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How Loungefly Brings the Runway Aesthetic to Star Wars Accessories

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 10:00

Imagine a glitzy runway shining with bright lights, filled with a parade of models sporting haute couture ensembles that will define fashion for the upcoming season. Those looks trickle throughout the apparel and accessory industry, affecting even the Star Wars purses you see on fans’ shoulders. The idea for Loungefly‘s new Star Wars Landscapes holiday collection showcasing cinematic moments from the saga, for example, came straight from the catwalk. “It was an idea I had coming off the runways,” Loungefly Merchandising Manager Todd Keller tells StarWars.com. “There were lot of really large scale landscapes on a maxi dress or an actual two-piece suit or even denim, and it came together and told a story. So we were taking that trend, that fashion trend off the runway, and trying to decide how are we going to translate this into our products, and Star Wars was such a natural fit.”

Loungefly, a contemporary accessory company, is known for their inventive approach to design, for taking familiar characters or scenes from intellectual property such as Star Wars and turning them into unique patterns that elevate fan style. StarWars.com spoke with Todd Keller about the company’s approach to the Star Wars universe, working with fan feedback, and their holiday releases.

StarWars.com: You’ve been working at Loungefly for a year and half. Have you worked with the Star Wars brand the entire time you’ve been there?

Todd Keller: Yes, the whole time, but since before I even got here, I was a buyer on the other side of the business for seven or so years. That means I was very familiar with the brand and the aesthetic when I came on board. But I was really tasked to turn it up to 11. Being a huge Star Wars fan and identifying other huge fans in the office to help work on the product really helped.

StarWars.com: And what is your personal history with Star Wars? Do you remember the first time you encountered the saga?

Todd Keller: It has a direct correlation to my dad; it was my dad’s favorite movie growing up and he had so many stories of going to see it so many times in the theaters. My personal memory is watching them with him on VHS.

When the prequels happened, I remember him taking me to see it in the movie theater in 1999 and being blown away — the podracing and Obi-Wan Kenobi! Oh my gosh, I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. 

StarWars.com: With Star Wars, you have so much material to pull inspiration from, and then you have the challenge of putting a fresh spin on it. What is Loungefly’s approach to making products to catch fans’ eyes?

Todd Keller: I think an important part of Loungefly is finding really niche things our consumers really like and enjoy about the brand and executing to it. For example, our chibis that we’ve become known for — especially in Star Wars — we expanded on that whole art style. I realized it was going to be the 20th anniversary [of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace], and we should do something, so our illustrator took the time and did all Episode I characters and it did really, really well.

And then, it’s about taking a really fashionable approach to it. Loungefly’s always been fashionable, but I pride myself on that and being up on the trends. It’s taking those things that are trending and those silhouettes that are very important in the marketplace, and then translating them into product that can be sold to everybody at more of an accessible price and especially people who are Star Wars fans.

StarWars.com: What’s the process like to determine what sort of designs you’ll be working on next?

Todd Keller: We work with a really, really great team at Lucasfilm We’ve had monthly creative calls where we update them on our ideas and what we’re thinking, and also any ideas they’ve seen out there. The number one thing is collaborating with them because they know anything and everything about Star Wars and then anything and everything that would get approved.

On our end, them giving us the kind of creative freedom to come up with those ideas is nice on its own. When you have such huge fans of that whole universe, and you can hone in on those little special things — that’s really what makes the best product.

StarWars.com: Star Wars does have a huge number of fans with wildly different tastes and opinions. Do you consider feedback from fans when you’re considering what to work on next?

Todd Keller: We do. We love for people to write in and to call in and give us feedback; we’ve had projects come out of customer feedback emails. Things like people saying… Like we had a purse on the line a couple years ago that was minimal in design on the front, but it had a really cool lining. We actually got, I kid you not, three or four emails of people writing in saying, “Can we get a bag just of this lining because this lining is cool?” We really do listen and pay attention, and we made a bag out of that lining print.

Then inside the conventions, we get great feedback on all the cosplay stuff. That is something new and fun people have been really gravitating towards; they love Darth Vader, but they don’t necessarily want a Darth Vader helmet on their back. They want a Darth Vader [item] looking like it could look like his outfit or maybe even something he might carry on his back, versus something so literal. We’re trying to expand on that. We actually have some really, really special stuff coming for Star Wars Celebration in April.

StarWars.com: Before Celebration in April, Loungefly has some new items for the holidays, including an Ewok design on a canvas fabric. Do you consider the type of fabric and texture for each bag? Like in this case, giving it a more natural feel.

Todd Keller: Totally. The Ewok one is a perfect example of something that we needed with some texture, because our previous styles were in a faux suede and had some fur, and they were more literal with the little cute Ewok face. We were like, how can we keep this texture and still make it look like it makes sense for that kind of forest-y print? So we landed on this really nice, heavy gauge canvas, and then we trimmed it with the same faux suede we used on the other Ewok backpack that did so well.

StarWars.com: And similarly, you have the new Star Wars Landscapes series on a satin fabric that really seems to make the designs pop. How did this collection come about?

Todd Keller: Star Wars has the most beautiful landscapes in cinema. We hopped on the phone with Lucasfilm, and I tried to explain my idea as best I could with some imagery and they loved it. We were able to pull some really great imagery out of the archives and place it on product. Going back to the materials, we did two pieces for women in the collection and we decided to do a satin. It’s great for a holiday time period, and it’s also great for the digital printing. So all the stars aligned, no pun intended, on that one.

Then for the men’s line, my favorite is the backpack with the Imperial design. You have a bird’s eye view into the Imperial ship with all the stormtroopers lined up and it’s such an iconic scene. Then using that, we used a red bungee cord, which is really popular right now in men’s backpacks, to round out that story of the Empire and the Sith.

Loungefly’s Star Wars Landscapes collection will be exclusively available from ThinkGeek and GameStop. Shop their other designs at a retailer near you or at Loungefly.com.

Amy Ratcliffe is obsessed with Star Wars, Disneyland food, and coffee. She’s the author of Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy and a co-host of the podcast Lattes with Leia. Follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek.

Bucket’s List Extra: 11 Fun Facts from “Station Theta-Black” – Star Wars Resistance

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 07:30

Star Wars Resistance is here! The animated series follows Kazuda “Kaz” Xiono, a young pilot recruited by the Resistance and tasked with a top-secret mission to spy on the growing threat of the First Order. Visit StarWars.com following each episode for “Bucket’s List Extra,” an expansion of our weekly fun-facts video series Bucket’s List. In this installment, we look at “Station Theta-Black.”

Bucket’s List Extra – “Station Theta-Black”

1. You don’t assume too much.

The hazard screens aboard the Fireball display their information in the same typeface that Trade Federation computers use in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. As Kaz’s systems start failing, these screens blare “SYSTEM WARNING.”

2. Sculpting story.

Credited in this episode is Darren Marshall, who sculpted the character maquettes for the show. Not only were his maquettes used as guidelines for the final design sheets, but his sculptures were then 3D scanned and used as the basis of the actual show models. The first characters to go through this process were Poe and Leia.

3. Space jewelry!

In the show, General Leia Organa is wearing the same ring as in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Pictured above are Leia’s final jewelry designs for Resistance.

