Tidbits From SLCC FanX Panels

April 28, 2017

Salt Lake City Comic Con FanX, held back in March, was a little lower on the radar than SWCO but it had some interesting commentary at various Star Wars panels .  Rhett Wilkinson attended the panels and took notes.  I’ve limited it to some of the more prequel-centric stuff:

*The Interconnected Star Wars panel with Bryan Young and Lucasfilm’s Matt Martin discussed the story group and continuity.  Mentioned was AOTC’s Poggle the Lesser’s appearances in the pre-Rogue One book “Catalyst” and “Rebels” to explain why the Death Star plans were moved from Geonosis, because Saw Generra was becoming “too close” to the whole thing.  Genndy Tartakovsky’s “Clone Wars” shorts don’t fit into the same timeline as the series; it’s basically “Legends” too.  If a really good story justified bringing back a deceased character like Mace Windu, then it would happen.

*The Full of Sith panel seemed more  a live version of the podcast where Young and Holly Frey discuss favorite costumes (Young likes Padmé’s black corset dress, Frey had a “religious experience” seeing Queen Amidala’s red gown on exhibit in Washington, D.C.), various questions about canon, and answering “why do we tend to gravitate to certain Star Wars (trilogies)?” (the questioner’s remark that prequels are “my Star Wars” and that as some folks don’t like the prequels, children like the Disney Star Wars and not the prequels or originals.) “We attach a lot of nostalgia to childhood, so things you see first are probably your favorite,” Frey said. “you feel (films) were made for you when you were sort of an empty vessel receiving this wonderful universe for the first time.”

To read the whole thing, including details on a panel about Rogue One with Gary Whitta, Coffee With Kenobi will have it up soon.

Star Words Part VII

April 28, 2017

Matril has the seventh part of her look at lines in TPM, this time on a famous quote from Qui-Gon:

On top of that, as a symbolic statement, this line provides marvelous foreshadowing for a film with a hidden “bigger fish” — a phantom menace, if you will — pulling the strings of smaller fish like the Trade Federation. Even the formidable Darth Maul is little more than a pawn within the larger schemes of Sidious.

Getting Your Father-In-Law To Love Count Dooku

April 25, 2017

Clickhole has a quiz on whether you can redeem Count Dooku in the eyes of your father in law.

For the record, it said I would totally pull it off.

General Grievous Coming Soon From Bandai

April 24, 2017

Star Wars The Prequel Trilogy (on Facebook) posted a couple of pictures of Bandai’s upcoming General Grievous 6-inch scale model figure.  It’s fully articulated:

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Expect it out sometime this year.  I hope I’ll get to see it at SDCC this summer.

A Few Interesting Reads

April 20, 2017

SyFy’s Stuff We Love series featured a scene from AOTC that forever changed the audience’s view of the Jedi, when Dooku tries to get a captured Obi-Wan on his side.  The only downside is the author’s assumption “most fans” didn’t like the movie.  Really, Carol?  Get with the program.  Otherwise not a bad piece.

Furious Fanboys says SWCO was a big moment for the prequels.

Finally, here are two more installments in Matril’s Star Words series:

Part V

Part VI

 

 

Challenging “Plot Holes”

April 19, 2017

The latest installment of Power To The Prequels challenges the idea that the Star Wars films have plot holes (PT and OT):

You want to hear a secret? Come closer, I have good news. There are no such things as Star Wars plot holes.

I realize that you’ve probably heard otherwise. There’s a contingency of the fan community that delights in pointing out logical inconsistencies or continuity errors to disparage beloved films. The “plot hole” accusation is the most prevalent, and the reason why is simple. Logic speaks to an objective truth, and there is this illusion that when talking about art, we can categorize it, rank it, attribute a particular quality number to it… with decimal points no less!

The actual truth is that all art is subjective. That’s the point of it. You can’t measure feelings. You can’t empirically test emotional resonance. And what affects one person will have no effect on another. Which is probably why one man’s Film-Breaking Plot Hole is another’s “eh, it didn’t bother me.”

