2019 Class of Disney Legends Include Alumni and Stars from MCU, “Star Wars”

Ever since its establishment in 1987 the Disney Legend Awards honored people whose works have been integral to the success of the House of Mouse. Whether they were animators, theme park designers, musicians, film/TV production personnel, and artists, many have been named Disney Legends. Now, the 2019 awardees are revealed.

Disney announced the ten names that make up this year’s class of Disney Legends on May 16. Two are from the company’s theme park arm, two are from ABC News. The rest made their marks in Disney films and television. Some of them however, are from the MCU film franchise.

It’s perhaps appropriate that following the decade-one culmination of the MCU storyline, some of its stars will be honored. Some of them will continue with the franchise’s future installments and shows. One however, may have taken his final bow for the MCU. Becoming a Disney Legend makes a proper sendoff.

Here’s a list of the honorees for Disney Legends 2019:

  1. Robert Downey Jr. – Tony Stark/Iron Man, Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-2019)
  2. Jon Favreau – Happy Hogan, MCU; also film director for “Iron Man” 1-2, “Jungle Book” and “Lion King” remakes (2016, 2019)
  3. Ming-Na Wen – voice of “Mulan” (1998); also Melinda May in ABC-MCU series “Agents of SHIELD”
  4. Hans Zimmer – composer for “Lion King” (animation and remake) and the first four “Pirates of the Caribbean” films
  5. James Earl Jones – voices of Darth Vader (“Star Wars”) and Mufasa (“Lion King”)
  6. Kenny Ortega – film director; currently famous for Disney Channel originals (“High School Musical” and “Descendants”)
  7. Bette Midler – film star for Disney (“Hocus Pocus” and Touchstone label
  8. Robin Roberts – ABC journalist
  9. Diane Sawyer – ABC journalist
  10. Barnette Ricci – Walt Disney Studios President/Show Director
  11. Wing Chao – Disney Parks and Resorts Asia Pacific VP (Development); Disney Imagineering Executive VP
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After “Rise of Skywalker,” Next “Star Wars” Movie Won’t Be Until 2022 at Least

December’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” was touted as the end of the stories involving this family of Force-users. We wondered what would come after that. Disney-Lucasfilm was insistent on continuing the sci-fi film franchise despite subpar reception of the two non-Skywalker spinoffs. By that we mean “Rogue One” and the unfortunate, unprofitable “Solo.”

Recently Disney released a timetable of their major releases from their various studios over the next several years. Naturally that includes more “Star Wars” film installments. But they’re no longer the episodic trilogy adventures of Force-users called Skywalker. And another thing, they’re more distantly spaced.

Following “The Rise of Skywalker” this year, Lucasfilm is holding back on a new “Star Wars” movie until around 2022. If a studio is looking for a way to address franchise fatigue, like with what happened between “The Last Jedi” and “Solo,” and “Rogue One,” a multi-year hiatus works great.

It’s not like the Disney umbrella would stumble over one film franchise taking a rest. Pixar, Marvel Studios, and Disney’s own studios themselves can handle the slack. And it’s not as if “Star Wars” will temporarily halt entirely. There are still the various animated and streaming spinoffs airing or coming.

The release of these future “Star Wars” films from 2022 on will also alternate with a new franchise from Fox. A movie about the Galaxy Far, Far Away will alternate with a sequel for the more recent sci-fi masterpiece “Avatar.” This one has four sequels.

New “Star Wars” Books Tying to “The Rise of Skywalker” Announced for Late/Year-End 2019

As everyone already knows, the final segment of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy, “The Rise of Skywalker,” premieres this December. Said to take place a year after “The Last Jedi,” it’ll see the last battle between the Resistance and the First Order, as well as between Rey and Kylo Ren.

The movie has been hyped by Lucasfilm to be the definitive end to the generation-spanning saga of the Skywalker Family. But before the conclusion of that tale is told, some side-stories are waiting to be read. By this we mean a number of spinoff books detailing adventures between the films.

