The circle is now complete! Mythbusters, the Discovery Channel show that attempts to confirm or bust urban legends and Hollywood magic by recreating the circumstances and using science to explain, is leading off their 2014 season with a special devoted to Star Wars.
The January 4 episode (Discovery at 8pm ET/PT) features hosts and former ILM special-effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, along with team members Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci, and Kari Byron as they verify the plausibility of several epic Star Wars stunts. Joined by R2-D2, Chewbacca, members of the 501st Legion and actress Sophia Bush, the two build teams will take on some of the favorite scenes, hoping to find out answers to questions posed by Star Wars fans for years:
Before the show opening on Sunday, I took a tour of the main convention floor of Star Wars Celebration Europe in Essen, Germany. Check out all the cool ship models and other dioramas from the Belgian 501st Legion, as well as a peek inside the Rancho Obi-Wan Experience and LEGO displays from Halles 11 and 12 of Messe Essen.
And below, a video of the Fan Hall booths in Halle 5, including the R2 Builders Club, Rebel Legion and 501st Legion and other fan organization booths.
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!)
Andrew Liptak, who troops with the 501st New England Garrison, fires back at Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, who included the Star Wars Reads Day at Massachusetts’ Abington Public Library in his ‘Waste Book’ and implied that the $365 in question went to Lucasfilm.
Special guests The 501st is bringing a rancor to Orlando. Built out of foam by Pizzazz Scenic Contractors, Roxy the Rancor will be avaliable for folks to take pictures with. (Not, alas, wrestling.)
Panels. Still waiting on the schedule, but here’s something new and different: Historian Cole Horton and illustrators Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas will present From World War to Star Wars. The panel, held in the University Room (also new!) will “give fans a rare look into the in-universe parallels and real-world connections between the Second World War and the Star Wars Universe.” This is definitely more of the type of panel I was hoping to see, so it bodes well for the rest of the schedule, I think.
Saturday was the first day of the inaugural Course of the Force lightsaber relay, helping to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation while celebrating geekery on its way from Santa Monica to San Diego and Comic-Con. Ready for your “Awww..” moment? Skip to 11:45 in the video above to see the last runner of the day – the king of fast, in his adorable Artoo costume!
Sunday will continue the relay from Redondo Beach to Huntington Beach, where there will be another Course of the Force conival at the HB pier (4pm to 9pm), including free performances by The Spazmatics at 6pm, and Dan Finnerty & The Dan Band at 8pm. The relay journey continues on Tuesday and Wednesday, going from Oceanside to Pacific Beach to downtown San Diego and Comic-Con!
Hoping to bring in more visitors, Legoland California has made some minor updates to their Star Wars miniland area, as well as hosting a series of Star Wars Days over the past few weekends to hype up the fun over the Spring Break period. Costumed members of the 501st and Rebel Legion were on hand to help add to the festivities in the Carlsbad theme park.
While Star Wars miniland only opened a year ago with seven dioramas (one for each of the main saga movies, and one for The Clone Wars,) in the theme park industry, you’ve got to keep things fresh (or at least advertise as such) to attract visitors. So this year, the Lego builders have created several additions to the miniland area:
A number of Star Wars artists and fans have pitched in their talents to help raise money to defray the health care costs of little Princess Leah Esquenazi. As we reported last year, when Leah was just two-months old, she came down with a mysterious illness that kept her mostly hospitalized, and the Star Wars fan community rallied to help her parents offset the costs of her medical bills. Now Leah is over a year old, and continues to require hospitalized ventilator support with the diagnosis of a mitochondrial illness. An ebay auction started on May 25th with over 100 unique and rare Star Wars art pieces and craft items to raise money for Leah’s care. Right now, there are items donated by Matt Busch, Randy Martinez, Amanda Howard, Michael Ramirez, and Joe Corroney.
My friend Lesley, of the 501st Legion’s Southern California Garrison, has been busy organizing the auction, and has a photo album of the donated art pieces. Follow the auction news on Facebook at facebook.com/ArtForLeah. After only 24 hours, there’s already over $1,000 in bids for items. A second group of auction items will going up for bid in a few days. You can also follow Leah and her family via their blog. Check out the auction and find a piece of your own to bid on!