More ICYMI SWCO Stuff

April 19, 2017

Here are the Fetts on the Star Wars Live show:

And apparently during the Anthony Daniels panel, he talks about the cut scene from AOTC where Padmé completes Threepio (his favorite). Scoot over to 40 min. if you don’t want to watch the whole thing:

Fan Experience Thoughts On SWCO: More Commentary

April 19, 2017

It might be a little hubristic to critique a convention one didn’t go to but I’m going to anyway. My experience at past Celebrations has been that the highs can be like Mt. Everest and the lows can be down in the Mariana Trench.  The good news with this con is bringing in people who either have never been to a Celebration or haven’t been in a long time generated excitement and pulled the seams of the saga in a little tighter.  I thought the 40th anniversary panel was fantastic.  I was very happy to see that Hayden Christensen was received so positively.  I’ve watched Mark Hamill’s emotional tribute to Carrie Fisher.

The bad news is as a fan experience, one is arguably better off staying home and watching the proceedings over the internet.

This show attracted over 70,000 people, about 4000 more than the Anaheim con in 2015 and more than Celebration V (2010) and VI (2012) combined.   I ascribe the increased attendance to two reasons:  new movies mean more interest and more fans, and FOMO millennials love going to cons.

Celebration has never been that well-organized but the two most tolerable ones for me were IV and V when far fewer people attended.  The problems with its organization became magnified a hundred-fold when those crowds got much bigger.  A lot of the complaints I read about on Twitter and Facebook reflected problems I’d noticed when I went to SWCA two years ago, only they’d gotten worse.  I wrote a letter to Reed Pop in 2015 with suggestions on how to make things more humane and improve the fan experience at future cons.  They never answered my letter so it’s not surprising they didn’t take my advice either.  Thus, thousands of Star Wars fans spent a lot of money on airfare, gas, food, hotels, and of course on admission only to be stuck in very long unmovable lines for hours.

People found themselves lining up practically at I-4 even though they got there at 6 a.m..  I saw complaints about missed photo op appointments because it took too long to get through the lines to enter the convention.  Those who missed their time then had to go stand in another big line to get refunds.  There were complaints about poor communication, lines to nowhere, and bad management of camp out lines for the big marquee panels.  The rules stated no one was allowed to line up until 8:00 p.m. the previous night but from what I saw, people lined up hours before then.  Rule breakers were rewarded while those who obeyed the rules slept rough for a spot in an overflow room.  I saw complaints about those who “knew somebody” were able to skip lines and weasel their way into the hot panels.

The store situation appeared to be again a disaster of long lines and poor management.  Merchandise ran out early and weren’t restocked until the next day.

The sexy panels that got live streamed were more or less the only ones worth attending in my humble opinion.  Most of the rest seemed to me a hodgepodge of meh and political correctness.  ReedPop apparently had giant signs with a huge list of potential harassment violations that will get you booted from the con yet an eyewitness on my Twitter feed said some in the regular line harassed a man with a cane in the medical line over shall we say a difference of political opinion.  Did the harassers get kicked out?  Nope.  Meanwhile I’d read complaints people in the medical lines had huge posses with them, apparently taking advantage to get to the head of lines.  Then I read complaints that there weren’t clearly delineated medical lines.

I still can’t understand why they didn’t bother screening the prequels.  Poor Kenny Baker got hardly any acknowledgement and nobody mentioned AOTC’s 15th anniversary.

The grand prize winner so far of the worst SWCO horror story was a fan who witnessed a guy who’d peed his pants from you guessed it, waiting too long for something.

The inherent problem with a single interest convention is that many attendees are going to want to see and do the same things, especially E-ticket events like the 40th anniversary panel or the TLJ panel.  I think they should do those events at a nearby arena or small stadium and use every room as overflow to see it live.  The convention center in Orlando is massive.  Why not use more of the space?  Or have some of the actors appear more than once for Q&As?  Do they ever listen to me though?  Nope!

