Tag Archives: 501st legion

Star Wars Miniland at Legoland California adds a few more bricks

Boba Fett and LEGO Boba FettHoping 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:

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Star Wars art auction to raise money to help one-year-old Princess Leah

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!

Roundup: It’s Phantom Menace 3D day

The Phantom Menace is loose! Run for your lives! Or, chill out as we round up some of the press floating around about the movie. (And don’t forget that the new Her Universe stuff is now on sale!) Onward!


Reviews are in! MTV rounds up a couple from the pros. Our pal Bryan Young liked it. On the 3D, he says, “There was never a moment where I thought it was too overwhelming or too underwhelming.” Brian at Roqoo Depot is also favorable, calling it, “the single greatest post-processed 3D film that has graced the silver screen.”


Over at Entertainment Weekly, George Lucas talks about the 3D conversions came out of his efforts to get movie theaters to switch to digital, and why the format is beneficial to movies.

They also have some neat remembrances on Star Wars from Jeff Jensen, Marc Snetiker, Anthony Breznican and Stephan Lee. (Apparently EW has no lady staffers with SW memories.)

There’s also a photo gallery on their best and worst moments of the saga.

In today’s article, Keith Staskiewicz takes a look at how Episode I influenced special effects. Would we have Gollum if not for Jar Jar?


If you’re intrigued by some of the details Lucas mentioned in the EW video, learn more about The Phantom Menace’s 3D conversion from movieScope.


I’ve been looking at a lot of Phantom Menace stuff this week, and my favorite thing so far? Next Movie’s Eight biopics recast with Jar Jar. Yes, it’s total clickbait, but you certainly know by now that I love me some funny.

If you’re looking for something (sort of) serious, they also have an item about why Millennials (you know, those kids people us GenXers and GenCatalanos yell at to ‘get off our lawns’) don’t hate the prequels. But it’s in the form of a one-act play, so it’s not that serious.


CNN has a more straight-faced look at Star Wars, fandom and the reaction to Episode I.  You know it’s serious because they enlisted Henry Jenkins.


The Dearborn Press and Guide highlights Steve Mitchell, a Michigan 501ster. The Great Lakes Garrison will appear at a Detroit Pistons game tonight and several Phantom Menace showings throughout the state tomorrow.


What’s TPM going up against at the box office? I don’t think it has much to worry about from The Vow, a romantic drama starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum… But the kid-friendly Journey 2: The Mysterious Island may also be a draw for the action-adventure crowd, not to mention the 3D big bucks.

Coming Soon is projecting The Vow to take the top spot, but has Episode I beating Journey by several million. Entertainment Weekly projects the same, but with a few more million between TPM and Journey.


And finally, for the bitterest kittens, here’s a little piece from my hometown paper: 10 reasons why not to see The Phantom Menace. (I’m rather partial to escaping to a more civilized age.) Or, swing over to see MTV’s Josh Horowitz argue TPM with Simon Pegg. Prequel-lovers, for you I have 10 reasons to love Jar Jar and MTV’s list of six underrated TPM characters.


We’ll be adding links to this post throughout the day, so check back!

In the news: George Lucas appears at Scream Awards; Mark Hamill and Red Tails at NYCC

Surprise! George Lucas made an appearance on stage at last night’s Scream Awards, as the Spike show honored Darth Vader as the ‘Ultimate Villian’.

The awards, which also gave the ‘Ultimate Scream’ prize to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and ‘Best Fantasy Actress’ to Natalie Portman for Black Swan, will air on Spike Tuesday, October 18.

NYCC. Mark Hamill and his evil laugh has his own panel at New York Comic-Con on Friday, and Tor.com has the report. Lucas’ new film, Red Tails, also got a panel, and has a new comic-style poster by Joe Kubert as well.

Amanda Lucas. We’re all familiar with her MMA fighting career, and in a new interview she addresses the constant and inevitable Star Wars references. “I hope to do my best on my own and prove I’m not just George’s daughter. I work just as hard as my training partners and I don’t want any special treatment. (But “Star Wars” is) going to get mentioned – it’s nothing I can hide,” she said on The MMA Hour.

Fandom. The 501st Legion’s Canadian Garrison is profiled by The Sudbury Star.

EUbits: Zahn to talk Heir, Fry suits up

More Heir. The Star Wars Books Facebook chat will be hosting a live chat with Timothy Zahn next Wednesday, September 28th. And on that note, Suvudu has a brief interview with editor Betsy Mitchell.

Events. Author Jason Fry dresses as a stormtrooper for a baseball game and tells the tale in his Mets blog.

Trailers. There’s one for Darth Vader: A 3-D Reconstruction Log. Of course.

Theories. Anarchist William Gillis’s vision of what happens to the Star Wars galaxy after Return of the Jedi.

Photo finish. Del Rey’s collection of Star Wars books.

Heir to the Empire annotation #14: Vader’s finest

For our final teaser annotation of September’s Heir to the Empire: 20th Anniversary Edition, Zahn talks about stormtroopers and namechecks the 501st.

After the 501st Imperial Legion fan group began, it was also established that Vader similarly liked to grab the Empire’s best stormtroopers and add them to his personal legion. I got to play with that idea a bit in later books..

We’re just two weeks and change away from the book’s September 6th release.

In the news: Fans love the Yoda statue, ILM may establish Canadian outpost


Emily Lewis, right, and her pal Jason at the Yoda Fountain. (Photo by Emily Lewis.

A dispatch from the mainstream. The Yoda statue at the Presidio is a landmark for Star Wars fans, an Associated Press article says this week. No, really? Other key Star Wars locales, like Tunisia and Lake Como, are also mentioned.

ILM looking north? The Hollywood Reporter says that Industrial Light + Magic is looking into opening a facility in Vancouver.

Your daily dose of stormtroopers. The Illinois 501st get profiled in the Chicago Tribune.

Baseball. The San Francisco Giants are freezing pitcher Brian Wilson (not the Beach Boy) in carbonite for the Star Wars day on September 4th. Wouldn’t it make more sense to freeze the visiting team’s pitcher?

Science! Spoilers are good for you, says a study by UC San Diego. Okay then!

Doing good: Princess Leah hanging in there

With coverage on Today, little Princess Leah Esquenazi is getting a lot more attention than just from Star Wars fans.

What started as word of mouth with Star Wars fans through a Facebook page and other online presences like the 501st, Artoo-Katee and even Steve Sansweet, has turned into nearly $20,000, a fundraiser raffle and lots of guesses to try and help this little baby with the mysterious illness that is affecting her muscles and breathing.

Her family is keeping everyone updated through a blog and are trying to stay positive.

If you are so inclined to help the family with a donation, there is a donation function on the web page.

The fandom minute: The Star Wars food truck and how Empire ruined everything

Since it’s a holiday weekend – at least here in the U.S! – and we all have other things going on, here’s a quick sweep through the week’s best fannish links.

Don’t forget about Free Comic Book Day!

Head to a local comic book store tomorrow to get free comics – including a Savage Oppress-centric Clone Wars offering from Dark Horse.

You can find a shop that’s celebrating the day using Free Comic Book Day’s store locater. Folks from the 501st Legion will be in costume at select locations, so check the website/Twitter/Facebook of your local garrison. (Or, if you know of one, post it in the comments!)