ScreenCrush’s WookieLeaks is a weekly roundup of everything ‘Star Wars’! From ‘Episode 7,’ to the upcoming spinoffs and the TV shows, if it pertains to that long ago, far away galaxy, we’re covering it here, bringing you our expert analysis. This week, the names of three new characters are revealed, George Lucas reveals that he doesn’t really care about the new trailer, and the identity of the new villain is debated.

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Reveals Some Character Name

If he had his way, director J.J. Abrams probably wouldn’t reveal a single frame of footage from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ until it actually opened in theaters. This is the Abrams way, the “mystery box” way, where every single detail must be hidden becuase everything needs to be a surprise.

But Disney, who wants to recoup the billions of dollars they spent buying the ‘Star Wars’ brand are like “Screw that!” And honestly, we have to agree with the massive corporation on this one and only front. Sorry J.J., but keeping the names of your new characters a secret for this long is just plain weird and doesn’t add to anything.

Anyway, that’s all just a long-winded introduction to get to the actual news: The names of four new characters from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ have been revealed and, well, they sound like ‘Star Wars’ names. Don’t act like Han Solo and Lando Calrissian aren’t just as goofy as these. They’re perfectly fine:

The real cool thing about this reveal was how it was done. Rather than just dump the names in a press release, they were attached to a series of old school trading cards depicting scenes from the trailer. If every new ‘Star Wars’ reveal is going to be handled this creatively, then we‘re in for treat in the coming year. What a cool idea.

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George Lucas Claims to Have Not Watched the New Trailer

As massive as the first trailer for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ was and is, it’s interesting to note that Disney almost didn’t release it. After all, filming had just wrapped, few effects were finished and they had to contend with Abrams and his mystery box. It’s probably looking like a great decision now, with it well on its way to being the most-watched movie trailer of all time.

But there is at least one person who still hasn’t watched it: George Lucas. You know, the guy who created ‘Star Wars’ and directed four of the six previous movies. You know, the guy who added a bunch of billions to his existing billions when he gave up the rights to the saga. You know, one of the chief orchestrators of the past 40 years of popular culture. You know, the guy who supposedly had an outline for three more movies who J.J. Abrams was supposedly in touch with during production.

Here’s what he said when he was asked about the trailer:

“I don’t know anything about it. I haven’t seen it yet.”

When asked why he hadn’t seen it, he responded:

“Because it’s not in the movie theater.”

No true, but hey, Lucas probably doesn’t get out much. He’s too busy playing with his money. And then, he was asked if he was interested in the new movie:

“Not really.”

This may seem surprising, but why would he have sold off the franchise if he still had any interest in it? He’s freshly married, more rich than ever, donating ridiculously generous amounts of money to great causes, and is supposedly making personal art films that he has no intention of ever releasing. He’s pursuing new projects! He’s ready to let go of his past and enjoy semi-retirement!

Or he could just be really bummed out that people are so excited to see him no longer involved in the universe he created, which must really sap the spirit. Or he could simply be unhappy with the direction ‘The Force Awakens’ is going, since it looks nothing like the prequels he micromanaged. But that’s just speculation

But do you know who did see the trailer? ‘SNL.’ And they made their own version:

Old and New Cast Chat About ‘The Force Awakens’

Since people were off asking George Lucas about the new trailer, you can be sure they were also talking about it with people who are actually involved in the production. Among those who chatted about it was Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, who was as enthusiastic as ever:

Oh my gosh. You know, I’ll tell you, the most moving aspect of them releasing that trailer was watching a video of other people watching it. My daughter put it on for me. It was all these people watching the trailer. Sometimes you get sort of isolated and disconnected because I don’t really follow it as closely as, say, [my son] Nathan does, but to see those people that thrilled, it was moving to me. I actually got a lump in my throat watching that. To see so many people that happy was a thrill. And it’s hard to believe it’s a whole year away that we have to wait but I’m practicing my phrase, “You have to wait and see.” They asked me not to talk about it and I agreed but it’s hard. People want to know!

