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7-Eleven R2, Darth Maul Utensils, and Lightsaber Popsicle Sticks

Pete Vilmur | April 5, 2012

A month ago, we reported on several Star Wars: Episode I 3D promotions being launched in Japan, including the Pepsi premium character straps.

With Episode I 3D still playing in theaters there (it was released March 15), the promotional tie-in campaigns are still very active, with some downright cool items available exclusively to Japanese fans and consumers.

Here’s a peek at some of the various premiums available at participating Japanese 7-Eleven stores, Domino’s Pizza outlets, and consumers of Gari Gari Kun ice-cream products: (more…)

Japanese Premium Star Wars Character Straps

Pete Vilmur | February 28, 2012

Starting today, Japanese fans will discover a bunch of cool Star Wars premiums attached to several Suntory beverage products throughout the land, including a dozen Panson Works (a popular soft vinyl toy design in Japan) figure straps and 8 Bearbrick figures from Episode I (also including Darth Vader).

The Panson Works figures, which measure between 2-3 cm tall (1-1.25 inches) will be available on Pepsi Nex products only; the Bearbricks will be distributed through Pepsi NEX, Suntory Natural Mineral Water, IYEMON KOIME, Nichirei Acerola and Lipton Limone. While there are many more brands offering the Bearbricks premiums, there are twice as many Panson Works figures being produced – so look sharp!

Finally, if consumers collect enough Pepsi Nex marks (which are printed on the bottle label of Pepsi Nex), they can redeem them for Big Panson Works — a Darth Maul (15cm tall) and an R2-D2 (12cm tall). Only 500 are being produced and will be available while supplies last! The Star Wars Panson Works and Bearbricks promotion ends April 16, 2012.

Rejected Episode I Toy Concepts: Part 2

Pete Vilmur | February 27, 2012

Four years ago, blogger and ex-toy designer Jason Geyer posted a set of rejected Episode I toy concepts to be used as premiums for Pepsi , who in 1998 was ramping up for some big tie-in promotions for The Phantom Menace. That blog entry created quite a stir among fans and collectors, with the most common response being, ‘Why didn’t this stuff get made?’

While we can’t report any progress on that front (well, perhaps a bit – see below), Geyer has just posted several dozen more unused concepts, which one has to admit are pretty imaginative!

From the blog:

When we were coming up with all of these concepts pretty much the only thing we had to keep in mind was for everyone to make sure we hit every price point with at least a few ideas, so that we weren’t all concentrating on the big tickets things (which were more fun!). And as guys who immersed themselves in Star Wars, it was less about looking for things to concept about, and more to try and design something that would incent fans, moms, and kids to want to buy some Pepsi to get our merchandise.

Unlike the first set revealed in 2008, it appears that at least a few of these ideas did actually see the light of day years later, dreamed up independently by others with a strong connection to the Force (the Death Star Galaxy Projector, Star Wars Golf Set, Han in Carbonite Popsicle Mold, Yoda Backpack, Talking Yoda and Lightsaber Flashlight have all been produced in some form or another).

Check out the full gallery over at actionfigureinsider.com and tell us which items you wish had been made!

Timeline: Ventress Collectibles

Pete Vilmur | February 24, 2012

With Asajj Ventress returning to The Clone Wars tonight, we thought we’d dust off and update this collectibles story from last year about the galaxy’s deadliest (and sultriest) Sith assassin…

With Ventress’s first televised appearance taking place on November 14, 2003 during an episode of the original Clone Wars animated micro-series, the character’s look and story have evolved considerably, culminating in some shocking events we’ll witness in tonight’s episode, “Massacre.”

Since her debut over eight years ago, there’s been quite the coven of Ventress collectibles produced, from her early appearance on the 2003 series posters to the many turns she’s had as a Hasbro action figure. For the intrepid Asajj aficionado, we’ve compiled a year-by-year list of all the Ventress collectibles our dark side sources could uncover:

2003

Late 2003 saw images of Clone Wars villainess Asajj Ventress used on the promotional poster and brochure for the series, as well as two action figures: one based on her animated appearance, and the other interpreted by Hasbro sculptors in a more “real-world” guise.

2004

For the original series’ second season debut in April, 2004, Ventress again appeared on the promotional poster, sold exclusively at StarWarsShop along with a postcard and pin set offered there as well. Acme Archives offered a limited sericel of Asajj vs. Anakin, while Wizards of the Coast served up the first gaming miniature of Dooku’s assassin. Gentle Giant’s stunning maquette of the animated Asajj is highly coveted by collectors of the original series.

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It’s a Trap! Rare Video Interview with Ackbar Voice Actor

Pete Vilmur | February 21, 2012

San Francisco’s SFGate.com just posted a rare video interview with Berkeley KPFA radio dramatist Erik Bauersfeld, the man responsible for voicing Admiral Ackbar’s iconic “It’s a trap!” and other classic lines spoken by Return of the Jedi’s intrepid Mon Calamari hero.

In addition, Bauersfeld was also the voice behind Bib Fortuna, Jabba’s Return of the Jedi majordomo, and had even auditioned for the voice of Yoda. The accompanying editorial also exposes some new items of interest:

  • Bauersfeld wasn’t listed in the cast when “Return of the Jedi” came out, but has since been credited.
  • Bauersfeld was unaware of the Internet memes and surge in popularity for Ackbar and “It’s a trap!” He seemed to find the University of Mississippi’s drive to have the character named a school mascot especially entertaining.
  • To this day [Bauersfeld] hasn’t seen the original “Star Wars,” but he’s developed a growing fondness for “Star Wars” fans, saving their correspondence in a filing cabinet and writing personal responses to each one.

