Clone Wars and 3D At Celebration Anaheim

Last Thursday at Celebration Anaheim, I returned to the frigid confines of the Digital Stage (I’d been there for the Abrams ‘n Kennedy show) to see a presentation called the Untold Clone Wars. Dave Collins was the host while Dave Filoni and Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo served as panelists. The panel showed concept art and animatics—often with voices and sound effects—from various episodes that never got to see light of day. You can find some of the art, some of the clips, and a rundown of the panel at The Wookiee Gunner.

Filoni and Hidalgo kept joking about how they never got permission to show any of the stuff but nobody told them no either. As great as it was to see the tantalizing art and clips to a room packed pretty close to capacity, in many ways this panel just dug the knife deeper into your gut. There were so many great ideas left for the show, some of which will be told in other media such as Christie Golden’s upcoming novel, which is indeed based on eight scripts from the series. But others may linger in Star Wars Limbo forever, such as Ahsoka’s post Jedi adventures (there was a great action sequence when her bike breaks down while flying around Coruscant). There were even plans to introduce the expanded universe’s Yuuzhan Vong to the series. Other ideas, such as Ahsoka’s crew of loyal clone troopers, clearly made their way to “Rebels.” During the Q&A session. I really had planned on getting up and asking why the show was canceled but some other lady, who happened to be the same age as me and everything, got to ask it first. In fact, there were people who thought it was me. Seriously, it wasn’t! Filoni of course had to be diplomatic but my takeaway from his answer was that the suits simply didn’t want to deal with that era anymore. If cost was an issue, and it may very well have been an issue, it wasn’t mentioned nor hinted at. Another person asked if there will be another art book or something publishing the concept art from the show. Pablo Hidalgo asked the audience if that was something they would be interested in and when the audience shouted, “Yes,” he said to tell every publisher. Throughout the panel, the crowd was enthusiastic and I heard “save the Clone Wars” shouted more than once.

Later that evening I returned to the Digital Stage to see what the situation was for AOTC 3D. TPM was already underway and the staff working the door wasn’t sure if there was room left. But I could see when the doors open there were seats left in the back. I plopped myself on a couch out in the convention hall to wait. Originally I wasn’t going to see TPM, just watch AOTC but by about 7:30 or so I thought, “Why sit around here being bored not looking at anything when I can at least be entertained with the movie?” So I ended up seeing 2/3rds of TPM anyway. The crowd got into the movie, cheering when Anakin won the pod race, going nuts when the duel with Darth Maul got started, and cheering again when Maul was defeated and the Trade Federation ship was blown up.

AOTC got going sometime after 9 p.m.. The crowd thinned out a little after TPM ended because it was late and for many Celebration attendees, it had been a long, long day. Many had been up all night or since early that morning for the TFA panel. The 3D looked fantastic, even better than the TPM conversion. I was particularly impressed with AOTC’s opening scenes and the chase through Coruscant. The crowd was a little quieter but there were plenty of cheers when Yoda showed up to duel Count Dooku.

On Friday, it was back to the Digital Stage uh-gain for the Bad Batch screening. I was ready for the noon panel expected to last two hours. I’d bought a sandwich the day before, put it in the hotel room fridge, and packed it one of those soft-sided coolers. That way I could eat and watch the show. I said hello to Candy and her friend who were at the front of the line and took my place in the queue. Unfortunately the staffer working the line had all of the charm of a prison guard. She literally screamed at everyone to “keep moving” and banned anyone from leaving, even to go to the bathroom, or else be relegated to the “back of the line.” Only thing missing was the German shepherd barking at your heels.

