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Make Way For The New ‘Star Wars’ Canon With These Expanded Universe Novels

When Disney announced that a new trilogy of Star Wars films was on the way, along with various spinoffs, many of us were wondering whether or not the new films would fall in line with the numerous expanded universe novels and comics that have been consumed by fans since the 80s.

Well, our speculation can be somewhat put to rest with the release of these “New Canon” books that promise to adhere to the storyline of the upcoming films. Disney is also promising to borrow generously from other sources of expanded universe content, just not completely.

The novels are below, and if you want to keep tabs, check out the Facebook page for “Star Wars Books.”

Novel #1: A New Dawn

NewDawnThe first novel, by best-selling author John Jackson Miller, will help launch the new TV series, Star Wars: Rebels. Set between the Star Wars prequel trilogy and the original trilogy, Rebels will detail the events that lead to the formation of the Rebel Alliance, as seen in “A New Hope.”

The book, A New Dawn, is the prequel to Rebels, as it explains how two of the main characters (Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla) first meet each other. The book will be released in both print and eBook format on September 2, 2014.

Novel #2: Tarkin

StarWarsTarkinAuthor James Luceno will be helming this book that delves into the apparently rich back story of Grand Moff Tarkin, one of Star Wars’ oldest villains. Best known for his role in “A New Hope,” Tarkin has been explored as a character in plenty of other expanded universe content, which explains why James Luceno (a veteran of the expanded universe) has been given the task of cementing Tarkin’s origins into canon. Coming November 4, 2014.

Novel #3: Heir to the Jedi

StarWarsHeirtotheJediAs excited as I am to delve into the first two novels, nothing compares to the promise of a new adventure featuring Luke Skywalker within the original trilogy. “Heir to the Jedi” tells a brand new story in between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back,” with Luke Skywalker’s Jedi destiny front and center. It will be fun to explore what was going on from Luke’s perspective in the time leading up to one of cinema’s greatest revelations. The book will be available January 2015.

Novel #4: Lords of the Sith

StarWarsLordsoftheSithNow here’s an interesting premise: Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader trying to survive in the depths of space, relying solely on each other? The fragile relationship between these two sith lords has always been intriguing, and “Lords of the Sith” promises to fully explore that concept in this survival story of villains. The book will be available in March of 2015.

Questions!

  1. Which new Star Wars novel are you looking forward to the most?

  2. How do you think these stories will impact the new canon?

  3. Which expanded universe stories do you wish Disney would include into the new canon?

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

 

 

 

 

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Disney Is Making An ‘It’s A Small World’ Movie

Remember that time you went to Disney World and saw the sign for “It’s a Small World” after all? Well, I do. I was traumatized enough to remember the weird puppets, murky water and completely underwhelming climax (even for a six-year-old).

I did, however, have the time of my life when I rode it again at the age of 17. My generation in a nutshell.

its a small world movie

So you can imagine my reaction to the news that Disney wants to make a movie based on the attraction. Not only that–they’re planning to turn this into a legitimate franchise. (The news is timely because yesterday was the 50th anniversary for the ride).

Don’t let yourself get too surprised, though. We knew this was coming when Disney struck gold with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which was also based on a theme park ride in the Magic Kingdom.

its a small world movie

Maybe I’m jaded, but I’m having a hard time believing that they can strike gold twice without Johnny Depp, the proverbial pickaxe. His role as Jack Sparrow is what really fueled the success of those Pirate movies, and I’m not so sure he’ll be willing to come back for more with a movie that will apparently have to be about globalization and a one-power totalitarian government (am I interpreting “It’s a Small World” correctly?)

Speaking of talent, Disney is hiring Jon Turteltaub (the director of both National Treasure movies, including the third one that is still in development).

To be fair, Disney is undoubtedly aware that their theme park rides aren’t automatic cash cows, thanks in no small part to the failure of Haunted House, which followed the same formula as “Pirates” in the sense that it relied on star power (Eddie Murphy) to keep audiences coming.

As it stands, I have no clue what the story or basic premise of this “It’s a Small World” could be, and it seems pretty pointless to speculate since it will probably be totally unrelated to the ride.

