The Force Awakens catchup: BB-8, livestream highlights and more

swca-bb8-jj-kkThe New York Times had a great feature on BB-8 over Celebration weekend, revealing two things. First, that the version during filming was “a prop built on rollers” – not the fully functional one we saw on stage last week. As mentioned by Kathleen Kennedy onstage, Disney CEO Bob Iger connected the dots, bringing in Sphero to help produce a practical model. And secondly, that a mini toy version – about the size of an apple and controlled via smartphone – will be in stores this holiday season. Bigger versions will (naturally) show up at Disney Parks. Of course, if you can’t wait that long, you can always get a Sphero and make your own….

→ Also in the NYT, a nice look at the folks behind Celebration and Star Wars, including Mary Franklin and Matt Martin.

→ StarWars.com has posted many of the livestream bits (Day 1, 2, 3, 4) as standalone videos: Interviews with Bob Iger, Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, Peter Mayhew and John Knoll and a very beardy teaser breakdown

→ Tosche Station were MVPs this Celebration. They have a thank you to Kathleen Kennedy and a nice roundup of what we learned about The Force Awakens. They also recorded several panels, including John Jackson Miller’s Writing in a Shared Universe, an interview with Ashley Eckstein, the (painful) canon panel, Star Wars Journalism, Del Rey, the Aaron Allston tribute and What Leia Means To Me

→ Mike Cooper at Eleven-ThirtyEight didn’t join us in Anaheim, but he did do some analysis of the teaser and other things we learned about TFA there.

→ An ode to Gary Fisher.

More penguins to squeeze: Mary Franklin on leaving Lucasfilm for ReedPOP

mary-franklinWe learned yesterday that Lucasfilm event lead Mary Franklin is heading to ReedPOP. And while we’ll still see her at Celebration – they produce the con and are under contract at least through Anaheim – it’s still a little bittersweet. Mary herself wrote about it today.

In addition to Celebration, ReedPOP puts on NYCC, C2E2, Emerald City Comicon and a wide selection of international events.

Celebration Anaheim on track to be “the biggest one yet”

celebration-anaheim

Celebration Anaheim (or, as known to us rebels, Celebration VII) now has a poster, revealed on Hero Complex. And it looks like sales are good:

“It’s going to be really interesting, because we are way ahead with ticket sales from where we usually are this far out,” said Mary Franklin, senior events and fan relations lead for Lucasfilm. “I feel safe saying this is going to be the biggest one yet.”

Mary goes on to play coy about The Force Awakens stuff at the con, but… We know, Mary. We know.

Video: Gareth Edwards accepts ALS ice bucket challenge


We’ve already seen J.J. Abrams and Mary Franklin (first at the Yoda fountain!) do the challenge, but what’s really interesting here is that it’s pretty much the first official Lucasfilm recognition (Star Wars uploaded the video) that Rian Johnson is on board. No one really doubts it at this point: Johnson’s rep has confirmed, he’s clearly had permission to be out there talking like it’s a done deal, but the lack of an official announcement has been puzzling.

Celebrities are doing the ice bucket challenge to raise money to fight Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.