One of the goals for our podcast Hyperspace Theories is using the perspective of storytelling to inform the process of speculation about future Star Wars tales. While promotional reveals and rumored spoilers can shape fans’ ideas about directions for speculating, getting inside the mind of the storyteller also can provide a basis for anticipating future developments or culling among more likely and less likely possibilities.
Last week Tricia and I were discussing a key decision for any storyteller: writing the death of a fan-favorite character. Certainly neither of us is opposed in principle to “killing our darlings” in stories; anyone who’s read our fiction knows that. At the same time, when carried out poorly such a death can cause a profoundly negative fan reaction and corresponding detrimental impact on subsequent interest in purchasing later stories. In the Legends era, for example, fans were heartbroken by the death of Ton Phanan but still hold the character and his demise in great esteem; by contrast, the death of Mara Jade Skywalker garnered little but ill will and declining sales for the novels. Fans spurn deaths that undermine characterization or themes, lack adequate reasons in the plot, or fail to pay off in future stories, among other flaws – but they also may come to revere a death written with meaning and impact. In other words, although one decision must be whether to kill the character, that choice cannot be separated from the why and how portrayed in the story.
In the course . . . → Read More: Killing Your Darlings: The Life and Death of Ahsoka Tano
In many ways, Celebration Anaheim marked the first full-scale introduction of Star Wars Rebels to the fandom at large. Rebels was highlighted in panels at a few previous general-interest conventions like New York Comic Con and San Diego Comic-Con, and individual members of the principal voice cast made appearances at Disney’s Star Wars Weekends in Florida last summer. Celebration Anaheim provided the opportunity to truly showcase the series to a massive gathering of Star War fans. Rebels received a premium panel on the arena-sized Celebration Stage on Saturday morning, a red carpet line and the world premiere of Season Two on Saturday evening in a packed Digital Stage, and a Sunday panel featuring behind-the-scenes insights into the show’s creation and development.
Saturday morning kicked off with the main panel, officially titled “New Allies and New Villains in Star Wars Rebels Season 2.” The panel was live-streamed and live-blogged by StarWars.com, not to mention thousands of fans packed into the Celebration Stage. Host James Arnold Taylor greeted all five members of the voice cast, as well as Simon Kinberg and Dave Filoni. The wide-ranging discussion included the characters, the voice actors’ experience joining the Star Wars franchise, and the fan response to Rebels. The Season Two trailer revealed the return of Captain Rex, prompting huge cheers. Dee Bradley Baker and Ashley Eckstein then also took the stage to speak about what their fan-favorite characters from The Clone Wars bring to Rebels. Although the panel included some fun anecdotes, hysterical good-natured teasing . . . → Read More: Star Wars Celebration Anaheim: Pulling Back the Curtain on Star Wars Rebels
Friday evening at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim the Behind the Scenes Stage featured an inspiring panel titled “Rebel Women Who Fought The Clone Wars.” The four panelists were producers Liz Marshall and Athena Portillo, Story Group member Rayne Roberts, and concept artist Amy Beth Christenson. Stage hosts Jimmy Mac and Jason Swank began the hour like usual, only to be suddenly interrupted by Dave Filoni, who told them, “I love you guys, but these are my friends.” Filoni then noted the ongoing talk in fandom about strong female characters, and expressed his belief that the strongest women are behind the scenes. He personally proposed the topic of the panel to celebrate the women who have played crucial roles in The Clone Wars and Rebels, emphasizing that none of it would be possible without them.
Picture by Her Universe
Filoni started off the panel by commenting that despite the perception of some, women are not recent additions to the Star Wars fandom. He asked each panelist when they first became Star Wars fans. Portillo waited 2.5 hours in line with her father to see Star Wars in the theater in 1977, and it was the first film Christenson ever saw in a movie theater. Marshall watched the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films as “sick day movies” with her father, while Roberts experienced them as movies playing in daycare. Perhaps Roberts put it best when she said that Star Wars had always been part of the background of her life . . . → Read More: Star Wars Celebration Anaheim: Rebel Women Who Fought The Clone Wars
On Thursday afternoon at Celebration, Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo joined David Collins on the Digital Stage for a panel titled “The Untold Clone Wars.” Fans of the animated series have known since the show’s cancellation in 2012 that several addition seasons’ worth of material existed in various stages of development, from full-cast voice recordings and animatics to episode scripts and notes from story conferences. Some of those stories have been released, including the Lost Missions sixth-season episodes, the Utapau arc animatics, the Son of Dathomir comic, and the upcoming novel Dark Disciple. Other tales, though, remain hidden in the shadows. Filoni and Hidalgo treated fans with glimpses and hints at the panel; images of all of the disclosed concept art and Filoni sketches are available at the StarWars.com live blog page. Perhaps the most interesting information from the panel, though, was not the plot arcs or character appearances revealed, but the insights about the storytelling ideas that had guided the series toward its endpoint.
The first arc mentioned centers around Boba Fett and Cad Bane. In a storyline inspired by the Western movie The Searchers, the two bounty hunters must work together to locate a Tusken Raider camp on Tatooine to rescue a captive. In a clip, Bane convinces Fett to act as bait, allowing himself to be taken by the Tuskens so that Bane can follow the tracking signal to the camp. More than money motivates the elder bounty hunter, though. Filoni revealed that Bane had been a . . . → Read More: Star Wars Celebration Anaheim: The Clones War Tales Yet Untold
Reviewing the success of the first season of the animated television series Star Wars Rebels. . . . → Read More: Star Wars Rebels Season One Review
Episode Seven of Hyperspace Theories discusses the impact of Dave Filoni on the future of Star Wars storytelling, including the animated series Star Wars Rebels. . . . → Read More: Hyperspace Theories Episode Seven – Rise of the Jedi Master: Dave Filoni
Celebration Anaheim, taking place April 16-19, begins one month from today. . . . → Read More: Celebration Anaheim: 30 Days and Counting!
The season one finale of Star Wars Rebels, “Fire Across the Galaxy,” airs tonight at 9:00pm Eastern on DisneyXD. . . . → Read More: Star Wars Rebels Season One Finale Tonight
Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo join Jason and Jimmy Mac on a special episode of RebelForce Radio. . . . → Read More: Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo Join RebelForce Radio
Harry Potter’s Emma Watson tackles global issues and J.K. Rowling expands her fictional universe. . . . → Read More: Harry Potter’s Leading Ladies