LEGO Star Wars Animation Panel Highlights
One of my must see panels at Star Wars Celebration Chicago was the LEGO Star Wars Animation Panel with Bill Motz and Both Roth. This panel, moderated by Steve Dunk, dived into the creative process and what it took to create both the LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures and All-Stars animation series. The panelists included the creators of these series, Bill Motz and Bob Roth, Lucasfilm’s Leland Chee and LEGO’s Jason Cosler.
All shared stories of how these shows came together and included slides of story boards, whiteboard notes and drawings, character concept art and discussion of the creative and production process. There were a few videos shared including two unaired clips and a really funny video from Wil Film, who was the animation studio for both The Freemaker Adventures and All-Stars.
The biggest surprise of the panel was when Matthew Woods, who voiced Roger in both animated series came in near the end, just when they were discussing if Droidography was Canon or not. Matt not only talked about his role as Roger, but also his role as voice director for these series.
Overall, I was very happy I made it to this panel. As an added bonus, I was able to catch up with Moderator Steve Dunk after the panel was over and ask him about what it took to put this amazing panel together.
Interview with Steve Dunk
Patty: What first gave you the idea to have this panel?
Steve: I had been watching/covering The Freemaker Adventures since it started. As a huge fan of the show naturally I reached out to Bill and Bob and we started a relationship, first just interviewing them and then into a friendship. So, when I heard All-Stars would be their last bit of Star Wars, and Celebration was coming up, it made sense that they should get a proper sending off.
Patty: How do you decide what to discuss in the panel in the time slot you had?
Steve: You start by writing down all the things you love about the shows and any unanswered questions you might have. Then you realize you’ve got hours of material that need to be cut down to one! So, you just start prioritizing, making cuts, and deciding what’s most important.
Getting behind the scenes content, video, and which guests are on your panel very much determines your schedule because that takes up a good chunk of the time. Each one needs to be paid attention to otherwise they’re just sitting up there for no reason.
Patty: How did this panel differ from other panels you have been involved with before?
Patty: It was more important to me because it was also very personal. I love these characters so much and I hold Bill and Bob in such high regard that letting them down wasn’t an option. You always have a stake in what your doing, but this was different.
Basically, I worked harder at this then anything I’d done in the past.
Patty: How difficult was to schedule the guests for the panel, especially Matthew Woods?
Steve: Aside from Bill and Bob, who were in from the start, Jason Cosler and Leland Chee were surprisingly easy. It helped that they were both already attending Celebration but when I reached out to them, they were ecstatic to be a part of celebrating Bill and Bob. At one-point Michael Kramer was going to be a guest but he had to drop out due to his schedule.
Matthew Wood was trickier. He was of course already attending but was very busy all weekend, particularly that day. This was something we worked on for weeks and even still that day we were ironing out the details. I owe him a lot because he basically ran to our panel, stayed to the end, and then had to run off to something else. It was crazy and somehow the timing worked out perfectly.
Patty: What kind of research did you have to do for this panel?
Steve: This was the easy part actually! Like I said, this show means a lot to me and of course I run the Freemaker Facts, so no research was necessary. Really, it was just preparing for the day itself and getting to Fan Stage for rehearsals which took place on Thursday.
Patty: How difficult was it to get the behind the scenes photos and character artwork shown during the panel?
Steve: Not necessarily difficult as it was just a matter of getting Lucasfilm and LEGO to approve it. Bob helped with that part, making sure those requests went to the right people more quickly. Same as the unaired video clips, we put in the request and waited for the approval. It helped that I had a bit of a relationship going there, where they were familiar with me.
Patty: Did the fan community help you with planning for this panel?
Steve: Not the planning part, but the inspiration. I love the Freemaker fans and I heard from many who were excited about it, even ones that couldn’t be there. I had them in mind for some of the content, knowing they would enjoy it as much as I would.
Patty: Is there anything else you would like to share about the panel not already mentioned?
Steve: Sure. At one point I was going to assemble a video of cast members, in/out of character, saying hello to Bill and Bob. I just ran out of time and it’s too bad because it would have been amazing to see that.
Just a huge thanks to Wil Film, LEGO, Lucasfilm, and the fans that showed up. I had such a great time meeting everyone.
During Star Wars Celebration 2019 in Chicago, one of the most popular booths was the Galaxy’s Edge preview.
I took the time on the first day of Star Wars Celebration to experience what this booth had to offer as a preview of this exciting new Star Wars themed park.
They had photo ops available where attendees could have their picture taken with a mock up of the ride attractions and Black Spire backdrops.
The most interesting part of the booth to me was the examples of the merchandise that will be on sale when Galaxy’s Edge opens. All I could think of was…
I have to wait until the park opens to buy these! Why are they not for sale NOW!
The booth also hosted meet and greets with Imagineers who worked on creating the attractions for Galaxy’s Edge. Unfortunately, none of the Imagineers were available when I visited the booth. However, my friends Richard and Sarah from Skywalking Through Neverland were able to meet and interview Imagineers Scott Trowbridge and Chris Beatty and that interview is available to view above.
Overall, this Galaxy’s Edge preview gave me an general idea of what to see and experience when the park opens later this year.
Almost There: Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Begins
In less than 24 hours, the Star Wars Rebels fourth and final season will begin on Disney XD! This final season will start October 16 at 12:30AM EDT/PDT with the one-hour premiere, “Heroes of Mandalore: Parts One and Two“, on the Disney XD and the DisneyNow App! If you miss the first airing do not worry, there will be additional airings throughout the day (3:00am, 7:30am, 5:30pm and 9pm EDT/PDT)!
In this premiere episode, Sabine leads Ezra, Kanan and an army of her fellow Mandalorians back to her home world to rescue her father from the clutches of the Empire. When she discovers the Empire has resurrected a devastating weapon, she must decide whether to destroy it or use it herself.
I saw Part One at Star Wars Celebration Orlando back in April and I cannot wait to see the next part and of course discuss this with fellow Star Wars Rebels Fans, especially with Johnamarie and her Ma via RebelsChat!
Before season four begins, binge-watch seasons one through three of “Star Wars Rebels” available now on the DisneyNow App.
Today is Force Friday II and I spent most of my day looking and buying some of the new Star Wars merchandise.
A Quick Morning Stop!
Since I had to work today I was not able to go to any of the Force Friday II midnight opening events. However, I was able to stop by my local Meijer on the way to the office. This store was in the process of setting things up for Force Friday II. Fortunately, they did put out a few of the action figures so I was able to score a Black Series Thrawn, Jedi Traninee Rey and Hera Syndulla!
Afternoon Adventures: At The Mall
Fortunately, the office closed early for the holiday and I was able to do some looking and shopping at a mall near my office. My first stop was a quick stop at The Disney Store since this was the closest to my office. This had the appropriate atmosphere for buying Star Wars merchandise including a video screen playing Star Wars scenes and clips, tracks from the Star Wars soundtracks and demonstrations by the staff showing the new mechandise to younglings! It is here that I bought my first Porg, a very soft PLUSHIE, a Die Cast Rey figure and the Die Cast droid gift pack on clearance! I also received a bonus, a set of the new The Last Jedi posters!
Next I decided to make a quick stop by there was The Lego Store, since this was only a couple of doors down from The Disney Store. I personally did not see much in the way of new merchandise that I wanted to buy. However, I saw a few displays that interested me including a display of The Phantom II from Star Wars Rebels, The Arrowhead from The Freemaker Adventures and a huge Millennium Falcoln!
The last stop at the mall was at The Apple Store. Here I saw the new app enabled droids including BB-9E and R2-D2. There was also a STEM learning opportunity where they presented a class for kids on how to program these droids using coding techniques!
After dinner with my family, I made two additional stops to check out what other new Star Wars merchandise is available! I first made my way to Target where I found lots of new merchandise available! There was so much I could not decide what to buy with my limited budget. I bought the new Forces of Destiny Sabine figure, a Rose figure and a few Star Wars items to give my hubby for his upcoming Birthday.
My final stop of the day was at Walmart! Since I already spent my budget at the other stores, I did not buy anything here. However, this did not prevent me from looking and adding new items to my list once I save a little. What I found while looking around was more new merchandise including some exclusives not found at other retailers.
Well that was how I spent Force Friday II. So how did you spend your Force Friday? Which retailers did you go to? What did you buy?
The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes fellow Fangirl Connie Shih as a guest blogger to talk about why representation, diversity and inclusion matters!
Take it away Connie!
Patty, thank you so much for the opportunity to write a guest today!
Why Representation, Diversity, and Inclusion Matter To Me: Having a Seat at the Table an editorial by Connie Shih
Representation, diversity, and inclusion have come to the forefront in recent years as hot topics in pop culture, fandom and society at large. They are multi-faceted, complex topics influenced by a number of factors including background, race and ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Depending on one’s perspective, representation and diversity are either championed or derided as being too political.
In the pop culture realm, discussion and debate surrounding representation and diversity have intensified this summer with the record-breaking box office success of Wonder Woman, the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th (and first female) Doctor in Doctor Who, the diverse cast of Star Trek: Discovery, and the debut of the new Star Wars: Forces of Destiny animated shorts (with accompanying Hasbro adventure figure merchandise). Although welcomed and embraced by many, there has also been vocal and considerable pushback by some who believe that the spotlight on representation and diversity has detracted from the love of THEIR TV show or film franchise. These detractors perceive that inclusion is used to gate keep entry into fandom and franchise, and believe that representation and diversity do not matter.
In this guest editorial, I would like to provide a counterpoint to the belief that representation and diversity do not matter by sharing my story and perspective as a 42-year-old Asian-American woman with cerebral palsy who has loved the science-fiction / fantasy genre for 34 years. My intent is not to change minds, but rather invite readers to step out their own perspectives for a moment and consider things from a different point of view.
Having a Seat at the Table
Growing up in the 1980s, my two primary science-fiction / fantasy staples were Star Trek and Star Wars. I was first introduced to Star Wars as an 8-year-old with Return of the Jedi and to Star Trek as an 11-year-old with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Those two films were my entry points into both these long running franchises and in both cases I became an instant fan. The United Federation of Planets and A Galaxy Far, Far, Away captivated me and I wanted to absorb everything about them. My favorite characters from each of these franchises, at the time, were Nyota Uhura and Hikaru Sulu from Star Trek, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker from Star Wars. I was drawn to them all because I saw a bit of myself in all four characters: Uhura (female linguist and communications officer), Sulu (Asian helmsman), Princess Leia (empowering, take charge princess), and Luke (hero with unwavering belief in his father). In each of these characters, I saw a trait that I could relate to, or someone who I aspired to be.
As the Star Trek franchise continued with TV series The Next Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine, my favorite characters were Dr. Beverly Crusher, Geordi La Forge, Keiko O’Brien, and Harry Kim. Once again, I saw a bit of myself represented in each of them, especially with Geordi. I think it was the first time I saw a character with a disability (blindness) in Star Trek. It was incredibly inspiring for me to watch his progress from helmsman to chief engineer of the Enterprise. All of these characters represented my seat the table.
Does that mean I didn’t like or identify with other characters within these franchises? No, of course not. In the Star Trek franchise, I liked many different characters based on their traits and story. For example, I liked Dr. McCoy for his southern gentility, wit, and sarcasm just as much as I liked Guinan for her wisdom. Seeing representation on screen added additional layers of relatability and personal investment to the story and franchise. When I do not see myself represented, I feel like an outsider looking in to a certain extent. Recently, I was struck by a quote from Dr. Mae Jemison (lifelong Star Trek fan and NASA astronaut) to Nichelle Nichols at the recent Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. Jemison thanked Nichols for being an inspiration and went on to say “You gave me and others permission to be in the room.” Think about that for a moment. Seeing Uhura on TV gave Jemison permission to be in the room. I was incredibly moved by her comment because I felt the same seeing my aforementioned favorite characters on TV and on the big screen.Bullied for Being a Fan
As much I loved Star Wars and Star Trek growing up, I mostly kept my love for Star Wars hidden from others until my mid-teens and early twenties. Why? Because I was bullied as a child (both verbally and physically) on more than one than occasion when attempting to share my love of this franchise with other kids. “You like Star Wars? You cripple. Don’t you know that Star Wars is for boys?” “Oh, you like Star Wars? Prove it. *proceeds with a litany of questions*” “Star Wars is for boys, not girls. You’re Chinese! Star Wars isn’t for you anyways. Go away!”
As a young girl, these questions stung like being swarmed by wasps. I cried myself to sleep several times. I just wanted to connect with other kids and didn’t understand why they were being so mean. My parents, bless them, tried to soothe me the best they could. They told me that I still had my imagination and the ability write and draw, so I should keep Star Wars to myself and have fun. I didn’t have Star Wars toys at the time, so I acted out scenes from Return the Jedi with my Barbie and Ken dolls, pretending they were Leia and Luke, respectively.
I also hid my love for Star Trek because there weren’t kids my age who liked it and I was already bullied for Star Wars, so why even ask? It was pointless and I did not want to be subjected to another round of heartbreak. It was not until several years later that I came out of hiding with Star Trek and Star Wars. One of my father’s work colleagues had a daughter ten years older than I. Despite our age difference, we had so many life circumstances in common including a love of Star Wars and Star Trek. I can’t tell you how genuinely happy I was to discover another girl who loved both of these franchises much as I did. The floodgates opened and we chatted for hours, talking nonstop about Luke, Leia, and Han and Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov. That was 30 years ago. We remain close friends to this day and still go to see Star Wars and Star Trek movies together. I consider her a science fiction / fantasy kindred spirit and I have her to thank for introducing me to other awesome franchises, such as Doctor Who, Babylon 5, and Stargate SG-1.
Being a Fan in the Present Day
Much has changed for the better over the past 30 years, especially for the Star Wars franchise. There are now also so many more entry points for fans of all ages to experience Star Wars across multiple mediums (film, animated series, books, comics, video games, virtual reality, and theme parks). Along those lines, I have to say it has been fantastic to witness the number of diverse characters grow exponentially, particularly with female characters. Star Wars now includes Padmé Amidala, Shmi Skywalker Lars, Rey, Ahsoka Tano, Maz Kanata, Satine Kryze, Bo Katan, Steela Gerrera, Korr Sella, Greer Sonnel, Hera Syndulla, Asajj Ventress, Sabine Wren, Ursa Wren, Norra Wexley, Shara Bey, Jyn Erso, Lyra Erso, the Nightsisters, Captain Phasma, Mother Talzin, Dr. Aphra, Ciena Ree, Rae Slone, Arihnda Pryce, Iden Versio, Rose Tico, Amilyn Holdo, and Kordi Freemaker. While their stories have been told (or will be told) in varying degrees, each of these female characters have been introduced in a medium. To say that I am thrilled is an understatement. In addition to female characters, there have been recent attempts to ethnically diversify with Finn, Poe Dameron, Saw Gerrera, Bodhi Rook, Cassian Andor, Baze Malbus, and Chirrut Îmwe. Of these characters, as a disabled Asian American, I connected to Chirrut Îmwe the most because it was refreshing to see an Asian character who wasn’t stereotypically portrayed as a villain and also overcame his blindness. There are now so many more seats at the table and I hope the trend continues because the galaxy is vast with infinite possibilities to tell stories from different perspectives.
