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Star Wars at Wizard World Philadelphia

Star Wars at Wizard World Philadelphia 2012

Some costumers with Chewbacca

This past weekend Wizard World came to Philadelphia.  Being a fan of all things pop culture and since Philly is right in my back yard, I of course had to attend.  I went to Wizard World Philadelphia last year as well.  Last year’s con was fun but not the huge event that cities like Chicago and New York get.  I think the biggest celebrity we got was Bruce Campbell of the Evil Dead movies.  This year promised to be a much bigger event with celebrities like Chris Hemsworth and Stan Lee attending.  All five of the Star Trek Captains also appeared together for the first time including legends William Shatner and Patrick Stewart.

There wasn’t a huge Star Wars presence at the con but we did get a few celebs.  Sam Witwer, from The Force Unleashed video game series and most recently the voice of Darth Maul in The Clone Wars, was in attendance and had his own Q&A session.  Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), and Nick Gillard (stunt coordinator) were there as well and had a joint Q&A.  Nick Gillard also did his lightsaber master class at various times throughout the convention.

Mayhew, Bulloch, Gillard Q&A

This Q&A started out as just Mayhew and Bulloch and Gillard joined eventually.  Here are some of the highlights.

Mayhew and Bulloch recounted how they met for the first time at a supermarket, “…above the shelves there was only one head going around and I went up and said, ‘Hello Peter.’  Little did I know that a few weeks later I was gonna be cast as Boba Fett.”

When asked about what it was like to be a part of something as big as Star Wars Mayhew said, “Half the time you can’t believe that there are hundreds even thousands of people waiting to get your autograph, talk to you.  It’s a really wonderful experience.  Something that changes your life.”

In reference to changes that Lucas has made to the films Bulloch said, “Some I agreed with like Cloud City opening up and some I didn’t… I don’t think he needed to touch again.”

Bulloch said in Empire Strikes Back he was told that Boba Fett was a human.  He also said that it was nice that Fett got a backstory in the movies but they never should have shown his face.  He did not like the idea that Boba Fett was a clone and thought he should have stayed an individual.

Bulloch and Mayhew

Who shot first?
Bulloch immediately said “Han.”
Mayhew said, “I have no opinion on this… but it does make an interesting conversation.”
Gillard said, “I wasn’t there but I would always shoot first.”

What was your favorite movie to work on?
Bulloch, “I think Empire Strikes Back had everything you wanted.  Perfect film.”
Mayhew said that Empire was also his favorite and gave a lot of credit to Irvin Kershner.
Gillard said “Sleepy Hollow” which got a big laugh from the crowd.

When asked to comment about George Lucas retiring to his garage to make small independent films Nick Gillard said, “I’ve been to his private garage… Last time I was there he said ‘Look what I just bought for Christmas’ and he pressed a button and two of the doors came up and there was a yellow Ferrari and a red Ferrari.  There’s not much room to make a movie, it’s full of Ferraris.”

Nick Gillard was the stunt guy inside of the alien queen costume in Aliens.  He told a story about how hot and claustrophobic it was inside of the costume and how one day James Cameron was drinking tea in front of him and Nick used the arm of the alien costume to knock the tea all over Cameron.

Mayhew, Bulloch, and Gillard

Gillard talked about how much of the choreography gets cut out of the films.  He said he had choreographed a fight where Obi-Wan “fought against six guys with double ended lightsabers” (I think he may have been referring to Grievous’ magnaguards).  It took 3 weeks to choreograph and Lucas decided to cut it and just have Obi-wan pull a crate down on them.

Sam Witwer Q&A

Sam Witwer has a number of Star Wars credits but is probably more popular for his roles in shows like Smallville and Being Human.  Much of his Q&A covered other parts of his career but there was some talk about his Star Wars roles.

Witwer spoke very fondly of his time working on The Force Unleashed games.  He also said you will have to ask Lucas Arts about if there will be a third game in the franchise.

