of The Clone Wars before meeting his demise at the hands of Yoda in Revenge of the Sith. With Gree, Dave Filoni and the other writers of The Clone Wars forged yet another unique clone trooper, this time one that was characterized by unwavering loyalty to the Republic. This theme of loyalty was shown when Gree refused Gunray’s bribe offer, when he defeated the traitor Captain Argyus, and when he advised Ahsoka to not act against Luminara Unduli’s orders. 

8. Fox, a.k.a. CT-1010

Commander Fox earns a place on this list for many reasons, one of which being the fact that his role not only spans The Clone Wars, but also included appearances in Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith. Fielding a distinctive red and white pattern on his Phase II armor, Fox is a cool looking character, who plays a role in various important events in canon. These include participating in the mission to rescue Rotta the Hutt in The Clone Wars film, arresting Ahsoka for the murder of Letta Turmond, hunting down Fives, and even assisting Darth Vader on his hunt for Jocasta Nu. Unlike other clones fighting in the war across the galaxy, Fox was primarily stationed on Coruscant, tasked with protecting the galactic capital and the Chancellor. In all, Fox is an interesting character and a counterpoint to some of the friendlier, more reasonable clones seen throughout canon.

7. Grey, a.k.a. CC-10/994

CC-10/994, also known as Commander Grey, stands apart on this list as he does not appear in The Clone Wars or the prequel trilogy, but, rather, plays a significant role in Greg Weisman’s Kanan: The Last Padawan comic. Not only does Grey play a significant role in this comic series, but he is arguably the emotional crux of the story. Grey executed Order 66, killing Jedi Master Depa Billaba, before searching for her apprentice Caleb Dume afterward. However, during his pursuit of Dume, a.k.a. Kanan, Grey began to question his actions, recognizing that Order 66 deprived him of his free will. Grey is a complex character and allows the audience to see what it would be like for a clone to realize and subsequently regret their slaughter of the Jedi. The way in which Grey’s character allows for an exploration of the traumatic aftermath of Order 66 on clones makes him an obvious choice for this list.

6. Echo, a.k.a. CT-1409

As a member of Domino Squad and the 501st Legion, Echo has an extremely interesting, well developed character arc in that The Clone Wars series spends a substantial amount of time with the character throughout its entire run. Although Echo is an engaging, courageous, loyal clone throughout the series, it’s really in the seventh and final season that Echo comes into his own in the incredible Bad Batch arc of episodes. The tragedy of seeing Echo, once thought dead, be manipulated and tortured by the Separatists for their own insidious ends in the war was heartbreaking to see. Echo’s return to the Republic was epic and him joining Clone Force 99 was a perfect way to cap off his enthralling character arc (for now).

5. Cut Lawquane

Perhaps the clone on this list with the most distinct journey and development, Cut Lawquane is a fascinating character, explored in “The Deserter” episode of The Clone Wars. After being attacked by Separatists, Cut fled the Clone Army, marrying and having children with a woman named Suu. Cut’s story is not only interesting in chronicling the tale of a clone who deserted, but also how clones like Rex view Cut and even yearn for his liberated lifestyle away from the Republic. More than maybe any clone we’ve seen in canon, Cut’s tale truly humanizes clones as individual people with values, goals, and personalities just like anyone else in the galaxy.

4. Cody, a.k.a. CT-2224

Commander Cody was perhaps the most prominent clone in Revenge of the Sith, given his close relationship with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Immediately put into the spotlight in that film, Cody was also there during many of the major battles and events in The Clone Wars, becoming an invaluable member of the Clone Army and a loyal servant to the Jedi. Cody’s turn from loyal soldier to Jedi executioner in the third prequel film was tragic, especially after watching The Clone Wars and Cody’s role in the show’s final season.

3. Fives, a.k.a. CT-5555

Few clones are more fleshed out and developed than CT-5555, more commonly referred to as Fives. The clone cadet turned Advanced Recon Commando plays a prominent role throughout The Clone Wars series, culminating in a heartbreaking arc in the series’ final season. Chronologically, when we first see Fives, he is a clone cadet on Kamino in Domino Squad. And it’s great to see Fives develop and progress as the series continued, eventually joining the 501st, serving in the Battle of Umbara, and, perhaps most noticeably of all, uncovering the biochip conspiracy. This emotional, insightful final arc with Fives, in which he discovers the insidious plans for clones to destroy the Jedi not only adds greatly to canon, but cements Fives as a certainty on this list.

