Official news about the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con continues to roll out - and so far things are matching up pretty well with our "10 Things to See at SDCC2014" wish-list. We've gotten confirmation that we'll get a send-off for The Hobbit film franchise; and we just recently learned that new DC TV series like The Flash and Gotham will be featured as part of a massive DC Entertainment TV preview event. Not too shabby.
One of our biggest expectations was that Disney and Lucasfilm would be bringing Star Wars to Comic-Con 2014; now we know that it is indeed happening... just not the way that we (or many others) had hoped.
According to a press release, Disney/Lucas will be debut the upcoming Star Wars Rebels animated series at the 'Con - but the studio makes it very clear that Star Wars Episode VII will be nowhere in sight:
The Heroes of Star Wars Rebels: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Room 6BCF
The Empire. The Rebellion. The Beginning. Star Wars Rebels, Lucasfilm’s highly anticipated animated series detailing the start of the fight against the evil Empire, is coming this fall — but fans can get a big sneak peek at San Diego Comic-Con.
Lucasfilm’s special panel, The Heroes of Star Wars Rebels, will feature executive producer Dave Filoni, as well as the first panel appearance by executive producer Simon Kinberg and stars Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar, and Taylor Gray. They’ll discuss making the show and will reveal exclusive content from the upcoming series for fans in attendance.
...With Star Wars: Episode VII creators deep in production in anticipation of the film’s December 18, 2015, release, Lucasfilm will not be featuring the movie at SDCC.
In case you haven't been keeping up with what Star Wars Rebels is all about: the new animated series (from the makers of Clone Wars) is set in era between Episodes III - IV, and follows a team of unlikely heroes who band together to resist the tightening grip of the emerging Empire, only to end up igniting the embers of what will one day be the Galactic Rebellion.
For a better explanation, read this official synopsis:
Star Wars Rebels continues the epic tradition of the legendary Star Wars saga with all-new exciting, action-packed adventures. It is a dark time in the galaxy, as the evil Galactic Empire tightens its grip of power from world to world. As the series begins, Imperial forces have occupied a remote planet, ruling with an iron fist and ruining the lives of its people. The clever and motley crew of the starship Ghost is amongst a select few who are brave enough to stand against the Empire. Together, this ragtag group will face threatening new villains, encounter colorful adversaries, embark on thrilling adventures and become heroes with the power to ignite a rebellion.
What makes Rebels important is that like Clone Wars it represents the only official onscreen Star Wars canon other than the movie episodes. With Disney and Lucasfilm now molding Star Wars into one shared universe of continuity, the rippling effects of the new characters and storylines introduced by Rebels could reach all the way to the storyline for Episode VII.
The thing that is likely going to get a lot of fans' goat, however, is the realization that the day AFTER the Rebels Comic-Con panel (we're talking Friday, July 25th) is the official "Star Wars Day" at Comic-Con. In other words, LucasFilm is going to investing a lot of time, effort and money into keeping the brand relevant during the convention - without giving fans a look at Episode VII. That's rather weak-sauce, no?
Even with Rebels - and a new tie-in novel, A New Dawn - on hand to break fans into the new Star Wars universe, it's all just hors d'oeuvres until we get the main course of Episode VII. Stranger still is the fact that D23 - Disney's big annual convention - isn't even happening this year, so it's not like the studio is holding things back for that reason (as they have in the past).
In short: if The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy casts can be flow-in last minute to make a huge Comic-Con impression, so can the Star Wars cast. Then again, J.J. Abrams threw a lot of shade and misdirection - and outright lies - at fans during the production of Star Trek Into Darkness - so who knows? Maybe Episode VII is angling itself for a big surprise to rival what DC Entertainment and Marvel may have in store. (At the very least, they could settle all debate and give us the frickin' official Episode VII subtitle...)
Guess we'll find out for sure at Comic-Con 2014.
San Diego Comic-Con 2014 will take place from July 24 - 27th in San Diego, CA. Stay tuned for our coverage.
Star Wars Rebels will air on Disney XD with a one-hour special premiere sometime in Fall 2014.
Star Wars Episode VII will be in theaters on December 18, 2015.