Author Archives: Bethany Blanton

Star Wars Authors’ Version of The Force Awakens

The “How I Would Have Written The Force Awakens Author Panel” at Dragon Con 2015 was, as the title suggests, about how several Star Wars authors – namely Timothy Zahn, Michael Stackpole, Rebecca Moesta, and Kevin J. Anderson (with Paula Rosenberg moderating) – would have written Star Wars: The Force Awakens. To be clear, this wasn’t official in any way; it was simply a group of very experienced writers examining what they would have written, in an off-the-cuff (and sometimes intentionally silly and ridiculously funny) manner.

I was lucky enough to attend the panel and it was, in my opinion, absolutely hilarious! My favorite aspect of this panel was how much fun the authors had with the discussion, how engaged they were, and how they weren’t afraid to be both outlandish and serious at times. It was actually difficult to keep up with their banter sometimes, especially when I was laughing too much to type accurately. (P.S. One of the reasons I love the Star Wars track at Dragon Con is because of how nice the authors are there, and how open and available they are with fans.) Here is the panel, recapped and somewhat abridged.
The authors began with describing how they would open the film.

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Welcome SWR’s Newest Podcast: Ion Cannon!

Riley, Mark, and I have known the hosts of Ion Cannon, William Devereux, Stephen Rice, and Tom Christopher, for several years, dating back to before Star Wars Celebration V (where we met William and Stephen). We are very excited to be welcoming them the Star Wars Report family officially along with their podcast Ion Cannon! Check out some pictures of us all hanging out at SWCV and SWCA after the podcast description!

As an introduction to the podcast itself, the Ion Cannon Podcast is a review show, unique to the Star Wars Report as it covers more generally and broadly all types of current Star Wars cannon. (For more in depth reviews of books and non-film material, check out Star Wars Beyond the Films. For more in depth reviews of books and comics, check out Star Wars Bookworms, and for more in depth reviews of Star Wars Rebels, check out The Star Wars Report’s Rebels Roundtable!)

The Ion Cannon Podcast is your source for entertainment reviews from a galaxy far, far away, including books, video games, comics, films, television shows, and more. In each episode, Tom, Stephen, and William analyze a particular film, episode of a television series, novel, comic, or game with an eye on the story and how it relates to the larger Star Wars canon. The format is a casual roundtable discussion, and they frequently bring on guests from the community for an additional perspective.

Ion Cannon started in 2008 as We Talk Clones, a show dedicated to reviewing episodes of The Clone Wars animated series. Before long, they expanded to review other Star Wars television works and the occasional book or video game. In 2014, they rebranded the show to Ion Cannon to signal their focus on the canonical Star Wars story in all its forms. While episodes occasionally include news, event coverage, and interviews, these are typically reserved for special occasions.

Tom, Stephen, and William are well-versed in the Star Wars canon, and they’ve been involved in the Star Wars community for many years. Combined, the award-winning hosts have decades of experience in storytelling, writing, art, video game design, tech, and much more.

Star Wars Celebration V back in 2010!

We waited in line together to see George Lucas!

We waited in line together to see George Lucas!

We recorded a podcast episode together which quickly devolved into silliness!

We recorded a podcast episode together which quickly devolved into silliness!

We had fun hanging out with them at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim earlier this year!


The whole crew!

The whole crew!



If this isn't a picture of fun then I don't know what is.

If this isn’t a picture of fun then I don’t know what is.

William and Mark when they first met.

William and Mark when they first met.

Without further ado, I bid you welcome the newest member of the Star Wars Report family!

Last Day to Purchase $80 4 Day Pass for Dragon Con 2016

Hey everyone!

Today is the last day to purchase Dragon Con 2016 4 day tickets for just $80!

Remember how fun Dragon Con was this year?

Riley and Peter Mayhew

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A Few Thoughts on Bring Back Legends

Hey everyone!

I wanted to send out a link to an editorial piece that Brian of Tosche Station did about the Bring Back Legends experiences he and many other Star Wars fans at Dragon Con (and on the web) had. While I don’t agree with everything Brian says, I’d ask Star Wars fans, and specifically fans who identify with the Bring Back Legends movement, to consider some of the following thoughts. Disclaimers: I don’t represent SWR in this. Also, please be respectful and kind in the comments. I am open to considering that I’m wrong, and the following is intentionally based on impressions I have of the BBL movement, and NOT detailed research. My experience and what I’ve heard is limited, so I may very well be missing details, or have a very different experience than others have. This is intentional because I wanted this post to be from the perspective of a random Star Wars fan, not a journalist who has extensively researched it. Secondarily, in an ideal world I would love to see more Legends material along with all the new material, so I’m not here to bash on Legends. Heir to the Empire will probably be my favorite Star Wars books for a long time to come.

I went to Dragon Con 2015 as a media guest, panelist, and huge Star Wars fan. I also went to Dragon Con this year disabled, as I fractured my heel and toe at Air Force summer training. Dragon Con fans and the disability services were all so friendly and helpful that I left Dragon Con thinking: “Wow, this is once again a reminder of how friendly, awesome, and supportive the geek community can be.” In contrast, I heard (and saw) some experiences from other con-goers, some of whom are good friends of mine, some just mere acquaintances, who did not feel that their experience reflected the supportiveness and friendliness that the geek, and Star Wars, community should be known for.


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I was Disabled Going in to Dragon Con, and was Surprised by This

Dragon Con is a flurry of costumes, hundreds of hours of paneling and entertainment, parties, and multiple hotels packed with people. More specifically, Dragon Con spans five hotels, has around 65,000 people, and contains programming on multiple levels of the hotels. You can see why I was a little apprehensive about not being able to walk at Dragon Con this year.

IMG_0667This past summer at Air Force ROTC Field Training I fractured my heel and toe, and am currently on crutches or a knee walker (like a scooter only raised up to have one knee on it). While I have my scooter and my protective boot around my foot, I was worried about constantly getting stuck in crowds, having people bang into my foot, possibly being knocked over, or even just the simple things like navigating a panel room filled with people and trying to find a seat at the end of a row (being unable to use the scooter to walk between the seats).

However, contrary to my concerns, my experience of not being able to walk while at the convention went quite well! While I was bumped into a few times, it definitely was not the number of times I expected, and I even had random people who would help me navigate the crowds, or make sure I was safe using the scooter on the escalators. Convention fans who didn’t even know me were polite, and cared about whether or not I was able to enjoy and navigate the convention. When I first arrived at the convention on Friday, the press room people who checked us in were very helpful, and suggested that I ask an information booth (stationed in multiple places throughout the hotel) where I could get a handicapped sticker so that I would be seated on the end of a row of chairs for panels (and not have to crawl over people). The information booth staff that we went to were extremely helpful, and got me the location of where I could find the nearest Dragon Con disability services station.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Once at the disability services station, I was given a concise briefing on what all the handicapped pass sticker would do for me (sitting at the end of a row), and how best to navigate the convention while not being able to walk. In the end, the most noticeable impact on my experience of Dragon Con compared with previous years when I could walk was not being able to use the stair cases. That did meant that overall I traveled more slowly, which meant I was not able to see quite as many panels as I normally did. However, though I didn’t wind up taking advantage of the handicapped sticker, I imagine for most handicapped people at the convention that any time lost in transit would be made up for by being seated a half hour early to each panel. This means they wouldn’t have to wait in the really long lines as much as some people.

Kudos to Dragon Con for running a convention that, in my experience, was very welcoming and accommodating to someone with a (temporary) disability! Also kudos for the convention crowd being overall very friendly and helpful.

~ Bethany Blanton