My Reply to an Incarcerated Star Wars Fan
I’ve been running a series of posts about a hand-written letter I received from an imprisoned Star Wars fan who read my Star Wars Celebration Anaheim article in the local paper. Below is my response:
No Billy Dee Williams?
You are correct – Billy Dee is not confirmed for The Force Awakens. I believe he is actually confirmed to not be in the film. In a recent interview with LucasFilm Ltd (“LFL”), if memory serves, someone said something about they think his inclusion in Episode VIII or IX is a possibility, or something to that affect. So the door is cracked I guess.
The first teaser has been released?
Yes – the first teaser debuted on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving 2014. I waited up until like 2 am on Thursday night/Friday morning because the rumor was it would be released on iTunes on Friday, so the thought was it would be available online after midnight Pacific Time. It wasn’t. Around 8 or 9 am on Friday morning I saw someone tweet about it, so I jumped online to see it for the first time. A few days later, I think, LFL released online versions of old Topps Trading Cards featuring the new characters and their names in the film. Finn is the stormtrooper (John Boyega); Rey is the desert scavenger (Daisey Ridley); the droid is BB-8; Kyle Ren is the one wielding the red lightsaber with cross guards (Adam Driver); Poe Dameron is flying the X-wing (Oscar Isaac). The second trailer, as I mentioned in my last mail, was released worldwide on the first morning of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. I hope my analysis provided some insight for you on what the second teaser provided. It had a ton more shots and introduced more characters and scenes, such as the chrometrooper played by Gwendoline Christie, and the new-look stormtroopers and TIE pilots – which are AWESOME in my opinion.
Did this year’s Celebration have a name or number like they’ve had in the past?
Yes – officially it was called Celebration 7 I believe, as it was the seventh Celebration in the U.S. I think there has been 10 or 11 total worldwide now. It was cool that this was Celebration 7 and Episode VII is out this year. And unlike year’s past in which there is usually a 2 or 3-year delay between Celebrations, they are holding one next year in London. I think we can count on a Celebration somewhere in the world every year going forward with all the new content coming out. The three episodes that Disney/LFL committed to, plus the two “Anthology Films.” These will be Star Wars “spin-offs.” The first one is scheduled for release in December 2016 and is titled Rogue One. It will tell the story of a band of Rebel resistance fighters who steal the plans for Death Star 1 – leading right into New Hope. The second anthology film is rumored be Boba Fett’s origin story, but that is not confirmed by LFL at this time.
Is the official name for Episode VIII The Force Awakens?
Yes – in fact we may be seeing the removal of “Episode” from the Star Wars titles. The logo for The Force Awakens does not contain Episode VII. The Star Wars Universe (all of us fans) are referring to it as Episode VII but LFL has maintained the title of the film is The Force Awakens. Speculation is that we’ll see the iconic Star Wars crawl at the beginning of the film, but again not confirmed by LFL. We will have to be patient.
Where were you standing in the other picture in the article?
I was not in a press area for The Force Awakens Panel – that was photo was taken from my viewpoint where I sat in the arena as just another rapid Star Wars fan. I did have a press pass for the entire event, but the press advantages and press events were all on Saturday of the event for the new animated series Star Wars Rebels. I’ll describe more about that TV series later as it relates to The Clone Wars. There’s a ton going on with Star Wars on TV, as well.
Did you get to ask any questions to JJ, Kathleen Kennedy, Mark Hamill, or Carrie Fisher?
Disappointingly, no. I tried for many weeks leading up to the event to get some time with a big name like one of those actors for an interview, but was denied. Again, LFL and Celebration organizers pushed all the press to the Star Wars Rebels events on Saturday. I did get a picture with Hamill and Fisher (posted here), but had to pay for that like any other fan did. I plan to get it signed in London next year, provided Hamill and Fisher attend. Being in such close proximity to the Skywalker Twins, I told them that we loved them and Mark looked back at me and said, “We love you, too.” It was a cool moment. I didn’t get any one-on-one interviews. A press conference was held so that all media could ask questions in one controlled session – and the interviewees were the Star Wars Rebels voice actors and its producers Dave Filoni (the guy with the hat, as you called him) and Simon Kinburg. You saw quotes from them in my unedited article I sent earlier.
Did anyone ask or mention if George Lucas was on set during filming?
There’s been a few articles published here and there about Lucas and his reaction to the teasers. After the releases, I think the consensus was that he did eventually watch them sometimes weeks later. He has been rather tight lipped about the whole thing. I think one quote had him saying the film looked “cool” or “neat” after seeing the first teaser. I don’t think I’ve seen anything since then. I don’t think he was on set at any time during filming. If he was, it probably was incognito as he is a pretty private person as you know. That would’ve created major headlines I imagine.