2. 99

Although clone trooper 99 never fought in battle, his service to the Republic and his fellow soldiers was invaluable. As a deformed clone, 99 was relegated to custodian services on Kamino, often cleaning up after the young cadets. However, the lessons of teamwork and brotherhood he offers a group of struggling Clone Cadets, including Fives and Echo, proves to be invaluable to not just these young soldiers, but the galaxy as well. After all, it was Fives who uncovered Order 66, an invaluable discovery, one that saved the life of Rex and others.

1. Rex, a.k.a. CT-7567

Rex was introduced in the first season of The Clone Wars and featured prominently from the get go. However, his importance only grew as the show went on. Rex quickly became the most important Clone in Star Wars canon, serving with the likes of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka. His relationship with the latter propelled his status as a fan favorite to new heights, with audiences seeing him reunite with the former Jedi in Star Wars Rebels. This relationship is further expanded upon in the series finale of The Clone Wars, showing Ahsoka and Rex surviving Order 66 together and honoring the fallen Clones. And, as seemingly confirmed by Dave Filoni, Rex appears in the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, making an already amazing character even more amazing. Rex is a loyal soldier and, more importantly, a good friend of the light side in the galaxy, so his rank as the #1 Clone is a no brainer.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

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REVIEW: Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge

by @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

The new series Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge recently concluded its fun, family friendly first season. Airing on the Star Wars Kids channel on YouTube, rather than Disney+, Jedi Temple Challenge is hosted and produced by Ahmed Best and sees different teams of kids compete in a series of tasks to determine which kids are worthy of becoming Jedi Knights.

Off the bat, Jedi Temple Challenge should be commended for offering something different in the Star Wars universe. George Lucas has repeatedly said over the years that Star Wars is for children, and to see a project like this specifically tailored for younger audiences is nice to see. It’s important to, in reviewing different projects within the Star Wars universe, to remain cognizant of the project’s target audience. For instance, E.K. Johnston’s Padme novel Queen’s Shadow, although there’s plenty for a broad array of Star Wars fans to feast on, is primarily tailored toward young adults. As such, it’s inevitable that children and families are more likely to enjoy Jedi Temple Challenge than fans in other age ranges. This doesn’t mean, however, that the show exclusively appeals to children, as there’s plenty on offer for families, adults, and Star Wars fans of different demographics more broadly. In fact, Jedi Temple Challenge can be a thoroughly entertaining experience regardless of age.

What really makes Jedi Temple Challenge work as well as it does is host Ahmed Best. Moving away from his role as Jar Jar Binks, Best assumes the role of Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, who not only hosts the show, but also provides a much needed personality and enthusiasm to each episode. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Star Wars project without a quirky droid companion. Beq is accompanied by AD-3, voiced by the incredible Mary Holland. Holland isn’t given much to do throughout the series, but Best expertly leads the ship throughout and elevates Jedi Temple Challenge beyond just another children’s game show. In true Star Wars fashion, the show also features a neat little easter egg related to Kelleran Beq, as he shares the same last name with and, according to Ahmed Best, is related to Best’s character from Attack of the Clones Achk Med-Beq.

As the title suggests, the crux of Jedi Temple Challenge lies in the challenges themselves. And, for the most part, these challenges are entertaining and engaging. It’s evident that the show is inspired by similar children’s game shows, in particular Legends of the Hidden Temple, which aired on Nickelodeon in the 1990s. The challenges in Jedi Temple Challenge are varied and interesting, some requiring more intellectual engagement, while others necessitating physical activity. The show excels with less physical tasks as these challenges are more easily followable for audiences. This highlights the main issue with the series so far, which is the difficulty in following the contestants as they engage in each task. The way in which the series is edited, in addition to the lack of a studio audience, can make viewers feel a little distant from experiencing the show. One of the most enjoyable things about game shows like this is when we can immerse ourselves within the contestants’ perspective, feeling overjoyed when they succeed and devastated when they fail. Occasionally, Jedi Temple Challenge makes this difficult as the editing of the show makes some tasks difficult to follow, which results in viewers watching the kids tackle different challenges from a distance.

