April 18, 2015 | 7:15 p.m.
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.
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.
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 […]
April 18, 2015 | 9:10 a.m.
If C-3P0 brings a little comic relief to the “Star Wars” saga, then the man who inhabits the robot, Anthony Daniels, is the one who brought the humor to Star Wars Celebration. While fans may have wanted dirt on the upcoming J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Daniels instead wanted to dish on unfortunate product placement and the uncomfortable places sand can find itself in a robot suit. Daniels treated his hourlong discussion Friday night at Celebration as if it were a variety show, playfully flirting with an audience member dressed as C-3P0’s robot companion, R2-D2, and interjecting numerous jokes into his tales of “Star Wars” past. The conversation brought to a close the second day of panels and discussions at the four-day fan expo, one that had earlier hosted lively conversations with the likes of Carrie Fisher and Ray Park. A […]
April 17, 2015 | 6:14 p.m.
If Carrie Fisher has anything in common with Princess Leia, the forceful character she made famous in the “Star Wars” films, it might be her impulsive attitude. In her Friday afternoon Star Wars Celebration presentation, Fisher, 58, told racy jokes, autographed the host’s shoes, took pictures with fans and even planted a long, wet kiss on a member of the audience. What she didn’t do was talk much about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the upcoming seventh installment in the space opera and a main focus of the fan expo, which runs through Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center. Fisher reprises her Leia role in the new film, due out in December, but said she couldn’t “figure out what I was supposed to not tell.” “I think they keep me away from stuff because they know that I have an […]
April 17, 2015 | 5:28 p.m.
Ray Park has gotten to be in some high-profile projects. Snake Eyes in “G.I. Joe.” Toad in the “X-Men” films. The martial artist even got to play Chuck Norris in “The Legend of Bruce Lee.” But killing a Jedi puts you in a whole different stratosphere of fandom. As Darth Maul in “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace,” Park helped create the most well-known and popular villain in the franchise since Luke Skywalker’s dad and fellow Sith Darth Vader choked out his first victim. And in the panel “Ray Park: The Man. The Sith. The Legend” at the Star Wars Celebration, Park was treated as the royalty that befits any wielder of a double-sided lightsaber. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Darth Maul. It was the best feeling in the world to get […]
April 17, 2015 | 4:45 p.m.
Welcome to a special “Star Wars” edition of Paycheck Friday, a roundup of some of Hero Complex’s favorite toys, books, games and other merchandise. In honor of Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim this weekend, this week’s paycheck goes to expanding (or starting) the “Star Wars”-themed shelf in your geek cave. Included are picks for items available outside the confines of the Anaheim Convention Center, as well as some exclusives from the expo. First up we have the Lego Slave I set. When building a collection, it’s quite apropos to have a trophy that also displays your building skills. What better way to celebrate the “Star Wars” franchise than with a model of a ship that appears in films from the original trilogy and the prequel series? The Lego Slave I set also includes figures for Boba Fett and a carbonite-sealed […]
April 17, 2015 | 11:11 a.m.
THE PLAYER On Thursday morning “Star Wars” fans received a glimpse of the next cinematic episode in the fantasy saga. On Friday it was time to learn how to play in it. “Star Wars: Battlefront” took center stage as Day 2 of the four-day Star Wars Celebration fan expo opened in Anaheim. The game, the first under a 10-year pact between Lucasfilm and Electronic Arts, is due Nov. 17, about a month in advance of the J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Early glimpses of the game reveal it to be a sort of blaster-heavy “Star Wars” greatest hits collection. Want to play with lightsabers? Those are here. Want to shoot a blaster like Han Solo? You can do that. Want to pilot an X-Wing? Of course that’s a possibility. Want to play as Darth Vader on Endor, the planet […]
April 17, 2015 | 7:53 a.m.
“And I thought you hated me,” actor Ian McDiarmid quipped as he took the stage to raucous applause for a Q&A at the Star Wars Celebration fan convention Thursday in Anaheim. Granted, McDiarmid played the most purely evil character in the entire “Star Wars” universe: Emperor Palpatine, the gravelly voiced Sith lord who corrupted Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker and turned him to the dark side of the Force. But at a love-fest like Celebration, all is forgiven, and fans were happy to hear the 70-year-old McDiarmid reminisce for an hour about his work on 1983’s “The Return of the Jedi” and the three prequels that later followed. The Scottish McDiarmid, who has spent the greater portion of his career acting on the stage, recounted the story of how he was first cast in the role more than 30 years ago. […]
April 17, 2015 | 4:30 a.m.
Thousands of die-hard “Star Wars” fans — more than a few bearing lightsabers and clad in homemade costumes — came into the opening panel at the Star Wars Celebration fan convention in Anaheim with three big questions. Would J.J. Abrams, director of the highly anticipated “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens,” show a new trailer? Would Harrison Ford — still recovering from injuries sustained in a plane crash last month — make his first-ever appearance at a “Star Wars” convention? And would fresh plot details about the new film — not hitting theaters until Dec. 18, an excruciatingly long wait for the faithful — finally be unveiled? The answers were yes, no and, as Yoda might say, “Patience, young Skywalker.” In a presentation Thursday morning at the Anaheim Convention Center that was heavy on nostalgia for the much-loved nearly […]