My article on Dragon*Con 2005 or...
How I survived the attack of the Killer Robot! "Destroy! Destroy!"
Dragon*Con is America's largest, multi-media, popular arts convention-focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film. The con is hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, and packs about 20,000 scifi geeks, nerds, freaks, and movie fans every year. I have been going faithfully for 3 years now, attending my first one in 2002 and never looking back since. The convention also has an annual parade that kicks off every Saturday morning, which is quite a scene seeing stormtroopers and Klingons alike marching downtown.
As well, Dragon*Con also hosts musical artists; this year Jean Loves Jezebel, Cruxshadows, Emerald Rose, Bella Morte, Voltaire
and others perform each night for all gothy types and freaks alike.
Friday, Sept 2nd, 05
Starting off on my article for this year was attending the TOR 40th anniversary of Dune
party that Dragon*Con hosted, which featured Kevin J. Anderson as its speaker. He was there to speak highlights about the prequel novels he has written with Brian Herbert, along with the new release of the book The Road to Dune
, due in Sept of this year. The book contains unpublished chapters and scenes from Dune
and Dune Messiah
, excerpts and articles, and an original novel by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson based on a detailed outline and extensive notes left by Frank Herbert.
I briefly spoke with Kevin as he signed my Dune prequel books and I learned when writing characters for Lucasfilm, you do not have any ownership of anything you create, which is why he was dissatisfied with what had happened with Kyp Durron after he wrote his Jedi Trilogy books (he called Kyp a werewolf, due to all the changes he keeps going through: dark, light, dark, light, etc.). He didn't like the route his character had taken after the books, but as he said, you don't have a say once you release your story to them, they own it.
Oh, and they also had cake shaped in the cover of the new Dune book. Pretty impressive. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to take a picture of it. Oops!
Also featured at D*C were charity events to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the local Georgia 501st was there to help. Stormtroopers marked in the logo of the local Red Cross were taking contributions from conventioners, and the con was also hosting a blood drive. According to the community blood center, on Friday they collected 44 units at D*C, setting a new record for most collected at a SF convention in the U.S.
Later that evening, I attended Wrestling
! D*C has a local wrestling chapter that hosted their events and it was insanely fun. I honestly don't know what was more amusing to watch: the wrestling itself or the witty comments of the nerds and geeks in the audience, as they pointed and poked fun.
Afterward, I mingled around the crowds, shopped at the dealer's rooms, went out to eat, headed back to the room, rested, then got ready for the big event of costume show-offs that happens every night at D*C. Every night around 8pm until the wee hours of the night, conventioners show up in the main lobby of the hotel and show off their latest costumes. Some are quite impressive, some are quite bad, and some are quite... err... revealing. One was rumored to have shown up years ago only in police tape wrapped around certain areas of her-- well, you get the point.
Here are some that I enjoyed from Friday night, along with my own comments:
If you're going to dress as a Jedi, at least take off the glasses!
I thought of Adena when I took this pic. Here's a Miraluka complete with red saber.
Egads! It's Darth Nihilus! Doesn't he look sinister?
Look! Sam and Jack Sparrow partying down at D*C. Yes, she was there too.
And now we come to the next day.
Saturday, Sept 3rd, 05
The Dragon*Con parade began around 10 A.M. but I did not attend, due that I was still asleep after staying up way too late Friday night. I am sure it was quite an event to see, though. A steady diet of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol kinda in the course of three days catches up after a while. Heh!
What I did attend was a Star Wars panel named Star Wars is Forever
, which was hosted by Steve Sansweet from Lucasfilm. He was there to present highlights from the prequels, news from Skywalker Ranch, and upcoming projects for this year as well as the later years to come. The entire panel was done in question and answer format and a lot of my questions were answered from the fans who did the asking.
Steve answered questions about the upcoming TV series that is in the works, and you will hear this first on Star Wars Epics
. He said the first project for Lucasfilm will be the 3-D animated Clone Wars
series, focusing on the events before EP III. They have started first drafts, expecting a release date sometime in the end of '06 or beginning of '07. After
that series is completed, the live-action TV series will then begin to hit the storyboards, which will happen in '07. That series will take place between EP III and EP IV, so that is about 18 years of coverage when you think timeline.
Also, Steve informed that Lucasfilm's main offices have now relocated from Skywalker Ranch to a new facility in San Francisco. An old military academy named The Presidio
, has been bought by Lucas and he has moved his company there. Skywalker Sound will still remain at the Ranch.
To conclude, he touched base about the new release of EP III on DVD, which will have deleted scenes, commentaries, and a bunch of other tidbits. Steve was nice enough to allow one of the deleted scenes to be shown to the fans and it was well received with cheers. The scene was the debut of Mon Mothma with Senator Bail Organa and Padme. Yay! Also, he showed previews of the upcoming release of Empire at War
and the new Battlefront
game. No news if they have anything in the works, KOTOR-wise.