4. Not so unknown anymore.

The Unknown Regions are a huge expanse of uncharted space that lies beyond the Western Reaches. It is where the bulk of the First Order military forces are hiding from prying eyes prior to the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

5. Station Theta-Black, inside and out.

As Art Director Amy Beth Christenson tells StarWars.com, there are several visuals on the exterior of the asteroid base to reinforce the story point that the asteroid has been mined completely. There are huge drills outside the base that have hollowed out the asteroid almost to a thin shell, while trench-like support structures have kept the asteroid from breaking apart. The interior of the base consists only of huge hangars for shipping the dedlanite and a few hallways leading to a command center.

6. Duck saga.

Kaz frets that he and Poe may be “sitting ducks” — which is not the first mention of the animals in Star Wars. Captain Panaka worries about Queen Amidala’s ship being a sitting duck as it runs the Naboo blockade in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Many years before that, in the original novelization of the first Star Wars movie, Obi-Wan described to Luke that even a duck must be taught how to swim. Luke responded, “What’s a duck?”

7. A droid awakening.

Both CB-23 and BB-8 received their stylized visual cues from early concept art from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. CB’s flat-top head is taken from an unused movie concept, while BB’s larger head and eye proportions were from an earlier study, as well.

8. Achievement unlocked.

The First Order sentry droid appears in the background of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but its fold-out weapons were specifically designed for this episode. Star Wars Battlefront II had the honors of revealing this design first, however, in December 2017 as an expansion to their game.

9. Dedlanite strikes back.

Dedlanite is a mineral found on different worlds scattered across the galaxy. It first appeared in the 2015 Marvel Comics mini-series Chewbacca, in the beetle caverns of Andelm IV.

10. Hyperdrive for all.

Hyperdrives are one of the few indicators of technological advancements in Star Wars. In the Republic, Jedi fighters needed external hyperdrive rings to jump to lightspeed. During the time of the Empire, though TIE fighters were still too small to carry hyperdrives, small rebel ships had them. Now, in the time of the First Order, Special Forces TIE fighters and TIEs meant to escort elite vessels can carry hyperdrives.

11. Searching sounds.

When Poe uses his scanners to search for any life-sign readings of Kaz in the asteroid debris, his instruments make the same sound that the snowspeeder looking for Luke Skywalker and Han Solo after a Hoth blizzard make in The Empire Strikes Back.

In case you missed this week’s Bucket’s List video, check it out below!

Bucket’s List

https://www.starwars.com/video/buckets-list-station-theta-black-star-wars-resistance

Star Wars Resistance airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

“The Timelessness of Leia”: Producer Josh Rimes on the Newest Installments of Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 10:58

Lucasfilm’s new series of animated shorts, Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures, reimagines classic moments from the saga in a vibrant, energetic style. With a focus on themes and characters, they’re a great way to introduce younglings to the galaxy far, far away. (We longtime fans are allowed to love them, too.)

Last week, StarWars.com spoke with Josh Rimes, producer of the series, about the genesis of Galaxy of Adventures and his thoughts on the first six installments; five new shorts, which you can watch below, arrive today on StarWarsKids.com and the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel, and Rimes once again provided his own commentary for each.

Princess Leia vs. Darth Vader – “A Fearless Leader”

“For Leia’s first Galaxy of Adventures short, the team always had in mind one of the earliest moments in A New Hope. It’s really when the world first met Princess Leia in 1977 — in the corridor of her ship, breached and boarded by the formidable Darth Vader and his stormtroopers. Taken prisoner, she’s marched right up to the hulking Vader, but is unafraid to call him out. That spunky fearlessness is something we wanted to capture and honor. It’s a testament to the timelessness of Leia, but also Carrie Fisher and everything she brought to the role. Stylistically, the animation team really leaned into the theme of light vs. dark as Vader’s side of the frame is awash in shadow, with Leia’s bathed in light. We also utilized montage action to portray Leia the fighter. The action, edited against her explanation to Vader, brings her rebellious spirit into even sharper focus — and that little, knowing smile at the end is just the cherry on top.”

Luke Skywalker vs. the Death Star – “X-wing Assault”

“Capturing the rhythm and big beats of this battle were imperative. Making the stakes clear and keeping it in Luke’s point of view helped boil down one of the most iconic action sequences in all of Star Wars to a tight one minute and fifteen seconds. We are with Luke the whole way as he dives into the Death Star trench to make his run and take his shot. The trench itself and the X-wings are all 3D CGI models, which makes the frame pop and gives the action a weighty, tangible look and feel.”

Han Solo – “Galaxy’s Best Smuggler”

“For our first spotlight solely on Han, we also looked back to the way the world first discovered him in 1977. We knew we wanted to meet him in the cantina, but it took us a few tries to get to that light-bulb moment of starting with Han leaning in, as if he’s selling his smuggling ability to the viewer. Only at the end do we see this is in fact his meeting with Obi-Wan and Luke. Gotta love the expression on Luke’s face in that final moment! In the montage, we were thrilled to be able to incorporate glimpses of the Kessel Run set piece from Solo. It’s a testament to the character design work from Titmouse that their Han feels timeless and could work as both Harrison Ford’s original trilogy Han and Alden Ehrenreich’s young Han Solo.”

Chewbacca vs. Holochess – “Let the Wookiee Win”

“Humor was the primary goal of this short. Han’s ‘Let the Wookiee win’ line has become such a part of the pop culture Star Wars lexicon that we had to take this moment on. The question became: How do we make dejarik (holochess) exciting? The team found an answer and went to town in creating a montage that visualizes exactly why one shouldn’t upset a Wookiee. Even Han himself isn’t immune to a Chewie throttling or roar every once in a while!”

Luke Skywalker vs. Emperor Palpatine – “Rise to Evil”

“Much like the Vader and Luke duel at the end of Empire, we knew we wanted to dramatize the climax of Return of the Jedi. Partly so we could see Luke dressed in black, with his new green lightsaber! Attacking this one proved difficult — another Luke and Vader clash felt redundant and thematically we couldn’t really go too deep, since we wanted to avoid major story points. Instead, focus switched to the man who orchestrated this whole thing — Emperor Palpatine. Through his chilling speech to Luke, we flash back to prequel days as the then Chancellor manipulated, deceived, and rose to power. In the end, as sabers clash, he has Luke and Vader right where he wants them.”

Stay tuned to StarWarsKids.com and the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel for additional Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures shorts, fun facts videos, and more.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Quiz: If you lived in the Star Wars galaxy, what gift would you get?

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 08:00

Who hasn’t dreamt of owning a trusty astromech droid, caring for a menagerie of Star Wars creatures, or dressing up in the finest galactic apparel? As we finish making our holiday wish lists on this planet, we couldn’t help but imagine what we would ask for if we found ourselves living in the Star Wars galaxy with credits to spare.

Take our quiz and we’ll tell you what galactic gift would be on the top of your wish list!

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: A Temple Intruder and a “Holocron Heist”

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 06:00

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

25: “Holocron Heist” (Season Two, Episode 1)

“A lesson learned is a lesson earned.”

Synopsis: 

Cad Bane recruits a changeling who poses as Madame Jocasta Nu, the librarian inside the Jedi Archive, to infiltrate the temple’s security systems in his quest to steal a Jedi holocron for Darth Sidious.

