Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
NOTE (Aug. 20): The images have been removed at the request of the LEGO Group.
Along with the avalanche of Star Wars movie news rumbling out of Disney’s D23 Expo arrives the first official look at seven LEGO sets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Presumably available in December, ahead of the film’s premiere, the first wave of LEGO sets will include an updated Millennium Falcon, Poe Dameron’s X-Wing, Rey’s Speeder and four First Order ships — chief among them, Kylo Ren’s Command Shuttle.
After commandeering a centuries-old rice paddy in Japan, Star Wars went on to infiltrate the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, a traditional summer festival famed for its elaborate, illuminated papier-mache floats.
Held in Aomori, the parade typically features images of samurai warriors, birds and animals, but this year, with Japan in the grip of Star Wars fever, droids, Jedi and Sith Lords were added to the mix. Darth Vader, Stormtroopers and R2-D2 even marched (and rolled) in the procession, officially sanctioned by Disney and Lucsfilm.
With all eyes on Anaheim, California, on Thursday for the premiere of the new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Japan’s All Nippon Airways used Star Wars Celebration to unveil the latest addition to its fleet: an R2-D2-themed Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Part of a five-year agreement with Disney and Lucasfilm, the new livery will debut this fall, although its international routes haven’t been determined. Both the announcement and the website ANA Planet suggest the “ANA Star Wars Project” will extend beyond a single jet’s droid motif, but no details were offered. Perhaps C3-PO and Darth Vader will get their own aircraft as well.
To mark the debut today of the entire Star Wars saga on digital platforms, Lucasfilm is releasing LEGO recreations of legendary artist Drew Struzan’s posters for all six films. LEGO will have them available for attendees next weekend at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California.
The LEGO Group and Lucasfilm have a relationship that dates back to 1999, when Star Wars became the toymaker’s first licensed property. From those first few playsets, their successful partnership has expanded to encompass video games, animation, comics and even theme parks (Legoland California just last month added a massive Death Star model to its four-year-old LEGO Star Wars Miniland).
The Colbert Report host and all-around expert on Star Wars Stephen Colbert returned to his popular Comedy Central show after a week away, and there was one pressing piece of news he made sure to touch upon: the debut of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. But not just any aspect of the teaser.
“Check out this awesome lightsaber! It’s a lightsaber with too many lightsabers on it,” Colbert said during his show’s opening segment. “It’s a menage-a-sabre. Sadly, there are some stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herders out there who aren’t thrilled with the new Jedi weapon. They say if these things are supposed to protect your hand like sword hilts, it wouldn’t work, because the first time you crossed lightsabers, and it slid down to the bottom of the blade, your opponent would cut through the little side-sabers and cut off your hand.”
Marvel will expand its forthcoming Star Wars line in April with Star Wars — Kanan: The Last Padawan, an ongoing comic that ties in to Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels animated series.
Announced today during the “Cup o’ Joe” panel at New York Comic Con, the series will be written by animation veteran Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, Young Justice), an executive producer for Rebels‘ first season, and illustrated by Pepe Larraz (The Mighty Thor).
If it seems far too soon, and far too exhausting, to start planning for Comic-Con International 2015 (it’s just330 days away) then think about this: Early-bird tickets went on sale Thursday for D23 Expo 2015, scheduled for about a month after the San Diego convention.
Billed as the Ultimate Disney Fan Event, it will be held Aug. 14-16, 2015, at the Anaheim Convention Center, across the street from Disneyland. It brings together elements of Disney, Pixar, ABC, Lucasfilm and Marvel under one (figurative) tent.
Surprising no one, CEO Bob Iger revealed Tuesday that Disney has plans for “a far greater Star Wars presence” at its theme parks.
According to Entertainment Weekly, he promised that the sci-fi franchise would become one of Disney’s answer to Universal Studios’ Harry Potter attractions. Details are expected sometime next year.
Although Saturday at Comic-Con International was dominated by movies and television — led by Warner Bros. Pictures, Marvel Studios and Legendary Pictures — there was still room for plenty of comics news. First and foremost, the announcement of Marvel’s Star Wars plans.
That line, telling canonical stories set between the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, launches in January with Star Wars, by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, followed in February by Star Wars: Darth Vader, by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca with covers by Adi Granov, and in March by the miniseries Star Wars: Princess Leia, by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson.
“What’s great about this time period is that all the characters are kind of on the table,” Aaron told CBR News. “Of course this is still early on and these people have pretty much just met each and just come together. So they’re still finding their place within this group and sort of figuring out their relationships with each other. Then there’s the fact that when you look at the gap between Episode IV and Episode V there’s some pretty major beats that happen off screen. So this gives up the opportunity to grab those beats and lay them down as part of the same canon as the movies.”
