lazypadawan: (OT3)
http://www.vulture.com/2012/11/disney-chief-on-how-he-kept-star-wars-7-secret.html

And in the pick me! pick me! files, Corey Feldman would love to be in the new flick as well. Heh heh.
lazypadawan: (Default)
All day I've been seeing posts and reports that Disney's forcing Lucasfilm to be a Star Wars factory, cranking out 2-3 movies a year. This is based on a report in the upcoming Enterpainment Weakly where Kathleen Kennedy informed Lucasfilm employees that the company will be producing 2-3 films a year. I did not see she said "Star Wars films." Just films. Meaning other projects besides Star Wars.

I sat through Disney's conference call with shareholders on October 30. Bob Iger had specified Star Wars films every 2-3 years, including this upcoming trilogy. He didn't say how many films in general Lucasfilm would be producing. Two different things, people.

From what I understand, when Kennedy was brought on board in the first place, I took that to mean that Lucasfilm was serious about producing all kinds of new material and not necessarily Star Wars. Now with Disney money and resources, they can finally get a back catalogue's worth of projects off the ground.
lazypadawan: (Default)
This was posted yesterday and it looks like more of these are on their way. They want a director who really loves Star Wars. Well, me too. Someone who really loves ALL of Star Wars.
lazypadawan: (Default)
The news about Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm was shocking enough. The fact that Disney bought Lucasfilm in combination with the news of more Star Wars movies were enough to blow both Hurricane Sandy and the election off of social media.

Honestly, it's been a long time since I've been this shocked--maybe not since 9/11/01--because it seemingly came out of nowhere. Things at Lucasfilm have been shaking up the past couple of years with retirements, layoffs, Kathleen Kennedy taking over the company, and other stuff going on. But outside of the Lucasfilm inner circle nobody saw this coming. I honestly believed we would never see any more Star Wars movies so long as there were copyrights on the films!

But in piecing things together, it indicates that Lucasfilm being sold and new movies being made have been in the works for a while now. Why convert the existing movies to 3D and re-release them? To test out new technology and jazz up the masses for new films. The Disney conference call yesterday confirmed that Episodes VII-IX will be in 3D. So the remaining prequels will be out in 2013, Eps IV-VI will be out in 2014 I'll bet, and Episode VII drops in 2015. Pablo Hidalgo posted on the Official Star Wars blog yesterday that he'd known since June new movies were going to happen. The fact that anyone had plans on making new films and kept it secret this long is astonishing to me though it does explain the persistent rumors of new films and Joe Johnston casually dropping that he'd love to make a Boba Fett movie. Or why even two years ago, Mark Hamill was optimistic there would be further Star Wars adventures.

Regarding the Disney sale itself, I have believed for a long time that eventually Lucasfilm would be sold to a bigger company or studio. It's virtually impossible for a small entertainment company to survive on its own and Lucas can't expect his own children to run the company for him. I have also believed for a long time that of all of the entertainment/Hollywood outfits around, Disney would probably be the best home for Star Wars over the long term. However, I would never have expected a sale while Lucas was still alive. It indicates Lucas wants to make sure things are in good hands while he's still around and they are on his own terms.

Make no mistake. This changes everything. I don't say this as hyperbole. It's true. The Star Wars I've known since 1977, that you might have known since the '80s or '90s or '00s, depending on when you got into Star Wars, will never be the same again. I'm going to break it all down for you as to what I think the Disney acquisition means for new films, television, toys and licensing, books, comics, and fan culture. Of course I will also add my concerns, fears, and paranoia. I will also have a separate post on SW Prequel Appreciation Society on what it all means for the first half of the Skywalker Saga.

Cut For A Very Long Post )
lazypadawan: (Default)
Just a few weeks after Bonnie Burton, former content developer for starwars.com, was let go, there's this new opening for what seems like a simliar job:

https://www.lucasfilm.apply2jobs.com/ProfExt/index.cfm?fuseaction=mExternal.showJob&RID=4230&CurrentPage=1

Seems like they want someone now with a bit more of a business/marketing background.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Yesterday came the surprising news that George Lucas was as serious as a heart attack about his plans to retire when film producer Kathleen Kennedy was named co-chair of Lucasfilm Ltd..

