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Celebration 3 Day 2 -Episode III Spectacular!!!

Friday was definitely dominated by the Spectacular.  On Thursday night Rick McCallum told us that it was not to be missed and he was soooooooo right!!!  I was completely blown away.  I was lucky enough to get into the first session and sit on the fourth row, directly behind VIP seating.  Before the show started, I decided to find out what made the guests in front of me VIPs—they didn’t look like celebs I was familiar with, except one guy looked a little like Dan Gregoire (but then, I don’t remember why he’s a VIP either—he was the MC of the Behind-the-Scenes room--–thank you! ;)

Turns out the people in front of us were Fan Club staff from Scotland and Spain.  I got to converse a little with the Bilaínos (that means they are from Bilbao, where the Guggenheim is, on the North Coast of Spain) in my favorite Spanish accent (sorry if my theta offends your ears, Sergio).  They and the Scot were very friendly and even gave my friend, Tommy, and I Spanish Fan Club pins and they also gave me a copy of the Spanish version of the Insider!

Other VIPs in our general vicinity included Don Bies.  Rick pointed him out during the question and answer period.

I guess I am a narrow-minded fan but I was disappointed in some of the questions that were asked concerning Willow (there will not be a 2) and The Young Indiana Jones (there will eventually be a DVD).  Questions that did spark my interest:  Rick admitted reluctantly that there was talk of a live action series—this information is now old news though, since Lucas confirmed that it will be done.  Deleted scenes from the original trilogy, like Luke and Biggs on the roof and Threepio ripping down the sign and even the Christmas Special, will be available on DVD eventually. 

But, let’s get down to business.  Rick did. **Some of this may be spoilage—but I wasn’t going to miss footage shown by Rick McCallum!**  Before he even started the question and answer segment he showed us the sneak preview footage from the film.  It was almost totally without dialogue (but some of it you could read lips).  We got to see lots more footage of the space battle from the beginning of the movie, including Anakin and Obi-Wan crash landing in the hangar on the Separatist ship.  This was incredible!  The space battle is deep and all-encompassing like nothing you have ever imagined!  A buzz-droid landed on, I think, Obi-Wan’s ship and sliced the dome off his Astro-Droid.  When they crashed in the hangar, as Obi-Wan’s ship was blowing up, he force-blasted the canopy off, force-flipped in a huge, graceful arc and landed with his lightsaber blazing through battle droids all around him all-in-one, sweeping motion.  It was INSANE!!!  There was a profound silence in the crowd, and then, BOOM! Raucous applause!!!  That was one of the coolest things I have ever seen in a movie!

We saw more of the Count Dooku fight and more of other segments of the movie.  Wookiees being wookiees.  Jedi being jedi.  Anakin unleashing darkside fury.  Yoda defending himself against clones!  Yoda getting knocked senseless by Sidious.  Yoda scaring the spit out of Sidious.  Mace using his lightsaber to defend himself against Force Lightning and looking like a Bad son-of-a-gun while he’s at it!  Perhaps second only to his amazing acrobatics in the space battle comes the footage of Obi-Wan’s battle with General Grievous!  We saw the cyborg hunchback look menacing in several cuts before he faced off with Obi-Wan, and we didn’t get to see them duel with lightsabers, but seeing the Wheel Bike and his guards and the Boga in action… Whoa!!!  At one point the Boga is galloping along side the bike and Obi-Wan is trying to pull a Force Pike/Lance (like the ones his guards carry) out of Grievous’ hand.

The finale of all this incredible footage took us to several of the planets we will be seeing in this movie, including Alderaan (beautiful Mountain snowscape).

That took a lot out of me.  I literally cried.  It was so cool.  It was so sad.  It was amazing cinematography and makes me even more excited about seeing this movie.  It was sad because the story is sad.  It was sad because it is the last Star Wars movie.

Rick kept saying, “This is the one you have been waiting for.”  After the exclusive footage he showed us even more in the form of animatics into final cuts.

He told us they finished editing the movie last Tuesday—two days before!!! :O

I am so excited.

