March 26th, 2013 by jawajames · 4 Comments
Out today on DVD is the second LEGO Star Wars special, The Empire Strikes Out. Full of humor and voiced by some of our favorite Star Wars stars, like Anthony Daniels, Sam Witwer, and Brian Blessed, the story is set post-A New Hope, with Luke dealing with his newfound fame as a Rebel hero, Darth Vader dealing with a new rival (hint: see picture), and the Rebels taking a side trip to Naboo.
CraveOnline has a exclusive clip to help promote the release, Comingsoon.net has another exclusive clip, while From Bricks to Bothans has more of the marketing memes, and there’s a set of UK promotional shots of LEGO Vader out and about in London.
The program was originally aired on Cartoon Network last September, when we got a chance to chat with writer Michael Price about it and the first special, The Padawan Menace, and was nominated for an Annie Award for Best Animated Television Production for Children.
If you’re looking forward to more LEGO Star Wars animation, you’re in luck: three specials of The Yoda Chronicles, also by Michael Price, will be part of Cartoon Network’s 2013-2014 season. Recently on Twitter, Mike Price revealed the release date of the first special: May 29, as well as a guest star voice actor: Billy Dee Williams.
The DVD of The Empire Strikes Out comes with an exclusive Darth Vader with medal mini-figure. While the first special, The Padawan Menace, was released in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, this release is DVD only. Huh? Maybe combo packs are too confusing for some consumers.
Filed: star wars on tv
Tagged: lego star wars · michael price · the empire strikes out · the padawan menace · the yoda chronicles
March 13th, 2013 by jawajames · 2 Comments
The LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago opened up a new Star Wars miniland this weekend, and it is all The Phantom Menace. Located in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center is exhibiting three interactive dioramas showing off scenes from the first prequel film:
- The Naboo hangar, with launching starfighter and duel scene
- The Mos Espa podrace arena, with controllable Anakin and Sebulba podracers
- The Naboo plains battlefield, where Gungans and battle droids face off
The new set of Star Wars dioramas, a first for a U.S. LEGOLAND Discovery Center, is made with over 500,000 LEGO bricks and 2,000 mini figures. Additionally, the Chicago skyline diorama will also celebrate the opening by including Star Wars minifigures and other references in its display. The new miniland opened to the public this past weekend with a series of grand opening weekend festivities. One blogger reports their ‘preview night’ experience with lots of photos.
Unlike the miniland dioramas at LEGOLAND California (which previously announced some minor updates for this summer) which assemble characters in a blocky 4-6 inch height scale, these dioramas are at the scale of the regular LEGO mini-figures, so you’ll see your favorite LEGO figures from The Phantom Menace in the exhibit (including a hugely populated podrace arena grandstand).
This is the first Star Wars miniland at any of the indoor LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in North America. The Manchester UK Discovery Center was the first to receive the Episode I miniland, though only from February through June, and there are some hints that the Chicago installation may be temporary as well.
Filed: star wars
Tagged: lego · lego star wars · the phantom menace · theme parks
January 30th, 2013 by jawajames · 2 Comments
In its announcement of the opening of the LEGOLAND hotel and the rest of its 2013 plans, the Carlsbad theme park slipped in a tidbit for fans of its Star Wars miniland. In the press release reposted by Endor Express, the resort’s general manager Peter Ronchetti talks about the hotel, the upcoming Legends of Chima attractions (tied into a new toyline and cartoon), and this:
“And LEGO Star Wars fans rejoice!” continued Ronchetti, “we’ll be gaining another exciting addition in June with more details to come but it will definitely enhance our guest experience.“
The Star Wars miniland at LEGOLAND California opened in 2011 with 7 dioramas, focusing on the saga films and The Clone Wars. At the launch of the 2012 summer season, the theme park added some minor improvements to the dioramas and a lineup of Star Wars character mini-figure statues. My guess at this time is that the 2013 addition will be along the same lines as the 2012 improvements: nothing huge, but enough to make a deal about to draw in local fans, and also host more Star Wars themed weekends.
