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Theed Royal Palace Plaza

Ever since the original Star Wars was released in 1977, fans have always been dreaming about living in that galaxy far, far away. While that may be just a little difficult, there are still the real-world locations that served as various worlds during filming, and they can be visited. In Galactic Backpacking, we explore these locations by country, looking at their histories and current attractions.

In this fifth part we return once more to the planet of Naboo, which may have been filmed mostly in Italy, but another country that was used was Spain. There, they filmed the arrival of Anakin and Padmé in a beautiful plaza area before entering the Theed Royal Palace, as seen in Attack of the Clones.

General information

Spain (or Reino de España in Spanish) is an European country in the south-west of the continent, forming the Iberian Peninsula together with Gibraltar and Portugal. Besides sharing its border with Portugal (to the west) and Gibraltar, a small British Oversea territory and the most southern part of the Iberian Peninsula, Spain shares a border with France and Andorra to the north. Spain is one of only three countries to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, the other being France and Morocco.

Due to this coastline and the wonderful nature the country has to offer, as well as the climate, the historic legacy and the vibrant culture, it will not come as a surprise that Spain gets a big boost to their economy thanks to tourism and was the second most visited country in the world after France in 2006, losing the position in 2010. This makes it quite fitting that the World Tourism Organization has its headquarters in Madrid, the capital of Spain. Other popular destinations that are Spanish territory, but outside the peninsula borders are: The Balearic Islands (in the Mediterranean Sea, with world-famous party islands of Ibiza and Mallorca, among others) and the Canary Islands (off the African coast, including the islands of Gran Canary, Tenerife and Lanzarote, among others)

Quick facts

Capital: Madrid

Official languages: Spanish, Catalan, Galician Basque. Outside the main tourist spots few people speak English

Government: Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy

Currency: Euro

Time zone: UTC + 1

Roads: Drive on the right

Climate: Most of the peninsula is characterized by a Mediterranean climate with warm and dry summers and cool to mild and wet winters. However, parts of the country have different climates. There is a semiarid one in southeastern quarter of the country where the dry season extends beyond the summer, while the northern quarter of the country (including the Basque Country) there is an ocean climate with the temperatures being influenced by the ocean without any seasonal drought.

Best time to visit the shooting locations: During the spring, in the months from April and May/June, when the temperatures are not as hot as when they actually filmed the scene, which was on September 13, 2000.

How to get there other useful links

Spain: Depending from where you start your journey there are many ways to Spain. If you are from a neighboring European country you could drive to Spain, passing through France and the Pyrenees, or go by train with the high-speed train AVE leaving from Paris only to arrive six hours later in Barcelona, from there you can easily find connecting trains to all mayor cities like Madrid or Seville.

As with any country aimed on tourism, it features many airports in all the major cities like Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Granada, Girona, Alicante and Almeria, among many others. Seville, the city used in Attack of the Clones, also has their own airport: San Pablo Airport (IATA: SVQ), only this airport cannot be directly reached from outside Europe. For those coming from outside Europe, it may be advisable to fly to Madrid (Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport, IATA: MAD) instead and take an AVE train to Seville, which can take up to three hours.

Spain tourism board: http://www.spain.info/en/

Seville tourism board: http://www.visitasevilla.es/en

Seville Card, great way to explore the city: http://www.neoturismo.com/en/tarjetas/sevillacard

 

National Railway company RENFE website: http://www.renfe.com/

Iberia, Spain’s national airline: http://www.iberia.com/

Fansite with many great pictures, videos, and a simulation of the plaza: http://www.loresdelsith.net/diario/epi2/sevilla/index.htm

 

Madrid, official website: http://www.esmadrid.com/

Barcelona, official website: http://www.bcn.cat/en/

Valencia, official website: http://en.comunitatvalenciana.com/

 

La Tomatina: http://latomatina.info/

 

Map of Spain

Map of Spain showing the shooting location and other important destinations.

Seville

37°22′38″N, 5°59′13″W

Seville is the capital of Spain’s Andalucía region, situated on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, which divides the city into two halves. The river played an important role during Roman times as an important port of trade, which continued when Seville had fallen under Muslim rule. With the discovery of the Americas a golden age of arts and architecture began for the city resulting in a rich cultural heritage that you can see to this day.

Ever since hosting the International Exposition in 1992, Seville has been home to top-notch tourist facilities, like the airport, a better train station with a bullet train connection to Madrid, and many improvements made to the city’s boulevards. Tourists can enjoy themselves with the thrilling nightlife and festivals like and Feria de abril, which is a week-long celebration of the end of the somber, yet impressive, Semana Santa Easter week. Feria de abril offers everything that is great about Spain like Flamenco dancing to the sound of guitars and Tapas, but this short description is selling it too short, it is something that you need to experience to fully understand.

The city has been recognized three times by UNESCO, placing the Alcázar palace complex (make sure not to miss the room where Christopher Columbus planned his journey to the Americas), the Cathedral (largest one in the world, third largest church in the world and resting place of Columbus) and the General Archive of the Indies (which has Columbus’ diary on display) on their list of World Heritage Sites. For us movie and TV lovers, Seville is also the location used in Lawrence of Arabia, Kingdom of Heaven and the hit series Game of Thrones, season five.

Anakin, Padme  R2 in Spain

Anakin, Padmé and R2-D2 in Seville.

Plaza de España

37°22′38″N, 5°59′13″W

Part of The Maria Luisa Park (Parque de María Luisa), Plaza de España was designed by Aníbal González to feature as the Spanish Pavilion during the 1929’s Ibero-American Exposition. The Plaza de España complex is a huge half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge of a moat, which you can cross by bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain. Across these bridges, next to the walls of the buildings, are the tiled ‘Alcoves of the Provinces’, representing the various provinces of the country. In the centre is the Vicente Traver fountain. If you visit the Plaza early in the morning on a weekday you will see a long line of immigrants outside the government offices the buildings now houses, or visit it right before it closes (officially at 10 p.m. but likely half an hour later) to see it completely empty and rather eerie.

On Wednesday, September  13, 2000, cast and crew started filming the walk across the plaza starting from the fountain towards the Navarra Bridge (fourth from the left). The next take was crossing the bridge, including walking the stairs. Then the cameras moved to the left part of the archways, close to the Museo Histórico Militar de Sevilla (Historic Military Museum) to shoot the last part of this scene.

 Real Plaza vs. Film Plaza

The real plaza vs. the plaza as seen in Attack of the Clones.

It is not uncommon for the Star Wars movies to alter the backgrounds of locations, but it is clear that ILM went the extra mile for this plaza. As you can see in the image above, the plaza in the movie is a full round plaza, and not the half circle it is in real life. Added to the existing buildings also are the typical green domes that we saw before in The Phantom Menace, which we saw ILM do later in the movie to Villa del Balbianello as well to make the look of Naboo architecture complete. ILM then also added a new walkway with bridges and extra fountains, as well as adding a big building in the background that looks a lot like the Theed Royal Palace, in which the next scene takes place. However while this building appears to be the Royal Palace, it is not because the domes do not line up with the ones from the Palace and in the far-away shots of Theed in Revenge of the Sith we can see the plaza buildings to the right of the Royal Palace.

