STAR WARS Celebration: Droid Tales and Baseballs | Popculturology.com (Unpublished)

Anthony Daniels. Photo by Eric Stevens.

Anthony Daniels. Photo by Eric Stevens.

Despite the water shortage here in Southern California, I am pleased to report that most people I have encountered seem to have showered between yesterday and today. So far, day two of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim is off to a good start. After an early swing through the LEGO Play Area (to assert my dominance as a LEGO builder) (to pick up the second set of posters and free mini-build), it was back to the autograph hall.

Anthony Daniels, the man who has been inside C-3PO for nearly four decades, was in a surprisingly good mood, but the big surprise of the morning was the literal marriage of sci-fi and sport. Ashley Eckstein, better known as Ahsoka Tano, star of The Clone Wars, was escorted by her husband, World Series MVP David Eckstein.

Always eager to learn something new about the movies I love, the next stop was the Secrets of the Mos Eisley Cantina panel. Over the course of 39 years, Star Wars scholars have managed to give a name to each actor who appeared in the iconic scene, which was filmed on sets in England and in California. One lucky audience member had the chance to name one of the cantina patrons who survived a quarter-century of Expanded Universe novels without an identity.

Speaking of the Mos Eisley cantina, which seems to be a recurring theme of my week so far, it was packed this afternoon, with alien and human patrons celebrating… something. Maybe it’s the newest LEGO Star Wars TV series, Droid Tales. This new mini-series, premiering in July on Disney XD, follows the adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO through the timeline of Episodes I-VI, and the comedy antics that made two unsuspecting droids the greatest heroes the galaxy has ever known.

Five episodes cover the events of each movie, as well as parts of The Clone Wars and Rebels, and are littered with happenings that took place off-camera. I won’t say the writers are pandering to adult fans, since it is meant for children, but I watched Jar Jar Binks die twice in the five minutes of clips we saw here today. I’m not sure if this series was announced here in Anaheim, but the first I heard of it was yesterday, when it was featured on the back of the LEGO Star Wars posters.

I had one more encounter with Dave Filoni, but a dry marker and eager chauffeur left me without an autograph yet again.

Costume Tally

Boba Fett – 6

Wolverine/Boba Fett mashup – 1

STAR WARS Celebration: STAR WARS REBELS Report | Popculturology.com

Ashley Eckstein. Photo by Eric Stevens

Ashley Eckstein. Photo by Eric Stevens

If you haven’t been watching Star Wars Rebels, it might be time to catch up before the Season 2 premiere this fall.

The trailer for the upcoming season, which has certainly leaked or been posted officially by now, shows a series that, despite airing on Disney XD, had a room of adult fans cheering. With the return of some old friends — both from the original trilogy and Star Wars: The Clone Wars — and the appearance of many original trilogy and prequel-era vehicles, no one can deny that this is Star Wars.

There were a few surprises, with one particular character introduction bringing the crowd to its feet and tears to some eyes.

More on Star Wars Rebels coming later today with the Season 2 premiere.

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STAR WARS Celebration: A Dave Filoni Sighting | Popculturology.com

Dave Filoni

Dave Filoni. Photo by Eric Stevens.

To say that the Star Wars Celebration convention is huge would be an understatement. After seven hours here, there is still an entire exhibit hall of vendors and artists that I haven’t seen. Somewhere in the vast sea of George Lucas beard doubles, dazed parents who thought this would be a quiet place to take their young children and stormtroopers who are taking their uniform a little too seriously, there is an exhibit of costumes and props from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I haven’t seen it. I’m not sure if I want to see it, as someone who has gone the past few months without seeing the first teaser for the movie, and the past few hours without seeing the second.

The second half of the first day of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, the seventh event to be held in the United States (and second in California) was equally eventful. I walked into another Star Wars director, this time the man with an Indiana Jones-like devotion to his hat, Dave Filoni, supervising director of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series and executive producer of Star Wars Rebels (I’ll be reporting on the second season premiere on Saturday). I didn’t get a chance to speak to him, or have him sign my Ahsoka Tano action figure, but he seemed relieved when told by a young boy that Rebels is “getting better.”

