Star Wars Weekends 2005, Week 6

The final weekend and a fun weekend with two great guests. Warren Fu, Concept Artist for the prequels got to talk spray bottles and the origin of General Grievous and Jake Lloyd got to exercise his excellent wry wit on the role of the young Anakin Skywalker and what he’s doing now.

You can hear some of Warren’s comments on how General Grievous was designed below, including his debunking of the “spray bottle” myth now floating around the Internet. Warren also does some excellent impressions, including several Star Wars characters and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” It’s fascinating to note that Warren actually has a degree in Economics, so although he has been drawing for many years, he got his dream job as a Star Wars artist by sheer perseverance and the pursuit of his dream. Now, if only I could draw….

Jake Lloyd is always a very funny interview, as at 16 he’s developed a very wry sense of humor. Jake actually thanked the Disney folks at the last interview show for keeping the anti-Annie fans out of the park. “No one has come up to me and said, ‘You suck, I hate you!’ during my signings, so you must be doing something.” Poor Jake, he and Wil Wheaton should hook up sometime.

Jake had a lot of things he couldn’t talk about in terms of what he’s doing now. He’s evidently working on an indie film about teenagers with some friends of his. But since certain ideas and concepts just plain don’t exist at Disney, he said he couldn’t say much about it other than, “We’ve spent about $100 on it so far, and that was just us going to dinner.” He also said Ewan McGregor was very good at getting him into trouble on the set, but wouldn’t own up to any specific incidents as he’s still living at home. We’ll be looking for “I Was A Nine-Year-Old Sith Lord” in the bookstores in about ten years, though.

All in all, this was another great year of Star Wars Weekends, and there’s a good possibility there will be one more year, next year. The fan response was tremendous, both from the really huge fans, who came in costume and partied with the characters, but also from the guests who came to the park not knowing it was happening it all. I saw quite a few folks, young and old, who said they were just amazed at how great the event was, and that they were extremely happy to have stumbled upon it. It was the will of the Force, I tell you.

Force points to all the characters, entertainment folks, and others who worked hard to make the event exciting. There are some great character pics in the gallery from this week, as I stumbled upon some of those great character moments you only get at Disney, and actually had my camera ready for once. Check out the “smallest clonetrooper” pic, for one. The squad of clonetroopers in that picture actually lead the little boy in the clonetrooper costume across the park, hand in hand with two of the troopers, and set up in front of the Naboo set where Amidala normally poses, so that his parents could get what has to be the awesomest picture ever. There were plenty of other folks who were just oohing and awwwing over that moment.

Special thanks have to go out to Arnie, Lisa, and the stormtrooper team that did the “Stars of the Saga” show each week. Their bad jokes and great performances were a highlight of the event each week. I hope to see them next year.

And without further ado, the video clip of the week….

Test Track in Episode 7?

One thing I forgot to mention in the notes from yesterday, Matt Wood said he recorded the sound of the car whipping by the front of the Test Track attraction here at Epcot and it is now part of the Lucasfilm sound library. Be interesting to hear if that ever ends up in a movie somewhere….

More on Star Wars Weekends 5

Or, as Arnie likes to call it, Weekend 2. As in Star Wars, this was the fifth weekend, which is Weekend 2: Attack of the Weekend. You can figure out the rest.

There were some special Star Wars daddy tableaus during the motorcade this weekend. For Father’s Day, they got together Luke, Leia, and Darth, as well as the clonetroopers, Boba, and Jango for some special photo opportunities at the end of the motorcade.

Amy brought out a close friend of hers during the Stars of the Saga show, Gillian Libbert. Gillian was a costume designer on Episode II and III, and she is currently a producer on The Amazing Race. It was great to get a sort of extra, bonus celebrity this weekend.

Matt got to talk about how George Lucas helped with the Grievous voice, but you can check that out via the video clip below.

FYI, the clips this week are in Quicktime format, because I prefer the quality of Quicktime. You may need the latest version of Quicktime to view them, since I used the new .h264 compression to create them.

NOTE: I added WMV links below, since the QuickTime files require Quicktime 7.


Star Wars Weekends 2005, Week 5

Guests this week are the Jedi-licious (hmmm…something very creepy about that word) Amy Allen and Supervising Sound Editor and Voice of everyone’s favorite non-Sith Star Wars baddy, General Grievous, Matthew Wood.

Everyone knows Amy Allen as Jedi Knight Aayla Secura in Episodes II and III, but do you know she played other roles in the Star Wars saga? She was inserted into the Episode I DVD as a Twi’lek senatorial aide (to replace some boring human senators that were in the original film version) and also played some human characters in the bar in Episode II. Go figure! Yet another reason for me to go back and look carefully through those movies.

Poor Amy! Arnie, one of the show hosts, has taken a terrific liking to her. He started the talk show by explaining how he was supposed to be her padawan in Episode III and right before they were cut down by clone troopers, he was supposed to say something like, “Oh Aayla, I have been your student in the ways of the Force, now, I am your student in the ways of LOVE!” Hrm. Evidently they were supposed to be shot down while making out. At least in Arnie’s version of the Star Wars galaxy. Poor guy. Amy fended off his attempt to re-enact the scene by coughing, which she later described as a “gag reflex”. OUCH!

Matthew Wood has been a wizard of sound working beside Ben Burtt on the prequels, and also has appeared in Episode I as Bib Fortuna, and done voices for characters like Ody Mandrell and the Dug air-taxi driver in Episode II. And of course, he did the voice of Grievous. There’s a great video clip of him doing the Grievous voice at the end of the article. For all you Grievous fans, good news! Matt said they were adding a Grievous scene to the version of the movie coming out on DVD. From the way he talked about it, it’s not a cut scene, but a scene added to the movie. Yea! Extended edition!

