Monday, April 17, 2017

Big News for Young Star Wars Fans!

Star Wars Celebration 2017 has come to an end and over the 4 days in Orlando, Florida fans were treated with plenty to get excited about. Yes, of course the biggest news was the first look at the upcoming movie The Last Jedi (out December 2017). Seeing moments of Rey training, Finn recovering, Leia leading and more were unquestionably the highlight of the weekend. If you haven't yet seen the teaser trailer, view it here

In the months up to the December premiere, books, comics and more will be released under the banner "Journey to The Last Jedi".

Nearly every site on the internet will have something to say about the new images, teaser poster and trailer for The Last Jedi, so we're going to focus on a few pieces of news that will be specifically interesting to Star Wars Kidscast readers and listeners:

New Comics!
Comic publisher IDW announced that in September 2017 they will begin publishing Star Wars comic books specifically aimed at younger readers. The Star Wars Adventures will have familiar characters from many eras of our favourite galaxy. 

There have not been Star Wars comics specifically created for younger readers in several years so it's exciting to see that happening again! Here's more information.

Marvel Comics will continue publishing their excellent Teen-rated comics as well. It's a great time to be a Star Wars comics reader!

New Books!
Daring Adventures Volume 1 & 2!
Lucasfilm/Disney Publishing announced several new books for younger readers, including a BB-8 picture book (above), more additions to the World of Reading leveled reader series, a new book called The Legends of Luke Skywalker and a Leia-focused YA novel. As well, there are "Daring Adventures" books to tie directly into the new Forces of Destiny cartoons coming soon!

DK Publishing also announced new titles, including an update to 2015's Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know and new book for tech-minded younglings: Star Wars Coding Projects

New TV!
A bittersweet announcement was made regarding Star Wars Rebels - yes, there's a new season of Rebels coming this fall, but it will actually be the final season of the show. What happens to the crew of the Ghost in the next season is anyone's guess but it sure looks like it'll be exciting!

Before we see any more Rebels though, this summer will debut a brand-new animated series of short stories called Star Wars: Forces of Destiny. We wrote about these new shows here. There will also be new toys and books connected with this series too! More on this as announcements are made! Here's a new clip:

Fans of LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures have a second series to look forward to starting May 4. The fun and excitement continues as the Freemakers start to fight in their own way against the Empire! More info on season two is available here.
This is far from a complete list of everything we're excited about from the past few days, but it sure is plenty! More new info on upcoming fun Star Wars stuff is coming soon!

What are you most excited to see that was announced at Celebration? Comment below!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Brand-New Star Wars Animation Announced!

Late last night, while most young Star Wars fans were asleep (at least in North America) a brand-new series of animated shorts were announced on Star Wars: Forces of Destiny!

This series of short 2D animated stories will debut this summer and will be proudly shining the spotlight on the female stars of Star Wars like Leia, Rey, Jyn Erso, Padme, Maz Kanata, and more!

Read the whole story here then check out this video with a few looks at what's to come! Apparently more will be revealed this weekend at Star Wars Celebration too!

VERY exciting!

There are already toys planned to tie-in with the adventure series! More details coming soon!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Celebrate Star Wars Books at Star Wars Celebration!

Star Wars Celebration kicks off tomorrow (April 13) in Orlando, Florida and promises to be an event to remember. Stars and creators of the movies, Star Wars Rebels and more will be there, along with thousands of fans from across the galaxy!

Kids under 6 are free too and has a great piece here on many of the highlights for kids.

Unfortunately Star Was Kidscast will be unable to attend, so if you meet any Star Wars stars, participate in the Family Room activities, kids' costume contest or other fun activities please share your Celebration photos with us here, on Twitter @SWKidscast or Facebook @StarWarsKidscast!

Since we focus a lot on books here, we're excited to point out that some of our favourite Star Wars authors and illustrators will be at Celebration this week (April 13-16). For those attending, there are plenty of opportunities to meet the creators of some awesome books. Here’s just a sample of who will be there and why that’s exciting!

Adam Bray, Tricia Barr and Cole Horton will be showcasing the brand-new (and impressive!) Star Wars The Visual Encyclopedia. They are the co-authors behind such books as Ultimate Star Wars and Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know. Adam Bray has also written two Star Wars Rebels visual guides, and been a guest on our podcast back in 2014!
Jason Fry has written so many Star Wars books for young readers in the past few years it’s hard to keep track of them all. A brief sample list of his work includes Weapon of a Jedi, Aliens of the Galaxy, Rogue One Rebel Dossier, Darth Vader: Sith Lord and so many more!

Randy Martinez has been an official Star Wars artist for many years and is the illustrator of the recent Darth Vader: Sith Lord.

Pablo Hidalgo is part of the official team that oversees all Star Wars storytelling (the Lucasfilm Story Group) and has authored several books, including Rogue One The Ultimate Visual Guide, The Force Awakens Visual Guide and more.

Kemp Remillard is the illustrator behind the gorgeous The Force Awakens Incredible Cross-Sections and contributor to Star Wars Complete Locations.

