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Pictures: Class Abounds at the Suits, Sinatra, and Star Wars Party

I recently attended the Suits, Sinatra, and Star Wars Party at Dragon Con, and it was an absolute blast! I have to say that it was refreshing to go to a more slowly paced party. The rave isn’t really my scene. I found that the 1940′s era theme and music really allowed for better conversations and socialization.

I certainly had an absolute blast, and will definitely go next year given the opportunity.

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There was much class.
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There was dancing.DSC_0024

There was mingling.DSC_0027

And the Star Wars Report staff all dressed up!

Stay tuned to the Star Wars Report for further Dragon Con 2014 coverage.

-Riley Blanton

See the Star Wars Report Staff at Dragon Con 2014

Hello there!

Dragon Con has always been one of my favorite Conventions to attend as a Star Wars fan, and I’m happy to announce that the SWR staff will be there in Force (pun intended). Dragon Con is the biggest geek convention in the Southeast, featuring many fandoms, forms of entertainment, dealers’ halls, panels, media personalities, parties, and more! The Star Wars fan track is run by Brandy Roatsey and a team of other Star Wars fans, featuring this year Star Wars authors, actor Sam Witwer, and other media guests and fans.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and keep on eye on our site for coverage! It’s going to be an absolute blast! The following is what you can expect to see from the Star Wars Report staff at Dragon Con as well as where you can find us this year.

  • Live tweeting of panels
  • Pictures
  • Podcast episodes covering the convention
  • Written panel recaps
  • Video of the convention

You can find Bethany Blanton and Riley Blanton as panelists on these two panels:

  • A Farewell to The Clone Wars and Hello Rebels (Marriott-A706)
  • Episode VII (Marriott-A601-602)

You can expect to find Aaron Goins and Teresa Delgado as hosts on these two panels:

  • A New Trope: Discussions with Star Wars Authors (Marriott-A706)
  • EU Legends: Authors Edition (Marriott-A706)

Expect to find all four of us at many other panels and events throughout the weekend! Be sure to drop by and say “hi,” and have fun at Dragon Con! Wear your finest at the Suits, Sinatra, and Star Wars mixer, party like it’s your last party on Alderaan, and remember to wear your Hawaiian/Aloha, or brightly colored shirts, on Sunday to remember A.C. Crispin and Aaron Allston.

Convention starts tomorrow folks!

Why Star Wars Rebels Will Be Better than The Clone Wars

Star Wars: The Clone Wars was an Emmy Award winning series which premiered in theaters on August 15, 2008 and subsequently on television on October 8, 2008. The series’ television run ended on March 2, 2013 with the conclusion to Season Five, before seeing a brief, 13 episode revival on Netflix on March 7, 2014.

The early story of The Clone Wars is one of highs and lows. Debuting in third place in its opening weekend, The Clone Wars brought in $14.6 million on its way to a domestic total of $35.2 million in its theatrical run. I remember walking out of the theater with my then roommate, and despite some high points we were rather disappointed in this new Star Wars movie. On the small screen The Clone Wars fared better premiering with 3.96 million viewers, a record for a series premiere on Cartoon Network at the time.

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At the beginning, with the very stylized animation design used in the series, the rather obnoxious banter between Anakin and Ahsoka, and the relative lack of music of John Williams, The Clone Wars’ early days were filled with hits and misses. As the show evolved over the seasons it continued to improve each year, with animation, sound, story and acting all deepening as the show grew.

The interesting thing about The Clone Wars is that it was really a massive R & D project for Lucasfilm as well as a labor of love for George Lucas.  Through The Clone Wars, Lucasfilm was able to develop a new branch of the company: Lucasfilm Animation. So without The Clone Wars a show like what we are to get in Star Wars Rebels wouldn’t be possible.

Having seen the premiere of Star Wars Rebels, I am confident in saying that we will get a show that is better than The Clone Wars in Star Wars Rebels.  Here are nine reasons why.

1. The Empire is back

Love or hate the Prequel films, the truth is that the Empire has a much more compelling set of villains than the Separatists. The return of various types of Stormtroopers, TIE fighters, AT walkers, speeder bikes, Star Destroyers, and arrogant and capricious Imperial officers has me incredibly excited, more so than seeing legions of clankers.