Valencia's Fallas festival.

Valencia’s Fallas festival.

What else to do in Spain?

Spain has a lot to offer, so the following is just a small selection.

Almerí – This province in Andalusia, a region in the southern part of Spain, is known for its sunny climate, perfect beaches of both the pebble and sandy variation and a lovely ancient city by the same name filled with cultural influences from its time as an important port for the Moors. It is also often used in movies to portray such places like the American or Mexico deserts. Interesting to note is that the nearby Tabernas Desert was used for the  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade tank chase scenes. Other scenes from that movie filmed in this region are: the Sultan of Hatay’s palace (Bellas Artes), birds of Charlemagne scene on the beach (Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park), and Brody’s capture at Iskenderun (Guadix, Granada). In 1991 the cast and crew returned to Almería, but this time to shoot The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode “The Curse of the Jackal.”

Madrid – The capital of Spain has a lot to offer the tourist with many museums (among them the world-famous Museo Del Prado), theaters, and opera. The swinging heart of the city is the Puerta del Sol, a plaza with many places to eat and drink. For shopping you can best go to the Avenida de José Antonio (Gran Via) which also holds many good places to go out at night. Also a must to see is the beautiful park Parque Del Buon Retiro with the glass palace Palacio de Cristal, the Nuestra Señora de la Almudena cathedral.

Barcelona – Spain’s second city is known for its clear divide of old and new. Where the new city has nice symmetrical “avenidas,” the old town (Barrio Gótico or Gothic Quarter) consists of small winding streets close to harbor and the Ramblás Boulevard. Barcelona is also known as the city of Gaudi and his presence is found in many buildings, the most famous of which being de Sagrada Familia church. Other places to see are the Olympic Village, Camp Nou stadium, and the Picasso museum.

Valencia – A beautiful coastal city with a diverse array of different architectural influences. Each year there is a big festival known as Fallas that you will have to experience to understand. Big part of this festival is creating beautiful papier-mâché monuments and burning them on the last day. Another famous festival that is held in Valencia is the so-called “La Tomatina” in which, just for fun, the streets are filled with people throwing tomatoes at each other. Valencia is also the birthplace for the popular Spanish dish Paella.

Pamplona – This city in northern Spain is most known for the San Fermín festival that is held each year with the main attraction being the “Running with the bulls” in which tourists and locals run along the streets while trying to avoid the bulls that are let lose in the city. Pamplona is also the first main city on The Way of St. James, an important Christian pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.

Join us next time for a trip to England, home to many important locations from the saga!

Map courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, adapted by Stefan Pfister.

Special thanks go out to Cecilia Ortiz Cantó for her local knowledge and tips!

Plaza de España image courtesy from Wikimedia Commons

Sander de Lange (Exar Xan) from the Netherlands worked on the Rogues Gallery feature in Star Wars Insider and has written the backstory for Niai Fieso through “What’s the Story?”. He is an editor for TeeKay-421, the Belgian Star Wars Fanclub and an administrator for the Star Wars Sourcebooks page on Facebook Being born in Deventer, a city used to shoot the world-famous movie A Bridge Too Far, he always had a passion for shooting locations and tourism, in which he hopes to find a job.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/galactic-backpacking-part-5-visiting-real-world-theed-plaza

Thanksgiving may not be celebrated in the Star Wars universe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sprinkle a touch of the saga into your festivities. Chances are you’ll probably be making or buying a centerpiece for your table, and that’s the perfect place to express your fandom. A terrarium is a fun and simple DIY project and has the bonus of also looking elegant. Plenty of environments in the Star Wars galaxy are suitable to recreate in a terrarium: Dagobah, Endor, Naboo, Tatooine, and Kashyyyk to name a few. I chose to make a mini Dagobah scene.

Hit up your local craft store or hardware and gardening store for supplies. I go to Pat Catan’s which has both great prices and a large floral section. They had several varieties of moss and glass containers. Remember that you don’t have to attempt to exactly replicate this terrarium; use these directions as a guideline and create something that’s uniquely you. However, since we’re making a centerpiece, I do recommend choosing a glass container or vase tall enough to be seen from all sides of the table. It’s helpful to take your action figures with you to make sure you get a glass big enough to hold them.

Dagobah Terrarium finished whole

Dagobah Terrarium Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Supplies:
12” glass vase with a lid if you want a long lasting terrarium
Rocks, decorative glass, or marbles
Sheet or sphagnum moss
Peat moss or potting soil
Various tops of moss
Action figures or miniatures
Twig garland
Scissors
Straw or skewer
Plastic container and water

Optional
Powdered charcoal
Tweezers

Dagobah Terrarium Supplies

Terrariums are built in layers so that the mini ecosystem can drain and filter properly. It starts with rocks, marbles, or decorative glass. Since we’re using a larger container, you’ll want to put down at least an inch worth of rocks.

Dagobah Terrarium Rock Layer

Cover those rocks with a filtration layer. You can sprinkle in powdered charcoal on top of the rocks if you wish, but it’s not necessary unless you want to cancel out the mossy smell (I’ve never had an issue with not using charcoal). Get sheet or sphagnum moss, grab a handful and dunk it in water for a couple of seconds. Wring out the moss thoroughly; it should be a bit damp. Flatten the moss and put it on top of the rock layer. Take time to cover the rocks completely and use a straw or skewer to squish the moss down and make sure every crevice is covered.

Dagobah Terrarium moss in water

Dagobah Terrarium Moss and Dirt Layer

The next layer is soil. Peat moss soil is recommended for moss terrariums, but if you can’t track it down and want to use potting soil, it’s not the end of the world. Just don’t grab dirt from outside. You don’t want to bring any critters into your terrarium. Cover the sheet moss completely with a thin layer of soil.

With the base of the terrarium done, it’s time to tackle landscaping. I carefully tried out a few different action figures in the glass vase and realized the space was too small for the 3 3/4” toys — you might have plenty of room in your container though. I turned to miniatures, and since I had Yoda and R2-D2, I decided the setting for my terrarium would be Dagobah.

Dagobah Terrarium-scaping 1

I used sheet moss to construct a small hill in the back of the terrarium that sort of represents Yoda’s hut. I dug into my moss variety pack and covered the hut with reindeer moss. Use your fingers and a straw or skewer to tamp the moss into place as you work. I covered the soil in front of the hill with sheet moss and pushed it into place. I added some reindeer moss along the sides of the terrarium and broke off a few inches from a twig garland to make a tree. I topped it with more reindeer moss. I added a few rocks, some broken pieces of twigs, and sphagnum moss. I added Yoda and R2-D2 last.

Dagobah Terrarium-scaping 2

Creating a terrarium landscape isn’t an exact science. Mixing different types and colors of moss together along with extras like rocks or beach glass creates a nice contrast.