Chief among these related print media for the “new” “Star Wars” is the “Journey to” books. Published by Disney-Lucasfilm and various other publishers, they tell of events happening to the sequel trilogy characters before the events of each movie. Just as “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” had them, “The Rise of Skywalker” will have its own books too:

Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

  1. A Little Golden Book’s Star Wars: We Are the Resistance – October 4; retells scenes from all three “Star Wars” sequel trilogy films for young listeners
  2. Spark of the Resistance (Justina Ireland) – October 4; in which Rey, Poe and Rose answer a distress call from a planet under First Order occupation, wild flying beasts and a secret weapon
  3. Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-up Galaxy (Matthew Reinhart) – October 8; revisit the whole saga, from prequel to original to sequel trilogies, all presented in interactive pop-ups
  4. Resistance Reborn (Rebecca Roanhorse) – November 12; about the rebuilding of the Resistance following their near-annihilation in “The Last Jedi”
  5. Force Collector (Kevin Shinick) – November 19; about a teenager with awakened Force abilities looking for answers about his past

Other Books

  1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – The Galaxy Needs You (Caitlin Kennedy) – December 17
  2. The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Phil Szostak) – December 20
  3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – The Visual Dictionary (Pablo Hidalgo) – December 20

More Episodes of “Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures” Web-Series

The Galaxy Far, Far Away that is the setting for the “Star Wars” franchise has always been full of adventures. That’s pretty much been the selling point of “Galaxy of Adventures,” an online micro-series on the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel. The show renders iconic scenes from the films in an intensely vibrant anime-like style.

When the micro-series launched on December last year, there were a good number of episodes. Since then, more vignettes in “Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures” have been added. Now we will list these new additions for the fans’ quick reference:

  1. Princess Leia vs. Darth Vader – A Fearless Leader
  2. Luke vs. the Death Star – X-Wing Assault
  3. Han Solo – Galaxy’s Best Smuggler
  4. Chewie vs. Holochess – Let the Wookiee Win
  5. Luke vs. Emperor Palpatine – Rise to Evil
  6. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader – Join Me
  7. Yoda vs. Count Dooku – Size Matters Not
  8. Princess Leia – The Rescue
  9. Stormtroopers vs. Rebels – Soldiers of the Galactic Empire
  10. Luke Skywalker – Lightsaber Training
  11. Han Solo – Captain of the Millennium Falcon
  12. Han Solo – Taking Flight for His Friends
  13. R2-D2 and C-3PO – Trash Compactor Rescue
  14. Yoda – The Jedi Master
  15. Luke vs. Imperial Walkers – Commander on Hoth
  16. Darth Vader vs. The Rebel Fleet – Fearsome Fighter Pilot
  17. Han Solo vs. The Space Slug – The Escape Artist
  18. R2-D2 – A Pilot’s Best Friend
  19. Princess Leia – An Unexpected Friend
  20. Leia and Han – The Han Rescue

New episodes come roughly weekly on Star Wars Kids YouTube channel.

New Reveals from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” Season 7 Trailer at Star Wars Celebration

True, the trailer for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” was the crowning glory of all media previews during Star Wars Celebration. But let’s not forget that there were other reveals that were made for new shows and games in the franchise. Some of these series would be among the first to stream on Disney+.

One of them is the never-expected but now-anticipated seventh season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” We already had a taste of what’s to come thanks to an initial teaser, months ago. This time the trailer, shown during Star Wars Celebration, has more story substance.

The trailer airs during the first few seconds of this Star Wars Celebration video stream. Here’re some things we observed:

  1. Montage of the (un-helmeted) Clone Troopers doing drills while the discussion between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda in “Episode II: Attack of the Clones” is heard.
  2. Yoda’s refuting Obi-Wan’s praise of the Clones and remarking “Begun the Clone War has” rings as the Jedi hold funerals for the Knights and Padawans they have lost fighting the Separatists.
  3. Foreshadowing of Anakin Skywalker’s fall when a vision of Darth Vader’s helmet forms behind him.
  4. Darth Sidious dual wields lightsabers. Is this a reworking of the scene from “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith?”
  5. Flashbacks are seen by Yoda to the Anakin-Ahsoka Tahno duo of Knight and Padawan.
  6. Obi-Wan speaks to Qui-Gon Jin’s Force ghost about Anakin’s training.
  7. A new character dual wields twin lightsabers (four blades).
  8. Anakin duels Count Dooku/Darth Sidious and nearly finishes him? Another “Revenge of the Sith” reworking?
  9. Space battle sees Ahsoka in action.
  10. There’s a ritual involving what appear to be other people from Asajj Ventress’ race.
  11. Anakin is dogfighting in the skies over Naboo. Sequences also show him in combat alongside Obi-Wan, then Ahsoka, and finally all alone.
  12. Plenty of action set pieces are previewed as Anakin looks visibly separated from his fellow Jedi.
  13. Yoda faces a vision of a burning giant. Or is it an actual fire creature.
  14. “Ready, Skywalker is, to teach an apprentice,” Yoda says. “To let go of his pupil, a greater challenge it would be.” It seems Anakin is looking to the constant presence of a fellow Jedi at his side to guide him when he is lost. When even his Padawan leaves, he becomes open to darkness.

