Archive for the ‘fan events’ Category

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.

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

 

 

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.

 

 

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!

SWCO Video: Ian McDiarmid & Ray Park

April 13, 2017

In case you missed the streaming or you just want to see it all again, here are Ian McDiarmid’s and Ray Park’s panels from today:

New Animatics With Cad Bane and Boba Fett Shown At SWCO

April 13, 2017

During Dave Filoni’s animation panel today, some never-before-shown animatics from Rebels (?) was shown.  There’s supposed to be a showdown between Cad Bane and Boba Fett that left the latter with the famous dent in the helmet.  The livestream did not show the footage (or any art shown during the panel…which is stupid) but the Boba Fett Fan Club managed to snag it:

Here’s some of the concept artwork:

And here’s some never-before-seen Savage and Maul:

Here’s 40 minutes footage of the panel with images.

NOTE:  I didn’t watch the livestream (had tasks to do) and I’m just piecing together what happened from social media.

Video: Hayden Christensen and Ian McDiarmid at SWCO

April 13, 2017

In case you missed it live or you just want to re-live it already, here’s the Dark Side Rock Stars portion of today’s 40th anniversary panel:

SWCO 40th Anniversary Panel Notes & Thoughts

April 13, 2017

It would be an understatement to say this panel pushed every possible long-term fan button and delivered surprises galore.  It was one of those things that was almost as exciting to watch from home online as it was to be there in person.  At least until the streaming started hiccuping around toward the end.  Maybe when you figure you didn’t have to pay to get in, book a flight and hotel, or sleep on the sidewalk for three days, it wasn’t a bad tradeoff.  It sucks more to have done all that and STILL not make it inside.

Highlights:

* THE MAKER!!!!!  I figured there was a good chance Lucas would show up and show up he did in his trademark checked shirt and jeans.  He stayed for the entire program.  My favorite thing he said was SW at its core was a film made for 12-year-olds.  Sadly he did not say he was coming out of retirement.

*Warwick Davis…he’s always been funny and charming.  Nice job MC’ing.

*Dave Filoni…the master reunites with the apprentice.

* The Dark Side Rockstars.  Ian McDiarmid and Hayden Christensen appeared to chat about their involvement in the prequel era with George Lucas to big cheers.  Who knew the Emperor had such a great sense of humor?  This was Hayden’s first con appearance since Celebration II in 2002 and he said it was great to be back.  They mentioned the opera house scene had one of if not the longest stretch of dialogue in the entire saga.  Ian praised Hayden and Ewan’s work on the lightsaber duel from ROTS and thought they should’ve done a roadshow demonstrating their fighting skill.  Hayden talked about how hard it was to film without making the lightsaber noises.

*The OT reunion minus the alumni who have left us, which was kind of sad.  Which leads us to…

*The long and touching tribute to Carrie Fisher.  I know this sounds super hokey and I’m not the Long Island Medium, but it really felt like she was there in spirit among her fans, friends, family, and former co-stars.  This included some first glimpes of Leia in TLJ.

*Thank God on the livestream we were spared the pre-show hype man.

Surprises:

*JOHN FREAKIN’ WILLIAMS!!!  His first Celebration appearance ever with a local orchestra for a great closing program of music, at first in tribute to Fisher then to SW in general.

*HARRISON FORD!!!  Also his first Celebration appearance, with many plane jokes to go around.  I have to say this was the most coherent I’ve ever seen Ford in a live interview; he usually seems drunk or really nervous.  Here he seemed relaxed, present, and genuinely happy to be there.  He expressed his gratitude to Lucas and to the fans.

*Video howdys from Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson!!!  Neeson sent his regrets from the set of something he’s shooting in the Canadian rockies and looked a little beat up.  He joked that it was about Jar Jar going to the dark side.  He spoke of how honored he was to play Qui-Gon.  Jackson kicked off his Bring Back Mace Windu campaign by mentioning how many other characters have been killed only to return stronger than ever with cybernetics.

*Billie Lourd!!!  I was so ticked off when the streaming went wonky just after her speech started.  Since this was her first public appearance since her mother’s and grandmother’s deaths, I imagine every celebrity news and gossip site jumped on the feed immediately.  I’ve read/seen bits and pieces of her speech, where she capped it off by reciting from memory Leia’s your my only hope part from ANH.  The Leia-inspired dress she wore was custom-designed by Tom Ford.  Because I care about stuff like that.

*No Disney kids?  I kind of thought this would be a crash-bang journey through all four decades of SW-ness with some of the ST or Rogue One cast dropping by but I guess with a panel tomorrow and a separate RO panel with Forest Whittaker and Felicity Jones, it would be kind of redundant.  This panel was about George Lucas’s classic SW (PT, OT, a little bit of Clone Wars).

Lowlights:

*The flow of the panel felt a little disjointed until they got to the Fisher tribute.  I can’t put my finger on why.

*The streaming going wonky at one of the panel’s emotional highlights.  Your service sucks, Verizon!  It’s really going to be a nightmare tomorrow with the TLJ panel.

*Hey, Kenny Baker passed too.  Remember him?

*While I’m glad this is the most acknowledgment of the prequels I’ve seen at any Celebration since 2005, what happened to Ewan and Natalie?  What, are they training with SEAL Team Six in South Korea as we speak?  In all seriousness, I know Ewan is filming “Fargo” and Natalie is the very tired mom of two including a newborn daughter.  But they couldn’t drop a quick hello on Skype?

 

Really Popular Con Guest Adds Another Day Of Photo Ops

April 6, 2017

Hayden Christensen got a second day of photo ops (April 13) added to his time at SWCO, so if you missed out the last go ’round better jump on it fast.  Autographs remain sold out.

By the way, judging from a retweet I saw earlier today it seems unlikely Hayden is participating in The Last Jedi panel on April 14.  Someone who bought photo op tickets with Hayden said he’ll have to miss the panel because it’s the same time as his photo op.  It’s not impossible–I’ve seen autographing guests run in and out on a “break” or show up late because they were doing other things–but it makes it a bit more doubtful.  We’ll see what happens!