Analysis:

Knowledge is power. For the Jedi, it’s a closely guarded vault of secrets, kept safely ensconced in the Jedi Archive and accessible only to council members. But during a war, it’s also tactical information, details that lay out the movements of the clone troopers and the Jedi generals on the frontlines.

It makes sense that during the Clone Wars an intruder’s likely target would be the latter. But the real object of the heist is far more nefarious —  information on future younglings, a holocron to access the data, and the first steps in a search for Jedi Master Bolla Ropal, keeper of the Kyber crystal. Unbeknownst to the Jedi, there are far darker forces at play than just a bounty hunter looking for a pay day, and Darth Sidious’ directive coupled with the seemingly traitorous Jedi in their midst foreshadows the tragic events that will come to pass as Anakin Skywalker falls to the dark side.

But not this time. The traitor is not Jocasta Nu at all but a shapeshifter who gained access posing as another Jedi Master, and her skills with a lightsaber are no match for the Padawan who happens to be on library guard duty as punishment for failing to follow orders on the battlefield. Ahsoka’s lightsaber duel with Cato Parasitti at once betrays the bounty hunter’s disguise and shows us how much Ahsoka herself has yet to learn about calm and measured combat.

As Bane slinks away, disguised in secondhand Jedi robes, he holds the key to gaining access to the future of the Force. But always in motion is the future.

Intel:

  • Translate the signs in the Coruscant underworld and you’ll find an establishment simply called, “The Hole.”

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when Anakin and Ahsoka pursue Cad Bane in “Cargo of Doom.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

Discover the Secrets of Darth Vader in Star Wars: Vader — Dark Visions

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 15:00

Who is Darth Vader?

The fallen Jedi has been a symbol of power, a villainous commander, and a Sith warrior. But in 2019, a new limited comic series explores a side of Vader that neither fans nor the galaxy have ever seen before.

Cover art by Greg Smallwood

Writer Dennis Hopeless (Cloak and Dagger, Jean Grey), invites you to experience all-new twisted adventures of the Dark Lord with artist Paolo Villanelli (Star Wars: Lando Double or Nothing, Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation) taking on issue #1 and break-out artist Brian Level (Thanos Legacy, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows) joining for issue #2, Star Wars: Vader — Dark Visions will take readers to the darkest parts of the galaxy — places where the mysterious anti-hero known as Darth Vader can be someone’s greatest  fear and even…someone’s greatest hope!

The limited series begins with a story that will shed a new light on the many sides of the galaxy’s greatest villain. Don’t miss Star Wars: Vader — Dark Visions in comic shops this March!

And check back on StarWars.com for more news on this and other series.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Get a First Look at Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn: Treason – Exclusive

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 14:45

Today, Lucasfilm and Del Rey are pleased to announce the title of the next installment in Timothy Zahn’s bestselling Thrawn series, with an exclusive reveal on StarWars.com!

As seen on today’s episode of The Star Wars Show, we’re thrilled to give you your first look at the next installment exploring the life of Chiss warrior Grand Admiral Thrawn, Star Wars: Thrawn: Treason, with the cover below.

Set in the time of the Empire, here’s the official description for the new novel:

Grand Admiral Thrawn faces the ultimate test of his loyalty to the Empire in this epic Star Wars novel from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

“If I were to serve the Empire, you would command my allegiance.”

Such was the promise Grand Admiral Thrawn made to Emperor Palpatine at their first meeting. Since then, Thrawn has been one of the Empire’s most effective instruments, pursuing its enemies to the very edges of the known galaxy. But as keen a weapon as Thrawn has become, the Emperor dreams of something far more destructive.

Now, as Thrawn’s TIE defender program is halted in favor of Director Krennic’s secret Death Star project, he realizes that the balance of power in the Empire is measured by more than just military acumen or tactical efficiency. Even the greatest intellect can hardly compete with the power to annihilate entire planets.

As Thrawn works to secure his place in the Imperial hierarchy, his former protégé Eli Vanto returns with a dire warning about Thrawn’s homeworld. Thrawn’s mastery of strategy must guide him through an impossible choice: duty to the Chiss Ascendancy, or fealty to the Empire he has sworn to serve. Even if the right choice means committing treason.

Star Wars: Thrawn: Treason will be available for pre-order next week and arriving on shelves in the summer of 2019.

Check back for more details on how to get your hands on your copy of the new novel! And for more on this and other Star Wars news, check out the full episode of The Star Wars Show below!

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Your Own Porg — LEGO Style!

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 11:38
The adorable bird-like natives come to life in LEGO form, with feather details, an open mouth, and flapping wings.

Craft a Nice, Juicy Gorg-ament for Your Holiday Tree

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 08:00

Gorgs are delicious treats both on Star Wars Resistance’s Colossus station and in real life. But did you know they also make a perfect holiday decoration? Papier-mâché, wooden beads, clay, paint, and a splash of glitter combine to add a little personality to your holiday decorations, kids’ playrooms, or refueling station.

What You’ll Need

  • Round papier-mâché ornament
  • Two large wooden beads
  • Air-dry clay
  • Model Magic clay
  • Cream, grey, turquoise, pale green, and black acrylic paint
  • Craft knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Paint brushes
  • Glitter

Get Started!

Step 1: Begin by hot gluing the two wooden beads on top of the ornament on either side of the hanging string, opening side down. Let cool.

Step 2: Fill in the openings on the top of the beads with the air-dry clay and let dry.

Step 3: Next, use the air-dry clay to fill in around the sides of the bead, making the eyes look attached to the gorg’s body (the ornament).

Step 4: Shape eyelids for the gorg with the air-dry clay, and gently press the clay to the top of the wooden bead. Blend as needed and let all clay dry completely, preferably overnight.

Step 5: Paint the belly of the gorg with the cream-colored acrylic paint. Paint the body and the eyelids with the grey paint and let all paint dry.

Step 6: Paint the gorg’s eyes turquoise and let dry before adding the pupils with the black paint. If you’re having trouble with the small dots in the pupils, dip the other end of the paint brush in the black paint and gently dot it on the wooden bead.

Step 7: Add two black dots on the front of the ornament for the gorg’s nose. Let all paint dry completely.

Step 8: Use the Model Magic clay to make three small fin shapes. One will be the larger fin on top of the gorg’s head, and the other two will be smaller fins for the back of the ornament. Let the clay dry overnight.

Step 9: Paint the fins a pale green and let dry.

Step 10: Hot glue the larger fin to the top of the ornament, and the two smaller fins on the back side.

Step 11: Use silver or holographic glitter glue over the dry grey paint and let the glitter dry completely. Repeat on the belly with a white glitter, and let dry.

Your gorg ornament (or, if you prefer, gorg-ament) is complete! Make it together with your kids to celebrate Star Wars Resistance and the holidays this winter.

Kelly Knox is a freelance writer who loves creating Star Wars crafts with her daughter. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox.

Replaying the Classics: Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 10:00

In Replaying the Classics, StarWars.com revisits Star Wars games of yesteryear, examining why we loved them then and why they stand the test of time.

Star Wars video games have a rich history, steeped in decades of Legends lore, and a shining example of this is the beloved Star Wars Jedi Knight series.