Characters from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars appeared together on stage Monday for the first time ever as the entertainment giant touted its powerhouse brands ahead of the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas.
According to Variety, Disney is once again the world’s top licensor, with a record $40.9 billion in retail sales last year, up from $39.4 billion in 2012. With looming films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Big Hero 6 and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, based on Marvel comics, the live-action Cinderella and Star Wars: Episode VII, plus the Star Wars Rebels animated television series, that seems unlikely to change in the near future.
Coming perhaps as little surprise, if still welcome news to hopeful fans, Disney is rumored to be developing new versions of its expansive Disney Infinity video game that will feature Marvel and Star Wars characters.
The information is included in a Wall Street Journal report about the expected layoffs of “several hundred” more people from Disney Interactive Studios, despite the game’s strong launch in August.
Chronicle Books has teamed with Gentle Giant Ltd. to bring to life Jeffrey Brown’s Darth Vader and Son and Darth Vader’s Little Princess as a pair of limited-edition maquettes based on the cartoonist’s work.
Released in 2012, the bestselling Darth Vader and Son reimagines the Dark Lord of the Sith as an involved father, raising a 4-year-old Luke Skywalker, while its 2013 follow-up Darth Vader’s Little Princess chronicles the trials of shepherding Leia as she grows a sweet ltitle girl to a rebellious teenager.
Legal | As the dust begins to settle on the ruling last month by a federal judge that Arthur Conan Doyle’s first 50 Sherlock Holmes stories have lapsed into the public domain in the United States, out march the analyses pointing out the buts. Chief among them, of course, is the possibility of appeal by the Conan Doyle estate, which contends the characters were effectively incomplete until the author’s final story was published in the United States (the 10 stories published after Jan. 1, 1923, remain under copyright in this country until 2022).
However, Publishers Weekly notes that because U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo didn’t rule directly on that “novel” argument, the estate may be satisfied with the ambiguity of the decision, given that uncertain creators still may seek to license the characters to steer clear of any trouble. Estate lawyer Benjamin Allison also insists that the Sherlock Holmes trademarks remain unaffected, an assertion that puzzles author and scholar Leslie Klinger, who brought the lawsuit. “There is a very good reason why the Estate did not assert trademark protection: The Estate does not own any trademarks,” he told PW. “They have applied for them, and there will be substantial opposition.” There’s more at NPR, The Independent and The Atlantic. [Publishers Weekly]
While it was certainly inevitable, Friday’s announcement that Dark Horse will lose the Star Wars license after more than two decades to Disney-owned Marvel nonetheless left many longtime readers dismayed, to say the least. To those fans, Dark Horse Vice President of Publishing Randy Stradley points out a silver lining: “[If] Dark Horse must lose the license, this is probably a good time for it.”
“From my perspective, the upcoming films will mean less freedom to do what we at Dark Horse have always done best: expanding the universe,” Stradley, who has served as senior editor of the Star Wars line since 2002, wrote Sunday on his Facebook page. “With a new film scheduled every year, and a new television series, it is likely that there will be a lot of comics pages devoted to adaptations and direct spin-off stories in support of the films and TV shows. That’s not where my interests lie, and it has never been Dark Horse’s strong suit. That would be too much like real work to me. Probably, the coming years will be a great time to be a Star Wars fan (especially a *new* Star Wars fan), and I hope you all enjoy the ride, but I think I’m going to be glad to not be in the mix.”
Disney, which has long fought against the expansion of casinos in Florida, is bringing to an end some licensing deals that have been viewed as hypocritical to that anti-gambling stance: slot machines, online slots and lottery tickets featuring Marvel and Star Wars characters.
The New York Times reports the announcement, made over the weekend, comes as the Florida legislature again prepares to address whether Las Vegas-style casino resorts should be permitted to open in the state. The Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista attracts 52.5 million visitors annually; the entertainment giant argues that gambling hurts the state’s family-friendly brand.
Although Disney is so opposed to gambling that it doesn’t even casinos on its cruise ships — that’s an oddity in the industry — Marvel continued to sign slot machine agreements after it was purchased by the corporation in 2009 for $4.6 billion. But a Marvel spokeswoman told The Times the last deal was made two years ago, and the company has “discontinued plans to initiate or renew slot machine licensing arrangements as part of its integration with Disney.” Those that remain will be allowed to expire.
Marvel heroes like Iron Man and the Avengers have appeared on scratch-off lottery tickets in several states, but the company said there are no active licensing deals.
A spokeswoman for Walt Disney World attributed the lag to the complexities of aligning corporate policies following a merger.