Milford Hutsell

Milford Hutsell

My daughter was 4 years old when she saw the Star Wars films for the first time. I jumped at the chance to take her to see A New Hope on the big screen, which is how it was meant to be seen. And watching an original 35mm print in a darkened theater surrounded by several hundred other fans was enough to make me feel 4 years old again, too.

Soon enough, she could narrate the entire original trilogy. She played with my vast collection of toys, and she discovered her own newer action figures. She listened to the NPR dramatization on an endless loop. She dueled with Darth Vader at Walt Disney World.

Jamie Greene's kids in Star Wars Costumes

When my son came along, his first contact was also with the original trilogy, but at home on a Blu-ray version. He was also immediately captivated.

Everyone has their own unique journey to discovering Star Wars. The galaxy and the franchise have become so massive that there are countless points of entry. But there is always an entryway — a point of first contact, if you will. For many people, it’s one of the films. For others, it might be one of the animated series, a book, or a comic.

Whatever it is, when you sit down to watch or read a story set in that galaxy far, far away, something in it resonates. Something clicks. Something grabs ahold of your imagination and won’t let go. Suddenly, you’re a Star Wars fan.

Fans of a certain age (i.e., those of us who are first-generation fans) discovered the original trilogy at the beginning. Our journey involved darkened theaters, shocking revelations of parenthood by Darth Vader, Kenner toys, and goofy picture books. Brilliant.

A second generation of fans came of age when the prequel trilogy took the country by storm. For many of them, The Phantom Menace was their first exposure and how they discovered Star Wars. Their entryway was populated by young Anakin, Padmé, Darth Sidious, and more Jedi than you could shake a stick at. Wonderful.

Today, another generation is discovering and growing up with Star Wars through the sequel trilogy and beyond. There have never been more points of entry. And many of the fans who made up those previous generations now have kids of our own — and we’re bringing them along with us for the ride.

Nevertheless, one thing remains true: Every fan has his or her own unique journey to discovering Star Wars, even with an established fan acting as a guide and teacher. Today, the characters and stories that we grew up with are not only still popular, but also very much alive and actively growing.

Our kids grow up on a steady diet of Star Wars books, toys, lunchboxes, and games. And in many cases they have all of these things, and an understanding of key characters, before they even see the movies.

My children have found their way through the galaxy together. The films played a huge role in that, sure, but they also forged their own path through Star Wars Rebels, LEGO Star Wars, the Origami Yoda books, Forces of Destiny, and on and on and on.

Their journey to becoming fans has been so different from my own. And I love that. I love that we all have different experiences and find different things to love. I love that Star Wars continues to tell stories for all types of fans of all ages.

Luke in Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures.

Being a parent is a constant balancing act. We want to share the things we love, but we also want our kids to come to the story in their own way, on their own terms, and seen through their own eyes. Hopefully, our kids will care enough about the story to make sure their own children discover it (in ways we can’t even imagine).

My kids love Star Wars because of their own experiences with it. They have their own favorite characters and scenes, and there are stories that speak directly to them. And that’s that’s how it should be.

There are so many ways to discover and experience the saga. It doesn’t really matter if you start with The Phantom Menace or A New Hope, The Force Awakens or Galaxy of AdventuresStar Wars Rebels or Star Wars Resistance.

And it doesn’t really matter where you go from there.

For more on Galaxy of Adventures, visit Star Wars Kids on YouTubeStarWarsKids.com, and StarWars.com.

Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He’s also a contributor to GeekDad and runs The Roarbots, where he focuses on awesome geeky stuff that happens to be kid-friendly. On top of that, he cohosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates geek culture by talking to people who create it. With two little ones and a vast Star Wars collection at home, he’s done the unthinkable: allowed them full access to most of his treasure from the past 30 years, opening and playing with whatever they want (pre-1983 items excluded).

Cosplay Command Center is a special three-part series connecting cosplayers attending Star Wars Celebration Chicago to resources and expert insights to complete their costumes from Star Wars animation.

When Kazuda Xiono joined the Resistance as a pilot and a spy last year, we discovered a whole new cast of colorful characters inhabiting the Colossus platform on the edge of the Outer Rim.

This April, fans will have their first chance to cosplay Kaz, the Aces, and other characters from the hit new animated show at a Star Wars Celebration. So we asked Art Director Amy Beth Christenson to share her insights and tips on bringing these costumes to life.

Christenson and the design team looked to real-world inspirations – from police riot gear and firefighter garb to space suits and uniforms worn by NASCAR, Formula 1, and Motocross racers – to create unique new uniforms and accessories.

“There’s two ways to approach any of these characters,” Christenson says. “If you’re trying to do something that looks like it jumped out of the show,” especially vibrant colors will help you emulate the stylized anime-inspired feel. “If people are going to go more for what is the real-world version, I’d probably dull down the colors, honestly,” she adds.

Kaz in New Republic Navy gear

Kaz Kanudo

When we first see Kaz, he’s a hot-shot pilot with the New Republic Navy being pursued in his X-wing by Major Vonreg’s crimson TIE interceptor.

