Star Wars Detours Panel at Celebration 6

Let me admit this right up front: I LOVE STAR WARS! You might think that is an obvious statement considering where this article is getting posted… but let me clarify. I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT STAR WARS. That includes the Prequels. That includes the EU. That includes The Clone Wars TV show. I recognize that there are plenty of missteps and imperfections throughout, but even knowing that, I still love it all.

One thing that has really bothered me has been seeing the “blogosphere’s” pretty negative reactions to Star Wars Detours. I was lucky enough to have been able to attend Celebration VI and was in the room for the official unveiling of the series. I have to tell you that I was thrilled (as was everyone else in the auditorium) with what they had done with the series, and I am incredibly excited to see what else they do. I think that the bloggers who are less than excited for the series might just be missing some of the key setup for the series, so I wanted to share with you the context that was given by the creators when they unveiled the series.

What’s Going on with the Death Star?

The series takes place between episodes III and IV. During this time, there is no real war going on and there is a relative peace in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. So what is an Empire to do? Well, the truth is that Palpatine is solidifying his grasp on the galaxy by constructing a technological terror that will keep the citizens in line. He cannot justify constructing the Death Star during peacetime and he also can’t hide the fact that he’s building something the size of a moon… so he has to disguise it! The cover story becomes the construction of a giant mega-mall. I love this for several reasons. First, it is canonically consistent. Do I think the true canon has a Death Star mall project? No, but I do like the idea that Palpatine’s ties to the businesses and bureaucrats would absolutely make it feasible for him to make his “signature achievement” a giant mega-mall. The other thing that is great about this is how they built in a lot of subtle benefits from this setup. Stormtroopers who volunteered to support their Empire are now stationed as mall cops!

The Empire’s need for safety inspectors to not think of the giant lasers as shopping hazards. Palpatine stopping in for progress inspections and Vader performing ribbon-cutting ceremonies. All of these things were mentioned at the panel and all of them seem to be humor goldmines just waiting to be mined.

Who is that Bratty Girl?

As Seth Green put it, Princess Leia at this point is a teen princess who is known throughout the Galaxy, is the daughter of one of the richest, oldest houses of royalty anywhere… and she doesn’t know who her real father is. This is the perfect formula for a full on, teenage, drama queen. She travels everywhere with her body doubles, so she even has a built in bully-pack! I think it’s a great take on a character that we all see so differently as she grows older. It’s funny to think that Princess Leia used to be her Galaxy’s Paris Hilton. Full of comic potential, I can’t wait to see more about her dealing with glamour, fame, beauty and money. If they can also include subtle references to her latent Force-abilities, it would be great to see what a mean bully (but not quite evil Sith) would do with minor Force abilities.

Chewie the Housewife?

So I admit that this clip was a little bit of a letdown for me. It was based on one of the two dynamics that the creators said they wanted to explore in the Han/Chewie dynamic. They pointed out that at this time, Han and Chewie are loners and that they are busy smugglers. This means they must spend a LOT of time together in the Falcon, making them like an old married couple. To me, this was funny, but a little contrived. However… the second aspect of their relationship which was mentioned has me more excited than anything else that was said. Seth Green pointed out that Han and Chewie are best friends… but Han also kind of owns Chewbacca… which has to be awkward when it comes up! I think this will be hilarious and I can’t wait to see more of that side of their relationship.

Everything Else

There were so many other little things teased, here are just a few main points:

  • All of the ships are going to be modeled after the old toys, right down to the buttons and the ways the canopies open. Great throwback there!
  • There are still some clone troopers alive and its funny to see the real, battle-hardened veterans try to lead the new, bumbling recruits and turn them into “brothers”.
  • Jar Jar Binks: “You will either love him more or hate him more.” that’s a direct quote and one that intrigues me.
  • I like that they are including all of the bounty hunters, and Matt Seinreich promised that this series will make you absolutely love Dengar.
  • Obi-Wan being a drunk has been a humorous idea among fans for a long time. Looks like they brought that into their writing. A scene of him being nagged by Qui-Gon Jinn was shown and it was great!

What Really Matters

At the end of the day what really matters is that the people who are working on this show are incredible Star Wars fans. They know every minute of the movies back and forth, they know who “Pruneface” is, they know what aspects of the saga we like to poke at on the message boards. I think that’s the main sense of context that is missing when you look at the clips online without hearing from the creators. They have incredible talent involved in the making of this show (Including Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels to name just two.) Watching how excited this group of creators was to be working on Star Wars made me confident that they understand both the reverence and the rancor that Star Wars fans feel toward the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

~ Mitchell Hanan