If you plan to leave your terrarium in place on a long term basis, waterproof the action figures with a clear craft sealant and let the sealant dry before you insert them. Find a lid for the glass container and make sure the terrarium isn’t in direct sunlight. Mist the terrarium with a spray bottle every two to four weeks.

Dagobah Terrarium finished

You can take these basics and design a terrarium that looks like Dagobah, Endor, or even Naboo. It’s possible to create a sand environment, too, and build Tatooine. Customize to your hearts content with different materials, toys, and glass containers. I highly recommend reading Tiny World Terrariums by Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow if you’d like to up your terrarium game.

If you create a Star Wars terrarium for your Thanksgiving spread, please drop a link to pictures in the comments or send me a photo on Twitter.

Amy Ratcliffe is a writer obsessed with all things Star Wars, Disney, and coffee. You can follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek and keep up with all things geeky at her blog.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/diy-star-wars-terrarium-thanksgiving-centerpiece

If you’ve tuned into Star Wars Rebels this season, you know that the show takes place during the “dark times” as the Empire gains more and more power in the galaxy. On Lothal, they are recruiting new cadets, consolidating farms, and building the machinery of war. Getting millions of citizens to fall in line doesn’t always require more weapons — as we see in Rebels, there is plenty of propaganda in the galaxy to tell help bend citizens to the Empire’s will.

sienar_teaser_October_2013

Propaganda in the galaxy far, far away isn’t exactly new. Eagle-eyed watchers of The Clone Wars might have noticed Chancellor Palpatine’s holographic address to the people of Coruscant. Yet the propaganda during the Clone Wars was subtle; more calculated. When it comes to Star Wars Rebels, propaganda is overt and omnipresent. In so many ways, it mirrors the use of propaganda during World War II

palpatine_address_clone_wars_lightsaber_lost

Palpatine’s address on Coruscant in during the Clone Wars.

It’s almost hard to believe now, but propaganda during the war was very openly distributed. Every country that participated had armies of people creating posters, films, radio programs, and more. In fact, Germany even had a whole ministry whose name included the word “propaganda!” The battle for minds and ideas waged in the open during the 1940s.

Look around at the world of Star Wars Rebels and you will see the same theme. To fill the walls on Lothal, the team created a whole series of propaganda posters inspired by World War II.

Star Wars Rebels artist Amy Beth Christenson says, “For this particular series of images, the artists on the team were free to come up with any and all poster designs. The only guidelines given were that they should convey pro-Imperial propaganda, and that the style should be similar to posters seen in the 1940s.”

WWII Propaganda art inspires art for Star Wars. Star Wars posters by Amy Beth Christenson.

Star Wars propaganda posters by Amy Beth Christenson.

Christenson goes on, “I’m a very big fan of that era in history and art style (not to mention Star Wars), so it was a lot of fun to come up with several different ideas at this stage. Most of the early sketches fit into the style of Rebels and its time period, others not quite so much — I couldn’t resist making a version of “Loose Lips Sink Ships,” with the Executor crashing into Death Star II. But for the most part, the state of the galaxy in the Rebels era is very similar to real-world sentiments of years past, so there was a lot to draw from.”

While the art from Rebels is brand new, there is a long history of official Star Wars art that has been inspired by World War II propaganda. There have been scores of other propaganda-style Star Wars images made by fans and licensees, including a number of posters and art prints. Of all of them, my very favorite are the limited edition exclusives done by Cat Staggs. These rare prints were sold exclusively at Star Wars Celebration art shows — and most recently the limited release virtual art show from Acme Archives, where prints were available for just ten days.

Propaganda Art by Cat Staggs

Star Wars propaganda art by Cat Staggs.

Speaking to her inspiration for these prints, Cat Staggs says,I’ve always been a fan of propaganda art and the lifestyle illustrations of the ’30s and ’40s. Since Star Wars is a story of war, in addition to Luke’s story, I thought combining those elements of the future with a period style propaganda would be a lot of fun.”

Art by Cat Staggs

Star Wars propaganda art by Cat Staggs.

Staggs’ propaganda posters really capture the feel of the era with a perfect mix of painted illustration and a weathering process that makes the posters look as if they have been in storage since the end of the war. Capturing that tone was no coincidence. Giving insight into her process, Staggs says, “I do a ton of research. I spend a lot of time studying the slogans and imagery, doing my best to convey not only the style and message, but the emotion of each poster. I will pick a few themes first then I comb through the films and try to find the pieces that fit, or visa versa.” Astute readers will also notice that each of Staggs’ propaganda posters is named for a classic war film. These fun titles are just one more touch that connects her Star Wars art to the Second World War.

As Star Wars Rebels continues to explore the expansion of the Galactic Empire, look for even more Imperial propaganda that is inspired by our own history. From grand military parades to mandatory Imperial holidays, the galaxy we see in Rebels is rife with propaganda themes ripped from the pages of own history.

Cole Horton is an R2 builder, historian, and creator of From World War to Star Wars, an ongoing series of lectures at Star Wars Celebrations. He has also worked as World War II historian for Marvel.com. You can find him on Twitter @ColeHorton.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/from-world-war-to-star-wars-propaganda

For this Star Wars Celebration, coming April 16-19 to the Anaheim Convention Center, the competition to be a part of the Celebration Art Show was fierce. Talented Star Wars artists — many more than for any previous Celebration — sent in original concepts for consideration. In order to be in competition for the show, the artists must have already created Star Wars work for Lucasfilm or for a Lucasfilm licensee. Each was well-established in the Star Wars art world, but to keep the Art Show at Celebration within reasonable numbers, we had to select a much smaller number than applied.

To answer the challenge of selecting a limited number of artists from a large, capable field, Lucasfilm’s Celebration team brought together an A-list of Lucasfilm talent to do the judging.

From Industrial Light Magic Art Department:

  • John Bell — Sr. VFX Art Director
  • Alex Jeager — Sr. VFX Art Director
  • Christian Alzmann — r. VFX Art Director
  • Aaron McBride — Sr. VFX Art Director
  • David Nakabayashi — Creative Director

From Lucasfilm Animation:

  • Kilian Plunkett — Art Director
  • Amy Beth Christianson — Sr. Concept Artist

From Disney Consumer Products:

  • Troy Alders — Art Director

From Disney Interactive:

  • Hez Chorba — Creative Director
  • Shereen Von Trapp — Graphic Designer

We rounded out the list of judges with experts in Star Wars characters and continuity, like Pablo Hidalgo, Leland Chee, Pete Vilmur, and Brian Merten. Concepts were identified by number, so our judges made their selections based on the concepts alone, without knowing the names of the artists.

Congratulations to These Celebration Art Show Artists!