“The inspiration for his suit was modern Coast Guard pilot and rescue gear,” Christenson says. Like the standard orange X-wing jumpsuit, Kaz’s navy blue flight suit should be fashioned from similarly rugged fabric. “The fabric is fairly heavy and weather/fireproof, more like a firefighter uniform.”

A small hose and nozzle attach the light blue vest to his standard-issue helmet, she adds. “There is a harness underneath the vest, this would be similar to a parachute or climbing harness. The vest would be heavily padded, with the collar especially so, like the extra orange padded X-wing pilot coats from Empire Strikes Back.”

Kaz in New Republic gear

Click here for the full cosplay reference guide as a downloadable/printable PDF.

Major Vonreg

Major Vonreg

Speaking of Major Vonreg, his unique uniform will be an eye-catching piece roaming the Celebration exhibition floor.

“His jumpsuit would be made of the same material as a standard TIE pilot, so it would be your standard coverall,” Christenson says. “I’d go for something as bright as a Royal Guard.”

Forearm and shoulder armor are an exact match for First Order stormtrooper gear, Christenson notes, but the shin pads are customized. “And his belt is from a First Order trooper, but he’s got a special buckle.” The chest plate, with a specially integrated flight box in the chest armor, is all-new, as well as the helmet, designed as a mix of a First Order TIE pilot’s bucket and the standard Royal Guard gear. “So it’s a completely unique helmet with some elements from both.”

Major Vonreg

Click here for the full cosplay reference guide as a downloadable/printable PDF.

Tam Ryvora

Tam Ryvora

Tam is not to be trifled with, and animators dressed her in no-nonsense gear befitting the hard-working mechanic. To get the look, Christenson advises modifying a thick T-shirt with quilted panels and finding pants made from a light, soft khaki duck cloth or denim, similar to a real-world mechanic coverall. “Her vest is pretty heavily padded in general, but the back support and collar especially so,” Christenson says. “I imagine that her patch would be embroidered on. Her belt and the attachments are very similar to a climbing harness.”

Tam Ryvora

Like the Range Troopers seen in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Tam’s boots include high-tech leg supports, “all metal, with some hydraulic supports in the back. The bottom of the supports would wrap around to the bottom of the shoe. Her kneepads would have to be attached to the pants, which would call for some problem-solving of materials.”

Always ready to get to work, Tam’s accessories include a pair of goggles, “fairly simple, but getting the rounded shapes would be key,” Christenson says, and gloves. “Her work gloves could be heavy duck cloth or possibly even leather, like welding gloves, but note that there is a ribbed cuff on the inside of the glove,” she adds.

Tam Ryvora

Click here for the full cosplay reference guide as a downloadable/printable PDF.

Torra Doza

Torra Doza

In designing Torra Doza, Christenson and the team imagined a well heeled young racer with customized gear. “We wanted all of her stuff, even her droid and her ship, to look like she had a lot of money and she could custom design it,” Christenson says. “For her flight suit, it would be a thick spandex, a really thick knitted weave that has a lot of stretch to it.”

The animation team looked to astronaut suits for initial inspiration, “but then it kind of eked its way back into racing.” Piping traces the blue and orange accents and denotes some padding for performance and protection. “If you look really close at the drawings, you’ll see where we meant it to be padded. It should break the silhouette if you zoom way in. Pixel to pixel, you should be able to see a little bit.”

NASCAR uniforms, with panels and stripes, were incorporated as well as elements borrowed from equestrian pants. “Some of it’s these random callouts for people who race various things.” For instance, to recreate Torra’s boots, look to Motocross racing. “I based those boots off Motocross boots. You could do it in layers, almost like snowboarding boots…The front pad is plastic armor and that back would be padding or thick material.”

Torra Doza

Click here for the full cosplay reference guide as a downloadable/printable PDF.

Freya Fenris

Freya Fenris

Much like Torra, building Freya’s ensemble calls for stretchy material similar to the kind favored by snowboarders. Think ski pants with plenty of warmth and stretch. “The quilting would be pretty pronounced on the hips, forearms, and knees,” adds Christenson, with red piping snaking around panels.

For the armor pieces, Christenson advises finding something that mimics metal with a high polish and lots of shine. “It’s attached on to her flight suit via a harness, with black parachute straps.”

And pay special attention to the trickiest part of this outfit, “the way her pants are designed into her boots.  One way to cheat this would be to have the armor heel plate go over the bottom of the pants and attach to the boot.”

Freya Fenris

Click here for the full cosplay reference guide as a downloadable/printable PDF.

Griff Halloran

Griff Halloran

For cosplayers who have previously made their own original trilogy TIE fighter garb, the bones of a Griff Halloran ensemble are already tucked away in their costume closets. “Griff is pretty 1:1,” Christenson says, down to the TIE chest box and the custom-painted helmet. “The pants would be like the lower half of that jumpsuit,” she says. “He’s pretty straight forward. He’s still wearing his suit from Return of the Jedi, so a lot of those materials would be the same. Most of this is just fitting him weird because his body’s not in the same shape it was 30 years ago.”

Take note of the tattoos decorating his left arm and his customized shrug jacket, the last remnants of a puffy coat from his Imperial days. “You don’t really see it in the movies or anything like that, but Luke had that extra orange coat that he wore over his X-wing jumpsuit in Empire Strikes Back. The idea is Griff had an Imperial one that was black and just doesn’t fit very well anymore.”