Despite issues in following some tasks, Jedi Temple Challenge succeeds in delivering entertaining, family friendly Star Wars content. It’s great to see Star Wars venture into different domains beyond movies, scripted television, books, and video games with Jedi Temple Challenge and, hopefully, there is more of the show to come. Anchored by the always incredible Ahmed Best and bolstering some interesting tasks for the contestants to engage in, there’s a lot on offer for Star Wars fans with this series.

Score: 8/10

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Star Wars Kids on YouTube

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Alex Segura talks his New Poe Dameron Novel Free Fall, Expanding on Poe’s Background from The Rise of Skywalker, and Exploring the Star Wars Underworld

by @holocronJosh and @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Star Wars Holocron recently had the chance to interview Alex Segura, author of the new Star Wars novel Poe Dameron: Free Fall. Released this month, Free Fall chronicles the adventures of Dameron, who audiences know as a Resistance fighter in the sequel trilogy, as he navigates the underworld of the galaxy surrounded by the Spice Runners, a criminal group first introduced in The Rise of Skywalker.

Whereas the sequel trilogy primarily saw Poe amidst the battle between the Resistance and the First Order, the prequel novel Free Fall focuses heavily on the criminal side of the galaxy. When asked what made him interested in exploring this darker side of the universe, Segura had this to say:

“I love the story possibilities gray areas provide – and the underworld is a perfect setting for that kind of story. Poe is conflicted – he feels a loyalty to his new friends, but also realizes he’s thrown in with the wrong group. It also allows for a grittier, more grounded story. I’ve said before that the novel is basically a crime novel in space, and that’s very much the tone I was going for – to tell an intense coming of age story set in the criminal underworld of Star Wars.”

The fact that Poe Dameron was an established character in Star Wars canon prior to this novel creates it’s own challenges. Segura outlined his process for making sure that his novel fit well into canon:

“I think the initial challenge is to revisit the source material – not just as a fan, but as someone who’s going to be adding to the mythos – with an eye on Poe, and what is established. So I went back to Charles Soule’s great Poe comics run, Rebecca Roanhorse’s Resistance Reborn, Greg Rucka’s Shattered Empire and lots of other stuff to make sure I had a handle on everything that we knew Poe has experienced. Then, based on discussions with my editor and the Story Group, we figured out what we wanted to do with Poe’s origin – and how we wanted it to amplify what fans learned about Poe’s past in [The Rise of Skywalker.]”

Despite the fact that Zorii Bliss and the Spice Runners first appeared in final film of the Skywalker Saga, Segura had plenty of wiggle room when it came to expanding upon their characters:

“It was great – the door was open to bring in new ideas, create new characters, and expand the scope overall, while continuing the adventures of Poe, Zorii and the Spice Runners. I enjoyed the collaborative process a ton – and it made for a better book overall.”

J.J. Abrams, co-writer and director of The Rise of Skywalker, is a known perfectionist, often tweaking and tinkering with elements of his movies, particularly during the editing process. With Abrams’ unique filmmaking style, Segura outlined the process of writing Free Fall and how that related to the production of Episode IX:

“I can’t speak to JJ’s process, but the information between editorial/Story Group and me was great, and felt very natural. We knew the broad strokes from the moment I started writing, so that was helpful – and as more came in, we were able to make sure we reflected what was in the film clearly and to really make the story we were crafting sing.”

One of the reasons for the popularity of Poe Dameron as a character and, in turn, Segura’s new novel, is the casting of Oscar Isaac. The Guatemalan-American is not only one of the best actors working today, but also allows Latino audiences to see themselves represented on screen in a major franchise. Segura, who is of Cuban descent himself, talked about adding to the story of a character who means so much to fans all around the world:

“It was an honor! Oscar and I also share a Miami connection, so that was fun, too. I feel very strongly that we need to see and hear from more marginalized voices across all entertainment, so being able to write such an iconic character like Poe was truly something special.”

