Category Archives: conventions

4 things we learned at Celebration Europe

GL, KK and JJ. (Lucasfilm)

Another year, another Celebration… And now we can rest. For a few weeks, anyway. For those of you who weren’t in Germany, who didn’t wake up before dawn to catch news out of Germany, or who maybe just had other stuff to do this weekend, here are the headlines.

“Real locations and special FX”
Kathleen Kennedy inferred that we’ll be seeing more of a mix of effects – not just the digital stuff, which is pretty much inevitable, but also some more traditional model-based effects and such as well. HitFix’s Drew McWeeny addresses this – and the staggering pressure that Episode VII has to live up to:

I love that much of what I’ve been hearing seems to match what Kennedy is saying. I’ve heard that Lawrence Kasdan is considered by everyone else in the process a pretty great resource, and a really lovely collaborator. And I’ve heard that ILM is building a lot of actual models for this film, that they plan to shoot the models and digitally composite on a much larger scale than the last trilogy. It’s an aesthetic choice, evidently, and I find it very exciting to imagine big ILM model units working to build out the world.

Kennedy knows the gig, she’s clearly taken the time to understand what’s going on with fandom – and I don’t think she’s the only one. This is, as McWeeny said, a fragmented fandom. There are a lot of voices, and the stakes for this movie, for the whole franchise, are high. Will they manage to please everyone? Probably not: There are fans who will love or hate Episode VII no matter what. But I think it’s a good sign that they’re willing to try, and that shows in what little they’re willing to tell us so far. What’s behind closed doors? Hopefully something even better.

John Williams
John WilliamsOf course this was the big ticket news out of the con, and while I understand being disappointed that we didn’t get more, it’s still rather reassuring to have Williams back on board.

There’s been some confusion about whether he’s back for just one movie – the official site says just Episode VII, but apparently onstage, Kennedy said he was coming back for all three. And maybe that’s the plan, but just not on paper yet. In any case, it’s good news.

Rebels
rebels logoWe may not have the whole enchilada yet, but Dave Filoni did give fans enough to sate their appetites, it seems. He made it clear that the style is very much based on Ralph McQuarrie, that the stories will be told in order and showed off some concept art… One of which may be Alderaan.

And the Wookiee Gunner points out that we’ve actually been seeing new ship The Ghost all along! Tricky, tricky.

Celebration VII
And we have our next convention! In all honesty, I welcome the gap: We could all use a little time and space to save, as much as Lucasfilm will need the time to prepare. Let’s not forget, the Celebrations started as a way to get fans excited about the new movies… And think how much they’ll have to show us a month or so before the thing even comes out!

The venue change isn’t much of a surprise… But I really doubt we’ve seen the last of Orlando. After all, Disney does have two theme parks.

Anaheim Convention CenterAlas, Celebration announcements always bring a round of disappointment: We all want it close to us, but there are a lot of people to please and no matter where the thing is, some folks aren’t going to be able to come. The convention center may not be as cavernous, the plane tickets may not be as cheap, etc. It’s sad but there’s no pleasing everyone, ever. We all just have to deal, one way or another, and wait to see how the experts surprise us.

But still, I’m hopeful about California and very happy with the return to the original pre-movie schedule. Hell, I might even go to the theme park for once. Might.

And remember, news hounds: Patience. They’re not going to give us everything at once. They’re going to dribble it out slowly, they’re going to deny things, the rumors will keep flying. (All this has happened before… All this will happen again.) It’s our lot to wait it out and see what emerges.

Sunday roundup: Looking forward to 2015 and Celebration VII at Celebration Europe

@starwars: A most impressive gathering of @501stLegion members at #StarWarsCelebration! As one Celebration ends, another is announced… Celebration VII (which may not be the official name, but we’re going to call it that, damnit!) is set for Anaheim, California in April 2015. Star Wars Celebration Anaheim (the official name, apparently?) will be held at the Disneyland-adjacent Anaheim Convention Center from April 16-19, reverting us back to schedules of the original Celebrations. Does this guarantee us a May release date for Episode VII? Let’s hope so. Tickets will be on sale August 7th.

What else went on in Essen today? Well, Mark Hamill spoke, and while it didn’t make the official recap, apparently he did do a voice on The Clone Wars – a Darth. But he’s also open to voicing a villain on Rebels.

Speaking of… Here’s Dave Filoni and Warwick Davis.