Griff Halloran

Click here for the full cosplay reference guide as a downloadable/printable PDF.

Hype Fazon

Hype Fazon

“Hype was very much based off of Formula 1 and NASCAR,” Christenson says, with a suit designed for daring stunts. Think “flame retardant and a little bit shiny.”

Given his racing prowess, patches from an array of sponsors cover his ensemble, with a silk-screened pattern down the outer legs and heavy quilting on the bottom of the pants. “Anytime you see this diamond-shaped quilting, you could always default back to the Hoth troopers in Empire Strikes Back. We’re looking at that when we’re drawing it. That’s the sort of relief that we’re going for,” she says. “If you’re using a heavy enough material, the second you start stitching it, it’s going to kind of self quilt.”

Hype Fazon

For the belt, Christenson imagined a Velcro piece of reflective material, similar to the closure on a real-life racecar driver’s jumpsuit, with Hype’s name in Aurebesh. And she can’t wait to see the inventive ways cosplayers go about capturing his Rodian face. “I want to see that mask, you guys!”

Hype Fazon

Click here for the full cosplay reference guide as a downloadable/printable PDF.

Agent Tierny

Tierny

By the time we get to Chicago, fans will have been more formally introduced to Tierny, a First Order security agent first glimpsed in the mid-season trailer. But in the grand tradition of Star Wars cosplayers, if you want to build your own Tierny cosplay early, Christenson has some pointers.

The ensemble is tricky because it’s comprised of unique elements. “She’s a security agent like Kallus, and they get to design their own gear. They don’t really have the standard uniform, so her entire under suit is very police/SWAT team inspired,” she says. But her shoulder armor could be repainted from a standard First Order trooper’s kit, Christenson notes, and the code cylinders on her belt are standard First Order-issued.

Real-world police riot gear, military sweaters, and Navy SEAL garments helped inspire the look. “In SEAL team training garments, you’ll see a lot of the same knee padding and especially the ribbing on the shirt,” she says.

Tierny Tierny

The striking silhouette of Tierny’s helmet was inspired by a mashup. “It was half Vader, half Kallus,” Christenson says. And beneath it, a complicated knotted updo to tame her wild curls. “It’s drawn simply, but it has a little bit of a complex knot going on. It looks like it probably has a lot of natural big locks and wave to it, but she sort of has a twisted bun.”

Tierny

Click here for the full cosplay reference guide as a downloadable/printable PDF.

Check back for more Cosplay Command Center as we explore detailed images of characters from Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars ahead of Star Wars Celebration Chicago!

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. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019 13:55

Hatching ILMxLAB’s Star Wars: Project Porg

Before they could transport a trio of curious, wide-eyed porgs into your living room, the designers at ILMxLAB were having some very in-depth conversations about finding the perfect “toe spread” on a migrating space puffin.

The stars of the new mixed-reality experience Star Wars: Project Porg have the weight of a real bird-like creature, and the perfect doe eyes for pleading for food that also looked entirely realistic. “Getting their eyes right is just so difficult,” says Michael Koperwas, ILMxLAB’s mixed reality supervisor. “Getting enough specular highlight that they feel like they’re there, getting everything to feel like they’re really in the world with you, that the shadows are as good as they can possibly get, they feel grounded, they feel there.”

The porgs’ movements, from flying and landing to cocking their head to one side in mimicry, had to be precise. Designers even created an entire porg language, a catalog of squeaks and sqawks that, for the discerning user or practiced “porg whisperer,” can audibly cue their specific needs in the moment, says Alex Elsayad, the senior technical designer for Magic Leap, which partnered on the project. “There’s an entire language there. They can actually request specific toys if you pay enough attention and spend enough time with them.”

The final version, essentially the next step in virtual pets, is ILMxLAB’s latest experience and first public experiment in mixed-reality storytelling, a new avenue that aims to ground virtual creations in real surroundings. Available now exclusively on the Magic Leap One, an untethered headset, the project differs from previous ventures that transported fans to a droid repair bay through virtual reality or touched down on Mustafar with all the sights and smells in Secrets of the Empire. In traditional virtual reality, “You’re shutting out the rest of the world,” Koperwas says. “Once you aren’t doing that, once you start putting on this device that you can wear it and go about your regular tasks, it occupies a very different space of entertainment. We’re very interested and keen to find out where some of those things can work….The ability to interact with other people together through this experience, these are all super exciting parts that we want to start to play at.”

Concept art from Star Wars: Project Porg by ILMxLAB.

Concept art shows three different proposed designs for a small Wookiee doll.

A screen from Star Wars: Project Porg by ILMxLAB.

Direct from Ahch-To

Slip on the Magic Leap One headset and spatial scanning software creates a grid-like map of the space around you before the porgs touch down in a specially-designed device complete with a holographic C-3PO providing very polite on-screen instructions. With a hand controller, you can feed the porgs nutrient-rich cubes, play with a twine ball crafted by Chewbacca himself, or even maneuver a laser-pointer to send the porgs hustling and chirping around the room. Pick up a porg and place it on a table or even your friend’s head. And, if you happen to drop one of the bird-like creatures, the tiny porg will flap gently and gracefully back down to the nearest surface.

