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Alan Dean Foster Goes Public with his Dispute with Disney Over Royalties

Alien the Novel

Earlier today, Alan Dean Foster and the Science Fiction Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) held a press conference concerning Disney‘s refusal to pay royalties to Foster for work he has done. Foster was originally contracted to write the Alien novelizations through Warner Books which were eventually licensed to Titan Books, and the Star Wars novelizations by Lucasfilms. Both Warner Books and Lucasfilms regularly paid his royalties.

When The Walt Disney Company acquired the rights to these novelizations in or around 2015, the payments stopped although the books continue to be sold. Disney continues to get money for the books. Alan Dean Foster, and possibly other authors with similar contracts, have not been paid.

Disney’s defense is they have purchased the rights but not the obligations of the contract. They are claiming they have the right to publish the work but not pay the writer based on the original contract.

If this stands, it stands to set a precedent with chilling effects within publishing, and creative industries as a whole.

SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal has laid out three solutions to the dispute:

  1. Pay Alan Dean Foster all back royalties as well as any future royalties.
  2. Publication ceases until new contract(s) are signed, and pay all back royalties to Alan Dean Foster as well as any future royalties.
  3. Publication ceases and pay all back royalties to Alan Dean Foster.

In his public letter to the company Foster says Disney wanted him to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) before even talking and negotiating. The publisher has since ingnored requests from his agents and the SFWA.

Foster also included his need that there’s a medical need for the money. He’s not looking for charity, he just wants what he’s owed.

The SFWA is also looking to see if this is a systemic issue with Disney and is asking for other creators to report if they’ve experienced similar experiences. You can do so here. Disney purchased Marvel Comics in 2009 and one would assume contracts with royalties in that deal. Unless there’s something specific about Foster’s original contract, Disney’s stance would be inconsistent by their own actions assuming they’re abiding by those Marvel contracts.

You can watch the full press conference below.

Lucasfilm Announces Star Wars: The Bad Batch Animated Series, Coming to Disney+ in 2021

Star Wars: The Bad Batch

Lucasfilm has announced that Star Wars: The Bad Batch is coming to Disney+ in 2021. The series spins out of the series finale for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

The series follows the elite and experimental clones of the Bad Batch as they find their way through the galaxy after the Clone War. Each member of the Bad Batch has a singular exceptional skill which makes them a formidable crew. They’ll take on daring mercenary missions as they find their purpose in this new era.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch is executive produced by Dave Filoni (The Mandalorian, Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Athena Portillo (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels), Brad Rau (Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars Resistance) and Jennifer Corbett (Star Wars Resistance, NCIS) with Carrie Beck (The Mandalorian, Star Wars Rebels) as co-executive producer and Josh Rimes as producer (Star Wars Resistance). Rau is also serving as supervising director with Corbett as head writer.

Review: Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker – The Manga

Star Wars: The Legends Of Luke Skywalker

In a franchise as loved by millions as the Star Wars saga, there are still mysteries to be uncovered about the main characters. The last trilogy of movies made for a passing of the torch for many fans. Every generation in the last 50 years, who have been fans of the franchise has had their own relationship with it. My generation grew up on the original trilogy while other generations got to know the universe the new movies and television shows created.

This is why when we hear that there are new stories culled from this universe about our most beloved characters we are mostly overjoyed. When Ken Liu released his book based on new adventures with Luke Skywalker I was definitely in line to pick it up. As I read the stories contained, it occurred to me just how much he loved this world as well. In VIZ Media’s graphic adaptation, Star Wars: The Legends Of Luke Skywalker, they bring to life the adventures he went on in Liu’s brilliant novel.

In the first story, “The Starship Graveyard”, with art by Akira Fukuya and Takashi Kiskaki, a Star Destroyer pilot crashes near a rebel base and has his own encounter with the infamous Jedi Knight, one which gives him a totally different view.  In “I Droid”, Haruichi illustrates how R2-D2 and C-3PO get sent to a work colony and Luke not only frees them but liberates the whole colony. In “The Tale Lugubrious Mote” Subaru brings to life a tale where an insect in Jabba The Hut’s lair tells from a different perspective Luke Skywalker’s meeting with Jabba in Return Of The Jedi and how Leia was not truly alone in her time there. In the final story, “Big Inside”, Akira Himekawa illustrates a story of a young biology student who gets rescued by Luke, only to go on her own adventure with the intrepid Jedi Knight as he encounters an old friend through the Force.

Overall, an engaging set of stories, though they rethread some familiar territory, it strikes that rich balance of nostalgia and intrigue. The stories by Liu are pure fan service. The art by the different creators is imbued with love and is very striking. Altogether, this book is the reason why so many fans have stayed in love with the franchise.

