Tag Archives: sam witwer

Interview: Randy Stradley & Douglas Wheatley on Dark Times

And you thought my con coverage was over! Here’s Randy Stradley, writer of Star Wars: Dark Times, and Douglas Wheatley, artist of Dark Times, discussing the start of the current arc, ‘A Spark Remains’. If you haven’t checked it out yet, Issue #1 came out in July, just before Comic-Con, and the second issue comes out today. While setting the stage for the activity in the first issue of ‘A Spark Remains’ (check out my review of #1 on Big Shiny Robot), the pair kept mum about the future of Jedi Dass Jennir and his friends, as well as other projects being worked on. Bonus: we get photobombed at the very end by a certain Sith voice actor.Dark Times: A Spark Remains #1

Highlights from EW’s Return of the Jedi 30th Anniversary Screening

ROTJ screening 30th anniversary may-4-2013

There was plenty to behold for the 30th anniversary screening of Return of the Jedi at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood as part of Entertainment Weekly’s first CapeTown Film Festival. Held on Star Wars Day, May the Fourth, the set of four screenings of the no-longer-final installment of the Star Wars saga brought out fans and celebs alike. With Jedi being my favorite Star Wars film, I was stoked to see it again on the big screen – twice! While we’ve already covered the news of Mark Hamill’s appearance after the evening screenings, there’s plenty more to share, including a visit from The Clone Wars cast and more! (Also check out my full photo album on Flickr!)

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The Clone Wars: Season Five finale screening at Lucasfilm

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On Friday night, Lucasfilm hosted a screening of the final season five arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars for fans and the crew of the show and their families at their main campus in San Francisco. Combining the last four episodes (including the premiere of ‘To Catch a Jedi’ and ‘The Wrong Jedi’), the audience was treated to a special presentation of the story, and was followed up with a question and answer session with Dave Filoni, Ashley Eckstein and Matt Lanter, moderated by Pablo Hidalgo. Also in attendance were Sam Witwer, the voice of Darth Maul; and Charles Murray, who wrote the story arc.

R2-D2 at LFL screening with JawaAfter a quick intro from Dave Filoni and producer Cary Silver (with Filoni officially accepting Bonnie Burton into the 104th Wolf Pack), they got the show started. Similar to other screenings where they have shown an entire story arc, this version included some extra scenes that didn’t fit into the original episodes, and perhaps also helped to tie the whole story arc together. As a bonus treat, Dave announced that the opening had been made for the screening: which was having The Clone Wars logo enter with the Star Wars theme music as if it were a Star Wars movie. Also, classic Star Wars wipes were used between several scenes that I hadn’t noticed before.

My spoiler-free review of the episodes: Holy cow! This is some of the best this show has ever done – with story, with animation and sound, everything. There is really something to seeing this show on a big screen that makes it so much better than watching it on a TV. But even without the Lucasfilm theater experience, this story will blow you away. We’ve already seen a fantastic scene with Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano at the end of ‘The Jedi Who Knew Too Much’, where their relationship changes with Ahsoka asking her master to trust her as she leaps into the maw of Coruscant. That’s just the start of some great character bits, with Matt Lanter and Ashley Eckstein (and several others) bringing the characters to life in a powerful way. And there’s some awesome action. And some stuff I didn’t expect at all. I’m sure there’s only so many ways I can say that this is amazing, but it truly is.

Before the Q&A started, Pablo answered two important questions that might have been on people’s minds: No, they weren’t going to take any questions on Episode VII or other non-TCW topics, and there is no official announcement yet on if/when/how Season Six (and later seasons) will be broadcast or otherwise enjoyed by the public.

The Q&A obviously covered a lot of the key stuff from the story arc, so I won’t talk about it until after all the episodes have aired. If you’re looking for hints for what happens, go back to see my write-ups from the USO screening for some of the questions and answers from that – part I and part II. If you want something not spoilery, Dave Filoni talked about the influence of his pets on the show, and when asked if he got a motion picture budget to make a Clone Wars movie, he’d spend most of it on hockey pants or crew jackets with rocket packs. This screening was Matt Lanter’s first time seeing the completed episodes, and he was pretty amazed by the final results on screen.

Thanks to Lucasfilm for hosting such a fantastic event. After seeing this screening and the USO screening, I really believe that The Clone Wars is best seen on the big screen, and LFL should keep that in mind for the fans, and fans should seek out any opportunity to watch it cinematically – like at the next Celebration they attend?