The longer you play, the more in tune you and the creatures become, with each other and the surroundings. Plant a blade of grass on your living room carpet and when you return days later you will see it sprout into an entire patch of grass on the same spot. Interact with the porgs enough and they’ll begin to mimic the way you tilt your head, imprinting upon their new caregiver over time. “A lot of work has gone into making sure the porgs were aware of each other at all times and then through various APIs (application programming interface), they can always be aware of not only where a user is but where they’re looking,” says Elsayad. “It’s a very powerful tool to be able to understand where people’s attention is because you can read a lot about their intention. On the technical side, we had a small touch of content persistence. There is actual grass that you can plant. For that grass to be at the same location the next day, as long as it recognizes the space, a single blade turns into a full patch that the porgs can then enjoy.”

‘Really cute and mischievous’

The porg storyline is nearly four years in the making. That’s when the collaboration between Magic Leap and ILMxLAB began, and the creators started running experiments to explore “how to best express this new medium,” Elsayad says. “We’ve been trying to figure out what would be the best fit for a long time. And for the past year we’ve been focused on this vignette.”

“We’ve tried a surprisingly large variety of different things, characters, cinematic tie-ins and scale,” adds Koperwas. “Some worked for various reasons and really didn’t work for others.

A porg from Star Wars: Project Porg by ILMxLAB.

A variety of porgs from project Porg. A variety of porgs from project Porg. A variety of porgs from project Porg. A variety of porgs from project Porg.

If you want to do something huge, you can do it, but you need a really big space and not everyone has that. If you want to do something human-sized, it doesn’t come across as well to everybody. Really small things almost instantly give you this intimate feeling.” That made the porgs the perfect creature to focus on. “They’re things you want to take care of, things you’re not afraid to approach. (Porgs) can have a mind of their own, they can have their own opinions and desires. You can project a lot of emotion onto them and they’re just, they’re just really cute and mischievous.”

“For Magic Leap, one of the important things was to explore, ‘What does it mean to have meaningful character interaction in mixed reality?’” adds Elsayad. “There is something very emotionally and viscerally satisfying about having a character that pays attention to you in your own space in a way that I don’t think any other medium really comes close to.”

‘Surprises’

To begin building the experience, the designers had to anticipate how people would interact with the tiny Ahch-To natives.

“You literally have to put it in front of as many eyes as possible,” says Elsayad. “There’s always going to be somebody who surprises you. Any one perspective is never enough. I remember someone at Magic Leap’s L.E.A.P. Conference playing porg golf,” he adds with a laugh. “That was not a thing that we really expected anybody to do. But because you can pick up the porg, what happens if I then use the porg to push stuff around? We quickly realized there’s interactions that you want to encourage and there’s patterns you want to find ways of discouraging. We eventually had to come up with a way of preventing people from shaking porgs.”

To date, the team has had over 150 testers explore the project as they fine tuned the details. “In the early days, we made this very simple first prototype and it’s surprising how close we ended up to that,” says Koperwas. “We had a couple of toys and the porgs would walk around and jump from location to location. The simplicity of the prototype was that it was made for a very specific space; everything was pre-built, but it was delightful.”

Porg concept art from Star Wars: Project Porg by ILMxLAB.

They also combed through video reference of real-world animals and footage of the porgs from The Last Jedi, created using a mix of physical effect puppets and CGI magic, to complete the effect. Although the experience is the first time fans will encounter an adolescent of the species, allowing artists working on the project to design the feathery, Mohawk-like tufts of a fuzzy porg offspring while also dabbling in recreating the adults and hatchlings seen on film.

“There are so many tricks that you can do in movies that you just can’t when they’re in the room with you,” says Elsayad. “The mechanics have to be right because you can look at it from every perspective, you can’t force the perspective so it has to be true to life.”

“Toe spread was very, very important,” Koperwas says, an essential step in giving the creature a natural-looking step off and landing. “They’re firmly planted. It gives them a greater sense of being actually on the ground.” But perfecting a porg hop proved to be a sticking point for the designers as they creatures meandered from surface to floor. “It’s something that you kind of think, ‘this should be as simple as can be,’” says Koperwas. But the effect relies on a perfect mix of animation, lightening, end environmental awareness triggered seamlessly by artificial intelligence technology.

A porg from Star Wars: Project Porg by ILMxLAB.

Porg concept art from Star Wars: Project Porg by ILMxLAB. Porg concept art from Star Wars: Project Porg by ILMxLAB.

Cat-like aloofness 

Pet birds, like budgies, and the original porg inspiration, the regal puffin, helped designers with movement. But they also looked to more common household pets. The porgs are essentially a cross between “the cat personality, being much more on their own and just kind of solitary and wanting to find a warm space and just hang out, and dogs that are much more anxious and eager to play and interact with you,” says Koperwas. “Being able to hold your hand out and have them follow your hand. Sometimes they run away, sometimes they preen a little bit.”

Elsayad, who has two cats at home, incorporated a laser pointer after seeing his own beloved pets go wild for the toy. It also serves as a solid example of how realistic the experience feels when you’re immersed in it. “On top of having porgs run around, which is obviously good fun, the laser pointer will stop at a wall, or on the ground or at a table, which further anchors the entire experience into your space.”

