Time for a new colossal-sized episode of Star Wars Story Talk as Yowie the Skunk, Baby Jawa, and I cover the latest in Star Wars stories, and we have a lot to talk about: a few recent Star Wars events and check out not one, not two, but three Star Wars books! I give a recap of all the Star Wars goings-on at Salt Lake Comic Con, held at the beginning of September, plus talk a bit on Star Wars Day at the San Diego Padres, and dive into three books: the newest Star Wars Little Golden Book: I Am a Princess, and Star Wars: Aliens of the Galaxy by Jason Fry and the newly released Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual History, Updated and Expanded Edition by Pablo Hidalgo. Plus an update on Wear Star Wars Every Day and a triple dose of Baby Jawa fun time! Continue reading
LEGOLAND California announced a major addition to their LEGO Star Wars Miniland to open in March 2017. While the Carlsbad theme park currently has Star Wars miniland dioramas representing key scenes from the first six films, as well as a jumbo-sized Death Star model, they are planning a whole set of scenes to build The Force Awakens into their fantastic Miniland style.
Joined at the press conference by a lifesize LEGO R2-D2, LEGOLAND California Resort’s General Manager Peter Ronchetti detailed the plans for The Force Awakens Miniland Model Display at the theme park:
“Right now, at our secret Model Shop in Carlsbad, Master Model Designer Nik Ehm of our Merlin’s Magic Making team is working on creating six scenes that represent the first 30 minutes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” said Ronchetti. “There are two primary focal points – the more traditional character-driven scenes on the planet of Jakku, and an enormous LEGO model of the Star Destroyer Finalizer. At 16-feet long, it will be the longest LEGO Star Wars Miniland model ever created!”
According to the press release, the scenes, which will be in the center of LEGO Star Wars Miniland and feature lights, sound effects and animation that bring the scenes to life, will include:
- Kylo Ren’s capture of Poe on Jakku
- Rey’s rescue of BB-8
- Poe and Finn’s escape from the Finalizer
- The wreck of Finn and Poe’s TIE Fighter
- Rey, Finn and BB-8’s escape from Niima Outpost
- The escape from the Starship Graveyard
The park announced that this new model display will open to the public for their annual LEGO Star Wars Days on March 4-5, 2017, perfect for spring break.
“At LEGOLAND California Resort, we pride ourselves in innovation, creativity and memorable experiences for our millions of guests we see each year and 2017 continues that tradition,” said Ronchetti. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens set records as the top-grossing film nationally of all time and we’re excited to bring it to life here in our popular LEGO Star Wars Miniland!” said Ronchetti.
Other upcoming additions to the LEGO-themed resort in 2017 include an expansion for the LEGOLAND Water Park, called Surfer’s Bay, and the addition of NINJAGO themed rooms and suites to the main hotel, replacing the castle themed rooms, with the plan to open a new separate LEGO Castle themed hotel in 2018, in front of Sea Life Aquarium.
The new The Force Awakens model will be replacing the model currently in the center of LEGO Star Wars Miniland: a large diorama depicting the Battle of Christophsis from 2008’s The Clone Wars animated film. This diorama, which features Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-wan Kenobi and Captain Rex leading clone forces against an army of battle droids and larger weaponry amid the crystalline buildings of Christophsis, is one of the original seven dioramas from when LEGO Star Wars Miniland opened in 2011. I hate to see older exhibits taken down, but a sixteen-foot Star Destroyer towering over the guests will certainly bring a wow factor as a centerpiece to the whole Miniland experience that just isn’t there presently. I’d love to see a built-out Niima Outpost, complete with Unkar Plutt’s shop, and the spaceport, and will be interesting to see how they incorporate a different scale for the spaceship chase dioramas.
While I am certainly looking forward to seeing The Force Awakens brought to LEGO Star Wars miniland, I still feel that there is so much more they could do – after all, there’s Rebels and the LEGO The Freemaker Adventures also to build on, and by the time this opens in 2017, Rogue One will have been released. But I also know that there’s not a lot of real estate in the LEGO Star Wars Miniland area without doing some major surface regrading as the area is terraced on the side of a hill. Hopefully they are planning ahead to where will they put the eventual Episode VIII & IX displays!
Check out the official announcement video for a sneak peek at some of the early renderings of how the new models will appear in Miniland (For just the Star Wars portion of the announcement, watch from 0:19 to 0:49):
Star Wars Story Talk (AKA the show formerly known as Unboxing Star Wars) gets in one more episode before Star Wars Celebration Europe! This time, Baby Jawa, Yowie the Skunk, and I try some snacks and review two books: LEGO Star Wars: The Chronicles of the Force, by Adam Bray, David Fentiman, and Cole Horton; and the junior novelization of The Force Awakens by Michael Kogge. Plus a little update on where I’ll be in the coming weeks —Star Wars Celebration Europe and San Diego Comic-Con. Hamburger Helper, Cheez-It crackers, and of course some Baby Jawa fun time!
→ LEGO Star Wars: Chronicles of the Force – A fun and fact-filled guide to both Star Wars and LEGO Star Wars in particular. Lots of focus on LEGO minifigures and sets with plenty of call outs about the story of Star Wars. Plus the exclusive Unkar Plutt’s thug minifigure.
→ Star Wars: The Force Awakens junior novel – Thumbs up! Michael Kogge pens the adaptation of the film for the younger audiences. Quite a few scenes in it that weren’t in the film, and we see a few scenes a bit differently as well. Plus an insert of color photos from the movie.
