Wednesday 22 April 2015

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim Post-Talk [Events]

JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy opened up Celebration with a panel that was not only streamed on every TV screen in the convention centre, but online and in worldwide cinemas too. So big was the event, that the reveal of the trailer had a massive build up. We have the name of the mysterious planet that so looks like Tatooine. And that is Jakku. The two reconfirmed the use of practical effects over CGI in rather a stunning way. Remember that rolling droid? BB-8? Yeah, he's actually a proper robot. A massive amount of technology went into that, and it was well worth it. We were given a lot more hints at things to come, met the three new stars, and had a chat to returning members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, and Anthony Daniels. The last thing shown off was the trailer. And what a trailer it was. It suggests a lot with its careful editing. Just who is Luke talking to during the voiceover? What is the Empire these days, and what does it stand for? What kind of battle are those X-Wing pilots in? And just where does the Dark Side stand in the order of this point in the timeline? There were many more besides that as well. The biggest point of that trailer though, was Han's simple words. "Chewie. We're home." There was also that magical quality right at the beginning of the trailer, where we simply have the camera panning right to bring a Star Destroyer - crashed on the surface - into view, as a lone speeder in the distance drives by. You've really got to see the trailer to understand the excitement of the fans. December can't come soon enough, but The Force Awakens was only the start of a number of big and small reveals everywhere.

While not live streamed, The Untold Clone Wars panel had a live blog going. And a number of things were revealed to us by Dave Filoni. The Clone Wars is interesting in the fact it would have hit Revenge of the Sith, and then gone beyond it. Telling us stories from after the Jedi fell. There are several other stories before that happened though, and it appears we would be getting our look at why Yoda has such good relations with the Wookiees. Cad Bane and Boba Fett would have teamed up to fight Tuskens. Aurra Sing would have been involved in that somehow. The Bad Batch arc was slightly covered in the panel, as was the arc that has now become the novel Dark Disciple. And what's interesting is that Lucas didn't like the fact that Ventress was Dooku's apprentice, and invented a way to get her out of that situation. Ahsoka's story would have been continued, even after her leaving the Jedi Order. It seems that had The Clone Wars continued, many more seasons would have been made. So much so, it seems, that they would have eventually covered a massive amount of the Clone War era, and even beyond that. It seemed to not have a real end point. Barriss Offee would have been explored more. The kyber crystals from the Utapau arc would have been explored more. Maul's story. What happened to Rex. Maybe even incorporating how the Jedi come to know Sidious by name but not face. How the Battle of Coruscant affected those on the planet. There seemed to be a lot they wanted to explore with the characters and time period. Some characters, and their arcs, are sure to be told elsewhere, as I'll be saying soon enough.

Star Wars Battlefront. The gaming main event. Starting out with the trailer, where no gameplay was shown [though hints at what the gameplay entails can be seen within], the talk settled to talking about the game. Third person is in, Sullust will be a planet featuring within the game, and free download content in the form of a planet from The Force Awakens - Jakku. To bring up some points regarding those three, for third person, people were asking on Twitter almost daily whether it was included, but obviously the team couldn't say anything. When it was announced it was in, a massive cheer rose from the crowd. In terms of Sullust, it's a planet hardly explored, and the team wanted to do it justice. So, just like with the other planets, they visited a location they felt suitably fitted Sullust, and compiled the same in-depth analysis as with the other locations. And we see it at the end of the trailer, and how close it looks to the volcanic regions of Iceland. With the free download content, the story is the Battle of Jakku takes place soon after the Battle of Endor, with the remnants of the Empire still fighting the Rebellion. It launches after the main game on December 8th, but those who preorder the main game get the content a week earlier. And talking of dates, the main game was confimed to be releasing November 17th [20th in Europe]. For those who were at Celebration, they were treated to gameplay footage. From what I've read, that gameplay is promising. I'll definitely be looking deeper into this.

Star Wars Rebels Season Two is looking absolutely amazing. We have this darker age coming in. Hints at dark things to come. Within the trailer, which I seriously recommend you watch, we see Vader finally come into the fight. Lothal is now in danger from Vader's wrath. Captain Rex returns. Space battles get more hard hitting. There are new Inquisitors by the looks of things. Hondo Ohnaka appears to take Ezra on an adventure, possibly as part of his deal with Vizago at the end of season one. We see A-Wings, B-Wings, AT-AT's, more TIE's, more Ahsoka, and more lightsaber fights. Relationships form, and Vader and Ahsoka seem destined to meet somewhere down the line.
I find it interesting that Ezra retains his scars from the season one finale, and it seems he will be pressured more by Jedi trials, as will Kanan. It will also be interesting to see where Ahsoka stands on all this. But one thing hinted in the trailer is that she and Rex kept in contact. Perhaps not during the war, but certainly after it. She might even be the one who suggested their hiding place. Yes, Rex has two other clone soldiers with him, and they seem to have a grudge against the Imperials, and especially Stormtroopers. And with twenty-two episodes, they can certainly explore a lot within season two.

In other areas of the convention, it was revealed that the first official canon DK Ultimate Star Wars guidebook will be releasing. It will be giving definitive answers to the questions we've all been wondering, such as how big the Death Star really is. Marvel are hitting things with regard to The Journey to The Force Awakens series with Shattered Empire, a four-part series showing the immediate aftermath of Return of the Jedi. The first issue will hit in September, so look out for it. There has been talk of the original trilogy novels being rewritten to fit into official canon, giving the stories new viewpoints and extras within the stories. Talking of novelisations, Alan Dean Foster has picked up The Force Awakens. The tie-in novel should be released in the fall, and if the prequel trilogy novel tie-ins are to go by, this one should be just as good. And talking about canon, when asked about The Old Republic video game, it was said the events in that game would stay out of canon, but parts could still make their way in. It was also said that unfinished Legends stories may be completed, but focus for now is the new canon. Clarity on the spin-off films was also given at the event. They will deal with stories away from the main. Away from Jedi. The spin-off films can also deal with themes and subjects not normally seen within the Star Wars universe. Things that have been hinted at, but would normally not warrant being included themselves. As such, a small teaser was given for Rogue One. Between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, but nearer to the latter, a mission takes place to steal the Death Star plans by a group of resistance fighters. Rogue One and the other spin-off films will all be labelled the Star Wars Anthology.

LEGO were showing off their new Build-It figures, as well as a new five part miniseries called Droid Tales. The retelling of all six films from the eyes of R2-D2 and C-3PO. Comedy / parody is a trait of LEGO Star Wars shorts, and again there seems to be some jokes on Jar Jar. The episodes will be twenty two minutes in length, and air on Disney XD this fall. Seems like they wanted a small recap of previous material with a new twist before the release of The Force Awakens in December. The new Build-It figures announced are Obi-Wan Kenobi, General Grievous, Commander Cody, and Jango Fett. If you don't know what Build-It figures are, they are close to the Bionicle figures, but using licenced material. Proper movement, and roughly the same amount of pieces of some of the smaller sets. The figures do look nice, and building something is always a nice thing to do.

Star Wars Celebration for this year is over, but the next one has been announced. July 15th to July 17th 2016, and taking place in London, UK. This next one should be as good as the others, and it also means, if I decide to, it'll be the first one I've been to. Celebration Anaheim has been extremely good, and considering it was the first Celebration to be live streamed, they did fairly well. I hope next year they can do it even better. For now though, be sure to look for anything else I might post regarding this Celebration just gone.