Prepping for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

Our patience has paid off. It’s been two long years since we left Rey and Luke standing on the cliffs of Ahch-To and now we’re just days — mere hours, really — away from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Like any dedicated Padawan learner, the months leading up any new Star Wars film have posed a challenge. Fandom in the age of the internet is a delicate balance between absorbing as much information as possible and trying to ensure that the first viewing experience is still full of magic, wonder, and surprises. Learning about the world we’re about to dive into while avoiding any major spoilers can feel a bit like navigating an asteroid field.

Here’s how I’ve tried to get ready while remaining vigilant:

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Star Wars Rebels: Searching for Clues in the Special Features

We’re counting down the days until the return of Star Wars Rebels, although it’s a bittersweet anticipation knowing this season will be the last.

For months we’ve mined the trailer for hints and considered how Dave Filoni and crew might live up to his Star Wars Celebration promise to create a series finish that’s a little different, a little dark, and a bit of fun. Then the Blu-ray release of Season 3, pre-ordered and eagerly anticipated, provided some unexpected insights into the stories to come.

Here are a few favorite tidbits from the bonus features:

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What if Star Wars…had flopped?

I wouldn’t trade Yoda, not even for Princess Leia wielding a lightsaber against Darth Vader himself, but that may have been the deal fans were forced to make if the original Star Wars film had been a flop.

Back in the late 1970s, as George Lucas was preparing his space opera for theaters, sci-fi novelist Alan Dean Foster was doing his part, ghostwriting the novelization of the screenplay that would become A New Hope and penning its sequel. As the story goes, the second novel was envisioned as the framework for a possible low-budget film if the first movie tanked at the box office. Foster wrote the tale under strict guidelines to minimize costs, essentially eliminating high-flying space battles and editing out Han Solo entirely because Harrison Ford had not yet inked a deal to reprise his role.

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Book Review: Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia

Unwavering dedication to continuity and fine detail is on full display in the new Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia hitting shelves April 4, where 40 years of saga history blend together seamlessly.

The latest in Star Wars reference compendiums is rife with fascinating tidbits, delivering on its promise to curate the weird, quirky and iconic into a single comprehensive volume. In Jabba the Hutt’s corner of Tatooine alone, we learn the name of his rancor (Pateesa!), the details of Max Rebo’s lifetime performance contract (free meals instead of money), and a few handy Huttese phrases. For logophiles, there’s also a primer on the Aurebesh alphabet and a few key sayings in Bocce, droid binary and Jawaese. (Sadly the exact meaning of “Utinni” remains a mystery on these pages.)

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