More Online Star Wars Properties Go Offline, Sony and Lucasarts Announce End of Life for Galaxies

Slashdot.org reports that Sony and Lucasarts announced the end of life for Star Wars Galaxies, the massively multiplayer online game set in the Star Wars universe. December 15, 2011 is the day for Galaxies and the accompanying collectible card game (aka trading card game). Many reports of the uneven execution of Galaxies kept me away from the game. Now, I wish that I had devoted some time to try it out for myself. Unfortunately, I don’t think that I have the spare time to try it out before its servers go silent. Read more about the shutdown here.

Star Wars Lego 10221 Super Star Destroyer Arrives in September 2011

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From Bricks to Bothans posted pictures of the upcoming Super Star Destroyer set from Lego. Darth Vader’s flagship from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi looks most impressive. It includes minifigs of Darth Vader, Admiral Firmus Piett, IG-88, Dengar, and Bossk. Unfortunately, like the awesome Death Star set, it is priced out of my budget at $399, but I am sure some luck Lego builders will enjoy it regardless of its high cost.

George Lucas Strikes Back, Trailer on Youtube

I found this gem on BoingBoing yesterday morning. “George Lucas Strikes Back” is an over-the-top movie idea presented in the form of a movie trailer without a movie. These types of trailers are created by fans and filmmakers as a way to pitch an idea or present a “what if” scenario. They can also be used as leverage for funding to make a full short or long film based on the concept presented in the trailer.

“George Lucas Strikes Back” posits that the real Lucas was kidnapped after Return of the Jedi when he began talking publicly about making smaller budget films. It was, according to the logic of the trailer, an evil, logical mastermind who replaced the real Lucas with a fake Lucas, supported by Jar Jar Binks, Darth Maul, and Clone Troopers, who went on to create the Star Wars prequels and the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones films. It is irreverent and fun. I recommend checking it out.

Found on The Brothers Brick: First images of upcoming 7879 Hoth Echo Base

More Lego Star Wars sets are in the works! It looks like we will see an expansion to the Rebel base on Hoth from The Empire Strikes back. I missed the original Hoth Base set, but I suspect it will be a fun build in my future after I have a permanent job. Go here for pictures: First images of upcoming 7879 Hoth Echo Base | The Brothers Brick | LEGO Blog.

Found on The Brothers Brick: 10,000 piece Lego Star Wars Sandcrawler measures over 3 feet long

More Star Wars Lego goodness from The Brothers Brick: Click through for pictures of Marshal Banana’s 10,000 piece Lego Star Wars Sandcrawler that measures over 3 feet long. It is amazing that someone has the ability to create something this detailed with Lego, and it is equally amazing that they love Jawas enough to dedicate their craft to their humble technoscientific roving home.

Help ArchiveTeam.org Save Forums.StarWars.com

I blogged earlier this month that Lucasfilm/Lucasonline plans to shutter forums.starwars.com at the beginning of June 2011.

Today, a commenter asked for help with the Archive Team’s effort to preserve the site–something that they have already done with the Star Wars forums on Yahoo.com. The details are below:

An effort to preserve a public copy of forums.starwars.com is underway by the ArchiveTeam.org. If you are a Linux user (there’s a coordination script) w/ grep 2.6.2, bandwidth to spare and multiple GBs of free harddrive space to save thousands of 4k-12k .html files. Please stop by the irc. #archivestrikesback irc.efnet.org (or the main ArchiveTeam irc #archiveteam)
[or if you can wget, we’ll figure something out]

The ArchiveTeam.org in the past preserved starwars.yahoo.com before it’s demise, in addition to non-SW saves like Geocities and currently working on Friendster.

More details of the archiving effort are available on their mediawiki-enabled site here.

Forums.StarWars.com Going Offline on June 3, Loss of Nearly 10 Years of Star Wars Fan Conversations

Topher Kohan of CNN wrote an open letter to George Lucas regarding the shuttering of the StarWars.com fan forums: Mr. Lucas, the 4th is not to be trifled with – CNN.com.

Apparently, Lucasfilm recently decided to remove the forums on June 3, 2011. They have already placed the forums in read-only mode as of May 3.

Pabawan, a site admin, offered this anti-explanation explanation: “At StarWars.com, we are always evaluating the various features of the website in order to provide the best experience to our users. As we review new community-based interactive features for the future, we have decided that the Official Message Boards at forums.starwars.com will no longer be part of the site” [read the full announcement here while it is available].

Instead of hosting fan conversations on StarWars.com, Lucasfilm has opted for Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, Facebook and Twitter are very good at doing what they do, but they do not offer the same experience or conversation that an online forum provides. Forums allow people to write longer conversational pieces that are searchable and archived within a theme delimited hierarchy. Facebook allows for conversations, but they are not easily searched and may not be archived indefinitely. Twitter facilitates conversation, but you may only write 160 characters at a time including hashtags (for thematic or subject linking), user references, and links.

Online conversations need a rich ecosphere of different Internet facilitated modes of conversation rather than relying on those that seem the most popular at this time. I believe that it for this reason that the Taiwanese embrace multiple modes of communication including BBS servers, Plurk, and others in addition to Facebook and Twitter.

I realize that Star Wars fans will likely shift their conversations to fan-operated forums. It is unlucky however that the many conversations on the now defunct forums.starwars.com will be lost forever on Friday, June 3. Perhaps someone will write a script to archive the forums before that date, but I do not know if Lucasfilm’s servers will permit such an archiving to take place.

