Friday, March 30, 2012

Dave Filoni to attend Celebration VI

By Dominic Jones/The SWU

It was announced on the official Star Wars Celebration website that Star Wars: The Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni will be attending Star Wars Celebration VI this August 23-26 in Orlando, Florida. Filoni has hinted in the past that he will be in attendance and promises to provide many sneak previews of the upcoming Season 5 of The Clone Wars. Filoni has stated in the past on his Facebook page that “if you can make it to Celebration 6 in Orlando you might get to see more Death Watch action than ever before.”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Miniland Expansion & Star Wars Days At Legoland California

By Benjamin Hart/The SWU

Legoland in Carlsbad, California unveiled a new expansion to their Star Wars themed area. Back in March of 2011 Legoland opened the existing Star Wars Miniland, complete with seven scenes from the Six films and The Clone Wars animated series recreated with 1.5 million Lego bricks.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Prequel Trilogy vs. Original Trilogy

By Savanna Kiefer

Welcome to the very first article for my new weekly post series about heated Star Wars subjects! In this post, I'll be discussing my views on one of the most controversial topic among Star Wars fans, Prequel Trilogy vs. Original Trilogy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Celebration VI: Artists Announced!

By Dominic Jones/The SWU

The official Star Wars Celebration VI website was updated today to announce the 40 artists who will be taking part in the official art show during the convention. The artists will all be producing exclusive prints for fans to purchase during Celebration. A preview of their works will be coming later this summer.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Art Auction for Baby Leah

By Dominic Jones/The SWU

Another wonderful initiative in order to raise money for Baby Leah has begun. As of now there are 112 pieces of artwork (mostly Star Wars) up for auction until April 8, 2012 with all of the money raised going to support Zev and Francesca Esquenazi whose baby daughter Leah has been sick with a Mitochondrial disease. The family has been in and out of hospital since May 2011 and have hospital bills of over 2 Million dollars. Zev and Francesca are both HUGE Star Wars fans, Zev is a member of the 501st Legion and Mandalorian Mercs costuming organizations. Among the auction items are a signed Dave Dorman print with an exclusive sketch on the border, a Star Wars: Knight Errant print signed by author John Jackson Miller, exclusive artwork and prints, and so much more.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

TCW Voice Actors Nominated for BTVA Awards

By Benjamin Hart/The SWU

Behind the voice actors has announced the nominees for the 1st annual BTVA Voice acting awards. Several voice talents from the Clone Wars animated series were chosen, as well as a few Star Wars alumni. There is also a "People's choice" contest where you can vote for your favorites. Be sure to head over there and make Star Wars #1!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Star Wars: Scoundrels" Release Date, Cover and Synopsis Announced

By Dominic Jones

Entertainment Weekly announced today that Timothy Zahn’s new “Han Solo novel” will be titled Star Wars: Scoundrels and that it will be released on December 26, 2012. They also released cover, which features Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian as well as the first official synopsis for the novel:

The Death Star has been destroyed. The Rebellion has had its first big victory. And Han Solo, newly conscripted to the Rebel cause, is on the run from the Empire and the bounty hunters eager to turn him in for the huge reward being offered by Jabba the Hutt. Now a mysterious stranger offers Han the resources to execute a daring robbery from a major crime lord. The mission is impossible, but the prize will make Han a free man. With no choice but to accept, Han Solo and his Wookiee partner, Chewbacca, set out to assemble a cast of rogues, knaves, and cons with the right combination of wits, skills, and derring-do to pull off an operation of this complexity and scale—the best scoundrels the galaxy has to offer. And then the game is on: a rip-roaring, intergalactic, Ocean’s Eleven-style heist adventure starring Han Solo, Chewie, and Lando Calrissian, written by #1 New York Times bestselling Star Wars author Timothy Zahn!

Zahn has previously stated that the novel will be similar to the Ocean’s 11 films. This is Zahn’s tenth novel in the Star Wars Universe.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Clone Wars Review: "Brothers"

By Chris Seekell

Oh brother... There are two types of episodes that are fun to review, ones that are mind-blowingly epic and ones that just leave you scratching your head. This episode made me want to scream like insectoid Maul. It had so much potential, it had so much hype, and it had so many eyes watching it. I know there are a few people that really enjoyed this. Katie Lucas is a good writer, but I feel like she wrote this episode to a minority of fans who liked a certain type of story-telling, and that type is not necessarily classic Star Wars. I am really risking writing an extremely negative review, so I'm just going to get all the positives out of the way first to be objective, then I'll get to the meat.