And Unreal Engine 4 helped engineers build the porgs’ artificial intelligence. “One of my favorite moments in the entire experience is when porgs start mimicking your head movement,” says Elsayad. “It’s one of the things that we kept coming back to. ‘How can we make the porgs pay more attention to you?’ And sometimes it’s just as simple as slowing things down and allowing the porgs to look at you in the eyes for a second before they do something. The difference in emotional response between a porg that’s trying to do something to impress you and a porg that just stops, turns at you, looks at you, smiles metaphorically and then does the thing is really powerful.”

The future is now

In the future, the team hopes mixed reality can be an added layer to the human experience of everyday life, used for entertainment in off hours or even a distraction on a long commute to work. Video calls connecting colleagues separated by time zones and vast oceans could transition into mixed reality. “I’m looking forward to being able to have a meeting where the people who are remote are actually sitting in that chair and aware of where I’m looking,” says Elsayad. “I can look them in the eye.”

“What I’m most interested in is this eventually emerging medium of telling stories over time,” adds Koperwas.  “We’re getting to this point where you can start to gain a relationship to a character and that story can be told through your direct relationship with that character. It’s no longer this sort of, ‘Oh they’re talking to the camera’ or breaking the fourth wall. No, it’s you. You’re part of the story. You are integral to it and we’re going on this story together.”

Koperwas expects that mixed reality will one day alter the way we lay out our homes, with rooms often configured around a glowing television screen. “And what that means for design, what that means for communication, eventually architecture as mixed reality gets more integral to our lives and becomes much more accessible, I think everything about the world is going to be very different from what we have now.”

But today, the team is just excited to see the first fans step into this larger world of porg caregiving. “One of the most profound joys is watching somebody else put on a headset and almost instantly forget that other people are there and just focus their attention on this new little creature that they’ve maybe wanted to meet for a long time,” Koperwas says. “That’s just the most heartwarming.”

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. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019 20:44

Billy Dee Williams, Alan Tudyk Announced for

Before he reprises the role of Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: Episode IX later this year, you’ll have the chance to see actor Billy Dee Williams at Star Wars Celebration Chicago.

Billy Dee Williams

Billy Dee Williams

Alan Tudyk

Alan Tudyk

The original cape-wearing, smooth-talking, business man from the city in the clouds will join fans alongside Alan Tudyk, who played the wise-cracking K-2SO, the Imperial droid-turned-rebel hero in Rogue One.

Freddie Prinze Jr. Taylor Gray

During the event, you’ll also have the chance to see Kanan and Ezra reunite at a Celebration for the first time since we said goodbye to Star Wars Rebels, when Freddie Prinze Jr. and Taylor Gray make an appearance.

Anthony Forrest John Morton Julian Glover Michael Culver

Other newly-announced stars include: Anthony Forrest, who donned a stormtrooper bucket on Tatooine and was “Jedi mind tricked” by Obi-Wan Kenobi; John Morton, best known as Dak, the other half of Luke Skywalker’s snowspeeder team in the Battle of Hoth; and two of the Empire’s finest officers, Julian Glover, who played General Veers, and Michael Culver, who was the ill-fated Captain Needa.

These are just the latest in a long line of most impressive Star Wars talent slated for the Topps autograph area, including Star Wars legend Peter Mayhew, and many more. You can purchase your autograph tickets now.

Be sure to check out The Star Wars Show for this and other exciting news!

Check back on 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.

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.

35: “Brain Invaders” (Season Two, Episode 8)

“Attachment is not compassion.”

A scene from

Synopsis:

While the Jedi Knights transport Poggle the Lesser as a prisoner to Coruscant, Padawans Barriss Offee and Ahsoka Tano are dispatched to escort a medical frigate to its destination. But when Geonosian brain worms take control of the clone troopers aboard their supply ship, Ahsoka and Barriss must stop the vessel from unleashing the deadly plague upon the galaxy.

A scene from

A scene from A scene from

Analysis:

Clones betraying and trying to murder the Jedi. A Jedi turning against one of their own. These are the shadows of things to come, in the future of the galaxy and when parasitic brain worms invade a supply ship.

A scene from A scene from

With her master far away and Barriss as well as many of the clones plagued by the infection, Ahsoka is largely left to her own devices. In a battle with her beleaguered friend, she must make the most difficult decision of all: fulfill Barriss’s plea to put her out of her misery by ending her life, or trust that the actions she’s taken to contain and kill the brain worms will be successful.

If Ahsoka is wrong, it means endangering the galaxy, unleashing the deadly plague currently contained aboard the small ship. But Ahsoka, plainly, couldn’t bring herself to kill her friend.

A scene from

In the medical bay, recovering from the traumatic ordeal, Ahsoka is plagued by doubt over her choices. But in a touching moment of compassion and kindness, Anakin allays those fears, consoling his Padawan by assuring her that she trusted her instincts and did what she thought was best.

A scene from

When any big decision presents itself in life, it’s tempting to think there’s only one right choice. We can be paralyzed by fear and doubt about making the wrong decision. But as Anakin demonstrates, and as Star Wars teaches us again and again, trusting in your instincts will lead you to a solid course of action.

And most of the time, there’s no real wrong choice. Right and wrong, after all, are subject to your point of view.

Intel:

  • Look closely at the Padawans’ pillows. The pillow cases are printed with the Republic cog logo, which is also emblazoned on the clones’ undersuits.

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 Jedi Master Eeth Koth is taken hostage and tortured by General Grievous in “Grievous Intrigue.”

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.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019 12:55

Fuel Your Force with These Yoda Cucumber Bites

Star Wars Fuel Your Force is a commitment to finding your “inner Force” through an active and healthy lifestyle. Taking inspiration from the epic stories and powerful characters from the Star Wars galaxy, these nutritious recipes are good for you, full of flavor, and sure to bring balance to the Force and your inner well being.

Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things. But what is craveable is a morsel filled with crunch, tang, and zest to help you harness your energy.

Make these cucumber bites in the shape of Master Yoda and with each bite you’ll be reminded that the Force is an energy that surrounds us and binds us. Feel the Force around you. Fill your body with healthy, mindful snacks, you will.

Yoda Cucumber Bites

Yield: 8 servings

Serving size: 3 bites

Guacamole ingredients:

  • 1 avocado, halved and pitted
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Squeeze of half a lime (approx. 2 teaspoons)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 slices deli turkey

Step 1: In a small bowl, scoop out the avocado and add the garlic, salt, and lime juice. Mash together well.

Steps to make Yoda Cucumber Bites.

Step 2: Slice ⅔ of the cucumber into rounds. Use a round cutter to cut out rounds of turkey.

Steps to make Yoda Cucumber Bites.

Step 3: On top of a cucumber round, place turkey, then a spoonful of guacamole.

Steps to make Yoda Cucumber Bites.

Step 4: Slice the last ⅓ of the cucumber into half moons and place on both sides to create ears. Top with another cucumber round, to serve.

A tray of Yoda Cucumber Bites.

Star Wars Fuel Your Force continues through 2019. Find healthy recipes, fun activities, articles, and other information at StarWars.com and tell us about your own journey on social media using #FuelYourForce #StarWars.

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.

It’s time for younglings of all ages to take their first steps into a larger world.

Last week, Hasbro unveiled Star Wars Lightsaber Academy, an innovative app-and-lightsaber-toy combo that will teach aspiring Jedi how to wield the most elegant of weapons. Here’s how it will work: download the official Lightsaber Academy App, choose from one of five of the best masters in the galaxy (Jedi or Sith, depending on which side of the Force you lean toward), and begin your journey to becoming a lightsaber expert. The app syncs via Bluetooth to Hasbro’s new line of lightsabers thanks to Smart-Hilt technology, which tracks the lightsabers’ movements to evaluate skill, scores, and progression. The experience includes character voices, sound effects, and each Star Wars Lightsaber Academy lightsaber includes a kyber crystal at its core. There’s even a two-player component for when two friends decide to go the Obi-Wan/Anakin route and battle it out. Star Wars Lightsaber Academy ($49.99) arrives on Triple Force Friday, October 4, and it sounds like a wonderful evolution of what lightsaber toys can be. StarWars.com caught up with Hasbro’s Michael Ballog, senior director, global brand strategy and marketing, Star Wars, for some master-like wisdom on the making of the innovative toy. Here are his greatest insights.

Star Wars Lightsaber Academy blue lightsaber

Star Wars Lightsaber Academy green lightsaber

On developing technology to create a more immersive way to play: 

“Consumer insights create the foundation for our brands and products, and we will continue to invest in the areas we know consumers will be excited about and develop technology that enhances their play experience. In this instance, all the great technology that we have built into Lightsaber Academy translates into an experience that feels magical for kids. The Smart-Hilt technology is tracking their movements and communicating via Bluetooth to the app — but a kid isn’t focusing on this technology per say. They are focusing on the fact that their lightsaber ‘knows’ when they make a move, can give them feedback, and react as a they train with Jedi or Sith masters and then battle with friends. This allows them to put themselves into the Star Wars story with their very own personalized lightsaber experience!”

On crafting Jedi and Sith combat techniques: 

“For the lightsaber moves, they need to be true to Star Wars while also being fun, attainable, and with the right level of challenge for a kid as they progress through training and battling. We work closely with the team at Lucasfilm and Disney to ensure that each Star Wars item created meets the high expectations of the passionate community and franchise standards.”

On the upcoming release of Star Wars Lightsaber Academy: 

“We’re beyond excited about this new offering and have had a blast creating (and playing with) it! We think fans will be just as thrilled, and we’re looking forward to following along on their Lightsaber Academy journeys once it hits shelves in fall 2019.”

Hasbro will also release additional series of Star Wars Lightsaber Academy lightsabers, including Extendable ($7.99) and Electronic ($19.99) editions that include a scannable code to access training and character content in the Lightsaber Academy app. Check them out below!

Star Wars Lightsaber Academy green lightsaber

Star Wars Lightsaber Academy red lightsaber

Star Wars Lightsaber Academy blue lightsaber

Star Wars Lightsaber Academy red lightsaber Star Wars Lightsaber Academy clear lightsaber

See below for images of all Hasbro’s Toy Fair reveals, including The Black Series, Retro Collection, and much more!

