Milford Hutsell

Milford Hutsell

First was the TV spot. Next came a TIE-smashing teaser trailer. Now, we’re getting some super-cool teaser posters.

Just released, these new posters mix a classic Western feel with modern design elements, making for fun, bold images. From the beautifully painted characters and stylized names to the powerful colors and weathered-page canvas, they perfectly capture the look and feel of what we’ve seen so far from the movie. Featuring Han Solo, Qi’ra, Lando, and Chewie, we love them. And they know. (Plus, look at the Falcon…) Check them out below!

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Solo: A Star Wars Story arrives May 25, 2018. All Star Wars, all the time.

The teaser trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story is here, offering a portrait of the scoundrel as a young man — and so much more. We get Han, Chewie, new characters, new vehicles, weird aliens in floating jars, and some giant tentacles. Here are five highlights of many.

1. “I’m gonna be a pilot. Best in the galaxy.”

Only one person could have the bravura to say that and the talent to back it up. For anyone who loves Han Solo, it’s thrilling to turn back the clock and see the rogue scoundrel before he met Luke and Obi-Wan in Mos Eisley, before he said “I know,” and before he became a legend. The opening narration by Alden Ehrenreich, delivered with classic Solo world-weariness, gives us a glimpse of who Solo was and where he’s going. “I’ve been running scams on the street since I was 10.” We’re not surprised.

2. Hello, what have we here?

The style. The smile. That’s Lando, and Donald Glover — in just a few images — manages to capture the fan-favorite’s essence perfectly. He appears cool and collected (until he’s not, like when a giant tentacle is about to swat the Falcon), and we can’t wait to see more of him.

3. The Millennium Falcon — was clean?

Maybe the biggest shocker of all is that a ship that’s been called a “hunk of junk,” a “bucket of bolts,” and “garbage” ever looked remotely nice. This teaser trailer shows that before we first saw it in all its beat-up glory (and still thought it was the coolest thing ever) in A New Hope, the Falcon had indeed seen better days.

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4. That Western feel.

From a desert standoff to the mention of a “crew,” much of the imagery and tone of the Solo: A Star Wars Story teaser trailer seems rooted in classic Westerns — appropriate, considering that the genre was a major influence on the original Star Wars. And especially fitting for an early tale about a scoundrel who blasts bounty hunters under cantina tables.

5. Home run.

We’ve seen Han pull off some fancy moves with the Falcon, and this might be the best. With a TIE fighter close by, Han spins, smashing the smaller craft away and into a fiery explosion. Just awesome, and a moment that exemplifies the Falcon’s can’t-be-matched cool factor. For best results, play on repeat.

Bonus: “I might be the only person who knows…what you really are.”

Actress Emilia Clarke brings some straight talk to Han, and Ehrenreich’s reaction is pure Han: trying to be tough yet letting his vulnerability sneak through. It’s a very human moment, and that relatability is why Han Solo remains our favorite nerf herder.

What were your favorite moments from the teaser trailer? Let us know in the comments below!

Solo: A Star Wars Story arrives May 25, 2018.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

The journey of our favorite scoundrel begins.

Today during Super Bowl LII, we got our first look at the highly-anticipated Solo: A Star Wars Story in a special TV spot. Fast-moving and filled with intriguing imagery — Alden Ehrenreich as the nerf herder himself, an ominous Star Destroyer, and, of course, our other favorite smooth-talking scoundrel – it’s left us belting out our best Wookiee roars. Check it out below.

And strap yourself in — the teaser trailer arrives tomorrow.

Solo: A Star Wars Story arrives May 25, 2018. All Star Wars, all the time.

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Friday, 02 February 2018 08:00

Quiz: Are You More Rey or Kylo Ren?

Rey and Kylo Ren — “opposing forces” of light and dark, as Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson told But who are you more like? Are you destined to follow the light or are you stuck in the ways of darkness? Take the quiz below and let us know if we got it right in the comments! All Star Wars, all the time. 

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When it comes to selecting the most easily recognized characters in Star Wars, the stormtrooper in white armor easily makes that list. From their first appearance in the opening battle of A New Hope as the faceless elite soldiers of the Empire, stormtroopers have captured the imagination and excitement of fans around the world. With their skull-like helmets, head-to-toe armor, and simple designations instead of names, there’s always been a mystique around them — who are they underneath? Their aura has only grown through the introduction and individualism of the clone troopers and has come full circle with the character of Finn, the former stormtrooper who defies the First Order. Now, veteran writers Ryder Windham and Adam Bray take us all-troopers all-the-time with Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor.