He was asked if he ad libbed any of his lines as Darth Maul in The Clone Wars.  He gave an example of a line where he was supposed to say “Your Master, Qui-Gon Jinn. I killed him while you stood helpless and watched. How did that make you feel, Kenobi?”  Witwer decided to change it to “Your Master, Qui-Gon Jinn. I gutted him while you stood helpless and watched. How did that make you feel, Obi-Wan?”  He thought that adding the word “gutted” and calling Obi-Wan by his first named made it more personal.

Witwer mentioned a number of times during the Q&A that he would love to eventually work in the Star Trek franchise. “I’m not sure how to get that done. Maybe ask Simon Pegg.”

A couple of times he did his Darth Maul voice and it was very impressive to see and hear it in person.

There was a funny moment when an enthusiastic fan asked if Sam had considered ever doing voice work for The Clone Wars.  Sam played along and said he would love to do it someday before finally coming clean to the fan and informing him that he had already done and is still currently working on The Clone Wars.

Lightsaber Master Class

Of the four Star Wars celebrities, Nick Gillard was the only one that I had a chance to talk to one on one.  Very nice guy and as you can tell from the Q&A answers above he has a great sense of humor.

Lightsaber training

Seven different times throughout the weekend Nick taught his Lightsaber Master Class.  This class was an extra cost above the convention ticket price and I decided not to spring for it.  The class was taught right in the middle of the convention floor so I was able to watch it.  His skills were very impressive to watch.  I was surprised to see that in a very short amount of time he was able to show his students complicated lightsaber moves and they were able to successfully complete some of the fight sequences.  In the end they could almost pass as Jedi.  Almost.

Other Highlights

Wizard World Philadelphia obviously had a lot going on other than just Star Wars and there were many highlights for me personally.

I’ve never watched an episode of Lois and Clark but Dean Cain’s Q&A was very entertaining.

Chris Hemsworth’s Q&A was packed and he was great with the fans.  He was by far the most current big celebrity in attendance.

I had my picture taken with someone in a very official looking Chewbacca costume.

I found a Jango Fett to add to my Mighty Mugg collection.  I failed to find a Hulk one for my friend.

The 5 Captains Panel

The Five Star Trek Captains panel was great.  As a Trek fan myself I was excited to see all five actors together in the same place.  Three of the captains were engaged with the audience (Mulgrew, Bakula, Stewart), another not so much but was funny when he talked (Shatner), and the other (Brooks) looked like he wanted to be anywhere else.

Overall the convention was great.  A lot bigger than last year but also a lot more organized.  I can only imagine that next year will be bigger and better.

- Aaron Goins

 

Star Wars Celebs to Appear at Wizard World Philadelphia

If you are a Star Wars fan the Pennsylvania Convention Center is the place to be from May 31st to June 3rd for Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con.  Star Wars celebrities will be in attendance including Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), Nick Gillard (stunt coordinator for the Prequels), and Sam Witwer (voice of Darth Maul in The Clone Wars).

 

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On Friday, June 1st there will be a Star Wars Q&A featuring Mayhew, Bulloch, and Gillard at 3pm.  Sam Witwer will have his own Q&A at 6pm on the same day.  Nick Gillard will also be doing a “Jedi Lightsaber Master Class” at various times throughout the convention.

There are a number of other guests who will be of interest to pop culture fans including Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Avengers) and Stan Lee (creator of Spiderman, Hulk, X-men…).  Star Trek fans will be excited to see 5 Trek Captains together in one place.  William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, and Scott Bakula will appear together (for the first time ever!) for Q&A’s on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information check out the Wizard World Philadelphia website.  See the official press release below.

