Another long day, but a fun one!
After a good night’s sleep, I made a later start toward the convention center. Along the way I stopped for breakfast at Richard Walker’s Pancake House, a renowned local establishment. The blueberry pancakes were delicious!
My main goal for the day was seeing the Star Wars EU panels and the TCW panel, but I got there a bit earlier so I figured I’d snag my seat in the room.
11:00 Hasbro Star Wars panel – I’m not a collector, and I only occasionally buy a Star Wars toy for the big-TCW fan nephews. But I have to say, like the Streetfighter panel yesterday, the enthusiasm of the Hasbro guys for their products, and for doing their very best by their customers, was apparent. They brought a half dozen employees with a wide variety of roles, took the time to explain why certain decisions are made the way they are, and showed their thoughtfulness in the balance between the interests of kids and adult collectors. I was interested to hear that they readjusted their release schedule to make sure the toys for The Phantom Menace will coincide with the 3D release in early 2012, even though that delays some other highly anticipated toys. And it was just cool to see grown men so excited about all the cool play features they’d created for the kids who get their toys.
12:00 Star Wars Books panel – What a contrast. This panel was only Shelly Shapiro, the Star Wars editor from Del Rey, and author Timothy Zahn. The panel began with Shelly going through a PowerPoint presentation of the upcoming novels, from now until Apocalypse in April of next year. X-Wing: Mercy Kill by far got the biggest audience response in the forms of whoots and cheers. Two squadrons, who apparently don’t know about each other, sounds like Allston fun. She apologized for it starting slowing, since she had been on a 6-week sabbatical and did not reveal any new titles we hadn’t already heard about, nor any news about any new authors they might be hiring. I also found it conspicuous that no mention was made of the editorial staff changes at Lucasfilm, even though Sue Rostoni’s retirement was barely a week ago. Not even a shout-out to thank her for her decades of work on the novels? After Shelly’s brief presentation, the rest of the panel was devoted to Q&A with the fans. Unsurprisingly, most of the questions went to Zahn, who was entertaining and insightful as always. As a fan, I greatly appreciated his response when he was asked about Mara’s death – he was professional and polite, of course, but also candid in explaining the specific reasons for his disappointment with the decision itself and the way he found out about it. More on that can be found in my tweets, peeps.
1:00 Dark Horse Comics: Twenty Years of Star Wars panel – Unfortunately, another very underwhelming panel on the EU. It started nearly fifteen minutes late and ended early. Randy Stradley began by telling everyone that Dark Horse was saving all their big announcements for New York Comic Con in October, and the rest of the panel pretty much lived up to that low billing. Randy did announce that the Star Wars comics are now available in digital formats, but that was really the only news. The rest of the panel consisted of having the creators on the panel give their favorite Star Wars comics moment from the last twenty years. It was neat, but not particularly meaningful to me as a fan.
Since the Dark Horse panel ended early, I was able to grab a snack and head right back to room 7AB to be sure I had a seat for the TCW panel.
2:00 Star Wars Collectibles Update panel – Like the Hasbro panel, this isn’t really my thing in the fandom. But the different companies each had sent enthusiastic representatives, and it was fun to watch them be so excited to share their new product announcements with the fans. And then right toward the end, Kotobukiya put up a slide of a Jaina Solo statue in development! It’s in the bishoujo style (I’ll have to read up more on just what that is) and shows Jaina as an X-wing pilot. I will definitely be getting my hands on this one when it comes out. How soon can I make a pre-order?
3:00 Rendering the Galaxy Far Far Away: the Digital Light and Art of The Clone Wars panel – I’d seen Dave Filoni and Joel Aron talk about the artistic techniques in TCW before, and this panel was equally as interesting. They were joined by Keith Kellogg (animation supervisor), and Dave let Joel and Keith pretty much do all the talking. We heard a lot about lighting and framing of the images, and got to see how the various techniques combine to make a final shot that’s so amazing compared to the basic animatics. And of course the several additional never-before-seen short clips from Season 4 were much appreciated. One included the scene with Jedi General Krell, and the other had Ahsoka chukking two bombs into a tank then hopping back to Anakin’s speeder bike, end in hero pose, then Obi-Wan giving orders. When the new Mando scene came up we found out this was Dave Filoni’s. Apparently when Katee Sackhoff’s character lands and puts her hand on her hip, that part drives Dave crazy. Expect to see it changed before airing.
After this panel, I spent some time in the Exhibit Hall and browsing in Artist’s Alley. I can’t say I found the artist of my dreams. Will keep looking… Then it was off to dinner and the Geek Girl Network party, which was a great event.
More pictures on FANgirl Zone on Facebook.
Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.