The much anticipated Hasbro panel just concluded at Comic-Con, and we’ve got the entire presentation available on the main site in a slideshow format — click here to go to the story…
This morning marked the seventh not-so-annual Fan Club Breakfast, hosted by Official Pix at the Marriott at the bleary-eyed hour of seven in the morning. This makes for a long day of activities — it’s Star Wars Day at Comic-Con International — but it’s also a great way to start. More than just eggs and sausage, it’s an informal place for fans to gather with representatives from Lucasfilm, Hasbro, Uncle Milton and more.
Here are some snapshots. For a set of pictures from the Breakfast, see this Flickr set here.
Among the guests present is James Arnold Taylor, the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Plo Koon in The Clone Wars.
Supervising Director Dave Filoni.
Dave was on hand to give out raffle prizes to lucky fans, including a set of Mimobot drives.
Perhaps the most coveted prize was an extremely rare autographed George Lucas card, handed out by Doug Yates, Lucasfilm’s Vice President of Marketing, Distribution and Online.
Another highly prized raffle item: an original 1984 Droids A-wing in excellent condition. Steve Sansweet gives away the prize.
Hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Lucasfilm and LEGO entered into a partnership to feed the world’s astonishing appetite for Star Wars-themed LEGO bricks. When that deal, brokered around the release of The Phantom Menace, came to light, it felt like a natural to many — a match made in collector and kid heaven. But it’s doubtful anyone would have predicted a future filled with smash hit video games, animated shorts and now, a book dedicated to LEGO Star Wars, due out from DK Publishing on October 10, 2009.
Due out in October, the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary may seem like an odd venture at first, given that previous Star Wars Visual Dictionaries have explored the in-universe details of the saga, applying names and histories to the various bit players, widgets, greeblies and what-have-yous of the visually dense props and costumes. This LEGO edition serves a visually rich guide to the fantastic sets and figures produced by LEGO, a sort of plussed out collector’s bible of the past ten years.
On-hand to discuss it at Comic-Con International were Jonathan Rinzler, Executive Editor at LucasBooks; Rob Johnson, Art Director for the LEGO Group, and Simon Beecroft, author of the book and Publishing Manager for DK Publishing.
“I’ve been championing some kind of LEGO book for years,” said Rinzler. “And finally it all came together… Putting it all together was in many ways a puzzle piece.”
Beecroft clarified that the book is not merely a catalog of LEGO products, though every set to date is indeed included. “It does follow along the lines of our Visual Dictionaries, in that it attempts to explain things from the universe it occupies. So this takes the point of view from within the LEGO Star Wars universe of sorts.” This is best expressed through themed spreads within the book that often explore a character or faction and its evolution across multiple LEGO sets.
Rinzler explained the narrative voice does switch gears from in-universe, to our universe, occasionally breaking the wall to explain the history of a set or its features as a product. The book includes a timeline of LEGO works, a look behind-the-scenes on the development of sets and mini-figs, as well as a look at LEGO fans. In fact, it was through the generous contributions of one fan, Jeremy Beckett, that the book ended up being as well illustrated as it is.
“We did get a lot of photos. Many from LEGO, but Jeremy also provided so many as well,” said Beecroft.
Johnson, from LEGO, fielded questions from fans eager to pry any details of future sets, though he remained tight-lipped on specifics. He did say that more Expanded Universe sets — like the Rogue Shadow from The Force Unleashed – were a possibility. He stated that sets dedicated simply to mini-figs were not a possibility due to licensing restrictions — the license to produce Star Wars figures is owned by Hasbro, while LEGO focuses on construction sets. “But, that said, we look to include as many figures as we can in our sets,” he said.
LEGO Designer Rob Johnson (left); Author Simon Beecroft (Right)
At the end of the presentation, DK Publishing was able to reveal the mini-figure that will be included in the book. “Early in the project, there were a lot of emails flying back and forth between LEGO, Lucasfilm and DK, and one of the subjects that came out was including a mini-figure,” said Rinzler. Of the many suggestions, one stood out as perfectly fitting; click the image below to play the reveal video.
Though the first “official” day of Comic-Con International isn’t till Thursday, Wednesday is known as Preview Night, an extra bonus day that is usually the uncontested domain of hardcore collectors seeking out exclusives and first looks at the wares debuting on the floor. With Star Wars, it’s no different. Check out this Flickr set throughout the night to see some of the excitement of Comic-Con Eve.
Here are some highlights:
Sideshow’s bad-ass Yoda is spearing through an Order 66-following 501st clone trooper.
Hasbro is turning the YVH droid from The New Jedi Order into a build-a-figure.
Lucasfilm Senior Events Lead Mary Franklin sends the first photos from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con of the Lucasfilm Pavilion under construction on the Exhibit Hall floor. The round center stage is coming together, and will be the location of several planned Star Wars photo-ops scheduled during the event. Also, crates containing booth materials from Official Pix and Hasbro await placement next to the LFL Pavilion under the round Clone Wars signage overhead.
Stay tuned for further updates as the Star Wars Pavilion comes together for Wednesday’s sneak preview launch! Keep an eye on the set-up in this Flickr set of the pre-show build-up.
