Star Wars Story Talk: Salt Lake Comic Con, Aliens of the Galaxy, & Year by Year

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Time for a new colossal-sized episode of Star Wars Story Talk as Yowie the Skunk, Baby Jawa, and I cover the latest in Star Wars stories, and we have a lot to talk about: a few recent Star Wars events and check out not one, not two, but three Star Wars books! I give a recap of all the Star Wars goings-on at Salt Lake Comic Con, held at the beginning of September, plus talk a bit on Star Wars Day at the San Diego Padres, and dive into three books: the newest Star Wars Little Golden Book: I Am a Princess, and Star Wars: Aliens of the Galaxy by Jason Fry and the newly released Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual History, Updated and Expanded Edition by Pablo Hidalgo. Plus an update on Wear Star Wars Every Day and a triple dose of Baby Jawa fun time! Continue reading

Wear Star Wars Every Day: Week 37


#WearStarWarsEveryDay kicked off a new challenge: the Star Wars podcast listener challenge for Force Friday (Sept. 30). Otherwise, just a regular week in wearing different Star Wars clothes every day – no new donations in Week 37, but we’ve already gotten some for Week 38. Thanks to everyone who has lent me a t-shirt that I’ve worn this week: Patricia, Bryan, Donna, James, and Lori!

Remember, every day I wear a new and different Star Wars apparel item, my daily pledge makers will chip in $4.65 to Collateral Repair Project! This week, we’ve got a mashup of The Force Awakens and The Little Prince, Admiral Ackbar for Rebel Legion, and some throwbacks to the past: classic posters, SW:CCG cards, stuff from two Celebration Europes, and one that was worn to the first Star Wars Celebration. Plus I recently got to talk up the Wear Star Wars Every Day charity fundraising campaign to my friends, Sarah and Rich, on the Skywalking Through Neverland podcast.

This review for Week 37 covers September 9 to September 16 of my wearathon, and an update on fundraising for Collateral Repair Project, a non-profit organization that provides emergency assistance, education, and community support to urban refugees.

Get more info on what Wear Star Wars Every Day is all about, or make a donation via GoFundMe or a per-day pledge. While each day I continue my project, another $4.65 is donated by our pledge makers, but I’d love to get that total up to $5.00 even (or higher!) for the last quarter of 2016.

LEGOLAND California announces new The Force Awakens models for 2017

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LEGOLAND California announced a major addition to their LEGO Star Wars Miniland to open in March 2017. While the Carlsbad theme park currently has Star Wars miniland dioramas representing key scenes from the first six films, as well as a jumbo-sized Death Star model, they are planning a whole set of scenes to build The Force Awakens into their fantastic Miniland style.

Joined at the press conference by a lifesize LEGO R2-D2, LEGOLAND California Resort’s General Manager Peter Ronchetti detailed the plans for The Force Awakens Miniland Model Display at the theme park:

“Right now, at our secret Model Shop in Carlsbad, Master Model Designer Nik Ehm of our Merlin’s Magic Making team is working on creating six scenes that represent the first 30 minutes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” said Ronchetti. “There are two primary focal points – the more traditional character-driven scenes on the planet of Jakku, and an enormous LEGO model of the Star Destroyer Finalizer. At 16-feet long, it will be the longest LEGO Star Wars Miniland model ever created!”

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According to the press release, the scenes, which will be in the center of LEGO Star Wars Miniland and feature lights, sound effects and animation that bring the scenes to life, will include:

  • Kylo Ren’s capture of Poe on Jakku
  • Rey’s rescue of BB-8
  • Poe and Finn’s escape from the Finalizer
  • The wreck of Finn and Poe’s TIE Fighter
  • Rey, Finn and BB-8’s escape from Niima Outpost
  • The escape from the Starship Graveyard

The park announced that this new model display will open to the public for their annual LEGO Star Wars Days on March 4-5, 2017, perfect for spring break.

“At LEGOLAND California Resort, we pride ourselves in innovation, creativity and memorable experiences for our millions of guests we see each year and 2017 continues that tradition,” said Ronchetti. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens set records as the top-grossing film nationally of all time and we’re excited to bring it to life here in our popular LEGO Star Wars Miniland!” said Ronchetti.

Other upcoming additions to the LEGO-themed resort in 2017 include an expansion for the LEGOLAND Water Park, called Surfer’s Bay, and the addition of NINJAGO themed rooms and suites to the main hotel, replacing the castle themed rooms, with the plan to open a new separate LEGO Castle themed hotel in 2018, in front of Sea Life Aquarium.

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The new The Force Awakens model will be replacing the model currently in the center of LEGO Star Wars Miniland: a large diorama depicting the Battle of Christophsis from 2008’s The Clone Wars animated film. This diorama, which features Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-wan Kenobi and Captain Rex leading clone forces against an army of battle droids and larger weaponry amid the crystalline buildings of Christophsis, is one of the original seven dioramas from when LEGO Star Wars Miniland opened in 2011. I hate to see older exhibits taken down, but a sixteen-foot Star Destroyer towering over the guests will certainly bring a wow factor as a centerpiece to the whole Miniland experience that just isn’t there presently. I’d love to see a built-out Niima Outpost, complete with Unkar Plutt’s shop, and the spaceport, and will be interesting to see how they incorporate a different scale for the spaceship chase dioramas.

While I am certainly looking forward to seeing The Force Awakens brought to LEGO Star Wars miniland, I still feel that there is so much more they could do – after all, there’s Rebels and the LEGO The Freemaker Adventures also to build on, and by the time this opens in 2017, Rogue One will have been released. But I also know that there’s not a lot of real estate in the LEGO Star Wars Miniland area without doing some major surface regrading as the area is terraced on the side of a hill. Hopefully they are planning ahead to where will they put the eventual Episode VIII & IX displays!