May the Fourth Be With You, Star Wars on Blu Ray Details Announced

Today, Lucasfilm announced the details on the Star Wars Saga Blu Ray release scheduled for September 16 in North America and September 12 everywhere else. It appears that they are including a number of new features that were not included on previous releases, but the versions of the original trilogy are reportedly the Special Edition versions rather than the theatrical releases. It also appears that Lucas is trying to solidify his vision of the Saga through the new cover artwork that ties young Anakin (the child father) to his future son and redemptive hero (the adult child).

You may preorder it on Amazon here.

I have copied the disc contents below:

STAR WARS: THE COMPLETE SAGA ON BLU-RAY is presented in widescreen with 6.1 DTS Surround Sound. Special features include:

Disc One- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace

Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, John Knoll, Dennis Muren and Scott Squires

Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

Disc Two – Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones

Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll and Ben Snow

Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

Disc Three – Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith

Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Rob Coleman, John Knoll and Roger Guyett

Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

Disc Four – Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope

Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren

Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

Disc Five – Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back

Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren

Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

Disc Six – Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi

Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren

Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

Disc Seven – New! Star Wars Archives: Episodes I-III

Including: deleted, extended and alternate scenes; prop, maquette and costume turnarounds; concept art; supplementary interviews with cast and crew; a flythrough of the Lucasfilm Archives and more

Disc Eight – New! Star Wars Archives: Episode IV-VI

Including: deleted, extended and alternate scenes; prop, maquette and costume turnarounds; matte paintings and concept art; supplementary interviews with cast and crew; and more

Disc Nine – The Star Wars Documentaries

NEW! Star Warriors (2007, Color, Apx. 84 Minutes) – Some Star Wars fans want to collect action figures… these fans want to be action figures! A tribute to the 501st Legion, a global organization of Star Wars costume enthusiasts, this insightful documentary shows how the super-fan club promotes interest in the films through charity and volunteer work at fundraisers and high-profile special events around the world.

NEW! A Conversation with the Masters: The Empire Strikes Back 30 Years Later (2010, Color, Apx. 25 Minutes) – George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan and John Williams look back on the making of The Empire Strikes Back in this in-depth retrospective from Lucasfilm created to help commemorate the 30th anniversary of the movie. The masters discuss and reminisce about one of the most beloved films of all time.

NEW! Star Wars Spoofs (2011, Color, Apx. 91 Minutes) – The farce is strong with this one! Enjoy a hilarious collection of Star Wars spoofs and parodies that have been created over the years, including outrageous clips from Family Guy, The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother and more – and don’t miss “Weird Al” Yankovic’s one-of-a-kind music video tribute to The Phantom Menace!

The Making of Star Wars (1977, Color, Apx. 49 Minutes) – Learn the incredible behind-the-scenes story of how the original Star Wars movie was brought to the big screen in this fascinating documentary hosted by C-3PO and R2-D2. Includes interviews with George Lucas and appearances by Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.

The Empire Strikes Back: SPFX (1980, Color, Apx. 48 Minutes) – Learn the secrets of making movies in a galaxy far, far away. Hosted by Mark Hamill, this revealing documentary offers behind-the-scenes glimpses into the amazing special effects that transformed George Lucas’ vision for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back into reality!

Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi (1983, Color, Apx. 48 Minutes) – Go behind the scenes — and into the costumes — as production footage from Return of the Jedi is interspersed with vintage monster movie clips in this in-depth exploration of the painstaking techniques utilized by George Lucas to create the classic creatures and characters seen in the film. Hosted and narrated by Carrie Fisher and Billy Dee Williams.

Anatomy of a Dewback (1997, Color, Apx. 26 Minutes) – See how some of the special effects in Star Wars became even more special two decades later! George Lucas explains and demonstrates how his team transformed the original dewback creatures from immovable rubber puppets (in the original 1977 release) to seemingly living, breathing creatures for the Star Wars 1997 Special Edition update.

Star Wars Tech (2007, Color, Apx. 46 Minutes) – Exploring the technical aspects of Star Wars vehicles, weapons and gadgetry, Star Wars Tech consults leading scientists in the fields of physics, prosthetics, lasers, engineering and astronomy to examine the plausibility of Star Wars technology based on science as we know it today.

Star Wars: The Complete Saga || May The 4th Be With You

Lucasfilm has posted the above teaser on the official Star Wars website. Reportedly, they will announce the details of the complete Star Wars saga release on Blu-Ray Disc on May 4, 2011. If you like countdown timers, Lucasfilm is pleased to oblige here: Star Wars: The Complete Saga || May The 4th Be With You.

UPDATE: I wrote about the details of the new set here.

Watching Star Wars Tech on History Channel International

I am watching Star Wars Tech on History Channel International right now. It is a fun television program that questions the possibility and veracity of imaginative technologies in the six Star Wars films. It is informative and interesting, but it is disappointing to hear the scientists depicted as universal grammarians. Programs like this one place the emphasis of science fiction on the prophetic possibilities of technology and science in the narrative rather than the broader implications of the story and its relationship to the here-and-now. This isn’t to say that there shouldn’t be programs like this one–I quite enjoy watching it. However, I would like to see more programs that study the cultural significance of science fiction.