After the Spectacular, I was literally drained.  Tommy and Dale went back for the second session and I just found some stairs to sit down.

When I got my second wind I braved the dealer room again and later caught up with Sergio again.  I saw Star Wars in 30 Minutes with Sergio and his wife and two of their friends.  That was hilarious!  I hope that it gets put on DVD or goes on tour or something.  If they are coming to a convention near you they are worth it.  I heard the same about the Musical Star Wars and the One Man Star Wars, but only got to see the previews of those at the openings ceremonies.  After the show, Sergio and I went to the Press room to work on pictures and get some of the ones you have seen on the web up to Mark.

The best thing I missed on Friday was the Matthew Wood-Star Wars Sound Design talk.  Apparently this was the best-kept secret of the Con.  Tommy and Dale were there (I was outside waiting for Matt Stover--in the same room next session). L  It turns out that Matt had footage prepared of the Grievous vs. Obi-Wan lightsaber battle, and the lucky attendees got to see it over and over again, as it developed sound-wise from principal photography through several steps of post production to the final cut version.

The Matthew Stover question and answer session was very enlightening.  I felt a little silly, having not read the book, but he was respectful of people like me and danced around such issues quite artfully.  Most of the questions, therefore, were more about the craft of writing.  I will try to outline a couple of his main points.  Regarding character development, he said that each character has a spine: the character’s intentions, needs, wants, morals, fears. 

The spine of the character dictates what they will do in any given situation.  Sometimes the story that you have planned to write puts the character in a position where the spine dictates them to make the opposite decision from the one you had envisioned.  If you make them make act contrary to their spine you are essentially breaking the character’s back.  In your own writing you have to choose whether you will change the story or tweak the spine to fit the planned story.  But in the case of the novelization, Stover couldn’t change the story, so he had to go back and change things he had already written when he found out that the spine he had for a particular character was wrong.  In fact, he had to re-write Anakin repeatedly.  The amazing thing is that when he would go back and fix Anakin so that he would fit with the current spine, in order to follow George’s story, the book would work better.  Matt kept saying the George had been there before he had.  He said it was a very humbling experience for him.  

He also said that he worked with Luceno while he was writing Labrynth of Evil.  They coordinated somewhat on who would cover what and how stories would carry through.  Stover stated that he wanted the book to tie everything (including EU) together the way the movie ties the movie saga together.  He told us that Lucas did a line-by-line edit of the book, and while he took some things out and changed a few things, most of the EU tie-ins that Stover wrote are still in the book, and therefore are Lucas-approved—Stover told us to use this against the purists! ;)

He was asked about Shatterpoint and how much freedom he had while working on it and Traitor.  Stover said that he was given pretty much free reign on Shatterpoint, and that he got himself a lot of freedom on Traitor—more than other NJO writers, by taking Jacen out of the rest of the story arc for a year.  No one could touch him, and because it was outside the timeline, he was able to finish the book early and no-one could write him into a corner, even some whose books came before his in the official timeline.

Stover also said, regarding Shatterpoint, that when he got the ROTS script and saw how much Mace was in there he was very pleased.  When he realized how George had characterized Mace, he said to himself, “I nailed him!”

Two more things about the Revenge of the Sith novelization:  **spoiler**  There are no wookiees in the book.  Stover said that they came at a time in the book when that many pages (a chapter or two) would break up the flow of the other stories too much.  Lucas didn’t say a word.  He knows that there is a difference between the story flow of a movie and a book. 

The last thing is that Stover has not seen the film in any form.  He got the script summer of 2003 and interviewed George in January of 2004.  Other than that he has had full access to the Jedi Holocron and Lucasfilm’s online database, which he said could only be accessed by the Force.  And, of course, as all the writers say, Sue Rostoni is an invaluable resource.  Too bad I missed the continuity panel where she spoke, with Stover and Zahn and others.

There was too much to do and no way to choose.  I am glad that we had more than one staffer and forum members there to give us multiple perspectives and peaks into different sessions.