Filed: star wars
Tagged: lego · lego star wars · theme parks
January 28th, 2013 by jawajames · 1 Comment
Cartoon Network has put out their lineup for the 2013-2014 season, using a multi-city road tour for the next few weeks to promote their new and returning shows. Most notably, they are hyping three quarterly specials for LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles, and saying nothing about the return of The Clone Wars. Does this mean that The Clone Wars is leaving Cartoon Network for the fall? Or just that it is still in negotiation (ie, they can’t announce anything yet)? They list their returning shows, and the adventures of Skyguy and Snips aren’t on it.
But here’s the description of The Yoda Chronicles:
LEGO Star Wars returns in epic style with THE YODA CHRONICLES, a thrilling, funny and action-packed new LEGO Star Wars story told in three animated TV specials! Set in the “Prequel” Star Wars timeline, THE YODA CHRONICLES stars the one and only Yoda—the Jedi Master who has seen it all, done it all, and taught generations of Jedi Knights—in an all-new adventure. With the help of a fresh class of Padawans, Yoda leads the Jedi in a desperate fight to stop Darth Sidious and his minions from creating a new super-weapon that could crush the Republic and win the war for the forces of Evil.
Some of those news articles are claiming that the Yoda Chronicles are set in the original trilogy timeframe – I think this definitively says “prequel era” with such keywords as Republic.
Back to The Clone Wars: Is this the end of the show, or will Disney XD (or another Disney channel) be picking it up? We know that they have been working on season six, and perhaps a network change has prevented them from talking about it much officially.
And also coming back: The Powerpuff Girls in a new special!
EDIT: While the list of returning shows (and new shows like Teen Titans Go! and Total Drama All Stars) is primarily for their prime-time lineup on weeknights, there is also the lack of their DC Nation block of cartoons (Green Lantern, Young Justice, etc.), which follows The Clone Wars on Saturday mornings. Is the Saturday morning crowd just not big enough to mention in their release? However, other shows which have been aired on Saturdays are listed in their returning shows: Beyblade: Metal Fury and Pokemon: Black and White – are they being bumped up to primetime, or are they anchoring the Saturday morning timeslot. What does this also mean for the DC Nation shows? Just like Clone Wars, are they not important enough to list, still in negotiation, or not coming back? It seems that most comic books sites are calling Green Lantern and Young Justice as cancelled.
Filed: the clone wars · tv
Tagged: lego star wars · tcw: season 6 · the yoda chronicles
December 3rd, 2012 by jawajames · 1 Comment
The nominations for the 40th annual Annie Awards, showcasing the best in animation, were announced today, with a few nominations headed towards Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Joel Aron got a nomination for individual achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production (for the second year in a row).
Sam Witwer was nominated for voice acting for his role as Darth Maul in the season four finale ‘Revenge,’ while Keith Kellogg was a nominee for Character Animation in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production. The season five premiere, ‘Revival,’ was granted a nomination for Jason Tucker for Editorial in an Animated Television Production. The judges do love Maul.
Threshold Animation Studios earned an nomination for Best Animated Television Production For Children with their LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out, that aired back in September. See… more love for Maul! (Don’t forget our interview with writer Michael Price!)
Meanwhile, two teams from ILM got nominations for Animated Effects in a Live Action Production: The crews that worked on The Avengers and Battleship. Another ILM team was a nominee for
Thor’s abs and Hawkeye’s butt Character Animation in a Live Action Production for The Avengers.
Overall, Disney and Pixar picked up a handful of nominations across the board, including 3 Best Picture noms for Brave, Wreck-It Ralph, and Frankenweenie. On the TV side, DreamWorks’ Dragons: The Riders of Berk snagged a slew of nominations for its crew.