Released last October, this in-depth guide, produced by becker&mayer! and published by Harper Design, traces the real world history of each iteration of stormtrooper and clone trooper (and many of their related military personnel and equipment) from concept to filming costume to in-universe background and beyond. Comic, book and video game appearances, merchandise development and history, artwork and the rise of fans making their own costumes and doing charity in our world: it’s all in here! Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor also features a forward by John Boyega, and is filled with photographs, illustrations and other artwork, and even some removable replica memorabilia. chatted via e-mail with Windham and Bray, who shared their insight into the making of this book. Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor is easily the most comprehensive resource on stormtroopers both in the Star Wars universe and in the real world. What was it like assembling a book so detailed?

Ryder Windham: Several years ago, Pete Vilmur and I co-authored Star Wars: The Complete Vader, which was similar in format to Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor. The Vader book covered similar ground as the stormtrooper book, including the significant roles of concept artist Ralph McQuarrie and sculptor Brian Muir in the creative evolution of these costumed characters, and also how the characters evolved in comics, novels, etc. Which is another way of saying that I was already familiar with a lot of material about stormtroopers by way of having worked on the Vader book.

Adam Bray: It was scary! Before I got started, anyway. The amount of material that I had to cover was daunting at the outset, and for that I’m thankful Ryder had already written an outline for our book. I’ve written lots of non-fiction and other reference books — especially real-world travel guides for exotic locations — but this was my first behind-the-scenes “documentary” book for Star Wars. All my other Star Wars projects have been written “in-universe.” This was a big milestone for me, and a very exciting one at that. It’s also the first Star Wars book I’ve tackled that is aimed specifically at adult readers, so it was refreshing to use big words and long sentences again! I’ve always been fascinated by the filmmaking process so I particularly enjoyed researching those sections. I’d love nothing more than being posted on a film set documenting an entire Star Wars production. The book covers the making of the different troopers for the films, from concept art to costume production to acting and voicing. What are some of the most interesting facts you came across when developing these sections?

Adam Bray: Stormtrooper armor is made to look good on screen but it is actually rather difficult to move around in and do much physical activity. A person’s range of motion and field of vision is rather limited when wearing it. It’s always amusing to hear stories from the extras about how they clumsily stumbled around on set and bump into each other during filming. It’s also interesting to hear tales of celebrity and royal cameos hidden beneath the armor.

I liked the Rogue One troopers the best out of the new movies. The designs are very much rooted in Ralph McQuarrie’s style from the original trilogy. The new costume designs and props incorporate real-world surplus military equipment, just like they did in the original films.

Due to the secrecy surrounding The Last Jedi, I wasn’t able to interview anyone working on the film directly (though the book has a foreword by John Boyega) but I’m still holding out hope to meet John Boyega and Gwendolyn Christie some day!

Ryder Windham: I knew that bas-relief pendants and earrings of stormtrooper helmets were released in 1977, but I didn’t know the jewelry was produced in Providence, Rhode Island, where I happen to reside. I couldn’t help but find that interesting. I tried to find out information about the sculptors for the jewelry, but none of my contacts and queries panned out. Still, I thought it was noteworthy that the jewelry was the first officially licensed sculpted Star Wars merchandise, released before the release of action figures, model kits, masks, and other sculpted collectibles. Also covered is a huge history of stormtrooper-related merchandise, from the earliest licensed products (the stormtrooper helmet jewelry mentioned above) all the way through to Funko Pop! bobbleheads for The Last Jedi, and of course, action figures and LEGO minifigures. How did you determine what to catalog?

Adam Bray: This was one of the hardest things to tackle for me. I wrote the second half of the book, from the 1990s Special Editions forward. So I had to cover all of the merchandise that wasn’t classic/vintage. I’m a Kenner/Hasbro action figure addict. In addition to the original 1970s and 80s Kenner action figures, I love the Vintage Collection, the Clone Wars lines on the rectangular blue cards, and the 6-inch Black Series. The folks at Hasbro graciously answered a lot of questions about their processes in creating the numerous stormtrooper and clone trooper figures. At first I started cataloging every relevant figure but this quickly became a mountain of information and it was obvious that I could only cover the highlights — the iconic and the most unique examples.

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I’m a big LEGO fan so it was also fun to pick out distinctive minifigures. Funko is fun too –they’ve put out so many characters in such a short period of time! Though I admire the premium collectables — prop and costume reproductions, large-scale figures, statues, and maquettes — they’ve always been beyond my budget, so I relied on a lot of online reviews and guides to choose the best examples. Still, there’s so much merchandise out there that it all got to be too much and this is the largest section that I had to cut down for the final manuscript.

