It’s been an interesting, perhaps troubling time for Star Wars of late. Oh sure, Rian Johnson has started shooting Star Wars: Episode VIII. But we live in a world where people still make silly jokes about Star Wars sex toys. (Just to be clear, no, Target is most definitely not selling stormtrooper dildos.) But there are some real Star Wars tips and rumors lighting up the Internet, so let’s get right to it.
The Force Will Be Strong on This Spotify Playlist
Source: The most legit one there is: Lucasfilm, via the official Star Wars website.
Probability of Accuracy: As on target as Luke’s Death Star kill-shot.
The Real Deal: We apparently live in a new era of tribute albums to massive franchises. Not only are we about to get an album of songs about the Transformers, we’re days away from Star Wars Headspace, a collection of tracks, curated by superproducer Rick Rubin, built using samples of Star Wars sounds. It’s got tracks by artists like Rubin, Flying Lotus, Röyksopp and Kaskade, with titles like “C-3PO’s Plight” and “R2 Where R U?” Shameless cash-in or canny brand expansion? It’s too early to tell, although some tracks are already available to preview via Apple Music:
More can be heard here. It’s no Christmas in the Stars, but it’s close (No, I can’t quite believe we referenced Christmas in the Stars twice in two columns, but apparently it’s a tradition now. Sorry, all.)
What You Tarkin About, Willis?
Source: An anonymous Lucasfilm employee referenced by a random Internet fan site.
Probability of Accuracy: Somewhere between “unlikely” and “well, you never know…”
The Real Deal: A post on Moviepilot claims to have collected and confirmed many details about Rogue One, including the appearance of black-suited “Death Troopers.” More interestingly, it claims to have confirmed that Grand Moff Tarkin will be a character in the film. Peter Cushing, who so masterfully portrayed the character in A New Hope, died in 1994, so Tarkin will be a CGI character and “one of the most expensive renderings ever.” It sounds like exactly the kind of unrealistic, unreasonable fan service that could be easily dismissed until you remember two things. First, Rogue One centers on the construction of the Death Star construction and takes place just before A New Hope, so you’d expect Tarkin to have some role in the story. Second, the CGI Young Michael Douglas in Ant-Man floored people. Given that we’ve seen pretty convincing CGI renderings of Audrey Hepburn and Gene Kelly in ads, it seems entirely possible that a company like Lucasfilm could pull off a CGI Grand Moff.
Gimme Some of That Ol’ Time Religion (Jedi. I Mean Jedi.)
Source: The potent combination of IMDb and fan speculation.
Probability of Accuracy: File under “unconvinced” for now.
The Real Deal: Donna Dickens of Hitfix Harpy noticed an interesting vagueness about a particular casting on Rogue One’s IMDb page. While most actors listed there have no role attached, Emeson Nwolie is listed as a “Religious Warrior.” That seems noteworthy As Dickens said, “When you’re talking about Star Wars, there’s only one group of ‘Religious Warriors’ that matter … the Jedi Order.” While she’s half-right about that—there are, of course, the Sith, but has the Star Wars canon ever even hinted at any religion beyond the Force?—that doesn’t preclude two options here: Rogue One introduces a new religious order of warriors, or IMDb is mistaken about who/what Nwolie plays in the film. The former seems likely, given that, during the era Rogue One takes place, the Jedi have in theory been destroyed, leaving Ben Kenobi and Yoda as the sole survivors. Then again, if there’s one thing we know about Star Wars, it’s that nothing is predictable…
Looks Like Star Wars Isn’t Just a Holiday Franchise From Now on After All
Source: Disney Boss Bob Iger, during an earnings call.
Probability of Accuracy: Very high. Unless he misspoke, Iger knows his stuff.
The Real Deal: Well, this is unexpected. After Star Wars: Episode VIII got bumped from May, 2017, to December, 2018, most people—your humble Cantina Talk host included—assumed Disney planned on giving all future Star Wars movies December releases. Not so fast, judging by comments made during a recent Disney earnings call. Company CEO Bob Iger made it clear that the second Star Wars Story (i.e., standalone, non-Episode movie) would arrive in “May of 2018.” For those paying attention at home, that’s the one rumored to be Lawrence Kasdan’s Young Han Solo movie, though that’s neither here nor there. More curious is the idea that Disney remains open to May releases in May, but is nonetheless not releasing Episode VIII on May 25, 2017, the 40th anniversary of the franchise. Curiouser and curiouser, as the saying goes.
Start Expecting Rogue One Hype to Hit Light Speed This Summer
Source: A relatively well-placed executive who just happens to be the chief financial officer of Star Wars toy manufacturer Hasbro.
Probability of Accuracy: You’d assume it’s spot-on.
The Real Deal: But what’s that you say? Casting rumors and CGI Cushings are all well and good, but you want to know when we’re going to start getting merchandise based on Rogue One? Apparently, you’ll have to wait until the second half of the year. So sayeth Hasbro CFO Deb Thomas, who said on a recent earnings call (yes, those again) that, yes, Star Wars did wonders for the company’s bottom line—boys division revenue up 35 percent, thank you—2016 promises to be just as good. “We’ll continue to roll out new product throughout 2016,” Thomas explained, adding, “we’ll make a transition more towards Rogue One for the back half of 2016, given the December movie release for Rogue One.” Of course, that tracks with the long-standing rumor that the first trailer drop with the May 5 release of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, giving audiences their first chance to decide just which characters they want to see as action figures. We’re betting Hasbro won’t make enough of the character Felicity Jones plays.