Star Wars Bits: Star Wars Land Updates, The Making Of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Book, And New Words From Two Obi-Wan Kenobi Actors

In today's edition of Star Wars Bits:

  • A very cool update on Disney's Star Wars theme park land.
  • Words of wisdom from Carrie Fisher and Kathleen Kennedy.
  • Not one, but two Obi-Wan Kenobi actors speak out.
  • An admittedly cool Star Wars/Game of Thrones mash-up.
  • Lawrence Kasdan is ready to retire from Star Wars.
  • J.W. Rinzler talks about the upcoming Making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens book.
  • George Lucas' new museum may have found a new home.
  • Fantasy Flight Game reveals the newest Star Wars: Imperial Assault expansions.
  • A bunch of video games are heading to Star Wars Celebration.
  • And more!

Making Star Wars has a quick report about the level of immersion that Disney Imagineers are shooting for with the new Star Wars land coming to Disney theme parks later this decade:

There are going to be some kind of "Force Opportunities" placed throughout Star Wars Land. Imagine a boulder. Kids will walk up to the boulder and attempt to lift it all day. But at one special moment, one special child will actively use the Force and lift the rock. We don't know if it will be a ship or just a rock or what. It sounded like there would be smaller "Force Opportunities" that occur often and others that only happen once or twice a day.

This sounds very much like certain areas of Universal Studios' Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where tourists can wave wands purchased in nearby souvenir stores to activate certain elements of the park and simulate magical moments.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: carrie fisher as princess leia

While promoting the new documentary Bright Lights, the wonderful Carrie Fisher was asked about the success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens:

This movie's about family, Star Wars is. That's why it has the appeal [...] I go to Comic-Con because it's an amazing thing to observe. The fans are incredible and they bring the entire family. It's about family and that's the most amazing thing

And he's right. Star Wars is about family, even if it's about the single most dysfunctional family in the galaxy, where dad is a mutilated cyborg and brother and sister accidentally share a kiss.

Speaking of popular genre series with a strong emphasis on families, someone has taken the Tower of Joy sequence from this season of Game of Thrones and replaced every sword with lightsabers and re-scored the whole thing with John Williams music. Heck, they even added a classic Star Wars wipe at the start of the scene. Share this video with the nerd in your life.

Kathleen Kennedy

The real brain behind the recent re-emergence of Star Wars is Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy, who took the reins of the series after George Lucas retired. In a new interview, she spoke about Lucas trusting her enough to take on his legacy:

The trust we have shared comes from working together and building a friendship for over 30 years. I feel I've got an insight into what drives George as an artist and what drives him personally. Everything that came from his incredible imagination was going to have to carry on without his creative vision, and so asking me to provide that stewardship was daunting to say the least. In a sense I'm playing a bifurcated role, protecting a legacy and working with Disney to grow a business.

She emphasized trust once more when she was asked about selecting filmmakers to helm the new Star Wars movies:

Both J.J. and Rian grew up on Star Wars and those films were instrumental in inspiring them to make films of their own. They also have a strong respect for the mythology that George created, and their unique storytelling talents made both Disney and myself confident that they would live up to that legacy while honoring their own styles and sensibilities as filmmakers. Trust is extremely important.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: jj abrams and lawrence kasdan

Legendary screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan has revealed that his screenplay for the upcoming Han Solo spin-off will probably be the last movie he writes, mainly because he wants to get back to directing and because he's tired of writing Star Wars movies:

I want to get back in directing. Those movies take three years to do and there's so many effects in them; that's just not what I am interested in. I have written four Star Wars movies and that is plenty for anyone.

How to Build Rey's Blaster

A few weeks ago, it looked like author J.W. Rinzler's The Making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens book had been canceled, which led to a fair amount of moaning and groaning and gnashing of teeth. After all, his previous books on the making of the original trilogy are nothing short of exceptional. Of course he's the guy went digging into the newest movie. However, the death of his latest book was announced prematurely, as it is back on the schedule for an October 25, 2016 release. Star Wars News Net recently sat down with Rinzler for an interview, but he seemed as in-the-dark about what's going on with the book as anyone else:

I was with them (Lucasfilm) right up until the release of the film. My last day was December 31st. And um, yeah, I did a manuscript of The Making of The Force Awakens with Mark Vaz. I'm not the spokesperson, you know, I'm not sure what the last thing they said, in terms of what's happening with the book. I think they have delayed it. For, you know, whatever reasons.

So if there's any delay, it's Lucasfilm's doing...which is the kind of thing that allows you to cook up a conspiracy theory or two. His other books have been warts-and-all portrayals, taking a deep dive into the production of three enormous films and leaving no stone unturned. With The Force Awakens still fresh in everyone's minds, is it possible that the studio was hesitant about publishing a book that may expose even the smallest problems on set? After all, they are currently facing legal action over Harrison Ford's leg injury. Or it could be as simple as Lucasfilm not wanting anyone knowing about the alternate versions of the film that could have happened. For example, here's Rinzler confirming that the book he turned in featured details about George Lucas' original vision for future films before he sold Star Wars to Disney:

He did, but given how he's said they didn't really follow his ideas, it's for him to say. Because the book has been delayed, I really don't think I can talk about it–except to say that when the book does come out, if it's as originally written, fans will learn a lot more.

