This Star Wars Spectacular report may be quite different from others because the Star Wars Spectacular is quite different this year. Joining Lucasfilm’s Head of Fan Relations Steve Sansweet on the stage to showcase some of the most exciting upcoming developments this year holds for Star Wars are G4’s Kevin Periera and Olivia Munn from “Attack of the Show.” This Hall H presentation will be broadcast on G4 tomorrow (Saturday, July 24, at 2pm), so those who want as thorough a recap as possible had best catch that show. Still, we want to keep you up to speed on the big beats, so here goes…
Star Wars: In Concert
The panel presentation started “cold” — with no preamble, no vocal introduction. Just the lights going down, and the massive screen coming to life with a video introduction of Star Wars: In Concert (see the video here).
A surprise presence then took the stage — Anthony Daniels, known to legions of Star Wars fans as C-3PO. “Star Wars [music] has always been one of the key characters in the Star Wars Saga,” said Daniels. “As key as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. We’ve all loved John Williams music as an integral part of the movies. And so I was thrilled to be asked to host what I thought would be a concert, with film clips.”
Daniels described the premiere at the O2 Arena in London, where Star Wars: In Concert first took shape. “I stood on the empty stage looking at the thousands of seats that would soon be filled by fans and music lovers. It felt magical. It felt like home. I felt good.”
Continued Daniels, “This thing was not ‘a concert with clips.’ It was indescribable. It was massive. Not only was I going to retell one of the greatest stories ever. My words would cue all this overwhelming technology. And all live… no retakes. Of course being on stage I sort of missed the whole thing. It wasn’t until later, when I saw a recording of the show that I realized just how good it is. I knew it was different but not that it was so extravagantly spectacular and thrilling.”
Star Wars: In Concert begins its Worldwide Tour in Anaheim on October 1. Daniels pointed audience members to www.StarWarsinConcert.com for more information and ticketing.
Welcome Your Hosts
Steve Sansweet next took the stage, a familiar fixture to the Star Wars fan community and the Comic-Con experience. Welcoming the fans, Sansweet quickly described how this Spectacular was different this time round. “This is the first time ever that a San Diego Comic-Con panel will be televised, but we like being first—just as Lucasfilm was the first film company to bring its story directly to fans with details and photos of a little space fantasy—way back in 1976!” Sansweet teased that next year is the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and that it’s the perfect opportunity for a Star Wars Celebration. “We don’t have yet have an exact date or place, but we are in the planning stage of Star Wars Celebration V, coming to your galaxy next summer.”
He invited his co-hosts on to the stage, handing the baton to Kevin and Olivia (who had their hands filled with lightsabers as they dueled their way into stage). To show their devotion to Star Wars fandom, both showed up in costume. Olivia was decked out as sexy (but not Jabba’s slave) Princess Leia. “Now, nothing shows commitment more than strapping yourself into a metal bikini,” quipped Olivia. “But that outfit is – let’s call it: drafty. So I went in a different direction – what do you think?”
Kevin described his outfit as “Doug Skywalker,” the long overshadowed and ignored brother to Luke Skywalker. “Where was Luke when Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru were last night’s barbeque briquettes? He was there was the dustpan.”
Star Wars Stories
Kevin and Olivia next introduced the Lucasfilm Star Wars Stories project, wherein Lucasfilm asked Star Wars fans to recount, firsthand, their experiences during the last 30+ years of fandom. To inspire fellow fans of the saga, they screened a short video of “inside” fans — folks like Dennis Muren, John Knoll, Sam Witwer and Seth Green, and their first exposure to the Star Wars saga. (See the video here).
What’s Coming from LucasArts
LucasArts’ Senior Marketing Manager Matt Shell joined the stage to talk about upcoming games from LucasArts. First up was Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes, coming October 6, 2009.
“It tells a unique story that bridges the first two seasons. The creators of the show have been hands-on with the visuals – and the characters are voiced by the same actors you’re familiar with from the series,” explained Shell. He also discussed Star Wars: The Old Republic while concept art visuals dominated the screen.
“LucasArts and BioWare are teaming up to bring a whole new level of story to massively multiplayer games. In The Old Republic, players will be able to define their personal story and determine their unique path down the light or dark side of the Force. Every player’s story is unique and epic in a way that has never before been experienced in an MMO. Each one of our playable classes in The Old Republic has a unique story spanning several hundred hours this is in addition to all of the other activities, world stories, crafting, trading, etc. that you expect from an MMO.”
The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition
The big news dropped on the Comic-Con audience by LucasArts came in the form of The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition. This Fall LucasArts will release a new downloadable level for the Xbox 360 and the PS3. It re-imagines the Star Wars Saga as if the Secret Apprentice had taken Darth Vader’s place at the Emperor’s side after the events of the original game and is going to let you explore the deepest, darkest side of the Force. The game expands the original The Force Unleashed levels with new levels set on Coruscant and Tatooine, and an all-new level set on Hoth.
It’s a what-if scenario, “the secret apprentice is sent to Hoth with a mission to crush the Rebellion once and for all, and along the way he’s going to come up against Luke Skywalker!” described Shell. The Ultimate Sith Edition will be available on Mac and PC too.
More than just words, the presentation showcased a debut video trailer for The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition which you can see here.
The Clone Wars on DVD
Dave Filoni was the next guest to join Kevin and Olivia on stage. The Supervising Director of The Clone Wars began by discussing the boxed set for season one, coming to DVD and Blu-Ray this November. “Our show is 22 minutes on Cartoon Network, we actually shoot more than that. We shoot around 24 minutes for episodes. Sometime there are sequences that are cut out. We have seven episodes where we’ve put that stuff back into the episodes. We’ve also put a 64-page booklet in the DVD that showcases the artwork.”
Filoni explained the that the Blu-Ray edition goes into the Jedi Archive — a repository of extra content. A video trailer for the DVD then followed. See the video here.
Dave then went on to discuss about season two, and now that the Clone Wars has hit its stride. “We’ve made it a lot more intense. It gets a little violent. Cad Bane started to prove some of that.”
Video Mail Questions
The hosts then began playing video questions submitted by viewers. First up, was a question about bounty hunters. A showcase of Cad Bane art segued to new characters, including Bossk, Sugi and Embo.
In answering a question about Obi-Wan Kenobi’s backstory, we learn that Season Two will feature a new character, the Duchess Satine Sateen Satine, a new character with a previously undisclosed relationship with Kenobi.
In fielding a question about locations, Dave discussed that we’re returning to Rodia, Ryloth, and visiting Mustafar (a story that will feature Anakin).
And we’ll also be seeing Mandalore… but Dave couldn’t go into any further detail.
The next question concerned returning characters. Rather than field the question himself, Dave deferred to George Lucas, via video. Or rather, it was Seth Green in a rather poor George costume, who quickly scattered when Lucas caught him.
The Path to Season Two
The voice actors next took the stage to read a brief, original scene from The Clone Wars. In attendence were Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano), Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Cat Taber (Padme Amidala), Tom Kane (Yoda), and James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi). The scene bridged the end of “Hostage Crisis” — setting the characters into motion toward the path of Season Two. This led to the new trailer for Season Two which will officially debut online tomorrow: Featured were all the returning favorites, along with appearances by Poggle the Lesser, Ki-Adi-Mundi and several helmeted Mandalorian warriors (one with an oddly familiar voice) whose agenda remains mysterious… See the video here.