  • Steve Anderson
  • Drew Baker
  • Lin Zy Busch
  • Matt Busch
  • Jeff Carlisle
  • Jason Christman
  • Jeff Confer
  • Katie Cook
  • Joe Corroney
  • Doug Cowan
  • Mark Daniels
  • Chris Dee
  • Terry Dodson
  • Grant Gould
  • Karen Hallion
  • Scott Harben
  • Stephen Hayford
  • Jessica Hickman
  • Adam Hughes
  • Brandon Kenney
  • Brian Kesinger
  • Lee Kohse
  • Ken Lashley
  • Erik Maell
  • Randy Martinez
  • Brian Miller
  • Jake Murray
  • William O’Neill
  • Jason Palmer
  • Brian Rood
  • Alex Ross
  • Tsuneo Sanda
  • Cat Staggs
  • Shea Standefer
  • Chris Trevas
  • Malcom Tween
  • Jerry Vanderstelt
  • Russell Walks
  • Marc Wolfe
  • Brent Woodside

Look for these artists, and for their work created exclusively for Star Wars Celebration, in the Art Show presented by ACME Archives, and in their own booths on the Celebration Experience Show Floor. First looks of their artwork for the show will be posted on StarWars.com and www.starwarscelebration.com starting in February.

Celebration_keyart_tall

In more art-related news, we are very proud to introduce the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim key art by artist Craig Drake.

image001

Originally from Detroit, Craig moved to San Francisco in 1998 to work as an animation and freelance designer, later moving on to Electronic Arts. He started working for Lucasfilm in 2006 where he created his first limited-edition Princess Leia print. Since then, he has participated in numerous poster art shows with Mondo, Hero Complex Gallery, Gauntlet Gallery, and LTD Gallery.  He continues to produce illustrations for Lucasfilm.

Finally, our new Celebration sizzle is live! I love it – get ready to tweet @SW_Celebration!

Learn more about Star Wars Celebration at www.starwarscelebration.com!

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-celebration-art-show-strikes-back

The stage was set at Dragon Con 2004 for the 501st to step out of the background and pull the fans into an adventure. Tens of thousands of attendees poured into the Hyatt and Marriott hotels in downtown Atlanta. All of them wanted a thrill. Little did they know they’d soon be joining a galactic battle against the Empire itself.

The Droid Hunt Deployment Team: Who would say no to them?

The Droid Hunt Deployment Team.

Early Thursday morning, I had my team of lovely ladies deploying 1,000 faithful astromech droids into the population. The droids’ mission: evade all Imperials. They were, in fact, laminated cards but symbolically they were ambassadors of the good guys. On one side, a cute illustration of R2-D2 greeted you. On the other side were the complete rules of engagement: wear the droid in plain sight, run from stormtroopers if spotted, hand the droid over if a stormtrooper utters the phrase “How long have you had these droids?”. But winning wouldn’t be the aim of the game. Captured droids meant a raffle ticket promising prizes galore. No, playing the game was the fun of it. For one weekend, fans were the heroes fighting the good fight.

By Friday morning all the droids were deployed and a throng of armored stormtroopers marched up to the 501st table. The word had gone out and 200+ soldiers stood ready to do Vader’s bidding. They came from all over the country: Garrisons from Florida to New England, from New York to California. Kathy and her staff unveiled the score board. A cheer went up as the teams rallied, donned their buckets, and began barking orders. Within minutes Imperials were fanning out to cover the six square blocks of Dragon Con to search lobbies, sidewalks, escalators, and more than 100 event rooms.

Let the games begin!

Let the games begin!

Reports started coming in almost immediately. Stormtroopers bearing handfuls of captured droids ran up to the table to log their bounty before rushing off to find more. Armored soldiers could be seen bolting up and down hallways in pursuit of quarry. Officers, still technically in costume, used their unimpaired vision to scout ahead and deploy the troopers to deadly effect. Fans, now aware the hunt was on, could be heard running and laughing as they evaded capture. Some made the ill-fated mistake of trying to find refuge near the 501st table, only to find out too late it was the hub of Imperial activity.

The competition heated up early. The Florida Garrison, bolstered by large numbers, took an early commanding lead. Not to be out-done, Carolina troopers deployed to the escalators, hoping to pick off unwary Rebel sympathizers fleeing the lobbies. California troopers, banding together from three Garrisons, rallied near the panel rooms. The Midwestern Garrisons joined up in two groups: Bloodfin from Indiana on one side and Ohio and Carida Garrisons on another, both of them racking up impressive numbers.

But it was one trooper in particular who distinguished himself for his superhuman efforts. Leon Clarence, hailing from the UK, was there to represent the ECG. Living in New York at the time, Leon had gotten into the 501st from partying with the Empire City Garrison and had in fact trained to run marathons in armor. Midway through the day the Droid Hunt witnessed an incredible feat as Leon single-handedly raced over three floors of the Hyatt and captured more than 100 droids on his own! The word was out: hunting season was in full effect and one stormtrooper was going to try and win it solo!

Leon The Brit managed to score second over-all by himself!

Leon “The Brit” managed to score second over-all by himself!

Little did the troopers know that the Rebels had a secret weapon. Trooper Groupies, ladies bedecked in all-white in support of the Legion, were schemed as a way to add a wrinkle to the game. If they found a trooper carrying droid badges before they got to the table, they could clean the poor soldier out! Even some ladies dressed as Slave Leia got into the act. Soon the Imperials learned: the hunters could become the prey within seconds!

Another trooper falls prey to the Repo Team

Another trooper falls prey to the Repo Team

No area was safe from the carnage. Cheralyn Lambeth, a member of Carolina Garrison, was moderating a Star Trek panel in the afternoon while still wearing her Biker Scout armor. Once the attendees were seated, she plunked on her helmet and ordered everyone in the room to turn over all their droids. Down the hall, actors Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk were the guests of honor at a Firefly panel. When a stormtrooper appeared, a fast-acting Fillion bolted from the room, screaming “You’ll never catch me alive!” In true Han Solo fashion, he turned the corner into the waiting arms of five more stormtroopers outside.

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As the sun set on Saturday, the tallies were wrapped up. A surprise surge toward the end put the Carolina Garrison on top to win it all. CO Sean Dudley had deployed his members in key spots to collect an unprecedented total. At the 501st Mixer that night, the golden droid trophy was held aloft among a throng of cheers.

Carolina Garrison CO Sean Dudley and the Golden Droid

Carolina Garrison CO Sean Dudley and the Golden Droid.

The first Legion Droid Hunt had been a rousing success. More than 500 con goers gathered around the 501st table on Sunday and eagerly collected their raffle prizes. Faithful Star Wars fans even donated to Make-A-Wish to buy the first ever Droid Hunt badges as collectibles. Peter and Angie Mayhew awarded the valiant efforts of the 501st members in a number of categories including “Fastest Hunter,” “Most Droids Captured by an Individual” (the Brit, of course), and “Best Trooper Groupie Repo-Team Member.”

Peter Mayhew holds up one of the Droid Hunt awards at the 501st Mixer

Peter Mayhew holds up one of the Droid Hunt awards at the 501st Mixer.

Stories buzzed among the Dragon Con attendees of the adventures they’d had safeguarding their droids and the lengths they went to avoiding capture. What had started out as a crazy idea had achieved its ultimate goal: to relive the excitement of the Star Wars universe and make the magic real to fans who still believe. After all, what good is costuming if you can’t live the magic?