There are many, many more exciting guests scheduled for Celebration this year and these are just a quick sample. Let us know who you are able to meet and please say HI from Star Wars Kidscast!

May the Force Be With You!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Two “Amazing” Books for Young Fans!

First there was the entertaining and informative Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need To Know, then the must-have Star Was study guide Ultimate Star Wars. Now DK Publishing continues its streak of cool books with far-from-modest titles with two “Amazing” books for Star Wars fans. 

Where Absolutely Everything and Ultimate are in-depth books that would appeal to a wide age range, the Amazing books are clearly created for younger fans.

First came the Amazing Book of Star Wars and now the Amazing Book of LEGO Star Wars for fans who prefer the galaxy in brick form.

Each book comes with plenty of detailed visuals, facts, trivia, fold-out pages and a large poster as well. The Amazing Book of Star Wars comes with a life-sized poster of BB-8 as seen in The Force Awakens (and hopefully the upcoming The Last Jedi). The LEGO edition comes with a folded poster of the LEGO Millennium Falcon.
DK has published LEGO editions of their own Star Wars books before, including Star Wars in 100 Scenes and the Star Wars Character Encyclopedia. DK has published many books that are a little more deserving of the word "amazing" on the cover (Year by Year immediately comes to mind) but these books are still sure to please a young fan.
The LEGO editions of each book are essentially the same book but usually add a little extra humour to go along with the nuggets of info. Both books are 48 page hardcovers and loaded with images for readers to pour over. Whichever you choose, you'll have plenty to enjoy.

Publisher’s Recommendation: Ages 6-9

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hunting and Collecting Rogue One Action Figures From the Past (Part 2)

(Warning: this article contains spoilers about Rogue One)
Rebellions are built on hope...but action figure collections are built on hunting and research!

Whether you’re playing with them or making a diorama, there are some characters from Rogue One that unfortunately won’t be available officially in Rogue One action figure form anytime soon. But don't let that stop your fun!

Rogue One is filled with exciting new characters that already feel like they important parts of the Star Wars saga, but it also has brief appearances by many other familiar faces longtime fans will recognize.

In the first part of this article we looked at a few key characters like Tarkin, Mon Mothma & Leia and our tips for the best and easiest-to-find action figure versions of them.

Here’s a few more Rogue One characters you won’t see on pegs in regular toy departments anytime soon but with a little hunting online or at local collectible shops should be fairly easy to add to your collection:

Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba infamously picked a fight with the wrong Tatooine farmboy in Episode 4 and proved Obi-Wan correct in his statement that the cantina could “get a little rough”. They are on screen only briefly in Rogue One but again they seem to be looking for trouble, this time in Jedha City.
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There have been a few versions of Dr. Evazan made over the years starting with the first version back in 1997 while Ponda Baba has been a Star Wars action figure since 1978. Originally, he was named “Walrus Man” by Kenner back then (older fans will still call him that!) and has been recreated several times since.
One of the easiest ways to get both characters would be to find Hasbro's 1997 Cantina Showdown 3-pack that includes Dr. Evazan, Ponda Baba and an action-ready Obi-Wan Kenobi. Despite being produced 20 years ago, this set is still fairly easy to locate and not particularly expensive. Otherwise, loose versions of both characters are also fairly common.
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Although they never say a word onscreen in Star Wars movies, the Emperor’s Royal Guards are still an imposing sight in their solid red armor and robes. In Rogue One, the guards are doing what they do best – guarding Darth Vader while he is inside his healing chamber.
The original 1983 Kenner Emperor’s Royal Guard figure (shown here) is still fairly easy to find but so are the later versions, including the 2005 Revenge of the Sith edition. Every version of these guards is pretty good, so it may come down to if you want a cloth or rubber robe, or simply whatever you can find at a reasonable price.
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Another character to debut onscreen in 1977 but not made into an action figure until much later is John “Dutch” Vander, aka Red Leader. Most recently he was part of Hasbro’s Black Series toy line. He didn’t get to do a lot in Rogue One but for longtime fans seeing him back on the big screen – even momentarily - was reason to celebrate!
It wouldn’t be Star Wars without the beloved droid duo of R2-D2 and C-3PO showing up somewhere, and in Rogue One they appear for just a moment on Yavin 4 before the big battle. Both characters have been made as action figures many times over, starting in 1978, and are usually widely available.
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With the exception of the Episode 1 and 2 versions, and a red arm for his The Force Awakens edition, C-3PO figures usually look pretty much the same as in Rogue One. R2-D2 has had many versions that highlight specific features and gadgets he uses but again, they all pretty much work for Rogue One play.
Although the C-3PO isn't nearly as shiny as other versions, one of the easiest ways to get both droid characters would be the 2014 "Mission Series" 2-pack (seen here).
There’s no wrong way to play Star Wars so use whoever and whatever you can find to recreate Jedha in a dirt pile or Scarif on your next visit to a beach. Have fun and, as always, may the Force be with you!
Got a favourite character from Rogue One you’d like to see Hasbro make? Comment below!

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