Story: Ken Liu Art: Akira Himekawa , Haruichi, Akira Fukaya, Takashi Kisaki, Subaru
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Yen Press Announces Two New Star Wars Manga

Join the Rebel Alliance as they launch an epic battle against the Galactic Empire in a pair of riveting new Star Wars manga taking place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope.

Yen Press, in collaboration with Lucasfilm, presents Star Wars Leia, Princess of Alderaan and Star Wars Rebels. Both ongoing series will be available in print and digital.

Star Wars Leia, Princess of Alderaan

Story by Claudia Gray
Art by Haruichi Furudate

A manga adaptation of the beloved YA Star Wars novel, Leia, Princess of Alderaan, by Claudia Gray.

The never-before-told story of how young Leia Organa comes to join the rebellion against the evil Empire. Claudia Gray is the author of Star Wars Lost Stars, a Star Wars YA novel adapted into a manga published by Yen Press.

A young Princess Leia spends her days learning the ways of politics, aiding those in need and preparing for the traditional ceremony in which she declares her intention to one day rule Alderaan. But as Leia prepares herself to be named the heir of the throne, she becomes aware of the growing distance between her and her parents, who behind closed doors are leaders of the newly-formed Rebellion. Upon learning her parents’ secrets, Leia must now make a choice between her responsibility to the people of Alderaan and her responsibility to save a galaxy crushed by the rule of the Empire.

Star Wars Leia, Princess of Alderaan

Star Wars Rebels

Story and Art by Akira Aoki

A manga adaptation of the hit 3D animated series Star Wars Rebels seen on Disney XD.

The animated series launched with the first two episodes titled Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion and was followed by four seasons that aired from 2014 to 2018. The critically-acclaimed show featured fan-favorite Star Wars characters, such as Kanan Jarrus, who was the focus of his own novel and comic book series, and Chopper, a droid who made a brief appearance in the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Set during an era when the Galactic Empire is hunting down the last of the Jedi, a fledgling rebellion against the Empire begins to take form. Star Wars Rebels takes place in the area surrounding the planet Lothal, where the Galactic Empire battles against Ezra, a teenage con artist with latent Force abilities, Kanan, one of the last surviving members of the Jedi Order, and the rest of the ragtag rebels on board the starship Ghost.

Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker Brings the Force to Manga

Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga

43 years after Star Wars: A New Hope hit theaters, the legendary space saga unfolds in the galaxy of manga thanks to the latest story in the Skywalker saga.

Packing in all the adventure that fans would expect from Star Wars, publishing and entertainment juggernaut VIZ Media, in collaboration with Lucasfilm, presents Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga. 

Encounters with the elusive Jedi Luke Skywalkerhave mystified many in a galaxy far, far away. A cadre of renowned Japanese manga artists, Akira HimekawaHaruichiSubaruAkira Fukaya, and Takashi Kisaki, brilliantly capture and bring him to life in this literary piece.

Star Wars and manga fans alike will delight in the storytelling and humor narrated in Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga inspired by Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy award-winning author Ken Liu’s Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The Rise of Skywalker: An Imperfect Ending, But Provides Populist Hope in Dark Times

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

A lot of digital ink has been spilled already discussing the failures of The Rise of Skywalker. It’s not a bad movie, but it has the weight of literally four decades of expectations and fandom riding on it. It was going to be impossible to deliver something that satisfied everyone.

And yet, it is incredibly clear that this film tried to do exactly that. Unfortunately, in trying to do and be everything to everyone, it ends up doing none of those things particularly well. Its plot twists are predictable enough that they’ve been guessed already by a thousand angry Reddit fanboys. I hope they are pleased with what they got.

Because what this movie feel like is “safe.” It’s the cinematic equivalent of gluing in the firing rocket from Boba Fett’s jetpack because you’re worried someone will hurt themselves with it. Yeah, it’s still a Boba Fett figure and therefore pretty damn cool. But when you create something for mass consumption based on the idea that we have to please an (angry) lowest common denominator, you end up serving up something that is blander than it needs to be.

The Force Awakens worked because despite its reliance on nostalgia and creating a new hero’s journey for our new characters, it was a reinvention of the original Star Wars for a new, diverse, and female-led generation of fans. People got angry. All the right people got angry. Good art should do that. Then The Last Jedi took that and turned it to 11. It subverted expectations and tropes, delivering something that was divisive in all the right ways. The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker could not be more polar opposite of movies in that way– as JJ Abrams described it in The New York Times, a “pendulum swing.” It didn’t need to swing that far, JJ.