When an eagle-eyed fan spotted a Corellian YT-2400 freighter in the Star Wars Rebels Season Three trailer at Celebration Europe in 2016, he asked Dave Filoni, “Are we gonna see Dash Rendar [in Rebels]?” He was referring to what looked to be the Outrider, a Falcon-esque starship featured in 1996’s Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire game. Filoni gently squelched the fan’s hopes when he explained that it was simply another vessel of similar design; Rendar wasn’t likely to show his face in Rebels. Then Darth Maul voice actor Sam Witwer, himself a massive fan of Star Wars games, joked about another possibility: “But Kyle Katarn will be in there.”

So who’s Kyle Katarn, anyway? In the early 1990s, LucasArts set out to build upon the hugely popular first-person shooter genre established by id Software’s Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. The result was Star Wars: Dark Forces, a hit 1995 FPS that married the quick run-and-gun formula of id’s Doom with Star Wars-caliber storytelling. It told the story of an Imperial turncoat named Kyle Katarn, who, in the now-Legends continuity, was responsible for stealing part of the blueprints for the first Death Star. Born to farmers on one of the moons of Sullust, Katarn had enlisted in the armed forces of the Galactic Empire at the age of 18, while his father quietly aided the Rebellion. After learning that one of the Emperor’s Inquisitors murdered his father, Katarn became a rebel — and, eventually, a reluctant Jedi.

Much of Katarn’s tragic tale takes place in Dark Forces, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (1997), and a Jedi Knight expansion called Mysteries of the Sith (1998). All three won critical acclaim, and are equally worth your time, but Raven Software’s Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (2002) is arguably the culmination of everything that made the series great. To get the most of Outcast’s lore-intensive narrative, consider playing the first two games as well as Mysteries of the Sith, and maybe even check out Drew Karpyshyn’s novel of the ancient Sith, Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, while you’re at it.

With all that out of the way, however, Jedi Outcast is just a fabulous playground in which to live out your biggest Star Wars fantasies. The game begins as a straightforward first-person shooter in the vein of Dark Forces; anyone who picks up Jedi Outcast after playing the Star Wars Battlefront II (2017) campaign will see the clear lineage between the two. Katarn (Jeff Bennett, who later voiced Revan in BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic) will start out wielding familiar weapons like the E-11 blaster rifle and his trusty K-16 Bryar pistol, his longtime partner Jan Orso (Vanessa Marshall of Hera Syndulla fame) at his side, as they investigate new stirrings within the post-Endor Imperial Remnant.

The worlds of Jedi Outcast are vast, at times labyrinthine, and you’ll regularly feel compelled to stray from the task at hand to explore, seek out hidden secrets, and take in the sights. There’s a hint of retro charm to the game’s 2002 textures and models, but the environments boast such exquisite lighting and epic scale that they seem utterly timeless. You won’t forget which galaxy you’re in.

After witnessing a terrible tragedy, Katarn seeks out the spirits that reside in a place called the Valley of the Jedi (you really ought to read Path of Destruction). His connection with the Force rekindled, he heads to Yavin 4 to retrieve his lightsaber from an old friend: Luke Skywalker (Bob Bergen). Katarn, no stranger to the dangerous lure of the dark side, doesn’t give in to hate; this isn’t a straightforward tale of revenge, and nothing’s quite what it seems. Kyle’s journey sees him once again becoming a Jedi Knight, impressing even Skywalker with the depths of his strength, and bringing a fallen Jedi — a memorable saurian named Desann (the late Mark Klastorin) — to justice.

For a story that begins with Katarn picking up his lightsaber to exact vengeance, its ending almost couldn’t be more Jedi-like.

Come for the classic Doom-style gunplay, Jedi action, and Force puzzles; stay for the online one-on-one lightsaber duels in familiar Star Wars locations, like Cloud City and the Death Star. For years, Jedi Outcast has maintained a reputation for being one of the best Jedi-centric gaming experiences ever made. Game Informer magazine once deemed it “the most enjoyable and accomplished Star Wars game yet,” and it’s aged as gracefully as any fan could hope for. If you’re new to the realm of Star Wars Legends but you love video games, rediscover the Valley of the Jedi. Take your first step into a larger world.

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is available on Steam, GOG.com, the Humble Store, and the App Store.

Alex Kane is a journalist based in west-central Illinois. He has written for Polygon, the website of Rolling Stone, Syfy Wire, Variety, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjkane.

With This Cookie Recipe, Everyone Gets a Medal of Yavin

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:00

Princess Leia herself bestowed this honor around the necks of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope — Chewbacca received one too, just not at the same public ceremony. However, if those medallions were made of buttery cookies like these golden sweets, who knows if Chewie could have stopped himself from taking a bite?

The Medal of Yavin symbolizes the dawn of a new hope after victory over the Galactic Empire. These cookies have the same details — albeit hand-piped in delicious icing — and are strung on a bold ribbon to present to your closest friend or hang as holiday decor.

Since today is National Cookie Day, celebrate this prestigious holiday with these delicious medals of honor.

Medal of Yavin Cookies

What You’ll Need:

  • Medal template
  • White icing
  • Gold color mist food spray
  • 1-½-inch brown ribbon

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Step 1: In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Step 2: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar.

Step 3: Add the egg and vanilla.

Step 4: Slowly add in the dry ingredients just until the dough comes together.

Step 5: Split the dough into two and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until you are ready to use.

Step 6: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

Step 7: Roll out the dough to ½-inch thick. Use the template to cut out the medal shapes. Transfer to the prepped baking sheets.

Step 8: Cut a slit along the top edge, thick enough for the ribbon to slide through after baking.

Step 9: Bake for 10-12 minutes, let cool on a wire rack.

Step 10: Use a #3 tip and white icing to create the details. Let dry.

Step 11: Once the icing has dried, lightly spray with the mist food spray until golden. Let dry completely.

Step 12: Slide the ribbon along the slit at the top to complete.

The Rebellion salutes you this holiday. Enjoy your delicious award!

Jenn Fujikawa is a lifestyle and food writer. Follow her on Twitter at @justjenn and check her Instagram @justjennrecipes and blog www.justjennrecipes.com for even more Star Wars food photos.

Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures Luke Skywalker – The Jedi

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 13:42
Feel the Force with a Luke Skywalker action figure and mini comic exploring the Jedi hero's training.

More Star Wars Authors to Appear at Celebration Chicago

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 12:00

At Star Wars Celebration Chicago, there are lots of exciting guests and panelists, including some of the most prominent Star Wars authors working today, joining fans for five days of celebrating the saga.

Today, StarWars.com is thrilled to announce that three more authors will be in attendance at the 2019 event, giving you a chance to meet your favorite writers to get a book signed or simply to say thank you for expanding the stories in a galaxy far, far away.

E.K. Johnston

Guest authors will include: E.K. Johnston, who penned Star Wars: Ahsoka; Justina Ireland, the author of Star Wars: Lando’s Luck; and Zoraida Córdova, who wrote the short story “You Owe Me a Ride,” in the special anthology collection, Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View.

The trio will join several other incredible guests including previously announced authors and artists like: Timothy Zahn, author of Star WarsThrawn Alliances; Delilah Dawson, who wrote Star WarsPhasma; Claudia Gray, author of Star Wars: Master & Apprentice and other titles; Katie Cook, illustrator and co-author of Star Wars: Search Your Feelings; Alexander Freed, author of the upcoming Star WarsAlphabet Squadron; Cavan Scott, author of Star WarsAdventures in Wild Space; and Jeffrey Brown, whose titles include the Darth Vader and Family Coloring Book.

