As ever, you get the latest news and analysis:
The annual Toy Fair has kicked off in New York, and that means a whole slew of new Star Wars toys were revealed for the upcoming year. The official Star Wars website has a pretty exhaustive look at a lot of the best stuff. Naturally, Baby Yoda — err, "The Child" — from The Mandalorian is the hot ticket with the biggest showing. It makes sense. In order to keep the asset a secret from leaking to fans, the production opted to keep the existence of the child from licensees until after the show aired. Now that the lil guy is out of the bag, as it were, they can pull out all the stops on the merchandise we want. Like this animatronic version:
Aside from all the merchandise involving the lone wolf's cub, I'm excited for more action figures like this Ahsoka:
My only hope is that Hasbro moves back and embraces its 3.5-inch line more. So much attention is paid to the larger 6-inch figures, but it makes it really hard for them to interact with all the smaller toys I've collected over the last 30+ years.
WHAT'S A FORCE GHOST?
For some reason, fans have been wondering if Han Solo is a Force ghost in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. He's not, but that doesn't stop them from wondering. There are three distinct giveaways that he's not: He's not a Force user, he's not blue and translucent, and they said in the film that he's literally just Ben's memory.
That didn't stop a reporter at USA Today from asking Harrison Ford about the theory, and his answer was nothing short of spectacular. After telling the reporter that he had no idea what a Force ghost was, he then leaned into the recorder and whispered, "Don't tell anyone. I'm not talking loud enough for your recorder. I have no [expletive] idea what a Force ghost is. And I don't care!"
And who could blame him?
LUKE'S YELLOW LIGHTSABER
The next issue of Marvel's Star Wars has a nice surprise on the cover. Luke is wielding a yellow lightsaber. Traditionally, yellow lightsabers were wielded by the Jedi Temple guards on Coruscant, though more recently we saw Rey choose that color for herself at the end of The Rise of Skywalker.
Charles Soule, the writer of the series, has a great answer, though: nostalgia.
I also had a chance to do an hour-long interview with Soule on the Full of Sith podcast this week. Listen in as he talks about his work across all of Marvel comics as well as hints about Project Luminous.
Industrial Light & Magic released a new video that gives us the best behind-the-scenes look yet at The Mandalorian. The way they filmed the show is revolutionary and built upon ideas they used to film Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story, but they've taken it to the next level for the Disney+ show. Using the Unreal game engine and massive LED screens, they can build sets that would otherwise be impossible on a TV budget. And the results are stunning.
Season 2 of The Mandalorian comes to Disney+ in October, and it promises to stretch the abilities of this technology even further.
After watching Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, an easy conclusion to reach is that Ahsoka Tano is dead. We hear the voices of a number of Jedi who we know have passed on passing their wisdom and strength to Rey in her final confrontation with Darth Sidious; Ahsoka is among their number.
But what if there were more to it than that?
In an interview with Germain Lussier, Dave Filoni reminded fans that talking through the Force is a pretty standard thing. "I remember in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke speaking out through the Force to Leia. Vader also does this at the end of Empire Strikes Back. There's no absoluteness that these people are dead. I mean, some of them we know are dead."
More than that, Filoni even had Yoda speaking to Ezra from across the galaxy, alive and well in Star Wars Rebels. There's every chance that Ahsoka could have sensed the conflict through the Force and stopped to meditate and offer Rey what strength she could from wherever she was at that point.
We may still have more Ahsoka stories in store. In fact, we'll see her soon on episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which kicked its final season off today on Disney+.
SPFX — THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
On our path through taking a look at Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for its 40th anniversary, we'll leave you with the SPFX behind-the-scenes documentary of the film. As a kid growing up in the dark times (the time between the release of Return of the Jedi and the Special Editions), this was a white whale for me. I wanted to see it so desperately and had read about it referenced in places. Finally, thanks to YouTube, I was able to see it.
And now you can, too.
Until next week, May the Force Be With You!