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, the new Star Wars toys get a release date, Star Wars: Battlefront shows off an aerial battle, and the guys running Star Wars get detailed.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys Are Only a Month Away

There are few film franchises in existence that can justify having their own holiday. Star Wars was two. While many fans celebrate the saga on May 4 (because everyone loves a pun), Disney and Lucasfilm would prefer that you celebrate on September 4, a date they have dubbed “Force Friday.” And wouldn’t you know it, Force Friday will see the debut of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys, aka, the real reason they make these movies (we say with our tongues firmly in cheek).

Although some of the new toys have been teased over the past few months, the majority of what will be hitting shelves remains unknown. Still, these are Star Wars toys. Imagine what they will be and you probably have a good idea. You may even recall those action figure sculpts that leaked awhile back, where all of the new characters looked like they’d line up just fine along the old characters on your shelf.

Anyway, the big story here is that Toys “R” Us stores are going all-out on Force Friday, transforming their locations into “Destination Star Wars” and opening at midnight so fans can come buy the new toys and celebrate with “costumed characters, signing events, [and] giveaways.” Here’s the full press release:

Toys“R”Us® is going into hyperdrive and preparing an out-of-this-galaxy, global celebration for the upcoming debut of toys based on the next chapter of the Star Wars Saga at 12:01am on Force Friday, September 4. Counting down to the highly anticipated toy launch and this fall’s new theatrical release, Toys“R”Us stores worldwide and have transformed into Destination: Star Wars, every fan’s retail source for The Force with hundreds of new products, including those only available at Toys“R”Us.

On Force Friday, Toys“R”Us stores around the globe will open their doors for special midnight opening festivities, providing customers of all ages the opportunity to be among the first to purchase must-have merchandise, receive exclusive giveaways and immerse themselves in all things Star Wars. The company’s international flagship store, Toys“R”Us Times Square in New York City, will host a historic Star Wars toy exhibition leading up to the grandest midnight opening celebration of all, welcoming legions of eager fans with costumed characters, signing events, giveaways and more all day on Thursday, September 3.

However, if you live in Canada and have a Toys “R” Us in the vicinity of your home, you could always run out and see if someone made a mistake and put some stuff on the shelf  month early. It worked for these people.

You’ll Be Able to Fly the Millennium Falcon in Star: Wars Battlefront

Star Wars fans are a passionate bunch, which is really just the polite way of saying that they complain. A lot. And they complain about really silly things, too. For example, take the Star Wars Battlefront, a video game that has never failed to astound with its trailers. Instead of accepting this game on its own terms, fans instead decided to compare the new game to its decade-old predecessor, whining about how the 2015 edition doesn’t have as many options as Battlefront II. Because, you know, a more advanced game on a new platform has to match everything a previous game did. In a sequel. On a less complex console.

So Star Wars fans will probably find something to complain about in this new gameplay trailer showing off Battlefront’s aerial combat. We’ll just focus on the fact that this game will let players pilot X-Wings, TIE Fighters and more in insane battles. Oh, and you can fly the Millennium Falcon. So, you know, dreams do come true:

Meanwhile, Electronic Arts revealed another new gameplay mode called Blast, which will be all about killing as much Rebel scum and/or Imperial cannon fodder as humanly possible:

When you’re hungry for a classic, challenging game mode within the Star Wars universe, there is one obvious choice: Blast.

Star Wars Battlefront’s Team Deathmatch mode, Blast, pits the Rebel and Imperial factions against each other with intense 10 versus 10 battles. If your team reaches 100 kills, or are ahead when the 10-minute round is over, you’ve won. Immediate, addictive, and exciting until the very last kill; that is our ambition with Blast.

Blast offers a lot of variety both in terms of gameplay and the unpredictable nature of the opposing team. Actual levels within the mode also happen to hold great variation as well.

To keep the action dense in this close-quarters mode, the Blast maps are not as vast as in other game modes. You should know that they are all specifically designed for the specific game mode in mind; in other words, these aren’t just smaller versions of maps used elsewhere.

Star Wars Battlefront is arriving this November. You already have it pre-ordered. We know you.

The Business of Star Wars

Star Wars movies are written by committee. Sure, there may be one or two people hammering out the screenplay in private, but they’re doing it under the watchful gaze of a corporation that knows the value of this title. And the story has to meet the standards of the Lucasfilm story group. There are also other people, producers and writers and executives, who have already gathered around a table and hammered out ideas for the foreseeable future. This thing is a group effort, which involves writer/producer Simon Kinberg.

Kinberg has been attached to the new Star Wars movies for some time. In addition to producing Star Wars Rebels and writing one of the upcoming anthologies, he’s acted as a story consultant and overseer of some kind, helping guide the new movies toward, well, whatever it is they’re heading toward. He recently clarified his role in the saga to EW:

I’m like a friend of the court. I consult on the movies. I worked on VII: helped break the story, read scripts, drafts at certain points, and gave my thoughts whatever they were worth.


Like a TV writers room, we spent a week with a whiteboard and some pens and were in a conference room all day talking about [movies] VII, VIII, and IX. But it’s a whiteboard covered in our notes. We had a sense of what we each wanted to write. It was the most magical time because we were writing Star Wars movies. Then we would go back to the inn at Skywalker and have dinner and drink a little bit and Larry would tell me and Michael stories about the moment in his life where he wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, The Big Chill, Body Heat all in the span of, I think, five years. So we just had this crazy, magical time together.

If a glimpse at how the creative sausage gets made isn’t enough, how about a little moment of smart movie studio head politicking? In a recent earnings call, Disney CEO Robert Iger tried to check financial expectations for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

However, despite expectations,  it seems now that Disney is worried that it’s setting itself up to be too big of a giant and won’t be able to meet its own hype. To help with that perception, Disney Chairman and CEO, Robert Iger, is clearly hoping to lower expectations.

”As enthusiastic as we are for what we know of the film, we have not seen a ‘Star Wars’ film — an original one — since 2005,” he said at the company’s quarterly earnings call. “And there are markets around the world that are less familiar with ‘Star Wars’ than, say, the United States, for instance.”

His actual reasoning, that territories outside of the United States inexplicably forgot about Star Wars in the past decade, is laughable, but you really can’t blame a man for covering his butt. The Force Awakens will be huge, but this is a strange case where expectations may be larger. It’ll be interesting to see how Disney and Lucasfilm brace themselves for all possible outcomes in the coming months.