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

How Frozen Should Have Ended

Watch and be amazed as the visionaries at HISHE provide us with the alternate ending we didn’t even know we wanted to Disney’s Frozen.

Don’t conceal not feel this video by sharing with the people you love!

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

The Pixar Detective: Chapter 1

Hey everyone! Welcome to The Pixar Detective, a serial novel I put together based on the Pixar Theory. The following is a fictional story that explains the theory that all of the Pixar movies are connected and exist within the same universe, using original characters and artwork. The story answers a lot of questions you may have about this theory, but through its own ongoing narrative.

The story originally launched in April, and we’ve recently completed Part 1!

It is available as an iBook on iTunes, which you can check out here. If you can’t use iBooks, you can also download the PDF version. 

Once you’re finished, check back to our Table of Contents, where we’ll be continuing the story through Part 2. A new chapter is released every two weeks on Tuesdays. And please be sure to leave your feedback in the comments for us to read through. Enjoy!

chapter 1

Chapter 1: The Great Detective

Written by Jon Negroni. Illustrations by Kayla Savage. 

     The most brilliant detectives in the world are not the individuals with the biggest brains or even the most advanced gadgets and gizmos, although having a magnifying glass with an electronic interface is always useful for finding your way around a particularly messy crime scene.  The best detectives aren’t necessarily organized, tidy, punctual, or easy to get along with. Even the most successful detectives tend to find themselves relying on more than just being familiar, easygoing crime-fighters. No, the world’s greatest detectives are the most imaginative risk-takers that have ever decided to look through a magnifying glass, and we know this for certain because a great detective doesn’t decide to live a life of solving mysteries.  The greatest detectives have the truly important mysteries thrust upon them, and they probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ready for more? Click here to access the Table of Contents, or check out the e-book.


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‘Wreck-It Ralph’ May Be Getting a Sequel

It wasn’t the biggest hit Disney has ever made, but Wreck-It Ralph was still a very important film for a variety of reasons, starting with its ambitious incorporation of video gaming’s pantheon of characters and ending with its implementation of a new set of characters that we ultimately fell in love with.

The movie sold me on the idea of seeing classic video game icons and tropes together onscreen, but a sequel sells me on the promise that I’ll get to once again experience the adventures of Ralph, Vanellope and the rest of the arcade gang.

Well according to film composer Henry Jackman, a sequel is already in the works, though that doesn’t mean it’s official quite yet.

This means that the script is in preproduction, and the future of a potential sequel will be determined by how much faith Disney has in this franchise that took us all by surprise just a couple of years ago.

Wreck-It Ralph was a hit with both audiences and critics, and it managed to overshadow Pixar’s Brave, which was released that same year (though Rango won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature that year).

Financially, however, the film wasn’t as big of a success as Disney probably hoped it would be. It wasn’t a flop, as it did manage to turn a profit, but that means a sequel will be under even more scrutiny, especially because we now live in a world where a movie like Frozen is capable of breaking all-time box office records.

And yet I’m still excited about the possibility of making another trip into the rich world of video games and what makes them so much fun. One of the first movie’s biggest flaws, of course, was that it spent the majority of its time exploring “Sugar Rush,” which was endemic of the film’s budget constraints more than anything.

wreck-it ralph sequel
AKA “Diabetesville”

This time around, it would be great for us to visit more locations with new blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos that made the first film so much fun. The best part is that we’ve gotten to know Ralph at this point, making a sequel a prime opportunity for giving him more to do and new faces to meet.

Unfortunately, speculation is all we can do right now until official news is released one way or the other. Are you excited about the potential Wreck-It Ralph sequel, or do believe it will be game over for this franchise?

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

Do We Really Need A Sequel For The Incredibles?

Disney CEO Bob Iger recently made it public that Pixar is working on The Incredibles 2 and Cars 3, an announcement that is likely to divide Pixar fans right down the middle.

Why? Because they essentially combined “probably good news” with “bad news.” Cars may make tons of money in merchandising and box office totals, but it’s still Pixar’s weakest link in terms of audience reception.

In other words, most of us don’t really care about Cars. We just don’t.

