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. Continue reading
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!
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).
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.
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.
Sometimes Santa brings exactly what you’re looking for.
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! Continue reading
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.
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.
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.