As geekdom has become mainstream, it is easier for female fans to openly embrace their love of the science fiction / fantasy genre. While bullying and discrimination still exist, we no longer have to hide in shadows. I’m delighted there are companies and online communities such as Ashley Eckstein’s Her Universe (geek fashion) and Jamie Broadnax’s Black Girls Nerds that are thriving because they create spaces where all female fans can connect, step into the spotlight and be proud of their inner geek / nerd. There is also much more merchandise available for fans of all ages to purchase and enjoy. Collectibles, toys and games, action and adventure figures, kitchenware, bedding – all come branded with one’s favorite franchise. While the merchandise was prevalent when I was a kid, it is everywhere now. It’s a wonderful time to be a fan!
Into the Future
The futures of both Star Trek and Star Wars are bright with exciting, each with new projects on the horizon. In addition, both recently celebrated milestone anniversaries with Star Trek turning 50 last year, and Star Wars turning 40 this year. I consider both to be legacy franchises as the love for them has been generational. At the same time, we have started to see both (particularly Star Wars) evolve to reflect the society and times they reside in. As author John Knowles said, “Everything has to evolve or else it perishes.” I view representation, diversity, and inclusion (both on screen and off screen) as integral to this evolution, and believe that these three will help both Star Trek and Star Wars continue to stand the test of time. They have the potential to the present new stories to keep things fresh while still retaining the core characteristics of what makes the respective franchises appealing. Potential is the keyword because I acknowledge that representation, diversity, and inclusion alone cannot exist in a vacuum. Ideally, they should be coupled with quality storytelling that resonate with the audience and fans. This is something that the entertainment industry as a whole is currently struggling with, and is subject that is worth exploring in a separate article. Overall, representation, diversity, and inclusion DO matter to me because I believe that everyone has a voice, has the right to be in the room, and has a seat at the table.
If you have read this far, I want thank EACH of you for allowing me to share my personal perspective of why representation, diversity, and inclusion matter. I welcome all perspectives and the chance to dialogue with fellow fans. If you would like to reach out, please feel free to reach me at my twitter handle @connieshih. Live Long and Prosper and May the Force Be With You!
Some items of interest for further reading, listening, and viewing:
• Listen: Beltway Banthas podcast: Episode #36: Race, Representation, and Reconciliation
• Watch: Dave Filoni Speaks at the National Center for Women & Information Technology
• Read: Netflix Talks Diversity and Representation With #FirstTimeISawMe
• Read: Are We as Inclusive As We Believe We Are in Fan Culture?
• Read: Dear Hollywood: Five lessons we hope you learned from the success of ‘Wonder Woman’
• Read: Diversity in Movies Largely Unchanged Despite Increased Awareness, Study Finds
Connie Shih is a graduate student and teacher who loves astronomy and music, is an avid reader, and is a science fiction / fantasy nerd who loves Star Wars and Star Trek. She can be reached at her twitter handle @connieshih.
The Freemaker Adventures Continues Today!I am a big fan of the LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures and I am really excited that the first episodes of season two, “A New Home” and “Trouble on Tibalt” air today starting at 10:30AM EST on DisneyXD! I cannot wait to see what new adventures the Freemaker Family gets into next! Are you a fan of The Freemaker Adventures?
Are you looking forward to Season 2 as much as I am?
At Star Wars Celebration We Are Family
Many of those that attended Star Wars Celebration Orlando were all about getting autographs from Star Wars celebrities, like Mark Hamill or Hayden Christensen, watching the latest Star Wars trailers with thousands of fellow fans or buying exclusive Star Wars merchandise for their collections. However, for me, the goal for this Star Wars Celebration was to meet and hang out with my friends in the Star Wars Fan Community, who I met via social media. I am happy report that I not only met this goal was met, but well exceeded my expectations! I felt that each one treated me like a member of their family, one big happy Star Wars Family!
My Many Encounters
I knew that as an active member of the Star Wars community, I had a small following. However, I did not realize that so many would recognize me among the sea of people at Star Wars Celebration Orlando. I was very surprised at how people many shouted my name while I was walking around and wanted to meet me. I am very humbled by all this attention and I really appreciate every single one who stopped and talked with me! It was a real honor to encounter each and every one of you!