→ Cheez-It Star Wars crackers – The cheesy square crackers have Star Wars shapes stamped into them! A Star Wars food tie-in done right.
→ Ultimate Hamburger Helper – Star Wars – Barely a tie-in. The food’s the same. Just an offer for $5 of movie concessions if you submit a photo of a receipt showing the purchase of 3 or more boxes. A Star Wars food tie-in done pretty sad.
Where to see jawajames at Star Wars Celebration Europe:
→ Friday: STEM Heroes and Heroines of Star Wars, 12:00p to 1:00p, Star Wars Fan & Collector’s Stage, with Tricia Barr, Cole Horton, Kevin Beentjes, and Hannah Gillis.
→ Saturday: International Star Wars Fandom, 10:30a to 11:30a, Star Wars Fan & Collector’s Stage, with Mark Newbold (UK), Tim Veekhoven (Belgium), Johanna Nybelius (Sweden), and Kevin Beentjes (Netherlands).
Note: DK Publishing provided a copy of LEGO Star Wars: Chronicles of the Force for review.
The hunt for a new name for my video series is over! Since we mostly focus on the latest in new Star Wars storytelling in TV, films, books, comics, and events, Unboxing Star Wars is now Star Wars Story Talk! Yowie the skunk, Baby Jawa, and I review the latest book for the kid set: Star Wars: ABC-3PO, by Calliope Glass and Caitlin Kennedy, with illustrations by Katie Cook. We also flash back to LEGO Star Wars Days held earlier this month at LEGOLAND California and discuss the new LEGO Star Wars TV series, The Freemaker Adventures. For more details on the LEGOLAND event, check out my article on starwars.com: LEGO Star Wars Days. Plus random fun with a Jawa buddy, and then some Baby Jawa fun time!
→ Star Wars: ABC-3PO – Two thumbs up! Love the Katie Cook illustrations and fun rhymes by Calliope Glass and Caitlin Kennedy. Great for fans whether kids or parents! (For ages 3-5)
→ LEGOLAND California: LEGO Star Wars Days 2016 – A lot of fun! In a year without any new permanent Star Wars additions to Miniland, the park still knows how to make a great Star Wars event with plenty of unique activities including photo ops with costumers from the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, and Mandalorian Mercs; the really awesome Fan Gallery, showcasing amazing Star Wars-themed builds from LEGO fans; family build, trivia and costume contests; and a bunch of scavenger hunts. Plus sneak preview screenings of the first episode of LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures.
→ LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures. Thumbs up! If you’re a fan of the previous LEGO Star Wars series, this new show on Disney XD will delight! Maybe a little more kid-focused than some of the previous series, it still contains the great mix of Star Wars stories with LEGO humor, and introduces a new set of heroes!
Note: Disney-Lucasfilm Press provided a copy of Star Wars: ABC-3PO for review.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is coming this summer, and the teaser trailer is pretty cute. (Sorry, that’s all I got today.)
Target is sponsoring a free event in Los Angeles this weekend, December 12 & 13. Dubbed the Star Wars Galactic Experience, it will include activities where you can use the Force, an exhibition from Rancho Obi-Wan, LEGO TIE Fighter building and origami making. It also has something called Galaxy Show: “Discover a galaxy of hidden Star Wars constellations.” Sounds intriguing. You’ll find it from 10 am to 10 pm at L.A. Live next to the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
The Rancho Obi-Wan exhibit will include a complete collection of carded vintage Star Wars action figures from 1977 to 1985. The Star Wars Galactic Experience will also have exclusive Star Wars merchandise.
While winter brings the cold across much of the U.S., southern California stays snow-free near the coast – except at LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad. The theme park puts on its annual winter celebration, Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights, and Baby Jawa, Grandma Jawa and I got the opportunity to check it out. This was a big treat for baby girl as it was her first time in the snow! Plus we got a chance to see Star Wars miniland and the rest of the park.
With so much going on in the world of Star Wars, I recap some of the latest releases with a new Unboxing Star Wars video, with Yowie and Baby Jawa. We review ‘Brothers of the Broken Horn’ from Star Wars Rebels (yay for the return of our beloved pirate captain, Hondo Ohnaka!), the new Battlefront: Twilight Company novel, Shattered Empire comics, and even talk about LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales and the new Insider issue. Brought to you by the letters S and W!
The first six Star Wars movies will get a retelling in LEGO. Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales, a limited 5-episode series, will air on Disney XD “later this year,” per The Hollywood Reporter. The saga will be told through the eyes of Threepio and Artoo:
Set after the Rebel Alliance victory on Endor seen at the end of Return of the Jedi, the droids are regaling the assembly with their adventures that led them to their present situation. An accidental kidnapping leads to a new adventure that progresses to the retelling of the saga in chronological order, from The Phantom Menace to Return of the Jedi.
There’s no exact date yet, but I expect it won’t be long before The Force Awakens release in December.
UPDATE: Per writer Michael Price, The New Yoda Chronicles will debut May 3rd at 9:00 p.m. on Disney Channel before moving to DisneyXD for the 4th.
Getting us ready for May the 4th’s release of The New Yoda Chronicles on DisneyXD, LEGO has released a set of mini movies written by Michael Price. Helping transition viewers from the prequel trilogy to the original trilogy timeframe, these four shorts star Yoda, Vader, and the younglings. See Episode 4: Fall of the Republic above and watch the rest below the cut.