Clone Wars Review: "Bounty"

By Chris Seekell

Alright, I just want to start by saying that usually my enjoyment of an episode is directly tied to its quality. If an episode has a good plot, fluid animation, and great action, I will usually have a favorable opinion of it, and if it lacks some of those things, I will tend to dislike the episode. But with this episode, my enjoyment of the story is probably a little irrational. So I will start with the disclaimer that this review isn't about how good the episode was, but rather why I enjoyed it so much. There are some things that I thought could have been better, but the overall meat of the episode was enough to please me very, very much. So let me explain why.

Clone Wars Review: "Massacre"

By Chris Seekell

Well, here we are. It seems like just yesterday that Season 4 started, and now we have reached the beginning of the final arc. I believe a lot of people feel like this final group of episodes needs to be very good in order to push Season 4 above the previous 2 seasons, but if the opener was any indication, the show has a good chance of doing that. Massacre was simply evil versus evil, power versus power, and hatred versus hatred. It was a conflict between the twisted and the corrupted, and for some, a battle to the death. The real winners were the Jedi and all followers of the "light side" philosophies though. A good deal of darkness itself was "massacred".

Clone Wars Review: "Crisis On Naboo"

By Chris Seekell

After a fairly good trio of episodes, I was anticipating the conclusion of the Bounty Hunter Arc to at least match the level of the prior episodes. But unfortunately for me it did not. There were a few cool moments in "Crisis On Naboo", but the overall story lacked cohesiveness and relevance. It felt a bit rushed and forced, similar to "Shadow Warrior". It also had dropped plot points, like the previous arc concluding episode "Escape From Kadavo". But ultimately this episode suffered from a lack of both originality and suspense. Everything transpired the way I expected it to, and whenever there was a deviance, it was for the worse and not the better. I knew nothing about the plot save a short description, yet I felt like I was watching the episode for the second or third time. It only mildly entertained me, and there were no laugh-out-loud or eye-popping-awesome moments.

Clone Wars Review: "The Box"

By Chris Seekell

It's ironic that the most "outside of the box" story that this series has seen actually took place in a giant box. I can imagine the brainstorming session. Filoni: "Gungans? Comic book adaptations? Wizard of Oz references? Come on, guys, we need to think outside of the box!" Writer: "Well, how about we take a bunch of bounty hunters and put them inside a box!" Regardless of how the idea was realized, I give major props to whoever was creative enough to come up with it. Usually the concepts for Clone Wars episodes fit a very wide but still predictable pattern. They involve conflict between a protagonist faction, and an antagonist faction. Recently episodes have started off fast, slowed down to bring us character stuff, and then featured some type of climactic confrontation at the end. This pattern has caused the concept behind episodes to become a secondary factor to content elements like plot development, dialog, and action. But for this episode, the concept was so radically different, that it actually transcended the content for me.

Clone Wars Review: "Friends And Enemies"

By Chris Seekell

After the past couple episodes that featured Death Watch and scores of fan favorite bounty hunters, Friends And Enemies had a lot to live up to. In my opinion, this was the best episode since Umbara, not only because it contained great characters, dialog, and sequences, but was actually the first post Carnage Of Krell episode that was relevant to the overall story of the Clone Wars, in the form of the dynamics between Anakin, Obi-Wan, the Jedi Council, and Chancellor Palpatine. It contained the right mix of humor, plot, action, and suspense for me, and really exemplified a quintessential bounty hunter espionage story in the Star Wars universe.

Clone Wars Review: "Deception"

By Chris Seekell

There was something about this episode that felt very Season 2, and I don't mean that in a bad way. The flavor reminded me of Lightsaber Lost and Lethal Trackdown, and fit the Rise Of The Bounty Hunters description of the second season more than this season's Battle Lines. This was the type of episode that Season 3 lacked. Only Hunt For Ziro comes close in my book. All sci-fi and fantasy franchises have solid heroes and villains, and possibly a few confused characters in between, but what causes Star Wars to rise above them in my opinion is the depth given to the universe by third party factions like assassins, mercenaries, and bounty hunters. Like many other Star Wars fans, I have always found these hoards of scum and villainy to be both entertaining and fascinating, and I'm really glad that the Clone Wars is shining the spotlight on them once again.

Clone Wars Review: "A Friend In Need"

By Chris Seekell

This was the episode that I was looking forward to the most this season, and it didn't disappoint. From the beginning to the end, it flowed well and brought together the Mandalorian and Lux Bonteri storylines very well. Considering that Mandalore Plot and Heroes On Both Sides were two of my favorite episodes, A Friend In Need naturally measures up. There were a few little things that I would have rather been different, but overall, this episode held my interest, and moved the characters and plot along significantly, which is something that the Clone Wars series doesn't always do effectively.