As always, Hamill doesn’t appear to have a negative bone in his body, even taking some time to compliment the actors (which he seems to do every time he opens his mouth):

I felt that the minute I met all of them. They’re all wonderful actors. I think they’ve done such a great job of not only the characters themselves, but the people they’ve picked to play them. John Boyega is just wonderful and Daisy, I just think the world of and Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac and Andy Serkis. They’re just ... Like I say, this is in very, very good hands. I’m vicariously very proud of them even though I have no justification for being able to be proud!

Speaking of new actors, Oscar Isaac (a.k.a. Poe Dameron) was asked about the production and the first thing he brings up is Abrams’ use of practical effects. We’ve been hearing a lot about how the new film will blend CGI with old school sets, make-up and puppets, but Isaac is really getting us excited here:

There was just so much love poured into it and so much care. The thing is, when you rely on the latest technology to tell your story – and that’s it – that dates. It can date badly. Whereas, when you actually make the stuff, I think there’s something about that that is a little bit more ageless.

It was totally like living out a childhood dream. Being on those sets and being surrounded by those people – talking to Anthony Daniels, seeing him getting suited up, and Peter Mayhew putting on the suit again – that was incredible.

And after the monotonous performances featured in the prequels, you should find it pleasing to know that Isaac has kept his eye on the more casual and human characters from the original trilogy, namely Harrison Ford’s Han Solo:

If you watch Harrison Ford in [the originals], he doesn’t give a f***, you know? [Laughs] He’s just being a real person. He’s funny. You can even hear little ad-libs and things like that… [It's similar on this film]. There’s less of a formality, I think. I think the biggest thing, the most important part of the story, is the emotional aspect of it. I think that’s what most of us were keyed into: ‘What is the emotion of the thing?’ The spectacle is secondary to that.

Oh, and you know that hilted lightsaber that sent a certain portion of uber-fans into a tizzy? Turns out that Isaac has an opinion on that:

I think it’s amazing. It’s so cool ... If Darth Vader had one of those, he wouldn’t have lost his hand!

Shot down by Poe Dameron! Take that nerds!

And that brings us to a rather weird interview that rides a fine line between relevant and irrelevant. Joel Edgerton, who played the young Uncle Owen in the prequel films, has been making the press rounds for ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings.’ Naturally, his connection to the saga meant that he got asked about the new trailer, which meant that he started speculating about the identity of the new villain. Celebrities! They’re just like us! Here’s the relevant quote:

I’m a massive fan, and I was working with Adam Driver actually just around the time that he got the gig, and I was like, ‘Tell me who you’re going to play?’ He said, ‘I can’t tell you anything!’ I’m pretty certain, and I don’t know this for a fact, but just knowing how tall Adam is, and how he moves, and the fact that there was chatter on the internet that he was going to play the equivalent of a Darth Vader, it’s got to be him with that red lightsaber. The way he’s moving, when he walks through the forest. He definitely hasn’t told me that, he’s an air-tight ship. But I would lay $50 on that for sure.

So chalk about another point for those who believe that it’s Adam Driver underneath that black cloak. In fact, if you scroll down just a little, we can add a little more fuel to that fire...

This Week in Rumors and Speculation

This is pure speculation taken from a ‘Star Wars’ fan forum. Take it with the necessary salt. It could mean nothing. However, it is well-reasoned and makes a lot of sense.

Does the iTunes trailer page for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ confirm that Adam Driver is Kylo Ren, the mysterious baddie with the crazy new lightsaber? After all, the trailer lists four names (John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Andy Serkis). Two are present on screen. One is confirmed to be doing the voice over. And the fourth? Well, there’s just one other shot of a human character and it’s our mysterious bad guy...

Here’s the original speculation:

Noticed something interesting tonight when I watched the trailer again on my Apple TV. In the information for the trailer, there are two screens of details about the movie/trailer. One screen lists the actors ... Boyega, Ridley, Driver, Isaac, and Serkis, and no other actors. The other screen lists the paragraph that talks about the movie and contains the larger list of the cast that have already been confirmed. It could mean those are the ones in the trailer or it could be just that the list is cut off at that spot and those were the ones listed first. I checked the web and the iOS trailers app and didn’t see the same thing there, so who knows.