Every door to the con should be open at the time it’s supposed to be open.  Forcing tens of thousands of people into two or three entrances is ridiculous.  Disneyland or Universal Hollywood can absorb over 100,000 people even with security; you just need a lot of security at several gates like at a football game to keep crowds flowing.

If you ask me, it’s either time for Reed to majorly step up or for somebody else to run the con because apparently they can’t handle 70K fans.  The other side of the coin however is that fans have to demand a better experience and start insisting that the guys who run these shows have more respect for customers.  Unfortunately fans are bad at this, especially Star Wars fans.   We’ve been conditioned since the first Celebration to believe that chaos and adversity are inherent parts of the experience and we should not only just accept it but find it all thrilling.  We want the same people in charge because they’ve always been in charge.  The fannier-than-thou people sneer at the rest of us who don’t want to sleep on the ground when we’ve paid for a hotel room and would rather eat hot food, take a shower, and use a proper toilet.  They’re willing to sacrifice it all to make it into the big panels and if you’re not,  you’re just not a big enough or a true fan.  I know all about the adrenaline rush of “beating the system” and “winning” but the older I get the more I feel manipulated by the idea I should just shut up and be happy I’m there at the Acme Convention Center, spending hours of valuable time on a concrete floor or in a claustrophobia-inducing packed-like-sardines line.   The con disorganizers aren’t trying to teach us a lesson about enduring hardship–who goes on vacation to experience hardship?–they’re covering up their own incompetence.  It doesn’t help that after all of these cons, you get gooey retrospectives from mostly bloggers, podcasters, and other media types who sailed on in without missing something they really wanted to see or do.  There’s no incentive to change anything.  While no huge gathering is going to be flawless, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a lot better than what we’re getting.

 

 

Hey Vanity Fair, Maybe It’s Fandom That Needs Hayden’s Forgiveness: Commentary

April 18, 2017

While I was away from a proper computer, Vanity Fair posted a piece on Hayden Christensen’s appearance at SWCO.  The clickbait link on social media was titled “It’s time for Star Wars fans to forgive Hayden Christensen” while the actual story was a hodgepodge of silly assumptions based on nothing.  Sure he had a jokey answer to his Star Wars Live interview question if he really disliked sand but so what?  It’s a big fat nothingburger as per usual with the fake news media.

And in any case, there’s nothing to forgive.  Christensen was hired to play a role and he did his job.  I loved his Anakin.  There was never any malintent on his part regardless of opinion of how he portrayed Anakin.  The really awful things done and said by internet bullies and the media on the other hand were based on nothing BUT malintent.  Their attitude was “it wasn’t done the way I wanted so I’m going to destroy this guy.”  The media, quick to label people failures and eager to ruin anything Lucas touched out of vendetta against the filmmaker, jumped right in.  Pathetically these jerks are still around.  They overshadowed and silenced fans who have always been on Team Hayden or at least didn’t hate him.  Those fans finally got to come out of the woodwork at SWCO, which I’m sure shocked the media.  Many of them have been fans for years while I’m sure there are others who have discovered the prequels in recent years and haven’t been affected by Hayden-bashing nerds.

If anything, fans should be asking his forgiveness.  Granted, he’s too nice, polite, and Canadian to hold a grudge or ask anything of fandom.  Regardless of slings and arrows, he’s never been anything but gracious.  I just think instead of saying, “Well he’s not a bad sort so let’s forgive him for a performance we didn’t like and for dialogue he didn’t write” we ought to be thinking, “Shame on us for being such a-holes.  Shame on us for a geek culture that’s mean, overwrought, and wrong about a lot of things.”  And especially shame on us for being far less Jedi-like than Anakin ever was.

It looks like Hayden had a great time at the convention; he probably had more fun than anyone else!  I hope his reception at SWCO will encourage him to appear at future cons and I hope the media takes notice and stops listening to the haters.

ICYMI: Hayden Christensen On Star Wars Live

April 17, 2017

From what I’ve seen on social media, it looks like he had a blast at the con. Let’s hope he will be around a lot more in the future!