If you've watched movies for the past 30-40 years, you've seen her name many a time, usually along with her husband Frank Marshall. Kennedy and Marshall served as producers on most if not all of Steven Spielberg's films. (She served as a producer on all of the Indiana Jones movies.) Her movies have racked up over $5 billion at the box office and scores of Oscar nominations. Kennedy is a power player in Hollywood but has been close to Lucas long enough for him to trust her.

One does have to wonder if positioning an active film producer at the top means that Lucasfilm will be cranking out more movies and not just whatever weird features Lucas concocts in his spare time. NIMBYs might have driven a digital studio out of Lucas's property in Marin County, CA but it could very well get built elsewhere. Kennedy can bring together top new talent and get more projects made.

I also think though that Kennedy's role is transitory. She's co-chair just so Lucas can show her the ropes and get her used to the job then I think she'll run the whole kit and kaboodle. Now, according to Wikipedia, she's about 9 years younger than Lucas. I predict she'll hang around for the next 5-10 years then search for the right successor to take the reigns. My theory is that this is to position Lucasfilm's future as a little studio in its own right that will have an easier time getting projects financed and released.

There was some conversation on Twitter between me and other fans yesterday about Lucas retiring and if the fanboy media industrial complex had anything to do with it, based on Lucas's comments earlier this year. I think this was going to happen someday no matter what. As much as we'd like to believe Lucas will breathe his last parked at a desk coming up with more Star Wars goodness, he's got other ideas and other priorities. I'd rather he'd go ahead and do what he wants to do instead of lying on his deathbed regretting he hadn't gotten around to it.

That said, the backlash probably nudged Lucas in that direction. No more fanboys, poseur geek sites, and pop culture lemmings turning him and his films into punchlines. It's unfortunate it had to happen on that note.

I will also be a little concerned about a Star Wars without Lucas's influence. Will Clone Wars turn into a fanservice fest? Are future Star Wars projects going to be vulgar, degenerate messes without the moral center inherent to the mythos? (I don't know what to think about this supposed mature "1313" video game.)

We'll have to wait and see.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Bonnie Burton Tweeted today that she has lost her job at Lucasfilm after working there nine years. She was one of the content editors of starwars.com and wrote or co-wrote a couple of books having do to with arts and crafts. Burton posted a lot of crafts projects on starwars.com and the blog. She did all of the fan "celeb" interviews. She was also heavily involved with running prior Celebrations.

I knew something was up when the blog was "suspended" recently for "renovations." According to some replies to Bonnie's Tweet, she had known for at least a couple of weeks she was losing her job.

There seems to be an awful lot of downsizing going with Lucasfilm and Star Wars lately. As previously noted, Steve Sansweet retired as Fan Relations guy and nobody replaced him. The Shop closed last year. Hyperspace was shut down. Content is pretty sparse these days if you can find it with starwars.com's damnable navigation. Maybe the lousy economy has affected Lucasfilm's bottom line and they're cutting costs like everyone else. Maybe this is just changing the team once put together to promote new movies, which we aren't getting anymore. Maybe they want to change the tone of "official" fandom and go in another direction (look for my coming rant, "Why Star Wars Needs To Renounce Geek Culture"). Oh who am I kidding?

There were things Burton did and others at starwars.com did that I didn't like and maybe things did need some shaking up. But I also know she was responsive to fans and it must really, really SUCK to not only lose your job but lose a job anyone would kill to get. Lots of luck to her in the future.
lazypadawan: (shatterpoint)
The Official starwars.com Blog wasn't posting very often lately and then they post this:

"The Official Star Wars Blog is now on temporary hiatus as the Lucas Online team continues to explore new directions for StarWars.com. New authors, new articles, and new points of view are in the works for the Blog that will cover the entire Star Wars experience. As with all changes undertaken on the website, we are closely examining feedback from past surveys and user actions on the site, and we want to hear from you. Feel free to let us know in the comments what you’d like to see the Official Star Wars Blog become."

