Star Wars Bits: More 'Star Wars: Battlefront' DLC Details, Meet The Newest 'Rebels' Character, And More Details On The Sphero Force Band

In this edition of Star Wars Bits:

  • New character details are revealed for the new Star Wars: Battlefront Death Star DLC.
  • Explore a beautifully crafted Mos Eisley developed by some game designers in their free time.
  • Meet Bendu, the new Star Wars Rebels character voiced by Tom Baker.
  • Freddy Krueger actor Robert Englund explains his contribution to the Star Wars universe.
  • The Star Wars Rebels season one soundtrack is finally available for purchase.
  • Learn what else you can do with Sphero's new Force Band accessory.
  • And More!

chewbacca-battlefront

Electronic Arts have revealed new details about upcoming Death Star DLC coming to Star Wars: Battlefront, including new profiles on Chewbacca and Bossk, who are set to join the roster as the newest playable characters. As with previous hero characters, these new additions will feature special abilities directly tied to Star Wars lore. For example, Chewie's bowcaster gives him a few special attacks and his iconic roar will rally all nearby troops:

Chewbacca will be able to improve himself and all allies around him on the battlefield. With a Mighty Roar, he will inspire rebel soldiers and give them the level three Berserker effect and very high armor for a limited time. Chewbacca will also be affected by the roar and gain armor and damage. Inspired Heroes will get the armor effect but not the damage increase.

Chewbacca is a loyal partner, the companion you want at your side in the heat of battle. We really wanted to transcribe that into one of his abilities. Just as Leia's leadership skills translate to her deployment of Honor Guards, we felt that Chewbacca's roar is just the thing that would strengthen troop morale and allow close Rebel troops a second wind in their fight against the Empire.

bossk-battlefront

In contrast, the merciless bounty hunter Bossk can activate "predatory instincts," which benefit him and him alone:

Bossk can enhance his hunter skills at will. When this power is active, Bossk will have heat vision, faster cooldowns, increased damage and increased sprinting speed.

We wanted Bossk to feel like a predator, a hunter. Giving him a snake-like heat vision was a lot of fun, but it also tends to blend Rebels and Imperials together as a downside. This is why we decided that while Chewbacca is enhancing his friends, Bossk will only enhance himself while his vision is active. Bossk chooses to enhance himself greatly while his vision is active at the expense of some team unity, in stark contrast to the noble Chewbacca's inspiring roar. This ability is our first ability with no cooldown, you decide when you want it on or off. We feel like this gives Bossk a lot more character and versatility.

geonosis

And finally, this image from the DLC's new landing page shows off the planet Geonosis in the background, which you may remember from Attack of the Clones as well as episodes of The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. This means that Star Wars fans will have to ignore continuity as they play this level, because while the Death Star was partially constructed at Geonosis, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, and other playable characters would never have encountered it while it near there! As we know from Rogue One, it was completed at the planet Scarif before it was unleashed upon the galaxy.

So what happens when a couple of people at the video game company Obsidian Entertainment have some free time? They decide to build their own 3D recreation of Mos Eisley, of course. As senior environment artist Jason Lewis told Level 80, it all started with the desire to create 3D Millennium Falcon just because he wanted one:

So our Star Wars scene simply started out as me wanting to build a 3D Millennium Falcon. I am a huge Star Wars fan and I have always wanted to build a CG Falcon, but just never seemed to get around to doing it until now. It started out as a simple 3ds Max model, but then I thought it might be pretty neat to see it run in real-time, and since I had no Unreal 4 experience prior to this, I figured this could be a great project to learn UE4 with, so my goal was to build the most highly detailed real-time Falcon that anyone has ever seen, and I think I have pulled it off, except for maybe the Falcon model from the recent ILM X-Labs VR demo that was at GDC a few months ago. Theirs might be a bit more detailed than mine, or at least the two might be on par with each other, but theirs is more accurate to the Studio model from what I have been able to see from online videos, whereas with mine, I took some liberties with the details to make it work better with my scene.

