Archive for 2009

Los Angeles Steam Plant Responsible for Obliterating Alderaan

Pablo Hidalgo | June 8, 2009

Most people peg the retro blinking lights and switcher lever seen in A New Hope’s Death Star control room as belonging to some sort of video production facility. An intrepid fan, however, found the Death Star control room in Los Angeles last Christmas, and snapped a bunch of reference photos for his Flickr account. Here’s what he’s got to say:

Last year I spent Christmas Eve joining a friend of mine at his work party at his steam plant near LAX.  One of the control rooms of the plant also happened to be used as the set for the Superlaser Fire Control Room on the first Death Star!  I just posted some photos from my tour.  Not much has changed there in the past 30+ years.


Check out the ominous blinkiness over at this link here!

Get hopping, diorama builders! This is valuable reference material.

VC Jawa Figure Makes Comic Appearance

Pete Vilmur | June 8, 2009

fuzzy.jpg updated yesterday with a few panels from their “Get Fuzzy” strip that should make every vintage Star Wars collector cringe a little — especially those familiar with the ever-elusive vinyl cape Jawa action figure from 1978. Check out the full comic here (thanks to Bill Cable for the heads-up!).

Star Wars Fan Site Receives Webby Award

Pete Vilmur | June 8, 2009


Joshua Budich, whose “My Star Wars Collection” website hosts 564 images from his personal Star Wars action figure collection, has been awarded both a Webby Award and the People’s Voice Winner in the category of “Personal Web Site” for the 13th Annual Webby Awards!

The Webbies have been recognizing “excellence on the Internet” since 1996, and is comprised of a 550-member body of “leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities,” according to the official website.

Here’s a little more information on the awards themselves:

The Webby Awards presents two honors in every category — The Webby Award and The People’s Voice Award — in each of its four entry types: Websites, Interactive Advertising, Online Film & Video and Mobile. Members of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences select the nominees for both awards in each category, as well as the winners of the Webby Awards. However, you, the online community, determine the winners of The People’s Voice by voting for the nominated work that you believe to be the best in each category. Each year, the People’s Voice Awards garners hundreds of thousands of votes from the Web community all over the world.

Head on over to the Webby Awards site for a full list of this year’s winners, and also make sure to stop by Joshua’s website to check out the 500-plus figures posted, all accessible from the homepage via a staggering array of tiny 8-bit sprite thumbnails.

Hang Ten with the Force

Bonnie Burton | June 8, 2009

Just in time for summer, here’s a nice selection of Star Wars and surfing connections. I have to admit the airbrushed Star Wars art on surfboards is all kinds of rad. I’m beginning to think that the teachings of the Force aid with finding the perfect wave.

Top 10 Star Wars Surfing Crossovers (via

Update on Patrick Read Johnson’s Film ’77 Team | June 7, 2009

Actor John Francis Daley and the rest of the ’77 cast.

Imagine if you were an amateur teenage filmmaker who stumbled upon Star Wars while visiting the ILM film studios before the film ever hit theaters in 1977. That’s the kind of magic that Patrick Read Johnson’s autobio picture 5-25-77 — recently renamed ’77 — captures.

If you were lucky enough to see a special screening of the film at Star Wars Celebration IV in 2007, you already know how endearing this film is.

It’s been awhile since we heard anything new about the film since it’s preview. So we were delighted to get an update from Starlog magazine when they sat down to have a chat with director-screenwriter Patrick Read Johnson.

STARLOG: What’s the current status of ’77?

PRJ: Though we had two fantastic screenings at the Hamptons Film Festival and won an award (The Heineken Red Star) and got a lot of nice press, Cassian and Phil and I all felt we needed to do some more work in the cutting room, which in turn required us to heavily revise our VFX shot list, choose some different songs from the era for certain sequences AND rework portions of the score by David Russo and Alan Parsons. Meanwhile, various members of the team were being picked off by other jobs, and the big financial meltdown was occurring, and investment dollars were suddenly very hard to come by… So we basically shut down at the end of the year to wait out the turmoil. By the time things started to calm down, my VFX team was off doing other work, my composers were on to other jobs, and I’d taken an offer to direct another film. But, thankfully, I’ll be done with that project right about the time we plan on restarting post on ’77, in order to have it ready for the American Film Market in November.


Darth Maul to Join Heroes

Bonnie Burton | June 6, 2009

(Photo by Ron Riccio/Disney)

A Darth Maul vs. Peter Petrelli smackdown may no longer be a thing of fan fiction. Actor Ray Parks is in talks to appear in the hit NBC show Heroes.

The Ausiello Files reports:

British actor Ray Park, whose role as Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace made him an icon to fanboys far and wide, is in talks to join the cast for a sizeable arc.

Little is known about Park’s role, except that he would be playing one of the colorful characters at the center of the show’s Carnivale-esque storyline. (My guess? He’s the character described in the breakdowns as “Knife Thrower.”)

Read the full article here:
Heroes recruits Sue Thomas, Darth Maul

Be sure to check out recent photos of Ray Park from his appearance at this year’s Disney Star Wars Weekends.

A Different George Lucas Becomes Archbishop

Bonnie Burton | June 4, 2009

Not all headlines about George Lucas are about the filmmaker George Lucas. When looking at the latest news today, we were very interested in a story about another George Lucas who was recently appointed the next Archbishop of Omaha, Nebraska.

At a news conference, the 59-year-old Archbishop George J. Lucas thanked Pope Benedict XVI for naming him to the position and called the new responsibilities “humbling” and a “privilege.” Archbishop Lucas, who shares his name with Star Wars director George Lucas, told a reporter that he had resisted the temptation to end Mass by saying, “May the Force be with you.”

Read more about him here:
Springfield Bishop Lucas named Archbishop of Omaha

Found on eBay: $1,000 Star Wars Lunchbox

Pete Vilmur | June 4, 2009


Well, not just any Star Wars lunchbox, mind you, but the super rare prototype R2-D2 lunchbox made by Thermos back in the late ’70s. This rare collectible, which just sold for $1,036 on eBay, is just one of a few examples known to exist and was briefly featured in our Star Wars for Lunch Turns 30″ story from a couple years ago. We wrote:

Emerging from the merchandising maelstrom of 1978 was an elusive prototype R2-D2 vinyl lunch kit produced by KST, and the few salesman samples that survive have become holy grail collectibles for more than a few Star Wars and lunchbox aficionados. Sporting a zipper closure, strap handle, and plastic dome top with soft vinyl body in the form of R2-D2, the reason for its stalled production is vague, but was probably due to the fragile vinyl hinge created when the kit’s dome was folded back. It was an ambitious design for KST, and speaks to the staying power of the Star Wars brand even a year after its release.

You can check out the original auction here and also get a brief history of Star Wars lunchboxes in our story here.

Chad Vader vs. Keyboard Cat

Bonnie Burton | June 4, 2009

Our favorite grocery store Sith Lord Chad Vader and the awesome Internet sensation Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat finally have a duet!

WATCH VIDEO: Play Him Off, Keyboard Chad (via YouTube)

Read more about Keyboard Cat here.

Star Wars at Maker Faire 2009 Team | June 3, 2009

Any convention that mixes R2-D2, Tesla coils, fire-breathing sculptures, a human-size mousetrap, art cars, unusual inventions and crafts is bound to have something for everyone.

Bay Area Maker Faire — May 30-31, 3009 — brought together craftsters, robot wranglers, science geeks, rocket builders, Burning Man artists, steampunks and more.