Archive for ‘Fans and Community’



Studying Skywalkers: Star Wars in the Classroom

Dan Zehr | February 27, 2014
The Empire Strikes Back vintage poster with Boba Fett

Vintage poster from 1980 that adorns my classroom wall.

As an educator at the Secondary level, it’s imperative that you keep your students engaged and interested in the curriculum, as you navigate the distractions that life may provide at any given moment.  While attending college to become certified as a high school English teacher, I was constantly told that students need to be met where they are at in their lives, and heard catch phrases like “edutainment” to describe the pedagogical approach that many are encouraged to pursue.

This is one of many reasons why incorporating Star Wars into the curriculum is all at once gratifying, exciting, and rewarding. It’s wonderful to see how integrating the saga can inspire students to explore other worlds, analyze complex themes, examine characters and characterization, and think critically about that galaxy far, far away. Navigating the saga encourages empathy and creativity that is essential to molding young minds to become something greater than themselves. Just as Luke Skywalker looked into the twin suns of Tatooine for an outlet to other worlds, and to find his place in the universe, each student is encouraged to make similar connections for the betterment of his or her own world.  Star Wars is an excellent avenue for this.

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Tips: Get Yourself in Star Wars Celebration 2015

Mary Franklin | February 27, 2014

Jabba's Palace at Star Wars Celebration

As mentioned in my most recent blog, new Star Wars Celebration 2015 announcements are coming up this April, probably later in the month, to commemorate the one-year-out point of what promises to be one really big Star Wars show.

A integral part of every Star Wars Celebration is what fans bring to the event, both informally and as part of the official program. Just like Bantha Tracks, with the motto, “By the Fans; For the Fans,” Celebrations are as much fun as they are because fans are involved; because they contribute talent, energy, ideas, and creativity.

Want to be part of the show at Celebration 2015? Read on for some tips on what we’re looking for.

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The History of the 501st Legion: Founding of the UK Garrison

Albin Johnson | February 19, 2014

The 501st Legion of Stormtroopers in 1998

 It was December 1998 and the 501st Squad was growing. Fast.

Following the blunders at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia, I was puzzling over the destiny of the group that gathered on the website Detention Block 2551. It made quite a show, all those pictures of Stormtroopers on the web. But where was all this headed? Would a grassroots fan club catch on with fans worldwide?

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A Star Wars Love Story, Mandalorian Style

Tom Hutchens | February 14, 2014

 Mandalorian Mercs fan group trading card

Series-0 MMCC trading card.

Ten years ago, a silver haired male Zabrak in a dirty black desert coat stumbled into Mos Eisley Cantina. While enjoying a mug of Jawa beer at the bar, out of the corner of his eye he noticed a green female Twi’lek on the dance floor. She wore black CorSec issue trousers while waving a staff around haphazardly as she danced, which immediately caught attention of the Zabrak at the bar. Should he shoot, duck for cover, or attempt to rescue her from herself? Noticing the Zabrak staring at her, she turned around and said “Hello!”

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Win an Amazing Star Wars Experience and Help Make-A-Wish

Jessi Langsen | February 13, 2014

The Skywalker Ranch Main House - win a visit and meet George Lucas in Omaze's new contest

This is the house that Star Wars built. Technically it’s the house, soundstage, vineyard, observatory, and Lake Ewok that Star Wars built, but you get the idea.

This is the place where every bit of legend George Lucas has and continues to produce comes to life. Not many people have walked through the gates at Skywalker Ranch and those people include mere mortals like Oprah, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron.

You’re on the verge of joining their ranks.

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Fully Operational Fandom: Looking for Love in Aldera-right Places

Amy Ratcliffe | February 13, 2014

Star Wars fan wedding

It’s been just about a year since I started this column, and I kicked things off by talking about how a mutual adoration for Star Wars can bring two people together. Since Valentine’s Day is almost here, it seemed appropriate to highlight more love stories from fandom. In some cases, couples saw one of the films on their first date and others had big, fat Star Wars weddings (the best kind of weddings). Just like the Force, love surrounds us and binds the galaxy together.

The story can begin with a date to the movies. Troy Pichelman’s first outing with his now wife was seeing The Phantom Menace a week before it was released to the general public. Since her parents owned a movie theater, an early screening wasn’t a problem. If someone got me in to see a Star Wars movie early, I might propose to him on the spot. Troy’s wife made a creative callback to the date by giving him a framed original of an Episode I teaser poster for Christmas.

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The Kessel Run 2014: Helping Rancho Obi-Wan in Less Than 12 Parsecs

Mark Newbold | February 6, 2014

The Kessel Run Google Hangout

What subject could possibly persuade five webmasters, podscasters, and bloggers to congregate on a Sunday via Google Hangout and chat throughout the day (or until the early hours of the morning for some)? Star Wars, of course, and that’s exactly what Randy Lo Gudice, Johnamarie Macias, Jeremy Conrad, Jason Ward, and I did on January 12 as we embarked on the very first Kessel Run, to raise funds for Rancho Obi-Wan.

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The Rebel Troop Carrier, from Echo Base to Rancho Obi-Wan

Steve Sansweet | February 3, 2014
The Rebel Troop Carrier in a scene from The Empire Strikes Back

The Rebel Troop Carrier in a scene from The Empire Strikes Back.

Blink and you’ll miss it on screen in The Empire Strikes Back! On a list of the 200 top vehicles in the Star Wars saga, it wouldn’t make last place. I’m embarrassed that there’s not even an entry for it in the 1.1 million word Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, which I co-wrote. And yet now it’s sitting, in all its amazing full-size glory, in the carport at Rancho Obi-Wan.

The “it” goes by several names: Rebel Personnel Transport, Flight Crew Shuttle, or as the three incredible (and just a bit crazy) guys who built it call it, the Rebel Troop Carrier. You may have seen it on display, or even sat in it, in the R2 Builders Club room at Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando, Florida in 2010. This is its story.

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Travis Beacham, Pacific Rim Screenwriter, Talks Star Wars

Bryan Young | February 3, 2014

Luke Skywalker versus rancor

Easily one of my favorite movies of the summer was Pacific Rim. It had everything a big summer blockbuster needed and, thanks to a carefully written script and first-class direction from Guillermo Del Toro, it was one of the smartest and most fun summer movies I’ve ever seen. And let’s face it, giant robots punching giant monsters is a lot of fun.

Over the summer my Full of Sith co-host Mike Pilot and myself were able to interview the screenwriter of Pacific Rim, Travis Beacham, about the movie and his love of Star Wars.

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R2-KT and the Power of the Pink Side

Albin Johnson | January 30, 2014
R2-D2 and R2-KT in the Clone Wars feature film

R2-D2 and R2-KT in the Clone Wars feature film.

Much has been said about the plucky astromech that faithfully served Anakin, then Obi-Wan Kenobi, and finally Luke Skywalker. R2-D2 was my hero growing up. So much better than a dog: he could fly a space ship, swim underwater, hack into computer systems, and even zap creepy Muppets. Who wouldn’t want an astromech droid as a friend?

Today there’s a droid living in my house. People who visit are blown away at the mere sight of her. And when she goes on trips, people are amazed to see her rolling on her own steam, dome a-twirling, lights flashing, and that familiar chirp-beep-whistle coming from her speakers. But every time I get the same thing: why is your droid pink?

Okay, so if you’re a hardcore Star Wars fan maybe you’ve heard of her. R2-KT is the pink astromech droid that was built in honor of my daughter, Katie, and that’s why she bears the name “KT.” But some may not know the full story.

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