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.