Roundup: Wrapping up the Maul/Death Watch story on The Clone Wars

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With ‘The Lawless’ airing last Saturday, the story arc of Darth Maul’s ambitions to become a major player in the galaxy have come to an end. Naturally, with many of the big developments that came out of this story, most notably the deaths of Pre Vizsla, Duchess Satine, and Savage Opress, and Maul being spared by Sidious, there’s a lot to talk about with Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Here’s a rundown of some of the buzz on Darth Maul / Death Watch storyline: Continue reading

Highlights of The Clone Wars Google Hangout with Dave Filoni and cast

With some big happenings in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, supervising director Dave Filoni took to the Internet with three cast members to discuss today’s episode, ‘The Lawless’, which concluded the Maul storyline and also preview the final story arc of the season, featuring Anakin and Ahsoka. Hosted by Pablo Hidalgo and Christian Blauvelt, the entire video session from Google hangout (more than 50 minutes) is now available online at Youtube, but here’s some of the key points (trying to keep it free of major spoilers for this episode and ones to come):

  • Sam Witwer talked quite a bit about Maul’s motivations for his entire story arc – getting from Spider-Maul to how he toys with the bounty hunters in ‘Eminence’ to his role in ‘The Lawless’.
  • One early scene that was voice recorded but cut out of ‘The Lawless’ before it was animated would have brought Anakin and Ahsoka into the episode.
  • Ashley Eckstein and Dave Filoni broached the final story arc a bit, with a big appearance of a returning movie character, who is viewed very differently by Ahsoka and Anakin.
  • We got to see a bunch of concept art, from ‘The Lawless’ and from next week’s ‘Sabotage’ as well as a preview clip of ‘Sabotage’, which introduces a David Caruso-inspired investigator, complete with sunglasses-on-and-off-ness.
  • Pablo Hidalgo took a couple questions from Twitter for Dave Filoni and the cast to answer, including some about the fate of Echo and Gregor, and the return appearance of Twilight, and the return of the Wolfpack.
  • Ashley Eckstein shared a great story about her first encounter with Matt Lanter on the set.
  • Dave Filoni started talking about the machinations against the Jedi – not just in reducing their numbers, but in how Palpatine works to reduce their reputation and influence.
  • Noticeably not answered: anything specific about season six.

Overall, a lot of fun and I hope that we get more of these types of events with the cast and crew, especially with some of the voice talent of recurring but not main show characters, like Sam Witwer (who gave a great interview with Christian Blauvelt on Hollywood.com).TCW-GoogleHangout-Filoni

Hang out with The Clone Wars cast and crew on Google+ after ‘The Lawless’ today

TCW Google hangout

Don’t forget that Dave Filoni and three cast members of Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be taking questions in a Google+ hangout today – at 10:30 am Pacific / 1:30 pm Eastern, after today’s airing of ‘The Lawless’. Sam Witwer (“Darth Maul”), Matt Lanter (“Anakin Skywalker”), and Ashley Eckstein (“Ahsoka Tano”) will be chatting alongside supervising director Filoni and the event will be hosted by Pablo Hidalgo and Hollywood.com’s Christian Blauvelt. Join the event on Google+, or watch the livestream on youtube.

To get you ready for the hangout, Christian Blauvelt has a great spoiler-free interview with Sam Witwer that examines Maul’s journey on the show and ties together Maul, Sidious and Anakin Skywalker.

Obi-Wan goes undercover in ‘The Lawless’ on The Clone Wars

The Darth Maul storyline reaches its epic conclusion this Saturday with ‘The Lawless’, this week’s episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. With Satine deposed on Mandalore, and the Jedi ordered to not follow up on the menace of Darth Maul, it’s up to Obi-Wan to go rogue and save his duchess. Both of the previews for this week refer back to some classic scenes from A New Hope, but also we see the return of Twilight, with Obi-Wan as Rako Hardeen in the first clip. In the second clip, below, Obi-Wan does some elevator improvisation after he realizes he is a little short for a Mandalorian. And in the third clip, Darth Sidious shows up for his first in-person appearance on the show (in all previous episodes, Sidious has only appeared as a hologram). Continue reading

The Clone Wars continues Maul’s machinations with ‘Shades of Reason’

Darth Maul has assembled his army from the underworld, and his next step is to help Pre Vizsla take over Mandalore from Duchess Satine, in this week’s episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars – ‘Shades of Reason’. Interesting title for a storyline about the action-heavy Sith Lord. Once viewed as an instrument of rage, he’s now taken on the mantle of mastermind. In the clip above, he spells out his plan to his allies. Satine gets upstaged by Pre Vizsla when publicly addressing the crisis manufactured by Maul, in the clip below.

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Several Annie nominations for The Clone Wars, ILM, LEGO Star Wars team

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!)

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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.

Get ready for The Clone Wars S5 to start Saturday morning!

Counting down for the first episode of The Clone Wars season five, ‘Revival’ coming out Saturday morning on Cartoon Network (9:30 am on PT/ET, 8:30 am Central). The official site has a preview of Darth Maul exerting his alpha dog status over his brother Savage Opress. But Savage isn’t happy about being relegated to apprentice again. After last week’s fan screening of the first two episodes at Lucasfilm, a Q&A with Dave Filoni, Joel Aron, and Ashley Eckstein focused on Ahsoka’s journey and the return of Darth Maul.

The Daily.com has an exclusive preview clip for the entire season, with Dave Filoni describing how this season is a great place to jump in and get caught up with the Star Wars adventure, and how far they’ve come since they started the show.

Here’s more to get you psyched for ‘Revival’ and the kickoff of the fifth season: