The Star Wars Story enterprise - standalone spin-offs from the main Saga Episodes - looks to be geared towards not just telling new tales set in a galaxy far, far away, but filling in gaps in the plot and expanding unexplored elements. Phil Lord and Chris Miller's Untitled Han Solo prequel will be taking in many parts of the smuggler's backstory, including meeting Chewbacca and Lando, as well as acquiring the Millennium Falcon. There's also next month's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which will dramatise the original Star Wars' opening crawl and detail the Rebellion's first victory against the Galactic Empire.
While this will mean a lot of running, gunning and X-Wing-on-TIE Fighter action, there's ultimately some 1970s-inspired technical blueprints at the centre of this. At Star Wars Celebration, ILM Chief Creative Officer John Knoll revealed that his team had recreated the line skeleton of the Death Star plans from the 1977 film - though we're yet to see any version of them in the Rogue One footage released so far.
Still, those Death Star plans are front-and-centre on Empire's latest subscriber cover in intricate detail (see below). The January 2017 issue boasts a new feature on the upcoming Star Wars film, complete with interviews from the likes of director Gareth Edwards and actors Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker and Riz Ahmed.
Empire's subscriber covers are always pretty striking pieces, and this one's no different. It's got a level of detail you'd expect from a full-on schematics guide, complete with annotations in Star Wars alphabet Aurebesh, yet also enough basic iconography to be easily conveyed to non-diehard fans. Based on a tweet promoting the issue, the standard cover will likely also feature the Death Star, albeit in its live-action form, possibly with some of the film's characters for added star power (the Death Star is no moon, but it ain't a star either).
This is the second time Rogue One's been featured on an Empire cover, with the previous instance being the October 2016 issue. That issue was full of gorgeous promo images from the film and gave a neat overview of the production, so you can expect similar coverage here. It's doubtful there'll be that much new info the magazine, considering it's coming so close to the actual release of Rogue One, but there should still be some interesting tidbits revealed, when it hits store shelves.
- Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019