Ryder Windham: I worked on the early chapters, covering 1970s through the early 1990s, so I focused on stormtrooper merchandise from that period. So much amazing information was gathered from first-hand sources. Who are some of the key people interviewed for this book, and what knowledge did they help fill in?

Ryder Windham: I interviewed Charles Lippincott, who was Lucasfilm’s publicist and the vice president of Licensing and Merchandising for Star Wars (1977). Charles still has most of the paperwork for all the early licensing deals, so his input was invaluable. I also interviewed sculptor Brian Muir, actor Anthony Forrest, writer Randy Stradley, and a few designers from Hasbro, who’d worked on stormtrooper toys for Kenner, way back when.

Adam Bray: The interviews were my favorite part of the book. If I could have gotten away with a whole book of just interviews, I’d gladly do it! It’s such a great opportunity to talk to people whose work and experiences I really admire. I interviewed David Collins and Sam Witwer for their stormtrooper voice work in recent movies, and Sam’s experience with The Force Unleashed video game. I also interviewed Dee Bradley Baker for his voice work as Captain Rex and the clones. I spoke with artist Kilian Plunkett about the clone and stormtrooper designs for The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, and artist Terryl Whitlatch about her work on the dewback scenes in the Star Wars: A New Hope Special Edition. Albin Johnson shared his experience founding the 501st, while Legion member Clint Randall speaks about his experience getting advanced access to the First Order stormtrooper armor and attending The Force Awakens premiere as a member of the 501st. I talked to other folks to get their insight too, including Cole Horton, Chris Reiff, and Chris Trevas. Stormtroopers also delves into the role of stormtroopers in pop culture and in fandom, especially the history and work of the 501st Legion, and stormtrooper-themed artwork. What is it about these armored soldiers that resonates so well with so many fans? How does these expressions of fandom then build up the iconic nature of Star Wars and stormtroopers?

Adam Bray: Stormtroopers are one of the most recognizable characters from the saga, next to Darth Vader, Yoda, and the droids. If you go anywhere in the world and show someone a stormtrooper, chances are they can tell you what films they are from. While the 501st started out as a fan homage to the movies, I detail in the book how the 501st came to directly contribute to the movies and animated series, and even appear in the new films as background extras. The book also tracks the evolution of stormtroopers through their appearances in various media: animation, books, comics, video games, and theme-park attractions. How has their role changed over the history of Star Wars storytelling? What are some of the highlights of looking at their appearances in these sources?

Adam Bray: Stormtroopers have been rebel target practice throughput much of these mediums. The Clone Wars humanized troopers for the first time. Video games have walked on either side of the line, using troopers as cannon fodder or offering some insight into clones and stormtroopers as playable characters. Battlefront II is the best example where we actually follow the story of Iden Versio.

Ryder Windham: The most significant evolution of stormtroopers is how they went from being blaster-fodder bad guys in the movies to genuinely charitable heroes on Earth, and all the credit for that change goes to the 501st Legion, the international non-profit organization of stormtrooper costumers. Their good work is beyond impressive. By documenting the total story of troopers as a story element in the saga, and as an icon of Star Wars in our world, you also are giving a history of Star Wars moviemaking, merchandising, and cultural impact, from the original trilogy through the prequels, TV series, and into the Disney era with the sequels and standalones. What in this overall history really stands out for you? What cool tidbits of information really amazed you?

Adam Bray: I was surprised how much influence Hasbro has had on recent Star Wars animation, from initiating Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars series, to the classic Kenner action figures as inspiration for the character designs in Star Wars Rebels. I was also fascinated how George Lucas’ ideas about who stormtroopers were actually changed over time. It wasn’t until he began conceptualizing a Star Wars TV show that Lucas decided the stormtroopers would be normal humans rather than clones.

George Lucas’ artistic choices about how to portray the militaries of the Republic and Empire were also fascinating. The diversity in personalities within the clone army versus the uniformity of troopers and officers within the Empire (despite no longer being clones) is quite a contrast. The Republic valued diversity, and so the clones were allowed freedom of personal expression. The Empire, on the other hand, was a repressive regime that demanded order through conformity, or sameness.

Ryder Windham: To me, what’s most amazing is how I stopped thinking of stormtroopers as anonymous, interchangeable characters. Several years ago, after learning that the 501st New England Garrison had participated in a blood drive in my area, I began organizing blood drives for Star Wars fans. Then I co-founded the World Blood Drive, an annual international event to promote voluntary blood donations, and so far, 501st members in more than 25 countries have participated. So now I think of stormtroopers as friends, individuals with names and jobs and families and lives. The troopers who help with blood drives and visit children’s hospitals are beyond generous and talented. They’re fantastic people. If you could be any trooper in Star Wars, who would you choose to be?