Stay tuned to StarWars.com for more Star Wars Celebration Chicago updates!

Star Wars Celebration Chicago will take place April 11-15 at McCormick Place. Visit StarWarsCelebration.com for tickets and more info!

StarWars.com All Star Wars, all the time.

How Rare Empire Strikes Back Crew Gear Inspired Columbia’s Amazing New Parka

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 10:00

As every Star Wars fan knows, Hoth is cold. The ice planet from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is a frozen tundra, home to yeti-like wampas, and so frigid that tauntauns just keel over. Tatooine, it is not.

On location in Norway during production in 1979, the Hoth scenes were filmed in the remote town of Finse, often buried in snow, and surrounded by glaciers and avalanche-prone mountains. So, Hoth was actually real-world cold. If you look at behind-the-scenes photos from Empire‘s Hoth sequences, you’ll notice that everyone is bundled up. To protect them from the harsh elements and blizzard conditions, cast and crew members were issued custom gear, including goggles, caps, and snow pants.

But one item in particular stands out: that jacket.

Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and producer Gary Kurtz in their Empire crew parkas.

It’s a bold blue parka with popping stripes on the upper sleeves, a custom nameplate above the left pocket, and other Star Wars-themed details, including a patch on the left arm and, finally, the coup de grâce: a hauntingly cool “Vader in flames” on the front chest. The Empire parka was crew gear (custom-made, branded apparel for those working on a film) before there was crew gear, and Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and director Irvin Kershner all wore it. As such, it’s become a holy grail among collectors. They’re incredibly hard to find, as only a few dozen were made and even fewer are known to exist today.

If you ever liked the jacket’s style or wished you could have something like it, you’re in luck.

Revealed today, Lucasfilm and Columbia have teamed up to create the Star Wars: Empire Crew Parka, a limited-edition jacket inspired by the famous on-set winter outerwear, available for $500 starting December 7. The coat blends modern tech into the parka’s classic look, features a super-cool Vader patch in the style of the original, and includes a few surprises.

‘Something we haven’t done before’

In the past, Lucasfilm and Columbia have collaborated on movie-themed jackets, including recent releases inspired by Rogue One and The Empire Strikes Back. Those items, however, were character based. This year, they wanted to do something different.

Director Irvin Kershner with Mark Hamill, post-wampa attack.

Snow day: Carrie Fisher takes a break on set.

“One of the things we thought about was, ‘What are our fans excited about?'” says Lacey Prince, senior manager, product design & development, softlines, at Lucasfilm. “They’re excited about things that are nostalgic. They’re excited about the original series. So we just started doing some research. Was there anything cool and special in Episodes IV, V, and VI that we haven’t explored before? Oddly enough, we came across some of the crew photos. There’s some really great imagery of Mark and Carrie together, and that just really got us thinking. Like, ‘What if we tried to do something that wasn’t necessarily inspired by what the characters were wearing in the film, but by what the crew had?’ And that could be something we haven’t done before.”

With that, Prince’s team and the designers at Columbia were off. They loved the colors of the jacket and the fact that they were different than what fans might otherwise associate with Empire (“It’s associated with the production, and that’s kind of cool,” Prince says), and were excited that developing their own version would shine a light on a bit of Lucasfilm history. Then the real work had to begin.

“It was a puzzle to figure out if we could do it,” Prince says. “That was a big part of this, the investigative work behind the scenes. You know, finding a photo, but then finding who owns rights to that photo? Who owns the jacket? Does the company still exist? Are there trademark issues? Those are all things we had to explore and clear from a legal perspective before we could proceed.”

The crew shoots Empire‘s opening scene, while a tauntaun waits its turn.

Those questions were answered, often from some surprising sources. Lucasfilm and Columbia located Harald Lystad, general manager of 20th Century Fox in Norway during the making of Empire, who actually placed the order for the crew jackets during production. (He also suggested Finse as the stand-in for Hoth to producer Gary Kurtz, scouting the exact glacier location with him by helicopter.) “It’s really cold up there. It’s minus 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit,” Lystad says. “So I got in touch with a Norwegian supplier of ski gear, and we decided what to make.” According to Lystad, the gear served another purpose: It made crew easily identifiable, and thus more difficult for press or fans to sneak onto the set. But perhaps most importantly, it did the job of keeping everyone warm. “I remember picking up Harrison Ford at the airport,” he says. “He came out in jeans, a T-shirt, and small jacket. It was about minus 20 degrees, and he was very happy getting the bag with all this gear.”

As it turns out, the company that made the jackets no longer exists. More photos were discovered. And Lucasfilm and Columbia found they had clearance to create their own version of the parka. Only one thing remained: getting their hands on an original.

Behind the seams

“We had to look and see, well, who actually owns one of these jackets,” Prince says. “We want to look at it, we want to see it inside out, look at all the details.” Through some internal resources, they found someone: Gus Lopez, one of the world’s biggest Star Wars collectors, who actually owns two.

“I remember as a kid going, ‘I would totally want one of those jackets someday,'” Lopez tells StarWars.com. “One of the areas I specialize in is cast-and-crew items and, for me, it’s the top cast-and-crew piece ever for Star Wars.” Lopez acquired his first Empire parka about 12 years ago after putting word out in the collector community, and purchased a second jacket, framed, five years ago. When he was contacted by Lucasfilm for this project, he didn’t hesitate.

Collector Gus Lopez’s original Empire crew parka and associated gear.

“I loved the idea,” Lopez says. “I think Columbia’s done a great job with the stuff they did for Rogue One and The Empire Strikes Back. This is certainly a different turn. They were looking for good reference material, so I shipped the jacket. I’m happy to help out.”

Once Lucasfilm had the jacket in hand, Columbia’s team came to San Francisco so they could examine it together. They brought pantone swatches and fabrications to match it as close as possible, looked at the embroidery, linings, name badging, everything. “I loved seeing the color and the details up close,” Leigh Roundy, Columbia designer, says. “It’s really important for me to get those things correct, especially since the color is so iconic on this piece.”

Hoth designs for today

In creating what would become the Star Wars: Empire Crew Parka, Columbia and Lucasfilm didn’t want to make a simple reproduction, or something that was stuck in the past. “It was important to us to make something that felt authentic but not necessarily a direct replica, that had that Columbia appeal,” Prince says. “We wanted to make a true, functional piece of outerwear.” The goal was to design something that was definitely identifiable as the Empire crew jacket, but modernized, incorporating all the advances that the fashion industry has seen in the intervening years.

“It was a fun challenge to maintain the overall feel and heart of the original design, but bring it into 2018 with Columbia’s technologies and fabrications,” Roundy says. She worked to maintain the look of the exterior and its fabrics, keeping the original’s now-retro sensibility, but bringing the warmth-factor to today’s standards. “You open up the jacket, and that’s where all the incredible technology comes into play,” Roundy says. “And you go, ‘Oh!’ That’s where the newness and the modernity are coming in.” Indeed, Columbia’s parka is waterproof, breathable, and features a seam-sealed outer layer, along with the company’s patented inner Omni-Heat thermal-reflective lining and insulation. It features a removable, adjustable hood with removable faux-fur trim, two-way collar, ribbed comfort cuffs, wrist zips, and multifunctional pockets. Then, there’s the patches.