Any more elaboration about JJ not wanting to use as much CGI in the movie?
That’s probably the main theme about The Force Awakens, how JJ and LFL are focused on more practical effects, real props and real sets vs. the CGI-heavy prequels. For the pure Star Wars fans, which is what I call myself, it is a very welcome fact that we’ll see the more rundown, used, and worn landscape of this movie vs. the shiny and new we saw in Episodes I-III. Case in point – as I described in my article about BB-8 when he rolled onto stage during The Force Awakens Panel on Thursday morning at Celebration. All of us fans were convinced BB-8 was a CGI effect after seeing him in the first teaser. But he rolled out on stage as real as real can be and interacted with R2 much to the delight of the crowd. He is about half the size of R2 as well so he is instantly considered “cute” and is sure to become a fan favorite.
Star Wars Holiday Special on DVD/BlueRay?
No. No mention. Probably a good thing! Haha
What happened to the remaining episodes of Season 6 of The Clone Wars?
The producer is Dave Filoni – I think that was the name you were searching for. He of the iconic hat. So LFL did release on Netflix what was finished for Season 6 and dubbed them “The Lost Missions.” A total of 13 episodes were released and we all waited up until midnight in March 2014 and binge watched once they appeared. There were four arcs making up the S6 episodes. I won’t go into the details. Hopefully you will be able to see them for yourself soon. Since then, we’ve been lucky enough to see another two more arcs in an unfinished state that were posted on StarWars.com. They most likely will remain there for a long time. A few more unfinished scenes were shown at Celebration during a panel called “The Clone Wars: The Untold Stories.” All are available online in various forms.
Are the two MMORPGs still operating?
You are a bigger fan than me. I’m not sure. I’ve not played either. I’m not a big video game guy – although I did get into Halo a lot. On the video game front, the big news is Star Wars Battlefront 3 which is scheduled to be released this November. Again, I’m not up to date on the finer points of the game but most of the Star Wars Universe who are video gamers are excitedly waiting for the release. They released a trailer for the game at Celebration and it looked pretty awesome. There is a DLC apparently you will be able to get called “The Battle of Jakku” which is believed to be the main battle that resulted in all the crashed Empire ships we see in the The Force Awakens teasers. Lots more to come, obviously.
What about Star Wars Insider Magazine?
Yes it is still being published. I do not subscribe but usually just read what they post on Twitter and Facebook. Looks like they are owned by Titan Magazines so here’s their contact info (they do not have a mailing address on their site, just a phone number and email): 1-800-261-6502.
Dark Horse Comics?
We are now with Marvel Comics. Star Wars and Dark Horse ended their relationship in 2014 I believe. Marvel has taken over and is currently producing 4 different comic series (Star Wars, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, and Kanan Jarrus). You are probably wondering who Kanan is. He’s one of the main characters in the new TV series Star Wars Rebels. I’ll talk more about them in a moment.
Here is the snail mail address you requested:
PO Box 49818
Los Angeles, CA 90049-0818
I searched TheForce.Net and RebelScum.com for snail mail addresses but couldn’t find one for either. Sites rarely have physical addresses published anymore. They always ask for you to email or connect with them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
I am happy to contact them and see if they will provide a mailing address if you’d like to get in touch with them. Let me know.
OK, so what is Star Wars Rebels?
Not long after we learned The Clone Wars was being canceled, it was announced a new animated TV series would launch in the fall of 2014 – thus we got Star Wars Rebels. The show’s premise is a rag tag group of freedom fighters, so to speak, who have joined forces to be a thorn in the side of the Empire on the planet of Lothal. It takes place after Revenge of the Sith and before A New Hope. I don’t want to tell you too much and spoil the show for you – season 1 wrapped up a few months ago so you aren’t too far behind. The season 2 premiere is scheduled to run on June 20th (this Saturday at the time of this letter) with the rest of the season kicking off this fall. The show, I believe, it supposed to go at least three or four seasons. All I will tell you is that there are some Clone Wars characters who appear in season 2 that made all of us Clone Wars fans very excited – especially since we all feel the show was abruptly canceled and we as fans deserve better. Season 1 followed the crew of the Ghost as it started by annoying the Empire’s occupation of Lothal. By the end of season 1, however, we see that our characters finding out they are part of something much bigger in the fight against the evil Galactic Empire. I’ll leave it at that.