SDCC 2017 [Panel Reviews]: Star Wars.
HASBRO STAR WARS (Friday – 7AB) – Although The Last Jedi made its way to D23 2017 just a week before Comic-Con, Lucasfilm, along with Hasbro, still had enough of a slate to keep attending Jedis, Siths, Rebels and Stormtroopers happy throughout the day. Oh yeah. Friday in San Diego is Star Wars Day (“Force Friday”?), so if you want to sit your ass in the same blue chair for 12-hours and take in all of Star Wars-related glory to your plastic white buckethead, ain’t nobody gonna stop ya. While I had a few things in Hall H to see/cover later in the afternoon, but always enjoy a nice SDCC Friday morning stroll in the San Naboo office. I’ll be honest, though, I sat through the first two panels (SW Collectibles Update and Steampunk Invades A Galaxy Far, Far Away) knowing things would pick up hoth-steam around noon and especially 1pm, when arguably the most popular SW-centered panel of them all–Hasbro–was ready for to enter hyperspace.
So let’s get the juicy out of the way: Nothing was revealed for The Last Jedi. And why would it? This is only Comic-Con, where no company besides Warner Bros and Marvel Studios bothers revealing anything to the 100,000 hardcore nerds and geeks that decided to make SoCal their extended weekend stay; no, those Hasbro reveals will come when it makes sense to them business-wise, when they get close to Force Friday II and when a major pop culture publication decides to offer a generous enough sum for the rights to show off Hasbro’s products.
The panel, while presented with plenty of knowledge and enthusiasm, didn’t show much in the way of surprise; I don’t even remember seeing any fan voting results for the Black Series this year (Jaino Solo was last year’s Fan Poll winner, and her figure, while revealed at SWCO a few months ago, was nowhere mentioned). Rather, the panel spent the majority of the time going into the panoramic displays set on their respected exhibit space. Cool, fascinating eye-candy, sure; why we are present in 7AB? Not so much.
Thankfully Black Series fans had enough to cheer about, with my favorite reveal being the Sandtrooper-riding Dewback. God, is this reptilian beast–complete with articulated tongue!–a sight for Yoda eyes (shame I’ve got no room in the 1-BR “chapel” for such a thing). Other spotlights included: Rogue One Rebel Fleet Trooper (meh); removable helmet Captain Rex (yay); General Leia Organa (concerned, after seeing the would-be final results of her elder baby daddy); and Maz Katana, whose size is compensated with a treasure chest (nice, but not a huge fan of smaller “6 figs).
In addition to finer detail coming to the 3.75″ line, the panel went very deep into the Vintage Collection; expect classic, new and even comic (Doctor Aphra!) characters expressed in “super articulated format”. As far as what the haps is with Hasbro’s brand new Forces of Destiny–a appealing amalgamation of both doll and figure, based on the new animated shorts–an Episode II Padme Naboo Pilot was revealed to plenty of “ooo’s” and “ahh’s”. While Hasbro did its thing, this panel paled in comparison to the greatness that was their SDCC 2016 presentation. Of course I wasn’t given a free Force FX lightsaber or anything… 3.25/5 Bibles.
Highlights from LUCASFILM PUBLISHING: NEW STAR WARS STORIES (Friday – 7AB):
- Prolific Marvel Comics scribe Cullen Bunn dug into the machinations of his Darth Maul title, one that takes place before Phantom Menace and sees the writer-proclaimed “mean dude” fight between the hurry-up-and-wait scenario of Jedi Kill Urgency (despite Darth Sidious’ pledge of patience), and finding a way to stealthily take them out. Bunn’s southern charm came into play when speaking about his favorite moment working on the title with “every line [being] well-crafted,” he loved Maul’s retort when told Star Wars’ inarguable most famous slogan: “I’m Sith, the Force is always with me.”
- While a huge fan of the current Disney canon of Star Wars novels (old geezers might not agree, but they’ve been pretty rad for the most part so far), I was wondering how many nerds attending the panel were there for the Marvel comics and how many were there for the rest, which included all-ages/kids titles like Star Wars: Join the Resistance, SW Jedi Academy: The Force Oversleeps (Jarret J. Krasocka‘s “kids in drama club, set in a Jedi temple” book releases today!), and IDW’s new Star Wars Adventures, perhaps the most ambitious of the bunch. Creators Cavan Scott and Landry Walker promise smaller stories in the universe with bigger characters (i.e. Rey before she meets BB-8; a prequel-era back-up), all appropriate for ages 5-50. That’s a steep Tatooine mound to clime. While Krasocka was inspired by the Star Wars arcade and C-3P0 cereal, Scott hilariously spoke about his introduction via The Muppet Show and being gifted with an Obi-Wan toy. “You bought me an old man.”
- Both Claudia Grey and Christie Golden have apparent must-buys for fans of the new Star Wars novels with both Leia: Princess of Alderaan and Battlefront II: Inferno Squad (out today!). Grey’s Leia is the Princess General’s rebellion origin, with a little bit of Bail and Breha Organa story told from her vantage point, as well. Although Grey’s story (and name) is serious, she was a spunky delight in the hour, joking about her childhood addiction to SW as nothing but “career preperation”; the author also revealed that she used her walk-in closet as an X-Wing simulator. Inferno Squad, the prequel to the November sequel to last year’s Battlefront game, is a story full of twists for the main characters and a not-so-simple good vs. bad plotline. The NY Times Best-Selling Author also prefers silence when writing SW material, but her persistent travel schedule has made her adjust to the usual airport and coffee shop noise. 3.75/5 Bibles.