On Station At Celebration: Day 3

April 18, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Celebration, Conventions, Events, News, Star Wars, Star Wars News | Leave a comment

on-station-at-celebrationStar Wars Celebration Anaheim day three I’m going to do a bit different by updating this as they day progresses since I have some time before the Star Wars Rebels Season Two global premiere. For starters, let’s begin with the New Allies & New Villains: Star Wars Rebels Season 2 panel.

As usual, there’s a bit of fun with the preshow, and I think it’s worth noting so people can get the full experience of Celebration. Mark Daniels read, in jest, a Chewbacca poem, then had young volunteers come up so they could play a game. The game involved several helmets on podiums (stormtrooper helmets, etc) and some big, stuffed Star Wars angry birds. The kids threw the angry birds at the helmets to knock them off and win a prize. The really little kids got some assistance from a giant, oversized Chewbacca angry bird which helped even the odds.

Star Wars Rebels Panel

Then host James Arnold Taylor came in with a humorous altered The Force Awakens teaser trailer that had him inserted into the scenes. Once the cast and crew came out on stage, they talked about being on a Star Wars show, Dave talked about selecting the cast, and then they pulled out the big guns with the trailer for season two. We hear the Emperor’s voice, we see Vader in space combat in his TIE fighter, commanding operations, and in a lightsaber fight with Kanan and Ezra. The crowd went nuts for Captain Rex as we see him on a mysterious planet winding up in a fight with Imperial walkers and with fellow clonetroopers at his side. We also see Hondo and what looks to be two new Inquisitors, possibly a male and a female (Sarah Michelle Gellar?). On top of that, Dee Bradley Baker is back as the clones and Rex. During the Q&A, a kid asked Dave how Rex survived and Dave actually gave him an answer saying it had to do with the season six episode where Fives told Rex about the Order 66 chip. Dave said Rex’s story was something he and George worked out. Part of it, as Dave put it, is that the truth can break any spell. Yet Dave also elaborated that as soon as Rex were to disobey Order 66, he’d be a traitor and would be killed, so there’s an untold story of how Rex escaped that. He also mentioned that Kanan doesn’t like Rex, which has to do with Kanan’s master being killed by clonetroopers during Order 66.

While Dave dodged the return of Cad Bane, he did whisper to a little girl who does the voice of Chopper, joking to the crowd that he told her the truth. Pretty funny.

Star Wars Rebels Press Conference

Later they did a press conference which I was able to attend and was really cool. The cast and crew was there minus Ashley Eckstein and Dee Bradley Baker. Here’s some of the highlights: Vader will be voiced by James Earl Jones, there will be no Porkins in season two, Ezra’s parents will be addressed to some degree, and season two will take a deeper look into all of the characters backstories, even Chopper. Dave said they’d keep making seasons as long as they’re in demand, they said the choice of biblical names for the characters was coincidence, but he chose Ezra because it was similar to Luke and it was a real world name. He said there’s a power to names and they shouldn’t just be chosen because they sound spacey. Case in point, Bridger falls into a bridging between eras. As for the theme of season two, expect new outside challenges for the Rebels family and how they grow and stay together.

Each of the crew was asked about what we can look forward to in season two. Zeb = dancing, cooking and piloting, Steve Blum joked. Sabine = why is she angry and where did she get her skills? Ezra = we see him grow up, become more powerful, and if you look at the trailer, you’ll notice he has a scar now. Hera = she’s formed the cell, now she gets to let them do what the do. Kanan = will have growing pains with Ezra and will have to deal with Rex who he doesn’t like. Dave said each character will struggle and be confronted by their pasts. Ezra will be tested to be selfless.

Simon Kinberg commented how he’s never seen integration in any other franchise like he’s seen in Star Wars with the story group. Upon seeing the pilot for Star Wars Rebels, George Lucas commented “It’s terrific”. Dave also said they’re very conscious of safeguarding Vader’s legacy by not making him faster and more acrobatic just because they can. Instead he’s going to be a mountain of fear.

Star Wars at Del Rey Panel

Following the press conference, I went to the Del Rey Star Wars panel where the big news is that Alan Dean Foster will be writing the novelization for The Force Awakens. The eBook version will be out the day of release for the movie, and the hardcover format will be out in January, so, to an extent, there will be some control on spoilers sparing any leaks via the net. Aside from the big news, they talked about the canon books that are currently out with each author talking about their books (John Jackson Miller on A New Dawn, James Luceno on Tarkin), Shelly covered Heir to the Jedi. Then they moved to upcoming books like Lords of the Sith, and Christie Golden spoke about Dark Disciple. She was able to draw upon not just the scripts, but animatics as well. Jennifer Heddle talked about Aftermath and they touched on Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens which will, according to Jen, only have like six or seven important stories, with the others filling out the announced 20 being sticker books and the like. All of those books will be out in September.

The biggest thrill of the day was the Star Wars Rebels Season Two premiere. I was very fortunate to get second row from the front and pretty close to center. The Digital Screen looked marvelous with its giant screen and the sound cranked up like a concert. It started with the finale of season one then jumped to the season two premiere. Now I don’t want to spoil too much because IT WAS AWESOME! But, to give you something, a lot of what was shown in the season two trailer actually happens in the premiere. And by that, there’s some BIG THINGS. I am now entirely sold on the show, my lingering misgivings about Star Wars: The Clone Wars being cancelled has finally been healed over and forgotten because Dave Filoni and crew have topped themselves. This is the pinnacle of Star Wars television. Not only is the story and characters better than ever, it’s actually improved visually with better details and quality (just as TCW improved with time and better established assets). Anyone who is a fan is going to love this, and any on the fence will be won over. That’s how confident I am about the far reaching success of what they’ve accomplished with the show and the premiere.

Now the question is, is it actually going to get better than this? If so, how am I suppose to scoop my brains back up when my head explodes from joy?

But that was not the end of my day as I squeezed in one more panel, just barely making it into James Luceno’s panel on writing villains being hazardous for one’s health. I’m not sure the audio is going to turn out well on that one, so I may have to do a transcript or something. But it was a very interesting panel tackling some tough questions. Why do we like to read about villains? What defines a villain from an anti-hero? Why do we want villains to succeed in the books we read, but not in real life? And how do you quantify the evil of one villain over another? Thought provoking stuff, and James used a lot of audience participation to get us thinking about the questions and to try and get answers. There was even a bracket of villains we voted on (the Dark Side won over Voldemort in the end).

Fan Mixer

As I left the convention center, every one was partying outside for the fan mixer with DJ Elliot, fun music blaring, food and drink vendors lined up, and lots of lightsabers lighting up the night. A perfect ending to the day. Walking home behind two Jedi, a Sith and an Ewok, I found myself realizing that it should always be like this. Alas it is only at Celebration. And that’s why we come.

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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