Adam Bray: I definitely wouldn’t want to be a stormtrooper in real life. They are far too expendable! Of the original trilogy stormtroopers, I always like the biker scouts the best. Commander Bacara wears my favorite clone armor from the prequels. The Scarif and death troopers are my favorite soldiers from the recent movies.

Ryder Windham: The one with the highest salary.

Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor is available now.

James Floyd is a writer, photographer, and organizer of puzzle adventures. He’s a bit tall for a Jawa. You can follow him on Twitter at @jamesjawa or check out his articles on Club Jade and Big Shiny Robot.

For anyone excited to learn more about Paige Tico, her sister Rose, or other Resistance fighters, look no further than Jason Fry’s Bomber Command. Bomber Command is a journal-style book filled with illustrations, schematics, and fold-out pages written from the perspective of Paige, a ball-turret gunner for the Resistance. And for Star Wars fans looking for links to the greater Star Wars universe, Bomber Command is filled with fascinating and fun connections. Here are just a few ways Bomber Command ties into the larger Star Wars universe.

1. It provides a backstory for Paige, Rose, and Cobalt Squadron.

Bomber schematics for Paige’s ship, Cobalt Hammer, and details of the magno-charges in the bomb bay we see Paige climb through during the opening sequence of The Last Jedi start off the book. Bomber Command also includes information about her fellow crew, who play a prominent role in the companion novel Cobalt Squadron, and an explanation for why Paige and Rose were not on the same ship in The Last Jedi.

While detailing her family history, Paige reveals how she and Rose received their matching pendant necklaces and her plan to share stories of Finn’s heroics with Rose. Paige journal entry “we all need hope to get through this fight” serves as a nice set up for Rose and Finn’s introduction to each other in The Last Jedi.

2. It adds details to the Force Awakens timeline.

Since the timeline for Bomber Command is shortly before The Last Jedi, many of the events Paige refers to in her journal took place during the events of The Force Awakens. Many of the entries flesh out what Leia and the Resistance were doing during the time Rey and Finn met on Jakku and made their way to the Resistance Base on D’Qar.

A highlight for any Leia fan is the section of Bomber Command that includes the full address Leia gave to the New Republic Senate (before the destruction of Hosnian Prime) which warns the Senate of the increasing danger of the First Order. It includes the chilling line, “What if the next irrefutable evidence isn’t a message from a friend, but an attack from an enemy?”

Among Bomber Command’s several fold out pages is a First Order recruitment poster encouraging skilled workers to join and help tame the galactic frontier. The unskilled are encouraged to enroll their children in “Frontier Corps” where children who are approved “will be guaranteed food, shelter, education, and the opportunity to make the galaxy a better place.”

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While the Frontier Corps program has not been referenced before, the subject of First Order and Imperial recruitment has popped up in several other Star Wars productions. In Star Wars Rebels, Lothal is home to an Imperial Academy training cadets to become stormtroopers, and Finn references being taken from his family at a young age to join the First Order in The Force Awakens. The Battlefront II storyline also references a secret operation, Project Resurrection, which focused on forcibly turning children into First Order troopers.

3. It features bombers through time.

Bomber Command has a lot of information about ships seen in The Last Jedi, but there’s also a bit of history in Paige’s journal about bombers such as the Y-wing, TIE bomber, and the Hyena Bomber. All of these ships were seen in the original trilogy movies, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and even the video game Battlefront II.

4. It includes creatures from across the galaxy.

Bomber Command has a variety of fantastic illustrations, from ship schematics to portraits of Paige’s fellow crew members, to detailed instructions for using a Breath Mask (notably for oxygen breathers). Included among all of these drawings are sketches of creatures Paige hopes to see in person one day.

Fathiers, a clear favorite of Rose in The Last Jedi, start off this section that also includes creatures such as Jabba’s favorite snack, the gorg, from Return of the Jedi, and The Empire Strikes Back’s pesky power-cable-loving mynocks. Other sketches include cat-like tookas, who made appearances in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and Rogue One (in doll form), a fierce narglatch (seen in several episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars), a purrgil (see the Star Wars Rebels episode “The Call” for a look at these space-whale creatures), and a happabore (who memorably shared a Jakku water trough with Finn in The Force Awakens).

5. It maps it all out.

As the Star Wars universe expands, so does the need for maps to track the locations of different planets and systems. The First Order Space Galactic Map in Bomber Command includes planets that played a large part in multiple Star Wars films including Naboo, Endor, Jakku, and Yavin, as well as Paige’s current home on D’Qar with the Resistance.

Bomber Command is available now.

