Star Wars Celebration 2017
Lucasfilm pulled out all the stops for the 40th Anniversary Star Wars Celebration in Orlando this weekend. The debut teaser trailer for The Last Jedi may have stolen the headlines, but there were plenty more reveals and news items released over the weekend to keep us all looking forward.
If you’re a Star Wars fan with an interest in collecting, gaming and the old EU, then you’re in the right place – and these are the #SWCO reveals that might be of the most interest to you…
The first of this generation’s Battlefront games was decent from my limited experience; the arcade-style gameplay was great fun, especially in multiplayer, and the opportunity to run around the Star Wars universe more than compensated for the slightly repetitive missions.
If the first game was an impersonal take on the galactic civil war, DICE’s sequel follows the template set by the X-Wing series more than 20 years ago by putting you in Imperial shoes. For the single-player story players will take on the role of Inferno Squad member Iden Versio, an elite TIE Fighter pilot and special ops soldier who grew up believing in the cause of the Empire.
If doing wet work for a fascist, lying, mass-murdering government is your kind of thing, then you may also be interested in the tie-in novel Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden. The X-Wing books were a favourite EU series of mine and this looks like an interesting twist on that same military perspective.
Star Wars: Inferno Squad is released on 27th July 2017.
Black Series Jaina Solo & Grand Admiral Thrawn
File these figures under ‘EU’ and ‘EU enough to count’ respectively. Hasbro revealed several new figures and small vehicles for the Star Wars Black Series 6” line, but the real show-stealers were the fan’s choice winner Jaina Solo and former-EU turned Rebels antagonist Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Jaina rocks a New Republic flight suit and comes with a working holster, removable helmet and a purple-bladed lightsaber; everything she needs for taking down the dark side. Hasbro based the sculpt on a digital composite of Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford’s likenesses, a clever move that looks fantastic. Hopefully, Jaina will be easier to find than fellow EU icon Darth Revan…
Grand Admiral Thrawn was revealed as an SDCC exclusive, but the Imperial legend will almost certainly see single release in the not-too-distant future. The SDCC version comes packed with all sorts of trinkets to help you complete a Rebels display; accessories that will probably be absent from a wider release. However, if you’re an EU fan all you’ll need is the good Grand Admiral himself – and perhaps a custom Ysalamiri accessory to complete the look.
The Return of the Vintage Collection
The best news of the weekend happened on Saturday when Hasbro announced the return of the Star Wars Vintage Collection toy line.
The reveal video was saccharine enough to cause diabetes and the return of vintage style packaging does less than nothing for me (seriously, imagine the hatred that old fans would rain down on me if I campaigned for a return to POTF2 style packaging because I was 12 in 1995). What makes this news exciting is the simple fact that in 2018, we’re once again getting SA 3.75” Star Wars figures available at mass retail.
Whether it becomes the mainline again is yet to be seen, but for those of us who never wanted to stop collecting quality figures in the original scale, this is exactly the news we were waiting for.
Celebration 2017 showed to me that Disney-era Star Wars is starting to find its feet after a shaky start. Battlefront II looks good, The Last Jedi looks like it will have more depth and world-building than The Force Awakens, and there was good news all-round for collectors.
The only thing that could have made this weekend better was an official reveal of the heavily-rumoured Kenobi film – but I guess we’ll have to wait until D23 for that…