There are a few food vendors inside the convention center, a line of food trucks outside and a small bar tucked to one side selling beer. The highlight of the food scene here in Anaheim is not the Wookiee Fries advertised on one of the food trucks, but this replica of the Mos Eisley cantina I mentioned earlier as the site of the JJ Abrams sighting. Perched on the opposite side is everyone’s favorite space yeti, known to the fans here as Muftak. Personally, I’m hoping to see autograph guest John Ratzenberger perched next to him at some point discussing the rigors of interplanetary postal service.

Costume Tally:

Ewoks (humans in costume) — 7
Ewoks (dogs in costume) — 1

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STAR WARS Celebration From the Convention Floor | Popculturology.com

JJ Abrams. Photo by Eric Stevens.

JJ Abrams. Photo by Eric Stevens.

Anaheim Convention Center — We are hours into the first day of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, and there is an entire galaxy worth of Star Wars fans in attendance. The main event, with Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president and executive producer of the next installment to our saga, The Force Awakens, and JJ Abrams, the film’s director, stole the show. From the sunny sidewalk, I saw photos of BB-8, the spherical astro droid, and heard a rowdy line, waiting to be let in to the building, fall silent as the second teaser trailer for the movie made its way online.

If you wanted to see that panel in person, the line for the main stage — the Anaheim Convention Center Arena — was full at 11 o’clock last night. Four additional rooms were available to view it live, simulcast to another few thousand people.

As is the case with these events, much of it has been down to luck, contrary to Ben Kenobi’s beliefs. Turning a corner to a life-size replica of the classic Mos Eisley cantina, I found myself face-to-many-faces with the fourth director of the Star Wars saga, Mr. Abrams himself, along with a legion of his shiny new troops and a Princess Leia who shared the same bushy mustache as Nintendo’s Mario. You really never know what is going to happen on the convention floor.

Costume tally:

Han Solo — 4
Sexy Han Solo — 12

Here’s What OUTLANDER Would Look Like Made With LEGO Minifigures | Popculturology.com

LEGO Outlander

Like Diana Gabaldon‘s series of novels and the Outlander TV series returning to Starz this weekend, the story of LEGO Outlander involves a bit of time travel. Fortunately for you, we’re only going back to Christmas 2013, when I presented the 1500-piece LEGO Downton Abbey model and minifigure cast to my girlfriend, Sofia. Without bragging too much, it was an incredible gift, and Internet (and even some non-Internet, paper-based) publications loved it. Over the next few weeks, I was asked a dozen times how I could possibly beat it the following year.

Fall 2014 came around, and that question weighed on me. The LEGO Derekminifigure photo I published in the spring got a little attention, and LEGO Seinfeld in the summer got a little bit more, but I had nothing for Sofia. Then, on a rewatch of the premiere episode of Outlander, it seemed pretty obvious to me. My girlfriend was a big fan of the books and was giddy with the idea of seeing these characters coming to life.

I designed a small vignette, using sand green on one half and bright green on the other to capture the tone of the series: Subdued colors for the present (the series protagonist Claire’s present being 1945), and bright colors for the past (1743, where she finds herself after a tumble through a giant stone).

I didn’t build it for Christmas, with time being tougher to find, and sand green bricks being very expensive. I showed Sofia the rendered image a few weeks later, and she insisted we build it. By then, I was already devoted to getting LEGO Community finished, not knowing when the new season would be returning. We scrapped the design I had, and balanced her knowledge of the novels with my eye for detail in reference photos. We designed it the weekend after Community was published, had most of the bricks in-hand a week later, and raced against a setting sun to shoot photos to get this out for the Internet to enjoy before the mid-season hiatus ended.

No one has asked what we’ll be doing next, yet, but I’m sure we can come up with something pretty great.

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