There was plenty to behold for the 30th anniversary screening of Return of the Jedi at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood as part of Entertainment Weekly’s first CapeTown Film Festival. Held on Star Wars Day, May the Fourth, the set of four screenings of the no-longer-final installment of the Star Wars saga brought out fans and celebs alike. With Jedi being my favorite Star Wars film, I was stoked to see it again on the big screen – twice! While we’ve already covered the news of Mark Hamill’s appearance after the evening screenings, there’s plenty more to share, including a visit from The Clone Wars cast and more! (Also check out my full photo album on Flickr!)
Yesterday in the mail, I got a form letter from Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy as a response to my letter expressing my support for releasing as much bonus content for The Clone Wars as they could. Basically, it restated their position to wind down the show, and hinted at the new animated series.
Nothing really new revealed, but it seems that their position to end the show is solid. The letter had no real mention of the ‘bonus content’ but does mention that it is more than just Dave Filoni working on the new series: “many members of his Clone Wars team” is also in the letter.
Still, nice to know that my letter was received and that they are willing to engage fans on a one-on-one basis. Here’s the full text of the body of the letter (or just click on the image to read the main text):
The Wrap reports that Industrial Light & Magic may open a facility in the United Kingdom to “take advantage of foreign tax subsidies.” They’ve been scouting in East London, their source reports.
Lucasfilm rep Miles Perkins told them ILM has no plans to leave the Bay Area, but going overseas offers certain advantages:
Perkins likened any expansion in London to ILM’s announcement in 2012 that it was establishing a hub in Vancouver to work on specific projects. Like the U.K., certain Canadian cities such Vancouver offer more generous post-production tax credits and subsidies than California.
We’ve already heard rumblings that Episode VII may return the franchise to filming in Britain.
Corporate shenanigans. Jedi News spotted an interesting mention in a recent Variety story on Bob Iger and who might suceed him at Disney: “Many expect theme park and resorts chief Thomas Staggs to land the CEO role, although there are rumblings that Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy also may now be in the running.” Well, business isn’t exactly our division, but I suppose it wouldn’t be out of the question.
Randomly… Star Wars will be the first movie to be dubbed in Dine, the official language of the Navajo, KJZZ reports.
Deadline says that two dozen employees were laid off at Lucasfilm this week. We already heard there were layoffs, but this is the first word we’ve had on numbers. They say the cuts came in “financing, licensing and distribution.”
In an email to employees earlier this month, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said all significant organization changes at company would be completed by the end of April.
So hopefully this is the last we’ll hear of layoffs for the time being – unless Lucasfilm chooses to confirm the number.
UPDATE: A commenter on the Deadline piece going by ‘Ex-Lucas Employee’ says:
It wasn’t just 20. There were 300+ cuts three weeks ago and another 120-150 at Lucasfilm this week. It sounds like less because some of the 120+ this week are being required to work until as late as November if they want to receive severance.
So the number of people laid off this week may actually be significantly higher. I don’t know if we’ll ever get much official conformation on this, though.
RebelForce Radio is reporting that there have been layoffs at Lucasfilm today. People in “licensing, marketing,
and publishing” have been hit. No numbers yet, but here’s a bit of independent verification:
— Stacy Arnold-Strider (@batsnaps) April 16, 2013
We don’t know Arnold-Strider, but according to her Twitter bio she was a Product Development Manager. We’ll keep an eye out for any other details as they come.
UPDATE: LucasBooks’ editor Jenifer Heddle says there were no layoffs in publishing:
@clubjade No publishing layoffs.
— Jennifer Heddle (@jenheddle) April 17, 2013
Over the past couple weeks, we’ve said goodbye to a few, mocked more, and, well, went a tiny bit overboard with the dramatics. Just another week in Star Wars fandom…
The events of the past month have made it clear that Star Wars is undergoing a major shift, and it’s made a lot of fans question the Disney sale. And those words – the “Disney sale” – are part of the problem. The sale is over and done with. What we’re going through now is more jarring, and a lot more ambitious. We’re going through a Star Wars reboot.
Kotaku reported and GameInformer confirmed with Lucasfilm that the company is in the process of shutting down LucasArts. Kotaku says that 150 have been laid off and both Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313 have been canceled. Variety is reporting that the layoffs are spilling over to Industrial Light & Magic as well.
Here’s part of the official statement:
“After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.”
This has expected for a while, and there was plenty of speculation that LucasArts was headed for the bin even before Disney was in the picture.
Ron Gilbert, creator and co-creater of several of the company’s most iconic games, says goodbye to Lucasfilm Games.
Here’s the instructions from Lucasfilm:
- Share this message with your Star Wars friends.
- Take pictures in your Star Wars costumes (UPDATE: or Star Wars apparel!) with your local landmarks.
- Turn in the pictures with a signed copy of the release form (email or fax) to firstname.lastname@example.org, or 1-415-623-1107 (FAX: Attn: Mary Franklin). (Hint: don’t fax the photos!)
- Be sure to name the landmark, and area/city/country.
- You can start turning them in at any time. The sooner the better!
- The deadline is April 22nd to turn in pictures. But we’ll start putting them up soon after we get them
- Have Fun, and May the 4th Be With You!
With those last two points, I’m sure something big for Star Wars Day is planned! (Besides the 30th anniversary screenings of Return of the Jedi in Los Angeles.)
Grab that release form (Lucasfilm Personal Release 2013) and get out there and get some photos!
Extra Update: Please post on twitter or facebook or the like when you submit stuff!