Other panels today included ‘The Fett-Tastic Four’ (with surprise Temeura Morrison!) and the Jabba’s Palace reunion and, of course, the closing ceremonies.

This isn’t the end of coverage – we expect the usual flood of nightly additions as folks wind down, plus more as people return home and get a chance to think, upload pictures and etc – so check back!

Celebration VII is coming to Anaheim in 2015!

Just announced: Celebration VII will take place in Anaheim on April 16-19, 2015! Back to April, and back to California!

Tickets are going on sale August 7th. This August 7th. Better get ‘em fast, because Anaheim’s convention center isn’t as big as Orlando and with Episode VII, this could be big!

More? Dan Brooks is liveblogging the Celebration Europe closing ceremonies.

Saturday roundup: Kathleen Kennedy, Dave Filoni and Carrie Fisher take the stage at Celebration Europe

Kathleen Kennedy and Warwick Davis (StarWars.com)Well, obviously two big bombs got dropped today: The return of composer John Williams is official and we got our first look at the new cartoon, Star Wars Rebels. Kathleen Kennedy also talked about chatting with J.J. Abrams and using “every tool in the toolbox” for Episode VII, implying that we’ll be seeing a mix of CGI and practical effects.

And yes, you can buy the Rebels logo t-shirt online.

StarWars.com also live-blogged the Carrie Fisher event, and highlighted some fan stories. They also shared a video from yesterday with Warwick Davis, Doug Chiang and Iain McCaig.

Newswatch! Sunday is by far the lightest day on the schedule, so those of us on this side of the pond may take the opportunity to sleep in, at least a little. There are still plenty of panels, but for our purposes I think we only need to keep an eye on two of them: Mark Hamill at 2:30 p.m. CEST (8:30 a.m. EDT) and the Closing Ceremonies at 4:00 p.m. CEST (10:00 a.m. EDT.) Will we learn the date and location of the next Celebration?

As for the hoped-for Big 3 confirmation… If neither Kennedy or Fisher said anything, I doubt Hamill will, either. Next milestone is in two weeks at Disney’s D23 Expo, and the rumors have already been churning. Patience!

Friday roundup: Celebration Europe begins!

David Collins has the ‘ground report’ from Essen, above, as Celebration Europe officially kicks into gear. Of course our news of the day was in regards to The Clone Wars S5 on Blu-ray. The panel itself was recapped by the folks over at Star Wars Underworld.

@starwars: The @501stLegion debuting their new Ralph McQuarrie concept Stormtroopers at #StarWarsCelebration. pic.twitter.com/jAAkxS3EStThe folks at StarWars.com recapped Doug Chiang and Iain McCaig. (No, no sequel art! Hey, it was a long shot.) They also live-blogged Anthony Daniels and International Fan Clubs. And the highlights of the Ian McDiarmid event.

Meanwhile, Bleeding Cool’s Craig Skinner was not particularly impressed with Attack of the Clones 3D – though apparently the room was less than optimal.

(You’re following @jamesjawa, right? Other Twitter fan MVPs include @TGP73 and @TheSWU. #StarWarsCelebration is the tag to watch!)

Newswatch! Saturday is the big one, with Lucasfilm president and Episode VII producer Kathleen Kennedy! Her panel begins at 10:30 a.m. CEST (4:30 a.m. EDT. Yes, I will try to be up. On a Saturday. We are born to suffer.) But if we’re going to get any movie news this weekend, it’s probably going to come from her first.

The rest of the day’s not so bad, either. At 12:30 p.m. CEST (6:30 p.m. EDT) Leland Chee will join Pablo Hidalgo for a look at the Holocron. It’s probably the closest Germany is going to get to an EU panel. Of course, it happens to be running against fan’s first look at Rebels – also 12:30 p.m. CEST – with Dave Filoni, our second most likely panel to produce big news. Which one will StarWars.com liveblog? MYSTERY.

There’s a Doug Chiang panel at 3:30 p.m. CEST (9 a.m. CEST,) a Master’s level trivia challenge with Filoni, Hidalgo and Chee at 5:30 p.m. (11 a.m. EDT) and then the night wraps up with Carrie Fisher at 6:00 p.m. CEST (Noon EDT.)

Celebration Europe: a trip around the store!

The Celebration Store had its soft open on Thursday night, with exhibitors, VIPs, and Jedi Master level-badge holders getting a shot to pick up their Celebration merchandise. Her Universe’s shop was part of the Celebration store, and Ashley Eckstein was on hand to give us a tour of the Her Universe gear at Celebration. Plus shirts, football/soccer gear, barware, and a visit from Admiral Ackbar?