Amy Richau is a writer, lifelong Star Wars geek, and diehard Denver Broncos fan. You can find her on Twitter @amyrichau and more of her writing on FANgirl Blog.

Will play final 2019 Spring Training Game at new ballpark in North Port

ATLANTA (January 31, 2018) – The Atlanta Braves have announced that they will extend their Spring Training agreement with ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World Resort through April 2019.  The move was made to ensure there is enough time to complete their new facility in West Villages in the City of North Port, Sarasota County.  The Braves will play their final 2019 Spring Training game in the new ballpark.  The complex will officially open in April, 2019 with the team’s Florida operations moving in at that time.

“We are thankful for our good friends at Walt Disney World Resort and are excited for this extension,” said John Schuerholz, Atlanta Braves Vice Chairman Emeritus. “We also appreciate the foresight and thoughtfulness of our partners in North Port, Sarasota County and West Villages in recognizing such an extension will be of benefit as we continue to make progress on our new facility. When complete, our new, state-of-the-art facility will secure our long-term goal of creating a perfectly positioned and operational Spring Training facility for the next 30 years.”

The Braves have held their Spring Training at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida since 1998.

When completed, the new ballpark in North Port will feature 6,500 fixed seats and 2,500 additional general admission, including berm and concourse.

“We fully support this decision by the Atlanta Braves as the construction administrators for the project,” said Jeff Maultsby, director of Sarasota County’s Office of Business and Economic Development.  “The agreements between the project partners always envisioned and addressed the possibility that 2020 could be the Braves’ first full spring in Sarasota County, and we are excited to celebrate their arrival at the 2019 spring training finale.”

The overall facility will include six and a half practice fields, 55,000 square feet of clubhouse and fitness center for the Braves along with multi-purpose fields and public space that can be used for special events by the City and County.

The complex will operate year-round with extended spring training for minor league teams, Gulf Coast League and Fall Instructional League.


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Spoiler warning: The article discusses specific characters and events from Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Rose & Paige.

Rose Tico may not realize it yet, but her unique ideas and prowess as an engineer are as essential to the Resistance cause as any flyboy or Force wielder. Before she grew up to launch daring missions to Canto Bight, she and her sister Paige learned how to support each other and save what they loved as children joining the fight against the First Order. In the fifth and final installment in the new Star Wars Forces of Destiny series from IDW Publishing, we get a front row seat to the evolution of the Tico sisters.

Throughout January, we sat down with the rotating cast of talented creators behind the mini-series, exploring the galaxy from the blindingly white snowscape of Hoth in Leia’s story, to the sands of Jakku where we found Rey, the far-flung outpost where Hera helped to inspire new heroes, and a return to a more civilized age with Padmé and Ahsoka.

This week, author Delilah S. Dawson and illustrator Nicoletta Baldari, the duo behind Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Rose & Paige (available starting today), e-mailed with about creating canon critters with impeccable beards, falling in love with “murderbears,” and why the Tico sisters are emblematic of the very core of the Resistance and its future. Delilah, you’ve gotten the chance to pen not one but two Tico sister stories for IDW, including a tale in Star Wars Adventures #6, which also just came out this month. The Ticos haven’t yet appeared in the Forces of Destiny animated micro-series and in The Last Jedi we didn’t get to see them interact on screen. What was it like stepping in to fill in some of their backstory knowing what was in their future?

Delilah S. Dawson: It was a unique process that involved keeping oodles of secrets. I read the script for The Last Jedi in November 2016 (so I could write Star Wars: Phasma), which means I knew what happened to Paige and how Rose took on a starring role. In order to write the comics, I also needed to read an early draft of Cobalt Squadron by Elizabeth Wein and Phil Noto so that I had some context for Paige’s personality and speech patterns. For a little while there, I was one of the only people in the world who knew the story of the Tico sisters! And when I saw Paige onscreen, I was completely gut punched, in part because I knew her character so well already. It was an honor to write about Rose and Paige. To me, they’re the heart of what the Resistance means: ordinary people willing to make sacrifices in the hopes that other people and planets won’t have to suffer. How do you know when you have the dialogue, the movement, and the story just right for these characters in particular?

Delilah S. Dawson: I don’t actually know until I see the words with the art, if I’m honest. It’s all about staying true to the character’s heart. For Rose, she’s scrappy and clever and multitalented but ultimately doesn’t think of herself as a hero or anyone special. We all agreed that she would kind of freak out when Poe talked to her, and that she would always be in awe of Leia. For Paige, she has more confidence and is good at her job, but as long as she’s not piloting or acting as gunner, she believes that Rose’s ideas are the way to go. Their love for one another and their drive to do what’s right are definitely a chord they share. For me, Rose is a really relatable character because she’s smart and she works hard, but she’s also a little unsure and insecure about her ideas. The whole Forces of Destiny animated series has really shined a light on how important small decisions and moments of bravery can be in shaping a person’s character. Why do you think it’s equally important to include those moments of uncertainty and self-doubt?

