Archive for September, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Guess Who This Is?

September 25, 2014

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Those of you who follow Her Universe on Twitter or on Facebook saw this #tbt photo today. According to Ashley Eckstein, that’s her dressed as Anakin as Zack Morris from “Saved By The Bell” for Halloween and her friend was Kelly as a Wookiee. Normally I show stuff from PT/CW alum in previous roles but this was too good to pass up.

Now how about Threepio as Screech?

Shakespearean TPM Adaptation Coming Next Year

September 25, 2014

Author Ian Doescher has already “translated” Eps IV-VI into a form Shakespeare would’ve written and just when you thought, “Well, I guess that’s it then,” here comes the news a TPM version is set for publication April 7, 2015.

Quinlan Vos & Asajj Ventress Novel Title Revealed

September 25, 2014

According to Star Wars The Prequel Trilogy, it’ll be called “Dark Disciple.” It’s still due July 2015.

Breaking News: The Clone Wars Legacy

September 25, 2014

Fulfilling rumors of something “big” re Clone Wars dropping this week, starwars.com has lauched The Clone Wars Legacy, featuring unfinished story reels, conceptual artwork, and so forth. You can view the story reels for the so-called Utapau arc starring Obi-Wan and Anakin. Rejoice we got to see something and cry over what might have been…

Marvel Will Get Around To “Other Eras”

September 24, 2014

Coffee With Kenobi scored a big scoop when it interviewed Marvel Comics editor Jordan D. White. In the interview, White says that while the revived line of Star Wars comics will start first with the OT-era between ANH and TESB, Marvel will move on to “other eras:”

Whether the other eras of the story will be explored, that remains to be seen, though it goes without saying there is a rich timeline to be mined, should the situation warrant.

“As for other eras, yeah, that is one of the great parts about Star Wars, there are so many terrific points in their history we can explore,” White said.

“With these first series, we wanted to stick all in the same era in order to create the sort of inter-connected universe feel we get between Marvel books,” he said. “But I am certain we’re going to be turning to those other eras in future series. “Heck — I know for a fact we’re working on at least one of those … but we’re not ready to announce it just yet.”

I know Furious Fanboys extrapolated this to mean it would include prequel-era comics but I say, “Whoa, buckaroos. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” Other eras could be any time, including the Old Republic, the post-ROTJ era (there’s 30+ year gap now between ROTJ and Ep. VII), the post-ROTS/Rebels era, and yes, even the time period of the sequels. Maybe White was talking about a new Clone Wars comic. Or maybe he was talking about something else. Until something’s announced, I wouldn’t start popping champagne bottles just yet.

Undeniable Fact About ROTS #29: It Won Best Film At The Hollywood Film Awards

September 24, 2014

For the past 17 years or so, the Hollywood Film Awards launches the movie award season with considerably smaller fanfare than the Golden Globes, the SAGs, and the Oscars. But hey, it was the award show that last year first put Lupita N’yongo’s performance in “12 Years A Slave” on the map and look where that led! Yeah, to Star Wars! (Harrison Ford got a lifetime achievement award too.)

The Hollywood Film Awards is somewhere between the rest of the award gigs and the People’s Choice Awards, where popular movies that ordinarily don’t have a prayer have a shot at winning something. Moviegoers voted on Best Film and in 2005, ROTS ended up with the grand prize. Suck it, you overrated “Crash.”

And the best news is it wasn’t the last show of appreciation for ROTS. More on that later in the countdown!

Undeniable Fact About ROTS #30: It Almost Won A Fan Poll Of Favorite Star Wars Film

September 23, 2014

Some years back, the Star Wars Insider ran a poll on fan favorites. This is not the poll they did in 1998, prior to the release of Eps I-III; this one was later, sometime after ROTS’s release.

One category of favorites was favorite Star Wars film. According to the Insider’s editor, ROTS was in the lead for most of the time they were counting ballots and would have won had it not been for a late surge of TESB votes. (I bet those were mysteriously found in a trunk of a car.)

