‘Star Wars’ Signals: Princess Leia Before ‘The Force Awakens’ and More

Welcome to our weekly Star Wars roundup! With Disney ramping up the franchise on all cylinders, there’s tons of exciting stuff in the way of news, rumors, and clips. We’ve picked out the best Star Wars stories the internet has to offer, bringing you everything you need to know about the world’s favorite sci-fi series.

1. Celebrating Star Wars Day

May the 4th Be With you

Source: Lucasfilm

Every year on May 4, fans come together to celebrate a day that’s quickly become something special. Star Wars Day is a holiday celebrated by people across the globe, marked by awesome deals on merch and toys, re-watching all the movies, and by sharing the beloved sci-fi franchise with friends and family. And while many of those deals were exclusively available yesterday, there are a select few that run as late as May 11. You can check out the full list here, including discounts on various Star Wars video games, a slashed price for the BB-8 Sphero droid, and $1 comics courtesy of Marvel.

2. The truth behind Princess Leia’s story before The Force Awakens

Princess Leia - Bloodline Novel

Source: Del Rey

Ever since Disney bought Lucasfilm, it’s been slowly releasing novels as part of the new expanded universe. In terms of stories linking directly to The Force Awakens though, we only have the first installment in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy. We’re still a couple months out from the second book in that series, but that doesn’t mean that we’re completely without something to tide us over. Bloodline released this week, and it’s the most in-depth pre-TFA character piece currently on shelves.

The book tells the story of Princess Leia after the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, as she deals with forming a new government in the face of a Republic that doesn’t trust the daughter of Darth Vader. The official synopsis goes into more detail:

Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy.

Of all the iconic characters in The Force Awakens, Leia is now officially the only one we have concrete details on. Soon, we’ll get a glimpse at what Han and Chewie are up to with Aftermath: Life Debt. For now though, Bloodline gives us plenty to get excited about.

3. A nod to Anakin Skywalker in The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Anakin Skywalker

The original cut of TFA featured Anakin’s podracing flag | Source: Lucasfilm

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is jam-packed with treats for fans. That being so, there was also a host of others that were left out of the final cut. Originally, Hayden Christensen was set to return to the franchise as a Force ghost. He never got the call when it was all said and done, with Abrams doing what he could to distance TFA from George Lucas’s prequels. That wasn’t the only way a young Anakin Skywalker was going to be hinted at though.

In one of the later trailers, one of the flags hanging from Maz Kanata’s castle was the same one used by Anakin in the infamous podrace from The Phantom Menace (pictured above). Abrams later removed it, telling Rolling Stone how he didn’t “want to be too about podracers,” a comment that only emphasizes the need for distance from the maligned prequel trilogy. The trailer still features the flag on YouTube, forever a nod to Episode I, albeit an unwanted one all the same.

4. Set photos from Episode VIII show us the first Jedi temple

Star Wars Episode VIII Set Photo

Shooting for Episode VIII has officially kicked off | Source: Twitter

We’re not even a little close to the 2017 release date for Star Wars: Episode VIII, but that hasn’t stopped any of our rampant speculation. Sans any footage or trailers, we’re left to scour the internet for any and all set photos. Luckily, there’s no shortage of those, with the latest giving us a good look at what’s to come. As you can see above, construction on Skellig Michael has already kicked off in earnest, showing us what many theorize to be the first Jedi Temple. It’s the same island Rey found Luke on at the end of The Force Awakens, and soon, we’ll get to explore its secrets even further.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest

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