Previously, Segura worked on the popular Pete Fernandez Miami Mysteries series, something that informed the author on how to tackle a Star Wars novel:

“I wanted to paint a picture of what the gray areas of the Star Wars universe are like – what the criminal underworld might feel like. I wanted Poe to be thrust into a situation that was very much out of his control, and one that goes against his core beliefs. Pete is a conflicted, complicated character – and I see a lot of that in Poe, too. He’s impetuous, emotional, and instinctual, but he’s also very calculating and strategic, so I think it reminded me a bit of Pete and the adventures I told with him.”

On a final note, Segura also briefly touched upon some of his favorite moments with Poe in the films:

“Overall, I love Poe’s dynamic with Leia. So any scenes that involve them are tops for me!”

Poe Dameron: Free Fall is out now!

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, Disney+, and Disney-Lucasfilm Press

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special to Debut on Disney+ in November

by @holocronWilliam for @sw_holocron

2020 has delivered a whole host of interesting, unique Star Wars content and it looks like that trend will continue later this year with the recently announced The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. Initially revealed by USA Today and later confirmed by starwars.com, The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special marks the first holiday special in the series since 1978’s Star Wars Holiday Special, a cult favorite among Star Wars fans.

Debuting on Disney+ on November 17, The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special will be set after the events of The Rise of Skywalker and chronicle another adventure with Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca, Rose, R2-D2, and BB-8. The story will feature Rey, in preparing for Life Day, journeying to a Jedi temple to gain a deeper knowledge of the Force. On her journey, Rey is plummeted into an adventure that spans the entire Skywalker saga, encountering the likes of Yoda, Vader, Obi-Wan, Luke, and more.

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is a co-production of Lucasfilm, the LEGO Group, and Atomic Cartoons and is directed by Ken Cunningham, who has previously directed LEGO Jurassic World and Spider-Man projects. The special is written by David Shayne and executive produced by Shayne, James Waugh, Josh Rimes, Jason Cosler, Jacqui Lopez, Jill Wilfert, and Keith Malone. 

Fans have long awaited for another holiday special, following the much beloved (and ridiculed) special from 1978. A holiday special, however, has been hinted at several times recently. The Mandalorian features several cool easter eggs and references to Life Day, including Din Djarin and his parents wearing the red Life Day clothes seen in the original holiday special and a character even name-dropping Life Day. Previously, The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau even spoke about his admiration for the Star Wars Holiday Special and his desire to see another one. Well, it looks like Favreau’s wishes have come true with this recent announcement. With the second season of The Mandalorian, Star Wars Squadrons, and now The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special all debuting this fall, it looks like 2020 will conclude on a high note for Star Wars fans.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, Disney+, and LEGO

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Cassian Andor Show Adds Adria Arjona in Key Role

by @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

Casting is underway on the Cassian Andor show, the next Star Wars Disney+ adventure that is gearing up to begin filming this fall.

As reported by Deadline, Adria Arjona, best known for her role in Netflix’s action film 6 Underground, has been cast in a lead role opposite star Diego Luna, who will reprise his role as the Rebel soldier for the first time since 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Arjona has previously appeared in True Detective and will star alongside Jared Leto in the upcoming Morbius film. Alan Tudyk, who brought K-2SO to life in the first Star Wars spin-off film, is also confirmed to return in the Cassian series. Genevieve O’Reilly, who played Mon Mothma in Rogue One, is scheduled to appear, although it’s currently unclear whether other recognizable members of the Rebellion will reprise their roles in the show. Rumors suggest, however, that Jimmy Smits will return as Bail Organa. New cast members include Stellan Skarsgard, Denise Gough, and Kyle Soller.

The Cassian Andor series is described as a “spy thriller” set in the Star Wars galaxy. The show will explore Andor’s time as a Rebel before the events of Rogue One and his eventual demise. Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote the 2016 film, will write, direct, and serve as the showrunner for the series. Other writers include Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), Beau Willimon (House of Cards), and Stephen Schiff (The Americans).