Head on over to SFGate.com to check out the rare interview – and yes, he serves up at least a couple “It’s a traps,” which sound just as deliciously meme-friendly as they did almost 30 years ago…

Episode I Toy Premiums from French Quick Restaurants

Pete Vilmur | February 3, 2012

Fans from France, Belgium and Luxemburg may have recently discovered a cool Episode I 3D-themed promotion overtaking their local Quick restaurant – a promotion which earned a lot of buzz last month with a sneak peek of a black-bunned “Dark Vador Burger” (which doesn’t yet appear on the chain’s French site – it will be offered exclusively in France between March 2 – 5).

In addition to the Dark Burger and Jedi Burger currently available between January 31 and March 1 in France (or to March 5 in Belgium and Luxemburg), there are several Episode I 3D toys being offered in Quick “Magic Boxes”, the equivalent of a Happy Meal box in the U.S. While the Magic Box toys are usually reserved for younger children, older fans – ages 9-14 – are eligible to receive some cool menu top box items, such as light-up lightsaber key chains, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, buttons, and iron-ons.

Check out the Magic Box prizes below, with the menu top box premiums for older kids shown at the bottom (and if you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind doing a little navigating around a French-language site, you can find the promotion’s TV spot as well as pdf downloads of the Dark Burger and Jedi Burger posters!):

Podracer roll-along

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The Clone Wars Crew Remembers Ian Ambercrombie

Pete Vilmur | January 30, 2012

Ian Ambercrombie, best known to Star Wars fans as the voice of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine in The Clone Wars, sadly passed away on Friday. He will be deeply missed by The Clone Wars crew and the many Star Wars fans who have enjoyed his Clone Wars characterization of Palpatine and his alter-ego, Darth Sidious.

The Clone Wars supervising director and producer relayed their regrets on Friday to the Lucasfilm Animation crew and the many fans of Ambercrombie’s work on The Clone Wars:

Supervising Director Dave Filoni:

“Today is a very sad day for Star Wars fans, as we lost a dear friend in Ian Abercrombie. I cannot express how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to work with Ian. He was extremely passionate about his role on the series and he was brilliant at it. I always called him ‘Chancellor’ no matter where we were, in the studio or out at a restaurant. I think he enjoyed that a great deal. I learned so much from him about directing actors, and working with dialog. His advice and mentoring will be sorely missed by all of us. Though he played a villain on our show, you would be hard pressed to meet a kinder person. He loved to laugh and his sense of humor always lightened our record sessions. I will miss his stories, I will miss his performances, and I will miss his contribution to our show.

“My friend, the Force will be with you, always, and you will never be forgotten.”

Producer Cary Silver:

“Today is a sad day in the Star Wars galaxy. We lost not only an incredible actor but also a very dear man. Ian Abercrombie was an integral part of Clone Wars from the beginning and we will deeply miss not only his portrayal of the Supreme Chancellor, but also his professionalism and especially, his stories. We owe a great debt of gratitude for the time we did get to spend with Ian. May the force be with him.”

You can read more about the work of Ian Ambercrombie (who is also well known to Seinfeld fans as Mr. Pitt) at imdb.com.

Maul-icious Posters

Pete Vilmur | January 20, 2012

1999: Darth Maul transit poster from Hong Kong

With our Darth Maul-themed week of content giving way to “Droids” on Monday, we wanted to squeeze in one last bit of retro Maul material before the week closes out. To that end, we’ve dug up eight poster images featuring Episode I’s enduringly vogue villain, from the 1999 international campaign to Koto’s ukiyo-e style Maul of 2011:

1999: Unisource Papers used a Maul visage which now appears hopelessly outdated by today’s CGI standards, but no less intimidating

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Lucas Remembers Star Wars Sword Master Bob Anderson

Pete Vilmur | January 9, 2012

The world lost a key contributor to the Star Wars saga last week in sword master Bob Anderson, who coordinated the lightsaber duels of Episode IV: A New Hope, and even donned Darth Vader’s armor for the high-intensity dueling with Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

The man who established how “an elegant weapon for a more civilized age” should be wielded in the Star Wars universe passed away on January 1 in West Sussex, England. He was 89.

“Bob Anderson was essential in defining what a lightsaber duel would look like,” says George Lucas. “He was the Jedi Master of the original trilogy, training the actors to duel with a new kind of weapon. In Empire and Jedi, Bob donned Darth Vader’s cape and helmet to battle Luke Skywalker in all of the amazing lightsaber battles. It was pure movie magic that Bob became Vader.”

Fortunately for Star Wars fans, Bob Anderson’s legacy will forever survive through the signature fighting styles of Jedi and Sith alike. He will be deeply missed.

Vintage Star Wars Holiday Greetings

Pete Vilmur | December 20, 2011


“That’s Droid Talk for Happy Holidays”

This set of quirky Star Wars holiday greetings comes courtesy of a rare set of cards printed by Drawing Board Greeting Cards in 1977. As Artoo would say, “VREEP ADOOT BLEEP!” (translation above)…


“From our galaxy… to your galaxy… Happy Holidays”
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