Delilah S. Dawson: When I was a kid, I was so focused on getting good grades and praise that I never took any risks at all. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that hard work and tenacity will take you further than being born with any talent, and that you can’t grow without taking risks. Rose has these great ideas, but she does doubt herself. Luckily, her sister Paige is there to encourage her and cheer her on. In both of my Rose and Paige stories, I wanted to give Rose moments where she had an idea, doubted herself, was emboldened by Paige, failed a little, kept going, and ultimately succeeded. That, to me, gave her context for her increased confidence and strength in The Last Jedi. Rose has so much genuine fascination with the world around her. She’s in awe of the heroes in the Resistance, the machinery that keep it running, and the natural world. But not everyone she meets finds her to be endearing. Lazslo in particular seems to regard her as a nuisance, maybe because of her age. In your mind, why is Lazslo such a curmudgeon and how do you think his skepticism defines Rose?

Delilah S. Dawson: So here’s a fun bit of trivia: I based Lazslo on Lazlo Hollyfeld from Real Genius. While the original character was a gentle, kind, introverted genius, I wanted to create a kind of Bizarro Lazslo, an older guy who is very sure of himself and his ways and doesn’t want to think outside the box or consider how the younger generation might do something differently. We think of the Resistance as the good guys, which makes it easy to forget that everyone in the movement has flaws, and some of them are straight up jerks. He’s supposed to be the opposite of Rose: an older mechanic who is not open to new ideas, who is world-weary and not that interested in other people. And in that opposition, he gives Rose something safe to rebel against, someone to defy. Sometimes that kind of opposition is more valuable than cheerleading and encouragement! Nothing makes me want to accomplish something like someone who tells me I can’t do it.

TM.Ads.addNativeAd( "native-ad-tK6v3EMJe7jiRZTFWhFHWHUU" , "tK6v3EMJe7jiRZTFWhFHWHUU" ); Nicoletta, you’ve put your artistic touch to a lot of beloved characters, from Strawberry Shortcake to the Powerpuff Girls. What has it been like stepping into the Star Wars universe and how did it influence your stylistic choices?

Nicoletta Baldari: I think every project has a particular style that fits perfectly. For Star Wars, I really enjoyed working on Rose and Paige. At first, I focused on the fact they are sisters. I worked a lot on Disney’s Frozen, so knowing quite well the connection between Anna and Elsa has helped me a lot!

I thought, Rose and Paige have fun together, so they had to be funny, but at the same time they are Resistance girls, so they also had to have some pathos on display! So I focused on their actions. Then, I tried to mold my style into the Star Wars mood. Let’s talk about the squonks. What was your inspiration for these bearded, bird-like creatures? They feel very ostrich-like to me.

Nicoletta Baldari: Aha! I actually started from an ostrich, with some attributes from other animals. A little goat, a funny rabbit, so I worked like a “drawing chef” mixing together all these ingredients! But every squonk is very particular, they take care of their beards, and they’re definitely cute.

Delilah S. Dawson: My husband and I have been together for over 20 years, and we’ve been leaving little hand-drawn notes the entire time, often with characters we’ve made up. Back in 2001 or so, we came up with two kinds of birds called squonks and squeepies. I put the squeepies in Phasma, so I had to find a way to use the squonks! For these particular creatures, I wanted to combine the two most ridiculous animals I know: ostriches and goats. I’m a little beard-obsessed right now, owing to my next book, Kill the Farm Boy, which has a running gag about how it’s difficult to do magic without a beard. The creatures were my first love in Star Wars: the Ewoks, all the interesting aliens in the cantina, Salacious Crumb, and the rancor in Jabba’s palace. I love getting to create new critters! How did you first discover Star Wars and what turned you into a fan?

Delilah S. Dawson: I always knew about Star Wars as a kid, but what really drew me in were the Ewoks. I mean, I was six, and they were murderbears who were kind to little girls! I soon had a collection of stuffed Ewoks, a bunch of action figures, Colorforms, and books. I grew to love all the movies and saw the prequels in the theater, including being late for our wedding’s rehearsal dinner to see Attack of the Clones at the first possible showing. I played the RPG and card game and read the EU books, including that time I fell off a treadmill when Chewie died. Over the years, my love of Star Wars has only grown, and the new movies are taking us into the next generation. Seeing them in the theater with my kids is such a gift and delight. Delilah, writing about Rose and Paige is quite a departure from your recent work focusing on Cardinal and Captain Phasma. Instead of a bitter rivalry, the Ticos give you a chance to explore a sisterhood dynamic that, full disclosure, made me a little misty. As a writer, what draws you to these complex bonds between characters and how do you make them feel authentic on the page?