Along with the Cassian Series, Lucasfilm is also developing an Obi-Wan show and a female centric series from Russian Doll co-creator Leslye Headland, all for Disney+.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

How Starkiller Could Appear in Canon

by @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

From Thrawn to sabaac to Malachor, recent years have seen a number of elements from Legends be reincorporated into canon. Such inclusions have not only been met with praise from fans, but have laid the groundwork for other characters, locations, and plot points from Legends to re-emerge into canon stories. One of the most well regarded Legends stories is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, a video game chronicling Darth Vader’s secret apprentice who begins to redeem himself. The game was met with positive reviews from both fans and critics alike upon its release in 2008 and spawned a sequel two years later. Ever since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, fans have speculated as to whether or not the game’s protagonist Galen Marek, a.k.a. Starkiller, could work his way into a future canon project, something we would love to see actualized. Given the way in which canon has unfolded, however, an unaltered adaptation of Starkiller’s character may not fit well into the broader Star Wars timeline. But, there is still plenty of opportunity for Starkiller to make his canon debut.

First off, who is Starkiller?

For those unfamiliar with The Force Unleashed, the character later known as Starkiller was born as Galen Marek, a Force-sensitive son of two Jedi Knights raised on Kashyyyk. After Order 66, Vader hunted Marek’s parents down and, before slaughtering their young son, sensed the power within him and took him as his apprentice. Knowingly violating the Rule of Two, Vader trained Marek, now known as Starkiller, in secret, grooming him as his right-hand man when he eventually overthrew The Emperor.

As part of his training, Starkiller was ordered to slaughter several Jedi Knights. However, upon Palpatine’s discovery of Vader’s secret apprentice, Vader betrayed Starkiller. Starkiller, however, remained loyal to Vader, helping form a rebellion against the Empire to complete his master’s mission of overthrowing The Emperor. His scheme did not go as planned, with Vader once again betraying Starkiller, using Starkiller’s formation of a rebellion to arrest those who sought to defeat the Empire.

After being left for dead, Starkiller re-emerged to save his allies and defeat the Empire once and for all. In trying to destroy the Death Star, Starkiller was killed, but helped his allies escape. Starkiller’s family symbol, that of the Marek family, was used as the symbol of the Alliance to Restore the Republic given Starkiller’s heroic actions.

In The Force Unleashed games, Starkiller was played by Sam Witwer, who has become a staple in a range of Star Wars projects. Witwer is best known in the Star Wars universe for his portrayal of Maul, most recently seen in the stunning final season of The Clone Wars. In an exclusive interview we did with Witwer, the actor discussed his adoration for The Force Unleashed and its potential to be worked into canon, as seen by the appearance of flame troopers in The Mandalorian. Witwer has yet to appear in live action, but fans would love to see him undertake such a role, perhaps, once again, as Starkiller.

Starkiller the Inquisitor

Perhaps the most obvious way to incorporate Starkiller into canon is as an Inquisitor. As revealed by Sam Witwer during a Twitch event, Starkiller almost appeared in Star Wars Rebels. Witwer stated, “Dave [Filoni] did share with me, by the way, he considered making Starkiller an Inquisitor in Star Wars: Rebels. It didn’t quite fit the story they were telling, but he did think about it because he thought that would be interesting.” While this idea didn’t materialize in Rebels, Starkiller could still appear in a future project as an Inquisitor. Ever since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, there has been a host of high quality Darth Vader content, some of which includes Inquisitors. In this sense, it’s possible that the Inquisitors are explored once more and that Starkiller is among their ranks.

Starkiller as Palpatine’s Secret Apprentice

One way in which Starkiller could make his way into canon is as the apprentice of none other than Sheev Palpatine himself. In true Star Wars tradition, The Rise of Skywalker excels in telling a great story, while leaving much unexplained, including how Palpatine returned from the dead and what he was up to after the events of Return of the Jedi. Before grooming Ben Solo as his new apprentice (via Snoke), it’s possible that Palpatine could have toyed with the idea of other apprentices, including Galen Marek. Marek would obviously not be around by the time Ben Solo came into the picture, but it’s conceivable to think that, in his effort to retake control of the galaxy, Sidious took other apprentices under his wing.