-Aaron Goins

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Chris Hemsworth, William Shatner, Stan Lee, WWE® Superstar CM Punk™,Patrick Stewart Top Stellar 2012 Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con Lineup

Five ‘Star Trek’ Captains Together For The First Time; Paul Wesley, Bruce Campbell, ScottBakula, 60 Other Celebrities, Dozens of Top Creators Set For Pennsylvania Convention CenterMay 31 – June 3

NEW YORK and PHILADELPHIA, May 2012 – For more than a decade, Wizard WorldPhiladelphia Comic Con has brought standout celebrities, comics creators and more to thePennsylvania Convention Center as one of the highlights of the city’s pop culture scene. Butthe 2012 lineup, set for Thursday, May 31, through Sunday, June 3, featuring mega-starsChris Hemsworth, William Shatner, Stan Lee, WWE® Superstar CM Punk™, PatrickStewart and more than 60 others, may be the best and most diverse ever.

Shatner (“Star Trek,” “Boston Legal”) will appear on Saturday and Sunday, while Hemsworth(The Avengers, Thor), Stewart (“Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “X-Men”) and WWE®Superstar CM Punk™ will be on site on Saturday, and comics legend Lee (“Spider-Man,” “XMen”)on Friday through Sunday.

The event also marks the first gathering of all five “Star Trek” captains from the five TV seriesin the iconic franchise: Shatner (“Captain Kirk” in “Star Trek”), Stewart (“Captain Jean-LucPicard” in “The Next Generation”), Avery Brooks (“Captain Sisko” in “Deep Space Nine”),Kate Mulgrew (“Captain Janeway” in “Voyager”) and Bakula (“Captain Archer” in “Enterprise”).

Other hugely popular stars scheduled to attend include Scott Bakula (“Star Trek: Enterprise,”“Quantum Leap”), Paul Wesley (“The Vampire Diaries,” “24”), Kate Mulgrew (“Star Trek:Voyager,” Remo Williams), James Marsters (“Buffy: The Vampire Slayer,” “Torchwood”),Bruce Campbell (Army of Darkness, Evil Dead), Sam Witwer (“Smallville,” “Being Human”),Sean Patrick Flanery (Boondock Saints, Saw 3D), Melissa Joan Hart (“Sabrina, the TeenageWitch,” “Melissa and Joey”), Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,”“90210”), James Hong (Blade Runner, Kung Fu Panda), Hayden Panettiere (“Heroes,” BringIt On), Jason Priestley (“Beverly Hills, 90210,” Tombstone), Kristy Swanson (Buffy theVampire Slayer; Dude, Where’s My Car?) and Juliet Landau (“Angel,” Ed Wood).

VIP tickets are available now for fans who want to secure their opportunity to meet many of thestars at the event. Fans can visit http://www.wizardworld.com/philadelphia.html for links to VIPpackages for Hemsworth, Lee, Campbell, Ryan, Panettiere, WWE® Superstar CM Punk™,Bakula, Wesley, Shatner, Marsters and group experiences with Boondock Saints, “Buffy: TheVampire Slayer,” “Spartacus/Legend of the Seeker” and “Star Trek” Captains.

Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, produced by Wizard World, Inc. (WIZD.PK), will bringtogether thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies,graphic novels, comics, toys, video gaming, television, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles,contests and more.

Children and adult attendees are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite villain,superhero or pop culture personality for the chance to win special prizes in costume contests.Event-goers may also try their hand at interactive product exhibits and shop for collectiblecomics, movie and television memorabilia, toys and games at scores of dealer booths.

Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con will also feature special children’s programming onSunday, June 3, with face painting, art projects, workshops, costume contest and other youthactivities. Kids 10 and under are admitted free with adult paid admission (up to two childrenper adult).

For more on the 2012 Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, including hours, celebrities,creators, vendors, programming schedules, evening entertainment, autographs, sponsorshipand volunteer information and more, visit http://www.wizardworld/home-pa.html

About Wizard World: Wizard World produces Comic Cons and pop culture conventions across North America thatcelebrate graphic novels, comic books, movies, TV shows, gaming, technology, toys and socialnetworking. The events often feature celebrities from movies and TV, artists and writers, andevents such as premieres, gaming tournaments, panels, and costume contests.

