Saturday, August 15 2015 23:39

D23: The Force is Strong there...So Much STAR WARS News...

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The folks at The Walt Disney Studios have been dropping some major bombs at their D23 Expo in Anaheim this weekend, and it's no surprise that many of them are coming from a galaxy far, far away. The STAR WARS news is big and plentiful, covering everything from the next couple of movies to the long-awaited announcement regarding STAR WARS expansions at the Disney Parks. Here's the rundown...

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (December 16, 2016)

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Star Wars: Rogue One. Left to Right: Actors Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen. Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley ©Lucasfilm 2016

Disney made it official that Gareth Edwards' ROGUE ONE is shooting now, the story of the brave Rebels who set out to steal the plans to the infamous Death Star in the days prior to 1977's A NEW HOPE. Full details on the cast and crew can be found here.


JURASSIC WORLD director Colin Trevorrow will direct the final chapter in the third STAR WARS Trilogy with the currently-untitled STAR WARS EPISODE IX. The trilogy begins this year with J.J. Abrams' STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, and will wrap-up with Trevorrow's film in four years.

“This is not a job or an assignment. It is a seat at a campfire, surrounded by an extraordinary group of storytellers, filmmakers, artists and craftspeople. We’ve been charged with telling new stories for a younger generation because they deserve what we all had—a mythology to call their own. We will do this by channeling something George Lucas instilled in all of us: boundless creativity, pure invention and hope.”Colin Trevorrow

"New & Enhanced" STAR WARS Experiences coming to Disney Parks

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Three initiatives were announced for Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California.

  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – Later this year, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland park in California will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
  • Season of the Force – This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both coasts. In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment, themed food locations and Hyperspace Mountain – a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction in which guests will join an X-wing starfighter battle. Disney’s Hollywood Studios will feature a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies on weekend nights.
  • Star Wars Launch Bay – Opening later this year, this interactive experience will take guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland park in California into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the first six films in the Star Wars saga.

STAR WARS-themed Lands Coming to Disney Parks

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Perhaps the biggest announcement was also one of the worst-kept secrets as it was made official that STAR WARS lands are coming to Disneyland in Anaheim, California and to Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

“I am thrilled to announce the next chapter in the long and exciting history between Disney Parks and Star Wars. Through each new attraction and new land we create, we push the boundaries of what is possible. And as you can imagine, with Star Wars, we are taking that to a whole new level, with a whole galaxy to explore.”Disney CEO, Bob Iger

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The 14-acre expansions "will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle."

Keep your browser on http://www.therockfather.com/starwars for more STAR WARS news as I have it!

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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