Marek could also have served as Palpatine’s apprentice prior to Darth Maul. By the time The Phantom Menace begins, Maul is Palpatine’s right hand man, designed to assist his master in actualizing his grand scheme to take over the Republic. Although Maul is Palpatine’s apprentice in this film, Palpatine could easily have had other (failed) apprentices that came before Maul was taken from Talzin.

A Secret Apprentice to Lord Vader

Another way in which Starkiller could play a role in canon is simply as the secret apprentice of Darth Vader again, as he was in The Force Unleashed. The prequels established in canon that Sith continually seek to usurp other Sith, as shown later by Sidious’ murder of his master Plageuis and Dooku’s plans to overthrow Sidious. It’s already well established in canon that Vader wanted to overthrow Sidious, even as early as several weeks after the events of Revenge of the Sith. Vader later tries to accomplish this goal by recruiting his son Luke to join the dark side, allowing the father and son dyad to destroy Palpatine and take over the galaxy together. If this was a long standing plan of Vader’s, it’s plausible that he, at one point, trained a secret apprentice to help him overthrow his master. Starkiller could play a role here, as Vader’s secret apprentice.

High Republic Sith Lord

The High Republic era seems like it will be a topic of focus for many years to come in Star Wars canon. Due to its largely unknown contents, this era is ripe for exploration and experimentation. Although the Sith are thought to be eliminated at this point, we know that Sith Lords like Plageuis and Palpatine operated in the years leading up to The Phantom Menace. Therefore, another way that Starkiller could play a role in canon is as a High Republic, or even Old Republic, Sith Lord. This would require some pretty major retooling of Starkiller’s character, given that taking place in this era would mean that he is unaffiliated with Vader. However, the character arc and personality of Starkiller could be altered to work in this as yet unseen sect of the Star Wars universe.

Force-sensitive bounty hunter

Although this option would, largely, strip Starkiller of much of his Legends back story, it would be an interesting take to see the character emerge into canon as a Force-sensitive bounty hunter. We’ve seen Force-sensitive individuals be Jedi, Sith, Inquisitors, and many other things, but a bounty hunter with the ability to wield the Force has yet to be seen in canon. As projects like The Mandalorian seem to be delving deeper into the underworld side of the universe, and Witwer’s close relationship with Dave Filoni, it would be intriguing to see a radically reworked version of Starkiller play a role in the series.

Overall, Star Wars has done a great job in carefully integrating relevant elements of Legends into their new stories. With the exception of some elements, such as Thrawn, much of this re-integrated Legends material takes the form of inconsequential locations or items or Easter eggs. However, there’s still ample room to play around with more substantial components of Legends, including beloved characters such as Starkiller. With Witwer’s well established role in the Star Wars universe across multiple domains and the wealth of upcoming projects spanning many different eras and platforms, we think it’s fully possible that Vader’s secret apprentice will be seen once again.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, Disney, & LucasArts

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

Who Really is the Chosen One?

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

“A Chosen One shall come, born of no father, and through him will ultimate balance in the Force be restored.” Much of the Skywalker saga centers around this iconic Jedi prophecy, foretelling an individual who will restore balance and peace in the Force. While the question of “who really is the Chosen One?” seems pretty cut and dry, debate among fans regarding this question has existed for decades now and has, once again, intensified in light of Darth Sidious’ return in The Rise of Skywalker. Since the release of the film, new questions have arose as to which, if any, of the three trilogies’ respective Jedi heroes can take the mantle of the Chosen One.

Anakin or Luke?

For a while, it seemed that the Chosen One prophecy could apply to either Anakin or Luke Skywalker. In the prequel trilogy, Qui-Gon initially prophesied that the young boy he found on Tatooine would restore balance to the Force, a sentiment other Jedi believed in to varying degrees. However, as the Clone Wars raged on and Anakin’s allegiance to the Chancellor grew stronger, Jedi like Yoda and Mace Windu began openly questioning the validity of the prophecy’s applicability to Anakin. Yoda even states, “A prophecy, misread could have been.” This sentiment carries over to Obi-Wan, who emotionally declares on Mustafar, “You were the Chosen One! They said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!” At this point, Obi-Wan and Yoda believed that the prophecy was misread and that it was Anakin’s son Luke who must be trained in the ways of the Jedi to fulfill the Chosen One prophecy and bring balance to the Force by killing his father and Palpatine.

