Fully Charged: Big Star Wars: Episode IX and Rogue One news, plus Comcast plans YouTube rival

The weekend's top tech and entertainment tidbits, all collected for your easy browsing

Star Wars: Rogue One cast photo

Big Star Wars news at D23

Disney's biennial D23 Expo was held in California this weekend, and beyond news on Disney movies and games, as well as upcoming Marvel movies (the first Captain America: Civil War footage was shown), Star Wars was unsurprisingly a big draw with a series of announcements.

The biggest of them? Star Wars: Episode IX will be directed by Colin Trevorrow, who recently proved his big-budget box-office mettle with Jurassic World. This December's Episode VII (The Force Awakens) is helmed by J.J. Abrams, while 2017's Episode VIII is being tackled by Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper). Johnson will reportedly also write Episode IX, which is slated for 2019.

Additionally, Disney showed off the first partial cast photo from next year's Rogue One, the live-action spinoff that's set before the original Star Wars film. No longer known as an "Anthology" film (the logo now says "A Star Wars Story"), lead Felicity Jones will be joined by Donnie Yen, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Alan Tudyk, Mads Mikkelsen, and more in the ensemble cast. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), it's set for release on 16 December 2016.

And finally, Disney will create massive Star Wars Lands at Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, both in the USA. The company also plans to overhaul its parks' current Star Wars attractions (including Star Tours) and introduce others in the meantime.

[Source: Star Wars]

Comcast planning YouTube rival


Comcast, the largest Internet provider in the United States, is reportedly working on its own streaming media rival to YouTube, reports Business Insider. The service will reportedly be called "Watchable," and while it may launch only for Comcast's high-end Xfinity X1 boxes at first, it's also planned to reach iOS and Android before long.

What's the value of a Comcast-owned service? Well, the company not only delivers Internet and TV service, but also has a stake in a lot of different properties: it owns major TV network NBC, and just last week invested hundreds of millions of dollars into BuzzFeed and Vox Media. Tapping its own media companies for content could bring a lot of eyes to the service, and the report says that Watchable will go live in a matter of weeks.

[Source: Business Insider]

Amazon's work practices criticized

Amazon logo

Amazon might be an amazing place to shop online, but it sounds like hell to work there - at least in some respects. The New York Times posted a lengthy feature over the weekend in which more than 100 current and former employees were interviewed about their experiences, and many described extreme stress caused by constant evaluation, not to mention pressure to minimize family and health needs in favour of work.

Naturally, there are two sides to every story, and Amazon executives and some employees have come out against the article, saying that the company's ambitious approach doesn't work for every potential employee. Both the article and the myriad responses are worth reading, and it's all well worth thinking about the next time you save a couple bucks by shopping at Amazon.

[Sources: The New York Times, Gizmodo, USA Today]