AOTC Was The Worst-Promoted Film Of The Saga (So Far)

September 22, 2014

In truth, ANH might actually have been the worst-promoted film of the saga because 20th Century Fox did not think it was going to be successful. They thought it was going to be a weird sci-fi movie that would breeze in and out in a few weeks. Its first trailer was hilariously cheap (though back then trailers weren’t a big deal) and Fox didn’t even bother to spring for a proper Hollywood red carpet premiere. Charlie Lippencott had to fight for anyone making toys to pay attention to him and hustled for some air time at Comic Con and Worldcon in 1976. They had to beg Stan Lee at Marvel into making an adaptation. The thing is, nobody would have realized this today because of what ANH had become. There was so much mania AFTER the film’s release, nobody realizes or remembers how little there was beforehand. It was a movie that made it on word of mouth back when social media meant the neighbor’s back fence, the office water cooler, the kitchen telephone, and the school playground.

Ever since then, however, Lucasfilm has been looked upon as a genius of marketing. Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t, but when every subsequent Star Wars film came out, you bet everyone not hiding in a cave knew about it. That was especially true when TPM came out in 1999. A huge amount of the hype wasn’t generated by the studio or by Lucasfilm, but they certainly had no problem riding the wave until the film’s release.

When AOTC came out in 2002, I found myself asking, “What happened?” In terms of keeping fandom informed and doling out tantalizing tidbits in the years before the film’s release, they did a great job. I remember the excitement that came with every “Selects” photo from the set. It was a big deal when Hayden Christensen got picked to play Anakin. Rick McCallum was always talking to the Insider and Starlog or what have you. I can tell you the paps got more photos from the backlot of Fox Australia studios than anyone has been able to get from the Ep VII set, drones or no drones. Celebration II in glamorous Indianapolis, IN was a big pre-release pep rally. But that was singing to the amen chorus. Most of us who deeply cared about Star Wars were pre-sold and would’ve seen the movie anyway. The problem was reiterating the place of Star Wars as a cultural phenomenon and the mythology of our time in order to get regular filmgoers psyched to see the film.

The first time I realized there was a problem was when AOTC’s Midnight Madness merchandise drop occurred in April 2002. By then I think we all realized that the massive wave of stuff in 1999 was TOO much, more than what the market would bear no matter how successful the film was. So I thought the amount of toys issued was just right. But I was horribly disappointed at the paltry amount of merch aimed at teens and adults. I went to Suncoast and saw only ONE style of t-shirt. I hoped to find more at Celebration II but aside from the event souvenir shirts, I didn’t find any more. I actually had to buy a husky boy’s t-shirt in the kids’ department at K-Mart to show my support for AOTC. The only other AOTC-themed shirt I got that summer was an unlicensed beauty from the late, lamented Senator Theater in Baltimore, MD.

But I should’ve realized there were problems before then, hindsight being 20/20 and all of that. I don’t think the title announcement was done all of that well and Lucasfilm was unprepared for the media bash-fest that came in its wake (it also would’ve helped to have told the main cast the title beforehand instead of waiting a reporter run into a boozed-up Ewan McGregor to ask what he thought). The teaser trailers were great, but if it was me, I would’ve put the internet exclusive trailer in theaters with movies like “Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone” or “Fellowship of the Ring” and the one that focused more on Anakin/Padme with movies that appealed more to young women. Lucasfilm and Fox failed to realize that AOTC could’ve really reached a new market for Star Wars, teen girls and young adult women.

I also thought while some of the ads leading up to AOTC’s release were good (not so much the one I’m getting to in a minute…), they were not nearly as good or as attention-getting as the amazing “tone poem” ads for TPM. The one ad that made me cringe was the “who da man/Yo-da man” ad. Sure it was a great idea to promote the crowd-pleasing Yoda vs. Dooku battle but the ad was dopey. But you know what offended me the most about it? It was actually piggybacking off of “Spider Man.” No, just NO.

A Star Wars movie should never, EVER try to capitalize off of someone else. Doing that was in my humble opinion waving a white flag at Sony and acknowledging that something else was the big movie of the summer, much the same way the trailer for “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” said, “If you see one movie this summer, see Star Wars. If you see two movies this summer, see ‘Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.’” Star Wars should NOT do that. It’s second fiddle to no one, baby, and unfortunately, they forgot that. But regardless of the quality of the t.v. ads, they quickly vanished after the movie’s release. Great way to remind folks the movie’s out and still playing in theaters!