Clone Wars Review: "Escape From Kadavo"

By Chris Seekell

Escape From Kadavo was the concluding episode to the Zygerrian Slaver arc. I had thought that the first episode was pretty bland and a downer after the high of the Umbaran arc, and the second episode was a solid one with a good balance of plot, action, and humor. I was hoping for this final episode to build on the momentum of the previous one and end this arc strong, but unfortunately, for me it was the Return of the Jedi to Slaves of the Republic's Empire Strikes Back. There were some good moments, and the intensifying action that built through the middle of the episode onward kept things enjoyable, but I felt the plot was very weak and the dialog was a little robotic in the wake of the previous episode.

Clone Wars Review: "Slaves of the Republic"

By Chris Seekell

For me, Slaves of the Republic was an enjoyable episode that didn't suffer from the flawed suspense of its predecessor. I don't see any major faults with it, and feel that it serves its purpose as a plot thickening middle episode to this arc. The thing that stood out to me the most was the artistry in the animation of Slaves of the Republic. The look and feel of Zygerria was well executed, with heavy Egyptian and middle eastern aesthetics, especially in the urban capital. The only other city that feels this fleshed out to me is Coruscant. The designs of the character models were equally well done, from the slavers' helmets, to Ahsoka's outfit, to the Queen's regal attire. The entire look of this episode really impressed me.

Clone Wars Review: "Kindapped"

By Chris Seekell

I can't believe that Season 4 is already half over! It seems like yesterday we were all getting excited about the Mon Cal episodes. However I think the first half of Season 4 has been better and more appreciated by fans than the first half of Season 3, especially due to the strong Umbara episodes. After that mind blowing arc, this episode had a little too much to live up to, in my opinion. But compared to the cringe-worthy droids episodes and rushed Shadow Warrior, Kidnapped still was a solid episode. After the heavy Carnage of Krell, I'm a little glad things loosened up a bit and we got WWE meets the day that Anakin and Obi-Wan ran out of hair gel.

Clone Wars Review: "Carnage of Krell"

By Chris Seekell

The Umbara arc had a lot riding on Carnage of Krell. After two action heavy episodes, the story slowed down a bit for the more character based Plan of Dissent. However that episode didn't really answer any of the questions we had from the start of the arc. With each episode slowing things down further, the finale needed to include both great action and plot development to end the arc right, and I am happy to say that it certainly met both criteria for me. Right off the bat I had two burning questions, why did the Umbarans leave the Republic and why was Krell such a vicious leader? Only one was answered, but is was answered in such a chilling and extensive way, that I was completely satisfied with the episode.

Clone Wars Review: "Plan of Dissent"

By Chris Seekell

After this episode, it's pretty clear now that the Umbara arc is about the clones and nobody else. Even with the great potential for developments with the Umbaran culture and General Krell, Plan of Dissent extended the story line from the first two episodes, one that revolved around the tension between Krell and his troopers. Although I find this focus on the troops refreshing, I'm a little disappointed that nearly this whole arc has gone by and we don't know much more about Krell and the Umbarans than we did going in.

Clone Wars Review: "The General"

By Chris Seekell

Expectations for The General could not be higher following the top notch Darkness On Umbara episode. However I felt this one went in a slightly different direction than expected. We were all pleased with all the action and character development with the clones in the last episode, but were hungry for more focus on General Krell and the enemy Umbarans. But this episode, despite its misleading title, was again a very clone-centric story, highlighted by heavy action sequences with an underpinning of clone psychology. Measuring this episode up to what it could have been rather than what it was, however, in unfair. So I will review The General for what it was, an extrapolation of the previous episode.

Clone Wars Review: "Darkness On Umbara"

By Chris Seekell

FINALLY! The difference between Darkness on Umbara and the preceding droids duology was like the difference between Lord of the Rings and Teletubbies. It had all of the things that have been missing over the past few weeks. From the animation, to the action, to the music, to the plot, to the dialog, this episode was superb and easily the best episode of Season 4 and one of the best episodes of the entire series, in my opinion.

Celebration VI – Autographs, Collecting and Hosts - Oh My!!

By: Dominic Jones

Since its announcement last June, Star Wars fans have been dyeing to get some news regarding the upcoming Star Wars Celebration VI which will take place at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando, Florida from August 23-26, 2012. Prior to this week there had been very few announcements ranging from fan events to author appearances. However this week fans were treated to the first concrete news in some time. First it was announced on Tuesday that James Arnold Taylor, David Collins and Pablo Hidalgo would be the stage hosts. Secondly, it was announced yesterday that Gus Lopez and his team would be returning to Celebration to host collectors panels and events. Finally, today (March 16) it was confirmed that Official Pix will, once again, be in charge of bringing celebrity guests to Celebration.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Clone Wars Season Finale Previews & Behind The Scenes

By Benjamin Hart

Episode 22 "Revenge", the finale episode for season four of The Clone Wars will air this Friday at 8:00pm ET/PT! Not only did we get two clips from this episode, but also two behind the scenes clips.One of Sam Witwer, who voices Maul, being interviewed in the Lucasfilm Archives. The other is footage from the fan screening of both Brothers and Revenge. If you aren't hyped for this episode yet, go watch all four videos and I guarantee you will be afterwards!