Star Wars Hyperreal 8″ Darth Vader

Hasbro Hyperreal Darth Vader

Hasbro Hyperreal Darth Vader

Hasbro Hyperreal Darth Vader

Hasbro Hyperreal Darth Vader

Hasbro Hyperreal Darth Vader

Hasbro Hyperreal Darth Vader

Star Wars Retro Collection

Hasbro Retro Chewbacca

Hasbro retro Chewbacca

Hasbro Retro Darth Vader

Hasbro Retro Darth Vader

Hasbro Retro Han Solo

Hasbro Retro Han Solo

Hasbro Retro Luke Skywalker

Hasbro Retro Luke Skywalker

Hasbro Retro Princess Leia

Hasbro Retro Princess Leia

Hasbro Retro Stormtrooper

Hasbro Retro Stormtrooper

Hasbro Retro Star Wars Game

Hasbro Retro Star Wars Game

Hasbro Retro Star Wars Game

Hasbro Retro Grand Moff Tarkin

Star Wars The Black Series Star Wars Celebration Exclusives

Hasbro The Black Series Darth Maul in packaging

Hasbro The Black Series Darth Maul

Hasbro The Black Series Darth Maul

Hasbro The Black Series Padawan Obi-Wan in Pack

Hasbro The Black Series Padawan Obi-Wan

Hasbro The Black Series Padawan Obi-Wan

Hasbro The Black Series Padawan Obi-Wan

Star Wars The Black Series

Hasbro The Black Series Battle Droid

Hasbro The Black Series Dryden Vos

Hasbro The Black Series Mimban Han Solo

Hasbro The Black Series Imperial Jumptrooper

Hasbro The Black Series Luke Skywalker

Hasbro The Black Series Mace Windu

Hasbro The Black Series Padme Amidala

Hasbro The Black Series Vice Admiral Holda

Star Wars The Vintage Collection

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Clone Trooper

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Lando Calrissian

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Praetorian Guard

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Han Solo Stormtrooper

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Lando Calrissian Skiff Guard in packaging

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Lando Calrissian Skiff Guard

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Stormtrooper

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Jabba's Palace

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Lando Calrissian Skiff Guard Jabba's Palace

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Jabba's Skiff

Hasbro The Vintage Collection Tatooine skiff set

Star Wars Micro Force

Hasbro Star Wars Micro Force Series 2 packaging

Hasbro Star Wars Micro Force Series 2 packaging

Hasbro Star Wars Micro Force Series 2

Hasbro Star Wars Micro Force Series 2

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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Photos from the 7th Annual Bloomington Craft Beer Festival in 2017.

The Brewers of Indiana Guild‘s spring beer fest fundraiser, Bloomington Craft Beer Festival, returns to Historic Woolery Mill on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Get your tickets before they’re gone to enjoy local beer, mead, and cider from dozens of local breweries and guests.

Non-DD ticket holders will get taster glasses good for 3 oz. pours of hundreds of beers from 3 – 6 p.m., and Early Bird ticket holders will enjoy an extra hour of sampling beginning at 2 p.m. Learn more and see the brewery list here.

Tickets are also going fast for the return of Columbus Craft Beer Fest on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Get your tickets now: $3 from every ticket will be donated to the Guild to support our mission.

And mark your calendar for the 24th Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival on July 27, 2019 and the 3rd Annual Broad Ripple Beer Fest on October 12, 2019.

The post Bloomington Craft Beer Festival returns to Historic Woolery Mill on 4/20. appeared first on Brewers of Indiana Guild: Drink Indiana Beer.

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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, often featuring never-before-seen concept art and stills from the show. In this installment, we look at “The Core Problem.”

Bucket’s List Extra – “The Core Problem”

Rucklin's racer in Star Wars Resistance.

1. We got one!

In a rare instance of Jarek Yeager having a paying customer within an episode, the garage is currently working on a green ship of unknown make, which in truth is a reuse of the model of Rucklin’s racer, standing in as another vessel.

Poe Dameron with the map to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

2. The mission is about to begin…

Poe having to depart for Jakku on General Leia’s orders and taking BB-8 with him is an indicator of how close the series is coming to the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Starkiller Base in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

3. I have a bad feeling about this.

With cored planets, and a star killed…whatever might the First Order be up to?

The Millennium Falcon flies near a gravity well during the Kessel Run in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

4. Look out for gravity!

A gravity well is any concentration of gravity that affects starship navigation. They may be artificial (like those used in Imperial Interdictor cruisers in Star Wars Rebels) or natural (like the one found in the heart of the Kessel Run seen in Solo: A Star Wars Story). The one at the heart of the cored planetoid may be a strange mix of both: a side effect of technology.

Poe Dameron and Kaz Xiono face the POV of a probe droid in Star Wars Resistance.

5. Stay on target.

This episode introduces a new probe droid design for the First Order. The original episode outline first called it a “science probe.” Its point-of-view photoreceptor image has the word “TARGET” in Aurebesh on display.

A young Twi'lek holds a tooka doll in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Kaz with a tooka doll atop the Fireball.

6. Tooka time.

Kaz picks up a tooka doll from the village ruins. Tooka dolls have been kids playthings in Star Wars since the first season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and have also appeared in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and in Torra’s room in this series.

