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Category Icon 03-25-2008, 08:44 PM
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The Jedi-Con is organised by the Official Star Wars Fan Club of Germany. This year it took place in Düsseldorf from March 21 – 23. My father lives in that city, so I took the chance to go to the Con this year together with my nephews because we could save money for hotel rooms that way. Here's my report:


The place the Jedi-Con happened was the Maritim Hotel. It opened just last year and gave the con the flair of Coruscant even, because it had such an elegant look with marble and glass that reminded of the Prequels. But don’t ask for the prices of food and drinks there. Gladly the hotel was right next to Düsseldorf Airport, so we could get to the McDonalds there. It was funny because you saw a lot of con visitors walking around there. Either you noticed them at the shirts and lanyards with the tickets around their necks or because they were dressed as Star Wars characters. It made me grin to see a Jedi getting money from an ATM. A normal view for the SW galaxy, but not for Germany. A lot of people who arrived with the planes there but have thought they are dreaming. Especially because one guy, who was at least 2 meters tall, was wearing a fantastic costume of Timon Medon (that’s the character with the striped face, that welcomes Obi-Wan on Utapau and warns him in Episode III).



Back to the hotel where the con took place: At the halls and rooms of the con they had put signs with planet names in normal letters as well as in aurabesh. So the huge hall were the panels and shows were, was named Coruscant. Alderaan was the room for presentations of fan-groups, Corellia the one where you could buy all kind of merchandise and were some of the guest stars gave autographs. Endor has been the cloakroom/checkroom. Geonosis was another room were more of the guest stars gave autographs. On Hoth you could get snacks and drinks or play Star Wars games on different X-Boxes. Oh my, I really suck at the Star Wars Lego game. My nephews owned me. Darn kids. Kamino was the place where the R2-builder showed what they do. Naboo was for fan art-work with models, art and costume exhibition. Tatooine was for buying the official con merchandise. Death Star was a kind of info-point where you could let messages for friends. So you can tell, that con-area was quite big.



On Friday the Jedi-Con started at 1 p.m. We had been there one hour before to get our tickets. To each ticket you got a programme magazine, trading card, a file where you can put in magazines or comics as well as a bag with the con-logo and Luke in John Travolta Saturday Night Fever pose on it. Of course we bought merchandise as very first thing.



At 3 p.m. was the first panel with Christian Simpson, who played Lt. Gavyn Sykes (Bravo 6) in Episode I and has been Hayden Christensen’s stand-in in Episode III. Second guest next to him on the stage was Orli Shoshan, maybe better known as Shaak Ti in Episode II and III. Christian is a very funny guy. As somebody of the audience asked them for their next projects Orli, who has been a model before being in Star Wars, told that she will be designing a lingerie line and Christian said then: “My next project is lingerie too.” Orli was asked also if she will be in the live-action-series because Shaak Ti, is one of the Jedi who survived because her death scene with Grievous ended on the floor of the cutting room. She said of course, that she doesn’t know about that. But her very big grin suddenly seemed to be a hint, we thought. Christian told also some funny things from the set. In Episode I they made scenes with the Naboo pilots jumping into their fighters, but none of them knew how to close the canopy. So they used their hands to pull the canopy. And of course they cut the scenes because it looked silly. Just Jake Lloyd had got the info that there was a kind of string in the cockpit and when you pull it, it looked as if the canopy closed by itself. Christian was also amazed that his nameless character got a name in the game Galaxies. He also told a story about Episode III: As Anakin walks into that room with the younglings to kill them, the kids wasn’t scared about Hayden. The children were more confused by all the bluescreen and didn’t get why they should be scared about Hayden suddenly because he had been nice to them before. So they had to do the scene a lot of times and Lucas wasn’t satisfied with any of the scenes. So finally Hayden made kind of “Boo” all of the sudden to the kids as they didn’t expect and they startled. And the scene was done. At the end of the panel Orli and Christian made a little lightsaber fight on stage with two weapons from the audience.



The next panel at 4 p.m. was by Duncan Jenkins, a collector from the US, who showed humorous Star Wars Collectibles. He showed a lot of funny and silly stuff, so we laughed a lot.



At 5 p.m. was a panel with Robert Watts and Tim Dry. Mr. Watts has been the producer of the original SW movies as well as of the first three Indiana Jones movies. Tim Dry had played Whipid and a Mon Cal Officer in ROTJ. Robert Watts spoke some German even. “I know my German is bad, but I speak because I can.”, but it was a nice gesture. He told from the work at the old movies and how bad 20th Century Fox treated them as they made the first movie. And that Fox was not smart enough to get the rights for the next movies and all the merchandise because they thought the movie would flop, so that Lucas was the winner in the end. He also told from the shooting in Finse, Norway, where they made the scenes for Hoth. Finse is a very small town between Oslo and Bergen on a top of a mountain just to reach “by train or by Taun-Taun”. In Summer there are just 5 citizens but in Winter it’s a ski resort with a huge glacier. They had planned to make the scenes with the Blizzard when Han saves Luke in a studio, because they hadn’t the technical possibilities to create one outside. But then there was a real blizzard that would be perfect. Mark Hamill was there already, but Harrison Ford was still in London. So they had to fly him in. But because of the blizzard the train wasn’t going. So Robert sent a production assistant down the mountain on a snow plough with a bottle of Whiskey to pick up Harrison from the valley to bring him. Harrison arrived at 1 a.m. and in the morning they did the scene in the real blizzard, just a few meters away from their hotel. Robert Watts said also that he doesn’t like that they use so much CGI in movies today. In his opinion the stunts and models in older movies and the tense of the people involved in those (often they had just one chance to do a scene) made the movies more realistic. And I have to agree with him on that. Tim Dry told us about his work in ROTJ and how it was to work in such costumes. He also sang for us, because he’s a musician and songwriter. In the 80s he has been in supporting groups for Duran Duran, Gary Numan and Ultravox.



