Archive for ‘Fans and Community’



Fully Operational Fandom: Star Wars Collecting

Amy Ratcliffe | March 25, 2014

Fully Operational Fandom: Star Wars Collections

Just as there are many characters in the Star Wars universe, there are many sides to Star Wars fandom. Cosplay, comics, trading cards, art — we all focus our passion somewhere. Many fans channel their love of the saga through Star Wars collecting. When you keep at the hobby for years or even decades, you get to know fellow fans along the way. Some collectors look out for each other and keep eyes open for a treasure on someone else’s list and bonding over the hunt for memorabilia can lead to lifelong friendships. You not only acquire collectibles, you acquire connections.

I spoke with a few fans about their collections and people they’ve met along the way.

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Rise of the Mandalorian Mercs, Part 3: SDCC and Mando Weddings

Tom Hutchens | March 24, 2014

Mandalorian Mercs

By the end of 2007, Mandalorian Mercs had started to really take off as a group. Our scattered membership had taken part in many events, and we had gotten our first European Clan. By the time 2008 rolled around, we had five very active clans and just over 50 official members. We had our first real test in damage-control in late 2007 with the death of our website and forum, but we came through that, and by 2008 had a brand new platform running strong for the group. In fact, it’s the same website and forum we continue to use today.

One of my most memorable moments of 2008 was participating in the “Mandalorian Wedding” at San Diego Comic-Con. Two of our members (who had been married in May) had wanted to do a Mandalorian-themed Star Wars wedding. After speaking with them, we all decided that San Diego Comic-Con would be the perfect place to have the “Mando” wedding. It was Mandalorian Mercs’ first year as a fan-group at SDCC, and making sure we presented ourselves and the organization well to the fans was a top priority. I booked a ticket, packed up my newly finished Mark 2 armor, and flew from North Carolina to California to help with our presentation, and the wedding.

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A. A Television Show That Mentioned My Name. Q. What Is Jeopardy?

Steve Sansweet | March 20, 2014
Jeopardy logo

Courtesy Jeopardy Productions Inc.

It was just an ordinary Tuesday afternoon a little after 4:15 p.m. I was working at my computer as usual, when I caught an e-mail from my nephew Jeff, a lawyer in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

“Did you know you were just an answer to a Jeopardy question!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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Mark Hamill to Appear at Star Wars Weekends for First Time Ever

Gary Buchanan | March 20, 2014

EP5_IA_502_L

His most famous film character has destroyed the Death Star, received the Medal of Bravery following The Battle of Yavin, and resisted a turn to the dark side — so what is he going to do next?

He’s going to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!

No wait, wrong answer. He’s going to Disney World!

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The 501st Legion’s Star Wars Toy Story

Albin Johnson | March 18, 2014

 

Star Wars has a rich legacy of firsts. When it first came out in 1977, A New Hope was wholly different from any science-fiction story ever told and it broke the mold. Not only that, but it recast how the business of movies could be run by revealing the power of merchandising. Nowadays every big kids’ movie has an obligatory toy line, but Star Wars was the first to see its potential. As a corollary to that, the 501st Legion was the first Star Wars fan club (or fan club of any franchise, really) to see itself plugged right into the product line of the very universe it sought to celebrate.

It’s both exciting and humbling to witness. Here is a fictional universe that one man imagined and countless millions have enjoyed. Thousands of artists, authors, and editors have contributed to populate it to George Lucas’ standards. But to imagine the fans themselves being welcomed into the canon is just inspiring.

The story of how the 501st became Star Wars canon is a story for another blog. Since 2004, Lucasfilm has owned the rights to the 501st Legion name and I couldn’t be happier. Every so often I browse a toy store or a convention floor and out of nowhere there’s 501st merchandise for the offering. Wow. So here’s a quick and incomplete list of the cool items I’ve seen come out. If you’ve seen more feel free to contact me and we’ll add it to the list.