Dave Filoni was there again along with two of the show’s writers and later on with Dee Bradley Baker, who voiced just about everyone in the 4-arc episode. The Bad Batch are a unit of clones who thanks to messed up genetics, differentiated from the other clones. In short, they look and act more like individuals. They are sent out on a mission with Captain Rex against a diabolical plan involving General Trench, the big spider who had survived the last episode he was in. Over the course of the mission, it is discovered that Fives of Domino Squad fame is still alive. He is hooked up to a machine to steal secrets from his brain but is rescued. Things really get crazy when Anakin is brought on board. All in all, even in its animatics form, it was a great series of episodes. It would be amazing to see them fully completed one day. Unfortunately the Q&A after the showing was full of the kind of questions that were asked of William Shatner in the infamous “get a life” skit on Saturday Night Live, though Filoni of course handled it far more graciously. Someone finally asked if the episodes were going to be available online and the answer was, we don’t know yet.

That evening I got in line for the ROTS 3D showing an hour in advance. I was shocked at how many people were there, but I guess the showing being early enough with the added bonus of Ian McDiarmid introducing the film drew a lot of con-goers. Unfortunately I was stuck in a room that was overflow for the other room where the line began. We were in there for ages in a hot, stuffy room and none of the staff gave us updates on when people will be seated or if there was any room left. This drove me crazy, especially since I’m a little claustrophobic and those kinds of situations start spiking my anxiety. They had started to slowly move people out of the room and the film had started when a couple of con-goers, not staff, came in and said, “The seats are all full and the movie’s already started.” Frustrated and annoyed at being herded like cattle, people knocked over the poles that separated everyone into rows as they left the room. Some poor schlub had to pick them up later but that was just lousy of the con staff to do that to us.

The ROTS showing should have been on the Celebration Stage to be honest. I was kvetching about the botched organization with an internet friend on the way out when somebody handed me a card advertising a party sponsored by Pacsun out on the patio. Pacsun was putting out some Star Wars wear, which was on display. There was a bar where you could get drinks (not open of course) and a booth where you could get your picture taken for free. I’ll have more details of this event in my full con report, but the party was a bit of a bust even with the added amusement of the DJ playing uncensored rap and hip hop. N-word this, f-word that, and other assorted profanities rang through the air at a Star Wars convention. Yeah. After a while I went back inside and thought, hey, maybe there’s room in the Digital Stage now.

I walked back to the auditorium and saw a guy and a girl leave the room through one of the side doors. “They’re unlocked!” the girl said. So I went in and tried to look for a spot to sit down. A guy led me to an empty seat and then I realized, “Hey, I don’t have any 3D glasses.” That morning I’d taken out the pair I got from seeing TPM and AOTC because I thought I’d get another one at the ROTS showing. D’oh! But I stayed anyway. If you squint, it looks almost normal anyway. So I cannot tell you how the 3D looks. But the audience got into the movie. There must’ve been a lot of Dark Side fans present because Palpatine got big cheers when he declared himself Emperor and when the mask got put on Darth Vader. On the other hand, there was applause when Luke and Leia were born. Heck, they even clapped for Jar Jar at the end. Some people clapped when Padmé died and I thought that was a little odd…was that showing appreciation for the character or were they just happy she croaked?

So those were my Clone Wars and 3D movie adventures. Full con reports and pictures are coming soon, likely to my other page but links will posted!

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4 Responses to “Clone Wars and 3D At Celebration Anaheim”

  1. BansheeGun Says:

    How big was the theater the 3D films were being played in?

    I know it might now be possible, but have you considered doing a review of the Bad Batch arc?

    Also, Emmy Awards are Sunday. Everyone watch out for TCW categories!

  2. Gerardo Sierra Says:

    What I get from the 3D screening and Clone Wars content is that there’s still a big demand for it all. They definitely had to notice. So I hope we all get to see those eventually. I was really bummed when they removed the releases of AOTC and ROTS. Regretfully, I missed out on TPM.

    In my opinion, there shouldn’t be a focus on any specific trilogy. It’s a SAGA and all the movies are just as important.

  3. BansheeGun Says:

    Jar Jar hater in the IGN comments took a cheap shot. Read the first comment but you might recognize the person who made the second 😉

    http://m.ign.com/wikis/star-wars/Star_Wars_2015_IGN_Wiki_Editing_Contest

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