Report from WonderCon 2009: Lucasfilm Presentation (Part III: The Ryloth Trilogy)

Pablo Hidalgo | February 28, 2009

You’ll excuse me if this next blog post gets a little meta and breaks a fourth wall or something. See, for better or for worse, I volunteered to go head-to-head against Steve Sansweet with the new Uncle Milton Force Trainer. It’s the much buzzed about toy that scans brainwaves to activate a fan within an acrylic tube, that then levitates a Force remote (or, ping pong ball to you terrestrial laymen) to various heights. I tried it out on Friday and, after some practice, got the hang of it.

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Not nearly enough practice for the big show on Saturday, though, as I went up against a venerable Jedi Master like Sansweet. He had perfected its performance, launching the remote into the stratosphere while I apparently failed to unlearn whatever it was I had learned. My Force remote barely budged. It’s as if I had a pocket full of ysalamiri jerky or something. And if you get that, you’re as big a geek as I.

Anyway, this was really a lead-in to showcase some of the online Clone Wars comics we have been doing since the launch of the show. I introduced Tom Hodges and Katie Cook, who were in attendance in the audience, and also was able to give a sneak peek (note, correct spelling of peek – you’re welcome) into next week’s webcomic, “Curfew,” by Katie, which introduces the Twi’lek girl character of Numa.

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We then segued into discussing the Ryloth Trilogy — the series of episodes that we’re now in the thick of. “Storm Over Ryloth” debuted yesterday. “Innocents of Ryloth” and “Liberty on Ryloth” are still to come.

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First up, there’s no consensus between TWEE-lek or TWY-lek pronunciations. “It depends what side of the planet you’re on,” quipped Dave. “Henry [Gilroy] and I used to argue about this stuff. I don’t like getting pegged into saying one certain thing like that. Imagine if there were people that said TWEE’lek and they had an argument with a friend who said TWY-lek, and we resolved that. Those people would feel bad.”

Filoni showed early artwork of the development of the Twi’lek homeworld of Ryloth as it appears in the series. Some versions were true to the early expanded universe depiction of the planet, as a fire-raining hellish environ. But, as Lucas would point out, Star Wars already has its hell-planet visually depicted in a very memorable way: Mustafar. “That’s what we do a lot with George. We’ll do some ideas, and he’ll kick back some ideas, describing the way it ought to be. He described the Twi’lek culture to us. We start by gathering a lot of EU material, and making suggestions based on that. Like, there’s stone buildings. Let’s do something with that.”

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 Other artwork showed by Filoni included a painting of AT-RTs striding across a landscape. These small two-legged walkers will feature prominently in the Ryloth series. Filoni likened them to velociraptors in terms of their speed and agility. “If you’re going to ride on some chicken walker, there had better be some advantage to them,” he explained.

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 The final designs of Ryloth ended up a hybrid blend of different elements. Evidence of geologic activity are present in the form of enormous, fluid-looking mushroom like mesas appearing as if they were frozen in mid-eruption. The bare rock face is blasted and worn, and the Twi’leks have carved their cities out of the rock into canyon sides and plateus. A hardy forest of thorn-barked trees is near one of the major cities. “It’s a big change from a fiery-planet, but it’s still got a lot of elements, and it still is an entirely new planet, which is always important to show in the Star Wars galaxy,” said Filoni.

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