Japanese Star Wars clone trooper action figure called Vader's Legion

At some point in late 2005 / early 2006 a blue clone trooper figure appeared in Japan stores featuring the title “Vader’s Legion.” This may seem a coincidence, but the bottom of the package left no room for doubt: amid the Japanese lettering, it read “501″ in the description. I can only guess they had not secured permission from us yet to use our name and found this description a good compromise.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Join SWAT, Read Star Wars Books, and Get Awesome Rewards

Amy Ratcliffe | March 13, 2014

Del Rey's Star Wars books SWAT

Did anyone else participate in summer reading programs as a kid? Sitting down with an engaging book was enough of a reward then (and still is), but I remember feeling excited and incentivized by earning points for stickers, bookmarks, and the best prize of all — free pizza. Nothing could keep me from burning through stories when there was pizza on the line. Del Rey’s Star Wars Action Team (SWAT) has brought those feelings back with their Fancorps Community. I might not get pizza, but I can earn neat Star Wars loot and connect with fellow fans while I’m racking up points. I call that a win.

SWAT was announced last summer and has been up and running for about eight months; they’ve recruited over 1,500 fans. Programs like this are one of the reasons Star Wars fandom is terrific. Sure, Del Rey gets word-of-mouth advertising from those participating, but it’s also another way to build and reinforce the community. I talked with some fans enrolled in SWAT to get their feelings about the project.

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Why Waiting for Star Wars Is a Good Thing

Darren Hayes | March 13, 2014

Return of the Jedi 30th anniversary screening at the Egyptian Theatre

I had a Star Wars epiphany last year while standing in line for the 30th anniversary screening of Return of the Jedi in Los Angeles. As many fans know, this particular screening of the film featured a surprise cameo by Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill — who casually strolled up to the podium to partake in the post screening Q&A. The atmosphere in the room was electric as you can imagine. The mood shifted quickly from stunned silence to an eruption of hysteria as Mark took to the stage.

Mark is the quintessential amazing nice guy and super-talented actor we all know and love. Where any other celebrity might shy away from the intense enthusiasm directed at them, he was incredibly gracious and, let’s face it, wonderfully patient with all the fanboys and girls who attended. It was a room of fans from every generation. From those in their 40’s like me, those older and many new fans; children who stared in silent awe that their hero was in the same room as them.

But as amazing as it was, this was not the highlight for me.

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Who Will Win This Is Madness’ Play-In Matchups?

Chris David | March 12, 2014

This Is Madness: The Star Wars Character Tournament 2014 logo

This Is Madness: The Star Wars Character Tournament has returned, and all eyes will be on Yoda, who be looking to repeat as champion. Last year, the Grand Master of the Jedi Order defeated Darth Vader in the finale by a 3:2 margin (60%) of votes. The loss for Vader didn’t sit well with a lot of Star Wars fans, and was deemed an upset by many after watching him cruise through the Dark Side conference.

For this year’s tournament, both Yoda and Vader will be squaring off against old foes and some new faces as well. The action started yesterday with Attack of the Play-Ins, in which four Star Wars characters will have to win a spot in the tournament.

Last year, we at VegasInsider.com handicapped the bracket and are back to offer some insight on the opening weekend.

Let the Madness begin!

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Bantha Tracks: Art Galaxy, March 2014

Mary Franklin | March 11, 2014

Yoda fan art in Bantha Tracks: Art Galaxy

For creative Star Wars fans who are natural artists, and for the rest of us who are not artistically gifted but still appreciative, here is a selection of original artwork sent to Bantha Tracks. Thank you, artists, for sharing your talent with the rest of us!

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Orlando Jones Talks Star Wars

Bryan Young | March 7, 2014

Orlando Jones has been a mainstay in the world of geekdom from his time on Mad TV, through his turns in movies like Evolution and The Time Machine, and currently with his work on the hit show Sleepy Hollow as Captain Frank Irving.

We had him on the Full of Sith podcast to talk about his work and his Star Wars fandom and he treated us to the story of the first time he encountered Star Wars in 1977 as a nine-year-old boy.

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