While we’re talking about people in the trailer, we can’t ignore this new report that claims to know who Andy Serkis is playing in the film. If true, this could be considered a huge SPOILER, so please approach with care and caution. Just skim past it if you have any doubts. Seriously.

The news comes from Star Wars Underworld:

  • Andy Serkis’ character basically looks like an old man, zombie like, almost risen from the dead.
  • He is being referred to as “Uber”, similarly to how Ridley is being called Kira and Nyong’o is being called Rose.
  • “Uber” has communication with Adam Driver’s Sith character, and a character played by Domhnall Gleeson. Serkis potentially is the Master pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
  • All three characters are part of the new “Empire” which Gwendoline Christie’s character is also a part of. She is confirmed to be playing a Chrome Trooper.

There’s a lot to chew on there. If this is true, then Serkis is essentially playing the Emperor Palpatine to Driver/Kylo Ren’s Darth Vader. Heck, the description makes him sound like Palpatine. What if Andy Serkis is playing Palpatine? A force ghost Palpatine? Maybe? The fact that his production codename is “Uber” suggests that he will be a force to reckoned with.

Also of interest: further confirmation that Gwendoline Christie is playing a Stormtrooper commander. Of more interest: the first suggestion that Domhnall Gleeon’s unknown character is another villain.

And our final tidbit of the day comes from (you guessed it) future ‘Star Wars’ merchandise that reveals a tiny new detail before anyone was probably ready. Thankfully, this one isn’t a big deal. It’s barely a deal at all. Thanks to the description of an upcoming children’s book called ‘Star Wars: Ships of the Galaxy,’ we now know that the new film will feature a brand new spaceship called the Mon Cal Cruiser. Here’s the description in full:

Discover details of all the most well-loved ships from the Star Wars saga in this cool book that gives details, diagrams, and facts for fifteen ships, and also features an unfolding giant battle scene including a new ship from The Force Awakens!

From the Star Destroyers to the one and only Millennium Falcon, the best and fastest ships in the Star Wars galaxy are explored in fun detail. Each page of this book reveals amazing facts, little-known trivia, diagrams of your favorite ships. In the back of the book, there is a giant 30” x 27” fold-out battle scene at Endor! The flaps of the fold-out feature even more ships such as the X-Wing, the Mon Cal Cruiser, and a brand-new ship from The Force Awakens.

It’s not much, but hey, news is news, right?

Books, Comics, Theme Parks and Other Miscellany

In an extended talk with Disney CEO Bob Iger, it was revealed the that upcoming ‘Star Wars’ expansions to Disney theme parks will be centered around new content and locations from the newer films. That makes sense: Disney is a major corporation and synergy is the name of the game. Anyway, we wrote about this development at length over here, so if you’re curious to know more, click on over.

Meanwhile, the next in-canon ‘Star Wars’ book is on the way and here’s the cover:

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Interestingly, ‘Star Wars: Dark Disciple’ will be set in the prequel era and will be based on scripts written for the unproduced seventh season of ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars.’ Here’s the full description of the book:

Based on a series of scripts originally written for the unaired seventh season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and starring ex-Sith bounty hunter, Asajj Ventress, and the unorthodox Jedi Quinlan Vos, this new Star Wars tale of love and loss, betrayal and redemption is being produced in creative collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group and Dave Filoni, supervising director of The Clone Wars and executive producer of Star Wars Rebels. Star Wars: Dark Disciple hits the shelves on July 7, 2015.

Originally announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2014 to much excitement, the book is canonical within the Star Wars universe, and continues the story of two fan-favorite characters.

Across mediums, Marvel’s upcoming ‘Star Wars’ series is looking at a huge launch, with over one million copies ordered from various retailers. In an industry that often measures its sales in thousands, this is a big deal. If you aren’t sold yet, a few dialogue-free pages have been released online, giving you a look at the book’s art.

As with any major comic release, ‘Star Wars’ will feature a bunch of variant covers. Some will be available nationwide, others will be exclusive to certain stores. Depending on where you look, there are between 30 and 40 alternate covers, many of which can be viewed here. We’ve just put our personal favorites below.

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