Delilah S. Dawson: Whether I’m writing a villain or a hero, the most important thing is to identify that character’s heart, the core of their personality. What do they want, and what are they willing to do to get it? I take in as much media as I can so I can hear their word choice and cadence, see their facial expressions, notice what they wear and how they move through the world. Backstory is important, too — knowing what experiences made them who they are. Rose and Paige are all about their bond with each other and their shared tragic history that propels them to heroism, while Phasma is all about sacrificing anyone and anything to stay alive and get ahead; Cardinal is nothing to her but a speed bump on the road to greatness. Star Wars does an amazing job of harking back to classic films and tropes. What were you looking to for inspiration for this project?

Delilah S. Dawson: For Forces of Destiny, I wanted that same feel of Leia lost and alone on Endor. Her vehicle broken in a forest, she couldn’t communicate with her people, and then a helpful creature (although let’s all admit the Ewoks are sentient beings!) showed up and ultimately helped her find her sibling. When you look at the finished comic now, what are you most proud of? And what aspect or individual detail was the most challenging for you?

Delilah S. Dawson: I definitely feel like Nicoletta’s art steals the show here, so I guess I’m proud that I gave her a framework to create such an amazing and beautiful story. The colors in the jungle and the hilariousness of the squonks — I just adore her interpretation. The most challenging thing was figuring out how to get Paige’s car over a barrier that Rose’s can’t cross. I tried to describe the deadfall from Pet Sematary, but what Nicoletta came up with is so much prettier. At the start of this project, did you have any input on what characters you would focus on? And if so, what made you decide on Rose and Paige?

Delilah S. Dawson: I was offered the chance to write Rose and Paige, and I didn’t hesitate for a moment. I’m a huge fan of the Tico sisters and wanted to help the world see how great they are. I consider them such wonderful role models for kids, a study in finding people who lift you up and believe in you and in using that belief to do what you can’t do alone.

For more on the series, check out’s interviews with the creative of teams of Star Wars Forces of Destiny: LeiaStar Wars Forces of Destiny: ReyStar Wars Forces of Destiny: Heraand Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Ahsoka & Padmé!

Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them!

Looking for a way to introduce Star Wars Rebels to your friends? Or perhaps you’d like to revisit key moments from the series before it returns? Then look no further than Rebels Revisited.

In this installment…Kanan Jarrus. A master who was never fully trained, Kanan has truly grown over the last four years to become a great example of what it means to be a Jedi. The most important lessons he’s learned can be found in these excellent Star Wars Rebels episodes.

1. “Rise of the Old Masters” (Season 1, Episode 6)

Kanan never formally completed his training as a Jedi Knight, so it’s understandable that he’d have difficulty accepting the role of master to an apprentice of his own. His efforts to pass off that responsibility onto someone he deems more qualified come to a heartbreaking (and horrifying) end in this episode, which also sees him confront the Grand Inquisitor for the first time. We end with Kanan having fully committed to training Ezra, despite his many fears.

2. “Fire Across the Galaxy” (Season 1, Episode 16)

Perhaps the most crippling of those fears is loss (see Anakin Skywalker). This is understandable given Kanan’s tragic history. Losing his master, his family, and his status in the galaxy left a heavy mark on the former Padawan, who now fears losing the Ghost crew, his new family. When he faces that fear during a spectacular duel with the Grand Inquisitor (seriously one of Star Wars’ best lightsaber duels), Kanan is awakened in the Force and defeats his enemy by defeating his greatest fear.

3. “Twilight of the Apprentice” (Season 2, Episode 21)

“Use the Force.”

It’s a saying as old as Star Wars itself, but if I may be so bold…I think it’s an incorrect one. I like to believe that you don’t use the Force. The Force uses you. We see this time and time again throughout the Star Wars saga, from Luke Skywalker allowing the Force to guide his proton torpedoes in A New Hope to Chirrut Îmwe letting the Force flow through him to take down a squad of Jedha stormtroopers in Rogue One.

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In “Twilight of the Apprentice” we see it with a newly blind Kanan as he allows himself to be a vessel for the Force, which leads him to swiftly defeat Maul, a far more experienced opponent with the advantage of sight. The best of those who touch the Force allow themselves to be subject to it. Kanan Jarrus joins their ranks here.