In watching the original six films, there’s a degree of ambiguity as to whether or not Anakin or Luke is the Chosen One. It is Luke who, through his compassion, turns Anakin back to the light side of the Force, thus leading to the death of Palpatine. However, it is Anakin who actually kills Palpatine and restores balance. Without Anakin, who was perfectly positioned as Palpatine’s right-hand man, turning to the light, the dark side would have continued to reign.

Still, many fans argued that without Luke, Anakin would have never turned to the light, therefore making the son of Skywalker the Chosen One. However, George Lucas dispelled this theory in an interview in which he officially confirmed that Anakin, even after becoming Vader, was still the Chosen One. This is affirmed in the canon reference title Darth Vader: Sith Lord, which explicitly states, “Anakin had fulfilled the destiny of the Chosen One.”

Is Anakin still the Chosen One?

The sequel trilogy, in particular The Rise of Skywalker, casts doubt on Anakin’s position as the Chosen One. The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi intelligently subverted invalidating the Chosen One prophecy, as it was actualized in Return of the Jedi, by stating that the prophecy foretold the destruction of the Sith, but not the dark side of the Force necessarily. Snoke and Kylo Ren are depicted as dark side users, but are clearly not Sith, thus making Anakin’s restoration of balance in Return of the Jedi compatible with the rise of a new evil in the sequel trilogy.

However, The Rise of Skywalker adds a degree of complexity to the Chosen One prophecy. Although some fans may disagree, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi present the new antagonists in a way that does not necessarily conflict with the Chosen One prophecy, given that the Sith are still destroyed following Anakin’s actions in Return of the Jedi. This is not the case in The Rise of Skywalker, in which Sidious is revealed to have died and returned, overseeing the First Order via Snoke. So, the question becomes: is Anakin still the Chosen One given that he did not truly bring about the end of the Sith? There’s several possibilities.

One of which is that, simply, Anakin is still the Chosen One. Although Palpatine did return, Vader actually killed Palpatine in Return of the Jedi. In this sense, balance was restored, at least for a time, after Anakin’s actions.

This, however, raises yet another question. If Rey does the same thing in The Rise of Skywalker as Anakin did in Return of the Jedi, is she the Chosen One? Moreover, it is Rey who definitively kills Palpatine, deflecting his lightning strikes back at him and making the Sith Lord disintegrate. Anakin says to Rey in Episode IX, “Bring balance to the Force, as I did.” This line shows that both Anakin and Rey, in slaughtering Palpatine, restore balance to the Force. It’s not the case that Anakin’s actions in Return of the Jedi are invalidated. Rather, Anakin killed Palpatine and restored balance for a time, before Rey killed Palpatine again, thus restoring balance again.

Some fans may find this problematic given that it makes the Chosen One prophecy seem more like a Chosen Two prophecy. It’s possible that Anakin is still considered the Chosen One as he killed Palpatine in Return of the Jedi and was vital in helping Rey kill Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker (through his encouragement and support to Rey), collectively making him the most important individual in bringing balance. Or, it may be the case that the Chosen One prophecy can be fulfilled multiple times, with both Anakin and Rey actualizing this upon killing Palpatine at different times. Or, there’s a possibility that, as Yoda once said, the prophecy was initially misread and it is actually Rey who is the Chosen One, not Anakin or Luke.

Canonically, it’s still unclear where the Chosen One prophecy stands in light of the events in the sequel trilogy. George Lucas once emphasized that Anakin, not Luke, was the Chosen One, but it seems that a more relevant discussion nowadays regards whether Anakin and/or Rey is the Chosen One. Whether or not this question will be addressed in a future Star Wars project remains to be seen, but given that the Chosen One prophecy has been an integral part of the Skywalker saga, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that more light will be shed on this topic eventually.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+