Afterward, I went to the dealer's room again, got a few autographs from a few celebrities, got pictures of them with me, and did some promotions for Epics
by placing flyers and business cards at various booths. The local Georgia 501st was even nice enough to promote us by letting us distribute our cards at their booth as well.
After dinner, I attended a Stargate SG-1
panel that basically discussed the new season of SG-1 and touched a few details about the new season of Atlantis
. Nothing really new to report as the panel was pretty much fans speaking to fans and not actual celebrities. God, those are stupid.
And of course, Saturday night could not be complete without the antics of conventioners dressed in their best costumes. Witty comments ahead!
This second group of Jedi did it well. I will also note the lightsabers have become much more realistic in their appearance. The sabers actually make a sound when ignited and extend. Here's a clip to show you.
What better to start out Sat night then to hang out with Lando himself!
Han and Chewie showed up later, of course.
The Empire then entertained us with Elvis trooper! Yep, the King himself.
BTW, does anyone know who these folks are? They're from a video game, right?
Or these guys??
And now on to Sunday:
Sunday, Sept 4th, 05
After breakfast, I attended a Stargate
panel which featured the stars of the show. Among them was Carmen Argenziano (Jacob Carter), Alexis Cruz (Ska’ara), Gary Jones (Walter), and Paul McGillion (Dr. Beckett in Atlantis). It was again, a question and answer session in which each actor described their roles, experiences, and shared funny stories on the sets of each show. Quite entertaining. Alexis showed up late, in a kilt, proclaiming “I’m free at last!” He was hungover, and the other cast members ribbed him about it. What is funny is, Gary Jones (Walter) has the least amount of dialogue on the show, and was the most talkative of the bunch, always with a story to tell.
The next panel was for the new Battlestar Galactica
series in which Tricia Helfer (No. 6) was the celebrity speaker. Both Jamie Bamber (Apollo) and James Callas (Gaius Baltar) had cancelled last minute, due to being recalled back to the set of Galactica
for last minute shooting. The Q&A session highlighted experiences, antics, and funny stories from the first season including its movie pilot. One in particular involved a scene where No. 6 and Baltar are naked, she is under a sheet while he is in a towel. Callas wore boxers underneath, but due to the angles of the characters on screen, Tricia got to see … everything. She got the giggles and basically couldn’t finish the scene. It concluded with the possibility of a third season, depending on the ratings from second season. Tricia did mention that a lot of twists and turns will happen this season, so hang on to your seats.
The last panel I attended for D*C was a panel named Star Wars: Timeline in Crisis
, which featured authors and celebrities like Steve Sansweet, Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Stackpole, Rebecca Moesta, and Kathleen O'Shea. The discussion was about the differences the third installment of the Star Wars saga had on the timeline written by the authors. Kevin pointed out when he wrote the Jedi Trilogy, he stated the Clone Wars happened 38 years ago before Luke was introduced to us. Now, according to the movie, the Clone Wars now happen 18 years prior to that.
After the Q&A session, the authors opened up to sign autographs and have pictures taken. I had the opportunity to finally have my picture taken with Stackpole, and had the chance to ask him some questions:
Q: So how did you come up with 'Whyren’s Reserve' in the books?
A: Actually, that just came from the top of my head. I knew some brands of whiskey had 'Reserve' marked on their labels, so I took that and made up a name.
Q: Do you plan to write another chapter in the Rogue Squadron
A: I'm up for it, but it is up to Lucasfilm to approve to let me write another book. Nothing has been mentioned by them about any upcoming projects about the Rogue series, yet.
Q: So who do you envision playing Ysanne Isard if you could cast her in a movie?
A: When I wrote Isard I pictured in my head a young Lauren Bacall, and that is what I tried to base her look as well.
Here's a pic of her to get an idea:
Q: What about Corran Horn? I think Ben Affleck would probably make a good choice.
A: Actually, I never really had anyone in mind when I wrote Corran, but I think Ben Affleck would be a good choice if I had to cast Corran Horn. I have to see more of his movies to get a final answer for that (laughter).
After that quick interview, I went to Steve Sansweet and asked him if he had any plans to update the Star Wars Encyclopedia
. He mentioned that it is in the works and he was actually doing research, culling from the first three prequels and putting it together with new material from the games as well. I then had the nerve to make a suggestion to him about it and said if he could include an extensive food and drink list in the book. He actually said, "that sounds like a good idea! I might just consider that."
So, when the new updated version of the Star Wars Encyclopedia
comes out and there's a food and drink list on it.. you know where it came from! Your admin here at Star Wars Epics!
And now for some more pics:
Hey, it's the Incredibles!
Well, now we know what the Oompa Loompas became after the factory closed.
Now that is not a bad version of Snicket's evil character, Count Olaf.
After that I called it a night, finally concluding my attendance at Dragon*Con 2005. As all conventions, it just went too fast. But fear not, D*C 2006 will probably be in the works again after this one concludes and that year will be an exciting one! It will mark the 40th anniversary of Dune
and I am sure there will be a lot of exciting events happening then.
So with that in mind, stay frosty and I hope you enjoyed my little article. See you on the boards!