The Star Wars: Empire Crew Parka wouldn’t be complete without the patches seen on the original jacket, including the Star Wars patch on the left arm, and especially the Vader emblem on the upper right chest. “We sent out art to the factory to follow, and originally, with that Darth Vader patch on the front, we were going to modernize it with a new weave structure,” Roundy says. “But ultimately, we as a team in collaboration with Lucasfilm, decided that making these more retro to pay homage to the original was really the right call. And I think it was, because they turned out awesome.” Columbia didn’t stop there when it came to patch authenticity; thanks to a Velcro patch on the upper left chest, fans can customize their parkas with their own names — just like the crew.

And there’s one more patch-related surprise: Each parka includes an inner patch with the coordinates of the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier — the exact shooting location of the Hoth scenes. “I always love being able to put in little Easter eggs for fans,” Roundy says. “We thought this would be a great detail to add into the garment, and just tip our hat to all of the hard work that the crew had done on this film.”

A winter coat for our galaxy

The finished jacket is an effortlessly cool piece of fashion that is both of yesterday and today, and a tribute to those who made one of the world’s favorite movies.

“I hope that fans will be just as excited about this as we are,” Prince says. “I mean, this is a really cool way to bring an authentic piece that resonates with Lucasfilm history.”

“I’m really proud of it,” Roundy says, “and I’m really proud of all the amazing work that the team has put into it to create such an amazing product. I hope that the fans will appreciate the thought and detail that went into this jacket, and enjoy how we’ve modernized it.”

The Star WarsEmpire Crew Parka will be available beginning December 7, 2018, at Columbia.com/StarWars and in-store at select Columbia-branded retail locations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Hong Kong, Japan and, Korea.

Mark Hamill has signed 30 Star Wars: Empire Crew Parkas for a good cause. These signed jackets will sell for MSRP of $1,980 — a nod to the film’s release year — with all proceeds going to college access programs and scholarships. These coveted signed jackets will be sold only at Columbia-branded retail locations in New York, NY; Buena Vista, FL; Downtown Portland Flagship, OR; and Seattle, WA.

Bucket’s List Extra: 9 Fun Facts from “Secrets and Holograms” – Star Wars Resistance

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 07:30

Star Wars Resistance is here! The animated series follows Kazuda “Kaz” Xiono, a young pilot recruited by the Resistance and tasked with a top-secret mission to spy on the growing threat of the First Order. Visit StarWars.com following each episode for “Bucket’s List Extra,” an expansion of our weekly fun-facts video series Bucket’s List. In this installment, we look at “Secrets and Holograms.”

Bucket’s List Extra – “Secrets and Holograms”

1. Bring on Buggles.

Buggles is based on a design developed by Terryl Whitlatch, a concept artist on Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. She illustrated a creature called a voorpak, an eight-legged furball pet favored by Naboo aristocracy. Buggles may be a designer breed, as he is six-legged, not eight.

2. Name recognition.

4D-M1N’s name is based on the “leet” alphanumeric spelling of “ADMIN.”

3. Garma again!

Old Garma’s wave to Kaz may indicate she’s still charmed by the young pilot. She had recommended they room together back in “Fuel for the Fire.”

4. Introducing Namua and Jooks.

Some of the recurring background platformers get lines of dialog in this episode, revealing their names in the credits. The Nautolan is Namua, while the Theelin woman is Jooks.

5. Recognize that shuttle?

Commander Pyre uses a First Order Upsilon-class shuttle, the same model of shuttle used by Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

6. Who’s in first?

The current standings seen on display leaderboard in the Ace’s lounge has Hype in the top spot, followed (in order) by Torra, Freya, Griff, and Bo.

7. Toy story.

Additional plush toys seen in Torra’s room this episode include a tauntaun and a puffer pig, among others.

8. Galactic gamers.

The Flight Simulator Squadron game that Torra and Kaz play is a cross between Asteroids and Dance Dance Revolution, with a space slug surprise thrown in for good measure. In the earliest premise for the episode, the game involved navigating “an Ewok through lasers fired by stormtroopers.”

9. Dress for the job…

The Imperial uniform in Doza’s closet bears the rank of a captain.

In case you missed this week’s Bucket’s List video, check it out below!

Bucket’s List

Star Wars Resistance airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures Darth Vader – The Villain

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 12:50
Celebrate the iconic villain with this action figure and mini comic, essential for Padawan and master collectors alike.

5 Tips for Joining Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Battlefront II‘s Battle of Geonosis

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 12:31

Even on the frontlines of the Battle of Geonosis, the first major Clone Wars conflict between the clone troopers of the Galactic Republic and the Separatist droid army, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi is a composed, precise fighter and leader. Striding across the dusty battleground that’s the center of the new Star Wars Battlefront II update, it’s clear that the legendary warrior’s style makes him a master of defense and a worthy addition to the fan-favorite game.

Now you can follow Obi-Wan into battle, join the 212th Attack Battalion, and take on General Grievous himself while dominating the legendary battleground,  get behind the controls of a massive six-legged AT-TE battle tank or gain a tactical advantage to disarm one. StarWars.com spoke with Battlefront II assistant producer Michael Dailey to help you master the Jedi’s abilities, traverse the harsh terrain, and emerge victorious to begin the Clone Wars.

1. Make a play for the AT-TE first. During the first phase of Galactic Assault, the Republic forces find themselves in desperate need of reinforcements. “In this phase there are two different locations the Republic must capture to advance the mode,” Dailey says. “But you may want to consider gathering your squad to capture the Acquire Vehicle objective first. Securing that objective will give the Republic forces instant access to an All Terrain Tactical Enforcer, otherwise known as the AT-TE, earlier.” And having a massive walker at your disposal is always a win.

2. You’re in control now! While other Galactic Assault game modes that feature vehicle targets follow clear linear paths, the AT-TEs stand out from the crowd because ‘they are fully controllable by players,” Dailey says. So hop behind the control panel yourself and take it for a spin or protect the walker from battle droid attacks. One way or another, you’re going to need the AT-TEs to get off this rock alive. “They are required for successful completion of both phase two and three of the battle. If they are all destroyed, it will be victory for the Separatists,” Dailey warns.

3. Which means, if you’re a Separatist, the walkers are your primary target. “As a Separatist, your priority should be to destroy the AT-TEs assaulting your forces, especially during phase two and three,” Dailey says. The vehicles are heavily armored, but not without some fatal flaws. “Separatists should focus their attacks on the underside and exposed sections of the vehicle near the center legs to deal maximum damage and take the walkers down quickly.”

4. Hello there. Game designers beautifully captured Master Obi-Wan’s physical appearance and unique personality, as well as his legendary lightsaber skills. “While creating Obi-Wan, it was important for us to capture his nature as a master of defensive lightsaber styles,” Dailey says, which means the character has the highest amount of stamina for any hero wielding a lightsaber in the game. “Approach combat situations defensively to take advantage of this and make the most out of Obi-Wan’s talents.”

5. Mind tricks don’t work on me. “Obi-Wan’s Restrictive Mind Trick ability might seem similar to Rey’s Mind Trick at first blush, but they have quite a different effect,” Dailey says. When playing as Rey, the mind trick reverses the player’s controls. But Obi-Wan’s mind trick disables the other player’s special abilities and prevents those affected from dodging. “While this power is useful against standard troopers, its greatest strength will be found when clashing with enemy villains.”