The full event schedule can be found at www.wizardworld.com.

***** SAVE THE 2012 DATES *****

April 14-15 – Wizard World Toronto Comic Con
May 31 – June 3 – Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con
August 9-12 – Wizard World Chicago Comic Con
September 29-30 – Wizard World Ohio Comic Con
October 26-28 – Wizard World Austin Comic Con
November 30 – December 2 – Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con

Dragon* Con! Saturday – SWR #11

Our recap of Saturday at Dragon* Con!

After having difficulty with faulty mic cables late Friday night, we stopped at Radio Shack and bought new cables, which in turn made us a bit late for the annual Dragon* Con parade. Fortunately for us, the Star Wars portion of the parade was last in line!

Next we went to Meet the Stars of Star Wars panel with Ashley Eckstein, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew and Temuera Morrison! That was a fun Q and A session and Riley recorded it so look for it soon! Check out Bryan Young’s post on it!

Then we went to a Smallville panel that Sam Witwer was on and enjoyed ourselves greatly! All of the panelists were very energetic and dynamic, they had great chemistry. Riley recorded the second half of this one, look for it later too!

And then, this really, exceedingly, cute, tiny Superman got to hug Laura Vandervoort!

 

After that we attended the Timothy Zahn Heir to the Empire panel! We had a ton of fun at this panel, and talked with some friends afterwords. =)

This is one of our recording set ups.

We also attended part of the Voice Acting panel!

Afterwords we conducted several interviews that we’ll post later, and then we recorded our recap episode and interviewed a few fans and cosplayers!  Below, that’s a person, not a statue!!

Thank you everyone who consented to being interviewed!

And we interviewed these ladies too!

And the long way down from the middle of the Marriot, not even the top!!!

May the Force be with you!

- Bethany

Email:         starwarsreport@gmail.com

Facebook facebook.com/starwarsreport

Twitter:      twitter.com/starwarsreport

Forum:       www.eucantina.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1233

 

 

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Dragon* Con! Friday – SWR #10

Our recap of Friday at Dragon* Con!

Friday morning started out, for us, with a William Shatner panel! There was a long, snaking line to get into his panel, and Riley and I were able to get into an overflow room where we saw Mr. Shatner live on a large projector screen. William Shatner is quite a good story teller, he had the audience quite entranced!

Next we went to Meet the Fan Groups panel. There we met the fans. Did I mention meeting people, fans specifically?? =P

It was fun, we met and talked to most of the Star Wars costuming groups out there including the 501st, The Dark Empire, The Rebel Legion and The Mandalorian Mercs.

Have we mentioned that there are a lot of people at Dragon* Con?

We also attended a panel called Intro to the Expanded Universe. (Which, much to our amusement, was introduced as the Extended Universe.) It was discussed where one should start if starting in the EU for the first time.

Then we went to the Meet Jango, Ahsoka and Chewbacca panel!

There were a number of great costumes as usual!

Then my camera died. *sigh*

- Bethany

Email:         starwarsreport@gmail.com

Facebook facebook.com/starwarsreport

Twitter:      twitter.com/starwarsreport

Forum:       www.eucantina.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1233

 

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Philadelphia Comic Con 2011

This past Saturday, June 18, a couple of friends and I decided to check out Wizard World Philadelphia, or Philadelphia Comic Con as it is more commonly known. I am pretty new to the whole convention thing, only having gone to Celebration V and Steel City Con before this. Celebration, as most of you know, is a Star Wars centered con and Steel City Con is a very small convention in Pittsburgh PA. I was excited to attend Philly Comic Con because it would be the first large non Star Wars con I have been to, and I was curious to venture into this larger world.

We arrived at the convention center right as the doors were supposed to open at 10:00 A.M. Right away I realized I had underestimated the popularity of this con. There was a line all the way around the block. It took about an hour waiting in line to finally get into the convention. Judging by the t-shirts and costumes, there were many fellow Star Wars fans in line with us. We even bumped into a General Grievous. Not movie accurate by a longshot, but I applauded the costumer’s efforts.