Check out the official announcement video for a sneak peek at some of the early renderings of how the new models will appear in Miniland (For just the Star Wars portion of the announcement, watch from 0:19 to 0:49):

Rogue One has a new composer: Michael Giacchino

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Michael Giacchino has replaced Alexandre Desplat as the composer for Rogue One, The Hollywood Reporter says today. The switch is due to scheduling issues stemming from the recent reshoots.

Giacchino has quite a long resume, including all three of the new Star Treks, several Pixar films (including The Incredibles and Up, which he won an Oscar for) and the upcoming Doctor Strange.

Wear Star Wars Every Day: Force Friday Podcast Listener Challenge

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As my Wear Star Wars Every Day charity fundraising campaign approaches the end of 9 months of wearing a different Star Wars-themed clothing item every day, it’s time to kick the fundraising up a notch, and Nick DiColandrea at Coffee with Kenobi has helped me find a way. In the past few months, several Star Wars podcasts, including Galactic Fashion, Skywalking through Neverland, and Coffee with Kenobi have had me as a guest to talk up my fundraising effort for Collateral Repair Project, a nonprofit that provides assistance, education, and community support for urban refugees in Amman, Jordan.

But now, Coffee with Kenobi has put out a challenge to their listeners to turn Force Friday (September 30) into a Force for good: making a one-day fundraising blitz for Wear Star Wars Every Day and Collateral Repair Project! And I’m putting out the call to other Star Wars podcasts to see who has the awesomest listeners.

So on Force Friday, September 30th, 2016, we’re having a one-day fundraising challenge. Every podcast can encourage their listeners to donate via the GoFundMe, and mention their podcast name in the comments. Nick at Coffee with Kenobi has set an ambitious goal of $500 raised just from Coffee with Kenobi listeners – who thinks that their podcast can do better than that?

So while you’re out stocking up on Rogue One merchandise, maybe toss a little bit of your Star Wars toy budget towards making life a little easier for refugees. I’ve got a cool shirt I’m saving for Force Friday, but if at least $75 gets donated, I’ll wear a bonus clothing item and post of a photo of that – a signed game-worn Durham Bulls R2-D2 jersey! (Remember, daily photos get posted on the Wear Star Wars Every Day Facebook page and on Twitter using #WearStarWarsEveryDay.

If your favorite podcast that covers Star Wars wants to show off that they have the galaxy’s best listeners, just drop me a line in the comments, or via Twitter @jamesjawa. And if that podcast wants to rally their listeners with me wearing their podcast swag if their team pulls ahead, we can arrange that!

Tom Baker on Rebels, his character the Bendu and seeing Star Wars for the first time

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Rebels’ biggest (sizewise) new addition is getting some it over at USA Today. They interview Tom Baker (best known as Doctor Who’s Fourth Doctor) on his addition to Star Wars as the character called Bendu.


Meanwhile, there’s a two part interview with Dave Filoni on StarWars.com looking back at Darth Vader and Ahsoka Tano in season two.

Video: Pablo Hidalgo on how the Lucasfilm Story Group are more than just ‘continuity cops’

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Pablo Hidalgo talks about the Lucasfilm Story Group on this week’s The Star Wars Show, and it’s a must-watch. (’96 GenCon? We knew him when.)

And here’s the extended half-hour interview:


Announced are two Rebels soundtracks and… These things. To be fair, the ILM Art Department Challenge winners are pretty neat.

Wear Star Wars Every Day: Week 36


Week 36 of #WearStarWarsEveryDay finishes up Salt Lake Comic Con and hits the milestone of Day 250! Big thanks to Karen, S, and J, for their donations in the past week, pushing us up to over $2,600 raised for Collateral Repair Project. Plus a fairly random assortment of Star Wars clothes – Thanks to everyone who has lent me apparel seen this week: Bryan, Paul, Donna, and Tyler!

Remember, every day I wear a new and different Star Wars apparel item, my daily pledgemakers will chip in $4.65! This week, we’ve got a Celebration V crew shirt, a Star Wars baseball mashup, 501st Legion and Rebel Legion shirts, a Fauxthentic History podcast shirt, and a women’s racerback tank top from Course of the Force. This review for Week 36 covers September 2 to September 8 of my wearathon, and an update on fundraising for Collateral Repair Project, a non-profit organization that provides emergency assistance, education, and community support to urban refugees.

Get more info on what Wear Star Wars Every Day is all about, or make a donation via GoFundMe or a per-day pledge. While each day I continue my project, another $4.65 is donated by our pledge makers, but I’d love to get that total up to $5.00 even (or higher!) for the last quarter of 2016.

TNT nabs Star Wars basic cable rights

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TNT and TBS will be the new basic cable home of the Star Wars franchise, per The Wrap. TNT will begin airing the first two trilogies later this month, beginning with The Phantom Menace on Tuesday, September 20. They’ll debut one film a night and finish up with a six-movie marathon on Sunday, September 25.

The multi-year licensing agreement also includes The Force Awakens (currently running on the premium channel Starz) and Rogue One. They’ll join the lineup in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Variety’s “industry sources” estimate the deal is worth “at least $250 million” for at least 10 films, with the rights for The Force Awakens and the upcoming movies in the range of $35-$40 million each. The deal runs through “at least” 2022. USA Network – which held the Star Wars basic cable rights back in the ’90s – and FX Networks were also in contention for the deal.