The full interview is a good read, but I especially enjoyed this George Lucas anecdote:

One of the first things George said to me when I interviewed him on Episode III was, 'You know, I'm not a director, I'm not a film director.'  I was thinking 'What?  What is he talking about?'.  He says, 'Steven Spielberg, he's a director.  He says put the camera here, lay down the dolly track, and so on.  I'm out there collecting footage.'  He's collecting material, which he then works on in the editing room.  For him, the whole process is very painful, up until he gets to editorial...I think that's the part, relatively speaking, he enjoys the most.

George Lucas The Force Awakens Reaction

Speaking of Lucas, the now-retired creator of Star Wars recently watched his plans to build a "narrative arts" museum in Chicago go belly-up. So now, he's returned to the city where he originally wanted to build it and they've seemingly welcomed him with open arms. It's looking like the museum may be heading to San Francisco's Treasure Island, a move that city supervisor Aaron Peskin says will benefit all parties:

Treasure Island actually has been lacking a lot of what I call the "special sauce." What it's been lacking is a ferry service — remember, it's an island in the middle of the bay and it's got a congested bridge. If we could actually have an attraction on Treasure Island it might be able to sustain a ferry service and if we could sustain that we could make the entire island work. You know, I sued over that project for a number of years as the City walked away from a deal that would reduce the amount of affordable housing and reduce the amount of ferry service. Perhaps the Lucas museum could be the special sauce.

Considering Lucas' origins as a filmmaker in the Bay Area, this feels like it could be the right spiritual choice, too. Meanwhile, the city of Los Angeles has made it clear that they would welcome the museum as well.

And before we depart the subject of George Lucas, please enjoy this hilariously gut-wrenching video, were YouTuber Harrison Jeffs re-edited a Charlie Rose interview with George Lucas to emphasize the director's pain over never winning an Oscar. It's okay, Mr. Lucas. You can go take a nap on your bed made out of $100 bills now.

imperial assault

Fantasy Flight Games has announced the latest round of expansions for their great Star Wars: Imperial Assault, which will add Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Grand Inquisitor, and Greedo to the game. Here's the official description:

Now, you can grow your collection with three more recognizable figures, each of whom exemplifies his entire faction. The aged Jedi Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi spent years watching over Luke Skywalker on Tatooine, and he now emerges from the shadows to join the fight for truth and justice once more. Against Obi-Wan, you'll encounter the deadly power of The Grand Inquisitor, a dark side force user dedicated to eradicating every trace of the Jedi from the galaxy. Finally, you might take up your blaster with Greedo, a slimy bounty hunter who's ready to employ any trick as he works for the Mercenaries of the galaxy.

You can check out the figures in the gallery below.

StarWars.com has announced that this year's Celebration event in London will include a bunch of upcoming Star Wars games, from console shooters to mobile experiences:

StarWars.com is excited to announce that the best in Star Wars gaming is set to invade Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 in London this summer. Star Wars BattlefrontLEGO Star Wars: The Force AwakensStar Wars: CommanderStar Wars: Galaxy of HeroesStar Wars: The Old Republic, and Star Wars: Force Collection will all be joining the mega-event, marking the highest volume of gaming content in Celebration history.

It's not clear if they will be the subject of panels or if they will be playable, but we'll probably know soon enough.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Rey and Han Solo

The Force Awakens editor Maryann Brandon recently participated in a Q&A about her work on the film, where she revealed a handful of interesting details. She spoke about the original opening scene (the one with Luke's severed hand) and touched on various changes to the story, like how Poe Dameron was given more wisecracks in his opening scene to soften the tone of the village massacre and how Maz Kanata originally had Force powers. She also noted that Kylo Ren was originally unmasked during his first meeting with Snoke, but they decided to hold off on the reveal and had to CGI his mask back on his head. The most amusing revelation came straight from George Lucas, who informed her early in the film's production that Obi-Wan Kenobi was not a particularly powerful Jedi – he was completely average in every way.

Voice actor James Arnold Taylor, who is best known for voicing Obi-Wan Kenobi on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, has posted a YouTube video where he answers a question that he has been seemingly asked time and time again: will he return for Star Wars Rebels? After all, he did cameo in the series pilot, even it was just a holographic message. His answer is surprisingly well considered and sober. Yes, he'd love to return, but it probably wouldn't make much sense for Obi-Wan to return.

Speaking of men who have played Obi-Wan Kenobi, here is a delightful interview with Ewan McGregor on the subject of the Star Wars prequels, which he has nothing but kind things to say about over ten years later.

The latest episode of the Star Wars Show has arrived, featuring the band Chvrches as a special guest star.

And finally, let's end this edition of Star Wars Bits with the latest episode of Star Wars Minute, which delves into the the history of the Confederacy of Independent Systems.