In the first regular episode of the Star Wars Report, we discuss two high-school students who were nearly banned from graduation for having a mock lightsaber dual. Yes… Really.
Star Wars Celebration CVI is back in Orlando! We give our thoughts about the biggest party this side of the galaxy returning to the same location.
We also delved into the future of publishing (rather passionately) as it relates to the Star Wars saga.
In addition, Lucasarts’ president, Paul Meegan, was quoted having said “LucasArts hasn’t always done a good job of making games. We should be making games that define our medium, that are competitive with the best of our industry, but we’re not. That has to change.”
We discuss this and much more in the latest episode of the Star Wars Report!
The following is a blog post I wrote almost a year ago immediately after I had attended Star Wars Celebration V. I was reading through it and realized that while I may have been a little overly enthusiastic about some of my expectations, I should also try to keep my focus on what I love about Star Wars and not get caught up in the quagmire of malicious contention that sometimes seems so prevalent in the Star Wars online community.
We are now coming to the beginning of the third season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. TCW has come a long way since Ahsoka’s controversial introduction. It has seen many ups and downs. From Jar Jar’s new voice, all the way to large scale battles like Landing at Point Rain, TCW is certainly the biggest, most significant Star Wars project being produced to date.
Most, if not all, of TCW storylines are coming directly from George Lucas, as Dave Filoni has said many times. This is very interesting to me, considering that TCW has not yet been fully embraced by the fan community or mainstream audiences. Sure, it’s very mainstream compared to the other Star Wars projects being worked on, but it hasn’t been adopted to the degree that I would have thought. If you told me 5 years ago that there would be an animated series based on Star Wars, and that would have a launch movie, I would have thought it would penetrate mainstream audiences, and the community, much more then it has. I think the reason at the root of this is continuity, specifically with regards to the EU. Continuity has been at the bottom of a division among fans that has only grown since the beginning of TCW, and this issue seemed to explode when Karren Traviss announced her departure from Star Wars. Continuity is why some fans haven’t fully embraced TCW, and thus why mainstream viewers haven’t taken as much notice of TCW as they might have. If the whole Star Wars community fully embraced TCW it would
only make sense that more casual fans would give it a watch. This is a situation that should be familiar to fans. Remember the prequels? There were fans of “their own Star Wars”, the Star Wars they imagined growing up. The Star Wars they had read in books, comics, ext. George Lucas had something else planned, The Phantom Menace. We all know what happened there…or do we?
I was eight years old when The Phantom Menace came out. I didn’t even watch the film until years later, but I remember playing at lightsaber battles with my friends, staring longingly at the action figures swinging from the pegs in the Walmart toy aisle, and all the hype in general as, later on, Revenge of the Sith was coming out. These were really cool experiences and memories, and when I finally watched my first Star Wars film, The Phantom Menace, I LOVED every minute of it. From the opening battle onboard the trade federation vessel, to the sea monsters, to the podrace, all the way to the epic ending battle sequence. And yes, I laughed my head off at Jar Jar.
Fast forward to today. Star Wars Celebration V has just finished. There were a lot of TCW announcements. Asajj Ventress will be back, strong with her new buddies, the Nightsisters of Dathomir. A new villain, Savage Opress, Darth Maul’s brother, will be introduced. Delta Squad will be featured. Also, Baron Papanoida (George Lucas’ cameo from episode 3) and his family will be having a few adventures of their own. This is all pretty cool stuff, if you ask me. However, I am even more excited for season three then I would have been, and here’s why… I attended CV.
For four days I was “on the ground”, so to speak. I was away from it all, away from the forums, away from the updates and the opinions , away from the interwebs altogether, and this gave me a fresh take on Star Wars in general. I was able to look at Star Wars like a kid again. If I had been following the news hunched over my laptop, reading all the commentary live on the web, it wouldn’t have been the same. I would have been constantly analyzing and critiquing the news, asking will this be any good? Will it measure up?
After seeing the excitement and enthusiasm of the cast and crew of TCW, and most especially, the excitement and enthusiasm of George Lucas himself, I realized something. This is Star Wars. Not just any Star Wars, but Star Wars coming from GL himself. There may be faults, it may not be perfect, but it will be AWESOME! I don’t need to worry if it will measure up. What I like about Star Wars is the action, excitement, adventure, and plainly, the fun! TCW offers all of those things, and frankly I can live with a few continuity issues.