And then the whole thing took off from there! As Lewis explains, he kept on tacking more and more detail and additional areas to his quick experiment and ended up recruiting a few other Star Wars fans from the staff to make it happen:

Originally it was just going to be the Falcon sitting in Docking Bay 94 so I could run around and look at it in real-time. Then I thought it would be neat to add the interior to the docking bay, and then maybe some of the surrounding Mos Eisley city, then I thought "hey, let's put the Mos Eisley Cantina in as well!" It was at this point that I realized the scope of this project had grown beyond my ability to finish it by myself, so I extended an invitation to several of the artists working with me at Obsidian to help out with this project in their free time, and I got many very enthusiastic YES responses, so I divided up the work based on the time and effort commitments that volunteers were willing to put into it.

Although the area is free of other characters and there's not much to do beyond wander around and explore, the results are undeniably impressive. With a few tweaks, this could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Star Wars: Battlefront. You can take a look at the level in action via the IGN video above or you can head over to Star Wars News Net, who have collected links to the various places where you can download the level for yourself.

We are just days away from the September 24 premiere of Star Wars Rebels Season 3, but a new clip introducing a new character has been released. That strange alien is Bendu and the voice coming out of him belong to Doctor Who actor Tom Baker, who described the character to USA Today:

The Bendu is described as a "life force," which is something we haven't really seen before in Star Wars. He's not the dark side or the light — he's something greater. I'm quite flattered that (Rebels executive producer) Dave Filoni fancied me as a "life force" at the age of 82.

Baker elaborated further:

The big characters in these series appear to be making decisions, but it depends on the writers giving you good powerful scenes. These adventures of The Doctor and Bendu are followed and loved by people who dream. Dreaming is so important, because anything can happen. It has nothing to do with physics or logic, it's like religious faith.

You can say this much about Rebels – rather than spin its wheels and lean on the familiar; it keeps on pushing the Star Wars universe into fresh and unexpected places.

mark hamill

It's common knowledge (at least among the more die-hard Star Wars fans) that actor Robert Englund auditioned for the role of Han Solo. In slightly lesser known trivia, Hamill was actually sitting on England's couch when the future Freddy Krueger actor who told him he should go audition for George Lucas' new movie. Force Material got Englund to tell the whole story:

At that time, Mark Hamill was always on my couch. He was a TV star. He was filming a TV series across the street; I think it was called The Texas Wheelers, with Gary Busey. So he was always at my place, and I knew he was home because his cowboy boots were out front. He always left his boots outside. So there he was, halfway through a six-pack, watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I went in and I said to him, 'Look at these sides, I think you're right for this, man. This character is like a space prince, and it's George Lucas!'

The whole story, which includes Englund describing an early version of Han Solo as a pot-smoking "cool uncle, can be read at the link above.

star-wars-rebels-soundtrack

It's probably a year later than expected, but better late than never: the soundtrack for Star Wars Rebels Season 1 has arrived and can purchase on iTunes right now. All 28 tracks will cost you $10.99.

A recent episode of The Star Wars Show featured a brief interview with Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm story group. However, that version was edited for length. Now, the full 26-minute version has been made available. While he's not one to let big revelations fly, he is one to talk about what it's like to work in close collaboration with Star Wars canon on a daily basis, and it's fascinating stuff.

And while we're on the subject, here's the latest episode of The Star Wars Show, which focuses on the music of Star Wars and the current Marvel line of Star Wars comics.

force-band

Earlier this year, we heard about the Force Band, a new accessory that is meant to be used in conjunction with that Sphero BB-8 toy everybody bought last year. At first, it seemed like a fun but unnecessary accessory, allowing you to use your hand to control your little droid rather than your smartphone. Now, Gizmodo has a look at some of the additional features, which includes a "Combat Training Mode" that lets you wield a lightsaber:

There's a mode that has the wearer feeling around for collectible holocrons, relying on the Force Band's haptic feedback to determine where they are, that then unlocks additional functionality in the app. But most interesting is the Force Band's Combat Training Mode which allows the wearer to wield imaginary weapons like blasters and lightsabers with sound effects triggered by specific movements and gestures. Which should make your old flashlight lightsaber much cooler than it used to be.

The Force Band will arrive on September 30 and will retail for $80. A special edition set that includes a "battle damaged" BB-8 and a Force Band will cost you $200.

Let's end this edition of Star Wars Bits with a literal crowdpleaser. Illustrator Matt Hirschfeld attended John Williams' recent concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and returned with footage of the brilliant composer leading the orchestra in a performance of the Imperial March. Sure, the main Star Wars theme is more famous, but surely we can all agree that this is the best piece of music ever to emerge from the saga, right?