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This hearkening back to the Original Trilogy should also appeal to older fans like myself and help younger fans transition from The Clone Wars to the Original Trilogy, and then to Episode VII in 2015.

2. Chronological Order: “216, 116, T, 301, 303, 101…”

The Clone Wars was a show that was released in one order, but that order is not the same as the in-universe chronological order of the events in the show. For example, chronologically the series begins with Season 2 Episode 16, then Season 1 Episode 16, the film, Season 3 Episode 1, Season 3 Episode 3, and then Season 1 Episode 1.

Star Wars Rebels is beginning with the 1-hour premiere “Spark of Rebellion” and then continuing in order after that. This will make it much easier to follow the show, the character developments, and events in the world of Star Wars Rebels.

3. Everyman versus the Ruling Class

Much of the Prequels and The Clone Wars contained stories about the ruling elites of the galaxy far, far away. Sure, there were some episodes on remote planets and in the under levels on Coruscant, but for the most part we were dealing with the power players in the universe.

In Rebels we are focusing on a small group of outcasts in Hera, Kanan, Chopper, Zeb, Sabine, and Ezra. These are street level characters not dealing with the fate of the entire galaxy, but with the fates of their friends and neighbors. I can’t wait to see where they take the story of the population of Lothal as individuals oppose and support the Empire.

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4. Opening Misfire

As I mentioned in the opening, The Clone Wars theatrical premiere was hardly the strongest set of episodes in the series, and was a rather unimpressive debut overall. On the other hand, the premiere of Star Wars Rebels while not perfect is an immeasurably better beginning to a show. If this is the quality of the show at the beginning, I cannot wait to see where it goes as the creators develop these characters further.

5. Animation

The Clone Wars matured into a very beautiful animation style, but it took a long while to get there. It is visually difficult to watch some of those early episodes after being spoiled with the later seasons. Star Wars Rebels has some interesting influences from Ralph McQuarrie and Disney’s Tangled. While there are budgetary realities that will mean there are likely fewer resources available to the team creating Rebels than was available for The Clone Wars, the experience working on the previous show and the advances in technology give the current creative team some real advantages. The animation style for Rebels is more accessible and palatable for casual viewers.

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6. John Williams

On the musical front, Kevin Kiner who was responsible for the music in The Clone Wars returns, but his use and innovation based off of John Williams’ Star Wars scores is much more present in Rebels than it was in The Clone Wars. This tonal shift is important because it adds to the sense that Rebels feels more like Star Wars than The Clone Wars.

7. An Experienced Crew With Some Great Additions

A good portion of the crew that is working on Star Wars Rebels are, as Dave Filoni says, “veterans of The Clone Wars.” The experience of telling Star Wars stories from The Clone Wars seems to have given Filoni and his crew a greater mastery of not only the mythology of Star Wars, but also a better sense of what feels like Star Wars. Of course, the additions of Greg Weisman and Simon Kinberg as well as the work of folks from the Lucasfilm Story Group provides great quality storytelling experience.

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8. Fewer Limits

The Clone Wars was set in a narrower period of time than Star Wars Rebels. Taking place between Episodes II and III, The Clone Wars dealt with some major and minor film characters from the Prequel Trilogy, a number of whom had fates that were fixed by those movies. While characters like Captain Rex, Ahsoka, Asajj, Cad Bane, and the resurrected Darth Maul evolved into major characters in the show with unanswered fates , we know the fate of many more of the characters seeing frequent screen time. There are also limitations on how characters can interact, for example Anakin and General Grievous based on dialogue from Episode III.

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As Rebels begins we are dealing with an almost entirely new cast of characters. There are some first season cameos that were revealed in a trailer for the show, but the characters we are following around are all new, and we do not have any sense of what their fates will be before the events of Episode IV. I am very excited by what creative freedom this is providing for the writers of Star Wars Rebels .

9. A Core Group of Characters

One of the beauties of The Clone Wars was that we got to see a lot of different characters take the spotlight. If a certain character was not your favorite in a few episodes you wouldn’t be seeing them again. This allowed us to meet and get to know a number of really interesting characters, and I particularly enjoyed spending time with the Clones, Asajj, and Ahsoka. Of course this does make it harder for casual fans to jump on board to the show midstream, or to follow a particular characters story.

