ScreenCrush’s WookieeLeaks is a weekly roundup of everything Star Wars! From The Force Awakens 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, Rogue One begins filming, The Force Awakens toys reveal new details, and a new Star Wars comic lands a dream team.

Rogue One Has Apparently Started Filming

The start of production on a movie with Star Wars in the title is a pretty big deal. Press releases swarm the internet! Fanboy chatter reaches an all-time high! Fireworks explode in the sky and people dance in the streets! Hyperbole runs amuck!

So it’s interesting to hear that Star Wars: Rogue One has quietly begun preliminary filming. This isn’t the actual start of production and the work that’s being done is probably just a handful of minor scenes, but all of the sites reporting this rumor have one thing in common: they all say that star Felicity Jones is present. So certain scenes involving the lead character of the film are already going before cameras, presumably to help free up the schedule for bigger and more complicated sequences.

If you want more details, Star Wars Aficionado has them:

...the first in the new series of STAR WARS ANTHOLOGY movies, directed by Gareth Edwards, has apparently been shooting for at least three weeks at STAR WARS new filming home at Pinewood Studios, London. STAR WARS AFICIONADO's version of the Bothan Spies have informed us that some new jungle exterior sequences, involving a massive air/ground bombardment, have been filmed at the studio (inside and out), including one key part of an action sequence involving star Felicity Jones (fresh from weeks in and out of the gym in preparation for the action heavy role), plus some kind of scene-setting on board the original Death Star, with sets for The Force Awakens re-dressed alongside some familiar and new areas of the Battle Station specifically designed to have fans agog. Pinewood Studios legendary water tank facility looks set to be used, too, but not necessarily in the way you think. Beyond the UK, prior location scouting in America (Florida) and Venezuela for specific types of land mass and plantations has also been indicated.

So there you go. If they are doing some early filming, they’re getting some work done on a big action scene of some kind. It’s not unusual for major films to schedule their most complicated scenes early in the production to give the post-production wizards more time to work with them, so there’s a chance that this is one of the most complicated scenes in the movie and director Gareth Edwards simply wanted a head start.

Meanwhile, someone over at Making Star Wars has seen a piece of concept art for Rogue One and has written a description of it (because this is the internet, where we’ll take anything we can get). The description literally sounds like a sci-fi copy and paste of a key scene from the original Red Dawn:

Nighttime. Trees and bushes in the distance but you can see structures far out. In a clearing there’s a little girl outside a fence. Her family is on the other side. The father is shouting to the little girl and Stormtroopers are coming for them. Mom is crying, older son looks resigned. Little girl has one foot behind her as if she’s about to run. Stormtroopers had backpacks on with tubular riffles.

Everyone (including us) believes that this scene must be part of a flashback for Jones’ character, showcasing why she has chosen to spend her life battling the Empire. After all, history has taught us that the best way to breed a rebel is to confine and/or kill someone’s family. Since Rogue One is going to be an all-out war movie with a high body count on both Rebel and Imperial sides, scenes like this will be necessary to explain why our heroes are willing to lay down their lives for their cause.

The Force Awakens Gives Up Secrets J.J. Abrams Probably Fought Hard to Hide

WookieeLeaks has written at length about director J.J. Abrams’ penchant for secrecy and how, if he had his way, we wouldn’t see a single frame of Star Wars: The Force Awakens until we were seated in the theater. But there are forces more powerful than Abrams. Forces that make his Mystery Box look puny in comparison.

The first of those forces is the internet, which has laughed in the face of Abrams’ secrecy for the past 18 months, leaking key plot points and concept art all over the place. This trend continues! Making Star Wars has obtained the supposedly final design for Maz Kanata, the wizened alien pirate played by Lupita Nyong’o, and it looks significantly different than the previous leaked concept art. The green skin and and elongated neck are gone and she looks a little more rodent-like. Less E.T., more mole-person. We won’t post the image here because we fear the unlimited resources of Lucasfilm’s lawyers, but you can check it out right over here.

The other force that has derailed Abrams at every step is merchandising, the source of 90 percent of all story and character leaks these days. Usually, these leaks occur because someone snaps a picture of a toy’s packaging months before it is scheduled to hit shelves. This one is a little weirder than that. Someone got a hold of a The Force Awakens branded kids’ basketball hoop and put it on eBay, where it sold for $99. And yes, that basketball hoop features art from the film, including new looks at all of the heroes and villains. Check out Poe Dameron in his X-Wing pilot uniform!

And it all looks very, very pretty. Could this be a take on the film’s eventual poster? We certainly hope so. If the toys get these painterly images and the poster is Photoshopped nonsense, we will encourage all kinds of internet rioting.

Oh, and someone did take a photo of a toy’s packaging that contains key details and put it online. Behold! The backstory for the new Stormtroopers:

Star Wars: Shattered Empire Reveals Its Premise and One Talented Line-Up

Marvel’s new in-canon Star Wars comics have been nothing short of fantastic, with the publisher hiring some of the best writers and artists in the biz to take on each series. The days of Star Wars comics being hit-and-miss affairs are over — they’re taking this stuff seriously.

And that trend seems to be continuing with the upcoming Star Wars: Shattered Empire, a comic series that will tell the story of what happened in the 30 years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. More importantly, it will be written by Greg Rucka and drawn by Marco Checchetto. So yeah, Marvel isn’t done putting A-listers on board their Star Wars books. Here’s the official description of the series:

In December, a new chapter in the Star Wars saga will begin when Star Wars: The Force Awakens — the seventh Star Wars film and the first to take place afterReturn of the Jedi — arrives in theaters. As the excitement for the new film builds, Lucasfilm and its partners will explore the aftermath of Return of the Jedi in a series of canonical projects debuting in September, and Marvel Comics leads the way with Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto’s Star Wars: Journey to The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire #1!Emperor Palpatine’s twenty-year reign of terror came to an abrupt and fiery end in the skies above the forest moon of Endor. A decisive victory for the Rebel Alliance, to be sure, but even with the loss of its leadership, the Empire’s Moffs and regional governors retained their hold on important systems from the Core to the Outer Rim, thanks to the might of the Imperial Starfleet. Now, with a power vacuum atop the Empire, those Moffs will jockey for position and control, and the heroes of the Rebel Alliance will soon discover that a wounded and fractious Empire may be more dangerous than any threat they faced before!

Greg Rucka, the acclaimed writer of Wolverine and Cyclops, reteams with his collaborator on The Punisher, Marco Checchetto, for a Star Wars tale that will reveal the untold story of the aftermath of the Battle of Endor and the political machinations that ensued. The Rebellion’s desperate struggle to liberate the galaxy from the Empire’s tyranny will face new challenges, and Rucka and Checchetto will bring their incisive storytelling to a story that no Star Wars fan will want to miss.

A new addition to the Star Wars canon, Star Wars: Journey to The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire will take readers into uncharted territory and set the groundwork for the new Star Wars film. Put your Empire Strikes Back soundtrack in the stereo and cue up “The Imperial March” when you read Rucka and Checchetto’s Star Wars: Journey to The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire #1 this September!

If should be interesting to see how Shattered Empire ties in with Star Wars: Aftermath, the already announced novel that will deal with the immediate fallout of the Battle of Endor. With the Lucasfilm story group overseeing all of this, we imagine they should tie together quite nicely. And if they don’t, who cares? Are we really going to get annoyed by the presence of a Star Wars comic written by the genius behind Queen and Country and Lazarus? Of course not.

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