“I am very excited about this year’s slate of nominees!” ASIFA-Hollywood president, Frank Gladstone, said in a statement. “We had more submissions to choose from this year than for any prior year in Annie Award history, running the gamut from big studio features to indie films, television series to internet shows, games, shorts and, for the first time, student films, all showcasing the huge variety of venues, creativity, technical innovation, and story-telling that our art form has to offer.”
The 40th Annual Annie Awards will take place on February 2, 2013 at UCLA and are selected and presented by the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood.
Filed: the clone wars
Tagged: annie awards · awards · ilm · joel aron · lego star wars · michael price · sam witwer · tcw: season 4 · tcw: season 5
September 24th, 2012 by jawajames · 10 Comments
With LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out premiering this Wednesday night on Cartoon Network, I checked in with the show’s writer, Michael Price, who also wrote last year’s LEGO Star Wars special, The Padawan Menace. That first animated show (reviewed last year), which had Yoda, C-3PO and a young Han Solo, ranks up as the best Star Wars based comedy I had seen in years, and one of my top Star Wars on screen for 2011. In this interview, Michael talks about the comedy of The Empire Strikes Out, and the challenges of solo writing Luke and Vader. (more…)
Filed: interviews · star wars on tv
Tagged: interviews · lego star wars · michael price · the empire strikes out · the padawan menace
September 17th, 2012 by jawajames · 3 Comments
According to writer Michael Price on Twitter, there’s a new LEGO Star Wars cartoon coming out: The Empire Strikes Out. From the same crew that brought us LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace in 2011, which was one of the top Star Wars on screen in 2011 for me, the story is not a sequel to The Padawan Menace, but instead is a new adventure in the original trilogy era. Contributing voices are Anthony Daniels and Sam Witwer among others (likely to include Tom Kane, who also lent his Yoda voice to the first LEGO Star Wars outing).
Coming up before the season 5 premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on September 29, LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out will be premiering on Cartoon Network on Wednesday, September 26, and re-running over Thursday and Friday. Zap2It has the brief synopsis: “Shortly after the Death Star explodes, the rebels learn of a new Imperial threat.” And if you missed The Padawan Menace the first time around, it will also be airing again on Thursday and Friday.
With the first LEGO Star Wars special being such a marvelously entertaining show, I am very excited for LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out. Setting the DVR now!
Filed: star wars on tv
Tagged: lego star wars · the empire strikes out · the padawan menace
April 16th, 2012 by jawajames · 2 Comments
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:
Filed: star wars
Tagged: 501st legion · lego · lego star wars · rebel legion · theme parks
February 17th, 2012 by jawajames · 1 Comment
LEGO announced at Toy Fair that they have extended their license with Lucasfilm for Star Wars-themed toys, video games, etc. for another ten years. So not only will there be twenty new Star Wars LEGO building sets released in 2012, we’ll be seeing lots of LEGO Star Wars merchandise until 2022 (or probably longer).
As part of the announcement, they released some stats including that the LEGO Star Wars video game franchise has sold more than 30 million units with their four titles (and Joystiq seems to think they have a sequel in the works to their 2011 The Clone Wars video game). Also, from Toy Fair, Kotaku has some photos of some The Old Republic building sets and The Lord of the Rings sets (a new license for LEGO) and Collider’s got images of The Avengers sets. And for those who want to drool over all the revealed sets, FBTB has your full LEGO Star Wars set coverage from Toy Fair.
Filed: gaming · lucasfilm
Tagged: lego · lego star wars · licensees · lord of the rings · merchandise · superheroes · the old republic (mmo) · toy fair
December 31st, 2011 by jawajames · 3 Comments
Continuing our review of the year that was, we have a glimpse back at how Star Wars has been lighting up the video screens – mostly our televisions in 2011, with an epic year for The Clone Wars, and the Blu-ray release of the Star Wars saga.
Filed: star wars · star wars on tv · the clone wars
Tagged: best of 2011 · blu-ray · family guy · george takei · lego star wars · sdcc · simon pegg · spike tv · tcw: season 3 · tcw: season 4 · the old republic (mmo) · the phantom menace · video