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San Diego Comic-Con 2015: Star Wars

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While SDCC is a grand paean to just about every facet of pop culture, its love affair with Star Wars has been long and legion. 2015, arguably one of the most exciting years in Star Wars fandom, was no exception. While there were a wide range of different presentations on virtually every aspect of the Star Wars universe, here are a representative few.

Lucasfilm made a grand showing with two panels from just their Star Wars Publishing branch alone on Friday morning. In the first one, NYT bestselling authors Alexandra (The Darkest Minds) Bracken, Adam (A Tale Dark and Grim) Gidwitz, and Tom (Origami Yoda) Angleberger spoke on how each of them approached retelling a different movie of the second trilogy for a younger audience.

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Bracken approached A New Hope as "The Star Wars Breakfast Club," splitting the narrative in three parts, each from the perspective of Leia, Han, and Luke. Gidwitz wrote much of Empire in second person, so the readers will feel that they, personally, are training with Yoda or facing Darth Vader.

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The second half of the panel starred a variety of writers who occupy wildly different genres within the Star Wars universe.

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The Wangs create the Star Wars Epic Yarns books, in which each film is retold in twelve images and twelve words, using yarn figures made from needle felting.

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Ultimate Star Wars, by Adam Bray, is a comprehensive and chronological encyclopedia that covers the entire Star Wars canon.

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Jen Heddle, Senior Editor for Lucasbooks, presented the adult canonical Star Wars novels. A New Dawn takes place before the start of "Star Wars Rebels," and shows Kanan's backstory--how he meets up with Hera and joins the Rebellion. Tarkin tells the origin story of the infamous Grand Moff, and Lords of the Sith is "our Vader-Emperor road trip," as the two crash on Ryloth and leave a swath of destruction in their wake trying to get out.

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Christie Golden spoke about her new book, Dark Disciple, which is a novelization of eight unaired episodes of "The Clone Wars," and focuses on Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos.

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Star Wars: Aftermath , an upcoming novel by Chuck Wendig, is part of the large panel of "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens" books designed to lead the way up to the film's opening. Set after "Return of the Jedi," it features Wedge Antilles and was announced to be the start of a trilogy.

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Finally, Marvel's Star Wars comics were discussed, the majority of which take place between "A New Hope," and "Empire Strikes Back."

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As a new announcement from the panel, Chewbacca will be getting his own series (but he still won't talk.)

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Later that day was the big Hall H Lucasfilm presentation. Given that JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy had already presented at Star Wars Celebration not too long ago, and that they had announced there would be no new trailer, I'm not sure what anyone was expecting--certainly not what they got...

Initially, the panel started off with Abrams, Kennedy, and screenwriter Lawrence ("Empire Strikes Back") Kasdan, who spoke briefly about their fondness for the project and the two years they spent developing the script for "The Force Awakens."

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After noting that they tried to utilize practical effects versus CGI, an actual animatronic creature shambled out onto stage and marched back and forth to demonstrate some of the intricate builds.

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"Bobbajo"

At moderator Chris Hardwick's urging, Abrams admitted to having brought some footage, which showed behind-the-scenes shots, and revealed Simon Pegg as one of the cast members.

After that, the three cast members that were present at the Star Wars Celebration panel joined the table: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac.

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Some brief questions later, Hardwick announced that since we'd seen the Light Side, it was time to be introduced to the Dark Side, and brought out Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, and Gwendoline Christie as Kylo Ren, General Hux, and Captain Phasma.

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A short discussion ensued, on the differences between, "evil" and "morally justified" and "right," and then Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill were introduced!

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They had also been at Star Wars Celebrations and who knows how many other gatherings recently, so they had an easy and familiar banter. Anticipation in the room was rising for the one original cast member who had not been present for much of the publicity appearances to date, however, and to the crowd's delight, Hardwick next presented Harrison Ford!

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While Ford has always in the past seemed a little dismissive of Star Wars and his role in it, he appeared genuinely moved by the entire experience and appreciative of everyone's continued enthusiasm in a way that was both surprising and touching.

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(Or, he could have just been acting. He's a pretty good actor.)

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So at this point, the audience was already excited to the point of spontaneous combustion, when the panel suddenly turned into the preshow for "Rock 'n' Roller Coaster." Abrams announced that he had arranged a Star Wars concert for us (remember, Hall H holds around 6,400 people, and it was at capacity) complete with fake counting before he admitted everyone could go. We were then walked out to the back of the Convention Center, and then over to the Marina, where everyone was given a credential and a lightsaber.

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It took about 90 minutes for everyone to walk over (at one point, vans with the stars drove by and Mark Hamill high-fived people out of the window as they passed.)

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Eventually Abrams and Kennedy once more took the stage, and thanked the fans for their years of support and for making their way over to the concert without killing anyone.

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They then brought the "Force Awakens" stars back to the stage, most of whom bounded out, crossing lightsabers with anyone within reach.

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(Ford, the last one out, used his as a cane.)

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After the cast finally left the stage, a taped message from Composer John Williams played, in which he said he was busy working on his score for the next movie, and introduced the San Diego Symphony.

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...And then the concert started, and if you don't think it was a surreal experience, to be standing out in the San Diego Marina, while a live symphony orchestra played the score to "Star Wars," among around 6.5k hyped up fans with lightsabers, I am here to tell you otherwise.

Then, when we got to the end of the evening, there was one more surprise left:

It was certainly a night not soon forgotten.

If you would like to see the whole panel, "Flicks and the City" has it on YouTube:

The previous post in this blog was San Diego Comic-Con 2015: Disney Infinity .

The next post in this blog is Photo Update from Disneyland Resort 7/31 - Entertainment!.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 29, 2015 1:42 PM.

The previous post in this blog was San Diego Comic-Con 2015: Disney Infinity .

The next post in this blog is Photo Update from Disneyland Resort 7/31 - Entertainment!.

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