new star wars art 2

In this edition of Star Wars Bits:

  • A look at just how much Hasbro knows about Star Wars movies years in advance.
  • Star Wars: Battlefront teases the Bespin DLC.
  • Eleven minutes of gameplay footage from LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
  • An interview with “Snap” Wexley actor Greg Grunberg.
  • A bunch of new (and pricey) Star Wars art.
  • Some seriously impressive LEGO recreations of The Force Awakens vehicles.
  • A wacky fan theory that ties The Force Awakens to LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures.
  • Check out the first five pages of Marvel’s Han Solo comic.
  • And more!

Tech Insider has published a very good profile on Hasbro production design manager Bill Rawley and it’s a weird window into the close ties between movie studios and toymakers. Star Wars merchandise is big business and in order to provide the right toys and goods to feed the beast that is fandom, there needs to be open lines of communication between companies. In this particular case, this means Rawley and other members of the Hasbro team learning the plot of Star Wars: The Force Awakens long before anyone else not on Lucasfilm or Disney’s payroll:

We do get information really early and we’ll send team members out to Disney to do script reads so that we understand stories so that we can put our toys in context with the story and we cannot share any of that information with anyone. Even internally in the building, designers and people on other groups, we can’t really talk to them about it. It’s on a need-to-know [basis]. If they’re working on products that are influenced by the story, we’ll let them know some story elements but a lot of times we don’t even share the full story with the rest of the teams because they don’t need to know that Han Solo doesn’t make it through the movie.

Rawley even explains that he knew the fate of Han Solo for two years before the movie hit theaters:

For example, and spoiler alert if you didn’t see Episode VII, Han Solo’s death, I knew that for two years and I couldn’t tell anyone, not even my wife.

So as the Rogue One toys start to populate toy aisles near you in a few months, remember that the decisions about who gets figures and what gets highlighted are being made by people who know far more about what’s going than you. In fact, the article notes that Hasbro is already hard at work on products tied to Star Wars: Episode 8.

battlefront bespin

Electronic Arts has revealed new key art for upcoming Bespin DLV for Star Wars: Battlefront, which will allow players to control Lando Calrissian and Dengar the bounty hunter as they battle for control of Cloud City. The expansion will also include a variety of new weapons and character abilities, giving you another reason to fire the game up once more. Here’s how EA describes the the pack:

Join legendary smuggler Lando Calrissian and cold-blooded bounty hunter Dengar in the Cloud City of Bespin. Take to the skies in the new cloud car vehicle and journey through Cloud City and the Administrator’s Palace. The Bespin digital expansion will feature two new blasters to add to your arsenal. No matter your preference of short or long range combat, there will be something new to try out in Cloud City. Hunt enemies within the Bioniip Laboratories or carbon-freezing chambers with the new X-8 Night Sniper and EE-4 blasters.

Lando and Dengar both feature new traits that will give them unique gameplay abilities. Dengar is a villain that thrives on being in a fight. He wields the DLT-19, which makes him the first Hero with a heavy blaster so far. Lando is very skilled with a blaster too, but his greatest talent comes from knowing the odds and using tricks against his enemies.

The Bespin DLC will be available to season pass holders on June 21 before going on sale for everyone else two weeks later.

grunberg has posted a fun interview with Greg Grunberg, who plays Resistance pilot Temmin “Snap” Wexley in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Although Grunberg is a recognizable character actor with his fair share of credits to his name, he is a longtime friend of J.J. Abrams and has appeared in just about everything he’s made. Naturally, this led to him getting to calling up his old buddy and begging for a part in the seventh Star Wars movie after he landed the job:

I didn’t know that my autodial worked with my brain! I didn’t even have to dial the phone, man! First of all, he was undecided. It was a huge undertaking, so Kathleen Kennedy sealed the deal and when he told me, I was just so excited for him. Seriously! Usually it goes to a selfish place immediately, like “I’VE GOT TO BE IN THIS,” but I just couldn’t believe that he was being given the keys to the crowning jewel of all films. It blew me away.

And then, of course, I hung up the phone and I was like, “Wait a minute!” And I called him back and said, “Listen, there’s GOT to be something for me!”

Grunberg also spoke about getting to interact with iconic characters and work with legendary actors on the set, singling out two original trilogy actors in particular:

The ones that you hear the most lore or the most stories about are usually the ones that are so awesome, and just immediately break all the walls between you and them, and here that was Carrie Fisher. She is the greatest, she’s the most fun, and there’s just no pretense. But Harrison Ford is the most professional actor I’ve worked with.

You can read the whole interview, which is bubbling with infectious enthusiasm, at the link above.

ACME Limited has unveiled a new set of Star Wars art and if you have between $245 and $400 to spend on stuff to hang on your walls, happy shopping! From left to right in the gallery above, the pieces are “First Order Ren” by Mike Kungl, “I’ve Always Wanted to Fly One of These Things” by Damien Friesz, “Gambler’s Rush” by Raymond Swanland, “Energy Surrounds Us” by Joel Payne, “My Only Hope” by C.M. Cooper, and and “Yoda” by Damien Friesz.

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