Fellow Star Wars FangirlsAt this Star Wars Celebration, I was able to meet many of the Fangirls in the Star Wars community that I have been wanting to meet in person. Many of these Fangirl encounters were unplanned and unexpected, but made my Star Wars Celebration Orlando experience so much better! Because of these unexpected, unplanned encounters we got got to hang out and Fangirl flail over all the things we just did or saw on the convention floor. One of those Fangirl Flail moments was when John Boyega walked by four of us Fangirls while we were just standing around talking behind the Star Wars Show Live Stage. There was much love and many Fangirl flails from all these encounters, especially when many of attended the Fangirls Going Rogue Podcast Panel. Thanks to all my fellow Fangirls! I really appreciate each and every one of you as Sisters in The Force!
Families in The Force
Star Wars Celebration Orlando not only gave me many opportunities to meet, in person, many of those I met via social media, but I was able to spend time with them as well. I would not be the person I am today without all the people I have met and interacted with on social media. Each person I encountered really made me feel that I was indeed part of their family, a big, happy and supporting family! Thank you to everyone I met and interacted with at Star Wars Celebration Orlando and for confirming that we are all one big Star Wars family!
Patty Hammond, Pattybones2, is the Everyday Fangirl from Michigan. You can find her on Twitter @PattyBones2 or blogging at everydayfangirl.com, TheFutureofTheForce.com, TheCantinaCast.com or TheBeardedTrio.com talking about Star Wars and much more!
Agony and Excitement at SWCO
Well I have experienced two days of Star Wars Celebration Orlando. For me this experience has been both frustrating and exciting.
The Agony: Lines
At any convention you expect lots of lines, but Day One of the Star Wars Celebration Orlando is the worst I have ever experienced.
My husband and I arrived to the convention center on Day One at just after 5:45AM. Due to the organizers having a single entry point into the Convention Center, the line to just get in through security was over 1 hour and 45 minutes and those that arrived later, experienced much longer wait than we did.Even when we finally got into the event, there were lines everywhere, even the vending machines had a line.
Fortunately, ReedPOP was able to correct some of these long line experiences very quickly. Day Two went smoother with less lines getting in due to having multiple entry points.
The Excitement: Seeing and Meeting Social Media Friends
Despite all the lines, my favorite moments of the event so far is meeting and hanging out with friends who I only knew through social media. This is one of the reasons that going to an event like this is worth all the agony that might be encountered.
I am looking forward to the next two days and find out what adventures and of course, the people I will discover while wandering around Star Wars Celebration.
I will be continuing to post my adventures here and of course via Twitter @PattyBones2.
Are you at Star Wars Celebration Orlando?
What adventures have you experienced?
This EverydayFangirl is at Star Wars Celebration Orlando and will be running around covering as much as I can!
This time I actually have some swag to give away! These awesome buttons!
On Saturday January 28, 2017, my husband, my sister and two of our friends went to the CLASH of AGES Renaissance Faire. This is an indoor event held in Birch Run, MI where the Renaissance, Viking, Pirate, Fantasy and Steam Punk cultures collide.
The event organized tried very hard to make this a fun and exciting event. They put a lot of work into the set up, displays and programming. It including activities for all ages including…
Watching combatants fight with swords
Admiring all the creativity, enthusiasm and effort of the Cosplayers. –My husband was suprised by the number of people who were displaying their love of these cultures via Cosplay at this event.
Watching a parade with participants playing instruments, carrying banners and wearing outfits from many different cultures.
Watching a baudy pirate show
Of course, as with any Renaissance Faire, there was plenty of vendors to peruse and shop at. Some our favorites were…
Buying Fairy merchandise
Perusing the ‘Hogwarts Shop’
Shopping for your favorite weapon.
You could even shop for items for your ‘cave’
The only draw back to this event that we can identify was that the usual atmosphere, like the forest or a castle, usually found at Renaissance Faires, was missing.
Overall, this is good event. If you are in the Birth Run area on January 29, 2017, I would recommend checking this event out.