Star Wars The Force Awakens opens next week, and considering the title it’s likely to feature new force users and potential future Jedi. Perhaps Rey and/or Finn will join Luke to bolster the ranks of the Jedi? But this isn’t a speculation piece delving into what next week might bring to the Star Wars universe, it’s about revisiting the history of the Jedi Order, more specifically, a look at ALL the Jedi that are in the new canon. That means no Kyp Durron, Mara Jade, the Solo siblings or any of your other favorites from the novels, comics and games that collectively were once known as the Expanded Universe.
Over the weekend Star Wars fans and gamers were treated with the open Beta for Star Wars Battlefront, and so far it absolutely lives up to the hype of being one of the year’s most anticipated games. The beta went live on October 8 and has been extended through October 13. Even though there are only 3 game modes and maps available in the beta, it didn’t really feel too samey during the time I was playing it, and I played it fairly extensively on my PS4.
Those that are keeping track of the ever emerging new Star Wars canon may have taken note of one of the more recent episodes of the Disney XD series Star Wars: Rebels, in which our padawan hero Ezra constructs his own rather individualistic lightsaber. More than 30 years ago another young padawan, though he was never called that, built a saber of his own. But like so many other great moments in film history, Luke Skywalker’s light saber construction ended up on the cutting room floor. Thanks to the internet, where anything is possible, we proudly present that all too brief missing scene from Return of the Jedi.
Since Star Wars: Episode VII was announced a few months ago, their has been a number of new Star Wars projects announced, such as the Star Wars: Rebels animated TV series. None of these have been quite as left field as the announcement back in April that Dark Horse will be releasing an 8-issue comic series titled ‘The Star Wars‘, based on George Lucas’ original draft scripts written back in 1974.
The original screenplay had many differences from the final draft that eventually became Star Wars. ‘The Star Wars‘ tells the story of Jedi General Luke Skywalker, who seems to be the only person concerned that The Empire is poised for an attack on the peaceful world of Aquilae. When King Kayos is killed, Jedi in training Annikin Starkiller is ordered to find Princess Leia, while Skywalker sends his only squadron against the Empire’s powerful new battle station! O,h and Han Solo is a massive green alien who artist Mike Mayhew described to the USA Today as a “worldly” and exotic gunslinger who is already a rebel agent and “a very mysterious pirate that lurks in the shadows”. Also, gone are the legendary Lightsabers, instead the Jedi wield lazer-swords which are not too different to the swords that we are used to.
You may be forgiven for thinking that Dark Horse is cashing in on the renewed interest in the series, however this project really excites me. Marvel and DC have been producing parallel world storylines for years with their ‘What if…?‘ and ‘Elseworlds‘ comics respectively, and for the most part they give us a great alternative vision of classic characters. I don’t see this as being any different. At the very least it will give Star Wars fans an insight into what George Lucas originally intended. Dark Horse also doesn’t tend to churn out any old stuff just for the sake of cashing in. For the most part their continuation of the Buffy, Firefly, and Angel series’ have been nothing less than superb.
The comics creators are also of high pedigree. The 8 issue series will be written by J. W. Rinzler, executive editor at Lucas books with Lucas’ full blessing on the project.
Writer J.W.Rinzler says on the Dark Horse website:
[box_dark]“While researching in the Lucasfilm Archives I’ve found many treasures—but one which truly astounded me was George’s rough draft for The Star Wars. His first complete imaginings were hallucinating to read—mind blowing,” “While working with George on another book project, I once asked if we could adapt his rough draft. He was hesitant. Years later, with Dark Horse’s invaluable help, we showed him a few drawn and colored pages of what it might look like. He gave us the okay.”[/box_dark]
Artwork will be provided by Mike Mayhew, who has drawn for plenty of well known properties such as Green Arrow, Bionic Man, The Avengers and X-Men.
The first issue will be published on the 4th of September. Dark Horse will have a number of variant covers including one by legendary concept artist Ralph McQuarrie.
After the recent news about the possible Star Wars spin offs in the works from Disney (see here for more details ), we now have even more news on the subject. Total Film shared some incredible news for Star Wars fans world-wide. The first was a piece of news from scooper El Mayimbe (writer for Latino Review) who announced on Fox News that Harrison Ford was returning as Han Solo and that it was a “done deal”.
This is shocking news, especially as Harrison was famously quoted as wanting to kill of his character in Empire Strikes Back. Maybe Fords return to the Sci-Fi genre with Cowboys and Aliens got him excited about the Star Wars universe once more, or maybe he was of a mind-set “If you want something doing right, you have to do it yourself”. He could also just be in it for the money. Before too much speculation could take place however, more news was released (again from Total Film), with an Entertainment Tonight interview with Mark Hamill. Hamill had a slightly different story to tell. Though George Lucas had been in talks with him about role reprises, nothing had been signed at this time.
Hamill said in his interview…
[quote]“They’re talking to us. George [Lucas] wanted to know whether we’d be interested. He did say that if we didn’t want to do it, they wouldn’t cast another actor in our parts – they would write us out. … I can tell you right away that we haven’t signed any contracts. We’re in the stage where they want us to go in and meet with Michael Arndt, who is the writer, and Kathleen Kennedy, who is going to run Lucasfilm. Both have had meetings set that were postponed – on their end, not mine. They’re more busy than I am.”[/quote]
This shows a certain level of respect for the original actors. The fact George Lucas has spoken to Mark Hamill about what could happen in the new franchise would indicate that he really wants the original cast back to play their parts. The fact that they would write the characters out of the timeline, if no one was interested in reprising their roles again also shows a certain level of respect, but this time for the fans (as well as the actors) who are going to have trouble seeing these beloved characters played by different actors, especially when all the original cast are still alive.
[quote] “And another thing I’d want to make sure of is are we going to have the whole gang back? Is Carrie [Fisher] and Harrison [Ford] and Billy Dee [Williams] and Tony Daniels, everybody that’s around from the original [returning]? I want to make sure that everybody’s on board here, rather than just one.”[/quote]
This is also great news, with Hamill wanting all the crew on board we would have continuity throughout the series of movies. This is exactly what the fans want to see, the old chemistry of our favorite Jedi’s and smugglers all in the same movie. It is great news that Hamill knows what the fans want, and the fact he to only wants to work with his fellow Star Wars cast members. Hamill pleased the fans even more by saying he favored practical effects over CGI, something that worked against Episode 1-3.
[quote] “I’m assuming, because I haven’t talked to the writers, that these movies would be about our offspring – like my character would be sort of in the Obi-Wan range [as] an influential character.”[/quote]
A lot of the stories told after Episode 6 do focus on Luke Skywalker taking a more Obi-Wan role in the universe and a lot of the other stories focus on Leia and Hans children who are also gifted with the force. This would open up a great wealth of story possibilities as well as the fun fact we would be seeing how these characters have evolved since Episode 6. Though it is not clear if Harrison has signed or not, it is looking incredibly likely that we may see a return of the old cast, possibly with a married Han and Leia fighting over who is going to take the kids to Jedi training, while a white-haired Chewbacca plays chess with C3P0.
Keep checking Grizzly Bomb for more updates.