4. “Steps Into Shadow” (Season 3, Episode 21)

The road to enlightenment never ends. Overcoming fear, learning to let go, and many other lessons or accomplishments we achieve throughout our lives are often no match for the most dangerous enemy we could ever face. Ourselves.

Jedi are no different. Though he is arguably at the pinnacle of his skills, the fear, the grief, and the anger Kanan feels as the result of his blindness has caused him to question everything he’s learned about himself since Rebels began. With some help from Bendu, Kanan looks deeper into himself and emerges with a better understanding of his own emotions and how he can move past them.

And his sight returns. Stronger. Clearer. Different. Kanan attains a balance in this episode that never again leaves him, putting him in the perfect position to guide his apprentice back to the light.

5. “Rebel Assault” (Season 4, Episode 9)

All lessons seemingly lead to a moment in this episode, when Kanan accepts the will of the Force and abandons his lone mission to rescue Hera (for now). Though we don’t yet understand what the mysterious Loth-wolves want from him, he does. And whatever it is, it’s powerful enough to convince Kanan to completely trust in the Force at a time when every natural instinct must be screaming at him to run to the assistance of the person he loves.

It’s the culmination of Kanan’s path. A powerful moment proving that the former lost Padawan has attained true mastery and is ready for whatever the Force has in store for him next.

Find out what the Force reveals to Kanan next when Star Wars Rebels kicks off its final episodes on Monday, February 19 on Disney XD.

You can watch every episode of Star Wars Rebels in the DisneyNOW App or Disney XD On Demand. You can also purchase the series here.

In case you missed them, be sure to check out Rebels Revisited entries on Ezra Bridger and Sabine Wren.

Justin Bolger is Lucasfilm’s Star Wars social media strategist and he doesn’t like the Empire…he loves it. Catch him occasionally on The Star Wars Show and talk Star Wars with him on Twitter @TheApexFan.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018 14:50

Lunar New Year Food and Beverage Offerings

LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION CUISINE (ANAHEIM, Calif.) – From Jan. 26 to Feb. 18, guests will enjoy specialty cuisine such as a purple sweet potato macaron, pork soup dumplings with black vinegar and ginger, and vegetable fried rice to commemorate the Lunar New Year celebration at Disney California Adventure park. The “Year of the Dog” celebration features three marketplaces inspired by Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures located throughout the north side of Paradise Park, as well as a special Lunar New Year menu at Paradise Garden Grill. (Disneyland Resort) LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION CUISINE (ANAHEIM, Calif.) – From Jan. 26 to Feb. 18, guests will enjoy specialty cuisine such as a purple sweet potato macaron, pork soup dumplings with black vinegar and ginger, and vegetable fried rice to commemorate the Lunar New Year celebration at Disney California Adventure park. The “Year of the Dog” celebration features three marketplaces inspired by Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures located throughout the north side of Paradise Park, as well as a special Lunar New Year menu at Paradise Garden Grill. (Disneyland Resort) LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION CUISINE (ANAHEIM, Calif.) – From Jan. 26 to Feb. 18, guests will enjoy specialty cuisine such as a purple sweet potato macaron, pork soup dumplings with black vinegar and ginger, and vegetable fried rice to commemorate the Lunar New Year celebration at Disney California Adventure park. The “Year of the Dog” celebration features three marketplaces inspired by Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures located throughout the north side of Paradise Park, as well as a special Lunar New Year menu at Paradise Garden Grill. (Disneyland Resort) LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION CUISINE (ANAHEIM, Calif.) – From Jan. 26 to Feb. 18, guests will enjoy specialty cuisine such as a purple sweet potato macaron, pork soup dumplings with black vinegar and ginger, and vegetable fried rice to commemorate the Lunar New Year celebration at Disney California Adventure park. The “Year of the Dog” celebration features three marketplaces inspired by Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures located throughout the north side of Paradise Park, as well as a special Lunar New Year menu at Paradise Garden Grill. (Disneyland Resort) LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION CUISINE (ANAHEIM, Calif.) – From Jan. 26 to Feb. 18, guests will enjoy specialty cuisine such as a purple sweet potato macaron, pork soup dumplings with black vinegar and ginger, and vegetable fried rice to commemorate the Lunar New Year celebration at Disney California Adventure park. The “Year of the Dog” celebration features three marketplaces inspired by Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures located throughout the north side of Paradise Park, as well as a special Lunar New Year menu at Paradise Garden Grill. (Disneyland Resort)

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Every Disney Parks Announcement That Happened at D23 Expo Japan

Every Disney Parks Announcement That Happened at D23 Expo Japan

General Disney

We are really excited right now! Today at D23 Expo Japan, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek updated…