Albin Johnson was a lowly stormtrooper on Detention Block 2551 before Lord Vader lost a bet and allowed him to found the 501st Legion “Vader’s Fist”. He’s also man-servant to R2-KT “the pink Imperial droid with the heart of gold.” You can learn more at 501st.com and r2kt.com or follow Albin’s off-duty antics atalbinjohnson.com.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/history-of-the-501st-legion-droid-hunting-at-dragon-con-part-2

For this Star Wars Celebration, coming April 16-19 to the Anaheim Convention Center, the competition to be a part of the Celebration Art Show was fierce. Talented Star Wars artists — many more than for any previous Celebration — sent in original concepts for consideration. In order to be in competition for the show, the artists must have already created Star Wars work for Lucasfilm or for a Lucasfilm licensee. Each was well-established in the Star Wars art world, but to keep the Art Show at Celebration within reasonable numbers, we had to select a much smaller number than applied.

To answer the challenge of selecting a limited number of artists from a large, capable field, Lucasfilm’s Celebration team brought together an A-list of Lucasfilm talent to do the judging.

From Industrial Light Magic Art Department:

  • John Bell — Sr. VFX Art Director
  • Alex Jeager — Sr. VFX Art Director
  • Christian Alzmann — r. VFX Art Director
  • Aaron McBride — Sr. VFX Art Director
  • David Nakabayashi — Creative Director

From Lucasfilm Animation:

  • Kilian Plunkett — Art Director
  • Amy Beth Christianson — Sr. Concept Artist

From Disney Consumer Products:

  • Troy Alders — Art Director

From Disney Interactive:

  • Hez Chorba — Creative Director
  • Shereen Von Trapp — Graphic Designer

We rounded out the list of judges with experts in Star Wars characters and continuity, like Pablo Hidalgo, Leland Chee, Pete Vilmur, and Brian Merten. Concepts were identified by number, so our judges made their selections based on the concepts alone, without knowing the names of the artists.

Congratulations to These Celebration Art Show Artists!

  • Steve Anderson
  • Drew Baker
  • Lin Zy Busch
  • Matt Busch
  • Jeff Carlisle
  • Jason Christman
  • Jeff Confer
  • Katie Cook
  • Joe Corroney
  • Doug Cowan
  • Mark Daniels
  • Chris Dee
  • Terry Dodson
  • Grant Gould
  • Karen Hallion
  • Scott Harben
  • Stephen Hayford
  • Jessica Hickman
  • Adam Hughes
  • Brandon Kenney
  • Brian Kesinger
  • Lee Kohse
  • Ken Lashley
  • Erik Maell
  • Randy Martinez
  • Brian Miller
  • Jake Murray
  • William O’Neill
  • Jason Palmer
  • Brian Rood
  • Alex Ross
  • Tsuneo Sanda
  • Cat Staggs
  • Shea Standefer
  • Chris Trevas
  • Malcom Tween
  • Jerry Vanderstelt
  • Russell Walks
  • Marc Wolfe
  • Brent Woodside

Look for these artists, and for their work created exclusively for Star Wars Celebration, in the Art Show presented by ACME Archives, and in their own booths on the Celebration Experience Show Floor. First looks of their artwork for the show will be posted on StarWars.com and www.starwarscelebration.com starting in February.

Celebration_keyart_tall

In more art-related news, we are very proud to introduce the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim key art by artist Craig Drake.

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Originally from Detroit, Craig moved to San Francisco in 1998 to work as an animation and freelance designer, later moving on to Electronic Arts. He started working for Lucasfilm in 2006 where he created his first limited-edition Princess Leia print. Since then, he has participated in numerous poster art shows with Mondo, Hero Complex Gallery, Gauntlet Gallery, and LTD Gallery.  He continues to produce illustrations for Lucasfilm.

Finally, our new Celebration sizzle is live! I love it – get ready to tweet @SW_Celebration!

Learn more about Star Wars Celebration at www.starwarscelebration.com!

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-celebration-art-show-strikes-back

As the new animated series Star Wars Rebels takes its opening salvo at televisions, tablets, and smartphones, so do several new spinoff books take aim at readers, including the first companion novelization The Rebellion Begins by Michael Kogge. In that vein, this milestone seems perfect for paying homage to a pair of extraordinary forefathers.

In the mid-1980s, after one successful made-for-television Ewoks movie — and one notorious “holiday special” — the Star Wars universe plunged into its first regular television programming: Ewoks and Droids (sometimes billed as the Ewoks and Droids Adventure Hour). These animated series ran from 1985 to 1986, with Droids airing for one season and Ewoks for two. Many English-speaking fans know that these cartoons also spun off many storybooks and comics of their own, chiefly published by Random House and Marvel Comics. What many fans do not know is that they also spun off original licensed storybooks and comics in other countries, never published in the English-speaking world.

In 2013, Rich Handley reported for StarWars.com on several Ewoks and Droids comics that were published exclusively in Spain (and subsequently translated into English by myself). Now, new investigative (and very fun) research shows that this particular rabbit hole goes much deeper.

Knowledge of two exclusive Star Wars novelizations published in Spain has surfaced. Simply titled Ewoks and Droids, these 45-page hardcover picture books, measuring 23 cm x 29.5 cm x 1 cm (9” x 11.5” x .33”), were published in 1986 by Plaza Joven, which was an imprint of the well-known Spanish publisher Plaza Janés Editores (now owned by Penguin Random House).

As is frequently the case with picture books aimed at younger readers, the authors of these Star Wars titles are unlisted, and they remain unknown. While that is quite unfortunate, the content of the books offers a treasure trove of entertainment, nostalgia, and secrets for Star Wars fans. If you happen to speak Spanish, that is.

But now, these storybooks are presented here for the first time in English translation via StarWars.com.

Each book is a loose novelization covering general events of the Ewoks and Droids television series, though predominantly focusing on one episode. This reiterative storytelling doesn’t mean there aren’t more than a few surprises, however. As most novelizations conventionally tend to be (such as the prose adaptations of the Star Wars films Episodes I-VI and The Clone Wars), these storybooks are more than likely adapted from scripts rather than the televised Ewoks and Droids episodes themselves.

In that tradition, these Plaza Joven storybooks introduce more scenes and background details than the cartoon storylines—and at times completely alternative particulars. But it’s one of the strange facts of converting a narrative from one language to another that it’s not only true, as the saying goes, that meanings are frequently lost in translation, but sometimes new ones are also gained.

A New Droid Order

The plot of the Droids novelization is very simple. After being dumped on the inhospitable planet Ingo by a disreputable owner, See-Threepio and Artoo-Detoo reminisce about their exploits with their past masters Jann Tosh and Mungo Baobab before getting swept up in the adventure that makes up the main substance of the book: joining the racing team of their new masters Thall and Jord while sabotaging the plans of the upstart gangster Tig Fromm.

The artwork on the cover of Plaza Jovens Droids novelization (1986).

The artwork on the cover of Plaza Joven’s Droids novelization (1986).