There has definitely been something going on with what Lucasfilm is doing in regards to Star Wars, even with Clone Wars on the air. To wit:

1. Shuttering the Official Star Wars Fan Club (Hyperspace)

2. Steve Sansweet and book queen Sue Rostoni retiring (someone took Rostoni's place, while no one has taken Sansweet's)

3. Crummy redesign of starwars.com that gives you way less than before

4. Shuttering the online store

5. Shuttering the blogs

Last year, there was the oddball May the 4th promo for the Blu-Rays. Then there was the gangbusters take-no-prisoners promo (not) of TPM 3D. There's been no news on if/when we'll see AOTC 3D. There was nothing on Celebration VI for a long time until Orange County, FL did a welcome video last week complete with the mayor dressed as Leia. Well, at least I'm glad the Orlando metropolitan area is happy we're coming to shower them with revenue! But where are the guest announcements, besides the hosts and stuff? There's been a little more info on Star Wars Weekends but that comes from the Mouse House.

My guess is they're running out of steam, running out of inspiration, and getting tired of the whole dang thing. Now that Lucas has declared himself retired, who knows what's going to happen now?

Star Wars is still popular. I'm sure DSWW will bring crowds. I'm sure about the same number of people will attend Celebration VI. Licensing is still making money even with a lot of competing product.

Still, I cannot shake the vibe there's something going on at the Presidio. If I'm wrong and you know what's going on there, let me know. If I'm right and you have inside skinny, send it via private message if you feel more comfortable that way.

Or feel free to post your own theory.
lazypadawan: (Default)
A few more thoughts here on l’affaire Clone Wars.

Some of you guys out there can’t understand why it upset me and other fans even after posting a long explanation.

The bantha in the living room is that Star Wars fandom is hostile to you if you are a prequel fan. You know it. I know it. That’s why we all had to huddle like it’s the first century in the catacombs at a Celebration V panel. Going out in broad daylight as a fan—especially one over the age of 10—of the prequel films is hard in a way that it never is for other Star Wars fans.

Simon Pegg embodies that hostility. A Certain Point Of View may be right in that his frequent prequel bashing is bluster, slagging for the sake of slagging and getting some geek cred at the same time. But it doesn’t matter if it’s for show or for real or somewhere in between. What he’s said speaks for itself. For the record, I’m not upset with him for doing the show. I am upset with the people behind the show and with Lucasfilm (note: there is no evidence George Lucas had anything to do with the casting). They know exactly what they’ve got with this guy and they didn’t care.

After thinking about it for another day, I’ve come to a few conclusions. As noted before, Lucasfilm’s official policy is to “not take sides” when it comes to fan controversies, especially when it comes to the prequels because as far as it’s concerned, The Brand is making money regardless. But you know what…refusing to take a side is taking a side. This on top of the rather limp promotion of TPM 3D tells me that all of these years, I’ve never been wrong. There is most certainly a bias.

But isn’t Dave Filoni one of us, you ask? Yes, but as a friend noted, there seemed to be at least in the first couple of seasons numerous attempts to push forth references to Eps IV-VI on the show. If it wasn’t on the show itself, it was in the DVD/Blu-Ray commentary. There seemed to be a bit of desperation to get prequel haters to watch Clone Wars by promising them the Star Wars they love. Could it be this is yet another attempt to court the OT-only crowd? Possibly. But if this is meant to bring peace to the galaxy and get us all to have one collective hug (“we all love Star Wars!!#!!1!”), they’re doing it wrong. It’s bad enough I had to endure Pegg’s presence in MI:3 or Star Trek. Bringing the #1 Basher onboard for Star Wars by people who claim they love all of the movies is just nauseating.

I also suspect that Pegg is privately a very persistent brown-noser. Just a hunch.

To remind you, Lucasfilm has never tried to court US. When was the last time anyone asked any of us, “What can we do to make fandom better for you? What can we do to make you happy? Or feel like a valued part of the team?” Never.

If you don’t care, I can’t make you care. Go ahead and watch tomorrow’s episode. I’m skipping it. Whatever the reasons, well-intentioned or not, it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe once I would have been too anxious to be all happy and stuff about Star Wars to let it bother me, but not anymore. I’m sick of being a good little fan who shuts up and just hands them my money without complaint. From here on out, my motto is, “Pfft, get Simon Pegg to do it.”
lazypadawan: (Default)
If you've been keeping up with the whole internet skirmish between William Shatner and Carrie Fisher, George "Sulu" Takei, who also guested on Clone Wars a couple of years ago, brings peace to the universe by reminding Trek and Star Wars fans there's always Twilight to pick on instead.

