Star Wars 2015: The Force Has Already Started To Awaken
In case you’ve been asleep at the wheel for the last year or so, you know that we are just 11 months away now from the next entry in the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. While everyone continues the countdown to what will surely be the biggest box office attraction in years (possibly ever?), the Force is already well awoken less than a month in to the year.
On January 14th, Marvel celebrated the return of the Star Wars franchise to their pages, with their first comic featuring Luke Skywalker in over 20 years. In the 2 weeks since release, Star Wars #1 has become the largest selling comic in the last 20+ years, with over one million copies sold (helped by the nearly 100 different variant covers and distribution deal with Loot Crate). We joined in the hunt of finding variant covers on release day as well. In February, Marvel will release 2 additional titles based on Princess Leia and Darth Vader, with additional variant covers of all 3 titles.
Star Wars Rebels also returned in January, following a month long holiday break and has quickly become must see tv for fans of the films as the storyline takes place in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Multiple familiar characters have been injected into Rebels, including R2-D2, C-3PO, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Lando Calrissian. While Rebels animation appeals to children, the storyline fits with established fans of the franchise.
Next up on the Star Wars calendar for the year is Celebration Anaheim, a 4 day convention taking place April 16-19 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. This is the 7th stateside Celebration in the last 16 years, and 10th overall (2 in Europe, 1 in Japan). This year’s event has not announced their main attractions yet, but if the event is anything like the last 2 Celebrations in Orlando, fans are in for a treat. With a new movie on the horizon that features a return to the cast from the original trilogy, as well as an ongoing Rebels run, and the return to Marvel comics, this is sure to be a huge year for panels and other events at the mecca for Star Wars fandom.
Two of the larger events noted so far for Celebration Anaheim include the 3D showing of Revenge of the Sith (never seen before), and a Navajo screening of A New Hope. Additionally, fan favorites of Celebration have also been announced as returning: Star Wars Art Show, Collectors Stage, Fan Tables, and (my personal favorite) a traveling version of Rancho Obi-Wan. Celebrities announced so far include James Arnold Taylor, and the cast of Star Wars Rebels, along with Clone Wars and Rebels creator, Dave Filoni.
Tickets remain for the event and additional details can be found here: http://www.starwarscelebration.com/Home/
If you can’t make the trip out to Anaheim for Celebration, Disney also has you covered at their annual Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, taking place weekends during May 15th – June 14th. This annual event is a favorite of the Cheap Seats crew as we try to attend as many days as possible. Every day of Star Wars Weekends tends to be a little different as the celebrity guests change each week and the discussion panels are different at every show.
Star Wars Weekends offers fans the ability to get up close with stars from their favorite Star Wars movies and television shows with autograph sessions, parades, and stage shows (interviews, skit shows, etc.). Additionally, Disney offers fans the ability to dine with their favorite characters during special breakfast and dinner events.
For more information on Star Wars Weekends: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/hollywood-studios/star-wars-weekend/
Finally, the grand event that fans have all been waiting for will be upon us on 12/18 as The Force Awakens is released. Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, the film features the cast from the original trilogy as well as a host of younger characters. Disney released an initial teaser trailer on 11/28/14 which has since gone on to be seen over 100 million times online. While rumors persist online around what the story will entail, Disney has done a fantastic job of keeping details under wraps, which is quite fine for our team.