It’s as if, after making the 8th highest-grossing movie of all time, “But there’s all these people who are Mad Online about it. Maybe we should make the next movie to try to please them.” And that is exactly how we end up with things like the abomination of a car Homer designs, built for the “average” person:

But great art isn’t built like this. Compare and contrast this with three of the best wide-release films of 2019, starting with Ford v. Ferrari. Shelby and the team at Ford didn’t set out to create a car for the average person. Far from it: they wanted a race car and delivered something that was, in fact, hard to drive. Rian Johnson’s Knives Out is a crowd-pleaser in all the right ways and delivers in all the ways fans of the detective mystery will enjoy. But it has some sharp corners that you can poke your eye out with. But it also has Chris Evans in a sweater in a scene with Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown” playing in the background and him telling basically every other member of the cast to “Eat $#!t.” Sharp edges.

And then we have Avengers: Endgame, which was set up with much the same expectations and weight. But somehow they managed to stick the landing. Why giving us a film that both felt nostalgic and literally traveled through the past of the MCU, but ultimately all of that was done in service a furthering the characterization of our characters, especially Tony and Steve. So when the final “I am Iron Man” snap happens, it’s earned, it’s organic, and it’s beautiful. Yes, the giant Avengers Assemble moment at the end is a bit contrived and designed to please, but it’s so fun we don’t mind that we’re being pandered to.

The Rise of Skywalker differs in that its pandering doesn’t feel earned. It feels focus-group-tested and, frankly, boring.

If The Rise of Skywalker fails to perform at the box office, Disney is going to need to do some serious self-reflection. The first step is admitting that you have a problem with an abusive, toxic fanbase. And maybe you need to break up with them. Because they’re not letting you be your best, true self. And you’ll never be able to please your abuser enough to make the abuse stop. So stop trying to appease the unappeasable.

Now, all that being said, I actually still mostly like this movie. Because Star Wars is like ice cream. Even if it’s not your favorite flavor, it’s still ice cream, dammit. Even if it’s insipid and bland, it’s still pretty damn cool.

The film is a little basic. Most of the first two acts are a giant MacGuffin hunt, culminating in a final showdown between good and evil with a massive space battle raging overhead. It is very on brand for Star Wars. But what exactly were we expecting?

Keri Russell is Zorii, my new favorite character. She’s badass. She puts Poe in his place on several occasions. And their angry/flirty banter is like straight out of Moonlighting. She also offers the film’s populist message (not these exact words, but this sentiment): the powerful divide us and make us feel like we’re alone. But if we remember that there are more of us than of them, we can unite and overthrow them.

Of course, Poe does his same move that he does in The Last Jedi, and take the words of a smart, successful woman and repeat them back to everyone in a rousing speech– and everyone listens to him. But in this case, unlike his foil Admiral Holdo in TLJ, Zorii is sexually available to Poe (her last name is BLISS like she’s a goddamn Bond Girl. . . yikes), so her putting him in his place and explaining the meaning of the movie isn’t going to ruffle anyone’s feathers. I say this more out of a sense of awareness of the sexism at the base of criticism about TLJ than as a complaint about this movie, because I really like all the business between Zorii and Poe, and Russell and Oscar Isaacs have a definite chemistry, even when she is acting underneath that helmet. But that also says more about me as a heterosexual middle-aged white male who has had a crush on Keri Russell since she was on The Mickey Mouse Club than it does about The Rise of Skywalker, except, again, that it feels the film was built to be almost aggressively pleasing to me.

The same is true of the conflict between our two main characters, Rey and Kylo Ren. There is conflict, there is that strange romantic tension that ReyLo shippers pick up on. Oh, ReyLo shippers. . . there is so much in here for you to enjoy. Everyone else? Well, there is at least one thing in the movie that is likely going to be divisive. But the fights between the two of them are a lot of fun.

But some of the best payoff in The Rise of Skywalker comes in its opening moments where (I hope this isn’t a spoiler for anyone) there are scenes of Leia training Rey as her new Jedi Master. This film sends off Carrie Fisher in some amazing ways. While some of it seems maybe a little forced, it’s mostly just great.

There are some big hero moments near the end. They’re a lot of fun, but they punctuate a final act that feels a little messy. But we get to see Lando fly The Millenium Falcon again and team up with old friends. Billy Dee Williams has never been better. It almost forgives a lot of the messiness and contrivances that get us there.

My biggest complaint is how so many of the side characters get sidelined, especially my precious Rose Tico. She is given almost nothing to do, and in the final act heroics, Finn is paired up instead with new character Jannah. Don’t get me wrong, Jannah is great and presents some great foil moments for Finn because of her backstory (no spoilers on that), but the problem with this is it feels like in the first movie they tried to pair Finn with Rey, then in the second with Rose, and certain segments of the audience rejected that. So they give him, as with Poe, a foil who is sexually available and also black as though we’re sort of subtly saying “Oh, these two characters should be together.” That gives me oogey feelings because, again, it feels like playing to the lowest common denominator: “Here’s a ship no one can get upset about.”