Takei might have earned chuckles from both fandoms (though I'm sure Twi-hards are perturbed) but it made me realize there's no one who can really bring Star Wars fans together the same way. There's been a permanent schism and while it seems to me people are getting sick of the kind of fanatics who regard Red Letter Media as the Bible, Koran, and Torah all wrapped together in a bundle of incontrovertible and divine truth, the battering of Eps I-III continues unabated. Unlike the cross-fandom rivalries where everybody argues their team's better, among Star Wars fans it's really a divide over what is Star Wars, who "owns" Star Wars, and whether Lucas's creative decisions post-TESB were good ones. You don't need Google or Bing to see where conventional wisdom rests on all of those questions. Hint: If you loved all six Star Wars films, think Lucas is one of the great storytellers of our time, and you generally trust his creative choices, you're in for an unpleasant surprise if you seek out other opinions on the internet.

Even if you don't do that, that conventional wisdom has a disappointing way of affecting fandom for everyone. Have you had any luck over the past six years finding any kind of significant merchandise featuring the actual prequel films (not Clone Wars)? Outside of specialty collectibles and the toy aisle, that answer has been "no." But you can find lots and lots and lots of stuff from the first three movies everywhere all of the time. Even items marketed to kids, supposedly the coming unbiased generation of Star Wars fans who will embrace it all, seem to ignore the prequel films. There's a small amount of promotional stuff for TPM coming but I'm shocked at how little there is and virtually all of it stars Darth Maul. I had no idea he was the main character of the movie until now (sarc). You'd think they're re-releasing TPM purely to promote Maulsy's appearance on Clone Wars. Even so, Gap is doing a Star Wars kids line and with a big re-release in just two months, is there anything at all about the film in the San Francisco store's window display? Nope.

After many, many drafts I finally cranked out a letter that got my point across and worked up the nerve to send Lucasfilm everything that's been on my mind about the lack of licensing and the acceptance of derision of the movies (such as from companies like Think Geek). I don't know if anyone will read it or respond or will take what I had to say seriously. What frustrates me as a saga fan is that I feel voiceless and very much an outsider because of it. Book fans are taken more seriously. Gamers are taken more seriously. Just today I posted in response to a review/article on Tor.com about the Darth Plagueis novel (forwarded by Del Rey on Facebook) that praises the book for covering up the "logic gaps" in the prequels/TPM. I didn't curse, threaten, or trash the site but they decided not to approve my reply. It's Tor's right of course but was it because they just don't approve criticism of any kind or was it because they simply don't value or take seriously the opinion of someone sticking up for movies "everybody" is supposed to dislike or at least find "flawed?"

To many geeks, I'm the enemy and everything I like about Star Wars is worse than a sparkling vampiric Justin Bieber singing Rebecca Black's "Friday." Who can save this marriage? You tell me.
lazypadawan: (fail)
Repost from Star Wars Prequel Appreciation Society

Today, I went out on my lunch break to a nice 15-screen multiplex near where I work to catch the TPM trailer with “The Three Musketeers.” There was no way I was going to be able to see the whole movie, but I planned on hanging around for at least half of it. It was a mistake I’ll never make again. I sprung for the 3D showing because part of the reason why I wanted to see the trailer with this film is to get an idea of how the 3D looks. I go in, sit through about four or five trailers and that was it. No TPM. It ticked me off so much, I left right then.

Then I saw on TFN one guy who said he had to go to THREE theaters before he finally got to see the trailer. Another guy on Facebook said they didn’t show the trailer with his showing of “The Three Musketeers” either.

Not good.

Movie tickets in 2011 are expensive, especially when you see a 3D showing. $10.25 for a matinee is a steep price to pay for disappointment. My advice is to 1) check with the theater before you buy a ticket and 2) insist on a refund if they don’t show the trailer after you’ve been told they have it. The trailer might be shown with some of the big films between now and the end of the year but I don’t go to the movies very often and catching the trailer with anything is going to be very hit and miss. I’m worried that not many prints went out or that not many theaters want to show it.

