Star Wars

April 23, 2015 | 4:11 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration complete coverage: Every video, image and story from the fan expo

Peter Mayhew, left, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Anthony Daniels at Star Wars Celebration. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney)
J.J. Abrams, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Gareth Edwards joined an estimated 60,000 “Star Wars” fans in Anaheim last weekend for Star Wars Celebration, a four-day convention for all things past, present and future of the iconic franchise. Some fans camped out overnight for a first look at the new movie, some donned Jedi robes and others even got “Star Wars” tattoos while at the Anaheim Convention Center. Hero Complex was at ground zero during the event, where some highlights included the unveiling of the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” trailer, news about “Star Wars: Rogue One” and “Star Wars Rebels,” and various panels with “Star Wars” stars. Here is a look back at our coverage of the weekend’s events. ‘STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS’ Fandom’s force awakens at Star Wars Celebration, and Disney knows it Star Wars Celebration: […]
April 20, 2015 | 7:04 a.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Princess Leia fans praise her strength and femininity

Princess Leia
The love for Princess Leia Organa was strong among the “Star Wars” professionals, fans and professional fans attending the “What Princess Leia Means to Me” panel on Sunday at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. Panelists and audience members took the occasion to share the many ways the iconic character has influenced their lives. The panel, moderated by Jennifer Heddie, a senior editor at Lucasfilm, featured actress Catherine Taber, artists Cat Staggs and Katie Cook, author Christie Golden and Lucasfilm creative executive Rayne Roberts. ———— For the Record April 21, 1:37 p.m.:  This story lists the “What Princess Leia Means to Me” panel moderator as Lucasfilm senior editor Jennifer Heddie. Her name is Jennifer Heddle. ———— For a number of the panelists Princess Leia was the first example they encountered in media that showed women could have agency. Princess Leia […]
April 20, 2015 | 4:30 a.m.

Star Wars Celebration shows the Force remains irresistible

Star Wars fans gather in costume for photos during the Star Wars Celebration held April 16-19 at the Anaheim Convention. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Some came dressed as Stormtroopers. Some got R2-D2 tattoos. Some underwent Jedi training or stood in long lines for autographs ($125 for Mark Hamill but just $50 for Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca). But like the Millennium Falcon in the grip of the Death Star tractor beam, the estimated 60,000 fans who attended the four-day Star Wars Celebration that ended Sunday were inexorably drawn to the Anaheim Convention Center for the same purpose: to share their passion for all things “Star Wars” and catch an early glimpse of the franchise’s next chapter. Before the event, “Star Wars” fans had many more questions than answers about the future of the nearly 40-year-old franchise, with the first new “Star Wars” film in a decade, “Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” due in theaters Dec. 18. “We’re really in uncharted waters,” said Eric Geller, […]
April 19, 2015 | 8:52 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Billy Dee Williams insists he’s no smooth operator

Billy Deel Willaims, who played Lando Calrissian in the original "Star Wars" trilogy," spoke on the final day of Star Wars Celebration. Above, the actor is seen in 2001. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
For his panel Sunday afternoon at Star Wars Celebration, Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando Calrissian in 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back” and 1983’s “Return of the Jedi,” was billed as the “Baron of Smooth.” But as he took the stage at the Anaheim Convention Center on the final day of the fan expo, the actor insisted that – notwithstanding Calrissian’s undeniable suaveness and those old Colt 45 commercials – his reputation for smoothness was overstated. “I don’t know why everybody thinks I’m smooth,” said Williams, who turned 78 this month. “I think I’m just a pretty silly person, really.” Fans listened respectfully throughout an hourlong conversation as Williams talked about his early roles in films such as “Brian’s Song” and “Lady Sings the Blues,” his more recent stint on “Dancing With the Stars” and his love of painting. But […]
April 19, 2015 | 2:17 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Tattoos, a convention tradition

Vinny Romanelli of New York City gives Angela Byrd an angelic R2-D2 tattoo at Star Wars Celebration.  (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
“Star Wars” fans, if this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim is any indication, are a patient lot. Thousands camped out Wednesday night to be in the same room as director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, and lines to buy exclusive convention merchandise could stretch up to three hours. That’s about how long, for instance, it took me to purchase a wall clock in the shape of Salacious B. Crumb, the rat-like pal of Jabba the Hutt in “Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi.” Others waited an hour or so to purchase ornaments. Some waited for love (speed dating sessions for men seeking women were booked by Friday morning, dashing my hopes of a “Star Wars romance) and still others waited hours for a glimpse of new video game “Star Wars: Battlefront” or a chance […]
April 19, 2015 | 1:17 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Gareth Edwards reveals ‘Rogue One’ plot details

