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Friday, April 17, 2015

Five Takes From Kick-Off at Star Wars Celebration!

04. 17. 2015 - After more than an hour of long wait inside the IMAX Theatre in SM Mall of Asia they started broadcasting the live stream in 35 cinemas across 23 countries worldwide including the Philippines and it’s the most festive Star Wars Celebration yet.

When they already introduced Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican everything kick into high gear when he called J.J. Abrams, the director for “The Force Awakens” and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy in her Star Wars shirt.

The reception was wild as the camera pans overhead and showing how the fans showed their adoration to the franchise says that it’s a great time to be a Star Wars fan as they settled down and talked about what to look forward with the new film among other things the fans has been anticipating since the very first teaser trailer was revealed in November 2014.

The Celebration

Star Wars Celebration has been the definitive convention related to the brand that George Lucas has created. The event was introduced during the time George Lucas was promoting Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999 followed by Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005). Then they followed with Celebration IV with the 30th anniversary to the original trilogy.

Not all Celebrations are numbered and held in the US the event was also celebrated in Europe (2007, 2013 and set for 2016) and Japan (2008). It was held twice in Orlando Florida (Celebration V & VI) and this year at Anaheim for Celebration VI.

Overall Star Wars Celebration has held the event ten times having this year at Anaheim to announce what’s coming for ‘The Force Awakens.’

The Force for Change

Besides bringing the new Star Wars film J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy was inspired started to campaign ‘Force for Change’, which helps in giving back and engaging with the fans that has become a tradition to the ever growing community.

Since the first day the of pre-production J.J. Abrams recorded a video about the campaign last year, where fans will be given the chance to appear on the film either a walk-in or as extra. They all they need to do is donate $10.00 US dollars to UNICEF which they raised six million dollars.

Force for Change never ends there and Kathleen Kennedy adds that they also team up with ‘Kid Power’, which she explains that she’s wearing this special type of band when taking so many steps triggers a “therapeutic packer of food for children malnourished all over the world.” The project aims to become a movement also supported by Walt Disney which donated one million dollars to the campaign. They also team-up with “Humble Bunble” where some fans contributed another million dollars hoping to turn these projects into a Star Wars worldwide movement.

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BB-8 Stole the Show

There where lots of reveals during the kick-off event showing off images from the sets and the dessert in Abu Dhabi which is a stand-in for the planet Jakku, which most fans speculated to be Tatooine but clarified to be a new place where one of the scenes of ‘The Force Awakens’ will take place.

Mark Hamill reprising his iconic role as Luke Skywalker was suspicious about J.J. Abrams taking the helm of the nexr Star Wars film. But like everyone he was impressed how Abrams put enough work on this one that Hamill says “J.J. is the first Star Wars director to be borne out of true fandom of the original films.” And adds “He feels the way you feel in terms of wanting practical effects. Real sets,” he said.

The revelation for this film will have practical sets, but they didn’t say it will also have complex characters as practical as they are for real. Kathleen Kennedy recalls his most recent Star Wars Celebration and she missed the one in Orlando, but made the trip to Essex in Europe to attend her very first convention where she saw a hundred R2D2 units on display.

Kennedy reveals that she was impressed how the fan built looks close to the real thing to the level of quality that they hired Oliver Steeples and Lee Towersey the men who would redesign R2D2 (the actual droid from the movie) rolling over the stage along with the droid mechanics.

But the introduction does not end there as the two men can’t explain how they felt joining the creature shop in designing the droids for the film. Mostly the dome heads that will be appearing in the new designed X-Wings. After the short interview there was one more surprise and that was in the form of BB-8 the droid who first appeared in the first teaser trailer that everyone thought was a CG.

J.J. Abrams explains that they could have gone and made a CG, but it would be best to have an actual character that the actors can interact with. Kathleen Kennedy adds that Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney was the one who contributed in helping make the technology available that made BB-8 a reality. Some speculate to be Sphero a company behind its creation having inspired by their own product based on a small spherical toy controlled by either a smartphone or tablet.

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The New & Old Cast Unite.

Besides the introduction of BB-8 they also called the new cast Daisy Riddley (portraying a Jakku native named Rey), John Boyega (the Storm Trooper revealed in the first trailer named Finn), and Oscar Isaac (as an X-Wing pilot named Poe Dameron) went on stage talked about their roles how enthusiastic they where being pat of the ever growing Star Wars Universe.

John Boyega says that he never revealed to his parents that he was included in the cast photo was reported online. After some trivial experience behind the scenes having met the original cast John Boyega confirms that his character is a Storm Trooper who will be thrust into the world of Star Wars.

Harrison Ford was not present as J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy confirms he’s resting after his recent plane accident last March 15, 2015. They also answer some questions about the film and what to look forward to in the next few months.

So they first introduced the new look Storm Troopers preceding the original cast Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Peter Meyhew (Chewbacca) walking with a lightsaber cane assisted by Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker).

Chewie We’re Home.

The last part of the live stream was something unexpected and special. The revelations were not enough with the images from the set or BB-8 rolling on stage with R2D2. Those three words that were uttered in the last scene reveal in the second teaser trailer were so huge that made grown men cried.

Star Wars definitely was celebrated and Carrey Fisher was so appreciated over the years that she thanked everyone for “playing her over the years” as she chuckle about the action figures that was produced in her likeness. She also adds the buns are retired and you won’t see her in a metal bikini.

Anthony Daniels adds that he was overwhelmed about this film he thought nobody would come where he partly brags his character surviving six films. Peter Mayhew was also appreciated about the fans, and Mark Hamill says that he’s thankful to everyone over the years and he says the UPFs (Ultra Passionate Fans) are considered are family as well.

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