Worse yet, there wasn’t really a big rollout on starwars.com. No reminders the trailer’s out, no online version (though obviously we’d rather see it in 3D), no nuthin’. Just another day. They’re more excited pimping books or Simon Pegg’s latest movie than what really butters the bread.

I’ve said it before…if they don’t put their hearts into this, then they shouldn’t bother. So far, on the first big day of promoting TPM’s re-release, I’m not impressed or encouraged. If Lucasfilm isn’t excited about this, why should anyone else be?
lazypadawan: (Default)
Re-posted from the Star Wars Prequel Appreciation Society

Thanks to DarkSideSon for alerting me to a new section on the refurbished starwars.com listing several fan sites. There, below big names like Rebelscum, TheForce.Net, Wookieepedia, Bricks To Bothans, etc., in a section called “Other Resources” alongside The Forcecast, Club Jade, and Leia’s Slave Girl Bikini is none other than….SWPAS! I don’t know what earned this bit of recognition, aside from the year’s supply of chocolate-covered macadamia shortbread cookies from the Honolulu Cookie Company and $5000 cash, but golly, thanks! Bonnie Burton noted on Twitter that they will rotate different sites on the page.
lazypadawan: (Default)
The good news...it looks like via starwars.com that there will be some promotion of the Star Wars Blu-Ray set. Instead of a panel or something, they are going to promote it right at the Lucasfilm Pavilion.

The bad news...still nuttin' on TPM 3D.
lazypadawan: (facepalm)
Today I get around to the latest mini tempest, a C&D issued to a bar in Brooklyn that had planned to run a Star Wars marathon over 4th of July weekend. The hipsters running the joint proceeded to whine about it to everyone who would listen and it's of course followed by the usual blind fury and rage directed at that cold, evil George Lucas. The media always portrays this sort of thing as the "little guy" getting beat down by the "evil faceless corporation."

Well, Darth Media and Darth Fanboy, U.S. copyright law covers exhibition and performance rights. You can invite your friends and family over to your house to watch your shiny new Blu-Rays in September. You cannot take them to some public establishment like a bar or restaurant and show them to the patrons. The bar owner thought he could get around any issues by not charging cover, but he was using the movies to draw people into the bar to buy drinks. Duh! You wouldn't believe by the way how many businesses get nailed for playing music over the PA without paying ASCAP licensing fees. There was even a case where a band that sued a bar somewhere because it hosted a cover band that hadn't paid ASCAP licensing fees.

"But it's just a bar!" they whine. Well, if you let a few guys squat on your land, pretty soon you're going to have a whole squatter village all over the place. Moreover, Lucasfilm asserted in its C&D that it had suspended exhibition of the films. Why is that? Because they have Blu-Rays and movie tickets to sell!

Lucasfilm owns Star Wars. It can tell me to take down my fan fic. It can tell me to deep six my icons. It probably won't because I'm not a financial drain on the company. But it can do what it likes. If you don't like it, go lobby your Congress critter to repeal our copyright law. While you're at it, lobby the European Union to do the same. We actually changed our copyright laws to comply better with European protection for authors.
lazypadawan: (fail)
The full preview night-Sunday Comic Con schedules have been uncorked and there is nothing on the Blu-Rays or TPM's 3D re-release. That's right. Nada. Zilch. Bupkis. NOTHING.

All of the Star Wars panels revolve around books, comics, video games, licensing, crafts, and Clone Wars. (If you want to see Mark Hamill, he's on the Batman Arkham Asylum and "Sushi Girl" panels. Sam Witwer is on the "Being Human" panel. Ashley Eckstein is doing her second annual Her Universe panel on Thursday.) Clone Wars is of course way important. But I find it shocking, unbelievable, and outrageous Lucasfilm is just blowing off the two biggest SW events of the next several months!

I wouldn't be so nonplussed if there was a Celebration in four weeks where they could promote the hell out of those things but there isn't. If there's nothing at Comic Con, there won't be anything at Wizard World Chicago, DragonCon, or New York Comic Con either. Heck, there probably won't even be a mention at Star Wars Fan Days. I guess they just expect to sell the Blu-Rays only to the diehards and they plan to just poop out TPM 3D and hope somebody notices. Or maybe not.