In Rebels we will be on the Ghost with Hera, Kanan, Chopper, Zeb, Sabine and Ezra and these will be the characters that we get to know and follow around. This will allow us to get to know these characters more deeply and quickly than we were able to do with many on The Clone Wars.

What are you looking forward to in Star Wars Rebels?

~ Peter Morrison writes at his blog Lightsaber Rattling, as well as here on the Star Wars Report. He also co-hosts a podcast about Star Wars Rebels called Rebels Report.

New Rebel Action Coming soon!

Our Bothan Spies report intercepting Imperial transmissions about Rebel activity near you!20140817_190426[1]Stay on the lookout at your local Subways as next month they throw in with the Rebellion with this line of cool FreshFit Kids Meal bags! First they brought us Guardians of the Galaxy, now a Galaxy Far, Far Away! With these 6 character designs available which bag will you get?

20140817_192111[1]PhotoGrid_1408399952173[1]  May the fresh be with you!

Dragon Con Hosts National Realms Open Championship

PRESS RELEASE:

Dragon Con Hosts National Realms Open Championship
$15,000 Tournament Purse Expected to Draw Top HeroClix Players From Across the County. Other Gaming Highlights Include the Return of National Security Decision Making Game and Richard Garriott.

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The TCGplayer.com Realms Open Championship, where the nation’s top HeroClix players can compete for share of a $15,000 purse, is returning for its second year to Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, sci-fi and gaming convention.

Perhaps better known for its cosplay and the chance to interact with actors, artists, authors and other creators, Dragon Con is actually one of the largest gaming conventions in the nation. Taking up most of the Hilton Atlanta Downtown, the gaming portion at Dragon Con features voice actors, game designers and other guests from the worlds of table top and video gaming, as well as the opportunity to play tabletop and LAN gaming in casual and tournament formats.

“We’re thrilled to welcome back to Dragon Con the TCGplayer.com Realms Open Championship,” convention co-chair David Cody said. “Because of the qualifying format and the prize money, we expect some of the top players from around the country to participate in this tournament and make it a very competitive event. It will be a great part of an already rich lineup of gaming and game-related programming.”

In addition to the TCGplayer.com Realms Open Championship, other highlights for the year include the return of the National Security Decision Making Game (NSDMG) led by Mark McDonagh, a retired Navy Captain and co-designer of the game, and guest Hall of Fame video game designer and American astronaut Richard “Lord British” Garriott.

As gaming at Dragon Con has continued to increase in popularity, the convention has restructured the gaming tracks for 2014 to provide a more streamlined, focused experience. There will be just three tracks this year.
· Table Top Gaming – Formerly called Gaming, this track’s programming will continue to focus on pen and paper and table top games.
· LAN Gaming – Formerly called Digital Gaming, this title is simply a better description of the specific type of gaming in this track.
· Video Gaming – The old Video Gaming and MMORPG tracks have been combined to better align with the gaming industry and focus on the content rather than the platform.

HeroClix is a competitive, table top game using miniature super heroes and villains from throughout pop culture. The TCGplayer.com Realms Open Championship will take place over three days with constructed qualifiers on Friday, August 30th and the Championship event beginning on Saturday, August 31. The top 32 competitors will share in the $15,000 purse, with the tournament champion taking home $4,000.

The National Security Decision Making Game presents players with a range of real world issues that they must decide how to solve, with each play assuming the role of a different political leader or deliberative body. The game will be offered seven times, five using current global geopolitical issues and two relying on historical scenarios. In addition to the game scenarios, each lasting 4 hours, McDonagh and his team will offer more than a dozen lectures and interactive seminars on various geopolitical subjects, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the current situations in Gaza, Syria and Ukraine and the current thinking on chemical & biological weapons and bioterrorism.

About Dragon Con:
Dragon Con is the internationally known pop culture convention held each Labor Day in Atlanta. Organized for fans, Dragon Con features more than about 3,000 hours of comics, film, television, costuming, art, music and gaming over four days. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
For more information on HeroClix, please visit http://maxpoint.tcgplayer.com/heroclix/ROC-Dragon-Con-140829.
For more information about the National Security Decision Making Game, please visit http://www.nsdmg.org or look for NSDMG on Facebook.