Archive for September, 2012
If you don’t know who I am, let me just explain that I am a professional Star Wars nerd.
See, I took took several nerdy things – origami, doodling, a love of Star Wars and a painful history of middle school disasters – and put them together to came up with a book, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. It’s about an earthbound sixth grader who makes an Origami Yoda and brings it to school to (hopefully) avert some of those disasters.
Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, “In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.” Maybe he was wrong. The Clone Wars Season Five doesn’t begin until this Saturday, but some select fans have already seen the first two episodes—on the big screen—and had the opportunity to ask the show’s creators questions about the series’ past, present, and future. Sounds pretty lucky.
On Friday, September 21, a small group of Star Wars fans were invited to Lucasfilm’s Premier Theater and treated to a special screening of the first two episodes of the upcoming season of The Clone Wars, ”Revival” and “A War on Two Fronts.” A post-screening Q&A moderated by Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo followed, featuring supervising director Dave Filoni, producer Cary Silver, and actress Ashley Eckstein, who portrays Padawan Ahsoka Tano on the show; the talk covered everything from stories about the show’s production to the themes of Star Wars, but the group first discussed what it was like seeing the episodes in a theater with fans.
As some of you know, I’ve been a writer all of my life, emphasis on all. In the summer of my eighth year, I hand printed copies of a flier called the Hobart Street News to try to sell to neighbors on my block in Philadelphia. I charged a nickel, sold two or three to friends of my folks, and decided to go out of business after the second issue—predating by decades a similar fate for too many American newspapers. But the reason that I became a writer was that first I was a reader.
As someone who has made films and written stories, it’s almost impossible for me to completely contain the influences of the cinematic art I consume. Some might shy away of such influence and homage, worried too much about words like “originality,” but others have embraced those influences and created truly breathtaking works of art.
When I was young, I always thought Star Wars was created in a vacuum. Something so impressive had to be completely new, fresh, and original, right?
I had no idea about the long history of films that helped shape it into what it became as it formulated in the head of George Lucas. From old Flash Gordon serials to the works of Akira Kurosawa, Star Wars is a vibrant tapestry of what has come before it. Sometimes it’s not so apparent, but when you spot those influences, you can see how much the minds behind Star Wars, The Clone Wars, and everything else with a Star Wars logo, care passionately about what they do.
This one’s going to be short, as I’m on little sleep these days. Mornings and weekends, I continue to do the book map of The Making of Return of the Jedi, and am up to the ILM chapters. I’m really trying to use photos as large as I can. I feel that The Making of The Empire Strikes Back had too many photos on a page and the result was, often, a lot of clutter. Some of these photos for Return of the Jedi are so great, I want readers to be able to dive into them: George Lucas and Dennis Muren at ILM; Harrison Ford and Lucas together for the Ewok location shoot; Carrie Fisher on Jabba’s throne room set, etc. And as they say, a picture is worth…
In 2009, we started Star Wars Uncut with little more than a big dream of getting fans involved in the Star Wars story. Turns out that dream got a lot of people excited. We had thousands of participants—young, old, animated, and furry. It was a lot of learning on the fly, as we figured out how to bring the new concept to life alongside our awesome contributors. A New Hope Uncut was born out of our collective labor of love and the best part was seeing what we could all do together.