But then on the other end of the spectrum, there’s C-3PO and Chewbacca. Both play integral roles to this story, and Threepio specifically steals every scene he’s in. If you would have told me C-3PO was the breakout performance of the movie months ago, I would’ve laughed in your face. It is, nonetheless, true, and he’s absolutely amazing. New droid D-O is also a lot of fun. There are also some cameos, especially near the end, that made me squeee with delight. Specifically, one character who I’ve waited the entire new trilogy to show up makes it on screen, if only briefly.

But that beautiful populist message ends up ringing loud and true through that final act. It feels in so many places like a very direct middle finger to Donald Trump, to Boris Johnson and Brexit, to all the other forces in the universe who stand with the dark side. Just don’t tell Xi Jinping, or else Star Wars will get banned from China. And no way will Disney be willing to take that.

For all the complaining about The Rise of Skywalker, it isn’t really a bad movie. It just isn’t the great movie it could’ve been. I shouldn’t be arrogant enough to expect that Star Wars is always going to cater to my tastes and be my wish fulfillment (in this case for more complex, subversive material). But, it’s incredibly important to let people like what they like. I’m sure there will be millions of Star Wars fans who love this, and I’m determined to let them have their fun. It’s doubtful the toxic parts of the fanbase will be so kind or will even like this. Maybe Lucasfilm can learn a thing or two from their corporate cousins at Marvel.

3.5 out of 5 stars

The Art of Star Wars Rebels Illuminates the Force in Stores March 17, 2020

Dark Horse and Lucasfilm have revealed details from the upcoming The Art of Star Wars Rebels Limited Edition! In the early days of the Rebellion, a tight-knit group of rebels from various backgrounds banded together against all odds to do their part in the larger mission of defeating the Galactic Empire, sparking hope across the galaxy.

This deluxe limited-edition package of The Art of Star Wars Rebels features a beautiful slipcase with sound effects of igniting lightsabers and illuminating lights when the case opens! This $99.99 collection also includes a variant cover of the book and a folio featuring an exclusive piece of art to create a truly immersive experience that fans won’t want to miss!

Featuring never-before-seen concept art and process pieces along with exclusive commentary from the award-winning animation team of Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, Carrie Beck and the talented artists at Lucasfilm Animation, The Art of Star Wars Rebels is the perfect addition to any Star Wars fan’s collection!

The Art of Star Wars Rebels Limited Edition goes on sale March 17, 2020.

The Art of Star Wars Rebels Limited Edition
The Art of Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Gets a Special Look

At D23, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker got a special video honoring the past eight films while looking towards the ninth.

The film features new images and scenes that have people buzzing.

Rey wielding a red double lightsaber!? C-3PO sporting red eyes!? All of those Star Destroyers!?

Watch the teaser video and get speculating as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out December 20.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The Galaxy Awaits in The Art of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Dark Horse Books, Lucasfilm Ltd., Respawn Entertainment, and Electronic Arts present The Art of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The new book, which was created in close collaboration between the four companies, is a full-color, oversized hardcover volume that captures the design process of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a galaxy-spanning, action-adventure video game from Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts arriving later this year.

The Art of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will guide readers through Cal Kestis’ perilous and heroic journey across the galaxy in an attempt to rebuild the Jedi Order as he learns the ways of the Force, travels to exotic worlds, and battles tyrannical foes. This uniquely designed work is sure to thrill dedicated Star Wars fans and gamers alike.With detailed concept art of all-new characters, exciting equipment, and locales both familiar and new, this tome offers a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a highly anticipated video game—all accompanied by intimate artists’ commentary that reveal how this incredible galaxy is brought together.

The Art of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order goes on sale November 19, 2019.

The Art of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Explore The Art of Star Wars Rebels. The Art of Star Wars Rebels in October

Dark Horse Books and Lucasfilm present the official look inside one of the galaxy’s most beloved shows in The Art of Star Wars RebelsThe Art of Star Wars Rebels is an incredible hardcover amassing art and creator commentary chronicling four seasons of adventure in a galaxy far, far away.

The award-winning team from Lucasfilm Animation brought the beloved occupants of the Ghost into our homes four years ago, now, take a step behind-the-scenes to witness the journey from paper to screen with The Art of Star Wars Rebels. Featuring never-before-seen concept art and process pieces along with exclusive commentary from the team behind the show as well as show creators Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, and Carrie Beck provided by writer Dan Wallace, this is the perfect addition to any Star Wars fan’s collection! 

The Art of Star Wars Rebels follows a tight-knit group of rebels in the early days of the rebellion banded together against all odds to do their part in the larger mission of defeating the Galactic Empire, sparking hope across the galaxy.

The Art of Star Wars Rebels goes on sale October 1, 2019, and retails for $39.99.

The Art of Star Wars Rebels
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