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:
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).
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.
Turning to Star Wars for comedy value is nothing new – in the past few years, three Family Guy parodies and three Robot Chicken specials have mined the saga for laughs. But LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace breaks some new ground for Star Wars entertainment: not only is it funny and full of jokes, it also tells a new adventure that builds on both the classic and prequel trilogies. It breaks from the style of the LEGO Star Wars video games by having the characters talk rather than just use gestures and non-word vocalizations, but it would be slow to tell a story if all the dialogue had to be pantomimed. The Padawan Menace in two words, stolen from one of the younglings: Totally Awesome! (more…)
Friday is traditionally Star Wars day at Comic-Con, and we had a full slate of Star Wars-related panels, and Seth Green returned to crash another one of them. While there was no Star Wars Spectacular, attendees in San Diego got their fill from different Star Wars licensees.
Del Rey’s Star Wars book panel was minimally staffed this year – only editor Shelly Shapiro and Choices of One author Timothy Zahn were up on stage. Shapiro gave a quick overview of upcoming titles (both novels and reference guides) and release dates from Del Rey, with no new title announcements. She did mention that in X-Wing: Mercy Kill there will be two Wraith Squadrons, and neither knows about the other. The original novella being written for Lost Tribe of the Sith print edition was described as a “big chunk” by John Jackson Miller, lurking in the audience.
Tim answered questions about Thrawn’s characteristics. Shelly responded that the canceled Blood Oath is essentially erased and overwritten in the timeline, while Imperial Commando 2 isn’t being pursued for the near future, though they do want to finish the series. Tim talked about having his bits of his EU works overwritten by George Lucas by using Bill Slavicsek’s analogy of working in Star Wars: playing on George Lucas’ driveway when he could back up the truck at any moment. He also gave his views of how the Force works: for power or guidance, with Yoda focusing more on listening to the Force for guidance over using it for power. More questions focused on Tim’s response to Mara Jade’s death (and how Tim would have written Serenity), Shelley’s views on character death and the anecdotal revelation that George Lucas gave the approval to kill off Han Solo when they were developing Vector Prime for NJO (only Luke and Leia were declared no-kill). And, of course, some of the usual questions about continuity and such.
You can check out the Del Rey panel for yourself: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
Randy Stradley, in his Imperial officer uniform, started off Dark Horse’s Star Wars panel with some minor announcements (apparently New York Comic Con will get the official announcements): Star Wars comics being finally available digitally (some even for free), a new John Ostrander and Jan Duursema project, a new John Jackson Miller project, and a new Tom Taylor project. He then got all the panelists to reveal their favorite Star Wars comics moments, which led to hoojibs. Some further announcements include the opportunity for The Clone Wars comic story between seasons 4 and 5, and that one The Clone Wars comic story will be adapted an story arc for the show, and a new Vader project by Haden Blackman. Most of the Q&A was directed at Holocron keeper, Leland Chee, but then later went to hoojib zombies, constantly making the galaxy bigger, and another new series – Agent of the Empire, with a focus away from the Jedi or Sith. And Seth Green took the podium in this panel to relate his favorite Star Wars comics: Tag and Bink, and mentioned that his upcoming animated Star Wars comedy series may “smell like Robot Chicken”.
The LEGO Star Wars panel started off Friday morning as a one-stop shop for all things LEGO Star Wars: a little look at the most recent LEGO Star Wars video games, some of the upcoming LEGO Star Wars building sets, including a new TIE Fighter set, and the new Queen Amidala figure, and ending with a few clips of the LEGO Star Wars animated special, The Padawan Menace, which aired last night on Cartoon Network (and will be running a few more times over the weekend). My recommendation: watch this hilarious animated special. While it takes place in the Clone Wars and focuses on C-3PO (voiced by Anthony Daniels) as he manages a group of unruly padawans, while Yoda and a youngling named Ian (or is it really someone else we know that’s just one letter off?) try to keep Asajj Ventress from stealing some plans. Written by Michael Price (from The Simpsons), there is a lot of fun and comedy here for all Star Wars fans. It was revealed after the panel that The Padawan Menace will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 16, to coincide with Blu-ray release of the Star Wars saga.
Coming soon spotted a LEGO Star Wars poster at at the Licensing International Expo that promises a TV special for Fall 2011. They also mention “a second animated series” with “a completely new and fun direction” that could be either this or the Seth Green comedy show. I don’t even know anymore.
Last Thursday, Legoland California opened up their Star Wars area in Miniland with some big fanfare. The official ribbon cutting was done by Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher, and Carson Weiner, a young Star Wars fan representing the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Also on hand for the celebration were James Arnold Taylor and Catherine Taber of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and about 60 costumed members of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion. Other VIPs included skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and “Wait, I was in Star Trek not Star Wars” Christian Slater and Dancing with the Stars‘ Brooke Burke.
The LA Times reports that the Legoland theme park in Carlsbad, California is planning on opening a Star Wars themed area in Miniland within the park on March 31, 2011. The area will include 2,000 Lego models covering all six films and The Clone Wars. While the park already has a few life-size Lego characters, additional dioramas showcasing Naboo, Geonosis, Kashyyyk, Mustafar, Tatooine, Hoth, Endor and Christophsis will be constructed. Coming off of a top attendance record for last year, Legoland hopes to break that record with the new Star Wars area this year, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, which also goes in depth on what the planetary dioramas will depict.
On hand for the official announcement at Legoland were costumed members from Rebel Legion and the 501st Legion. Legoland isn’t the only theme park with Star Wars attractions opening this year – Disneyland and Disney World will both be re-opening the revamped Star Tours: The Adventure Continues for the summer.
California a little too far to reach? Legoland Denmark and Germany will also be getting the Star Wars areas later in the year.
Namesake corner. Mara Jade is one of Crave’s ten female characters that would kick your face in. Uhh, thanks? I think. Also, apparently the Galaxies trading card game has another Mara card, yet again with art that I don’t totally hate (fourth row here, in wallpaper size and everything. Despite smearing their first offering with an April Fools, I don’t dislike it. One just gets a bit tired of the leather jumpsuit T&A, though it does come in handy for mocking up a cover for the faux smut.)
Upcoming. Sue Rostoni confirms that Kemp’s Crosscurrent sequel will get a June 2011 release, pushing the Reaves/Bohnhoff holostar novel up to March. And Alex Irvine drops a few hints about what to expect from his Nomi Sunrider novel. And some people say there are too many big 3 novels…
The blogside. Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff looks at Star Wars as philosophy. (Psst… Googling ‘Midichlorian Rhapsody’ brings up this, filk fans.)