But The Incredibles is a vastly different story. Considered to be one of the top-tier Pixar films, this movie could actually be akin to Toy Story 2, rather than Cars 2.

Unfortunately, my best guess is that we’re getting another Monsters University, a decent, even good, movie that lives up to the original, but doesn’t come close to surpassing it.

Pixar sequels are tricky business. Toy Story is really one of the few franchises in film history that actually improved with each sequel, so it makes sense that the executives at Disney have faith in milking their Pixar properties during the coming decade. Even the best studios need time to rest, after all.

So I’m going to be cautiously optimistic about The Incredibles 2, if only because the great Brad Bird is once again behind the film, and I have faith in his ability to evolve simple concepts into fantastic narratives (see The Iron Giant, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Ratatouille and oh, the first Incredibles).

If you recall, the world of The Incredibles is rich and ready to be further explored. The film excellently combined vastly different aesthetics: the retro-future technology in an alternate 1960s mixed with superheroes and even James Bond references.

And it would be great to see what happens to the Parr family as a superhero team, a dynamic we actually didn’t see until the third act of the movie. There’s plenty to see here, so a sequel really does make a lot of sense.

What do you think? Will The Incredibles 2 break the Pixar sequel “curse,” or do we have another excellent Pixar trilogy on our hands?

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

The 7 Deleted Songs From “Frozen” That You Haven’t Heard Yet

One of my few complaints about the movie Frozen was that it seemed to be lacking 1, 2 or even 3 music numbers, at least toward the end. So imagine my surprise when I was told that there were SEVEN songs that didn’t make it to the reels.

Fortunately, YouTube exists, so we are able to listen to the songs online and let our imaginations fill the blanks. Let’s listen!

(WARNING: There are some spoilers in this, so don’t keep reading unless you’ve watched the movie!)

1. We Know Better

This first video features the song “We Know Better.” It would have explored more of the background between Anna and Elsa, before Elsa accidentally freezes Anna during the actual first few scenes of the movie.

I like this song because it shows us more of the deep bond the sisters have before Elsa has to become a recluse, making the following song – Do You Want To Build A Snowman – that much more depressing.

2. Spring Pageant

The next song is “Spring Pageant,” which was deleted for a pretty good reason. It turns out that an early version of the movie featured a prophecy surrounding the main characters. I would have liked something like this to explain more of why Elsa has powers – which the movie doesn’t elaborate on – so excluding this song from the final version makes sense.

But it’s still pretty great.

3. More Than Just a Spare

This next song was meant to help us get an idea of what it’s like to be Anna, the “spare” princess. Because she isn’t the heir – Elsa is – to the throne, she feels deep down like a spare.

“More Than Just a Spare” was probably removed because it would have added an extra plotline that doesn’t really get answered later on. That said, it would still make a great plot device to explore in a possible sequel.

4. You’re You

This was originally the predecessor to “Love is An Open Door,” which is the moment that was meant to establish the romantic relationship between Anna and Hans.

Though I don’t prefer it, it does make a deranged bit of sense to hear Hans saying somewhat mean things about Anna that are actually revealing about his true intentions…

If they did keep it, the song would have probably fit in better when Anna said goodbye to Hans before embarking on her journey to save Elsa.

5. Life’s Too Short

I really wish this song had made it to the movie, as it is a far more dramatic representation of the conflict between Elsa and Anna before Elsa accidentally freezes Anna’s heart. In my opinion, it makes Anna and Elsa’s later act of love feel vastly more meaningful.

What especially caught my attention is how Anna tries to get Elsa to put her gloves back on, which makes Elsa flip out “Let it Go” style.

6. Life’s Too Short – Reprise

This next one is the reprise of “Life’s Too Short,” which is clearly the sadder version compared to the upbeat one we just heard. It’s supposed to take place while Anna is freezing and Elsa is in prison.

In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of song that was missing during the final act.

7. Reindeers Remix

Finally, we have the song that was meant to be the movie’s final song, featuring the under-utilized Jonathan Groff. I love it because it would have left the movie on a funny note that captured the fun of the song Groff sings earlier about Sven.

And that’s it! If we’re lucky, these songs will appear in High School plays all over the world for years to come.

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

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