Now around the survivors a perimeter create and prepare to wage your own fight in the Battle of Geonosis update.

Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them!

How Lucasfilm Reimagined Classic Moments in Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures – Exclusive

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 11:05

The first Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures animated shorts arrive today on StarWarsKids.com and the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel, and they’re charming love letters to some of the saga’s greatest moments and icons. But for those behind the scenes, they represent something even deeper: a chance to pass on what they, and all Star Wars fans, have learned.

“We were looking for ways to invite young kids into the saga through exciting and vibrant bursts of animation that didn’t talk down to them,” Josh Rimes, producer of the shorts and director, animation and live action series development at Lucasfilm, tells StarWars.com. “Hopefully the shorts will leave young viewers newer to Star Wars wanting to discover more about the saga — from Luke Skywalker and his journey to becoming a Jedi, to Darth Vader and his power of the dark side, to Leia and her path from princess to rebel leader. They’re fun, stylish stories that thrust the viewer into the big events of Star Wars, while also exploring its greater themes.”

Developed with the animation studio Titmouse Animation, the shorts have a vibrant, modern look, falling somewhere between manga and a Star Wars Little Golden Book come to life. (Indeed, Star Wars Little Golden Books came up in discussion when developing the shorts, Rimes confirms.) Each short encapsulates something about a character, their choices, and their path, taking inspiration from specific scenes and amplifying them. In “The Journey Begins,” Luke Skywalker turns on his lightsaber for the first time, and his hair and clothes ripple from its power. Then he practices, cutting left and right, and leaping triumphantly into the air. While it didn’t happen quite like this in Star Wars: A New Hope, the energy of the sequence captures the elevated feeling that any kid who’s ever held a toy lightsaber has had. And that’s why it feels so right.

“The idea of approaching moments with a sense of playfulness was important,” Rimes says. “We didn’t want to make one-to-one exact retellings of the moments a lot of us know and love. Through the storytelling, design style, and kinetic action, the team really heightened these familiar moments, making the battles big and vivid and exciting, and enhancing many of them with humor and levity.”

One word that Rimes returns to often when talking about the shorts is “theme,” and that’s the real driving focus of the project. Each installment of Galaxy of Adventures has something to say — even the action-driven shorts. “What really guided us in the early days was this idea of theme,” Rimes says. “Finding the key iconic moments that we all know and love, and attacking them in this style. When doing that, we always took a step back and were like, ‘Okay, what is the theme of this piece? What are we trying to say?’ Is it the idea of trust, and Han trusting Chewie to be a good pilot? Is it Luke wanting something more, and going off and finding adventure? Small, little evergreen themes that are baked into the DNA of Star Wars.”

The end result is a series that’s true to Star Wars but feels fresh. If you’re a parent or older sibling who loves Star Wars and want to share it with the younglings in your family, Galaxy of Adventures could be their first step into a larger world. “I hope they resonate with kids,” Rimes says. “I hope that kids who know a little about Star Wars find them, and I hope that kids who know nothing about Star Wars find them, and it engages them and brings them into the world.”

Watch the first batch of Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures shorts below, with Josh Rimes’ personal commentary accompanying each video.

Luke Skywalker – “The Journey Begins”

“From the start, we knew we wanted to kick off Galaxy of Adventures with foundational pieces that set up Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. This short, which dramatizes Luke’s call to adventure, is anchored with him receiving his father’s lightsaber from Obi-Wan. Early in the process, we were won over by Titmouse’s work-in-progress images and early test animation of Luke turning on the lightsaber, hair-blowing back, looking wide eyed. The heightened style conveyed the weight and power of the moment and that feeling of wish fulfillment any kid would have when they turn on a lightsaber for the first time. When boiled down, this is Luke’s first step into a bigger world and the team wanted to make it as impactful and fun as possible.”

Darth Vader – “Power of the Dark Side”

“For Vader, we wanted him to make a big entrance so we looked no further than the moment at the end of Rogue One. This one was a real balancing act when it came to just how scary or brutal we wanted to depict him, but we stuck to what is true about the character and emphasized his sheer power above all else. Plus, there’s something intoxicating about Vader’s fearsomeness. This short really celebrates his iconic design — his shadow, the red lightsaber, the booming voice — all of which makes him so unforgettable.”

Luke vs. the Wampa – “Cavern Escape”

“One of the challenges that came up later in the process on this piece had to do with making sure a young audience new to Star Wars would recognize Luke since he’s in a different wardrobe, is battered, and upside down in a location that might be unfamiliar to them. This hurdle helped us hone in on what the narration needed to be in certain shorts and what it should accomplish. Here, the narration provides context and drives the urgency. It’s reminiscent of old short animated serials in that way. One of the team’s favorite moments is the final shot of Luke in the snow, breathing that sigh of relief, and then smiling. Titmouse really brought that sense of playfulness to the forefront and it makes a harrowing tale of survival that much sweeter in the end.”

R2-D2 – “A Loyal Droid”

“This short shines a light on a determined Artoo. Part of the fun in setting him up is glimpsing Leia setting into motion the events of A New Hope. The playful escape across the Tantive IV is full of danger and little charming nuggets like the little double back with the ‘nothing to see here’ whistle from Artoo after they nearly run into Vader. Even in such a concise piece, the dynamic between Artoo and Threepio really comes through and is as charming and funny as ever.”

Chewbacca – “The Trusty Co-Pilot”

“Capturing different facets of the Han and Chewie dynamic is always so much fun in Galaxy of Adventures. This piece is an action-packed and humorous look at how Han has to rely on Chewie when caught in a jam. While the Millennium Falcon might be a ship, in this short it becomes a character too — as our heroes fumble their way through fixing it up before they’re toast. This is the first short where the creative team used a fast-moving montage to propel us through this adventure, with wit and style to spare.”

Darth Vader – “Might of the Empire”

“This piece captures the might and scale of the Empire with Darth Vader as our eyes into that world. As we march with Vader, we see all the wonderful toys he and the Empire have at their disposal and the seemingly impossible odds the rebels are up against. Driven by the iconic ‘Imperial March’ score, this short was always meant to have a propaganda-like feel.”

Stay tuned to StarWarsKids.com and the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel for additional Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures shorts, fun facts videos, and more.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Capturing the Strength of Ahsoka Tano in Gentle Giant’s Mini Bust

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 14:48

The proud visage of Ahsoka Tano — Anakin Skywalker’s former Padawan and Jedi-turned-rebel — greeted fans at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this summer when Gentle Giant debuted a new hyper-realistic mini bust of the Togruta hero.

Standing tall and poised for battle, her twin white lightsabers ignited at her back and a look of sheer determination in her eyes, StarWars.com is pleased to report that the limited-edition, hand-cast, hand-painted, and hand-numbered collectible is now available for pre-order!

Even turned away from the crowd before being revealed this summer, the stunning likeness captured the attention of none-other-than the character’s creator, Dave Filoni, says Ashly Powell, the collectible manufacturer’s director of product development, a moment that coincidentally came just hours ahead of Filoni’s announcement that Star Wars: The Clone Wars had been saved.