Hasbro to Layoff 170 Employees

By Chris Seekell

It has been recently announced that Star Wars licensee Hasbro will be laying off 170 employees after sluggish sales in certain toy lines over the holiday season. About 55 of these layoffs will be at Hasbro's headquarters in Rhode Island, USA. Even though certain lines are struggling, as a company Hasbro continues to grow, as its electronic gaming department meets more success. However the future of some its Star Wars products like its famous 3 3/4" action figure line becomes cloudy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The SWU Podcast Episode 27 - 3/13/2012

By Chris Seekell

In this episode of the SWU Podcast, fan blogger Autumn joins hosts Chris, Savanna, and Jordan in a discussion about the latest Clone Wars episode, Brothers. They read your comments on the episode and this week's news headlines. Plus listen to hear a couple of your voicemails.
Click here to listen! »

Star Wars References on The Big Bang Theory

By Chris Seekell

There were many Star Wars references on March 8th's episode of the geeky sitcom The Big Bang Theory on CBS. The episode was the entitled "The Weekend Vortex" and was the 19th episode of Season 5. In the episode, Leonard, Sheldon, and some friends spend a weekend playing the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO to their female friends' disgust. You can watch a video with all of the clips related to Star Wars below.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Clone Wars Review: "Nomad Droids"

By Chris Seekell

After a pair of controversial episodes in Shadow Warrior and Mercy Mission, the Clone Wars really needed to step it up for me in Nomad Droids. Once again, I wasn't jumping up and down after watching this episode, but found it to be more entertaining than the past two. As a second part to a droids duology, Nomad Droids felt very distant storywise to Mercy Mission, and was only connected with it through the common characters of R2, C-3PO, and the Wolfpack clones. Yet that's probably for the best, considering the meaningless plot of Mercy Mission.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Star Wars Reference on The Office

By Chris Seekell

There was a Star Wars reference on March 8th's episode of NBC's The Office. In the the 18th episode of season 8, the character Dwight heads to Florida and informs his coworkers back in Pennsylvania that he will not be returning. Immediately they conspire to open his "treasure" box that he had left behind and had told everyone not to touch. Office manager Andy calls a meeting and the staff list out possible guesses as to what could be in Dwight's box.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Character Discussion: Asajj Ventress

By Savanna Kiefer

This week's character discussion is about the evil Nightsister, Asajj Ventress. Joining myself is Mike (M), Tara (T), and Dominic (D).

I saw Ventress for the first time in the Clone Wars mini-series a few years ago. At first glance, she was a little creepy but after watching her in different episodes, she grew on me and I thought her lightsabers were awesome. When did you first see Ventress and what was your impression of her?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Clone Wars Review: "Mercy Mission"

By Chris Seekell

Okay... so this episode was quite different and definitely stands out among the steady line of action episodes that we have scene since the second half of Season 3 began. The pacing and humor of Mercy Mission at first reminded me of the Original Trilogy, especially Return of the Jedi. Then it showed glimpses of Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who. And finally it dissolved into a B-rate Saturday morning cartoon from the 1980s, considering the climax was droids pushing a cover over a hole, slowly.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Clone Wars Review: "Shadow Warrior"

By Chris Seekell

Meesa hope yousa enjoy deesa review of Shadow Warrior! ...but seriously the fourth episode of Clone Wars Season 4 was certainly the deepest exploration of Gungan culture since 1999. Those fans who favor the darker themes of Revenge of the Sith, or the drier, wittier humor of the Original Trilogy, probably won't find this episode to be very entertaining or compelling. But aside from the wackiness, there were many aspects of Shadow Warrior that were of a high level of quality. And as a consolation for the fans who can't stand anything related to Jar Jar, we did see a few Gungans get impaled.

Clone Wars Review: "Prisoners"

By Chris Seekell

After the visually stunning duo of submarine episodes that premiered the 4th Clone Wars season, I awaited this episode with great anticipation. And for me it delivered with everything that the third episode of a trilogy should have. Prisoners contained a more detailed plot, better character development, great contrast between the light and dark elements of the characters and situations, and a fantastic action sequence to put a stamp on a strong trilogy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Clone Wars Review: "Water War" and "Gungan Attack"

By Chris Seekell

Well it's that time again, Star Wars fans! Another season of the Clone Wars and another series of my reviews. I want to start by thanking you all so much for reading my reviews from the previous seasons and giving awesome feedback. I enjoy writing about the episodes almost as much as watching them. So without further ado, let's kick off another season!