At this point, longtime fans of the Droids series may be saying to themselves, “Hold on just a minute. That’s not how it goes.” And that assertion comes with some justification. Just like this Spanish storybook, when we first meet Threepio and Artoo in the television series, the galaxy’s most famous pair of synthetic beings is indeed stranded on Ingo, where they encounter the speed fanatics Thall and Jord. But unlike this storybook, it isn’t until much later episodes that we are introduced to the droids’ adventures with the aspiring pilot Jann Tosh and the intrepid treasure hunter Mungo Baobab. For decades, it has been assumed that that the proper chronology of these events was the linear one implied by the order in which the episodes first aired.

However, Padmé’s ironic quip to Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace may be appropriate here: “You assume too much.” After all, for an argument in favor of the alternative chronological sequence sketched by this Droids novelization, one need look no further than a recent popular television program — Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This animated series was marked by a blatant nonlinear chronology, with episodes airing in an order often completely out of sync with the actual intended sequence of events. It isn’t difficult to imagine analogous anachronisms relating to the valid ordering of the events depicted in the Droids animated series — such as the structure presented in this Plaza Joven storybook.

But this intriguing observation is merely skin deep. Let’s get to some real meat.

The Case of Sonko

It’s often the case in novelizations that information included in the scripts upon which they are based makes it into their book adaptations but is omitted from the final versions of the corresponding television episode or film. This lore can be in the form of background details — such as when Darth Vader was revealed as an “awesome, seven-foot-tall Dark Lord of the Sith” way back in the original screenplay for A New Hope (and consequently described in the 1976 novelization), long before the term “Sith” became a household word in 1999 thanks to The Phantom Menace. Or these lacunae can also take the form of entire sequences — such as the infamous cut scenes of Han Solo and “Jabba the Hut [sic]” meeting at Docking Bay 94 (which appeared in a number of the early adaptations of A New Hope) or Yoda’s revelation that it was the little green Jedi himself who coerced Obi-Wan not to tell Luke that Vader was his father (as first divulged in James Kahn’s 1983 novelization of Return of the Jedi).

A case such as these may be that of poor Sonko.

In Plaza Joven’s Droids storybook, the dapper thug Vlix recalls to himself the story of an upper-echelon gangster, named Sonko, as an example of his boss Sise Fromm’s ruthlessness. Sise’s longtime right-hand man, Sonko was entrusted with robbing a transport carrying a cargo of immense value. With a cunning ruse, he seemed to pull off the job and get away scot-free after dispatching the victimized transport’s crew. But in his haste, Sonko failed to realize that the transport’s cameras had recorded the entire heist. The authorities recovered the evidence and incarcerated him on a planet called Umax. But it wasn’t long before the crimelord Sise learned of Sonko’s fate and ordered an attack on the prison to free his trusted ally.

Then, to reward his lieutenant’s incompetence, Sise locked him away in his own palace’s deepest dungeon…from which, it is said, Sonko’s suffering lamentations can still be heard.

This dark tale of space-mafia justice never appeared in any of the episodes of the Droids animated series — but it may have had its source in the original teleplays. Or it may very well have been invented wholesale by the unknown author of the Plaza Joven Droids storybook. Such imaginative addenda are not uncommon in novelizations. One of the most cherished of these is a scene in the Return of the Jedi novelization, in which the feisty Wicket convinces the Ewok village elders to join the Rebellion’s cause with a stirring speech that appeals to pride, spirituality and honor.

And speaking of Ewoks, let’s explore some of the treasures — or trash talk, as it were — from that novelization.

Dulokese: The Vulgar Tongue

The structure of the Plaza Joven Ewoks storybook is similar to that of its Droids counterpart, albeit without the overt reshuffling of chronological events introduced by the latter. The book of course focuses on the small bear-like Ewoks of Endor as well as their perennial arch nemeses the Duloks — the green, gangly, crude, and dirty cousins of the Ewoks. The meandering narrative begins by introducing the Ewok village and its noble inhabitants before recounting the disappearance (and recovery) of the tribal leader Chief Chirpa’s eldest daughter Asha as well as the quest of the young Wicket and his brothers to obtain rare ingredients to administer a cure to their ailing father. At this point the bulk of the story commences, in which the Ewok Latara naïvely steals away with a band of wandering entertainers, the Travelling Jindas, in order to showcase her flute-playing skills. What she does not know is that the Duloks intend to capture and force her into a life of perpetual servitude and unimaginable horror…babysitting Dulok younglings.

The artwork on the cover of Plaza Jovens Ewoks storybook (1986).

The artwork on the cover of Plaza Joven’s Ewoks storybook (1986).

And the reader finds throughout the novelization that, at almost every opportunity, the foul-mouthed Duloks lambaste one another with botanically based slurs.

Tarugos! Calabaza! Cabezas de árbol!

That’s what Dulok curses look like in Spanish, at any rate. In English, these translate to: “Blockheads!” “Gourd-head!” and “Tree-heads!”

These insults may seem ridiculous, and indeed not only are they, but they seem to be so by design. The first cousin to these childish taunts (appearing in the Ewoks episode upon which this portion of the novelization is based, “The Travelling Jindas”) is “root-heads”: one of the preferred put-downs of the Dulok chieftain, King Gorneesh. It is often challenging to properly translate the obscenities of one language into another — especially made up, fantasy obscenities for a children’s book — and the instances noted above are no exceptions. Perhaps “gourd-head” offers the best example. The Spanish insult calabaza can simply translate to as mild a malediction as “dolt,” but it’s more literal meaning is the equivalent of “pumpkin” or “gourd.” And so, when contextually used as an insult, an Americanism like “pumpkin head” — for a person of dull wit — seems like a natural choice of translation. But because the dim-witted Duloks seem to favor obtuse insults (like the aforementioned “root-head”), “gourd-head” seems an even more appropriately silly translation. (And, in case you’re wondering, gourds do in fact exist on Endor.)

Approximation, Interpolation, or Mistranslation?

One of the strangest phenomena of translation would seem, on the surface, to be something very simple: what things are called. Yet, it happens to be the case that when familiar proper nouns are translated from English to Spanish in the Plaza Joven novelizations, many times the spellings of the names are changed. “Kea Moll,” for instance, becomes “Ca Mol”; “Sise Fromm” becomes “Sais From”; “Gorneesh” delicately mutates into “Gornés” and his wife “Urgah” to “Urga.” These changes seem easy enough to understand, based in a desire to tailor a foreign-sounding name to the familiar phonetics of a Spanish-speaking readership. By comparison, more intriguing are the modifications of the droids’ names. “Threepio” becomes “Trespeó” while “Artoo” becomes “Erredós.” These seem like very significant alterations not just in spelling but pronunciation.

But, in fact, these conversions are logical to a fault. The droids’ nicknames, after all, are drawn from their alphanumerical designations: “Threepio” is just a written form of “3PO,” while “Artoo” is simply “R2.” In Spanish, these numbers and letters obviously still exist but, just as obviously, they are also pronounced differently. Thus, the droids’ names have only been rewritten in a form corresponding to the enunciation of those letters and numbers in español: “Tres-Pe-O” (3-P-O) and “Erre-Dos” (R-2).