Peter Mayhew, Daniel Logan and Jake Lloyd

After we got into the convention, we went straight to the first of two Q&A’s featuring Star Wars actors. This one had Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Daniel Logan (young Boba Fett) and Jake Lloyd (young Anakin). Peter Mayhew sort of acted as host, and they all took questions from the audience. Daniel Logan quickly stole the show with his humor and big personality, and Jake seemed happy to allow someone else to take the spotlight.

Daniel had funny stories about playing against Jake in the arcade podracer game, riding in golf carts on set with Ewan Macgregor, and meeting Christopher Lee for the first time.

Jake said he doesn’t regret working on Star Wars.

Both Daniel and Peter talked about how much they loved riding the new Star Tours.

Peter talked about his fond memories of Sir Alec Guinness and Irvin Kershner.

Daniel said he would work on Star Trek if ever asked.

Peter Mayhew – “What do you get if you shave a Wookiee? A Klingon.”

Peter said he was informed over a phone call about the impending death of Chewbacca in the book Vector Prime, and he also received a signed copy of the book from R.A. Salvatore that said “Sorry mate”.

Daniel said he is still working on Clone Wars.

Daniel’s favorite movie is What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

Favorite Star Wars Movie:
Jake – The Return of the Jedi
Daniel – The Phantom Menace
Peter – The Empire Strikes Back

Billy Dee Williams

The other Q&A was with Billy Dee Williams. There was a lot of discussion about some of the other projects that he has worked on, and about his art, but there were plenty of Star Wars related questions as well. As a side note, his art is actually very good. If you have never seen any of it I recommend seeking it out online.

He said he may be working on an upcoming Driving Miss Daisy project.

He spoke of his memories of working with Irvin Kershner.

His middle name is December, “..and I was born in April”

Women used to fall down when they would see him. He was afraid to help them up because if he touched them he thought they might die.

When asked if he would ever do voice work again for a Star Wars project he said, “There is something else that’s being done, but I am not at liberty to talk about it.” Clone Wars maybe??

When told that Lando is now married in the Expanded Universe Billy Dee said, “I gotta get that [book], gotta check it out. What does she look like?”

When asked if he liked the Prequels, “..billions of dollars are made with these things. People seem to really enjoy the adventure.”

Who was the most fun to work with on Star Wars? “Who was that guys sitting next to me? …. Nien Nunb”

Both panels were great fun, and most of the actors seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Convention Floor

The convention floor was packed with vendors selling comics, t-shirts, toys, and almost anything else a collector could want. I was personally able to find a Darth Vader Mighty Mugg to add to my collection and some Legacy comic trades that I had been looking for at a discounted price.

There was also an unbelievable amount of comic book artists at the convention. The only Star Wars artist I recognized was Tom Hodges who is probably best known for his art on the online Clone Wars series at StarWars.com. I picked up one of his sketch books, and he even did a sketch of Luke Skywalker in the back of the book for me while I was standing there. Very nice guy and extremely talented.

I also had a chance to talk to Daniel Logan for a few minutes at his signing table. I don’t collect signatures, but I do like to meet Star Wars celebrities when I get the chance. I had met Daniel in December and was so happy to talk to him again. He really takes time to talk to his fans and is a genuinely nice guy. It is obvious that he appreciates his fans and understands how important they are.

Unfortunately, I was only able to stay at the con for about 6 hours, so I had to rush to get to everything I wanted to do. I was very pleased with the Star Wars presence at the convention with 4 major Star Wars celebrities, a well known Star Wars artist, and all the comics and toys you could want. The convention was great fun, and I definitely will be attending again when it comes back to town. Next time, I will make better plans for dealing with the crowds and who knows, maybe I’ll even put together my own General Grievous costume. Probably not though.

Aaron Goins