After seeing what I saw at CV, I’m going to make a prediction that TCW is about to hit a critical mass of fan support. It is very likely that we’ll see a new faction of fans joining our ranks. In the same way that I came to Star Wars because of the prequels, we’ll see legions of kids coming to Star Wars because of TCW, and not just the kids, their parents will be returning to fandom as well. If you ask me, there has never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan.
In an interview with the Czech Position, Rick McCallum, producer of the three Star Wars prequels and the upcoming Redtails film, gave us several new tidbits of information regarding the long-delayed and highly anticipated live action series.
The long-talked about Star Wars TV series will be a power and crime story similar to ‘The Godfather’, likely to be shot in the Czech Republic.
McCallum said: “Oh, absolutely. This [the Czech Republic] would be one of the primary places because of the talent. We have 50 hours of third-draft scripts, but the problem we have is there is a lot of digital animation; we don’t have the technology yet to be able to do them at a price that is safe for television. Since we would be financing them, it would be suicide for us to do this [now]. So we are going to wait three or four years,”
I find this encouraging. Every time we’ve heard George Lucas mention it, the project sounded as if it were put on hold indefinitely. However, three to four years? This I can live with!
McCallum did reveal some of the basic storyline in the finished scripts. “It takes place between episodes three and four, when Luke Skywalker was growing up as a teenager, but it has nothing to do with Luke,” he said, adding that there is no young Luke Skywalker in any of the episodes.
“Basically, it is like ‘The Godfather’; it’s the Empire slowly building up its power base around the galaxy, what happens in Coruscant, which is the major capital, and it’s [about] a group of underground bosses who live there and control drugs, prostitution,” McCallum said.
Wait, WHAT!?!? So, there will be no young Luke. (I think we’ve known this for some time.) The part about the Empire building up it’s power on Coruscant does sound appealing, although when I think about it, this will be the first time that George will be making Star Wars that isn’t Skywalker focused.
Then he mentions the “group of underground bosses who live there and control drugs, prostitution,”. This is most definitely a more maturely themed Star Wars then we’ve seen on-screen before. I’m confounded if not slightly intrigued.
This past Friday, June 3rd, I had a chance to check out Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World. This was actually the third time I have been to a Weekends, but the first time in maybe five years.
Stormtroopers meet you at the main gate and make jokes as they point at unsuspecting visitors. Very funny stuff! I quickly made my way back to the Star Wars themed area of the park. For anyone who has never been to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there is a small area in the back of the park that is all Star Wars, including the Jedi Training Academy, which is a stage show allowing young Padawans to face off against their favorite villains like Darth Maul and Darth Vader. Then, of course, there is the main attraction Star Tours. This is a 3D simulator ride that has recently been given a facelift and new ride mechanics. Right next to Star Tours is the store Tatooine Traders, which is packed with all kinds of Star Wars merchandise. Everything from t-shirts to Lego sets, action figures to build your own lightsabers.
One reason many people visited Star Wars Weekends this year was to ride the brand new version of Star Tours. Disney had recently closed the original Star Tours ride and anticipation had been building for what the new version of the ride would be like. Unlike the original ride, which only had one storyline, this new version had various different combinations of story pieces that allow for 54 different experiences.
The outside of the ride looked the same from what I remember. There is a giant AT-AT walker which is the coolest thing to see at the park, in my opinion. There is also a small Ewok village that you make your way through while waiting in line for the ride. Once inside you begin to see some of the differences. Everything is more clean and polished and there is a new droid (G2-4T) that talks to you while you are waiting, voiced by the always funny Patrick Warburton. Once you make it to the front of the line and are queued up to get into your spacecraft, a video is shown as an intro to your flight. The production quality of this video is very high, and it looks like something that could have been lifted from one of the Prequels.