Several of my fellow convention attendees enabled my shopping, and I escaped there with a ton of damage to my credit card bill. But I did show off my new Boba Fett messenger bag to Jeremy Bulloch!

UPDATE: Here are the Thursday photos!

Roundup: Pregaming at Celebration Europe

@jamesjawa: Rehearsing on Thursday at the Celebration stage at #StarWarsCelebration - it's Warwick Davis! pic.twitter.com/Kx1TWLleS7

Celebration Europe doesn’t officially begin until Friday (which, for those of us in the states, means really early Friday) so the big event of the day in Germany today was the press conference. But StarWars.com did drop a nice video featuring Ashley Eckstein talking about fan groups.

From the fans, we have some pictures from the floor. Bleeding Cool has a couple pages of pics and no clue about Her Universe, while Jedi News gave us our first look at Hasbro’s Darth Plagueis figure.

And speaking of, we’ve been sadly neglectful of Caravan of the Force, in which several fans have been documentimng their travel from London to Essen.

Oh, and here’s a preview from James, even as he warns us that the wifi situation is lacking:

Now let’s hope the 501st don’t get him too drunk:

Newswatch! Can we expect any major news out of the con for Friday? The big-ticket panels are Attack of the Clones 3D at 12:30 p.m. CEST (6:00 a.m. EDT,) Ben Burtt at 1:30 p.m. CEST (7:30 a.m. EDT,) Doug Chiang and Iain McCaig at 2:00 CEST (8:00 a.m. EDT) and Secrets of The Clone Wars at 3:00 p.m. CEST (9:00 a.m. EDT.) Anthony Daniels is on at 4:00 p.m. CEST (10 a.m. EDT,) The Clone Wars screening at 5:00 p.m. CEST (11 a.m. EDT) and Ian McDiarmid is on at 6:00 p.m. CEST (noon EDT.) The night’s capper is an outdoor Return of the Jedi screening at 7:30 p.m. CEST (1:30 p.m. EDT.)

We have reports that a The Clone Wars DVD/Blu-Ray announcement is coming tomorrow, and everyone hope really hard that Chiang and McCaig show something, anything, that they’ve been working on for Episode VII. I wouldn’t expect any casting news until Kathleen Kennedy on Saturday, but stranger things have happened!

(Confused by the timezones? So am I. All praise World Time Buddy.)

Celebration Europe kicks off in Germany

Celebration Europe: ROTJ reunion!

The second Celebration Europe – and our first Celebration of the post-Disney era – has officially begun with a press conference reuniting much of the Return of the Jedi cast. Luckily, Dan Brooks of StarWars.com live-blogged it.

Don’t forget, our own @jamesjawa is in Germany, too!

Roundup: Catching up with Star Wars at SDCC

James and Hondo

As expected, most of the Star Wars news out of SDCC was fairly low key. And, in case you missed them, here are James’ photos from the con: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Interviews. James caught up with J. W. Rinzler, John Jackson Miller, Legacy creative team Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman and the folks at Becker & Mayer.

Expanded Universe. Both Dark Horse and Del Rey had Star Wars panels Friday, and our own James valiantly live-tweeted both of them. There wasn’t much in the way of announcements, but we did get the debut of the cover for Empire and Rebellion: Honor Among Thieves.

People. MTV managed to drag a little something about J.J. Abrams out of Harrison Ford, while Mark Hamill reminisced about Comic-Cons past with The Hollywood Reportor.

Her Universe. Ashley Eckstein and company debuted a new booth and released Mara Jade and Jaina Solo shirts at the con and online… And now they’re pretty much sold out. Sorry.

TV. Phineas and Ferb is doing a kind of Star Wars crossover thing, to which I say… Okay.

Hasbro. We did get a better look at the new Mara Jadse figure, out with the second wave of the Black Series later this year.

Hallmark. The 2014 Christmas ornaments already? Hey, anything that saves us from waiting for the Dreambook is fine by me.

Also… Comic book movies galore, a new Catching Fire trailer and first looks at new Legend of Korra and Veronica Mars.

Soon, the time zone shenanigans get even wackier as James will be off to Germany for Celebration Europe… Where we hope/expect we’ll be getting some kind of sequel news or confirmation. Cross your fingers.