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Time again for STAR WARS WEEKLY, the SYFY WIRE series that rounds up the most important news of the week from a galaxy far, far away.
Think of us as your own personal Star Wars Holocron.
A NEW HOLIDAY SPECIAL
The original 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special is one of the most sought after and reviled pieces of Star Wars history. George Lucas famously remarked that he'd love to destroy every copy.
Produced in the brief interim between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas didn’t have much of a choice in its creation and divorced himself from it before it even aired. It aired just once, on CBS, and was so bad it became the stuff of legend. Bootlegs became hot commodities at convention tables before the age of YouTube. Now, the ill-conceived holiday special can be seen in its entirety, though you might need a drinking game to get through it.
Because of its kitsch and bizarre nature, more and more references to this special have made their way into the Star Wars canon. Bea Arthur’s character, Ackmena, made her way in via the From A Certain Point of View collection of short stories. The Mandalorian is chock-full of references to the special. Life Day, the subject of the special, is even celebrated by fans and is a holiday on Batuu.
Now, it’s been announced this week that we’re in for an all-new holiday treat.
The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special aims to take Rey and friends on their very own Life Day quest. Since the medium is LEGO, the assumption is that this will be a vast improvement over the original special it aims to homage. Some actors from the original cast will reprise their roles in and it looks to be a fun time that won’t take itself too seriously.
It premieres on Disney+ on Nov. 17, just in time for Life Day.
A TEST OF COURAGE
The official Star Wars website isn’t being shy about teases to the new era of Star Wars, The High Republic. This week, we got a new glimpse at Justina Ireland’s middle-grade entry into the series, A Test of Courage.
It's really exciting. Even Star Wars author E.K. Johnston is excited beyond belief, as evidenced by this tweet:
A Test of Courage will introduce us to a young Jedi named Vernestra Rwoh and a tech whiz named Avon Starros, an ancestor of fan-favorite scoundrel Sana Starros. The exclusive excerpt offers a glimpse at the writing as well as the dynamic between the two characters. The era of The High Republic takes place hundreds of years prior to the events of The Phantom Menace. “The novel,” according to starwars.com, “follows a ragtag group of young adventurers — newly-minted teen Jedi Vernestra Rwoh, a young Padawan, audacious tech-kid Avon Starros, and the son of an ambassador — after a galaxy-wide disaster leaves them stranded on a jungle moon.”
The book comes out on Jan. 5, 2021, and is one of the major releases of The High Republic. You can read an excerpt of it here.
CASSIAN ANDOR CASTING
The announced Disney+ show about Cassian Andor, the character from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story played by Diego Luna, is still moving into production at some point. COVID-19 delayed its start date, but it is still very much happening. Variety is reporting that Adria Arjona (Pacific Rim: Uprising, Morbius) has been added to the cast.
There’s no official confirmation from Lucasfilm or Disney on this and there’s no word on who she will be playing. She could be a rebel agent working with Cassian Andor or she could just as easily be an Imperial. She could also be a local contact in the underworld who gets swept up in Cassian’s espionage. The field is wide open.
As for the show, there has never been a solid release date for it, but they’ll need to actually produce it before we get news on when we’ll get to see it. Expect it at the end of 2021 at the absolute earliest, but more likely sometime in 2022.
STAR WARS ON NES
This blast from the past was brought to my attention by Don Bies. A special effects artist, Bies worked on the Star Wars: Special Edition and the prequel films and was a longtime employee of Lucasfilm. He posted about this unique commercial produced to promote the new Star Wars game for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Bies himself played a Stormtrooper in the commercial and recalled that this was shot in Atlanta, Georgia, in the same neighborhood they filmed Driving Miss Daisy in.
It’s such a weird little TV spot and the conceit is terrifying. Like a mix between Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and Time Bandits.
They definitely don’t make commercials like they used to.
Until next week, may the Force be with you!