This week, we caught up with Powell and Gabriel Garcia, manager of product development for the Gentle Giant design team, to talk about collaborating with the Lucasfilm Product Development team to perfectly capture the character’s likeness and turning Filoni’s animated creation into the stunningly realistic sculpted bust that stands ready to strike. Artists channeled the character’s strength and intensity into the inspiring 1:6 scale mini bust designed, modeled and prototyped in immaculate detail using 3D technology and limited to only 750 pieces.

StarWars.com: The bust is really quite gorgeous! How did you translate the Ahsoka we know from animation into this life-like sculpture?

Gabriel Garcia: The whole process starts with an idea. We wanted to do something new and fresh outside the regular saga films. We knew Ahsoka was a fan favorite and we fell even more in love with her after the final season of Star Wars Rebels.  We came up with the concept of doing a mini bust of Ahsoka as if she were a real person, so she would fit in with the rest of our long-running mini bust line. Once we locked the idea, we started working on our 2D concept with our pre-production artists. We looked at a variety of poses for her, but we knew we loved the double lightsabers, and that helped us choose the pose.

After the concept was completed and approved by our licensing partners at Lucasfilm, we moved into the sculpting phase. This is where our sculptors had to take all of the great animation photo reference photos of the character and start the real work of translating all of that into a photo-realistic likeness of a person that didn’t really exist. We are fortunate to work with a very talented team of digital artists at Gentle Giant Ltd and they really rose to the occasion. Once the sculpt was approved, we sent the digital model to our top-of-the-line 3D printer to make the prototype and our talented paint department finalized the look of what Ahsoka would look like as a real being with skin tone and costume details.

StarWars.com: What was the most challenging aspect of the project? In your mind, what was the key detail or aspect to capture that really makes this piece look and feel like Ahsoka Tano? 

Gabriel Garcia: One tricky part of this project was the conversion from an animated portrait into a “real person.” Usually for us this process goes the other way around, where we take a real person and make them into a stylized, animated portrait like we did with our animated maquette line of statues. It took watching many episodes, looking at a lot of reference and working many hours to get a look that satisfied us.

As far as capturing a key detail for the bust, that can be summed up in one word: attitude.  We’ve all been following Ahsoka’s journey for a decade and we have watched her grow from a young Padawan into a leader in the Rebellion. There is a determination in her eyes and a strength inherent in her body language that we had to nail if we wanted to be able to call this Ahoska.  It took us a few passes to get it right because there is no road map to sculpting strength or courage, but I think we nailed it in the end.

StarWars.com: I heard Dave Filoni actually stopped by the booth at SDCC to hold the prototype and he was quite enthralled. What was it like getting the stamp of approval from Ahsoka’s creator?

Ashly Powell: Usually before the convention starts, we will unpack our prototypes and turn them facing away from spectators, so that our “big reveals” aren’t spoiled by folks walking around the show floor and snapping photos on their phone and then posting on social media before the show opens.  So, here I am standing inside our booth unpacking some prototypes that were going into one of our Star Wars display windows and out of the corner of my eye, I see someone on the other side of our display window, and he is really staring at the back of our Ahsoka mini bust.

When I realized it was Dave Filoni — He wasn’t wearing his signature hat! I motioned to him and then slowly turned her around so that he could see the entire piece from the front. His eyes grew bright and I carefully grabbed our Ahsoka Mini Bust, and carried her out to do a formal “meet and greet.” I was really proud and excited to share with him.  Honestly, a bit nervous too. I mean, this was a realistic interpretation of the beloved animated Ahsoka. I knew that we thought she came out beautifully, but would Dave Filoni approve?

I handed the bust over to Dave. He marveled at her and admired every detail we captured and he said that is was the best realistic interpretation of Ahsoka he had ever seen. My heart raced, and a smile grew from ear to ear on my face. We had gotten the Filoni stamp of approval!

Dave thanked me again and again for sharing her with him and as he walked away, it reminded me that these little moments make my job so extraordinary and humbling all at once.

You can pre-order your own Gentle Giant Ahsoka Tano mini bust now!

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you love most about Star Wars!

Darth Vader, Luke, and Leia Come to Disney Emoji Blitz

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 08:00

Some of Star Wars‘ greatest icons have arrived in Disney Emoji Blitz, the popular match-3 mobile game: Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia emojis make their debut, available via the Diamond Box, and the Darth Vader emoji is now unlockable thanks to a new Villain Event, running from November 29 to December 3. StarWars.com caught up with Ariana Crane, associate producer of Disney Emoji Blitz, to talk about adapting Vader into the game’s cute art style, how Leia’s ability reflects her character, and reflections on one year of Star Wars in Disney Emoji Blitz. 

StarWars.com: Thanks to the Darth Vader Villain Event, players will have the chance to win and use Darth Vader. From a gameplay perspective, why would you say he’s an emoji you’ll want in your collection?

Ariana Crane: Darth Vader will be an awesome emoji to have in your collection because he uses the Force to grab emojis and throw them off the board. Plus, he always gives you a rainbow star, which is the best power up in the game.

StarWars.com: What can you tell us about designing Darth Vader for Disney Emoji Blitz? I’m always impressed how the game adapts these iconic characters into its art style, and Vader is no exception — he’s so expressive!

Ariana Crane: We are so glad you like it! With such an iconic character as Darth Vader, the team worked really hard to get all of the details just right. We spent a lot of time making sure the highlights were in the right places, and that there was enough contrast so that you can actually see his expressions. We wanted the Darth Vader emoji to embody the look and feel of the original character, even as an emoji.

StarWars.com: Luke and Leia are also making their Disney Emoji Blitz debuts. How did you go about coming up with their abilities?

Ariana Crane: We wanted Leia’s power to demonstrate an aspirational part of her persona, and being a strong commander was top of mind for our team. A tap-to-clear ability where she orders X-wings to destroy TIE fighters was the perfect abstraction of commanding in our game.

Since Leia’s power focuses on the rebel fleet, and Darth Vader’s power focuses on using the Force to hold and throw emojis, it felt like the right mix of overlap and variety to have Luke’s power focus on using the Force, like his father, but with a lightsaber concept. The training remote scene where Luke first learns to use his lightsaber was the perfect fit, and we thought it would be super cool if the player got to feel like they were using the Force by tapping in advance of where the training remote would fire. This was also an opportunity to show Luke’s character arc over time as he deflects stormtrooper blaster shots in later levels.

StarWars.com: Star Wars has now been part of Disney Emoji Blitz for just over a year. As game creators, what have you enjoyed most about being able to incorporate the galaxy far, far away into Disney Emoji Blitz?

Ariana Crane: The Star Wars universe offers us so much to work with, it’s hard to pick just one. From epic character moments to the iconic music, it’s been so much fun to give these elements an emoji twist. We love bringing in characters that are nostalgic for some of our existing players and brand new to others. An exciting challenge that we have is abstracting the rich back stories from the characters, into super-fast power up abilities that resonate with Star Wars fans. Seeing our Blitzers’ positive reactions to Star Wars emojis in the game is the best! They were so excited when we first introduced Rey, Finn, BB-8, and Kylo Ren, and the team can’t wait to see how everyone reacts to Luke, Leia and Darth Vader. We’ve really enjoyed making the Darth Vader Villain Event come to life and are so excited for our fans to play with these beloved classic characters.

Disney Emoji Blitz is available now.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

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