“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” season 7 from Lucasfilm Animation will premiere on Disney+ streaming.

“No One’s Ever Really Gone” in the First Trailer for “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker”

As the 2019 Star Wars Celebration in Chicago rolled over into the weekend, some heavily awaited-for previews were finally revealed. The most important of them obviously is the first teaser for “Star Wars: Episode IX.” Not only did fans finally see the anticipated visuals, we now know its official subtitle.

“The Rise of Skywalker” at first blush sounds somewhat clunky. But after seeing the scenes from the trailer one might think it appropriate. It seems to imply new meaning to the name “Skywalker.” Anakin was born of a Tatooine slave. Rey was born of seemingly similarly unremarkable parents. He was a Skywalker; is Rey too?

Why don’t we find out by going over the teaser?

  1. Rey (Daisy Ridley) is now dressed like a Jedi. She also apparently has repaired Anakin’s lightsaber from its ruin back in “The Last Jedi.”
  2. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) seems to talk to Rey in narration, talking about how she now has the knowledge of “a thousand generations.”
  3. “Every Generation Has a Legend.”
  4. It seems Rey is in a desert planet (Tatooine) facing down a low-flying First Order TIE Fighter. Is Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) at the controls?
  5. Rey shows how much more Jedi she is now by fearlessly jumping on the TIE with lightsaber lit.
  6. A starship arrives in another world at night.
  7. Kylo Ren doing a berserker charge against Resistance ground troops. He also is apparently repairing his helmet, similarly destroyed during “The Last Jedi.”
  8. BB-8 has its own droid companion now.
  9. With Han Solo dead, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) returns to pilot the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo).
  10. “The Saga Comes to an End.” To be specific, it’s probably the saga of a family central to the “Star Wars” narrative. The franchise itself will never be allowed to end.
  11. A chase is on the desert planet with Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) aboard a sand skiff a la “Return of the Jedi.”
  12. General Leia (Carrie Fisher) hugs Rey. This is some of deleted footage from the first two Sequel Trilogy films, edited to provide a role for Leia after the passing of her actress years ago.
  13. As Luke tells Rey that “they will always be with her and no one’s ever truly gone,” she and her friends appear to be on the forest moon of Endor, looking at fallen fragments of the Galactic Empire’s second Death Star.
  14. We hear a familiar, sinister “old guy” laugh.

Back in Star Wars Celebration itself, any ambiguousness of the voice was made certain by the appearance of the actor in question, onstage. Director J.J. Abrams also confirmed that Ian McDiarmid is back as Sheev Palpatine / Darth Sidious / Emperor.

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” premieres this December 20.

Disney+ Streaming Service Formally Introduced, Launching November

For the past few months, ever since Disney began dropping hints, we’ve been following all significant updates on Disney+. This is the much-promoted exclusive online streaming service that would carry as much of the Disney media library, plus all-new original content. Despite news of what stuff might be put in it, Disney has kept mum on when Disney+ will launch.

That silence was broken by the House of Mouse this Thursday, April 11. At long last Disney+ has been properly introduced by the media giant’s CEO Bob Iger. From live-action Disney films to the Animated Canon, everything will eventually fit in the platform as the practice of putting past media on a figurative “vault” (storing in between official release and re-releases) is gradually phased out.

And let’s not forget the added productions from Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm aka “Star Wars” and even TV documentaries like National Geographic. Some new original series that will debut on Disney+ will tie either with the MCU film franchise, or the “Star Wars” Disney canon.

disney-plus-16-91

But what about the subscription service itself? Iger finally gets down to the nitty-gritty on details. A monthly subscription on Disney+ will cost $7. That’s tantamount to “shots fired” against established streaming juggernaut Netflix, which has a $13 monthly plan and a $9 lowest-budget alternative.