Here is a clip from Matt’s appearance on Saturday:

I got to meet Matt and surprise him with the picture that my wife and I took with him at the Episode III premiere. He autographed it and graciously took another picture with me. The funny thing is, we were only kind of introduced at the premiere (we were more a kind of “fly on the wall” for him talking with some mutual friends) and I totally forgot to tell him my name when he autographed the picture (as Threepio would say, “How rude!”) so at this point we’ve met twice and I don’t think he knows my name. =)

I have to say though, that everytime I walked by the autograph area, Matt and Amy were out there signing. Here in Florida right now, it’s like 95 degrees and partly cloudy all weekend, which means they pretty much have to stand around in soupy humidity all weekend. (They do get covered areas to sign and some piped in air conditioning, but it’s still pretty nasty out there, and they are running from event to event each day.) So I give them a lot of credit for making the effort to really stay out there and sign for the fans. They really are a big part of making Star Wars Weekends a success, and I’m always glad to see the celebrities come out and enjoy it.

Star Wars Weekends, Week 4

This week brings ILM Practical Model Supervisor Brian Gernand and man of many faces Jerome Blake to Star Wars Weekends. And not two more excited guests could you find here.

Brian talked about the challenges of building the many “real” (that is, not built inside a computer) models for the latest installment of the Star Wars saga. He also told a great story about the Darth Vader sequence at the end of “Revenge of the Sith”. Sharp-eyed fans have noticed that Vader’s hands were chained to the table above his head in the trailer, but that this was changed in the actual film. Well, seems when the ILM artists saw the original take of this scene, they didn’t think the “hands-up” look was very Sith Lordish. They drew straws on who would tell George what they thought, and eventually it was brought to the great Jedi Master’s attention that the scene just didn’t look right that way.

George took their advice and the scene was reshot with an ILM CG artist wearing the Vader costume. So, there you have it, the actor playing Darth Vader in that final sequence is not actually Hayden Christensen after all, but one of the artists who just happened to fit in the costume. How’s that for something to tell your kids?

Jerome Blake broke the crowd up with his witty banter, as usual. He’s played many masked characters in the saga, Rune Haako being perhaps the most famous. Jerome talked about playing the character and how he and Silas Carson, who plays Nute Gunray, tried to bring even more humor to the two characters. At the end of the scene in “The Phantom Menace” where Darth Sidious announced that Darth Maul is coming to see them, they did what is described as a “camera two take” — they turned and simultaneously both looked into the camera in a reaction shot. George had a good laugh, but, in the end, told them it was just too funny to put in the film.

Don Bies Talks About RotS Cut Scene

One interesting thing I forgot to mention about the Don Bies interview here at Star Wars Weekends. The hosts asked him if there were any R2-D2 scenes cut from the film that he missed. He said there wasn’t anything with R2 in it, but there was a scene in the elevator where Anakin and Obi-Wan were arguing about how to translate what R2 was beeping.

Artoo: Beep deep beep da whoop. Beep.
Anakin: Okay, he says he can do it.
Obi-Wan: Wait, I thought one beep was no.
Anakin: No, it’s yes.

Something like that. Very cute, totally cuttable. A neat little exchange we might get to see on the DVD.

Star Wars Weekends Extended!

In case you hadn’t heard…two more exciting weeks of Star Wars Weekends have been added.

June 17, 18, and 19, the featured guests will be Matthew Wood, Supervising Sound Editor for the prequels and the voice of General Grievous, and Amy Allen, Jedi Aayla Secura from Episode II and Episode III.

Have I mentioned one of the number one search terms that produces hits on this site is “Amy Allen Pictures”? Yea! A year more of big hits!

The guests for the final weekend have yet to be announced, but I’ll bet they’re going to be big news…. 😉

Star Wars Weekends 2005, Week 3

Guests this week at a theme park far, far away were the multitalented Droid Unit Supervisor from ILM Don Bies and everyone’s favorite Ew0k, Leprechaun, and just a real kewl guy, Warwick Davis.

Don was a great guest, especially since he brought along a friend…

Don’s truly a multi-talented guy with a great sense of humor, as you can tell from the clip above. If you’ve seen “Beneath the Dome”, you also know he’s a pretty talented writer/director. He’s also yet another proof that the people who make these movies really are fans of Star Wars! Don was the guy who cleaned out the closets at Lucasfilm. He was hired to go through the archives and figure out what was in all those closets at the Ranch. What a great job, to get to go through all of the props and stuff that were being stored from the original “Star Wars” trilogy.

Warwick had a little something to say about playing the Star Wars: Battlefront video game.

Warwick is always a great guest to have at the events. Even the Star Wars Weekends hosts (Lisa and Arnie, who do a WONDERFUL job themselves) were telling Warwick what big fans they were. One thing Warwick said, to expand upon all the notions flying around about the Star Wars TV series, was that he would love to play a villain in the series. I, for one, hope he gets to make his mark on yet another part of the saga. He’s great fun to watch, a great actor, and a good friend to the fans.

Some pictures from “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: Play It! The Star Wars Edition” in the gallery, too. If you get a chance, the show is great fun. Each of the first two shows features a Star Wars character, and the celebrity guests occasionally stop by to visit and open the show. And hey, if you’re a Star Wars fan (who, unlike me, doesn’t work for the company that produces the show) you might even win a spectacular Disney Cruise. So drop by and see if you are a Star Wars trivia master!

More from Star Wars Weekends next weekend!