“Solo: A Star Wars Story” Synopsis Out, Some Footage Teased But Still No Trailer

Today we have an update on the upcoming spinoff film Solo: A Star Wars Story. Unfortunately it’s not a trailer for the movie that’s supposed to premiere some four and a half months from now. Still, this new info gives fans of the franchise an idea of what to expect.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that Star Wars fans can be heavily invested in knowing how the backstory of an established character is played out in film. Solo after all, is a prequel about the young Han Solo, the smuggler-turned-hero who became legend as portrayed by Harrison Ford.

An official synopsis released by Lucasfilm establishes the circumstances that Han Solo starts out in with his spinoff film. Having him navigate the criminal underworld in the days of the Empire is obvious enough, but apparently he is a lone wolf at this point, yet to meet his boon companion.

From the wording of the synopsis, a main plotline for Solo is the bounty hunter meeting his partner Chewbacca the Wookie. Another event is Han’s dealings with fellow scoundrel Lando Calrissian, original owner of the Millennium Falcon, and probably involves how Solo eventually wins ownership of the starship from him.

Whatever teases shared by the production are heavily rooted in bits of mythology from the background of the original films. A set photo purportedly of the Kessel spice mines hints that Solo will also involve Han doing the 12-parsec “Kessel Run” that he boasts to Luke in A New Hope.

The synopsis makes good reading, but ultimately only a trailer release will ease concerns by would-be watchers regarding Solo: A Star Wars Story, and its May 25 premiere. Ron Howard directs the movie following early work by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and it stars Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover.

New “Black Panther” Trailer Shows Feature on Wakanda, and Korean International Teaser

We’ve talked a lot about Avengers: Infinity War these past days, so let’s change topic to the other MCU film coming out earlier in 2018, next month in fact. Black Panther is eagerly awaited by many, and is part of a rising trend of African-American superheroes in film and TV.

With February coming ever so closer, the trailers, previews and special features being put out by Marvel Studios to hype Black Panther grow even more. The latest snippet to release online is a primer on Wakanda, the secretive African homeland of T’Challa, and what all BP newbies need to know.

Disney’s Movie Surfers goes about the extensive sets of Black Panther, talking to two of the primary cast: Letitia Wright as Shuri and Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, Black Panther himself. While a bit obliged by the studio not to spoil too much, they do manage to spill some in-universe trivia.

For MCU fans that haven’t been comic book savvy, Wakanda is an African nation in the continent’s interior, an absolute monarchy and very isolated from the world. But while outwardly appearing as a third-world state, it’s actually a highly advanced utopia with tech powered by the alien mineral called vibranium.

As a line of dialogue from a film scene added to the feature says: “[Vibranium] powers [Wakanda’s] cities, it powers their tech; they sew it into their clothes.” The power potential of vibranium has spurred Wakandans to keep its secrets to themselves; but as the trailers show, that will change.

Also included in the feature is an international teaser for Korea (scenes from trailers indicate parts of Black Panther happen in Busan). In it, Boseman and Wright discuss the nickname Koreans have given the Black Panther character: “Busan Panther.” Hilarity ensues when Letitia feels left out without her own nickname.

Black Panther premieres February 16.

Disney Partners with “Portal Quest” Developer PerBlue and Others to Make New Mobile App Games

When it comes to branded videogames, Disney tends to be hit or miss. Fans can probably still remember early in 2017 when the House of Mouse shut down their in-house game development team Avalanche. They were of course the makers of Disney Infinity, which was very popular with gamers everywhere.

With the House of Mouse having shut down in-house game development for a time, they’re instead making partnerships with third-party developers to bring out new titles for the Disney gamer-base. They’re also going to make new inroads into the mobile gaming market, and are thus collaborating with mobile-app development outfits.

One of these new game-development partners with the house of mouse is PerBlue, a company that has produced some casual game apps. This collaboration was announced Tuesday by Disney gaming division executive Kyle Laughlin, while he was making a keynote speech at the Casual Connect game-con held in Disneyland, Anaheim.

On the side of PerBlue, based in Madison, Wisconsin, the company’s chief operations officer Forrest Woolworth sent an email publicizing the Disney partnership, but begged off on revealing what sort of game app they were developing for the House of Mouse. Woolworth wrote that PerBlue is excited about the project.

A look at PerBlue’s 10-year game portfolio would have it that their forte is making RPG-style fantasy titles that involve leveling up a party of heroes in a series of battles. Prominent games include Portal Quest on Android, and DragonSoul which they sold to a Japanese firm back in 2016.