The Disney+ service will officially launch on November 12, and will also come in a mobile app version. Disney promises 10 new films and 25 series, all original, within the first year of the streaming platform. It’ll also carry content from Fox, like all seasons of “The Simpsons” just to start. Netflix should start worrying.

Mark Hamill on “Star Wars” Franchise Fatigue

Everybody knows the story by now. Last year the second “Star Wars Story” featuring “Solo” became the least-earning installment of all “Star Wars” films released yet. It didn’t deter Lucasfilm from pushing through with “Episode IX” for this December. The new animated and live-action spinoff series didn’t stop coming either.

Reviewers of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and some Lucasfilm spokespersons believe that the movie’s substandard performance with audiences was due to a general franchise fatigue. Even actor Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker himself, is in agreement with this notion. He said as much during his Hollywood Reporter podcast “Awards Chatter.”

“I’m not gonna tell them (Lucasfilm) how to run their business, but is there a possibility of ‘Star Wars fatigue’? Yeah, I think there is,” remarked Hamill to The Hollywood Reporter. “I’ve experienced it, to a certain degree. But they never listen to my ideas anyway, so who needs ’em?”

“Solo,” initially co-directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller before their departure during filming and replacement by Ron Howard, cost $250 million to make. In cinemas it ended with only $393 million combined domestically and internationally. While the studio acknowledges franchise fatigue on their end however, they’ve continued churning out more “Star Wars” productions since.

Mark Hamill, is currently working on the History Channel historical drama “Knightfall” about the Knights Templar and their destruction. He has however expressed interest in appearing or voicing for any of the upcoming “Star Wars” series such as “The Clone Wars” season 7, “Resistance,” and “The Mandalorian” on Disney+. The actor, alternatively famous for his voice-work as DC’s Joker, says he’s just waiting for offers.

List of Exhibitor Exclusive Items for 2019 Star Wars Celebration in Chicago

If you’re a “Star Wars” fans who has made arrangements to go to Chicago next week for the 2019 Star Wars Celebration, the event must be feeling so close now that one could almost taste it. For the collectors among the fans, the exclusive items to be had there are sure to be worthy additions.

While there are expected items: event-themed clothes and accessories, novelties, stationery and collectible trading pins abound during Star Wars Celebration, there’s also a particular set of stuff that’s so rare, they need to be awarded to attendees via lottery. These exclusive toys range from displayable, to poseable, to outright buildable.

Listed here are the exhibitor exclusive items that can be had for Star Wars Celebration:

Funko

  • Chrome Blue Pop! Figures
  1. 63 – Chewbacca
  2. 124 – Yoda
  3. 157 – Darth Vader
  4. 295 – Princess Leia
  5. 296 – Stormtrooper
  6. 297 – Boba Fett
  • New Figures
  1. 298 – Watto
  2. 299 – Darth Maul

Hasbro6-inch Black Series action figures, featured with special cardbacks

  1. Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi
  2. Darth Maul

LEGO

  • LEGO Star Wars 20th Anniversary Special set
  1. Darth Vader Bust (number 75227)

Ahead of “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” Area Openings, Disneyland & WDW to Restrict Smoking, Big Strollers

Pretty soon there will be only two months left before Disneyland Park can take its guests to a Galaxy Far, Far Away. The promise of “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” is so overwhelming to Disney theme park-goers that they’ll certainly crowd Disneyland on the Opening Day for Galaxy’s Edge, May 31.

That’s probably why, according to CNN, California’s Disneyland as well as Florida’s Walt Disney World will be issuing a ban on smoking and large strollers within theme park premises. This prohibition also extends to WDW’s waterparks or Anaheim’s Downtown Disney.

A Disney spokesperson notes that with the expansion of their resort offerings – Galaxy’s Edge for one – they must take measures to make the guest experience universally enjoyable. Banning smoking will cut down on pollution while keeping strollers under mandated sizes would reduce guest foot traffic.

Of course, smokers will still be given some consideration, as they’re still free to light up in Florida’s Disney Springs. Designated smoking areas within Disney resort hotels will remain, and similar areas will be set up near theme park entryways. And strollers to be allowed in the theme parks must now no longer exceed 39 inches/79 cm in width, and 52 inches/132 cm in length.

These are but the latest new changes that Disney is implementing in both Disneyland and Disney World with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge coming. Way back in January they have already introduced a wide variation of ticket price hikes for guests.