However, some morpheme metamorphoses are more perplexing.

In the Plaza Joven Ewoks storybook, the villainous witch Morag makes a brief cameo. She is identified as the enemy of the Ewok shaman Logray, a rivalry that is known to most old-school viewers of the series. However, whereas the animated series generally called her a “Tulgah witch,” this book states that she is “a witch of the Gulas.” It might be thought that this is another modification for the sake of phonetic simplicity, such as the examples mentioned previously. But this seems a degree more drastic if so. After all, the name “Tulga” already exists in Iberian history and pronunciation (it is the name of a Visigothic king of would-be Spain) and, as noted, the similarly sounding “Urgah” simply dropped its comparably terminating “h” when converted to Spanish. (“Gula,” it should also be noted, is the Spanish word for “gluttony.”)

 

Morag, witch of the Gulas

“Morag, witch of the Gulas.”

At best, one may speculate that the unknown author of the Plaza Joven Ewoks picture book dropped both the “t” and “h” in “Tulgah” and then presumably scrambled up the letters to form a new designation for Morag. But in light of the aforementioned considerations, this seems egregious if not outright unlikely. By contrast, it’s not impossible that the scripts from which this story was adapted originally identified Morag as a “Gulah witch” before some change occurred when the voice actors were recorded. A third, and equally likely possibility, is that perhaps the author just felt like making up something new. At any rate, this abnormality has been preserved in translation. The “Gulas” may be a sub-sect of witches among the Tulgah (which is the name of the shriveled species to which Morag belongs), much like the Nightsisters are a specific kind of Dathomiri witch. Who knows: The Gulas may be a class of evil sorceresses who, like Palpatine, are gluttons for unlimited power. Let the fan speculation begin. 

Come back later this week for part two!

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/of-androids-sidereal-beings-and-gourd-heads-spains-droids-and-ewoks-novelizations

November 17 isn’t like any other day on the calendar. Today is Life Day. The celebration of life, family, and friends was introduced in the Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978. Life Day originated on Kashyyyk, and Wookiees have a few customs on the momentous day. They don red robes, carry Life Day orbs, and visit the great Tree of Life to honor all of their relatives — alive and deceased.

Though we may not live anywhere near Kashyyyk or the Inner Rim planets, we can still celebrate Life Day today and throughout the months of November and December. Pretend your Christmas tree is the Tree of Life, wear red Snuggies while you watch the holiday special, and make a festive and rustic Life Day wreath to hang on your front door.

I have a couple of wreath designs for you to try and both of them can be completed in just a few hours. You can find all the supplies at your local craft store; be sure to gather everything you need before beginning.

Life Day Wreath 1 finished

Wookiee Life Day Wreath – inspired by Star Wars Galaxies

Supplies
Heart-shaped grapevine wreath
Twig garland
Hemp or twine
Scissors
Hot glue gun and glue
Red beads or painted rocks
Red, lighted LED ribbon garland or any red LEDs

Life Day Wreath 1 supplies

Working with grapevine is messy so don’t do what I did and craft on your living room rug. Stick with a floor that’s easy to sweep. That caution out of the way, the first task is to break off the point of the heart so that the wreath has more of a teardrop shape. Unwind the grapevine wrapped around the point (use scissors when necessary), and carefully break off the parts of the wreath that curve in. Go slowly and break the wreath away from you. Put on safety goggles and thick gloves if it will make you feel more comfortable. You can score thicker pieces of vine with your scissors before you break them. If you have access to power tools, you can use those to cut off the point of the heart.

Life Day Wreath 1 twigs

With the point of the heart gone, it’s time to wrap the bottom together to get that teardrop-ish shape. Add about six-seven inches of twig garland to fill the bottom of the wreath out and wrap it all together with hemp or twine. Tie off the hemp or twine with a knot and secure the knot with hot glue. You can see the difference in the wreath in above picture. Use two short bunches of twig garland on either side of the wreath to fill it out (see above right photo). Glue the base of each twig bunch together and hot glue the bunches to the wreath. When the glue is completely dry, gently fan out the twigs to add width.

Life Day Wreath 1 rocks

Hang red beads or painted rocks from the bottom of the wreath with hemp or twine. Plastic red beads that look like rocks work well but painted rocks (as long as they aren’t too heavy) or even ones made from polymer clay would also do the trick. Tie hemp or twine around the middle of the rocks and add glue to secure it. Then tie the rocks to the wreath. Again, secure your knots with hot glue.

Life Day Wreath 1 finished on door-resized

This Life Day wreath needs red LEDs. Whether you find a strand of red LEDs or do what I did and strip the strand from lighted ribbon, carefully wind the LEDs around the wreath. Remember you will need to have a place for the battery pack once you hang the wreath. I’ve found using a piece of double-sided tape to attach the battery pack to the door works well.

Life Day Wreath 2 finished-resized

Life Day Wreath II, The Wreath Strikes Back

Supplies
12” round grapevine wreath
Twig garland
2” clear plastic ornament that you can open
Sheer blue ribbon
Red ribbon
Hemp or twine
Scissors
Hot glue gun and glue

Life Day Wreath 2 Supplies

Every Life Day wreath needs a Life Day orb. Remove the metal top of the ornament and insert sheer blue ribbon. Adjust the placement of the ribbon with a pen. Replace the metal top. Since silver metal doesn’t scream rustic, apply hot glue to the metal top and wrap hemp or twine around it to cover it. Set your Life Day orb aside. Bonus: if you can find mini blue or white LEDs to fit inside your orb, go for it.

Life Day Wreath 2 Life Day Orb

Add some Wookiee touches to your wreath by making three bundles from the twig garland. Break off three small sections, wrap them around the middle with hemp or twine (as always, glue your knots to secure them), and glue the bunches of twigs at different angles wherever you’d like on the wreath. I think they’re reminiscent of Wookiee fur.

Life Day Wreath 2 branches and ribbons-resized

Wrap red ribbon around your wreath to symbolize the red robes. Start at the bottom of the wreath and glue one end into place. Wind the ribbon around the entire wreath and glue the other end.

Pick up your Life Day orb and tie it to the top of the wreath with hemp or twine. Remember, hot glue is your friend.

Happy Life Day! Head to the comments and let me know how you plan on celebrating this holiday. If you make wreaths, be sure to post links to photos or send them to me on Twitter.

Amy Ratcliffe is a writer obsessed with all things Star Wars, Disney, and coffee. You can follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek and keep up with all things geeky at her blog.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/diy-wookiee-life-day-wreaths

Original artwork for the 1980 Empire Day event

Original artwork for the 1980 Empire Day event.

With today’s launch of the Star Wars Rebels episode “Empire Day,” it seems fitting to serve up a little piece of forgotten Star Wars history associated with this specific term. Back in 1980, when The Empire Strikes Back was set to open with a royal premiere in London on May 20, someone on the promotional team at Lucasfilm or 20th Century Fox was inspired to resurrect the British “Empire Day” holiday, which had been observed by members of the British Empire between 1902 and 1958 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday on May 24. Though the “Empire Day” name would later change to British Commonwealth Day and finally to Commonwealth Day in 1966, the promoters were betting that there would still be enough cultural memory to make the “Empire Day” moniker resonate with the public for Empire’s launch.