Another fail was handling the media around the time of the film’s release. Maybe I’m in the minority on this one but I thought that doing scatter shot charity screenings and not a big red carpet event with most of the cast somewhere in the U.S. was a mistake. It didn’t make the film’s release seem like a real event. Lucasfilm and Fox seemed to have no strategy in dealing with negative press or another backlash, something they should have learned from TPM. The biggest media failure was the horrible, infamous live show from Skywalker Ranch on CNN, hosted by Connie Chung. Did any of you besides me suffer through that crap? Chung was unprepared, terribly uninformed, and decided to go negative in her interviews. I remember her questions were just embarrassing. Rapper Master P did a far better job interviewing the cast on MTV’s special. I thought the best cable news promo AOTC ever got was Bill O’Reilly putting the smackdown on a bunch of ridiculous racial card players who claimed the movie was racist.

The single biggest oversight though was not taking advantage of Star Wars’s silver anniversary to promote the film. This should’ve been a big deal an a no-brainer but it was all but forgotten. What better way to celebrate a quarter century of Star Wars than with new Star Wars? You’d think it would’ve been obvious, especially since the 20th anniversary of Star Wars was tied in with the Special Editions, but Lucasfilm and Fox seemed completely oblivious to the idea. It baffles me to this day.

Why did they drop the ball with AOTC? I have a few theories. One is that the backlash to TPM spooked them so bad, they went in too timid with AOTC, perhaps believing that the backlash was sparked by the massive hype before TPM’s release. That’s not an unreasonable reaction but they retreated far more than they should have. Another theory I have is that they also could have been overconfident, figuring the excitement will generate itself as it had before and they didn’t need to worry too much about ginning up filmgoers. Either way, they failed to take into account the huge amounts of money Sony was dumping to promote “Spider Man,” which started getting free publicity in the wake of September 11, 2001 when it had to change its original teaser trailer because it featured the now-destroyed World Trade Center. If I could put on my Alex Jones Signature Tin Foil Hat for a moment, I also have a conspiracy theory that Sony or other rival studios might have paid people to go on camera after AOTC screenings and complain to news crews how disappointing it was and it might have influenced some media types to talk down the film as boring, disappointing, stupid, etc. it was. It’s Hollywood; I can totally believe that happened. Lucasfilm and Fox also failed to take into account the popularity of Harry Potter and LOTR, two film series I could’ve told you years beforehand were going to be very successful. Neither series had a film out the same time as AOTC but the problem was that core audience of sf/fantasy filmgoers didn’t only have Star Wars on their movie calendars anymore and they didn’t have to wait three years for another installment: sequels to both films were out by the holiday season of 2002. They stole a little bit of Star Wars’s thunder and its specialness, and there was no strategy to deal with that.

Another theory is that the people charged with coming up with a marketing plan and promotion plan had no idea what they had with AOTC. TPM had the hook of being the first new SW film in 16 years with plenty of iconic new faces: Darth Maul, Jar Jar, Queen Amidala, podracing Anakin, etc.. ROTS at least had the hook of, “Woo hoo, Darth Vader’s in the house!” With AOTC, nobody could find a hook. Now I could’ve told them, “You have clones and you have Yoda,” but it seems like everybody was utterly confounded by the movie which makes me wonder if they were able to see significant amounts of it beforehand or if they got to see anything at all.

While AOTC still succeeded at the box office, I also remember how it was all about Star Wars with the kids in 1999 but it was all about “Spider Man” with the kids in 2002. Too many missed opportunities.

“Cool” Clone Wars Announcement Coming Soon?

September 22, 2014

Furious Fanboys and Jedi News (by implication) posted a rumor that starwars.com is about to put up never-before-seen Clone Wars episodes. Of course this rumor coincides with other rumors that they’re about to announce a DVD/Blu-Ray release for the “Lost Missions,” so who knows what’s going on. Maybe that, maybe something else, maybe nothing. We’ll have to see.

Clone Wars DVD/Blu-Ray Announcement In 3 Weeks?

September 20, 2014

Jedi News linked to a rundown of news on The Digital Bits that included a rumor about Disney announcing in three weeks (or maybe within the next three weeks) a release date for the Clone Wars “Lost Missions” episodes on DVD and Blu-Ray, which will be “before the end of the year.” Make of it what ye will.