Archive for ‘Fans and Community’



Star Wars in the UK: The ’90s

Mark Newbold | June 25, 2013

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The Dark Times of the mid to late ’80s had passed and as we entered the 1990s brighter times lay ahead for Star Wars fans — but at the turn of the decade, that was yet to become evident to the wider Star Wars public. While rumors continued to float around about the prequel trilogy there was little movement from Lucasfilm on the Star Wars front. Indeded, Lucasfilm had recently completed their Indiana Jones trilogy and were in a busy period, releasing Willow, Howard the Duck, and Tucker: The Man and His Dream. ILM had worked on a number of special effects smashes in the late ’80s including Star Trek IV, Ghostbusters 2, The Witches of Eastwick, and Back to the Future II and III, and LucasArts was fast building a solid reputation in the computer gaming industry via such smashes as Labyrinth, Maniac Mansion, and Secret of Monkey Island. It would appear that Lucasfilm had outgrown its reliance on the galaxy far, far away and developed an identity free of Jedi, Wookiees, and Wampas.

However, in the late ’80s artist Cam Kennedy and writer Tom Veitch pitched an idea to Lucasfilm, who in turn was offered it to Marvel Comics, the longtime publishers of Star Wars comics who had let the license lapse in 1987. Marvel turned it down, despite going so far as to releasing a print ad for the series and the project – Dark Empire – found its way into the hands of Milwaukee comics publishers Dark Horse, a relatively new face on the comics scene who had proven to be adept at handling movie licenses. The title would go on to be a smash hit for Dark Horse, coming out in late 1991 after another dipping of the toes into the Star Wars pool proved to be equally as successful.

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The Birth of the 501st Legion, Part Six: Raising the Banner

Albin Johnson | June 21, 2013

In the middle of 1997 the 501st Squad was born. It was to no great fanfare. And it happened in no more glamorous a place than a flimsy little website hosted by Geocities called “Detention Block 2551.” Tom and I had made a good run of trooping in our Stormtrooper armor all over our hometown, from movie theaters to comic shops to daycare centers to state fairs. But while those events were fun, it was quickly becoming obvious that the concept of the 501st could only take root on the new frontier emerging in the nineties: the Internet.

Imperial Comm Net: Our Secret Weapon

Imperial Comm Net: Our Secret Weapon

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Perspectives On Padmé

Tricia Barr | June 20, 2013

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Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has come to a close. With so many great things to do and see, even attending two of the weekends I still needed the internet to keep up. On Sunday of week three, for example, Tom Wilson, best known to many as Biff from Back to the Future, joined the Behind the Force stage show. During week four, James Arnold Taylor helped the audience wish Star Wars Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni a happy birthday. The list of the spontaneous moments from the event goes on and on. Sometimes they involve big surprises, but for me the most impactful memory this year came during a conversation I had while standing in an autograph line.

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My Photo Album from Disney’s Star Wars Weekends 2013

Ashley Eckstein | June 18, 2013

Being the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars has truly changed my life. It’s given me the opportunity to do so many amazing things, and one of the opportunities I’m most thankful for has been the chance to co-host Disney’s Star Wars Weekends, which I’ve done for the past five years. I had a blast this summer with my fellow cast mate, James Arnold Taylor, as we spent a month at Disney World meeting fans and celebrating Star Wars!

I took SO many photos and thought I would share some of my favorites. Check them out after the jump!

This was my view from the stage during the motorcade. It's amazing to look out and see a sea of Star Wars fans!

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Fully Operational Fandom: Scissors Are the Lightsabers of Crafting

Amy Ratcliffe | June 13, 2013

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One of my favorite activities at summer camp when I was a kid was crafting. I wasn’t remotely athletic. The camp’s pond was a muddy brown, and I didn’t like to imagine what was beneath the surface. There wasn’t horseback riding and only a few hikes so I spent as much time as possible making friendship bracelets, creating images with Perler beads, and experimenting with Shrinky Dinks. I sadly didn’t know anything about Star Wars at that age (I’m a late bloomer), otherwise I’m sure I would have been making Leia buns from yarn and paper-mache astromechs.

It’s just a fun way to express your fandom. Tons of fans choose to funnel their passion for Star Wars into crafting home goods and wearables.

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R2 Builders Club, Lots of Astromechs Coming to Celebration Europe

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R2-D2: BEEP WHISTLE-WHISTLE WHIR BEEP BLOOP BLEE WOOO

Translation: I am pleased to confirm that I will be attending Celebration Europe and am bringing a few friends.

It is a great pleasure to announce that the R2-D2 Builders Club will be at Star Wars Celebration Europe in Essen on July 26-28. The Builders Club was founded in 1999 by Australian Dave Everett, and now has over 10,000 members worldwide — members that have either built an astromech droid or are aspiring to build one.

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A Celebration Europe Must-See: Star Warriors and Deleted Scenes Screening

Mary Franklin | June 4, 2013

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Back in the spring of 2006, George Lucas decided he would love to bring Star Wars fans from all over the world to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day 2007.

As I recall, our head of marketing at the time assumed that we would bring costumed characters only from the areas closest to Pasadena, California, where the parade is held. George, however, wanted to bring them from all over to say “thank you” for their support of Star Wars over the years, and to recognize the dedication of groups like the 501st and Rebel Legions for their community and charity service.

We ended up with literally blocks of marching Stormtroopers, Rebels, Imperials, Ewoks, droids, princesses, Darth Vader, and a spare Vader tracking the parade route on a side street in a van. The path of the troops to the Rose Parade was documented in Star Warriors, which is scheduled to be shown at Star Wars Celebration Europe on Pablo Hidalgo’s Behind-The-Scenes Stage in Halle 5.

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Pringles’ “The Force For Fun” Contest: Jim vs. Vader

Justin Johnson | May 30, 2013

The challenge was daunting: Take two massive brands and merge them into one epic entertaining video.

Erik and I are both well-versed in the intense flavor held captive in a canister of Pringles, and were formed in our early years by the brilliance of the Star Wars universe. In fact, Erik’s first prop was an AT-AT walker built from shoe boxes he made when he was eight, and one of the first movies I made as a child was a recreation of the Battle of Hoth in the cold Wisconsin snow.

We were eager to take up the mission but knew the stakes were some of the highest we’d faced to date.

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Bantha Tracks: Art Galaxy, May 2013

Mary Franklin | May 24, 2013

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The creativity of Star Wars fans and Bantha Tracks readers apparently never goes on summer holiday. In addition to artwork with pencil and stylus, this month we’re featuring some of my favorite images from the May the 4th fan landmark gallery from across the globe. Some of the photographers definitely went the extra mile to create works of art, and I want to give those photos a little extra time and attention.

Please enjoy this month’s fantastic and whimsical artwork from our readers!

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Pringles’ “The Force For Fun” Contest: Darth Visits

Steven Houser | May 23, 2013

If you ever walk into my studio you will notice three things: triple monitors, movie posters, and lots of film gear. Working mostly as a cinematographer, my expertise also includes writing, producing, directing, editing, and special effects. It keeps my current days here in the Hoosier State of Indiana pretty busy. In my free time I also created the Indiana FILM IT Project on Facebook. I have a passion for creating. To be able to make an impact with something I created and to entertain people by making them laugh, smile, or think is extremely rewarding. That’s just a great feeling, and that’s why I love my work.

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