Director Gareth Edwards discussed "Star Wars: Rogue One" on the final day of Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)
Just days after releasing the new trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Lucasfilm pulled back the curtain a little more on the future of the franchise at a Sunday morning panel at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, offering a sneak peek at the first of a series of spinoff films, “Star Wars: Rogue One.” While details were scant — the film is still in pre-production and isn’t due in theaters until December 2016 — director Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla”), joined onstage by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, revealed that the plot centers on a small band of rebel soldiers (including actress Felicity Jones) who unite on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. The film is set between the last of the prequels, “Revenge of the Sith,” and the original 1977 “Star Wars,” making it essentially “Episode 3.5″ […]
April 19, 2015 | 8:37 a.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Mark Hamill talks of being ‘drafted’ for ‘The Force Awakens’

Mark Hamill
Mark Hamill, who portrayed young Jedi Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy of “Star Wars” films, offered a chilling alternate timeline for this December’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the seventh film in core space fantasy saga. What if he said no? Speaking Saturday night at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, Hamill regaled a packed auditorium with tales of “Star Wars” past and present. Hamill spoke of how “Star Wars” creator George Lucas first broached the subject of a new trilogy of films, shared details about the difficulty of working with a Jedi Master puppet in Yoda and said he initially viewed “The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams with a hint of suspicion. The talk brought to a close the the third day of the four-day fan expo, one that over the course of the weekend has featured droid races, speed dating, costume […]
April 18, 2015 | 7:15 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: ‘The Force Awakens’ is a ‘transference of generations’

Images from the new teaser trailer (#2) for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." (Lucasfilm)
Forget the shiny digital gloss that marked the three “Star Wars” prequels. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the upcoming seventh episode in the space fantasy saga, drew its primary inspiration from the late 70s and early ’80s look of the original trilogy, said key members of the new film’s visual effects team on Saturday at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. Speaking on a panel on the third day of the four-day fan expo, the effects wizards assured fans that “The Force Awakens” emphasizes characters over digital magic. “It’s almost liked ratcheting it down,” said Christian Alzmann, part of the production team for “The Force Awakens.” Alzmann, who worked on “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” was asked how the J.J. Abrams-directed film would distinguish itself amid today’s landscape of effects-heavy genre films. “To me, there’s almost like […]
April 18, 2015 | 6:39 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Fans explore all corners of the convention universe

Fans watch the Builders Astromech Droid Race semi-finals. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
The Mos Eisley Cantina theme played over loudspeakers on the Anaheim Convention Center’s second floor as 13-year-old Zachary Clayson, clad in Jedi robe and tunic, maneuvered a remote-controlled yellow robot to where a young woman was standing with an infant. The little robot — a replica of a “Star Wars” hangar deck scrubber droid — nudged the woman’s ankles. She smiled and bent down, giving the baby a closer look. “My favorite part of Star Wars Celebration is probably just driving this thing around and seeing people’s reactions when they see it,” said Clayson, who traveled with his father from the San Francisco Bay Area to attend the fan expo. At Celebration, the big panel presentations with the likes of J.J. Abrams, Carrie Fisher and Anthony Daniels may be generating the most buzz online, but for the estimated 60,000 “Star […]
April 18, 2015 | 2:56 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Familiar faces return for ‘Rebels’ season two

Scene featuring Darth Vader from the second season of "Star Wars Rebels." (Lucasfilm)
Executive producers Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg were joined by members of the cast of “Star Wars Rebels” on stage Saturday to give fans a peek at what was ahead for the show’s upcoming second season. Based on the first official trailer, they’ll get a lot of chilling Darth Vader action, plus the return of some familiar faces from the previous “Clone Wars” animated series, including Ahsoka, Captain Rex and Hondo Ohnaka. And there were many other bits just glimpsed in the three-and-a-half-minute trailer. “There are things designed to hit you immediately,” Filoni said at a press conference following the panel. “As you watch a trailer over and over, if they’re designed well, the are layers and there are things you see and you get a little more out of it. It keeps you engaged.” While he wasn’t elaborating too […]
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