Elia and Kel in Star Wars Resistance.

7. Symbol story.

Sharp-eyed viewers may have spotted that among the village ruins is the same symbol worn on a bracelet once owned by Kel and Eila.

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.

The poise of Padmé Amidala, the faith of Leia Organa, and the strength of Rey have been drawn together for a new Inkkas design that celebrates some of the most courageous heroes in the Star Wars saga.

“We want to celebrate the complete saga,” says Tatiana Salaverria, Lucasfilm’s senior designer who worked with the unisex footwear company to create the print, “The Future is Female,” which will appear on two pairs of shoes in their new Rebel Collection.

A lifestyle image of Inkkas Future is Female shoes, part of the Rebel Collection.

What started as a simple sketch of Princess Leia from A New Hope drawn by Christine Lynn Johansen, the lead designer for Inkkas, evolved into a cohesive print, with all paths coming together in an elegant celebration of the original trilogy, the prequels, and the sequels. Each character flows into the next, with Rey’s simple signature arm bands blending into Queen Amidala’s elaborate headdress.

But simplifying these Star Wars icons into a line drawing came with its own challenges. “The most important thing was for us to get their likeness, even though it’s a little bit stylized,” says Salaverria.

Inkkas designer Christine Lynn Johansen shares some sketches from her

Inkkas designer Christine Lynn Johansen shares some sketches from her

With the shoes available for pre-order starting today, StarWars.com goes behind the scenes into the making of a saga-spanning print celebrating three generations of Star Wars women.

Inkkas designer Christine Lynn Johansen shares some sketches from her

The fire of a queen

“Padmé, I think, was the hardest,”says Salaverria. “At first, she was a little too sweet. Padmé, she’s young, but she also has fire behind her.”

“She was looking a bit too young,” agrees Johansen, who tried to concentrate on capturing the emotion of the queen’s face. “It was a challenge going into it. That’s pretty much what we concentrated on getting exactly right. She has that stripe on the lip. We didn’t want it to look too heavy because since it’s all line work we tried to make to look feminine and pretty.”

Inkkas designer Christine Lynn Johansen shares some sketches from her

To me, she’s royalty

For Leia, Johansen’s lines were too thick initially, with the detail on the character’s signature double hair buns giving her hair a little too much weight. “On this print, for sure, less is more,” she says. “It started with too much of a heavy hand. With the eyes, we needed it a little bit more realistic and the lips…we made them a little more subtle.

“We wanted to keep it classic, so with Leia it was a no-brainer to go with her gown,” adds Salaverria.

Inkkas designer Christine Lynn Johansen shares some sketches from her

The next generation

For Rey, Johansen toyed with recreating the outfit that takes the character from the Resistance base to the feet of Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To. “We actually went back and forth quite a bit in terms of what costume to use,” says Salaverria. But ultimately the ensemble the character wore for most of The Force Awakens made the most sense.

The Inkkas' Future is Female camping boot. The Inkkas' Future is Female slip on. The Inkkas' Princess Leia Flex Force.

In addition to the “Future is Female” print on a slip on and camping boot style in the line, there’s a Force Flex X sneaker designed in the color palette of Leia Organa. All three shoes include a subtle Rebel Alliance emblem and a quote from Leia, uttered just before she and her would-be rescuers went diving into the Death Star’s garbage chute: “Somebody has to save our skins.”

The Inkkas' Favorite Droids slip on. The Inkkas' Favorite Droids Flex Force.

The droids you’re looking for…

The line also includes two other pairs of shoes, a slip on and a Flex Force sneaker, that pay homage to two other vital, saga-spanning characters: R2-D2 and C-3PO. After all, if not for the brave little astromech and his fretful counterpart stowing away on an escape pod on the Tantive IV, the Empire’s quest for the stolen Death Star plans may have ended before the first act in A New Hope. The insoles for those designs channel Obi-Wan Kenobi and his trusty Jedi mind trick with the oft-quoted phrase, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

A Force for good

More than just beautiful pieces of footwear, Inkkas is a force for good, says company co-founder and Director of Sourcing and Distribution David Malino. The company’s OneShoeOneTree project plants a tree for each purchase. “Supporting environmental causes is a big part of our ethos. To date, the Star Wars and Inkkas collaboration has been responsible for planting 5,376 trees as part of Inkkas’ OneShoeOneTree program.”

And with TreesForTheFuture, the brand is helping to fight deforestation in developing nations. “They plant trees mostly in Africa,” he says, “and that’s an important pillar of what we do as a company.”

But the new print also speaks to Inkkas’ dedication to authenticity in original textiles and prints and inclusivity, depicting strong female characters on shoes to be worn by men and women. “As a brand and a company, it’s important for us to support causes and women’s empowerment,” Malino says. “What the company stands for is inclusiveness and this is something that we’re excited to celebrate. We want to make a statement that this is something we’re really excited about. And we want Star Wars fans to be excited with us and celebrate the powerful female characters in all the films.”

The Inkkas' Rebel Collection.

The Rebel Collection is the third collaboration between Inkkas and Star Wars, available for pre-order starting today.

Learn more about the company’s philanthropic initiatives at Inkkas.com.

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. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

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