Update: You may have seen some imagery on MTV‘s website, but the Pavilion will also incorporate some never-before-seen images from Season Two of Clone Wars. Backed with blood red backdrops is a motley assortment of bounty hunters — some familiar, and some not so.
When I first started working at Lucasfilm 6 years ago, one of my responsibilities was to admin the Starwars.com forums. Because I was an admin, I could choose any Star Wars character (including obscure EU folks) I wanted as my avatar. I didn’t have to think about it long. I instantly chose Ackmena — the night-time bartender of the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine played by none other than Bea Arthur in The Star Wars Holiday Special.
I had always a nostaglic love for that Thanksgiving television special which aired in 1978. It wasn’t because of the Boba Fett cartoon, or the discovery that Chewbacca was married and had a kid named Lumpy. Nope. It was all because of Bea. She was strong, smart, witty, and didn’t take any guff from anyone, including the Empire.
Every character Bea Arthur played — whether it be the sassy bartender Ackmena, Maude Findlay (on Maude), or Dorothy Zbornak (on Golden Girls) — had this inner strength and sarcasm that made her cynical yet lovable. She was liberal without being self-righteous. She was a feminist before I ever knew what that meant. Best of all, she danced with Greedo and sang to that wretched hive of scum and villainy as she threw them out of the cantina.
R2-D2 goes where the action is, so it shouldn’t be surprised that he and his droid pals invaded this year’s WonderCon as usual. Fans ran up and hugged, kissed, patted and posed with everyone’s favorite astromech droid. Those lucky attendees who wanted the ins and outs of droid building got a special treat with the “R2-D2 Droid Building Basics” panel on Saturday.
R2-D2 builders Chris James, Ryan Goff, Steve Simmons, and David Calkins shared their experiences and demonstrated working droids. They chatted about materials, tools needed, basic electronics, and radio control information to make your own Artoo beep, move and save the day.
Special guest Don Bies, former ILM model maker and Star Wars Episodes II and III droid wrangler also showed up to encourage fans to channel their inner Anakin (the good one, not the baddie).
Starwars.com chatted with R2-D2 builder Chris James about what it feels like to be daddy to his own R2-D2.
Can you describe what the R2-D2 Builders group is all about?
We’re a loosely organized international group of fans who love to build droids and share them with the world. Founded in 1999, the club has continually striven to develop resources to allow others to accurately reproduce their own astromech droids. We know have almost 8,000 members, but I would say there’s closer to 500 active builders at any one time. We make all sort of astromechs, not just R2-D2, but that’s were our roots are. Some of you may have also seen R2-KT (R2KT.com); she was build by members of the club.
What tips did you give would-be builders at your WonderCon panel?
It’s hard to cover much in an hour, but we try and give an overview of what can be done, demo our droids, and cover the tools, different materials and skills needed to get started.
The four top tips are always — planning, patients, do lots of research, and know your limitations. Without following these basic tips you can quickly make some expensive mistakes. Oh! And the fifth tip — Don’t try stuffing the electronics from a Hasbro Interactive Droid in a life-size Artoo. You don’t want a 200 lb droid running you over.
We composited several photos to try and give fans an idea of the scope of Hasbro’s Toy Fair showroom presence this year. Since the showroom was accessible by invitation only, few at Toy Fair may be aware of the great new Star Wars offerings coming out in 2009. Go here to download a high-resolution version of the composite image above (click “original” at top).
To check out individual items, make sure to see the other Hasbro sets in our photo series here!
You didn’t think we could pass up Hasbro’s booth without mentioning these irresistible little guys, did you?
Hasbro again delivers on the line that just aims to please with at least seven new 2-packs on deck, including some Clone Wars entries (the Clone Wars look translates very well to these little guys!). Head on over to our Flickr series to check these out!
Don’t miss our continuing photo coverage of all the Star Wars goodness appearing at New York’s Toy Fair this year!
While vehicles usually top the list of wants for Star Wars toy fans and collectors (did you see our previous post for the new Turbo Tank — wow!!), the item that really impressed us this turn from Hasbro was actually a new role play toy — the Clone Commander Blaster. Hasbro took the idea of “Build Your Own Lightsaber” and translated it into a pretty nifty (and sizeable at 2.5 feet long!) blaster rifle that can come apart, be reconfigured, and includes light and sound effects when your re-attach the parts! Some pretty cool features that are new to the Star Wars toy galaxy that should please a lot of younger fans (and older — we couldn’t get enough of it!)
Also pretty nifty was a remote-controlled Clone Wars Artoo that sports many of the same features as the small Japanese version released a few years ago but now much bigger — more on the scale of the 12-inch figure line, actually (although this is a Clone Wars deco’d version of the fiesty astromech). Finally, a new lightsaber, called “Duel Action”, actually might as well be called “Dual Action” — a second saber is hidden in the hilt and can be pulled out and attached to the end for a double-bladed saber. Pretty sneaky sis!
There are also two new additions to the Star Wars Transformers line (actually, these are Clone Wars entries), as well as a bunch of new games and 3D puzzles. Be sure to check these out, as well as Hasbro’s new vehicles plus all the rest of our photo coverage of the 2009 Toy Fair!