STAR WARS Celebration: STAR WARS REBELS Report |

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 From the Convention Floor |

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 |

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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