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Where Can First-Timers See Star Wars? It’s Not Easy.

It still surprises me when I meet someone who had never seen a Star Wars movies.  These films are so iconic that I cannot imagine not seeing at least one of them.  They then follow up by saying that they’ve been wanting to see one, if not all of them, but don’t know where to start.  So how does someone go about sampling these films?

yodaIt was a Sunday afternoon that ended 2015’s Star Wars Celebration.  As I walked out of the closing ceremony (why did it have to end?!?!?), I walked back to the Sheraton Park Hotel to gather my luggage and then headed out to pick up my rental car.  I had an early flight that next morning and decided to stay close to LAX that Sunday evening.

As I was checking in at the Hilton airport location, the front desk clerk, who was in his mid-20s, noticed I was wearing a Star Wars t-shirt and asked if I attended Celebration.  When I told him that I did attend, he said that a father and his son were trying to check in a few days ago for Celebration.  He told them that they were at the wrong Hilton and must travel to the one in Anaheim.  When I asked him how he knew about the convention, he said he was not a Star Wars fan but saw Celebration mentioned on the local news.

I said, “How can you not be a Star Wars fan?  You don’t like the movies?”

He said, “It’s not like I don’t like them.  I just have never seen a Star Wars movie.  Isn’t there one called the Phantom Menace?  I saw some of that one at a friend’s house and liked it.  I just never got to finish watching it.”

yoda2I told him that he should finish watching it and that it’s Episode I of the saga.  He can start there and go through each film up to Episode VI before the new film comes out.

He excitedly said that he wants to do that because the new movie looks like it will be great!

And then a thought occurred to me.  How does someone who has never seen a Star Wars film  supposed to see any of the them before The Force Awakens comes out?  The options are limited and Disney/Lucasfilm does not make it easy for non-Star Wars fans to catch up on the films.  You would think that the films would be readily available to anyone so that a new Star Wars audience can build towards the new movie.  But clearly, that’s not what the powers that be have in mind.

Which of these available methods work for the non-Star Wars fan?

  1. Digital downloads:  The week before Celebration, Disney released digital downloads of all six films.  However, these are for purchase only.  No rentals.  So someone who has never seen and doesn’t know if they will like Star Wars is supposed to buy a Star Wars movie for $20.00.  It is hard to tell someone to sample one of the movies by telling them they can’t rent it for $5.00, or less, but they have to buy it for $20.00.
  2. Online Streaming:  Disney does not offer the films on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
  3. Store Rentals:  Blockbusters and many other video store chains have closed.  There are very few smaller rental stores around, but there are limited selections if you are lucky enough to have one around- and Redbox is unlikely to carry these films.
  4. Mail-in Rentals: Luckily, Netflix will mail out the DVD versions if you are a monthly subscriber to their mail-in DVD service.  However, not everyone is a subscriber to this service.  (Blu-ray disks are an extra monthly charge.)
  5. Blu-ray/DVD Purchases:  Again, someone who has never seen a Star Wars movie isn’t going to plop down $50.00 or more for any box set.
  6. TV Broadcasts:  In the U.S., Spike TV will occasionally run a Star Wars marathon of all six films.  However, anyone wanting to catch these films needs to be a pay-tv subscriber and be diligent in keeping their eyes open for the next scheduled airing.  These will not be available through video on demand.
  7. Borrow or Visit:  This is what friends are for!  To let you borrow their disks of the films!  Or better yet, watch them at their house!

So to you, the front desk clerk at the Hilton, I would say your best bet to see all or any of the six Star Wars films is to wait to see them on pay-TV or through Netflix’s DVD service.  If you’re not a subscriber to either services, maybe you can find a friend that owns them.  I wish there were easier ways for the never-before-seen Star Wars people to catch up on the films before The Force Awakens.

~ Bruce Gibson

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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Video: Star Wars Rebels Season 2 Press Conference

James from Clubjade has video of the Star wars Rebels Season 2 Press conference!

Among the reveals: Dave Filoni said that S2 will have two episodes that explore Hera’s backstory: One that ficuses on her piloting skills, and another having to do with her family. There’s also going to be a new trailer debuting this week that will give us a look at something new regarding Sabine. He also talks about the importance of having a wide range of roles for female characters.

Check it out!


Qui-Gon Jinn

Topps Star Wars Exclusives are coming to New York Comic Con

Just got word from Topps about some really cool offerings they will have at NYCC!

Topps will be offering 7 oversized card sets in the vintage 1977 look and feel. Each set contains 10 cards featuring one faction from the Star Wars saga. Each set will retail for $20 (tax included) and will be sold exclusively at New York Comic Con. We are doing a pretty limited print run of just 250 per set.

Be sure to follow along at:

The 7 faction sets are:

  • The Rebel Alliance
  • The Galactic Empire
  • The Jedi Council
  • Sith & Separatists
  • The Resistance
  • The First Order
  • Rebels

Check it out!


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!