Someone noted on my Facebook that most of Lucasfilm's Comic Con presentations are full of sound and fury and signify nothing anyway. It's true the last couple of Hall H presentations were kind of lackluster. But I also remember the amazing presentation they did in 2004 to promote primarily the first three flicks on DVD and ROTS. People were on their cell phones as soon as they left the room.

I'm not saying we needed another unspectacular Spectacular in Hall H. I'm actually kind of relieved I don't have to spend 3 hours in line to sit inside for another 3 hours in the vain hopes they start on time. I'm convinced that the journey to Hell for the damned begins trying to get into Hall H. But I also remember Steve Sansweet touring the nation's conventions during the summer of 1996 to promote the Star Wars Special Editions, showing us first-time ever-seen footage of the spruced-up scenes (stuff not even seen during trailers shown with "Independence Day"). That sort of thing generates buzz. It generates excitement. It makes people who were on the fence or uninterested as rarin' to go as a hardcore fan like me. It worked in 1996. It worked in 2004. It worked when Charles Lippincott dropped in at a much smaller Comic Con in 1976 to pitch ANH. Why wouldn't it work now, unless they've given up and they just don't care?
lazypadawan: (Force ghost)
starwars.com posted today that artist Kazuhiko Sano, who did the style-B ROTJ poster and the poster of its 1985 re-release among others, died last week. No age was given. Sano's poster was supposed to be the one for the film's release--that's why it's got all of the characters on it--while the one with the hands holding up a lightsaber was supposed to be the teaser but for whatever reason, Sano's poster was delayed and the teaser became the release poster. Sano's art was used in ads a few weeks into its release and I think it might have been put up in some theaters as well.

Aaaand, as Sue Rostoni herself noted in a Tweet back in January or something, she will step down from her position as Star Wars book editor at Lucasfilm in July. If you want the job, Lucasfilm Recruiting has been on Twitter trolling for a replacement. Really! Sadly, I don't have a zillion years' experience at some big NYC publisher editing books.
lazypadawan: (Default)
starwars.com has something big with the Blu-Ray release that it will announce on faux holiday May the 4th.




If you go to the link in the ad, there's a countdown clock. Here's the kicker. The big announcement goes live at 6 a.m. EST or 3 a.m. on the West Coast. When I'm asleep because I have to work. Thanks a lot, guys.
lazypadawan: (tpmjedi)
Get ready to play hooky and call in sick on 2/10/12, for that is the day TPM is unleashed in 3D!

http://www.starwars.com/movies/episode-i/3dannouncedate/index.html#comments

The announcement didn't specify if this is the global release date or if it's just in North America.

Some observations and predictions:

1. I noticed on Twitter most of the bashing came from the lamestream media, Z-list "comedians," and various sheeple. Most of the real fans were happy about the announcement.

2. This falls into the same timeframe as the Special Editions in 1997, after the Christmas releases and before the new summer blockbusters.

3. Expect the lamestream media to completely underestimate box office and enthusiasm, just as it did in 1997.

4. I predict a short preview at Comic Con this summer (damn it, this means sitting all friggin' day in Hall Preparation H).

5. Trailer hits around Thanksgiving.

What about those "Original Two" purists, you must be asking? Well, they have cleverly pulled the National Lampoon shoot-the-puppy tactic by putting the word out that seeing ANH or TESB in 3D will depend on whether the other movies do well. They'll HAVE to see it, ha ha. Besides, I don't think they can resist the opportunity to go online and complain about the conversion.

I'm cooking up a piece for SWPAS on whether the stars are finally lining up for TPM. But Lucasfilm has get to work on shoring up some respect for the film. Like now.
lazypadawan: (Default)
starwars.com posted that Darth Vader and a passel of stormtroopers are going to appear at the Consumer Electronics Show on Thursday with a "most impressive announcement."

http://www.starwars.com/fans/events/vader_vegas/index.html

People have been abuzz over what that means. More about the Blu-Rays? The 3D re-releases? The t.v. show? Club Jade thinks it might have something to do with "The Old Republic" being released on Panasonic's gaming system, since it's at the Panasonic booth. They're probably right. We'll see on Thursday.

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