At 8:30 p.m. was the big opening ceremony. Robert Eiba, the president of the OSWFC Germany, welcomed us. They showed an opening short movie, a kind of Scrooge version. It was about a father who forbids his daughter to go to the con and that she should stop thinking only about Star Wars because of her bad grades at school. Then at night Yoda appeared him, telling that there will come three ghosts. The first one brought him to the past, showing him how he bought his first Star Wars action figure, the one of the present showed him how his daughter threw away all her SW stuff and the one of the future showed him that his daughter became a Star Trek fan instead and that the SW universe was assimilated by the Borg. The ships were a mix of both and the Death Star had a big Federation sign on it. Then it changed from movie to a stage show. A Borg appeared on stage, telling us that “You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.” Then an Imperial Officer jumped on stage, trying to fight the Borg, but got assimilated. A Sith with double sided lightsaber joined and tried to fight the Borg, but didn’t win neither. Then two Jedi came and of course they defeated the Borg. One of the Jedi turned to the audience with the words: “Sometimes resistance isn’t futile.” The guys who did the fights were really good. Almost stuntmen quality. After that the guest stars were introduced and welcomed officially. A fan from Belgium named Mark Dermul also gave a really great presentation of the song “Star Wars Cantina”, the one with lyrics to the melody of the song Copacabana.



At 9:30 p.m. was a panel with Steve Sansweet. He showed us the trailers of the game “Force Unleashed”, the upcoming DVD of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, the new Indiana Jones movie and of course the Clone Wars one, that looked better on the big screen I have to admit. About the Indy movie he said that despite all rumours on the internet the movie will have enough surprises nobody knows about yet. About Force Unleashed he said that it’s not planned that there computer version of the game, just the PS, X-Box etc ones. In the first level of it, you can play as Darth Vader. About the animated Clone Wars movie he told us that it wasn’t planned as movie for the theaters first, but they watched it on the big screen and decided to go that way with it. It’s the kind of pilot for the upcoming animated series. The episodes of the series will be half an hour long and have closed stories each, some are double episodes too. It will be a weekly show and they are working at the second season already. And now the info a lot of people have been waiting for: The live action series. Not much info about the story line or plot. Steve said he would be shot if he tells us. But he told us the following: The series is in pre-production. Shooting will be next year, so that it will be on TV in 2010 as it looks. The episodes will be one hour long and it will be a weekly show as well. While the animated series is more for kids or as Steve said “the child in all of us” the live-action one will target an older, more adult audience.



So ended the first day.



And the second day, the Saturday, started at 10 a.m. The first panel was Mark Dermul, the guy who sang the other day. But today he told us about his journey to Finse, Norway. He plans journeys to the locations of SW and this was the first time they “headed to Hoth”. He told us about their adventures getting there and showed us great pics they made at the original spots of the battle of Hoth.



At 11 a.m there was a panel with Constantin Gillies, he’s a German journalist who is a SW fan and wrote a book about SW being part of our culture in the meantime. It was very interesting.



At 2 p.m. was a big auction, presented by Steve Sansweet. He brought items from ILM. And I can tell you the people paid like crazy for such things. For example an original small gun turret from the first Death Star model. Somebody paid 1200 Euro for that piece! There were some cool crew shirts but the prices went up so quickly. And I will not pay 60 Euro for a used t-shirt.



At 5 p.m. was a panel with Jeremy Bulloch and Daniel Logan. Old and young Boba on one stage. Woohoo! Both were great. They interacted very well. They chose people from the audience who had to play Boba Fett and made a kind of competition who of the both chose the better ones. Most of them did lines from the old movies like “As you wish.”, “He’s not good to me dead.”, or “Put Captain Solo in the cargo hold.”, but the last one said: “Daaad, Taun We is here.” It was really funny. And the fans could ask questions Daniel jumped off the stag, doing a cartwheel, to run with the microphone to them. Jeremy said: “I’m glad he’s young. So he can do the running.” So Daniel sat down between the fans always. He seems to be a very nice guy and obviously enjoyed being in contact with fans. It was also the first time he was in Germany and he told us that he planned to visit more cities and do sightseeing before he goes back home.