The ride itself was great! It is very similar to the original ride as far as what the ride does. You buckle in and the shuttle shifts up and down and jerks around as you watch the screen. The major difference is the quality of what you are watching. The different video segments were high quality and entertaining; the 3D was done very well and was not distracting. Being prone to motion sickness, I only rode the ride 3 times. I think there are 11 different video segments you can encounter. I was able to see 7 of them, my favorite one being Kashyyyk. [SPOILER ALERT: At one point a Wookiee is shot off his speeder bike in front of you and hits your windshield. He claws at the windshield trying to stay up and slowly slides out of view leaving hand smudges. This made me laugh!] The good thing about not seeing every section is that I have something to look forward to the next time I visit the park (Celebration VI!!!).
Another new thing they have added since the last time I was there was Jabba’s Tent. This was a giant shopping area that was literally in a tent. There was tons of official merchandise, and this was also the only place you could buy Her Universe paraphernalia. In the back of the tent there were also Star Wars props set up for photo ops.
Beyond the ride and shopping there was also the chance to see and meet Star Wars celebrities. The day I was there James Arnold Taylor and Ashley Eckstein were the celebrity hosts, and Ray Park, Matt Lanter, and Jeremy Bulloch were the guests. I was able to make it to three of the shows featuring the celebrities.
Behind The Force
This show was specifically about the Clone Wars. James Arnold Taylor opened the show talking to people in the crowd and doing some of his voices. He then passed the show to Ashely Eckstein who interviewed Matt Lanter. Matt has a great sense of humor, and there were a number of funny interactions with members of the crowd. There were actually a couple girls who came all the way from the Philippines to see Matt! Matt called them up to take a picture with him, and the girls were obviously star-struck. They were even too nervous to talk when asked if they had any questions for Matt! We were also treated to a demonstration of voice over work by Matt, Ashley, and James. They even pulled a kid out of the crowd to do the voice of C3P0. The highlight of the show was the Season 4 trailer, which featured some never before seen footage from the upcoming season. It was all quite exciting! Hopefully, they will be posting this on starwars.com soon for all to see.
Stars of the Saga
This show was in the format of a talk show with James Arnold Taylor as the host. It was a huge improvement from similar shows they have had at Star Wars Weekends in the past. James is a natural host, and asked the guests many interesting questions. The guests he interviewed were Ray Park and Jeremy Bulloch. Jeremy was obviously still very proud of his time as Boba Fett, and is very attached to the character. There was a point where they played a clip from Robot Chicken of their version of Boba Fett. It was a very funny clip, but you could see that Jeremy was visibly annoyed with it. I think he takes Fett a little more seriously than that. Ray Park ( who was wearing an X-men shirt) was great! He did a couple of martial arts moves, and talked about his time during Episode I. He even poked fun at the younger version of himself in one of the video clips.
Obi-Wan and Beyond
This show was all James Arnold Taylor. Literally. He showcased his unbelievable voice talent, while telling his own story of how he got into voice over work. I can’t even count the number of voices he did. They even showed a montage of many of the voices he has done in The Clone Wars, and a number of them I didn’t even know were him until I saw the video! The show was humorous and inspiring, and I would recommend watching this one on YouTube if you can. James Arnold Taylor is an amazing, talented person, and we are lucky to have him on The Clone Wars.
I had a day packed with Star Wars goodness and it was awesome! Beyond the stuff I have already mentioned, I was also able to watch the Star Wars parade, and take pictures at some of the Star Wars photo ops scattered throughout the park. If you have never been to Star Wars Weekends, I would highly recommend it. I have been four times now, and it gets better every time. This may be the closest we ever get to having a Star Wars theme park, so the next time you are planning a trip to Disney World think about doing it in May or June, and check out Star Wars Weekends.
Here it is! Rising up from the ashes of The Bothan Report,The Star Wars Report is YOUR SOURCE for Star Wars News in that Galaxy Far, Far Away. Without further adieu we present to you Episode Zero of The Star Wars Report!
In this, the pilot episode of The Star Wars Report, hosts Bethany, Riley, and Mark ask each other three questions about their Star Wars fandom. Sit back, turn up the dial, and enjoy the report!
Don’t worry about all the Bothans dying to bring you this news; we’re cloning the hairy little guys as fast as we can to keep your feeds full!
We discuss this and much more in the latest episode of the Star Wars Report!