PerBlue joins other mobile-app developers in the new Disney game development initiative such as GameLoft, Glu and Ludia. In terms of major brand collaborators, there’s Electronic Arts which has an exclusive deal for making Star Wars videogames, and Japanese giant Square-Enix which develops the Kingdom Hearts series featuring Disney characters.

Lucasfilm Writer Reveals a Character Death in Old “Star Wars” Novels Led to Reboot for Episodes VII-IX

We’re now two movies into the Star Wars sequel trilogy produced by Lucasfilm under Disney, which bought the studio and the iconic space opera franchise back in 2012. Despite some increasing dissonance between fans and critics, The Force Awakens and the Last Jedi have been box office successes so far.

But to be able to tell the story playing out now, between the Resistance and the First Order and the awakening of a new hero in the Force, Disney chose to throw away a great wealth of material from books written before this time, something “traditional” Star Wars fans bemoan.

See, before the Disney acquisition, in fact before George Lucas even started work on the prequel trilogy, there used to be a whole line of Star Wars novels that related the further adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and others following the events of Return of the Jedi.

These books saw events like Han and Leia having several Force-sensitive children, Leia herself becoming a Jedi, Luke opening a New Jedi Academy, and the Empire remnants trying to re-establish themselves. And the Jedi-Sith battle continues. Also, invaders from outside the Galaxy come and mess up the whole story setting.

These books formed what was originally the Star Wars “Expanded Universe.” When Disney got Star Wars and Lucasfilm, they consigned the wealth of story events and world-building in the books to non-canon status, preferring to build their own narrative from Episode VI. The once-Expanded Universe became the Legends continuity instead.

Leland Chee, a writer for Lucasfilm and part of the “story group” supervising the direction of Star Wars film canon, gives a reason for the studio deciding to start clean without blatant input from the Expanded Universe in the sequel trilogy. It’s rooted in the death of a character: Chewbacca.

Yep. In the Expanded Universe novel Vector Prime (1999), Chewbacca died saving one of Han and Leia’s Jedi children. Without spoiling further, he was killed by a planet’s moon falling on him. Fortunately Chewie’s own son survived and became a Jedi, but an original main character died and never returned.

At least that was how it went in the old EU/Legends. Chee believed the editorial decision to kill Chewbacca in the books was due to his limited vocabulary options (just growls that need translation) especially in print form. It’s his book death that spurred Disney/Lucasfilm to create a new canon.

“There’s no way that I’d want to do an Episode VII that didn’t have Chewbacca in it,” spoke Leland Chee during his guesting at the Fandom Files Podcast on SyFy. “And if we were going to overturn a monumental decision like that, everything else was really just minor in comparison.”

So there: To keep Chewie alive for The Force Awakens onwards, Lucasfilm began writing a different canon rather than adapt from the EU. Two movies in, we have Han and Luke dead. Leia probably will follow soon. There are reasons for killing them off, but it’s a whole other story.

Chris Evans Autograph Teases Possible Codename Change by Steve Rogers in “Avengers: Infinity War”

There weren’t any new film footage seen from the latest preview given of Avengers: Infinity War, that being the Japanese-release international trailer. Only the bare minimum of the movie plot is set in stone. Namely, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is finally coming, and the separated Avengers are hard-pressed to stop him.

One plot bit we do have is that Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), more unkempt and bearded, will return to the open once again to help in the struggle, despite being labeled a war criminal following Captain America: Civil War. Now an Instagram post sheds more light on his upcoming characterization.

A fan theory goes that Steve abandoned the Captain America identity after fleeing Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) with his friend Bucky/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Here’s an Instagram post showing a photo of a prop Cap shield in Arizona’s Ace Comic Con, signed by Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan.

What’re interesting are the character names they added to their autographs on the shield. Evans wrote “Cap” and “Nomad”, with Stan adding “I’m with Nomad” to his Winter Soldier ID. “Nomad” is an integral part of Steve’s comic-book history, and his autograph implies it’s being used in Avengers: Infinity War.

At one point in the comics, Steve was disillusioned with the US government and discarded his Captain America costume and name. He assumed a new alter ego, the motorcycle-riding vigilante Nomad. Just as Evans’ movie-Steve is similarly disillusioned by the international regulation of superheroes, becoming Nomad seems an appropriate reaction.

Of course, that’s just an autograph done by the actors outside of actively promoting the film, so we’ll still need more info from any forthcoming trailers and any plot detail reveals to get the whole story. Avengers: Infinity War is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, premiering on May 28.