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Star Wars Weekly: Episode IX adds a female director and Ewoks are on the hunt

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Apr 20, 2018

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.

SECOND UNIT DIRECTOR

Perhaps the biggest news to hit Star Wars this week came from the Twitter feed of Ava DuVernay.

That’s right: J.J. Abrams chose Victoria Mahoney to be his second unit director, making her the first woman of color in a creative directing position behind the camera of a Star Wars film. Although she cut her teeth acting, Mahoney’s first feature film, Yelling at the Sky, came through the labs at Sundance and put her on the map. Her work behind the scenes of Episode IX is welcome news, and we can only hope that this is a sign of more things to come.

STAR WARS: LAST SHOT RELEASED

The second-biggest Star Wars news this week might be the release of Star Wars: Last Shot, written by Daniel José Older. It introduces a wide array of characters, but my favorite of the bunch might be Peepka. She’s an Ewok. And a slicer. And a delight.

Last Shot tells a story of Han and Lando across the Star Wars timeline, giving us a glimpse of Lando before he lost the Falcon to Han, Han some time after he won the Falcon from Lando, and the two of them together a couple of years after the battle of Endor, as they try to unravel an evil plot that has been brewing for more than a decade. The book is reminiscent of the old Han Solo and Lando Calrissian books from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s and has just the right amount of delicious absurdity, blended with modern sensibilities.

It’s out now, and I would advise reading it before Solo: A Star Wars Story and then maybe again after. There are nods to the film that I know are there, even if I don’t know about them specifically yet. It definitely gives us our first look at L3-37 from the new film, and she might be my new favorite droid.

LANDO’S CAPE

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All of this renewed interest in everyone’s favorite smooth-talking smuggler may also have sparked a new fashion interest in capes. I was surprised to see that ThinkGeek is selling Lando capes now. It looks gorgeous, and I’ve always wanted capes to come back into fashion. Is this the first step toward that happening?

I hope so.

MILLENNIUM FALCON RIDE FOOTAGE

One bit of news that seems to have flown a bit under the radar is the test footage from the new Millennium Falcon ride that will be opening at Galaxy’s Edge in both Anaheim and Orlando sometime next year. At the GPU technology conference, WDW News Today was on hand to get test footage of the flight of the Falcon.

Knowing that you’ll be the one at the helm of the Falcon, flying through this First Order facility, makes me very happy. It already looks amazing, but seeing it fully rendered through the cockpit of the Falcon is going to put it over the top for me. I can’t wait for my chance to fly.

NEW DATABANK ENTRIES

The Star Wars Databank is one of the chief resources of canon information, and it’s been updated with all kinds of new information about Solo: A Star Wars Story. For instance, it reveals that Paul Bettany’s character, Dryden Vos, is the head of a burgeoning criminal syndicate known as the Crimson Dawn. We’ve also learned that L3-37 is actually a self-made droid, cobbled together from parts of protocol droids and astromechs, and she also cares deeply about droid rights.

Be sure to head over the official Star Wars website to poke through the Databank and glean what bits of information you can from the enigmatic entries for all the new characters.

EWOK HUNT

The news I’m most excited about this week, though? It has to be this:

Ewok Hunt for Star Wars: Battlefront II has gone live, and I don’t even know how many troopers have now died at the hands of the Ewoks. This new survival mode places a group of stormtroopers on the surface of Endor on what might otherwise be a quiet night. But there’s something in the forest. Can the troopers survive?

This might be the single most entertaining thing they’ve done with the game since its launch, so it’s a little sad to see that it’s being billed as a limited play mode. Hopefully EA will realize how brilliant this is and make it standard. And then, after they’ve made Ewok Hunt permanent, maybe they’ll give us some Clone Wars content. Because we all need Ahsoka in that game. Like now.