For the first time in four years, there wasn't a new Star Wars movie to talk about this past December. But really, that may turn out to be just the calm before the storm of news that's sure to come out of Lucasfilm in the next 12 months before the release of Episode IX . If 2018 was a sluggish year for the franchise—one that arguably peaked with Disney boss Bob Iger talking about slowing down production on the movies after the failure of Solo —2019 is going to be a very different thing altogether. This will be the year that Star Wars evolves—and prepares for its likely comeback as a cultural juggernaut. Are you ready? If not, you really should read up to prepare.
Get Ready to Soar Through the Galaxy and Save Everyone This Summer
The Source: Disney Parks promo
Probability of Accuracy: This is an official teaser, so it's as accurate as promotional material can be — which is to say, relatively accurate…?
The Real Deal: This year is going to be a pretty big one for Star Wars : There'll be Episode IX in December, the debut of Disney+ (in other words, the likely debut of The Mandalorian ) sometime in the fall, Star Wars Celebration in Chicago this April , and, oh yes, the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in the summer and fall. Not sure what Galaxy's Edge is all about? Maybe this teaser from Disney Parks will help.
…OK, sure; We're not so into meeting Kylo Ren—that dude killed his dad, after all—but the chance to fly in the Millennium Falcon is still pretty damn exciting, no matter how much Solo might have done to suck the fun out of it. It might be best to plan that 2019 trip to a Disney theme park sooner rather than later.
Episode IX Takes Place in the Future (Kinda)
The Source: A longstanding rumor seemingly confirmed by John Boyega
Probability of Accuracy: Assuming that the reporting on what John Boyega said is accurate, it's fair to assume this is true.
The Real Deal: While we breathlessly wait for news of a trailer or footage tease of some sort—rumors of such a thing before the end of 2018 proved, sadly, false—there was at least one update about Episode IX to emerge in the last few weeks: Unlike The Last Jedi , which took place immediately after the end of The Force Awakens , the new movie will be set roughly a year after Last Jedi , according to an interview John Boyega (Finn) gave to Empire magazine. Some people are treating this as a groundbreaking move, apparently forgetting the far more sizable time jumps between earlier movies in the series. The time elapsed between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones was 10 years, after all. And The Empire Strikes Back was roughly three years after the original movie. A one-year fast-forward? That's nothing.
More Leia to Come
The Source: Carrie Fisher's brother, Todd
Probability of Accuracy: This one relies a lot on personal expectations, so … reply hazy, ask again later?
The Real Deal: Here's one more thing about Episode IX : According to Carrie Fisher's brother, there will be a lot more of Leia Skywalker in J.J. Abrams' next Star Wars movie than people expected, and it'll be all-new footage. "There’s a lot of minutes of footage," Todd Fisher said during an appearance on Good Morning America . "I don't mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. That's what's going to give everybody such a great kick. It's going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday. We're not allowed to talk about the details of anything, but we're thrilled at what's been done."
The Shocking Reveal About Darth Vader That Never Came
The Source: Marvel's Darth Vader comic and the reaction to it
Probability of Accuracy: By the end, we get to something approximating accurate, if nothing else.
The Real Deal: One of the more curious things to happen in Star Wars fandom over the past few weeks has been the response to Marvel's Darth Vader #25, which makes it pretty clear that Palpatine was behind the not-so-immaculate conception of Anakin Skywalker, ensuring that there would be a future Sith Lord to use to end the Jedi Order. Sure, it comes in the form of a vision courtesy of Force magic (don't ask), but not a lot is left to the imagination—which was taken by many to be a revelation about the character. Except… It's not, really, as Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo pointed out on Twitter:
Nonetheless, now it's canon that Anakin is less Space Jesus, and more … Luke Skywalker, Version 2.0, I guess? Man, Star Wars is weird.
The New Star Wars Workout Plan
The Source: Lucasfilm itself
Probability of Accuracy: As accurate as anything coming out of Lucasfilm can be
The Real Deal: Never afraid to take an everyday thing—well, more like a once-a-year thing, as you’ll see—and turn it into branded content, Lucasfilm celebrated the new year by taking the opportunity to launch its New-Year's-resolution-ready Star Wars Fuel Your Force , which the company says is a commitment to "finding your own 'inner Force' through an active and healthy lifestyle." In case you think that sounds like a good thing—really, who doesn't want to improve themselves, especially at the start of the year?—it turns out to be a chance to sell people more things , including what appears to be surplus Solo merchandise . "In 2019 and beyond, Star Wars Fuel Your Force engages fitness and wellness enthusiasts through new and exciting product collaborations in gear, healthy living accessories, and more," the introductory text states. Whatever would Yoda say?
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