In the evening at 8:20 p.m. started a show evening with the motto “Saturday Night Star Wars Fever”. There was a costume competition and fan groups showed some acts. A girl dressed as Twi’lek danced to the Princess Leia theme, a fencing club showed a lightsaber choreography... Then a group named “Sarlacc Survivors” had a show. They were dressed as SW characters and acted as if they would sing songs from the last 30 years. The lead singer was Darth Maul, then there were two female Twi’lek singers, a Wampa played the bass, a Jawa the percussion, a Rodian and a Bith played different instruments. And there was Max Rebo among them. Maul sang “Tainted Love”, the version by Marilyn Manson and “TNT” by AC/DC. The Twi’lek sang the Abba song “Gimme Gimme Gimme” and the funniest was the Wampa singing Rammstein’s “Engel”



So ended the second day and we were at home at 12:30 a.m., totally exhaused. So we decided to sleep a little longer the next day and go to the con not when it starts but one hour later.



Because of that we skipped the presentation of the 501st Legion and German Garrison and arrived at 11 a.m. to the panel of Derek Lyons. He was in ANH as rebel on Yavin. He was one of the guards in the temple and is the one who hands the medals to General Dodonna in the end sequence. He’s a very funny guy. As he came on stage he told us that he speaks German and said: “Ich mag Schokoladenkuchen.” (I like chocolate cake.) That and “Ich liebe Dich.” (I love you) were the only German sentences he could say. But he made a lot of fun with the audience, that made us laugh a lot. For example as somebody came into the room too late for the panel, Derek said to him: “You are very naughty. If you do that again, I have to spank your bottom.” He also sang to us the Beatles song “Michelle” and made up lyrics to the melody of the Princess Leia theme.



At 1 p.m. Daniel Logan had a solo panel. He told us about how he was casted as Boba and how it was to work with Ewan McGregor. In the scene in Episode II in which he enters and sees Obi-Wan and Jango, he had to give Obi-Wan a nasty look. Lucas let him do that again and again and finally Ewan took him to the side and said: “Daniel, just look as if I did a terrible fart.” They did the scene again, Daniel’s face was fine for Lucas, but Ewan did a fart noise, making all of them laugh, so that they had to do it again. He also told that he got along with Hayden very well. One day as they did the scenes for Geonosis Hayden told him to come to his dressing room, giving him the newest playstation and 16 games, saying: “The producers gave it to me, but I have one at home already. So I thought you should have it.” But as they wanted to try the playstation they forgot to put in the adapter for the Australian voltage and it started to burn, activated the water sprinklers. Daniel also told that he would have loved to be in LOTR because they made the movie near his New Zealand home. Some from the audience said that he could try get a role in “The Hobbit” and Daniel answered: “I know I’m short, but not THAT short.” Of course he was asked by the fans if he will be in the live action TV series. He said he didn’t hear from Lucas yet, but that he would love to play Boba in that. At the moment he lives in Los Angeles, taking acting classes as well as training martial arts three times a week. And who is his martial arts teacher? Darth Maul himself... Ray Parks. So maybe this is a hint for the TV show too? Who knows...



At 3 p.m. Jeremy Bulloch had a solo panel too. He is simply the best in my opinion. You can tell that he’s a trained theatre actor. He told us that he’s an actor since 50 years. He started acting with 14 years. He showed us different clips from movies and TV series he has been in like “Robin of Sherwood” and James Bond movies with Roger Moore in which he has been the assistant of Q. He also showed a clip of his newest product, a TV show named “Starhyker”, a Star Trek persiflage. Jeremy is the ship’s doctor and Claudia Christian is the captain. It seemed very funny. Then Jeremy asked four people on stage. He pretended that he’s the director and the four are actors who had to play that they enter an elevator with the not looking at the other person, as people do always in lift. At a commando of Jeremy they should act as if the elevator stuck and then acts like that. One guy of them, who was dressed as Han Solo, was great. He really played along and pretended to be the one who got panic, but he played it as Han Solo. Jeremy said “Wham” as commando for the lift and the four were silent. Suddenly the Han said: “I’ve got a baaaad feeling about this.” And then he was like: “I can’t be here! I have problems with small rooms. And Chewie waits for me and Leia will be pissed when I’m late!” After that Jeremy chose two other people who he wanted to train to be Boba Fett. He said: “Boba’s armour is heavy, but his shoes are light, so you have to do move lightly.” And made a pirouette on stage. And the guys had to do that too. Then they had to stare without making a face or laughing. It was very very funny. I found a clip of it on youtube already. So you can see it too. Hopefully it will be as funny for you as it has been for us there. (Youtube doesn't work here, so the clip will be in the forum)



After that there was a closing ceremony with all guest stars saying good-bye, some lightsaber showfight and Mark Dermul singing again. This time the Episode I song by Al Yankovich.



It had been three exhausting but very funny and exhausting days.

 


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category icon 03-25-2008, 09:27 PM
Samantha Koortyn
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Kätzchen!
This is not a game of who the frak are you.
Silence! I kill you!
Great article, looks like you had a good time :]
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