Jeeps hauling a legion of Stormtroopers must have been quite a site for Londoners during the premiere of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980

Jeeps hauling a legion of Stormtroopers must have been quite a sight for Londoners during the premiere of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980.

Photo-ops for press were staged throughout London for the royal premiere of The Empire Strikes Back.

Photo-ops for press were staged throughout London for the royal premiere of The Empire Strikes Back.

And resonate it did — on May 20, legions of stormtroopers were released throughout London’s mainline and Underground stations to hand out buttons reading “Happy Empire Day” and to stage whimsical photo-ops throughout the city for syndication in the region’s newspapers and magazines. T-shirts, posters, and buttons bearing the “Empire Day” logo still survive today in various collections, although most folks in the states scarcely know what the phrase is in reference to. Until today, that is — Happy Empire Day (and Life Day)!!

Empire Day made the front page of the May 20, 1980 issue of the London Evening News and depicted the Empire cast giving the captain of the Concorde jet that flew them from the states the gift of a miniature Millennium Falcon.

Empire Day made the front page of the May 20, 1980, issue of the London Evening News and depicted the Empire cast giving the captain of the Concorde jet that flew them from the states the gift of a miniature Millennium Falcon.

Thanks to Bob Miller for providing the scan of the Evening News and to Jonathan Rinzler’s The Making of The Empire Strikes Back for the Empire Day photos

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/an-empire-day-to-remember

In the winter of 1979-1980 I was 10 years old and living in suburban Long Island, where I filled my time being depressed about the New York Mets and eagerly awaiting the next Star Wars movie.

(How is my life different 35 years later? Not at all, it turns out.)

Back then, the movie on deck was The Empire Strikes Back — the cultural earthquake that would change Star Wars from a story into a saga, from a thrilling Flash Gordon homage to a family saga with mythological overtones. But my friends and I didn’t know any of that. All we had were rumors that had filtered down to us, supplemented by our own wild imaginings and a tiny amount of actual information.

Back then the Internet barely existed; the Star Wars-mad children of Long Island got their information from reading Starlog and Famous Monsters in the drug store until the guy behind the counter yelled that he wasn’t running a lending library, at which point you’d ask your mom to buy the magazine and she’d say no. So a lot of the intelligence we received was from classmates who’d snuck a peek at a magazine…or claimed they had. More on that in a minute.

There were bits of real information, of course. There was the theatrical trailer, with tantalizing glimpses of probots, TIE fighters, Cloud City, and other goodies, including the debut of Lando Calrissian. (I completely missed that the trailer was narrated by Harrison Ford, hamming it up shamelessly.) I’m certain I recall a production still of Luke on a tauntaun that we pored over for hours, as if the weave of its fur might reveal the entire story.

A clue to what lie ahead came from Kenner action figures. We knew about “fearsome interplanetary bounty hunter” Boba Fett. He’d shown up in the cartoon that was the only good thing about the infamous 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special (though with VCRs in their infancy none of us could watch the segment again), and a year later we’d sent off our Kenner proof of purchases and eventually received our Fett action figures, none of which came with the rocket-firing jetpack we’d been promised.

But people forget there was another preview figure for Empire — Bossk, originally billed as a secret Star Wars action figure.

We knew enough about Fett to make semi-informed guesses about his role in the story — we looked up what a bounty hunter was and Kenner told us Fett was a particular danger to Han Solo. But Bossk was a mystery — a big lizard with a cool rifle but no shoes. So we had to use our imaginations, which inevitably gave Bossk a much bigger role in The Empire Strikes Back than curling a toe and trash-talking Admiral Piett.

The run-up to Empire also taught me a valuable lesson. I had a friend who lived on the next cul-de-sac over who was one of those kids who always had to know more than you did. One day he said he’d flipped through an Empire Strikes Back book at the mall, and proceeded to explain Bossk’s role to the rest of us. I was skeptical, to say the least — this was early 1980 at the latest, and I was pretty sure that no such book was available — but then as now it was devilishly hard to prove a negative.

But then I got an idea for how to do just that.

“Did the book have a lot to say about Han Solo’s marriage to the Red Queen?” I asked, trying to sound casual.

My friend looked momentarily panicked, then went poker-faced. “A little bit,” he said. I didn’t confront him. I just nodded, thanked him…and never listened to anything he said again.

(By the way, Empire’s big secret held, at least among my friends — until I bought the Donald F. Glut novelization about two weeks before the movie came out. There it was, right on page 198, ruining everything.)

I don’t recall the same frenzy of expectation around Return of the Jedi, though we did argue quite a bit about the identity of the “other hope” noted by Yoda. (Everyone pretty much agreed it was Leia — no great deduction since the only clue pointed right at her.) A few of us got mailaway figures of Admiral Ackbar, memorable because he came armed with what looked like a banister from a staircase — a baffling accessory later reimagined by The Clone Wars team as a Mon Calamari battle baton.

By the time rumors were flying about The Phantom Menace, I was in my late twenties and most movie speculation had moved to the web and its oddball elder brother, Usenet newsgroups. I was dumbfounded by talk that, say, Obi-Wan Kenobi and friends would be seen flying the Millennium Falcon and have to fight hordes of assassin droids similar to IG-88. (Through the rumor mill’s funhouse mirror you can see a germ of truth there.)

My biggest regret about the run-up to Episode I? It’s that I dragged my wife to see Meet Joe Black because the Episode I trailer was shown before it and then again afterwards. (“Did you know?” she asked me, which still makes us laugh.) About 90 percent of the audience was there for the trailer; when Meet Joe Black’s credits finally rolled someone exclaimed “thank God that’s over” and the entire audience cheered.

After getting my early fill of rumors I tried to stay spoiler-free for Episode I, teasing myself by reading the Terry Brooks novelization but stopping at the chapter I heard began the movie. But my efforts were wrecked by the track listing for the film’s soundtrack, of all things. If you’re the person who saw nothing wrong with titling a track “Qui-Gon’s Noble End,” I’m still mad at you.

These days things are different — as someone who writes Star Wars books I generally can’t stay spoiler-free. But the fan furor over Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been a fun reminder of how things used to be. I know next to nothing about the new movie, so when I see and hear things I’m guessing about what’s accurate, what’s laughably off the mark, and what’s a distorted account of something true. Take away the leaks (which these days I find more disheartening than fun) and you’re left with a digital version of what you assembled from a peek at the new Starlog, a breathless schoolyard report from someone claiming to know someone who knows something, and something in the background of a production still. All we need is a secret mail-away action figure and my personal circle will be complete.

Jason Fry is the author of The Clone Wars Episode Guide and more than twenty other Star Wars books and short stories. He is also the author of The Jupiter Pirates young-adult series, which begins in December.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/return-of-the-star-wars-rumors