Welcome to The StarWars.com 10, a feature where StarWars.com’s editorial staff huddles to discuss — in a committee — various topics relating to a galaxy far, far away. Today we’re looking at the top installments of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Note: In the case of story arcs with multiple strong episodes, we opted to select one installment from each.
When I was approached to write a blog for StarWars.com, I was a bit scared. Terrified actually.
I am not a writer at all. To be honest, I am grammatically challenged.
Working for Lucasfilm was a dream come true. I have been a Star Wars fan since my parents took me to see A New Hope in 1978 at the Van Buren drive-in. Little me would be peeing his pants if he knew then that he would work for Star Wars. I have done four art pieces for Lucasfilm. All of them were extremely fun and exciting to make.
I was approached to write this at one of the busiest times I’ve ever had, and I wanted to put it off…BUT…I was working on a new piece for Lucasfilm and Acme Archives, so I thought this would be a perfect chance for me to write a little bit about my process.
Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO aired on ABC in the US in 1985 and 1986. The cartoon was developed by Nelvana, but it only lasted one season (13 episodes) and one special (“The Great Heep”). The episodes aired during the Ewoks and Droids Adventure Hour, which also showed an episode of Nelvana’s other Star Wars cartoon: Ewoks. Droids was a typical US cartoon (though Nelvana itself was Canadian) from the mid-eighties, so it couldn’t show physical violence. Droids also aired in other countries, such as Spain and France, where it was very popular.
Droids takes place 15 years before the Battle of Yavin. Our beloved droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO, hook up with three different masters and they meet a lot of new friends and enemies during these adventures. There is no sign of any of the other heroes from the movies. Still, the series looks like it’s a part of the Star Wars galaxy and from time to time it shows ships and vehicles from the movies (Lambda-class shuttle, Bantha II Cargo Skiff, and TIE fighters) and even from Kenner’s vintage line of toys (probably to promote toys that didn’t sell very well).
Something you might not immediately realize is the fact that the show features several elements or designs which have also appeared in the prequels. Some have been used almost literally, others have been used as a concept or are similar in design. One of the people at Lucasfilm who worked regularly on Droids was sound designer Ben Burtt. Burtt wrote the last story arc about the droids’ encounter with adventurer Mungo Baobab. Art director and conceptual designer from the original trilogy, Joe Johnston, co-wrote the elusive episode “Cody and the Starhunters.” It is not exactly known how and why several elements of Droids ended up appearing in the prequels, but it could have been Ben Burtt who offered George Lucas or the conceptual team some ideas for a particular name or design.
Let’s have a look at how Droids influenced the prequels!
During the time of the first three films, there were significant barriers standing between kids and the Star Wars stuff they craved. The drive to Children’s Palace or Kiddie City or Gold Circle was, for most of us, insurmountable. The only way we could get to one of those places, with all their light and treasure, was usually at the tail-end of a larger negotiation of good behavior. Or a birthday. Or straight-up blackmail. As it has been for every generation, going to the toy store was never a frequent enough visit. And since there was no Internet or rec.star.wars.fanz.hanshotfirst.woot, the only place kids could interact with the Star Wars universe was in their front driveways, bashing their little brothers with a piece of plastic pipe stuck into an old bike grip.
There had to be a better way.
Luckily, there was. The best place where young fans of the film could interact with the toys, and thus the movie, was in the paper-thin pages of a Christmas catalog: the Sears Holiday Wish Book. And the best part? It was already being delivered to their homes for free.
Last year, Wil Wheaton started a little thing called “International TableTop Day.” It’s his goal that we all play more board games and it’s an ideal many of us in the world of Star Wars fandom share. And even though Wheaton is inherently linked to his role on Star Trek, we know he’s really a Star Wars guy at heart. (He even talked to us about it last year.)
With “TableTop Day” coming back this week for 2014, I got a chance to talk to Wheaton about what Star Wars board games he’d recommend we check out. And maybe I had a recommendation for him, too.
With the release of Muppets Most Wanted in theaters this week, you may see Muppets everywhere. Did you know that there is a long history of Muppet connections to Star Wars? They may seem very different but over the years there have been many fun crossovers between these worlds (or galaxies). Here are a few favorites.
It is a period of rebirth at Walt Disney Productions. Although the company had almost been destroyed by an evil empire of corporate raiders, a small band of freedom fighters led by Roy E. Disney thwarted the attack and restored order to the company.
New CEO Michael Eisner and president Frank Wells have dispatched the creative wizards at Walt Disney Imagineering to restore hope to the company’s theme parks in the form of innovative new rides and attractions.
Now, working from their hidden base in Glendale, a group of Imagineers including veteran storytellers Tony Baxter and Tom Fitzgerald has forged an alliance with master filmmaker George Lucas to bring his beloved galaxy to life at Disney theme parks across the planet…
Sorry about that, but I couldn’t resist. How often do you get to write your own Star Wars crawl? Plus it was a good way to quickly recap part one in this series of posts on the creation of the original Star Tours.
Ask yourself a question. Why do kids like Star Wars so much? One theory is that it’s filled with so many characters that are larger than life: cool bounty hunters, powerful Sith Lords, noble Jedi warriors. Kids are built to imagine growing up to be something bigger than they are. Back in the ’70s and ’80s, a lot of us were kids and you better believe we got it. And dressing up in Star Wars costumes? We did it old school — moms made our outfits and we wore them proudly!
It occurred to me after 15 years of building a Star Wars costuming fan club that something was missing. We didn’t allow kids as members. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, Mando Mercs, and the other clubs love kids. We all do this for the kids. Nothing thrills us more than to visit a hospital and to see the smiles on children’s faces when we troop. But having kids as part of our group? It wasn’t practical. But it wasn’t impossible.
So by 2008 the 501st was a well-oiled machine and I started posing the question: was it time to finally have a separate costuming group for kids? Their very own cool group to join? I mean why not? The costuming community had evolved to the point where logistics of events and organizing were well in hand. So why not a costuming group with kids as actual card-carrying members?
The World Cup of football, the Tour de France, the Super Bowl, and the Olympic Games are but a select group of popular sport events that take place on our planet. They’re not only watched in the stadium or on the road, but also followed by millions of fans in front of their television screen. They’ve become massive media events, sponsored and supported by the largest corporations in existence. But what about sport in the Star Wars universe? In this two-part blog we’ll talk about some of the most famous sports in a galaxy far, far away…