Slipping back into old habits, 2014 rolled over into 2015 with the continuation of Star Wars Rebels. The series opened with mixed reviews from fans still disappointed at the cancellation of The Clone Wars, but quickly built a loyal audience.
Season 1 ended with the reveal that Ahsoka Tano was a key member of the Rebellion. Season 2 premiered with a second hour-long episode, “The Siege of Lothal”, introducing Darth Vader to the crew of the Ghost. Further Clone Wars fan favourite, Captain Rex, joined the team in Season 2, and the series really began to hit its stride.
2015 hosted another Celebration, this time in Anaheim, California. The Celebration opened with a panel dedicated to The Force Awakens, which revealed a new teaser trailer for the upcoming feature. The expo also gave fans a panel for the now-announced Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Fifty thousand flocked to Anaheim for the most anticipated Celebration in a decade.
Six new novels released under the canon umbrella. “Heir to the Jedi” gave us the story of Luke Skywalker between Episodes IV, and “Lords of the Sith” told a tale of Vader’s continued descent into the dark side of the force. Both were warmly received by fans at the start of the year. As the year progressed, “Dark Disciple”, which was adapted from already written Clone Wars stories, told the final chapters of Asajj Ventress’ story.
From September, “The Journey to The Force Awakens” initiative began, setting up the years upcoming feature. Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath was our first look at the galaxy post-Return of the Jedi, and how the failing Empire, and burgeoning New Republic, had handled the shift in power. Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars spanned the entire original trilogy, and told the tale of two childhood friends situated on opposite sides of the war. Genuinely and incredible read, I cannot recommend it higher. The final entry in the new canon was “Battlefront: Twilight Company”, set both before and during Empire Strikes Back, released in time for the first major video game entry in the series since the EA exclusivity deal.
Speaking of which, DICE’s Star Wars: Battlefront released in November, to mixed-positive reviews. The title was truly stunning, making full use of EA’s Frostbite 3 engine. When it was good, it was really good. A lack of variety held the title back from being absolutely required. The title launched with only 4 maps, all from the original trilogy, with little to no single player content.nIt was good, but not £50/$60 good.
It all built to December, as The Force Awakens released worldwide. Whilst very well received critically, the film exploded commercially. The Force Awakens grossed over $2 billion worldwide, and, if I can apply my own opinion here, was really really good. A new cast of actors and actresses were thrown into the world of stardom. Purely colloquially, I cannot understate how utterly huge The Force Awakens was. Screens were packed for weeks after the opening weekend, and there was a buzz about Star Wars that I’d never experienced before. It ended the year as its highest grossing film by some distance, and set the new era of Star Wars up on the best possible platform.
How do you remember the middle section of the decade? Feel free to share your memories below!