Salt Lake Comic Con 2016 hit lightspeed right after take off as Mark Hamill took the stage Thursday morning at the Vivint Smart Home Arena (home of the Utah Jazz) and connected immediately with his largest panel crowd ever. While acknowledging that many in attendance wanted to get even the tiniest bit of information about Star Wars episode VIII, Hamill expectedly (and contractually) couldn’t discuss anything about the upcoming movie. He said the reason for the secrecy was to benefit the fans, so we could experience any reveals and surprises in the movie theater. Salt Lake Comic Con was Hamill’s only appearance this year at any convention in North America and the self-proclaimed professional liar definitely didn’t disappoint. At one point his dog, Millie, even joined him on stage, because, as he said, Gary Fisher has been getting too much attention. Mark Hamill admitted that in a couple of days he’d be back home cleaning up after the dog and being yelled at to take out the trash, but for his one day at Salt Lake Comic Con he captivated the packed house with his Star Wars and Joker stories.
“Luke Flyswatter? What?” was the actor’s reaction after George Lucas told him that his Star Wars character’s name was being changed from Luke Starkiller to Luke Skywalker. While recounting how George Lucas approached him about reprising his role as Luke for Star Wars episode VII, Hamill said he didn’t think he’d have to worry about doing it anyway because “Harrison (Ford) is way too rich and cynical to do this.” How lucky Star Wars fans are that he was wrong. Mark Hamill was the marquee guest of the weekend, but his wasn’t the only Star Wars panel.
On Thursday night, I attended the Star Wars Trailer Park panel with Pablo Hidalgo, Bryan Young, Amy Ratcliffe, Jawa James Floyd, Holly Frey, and Ryan Call. The panelists analyzed all of the existing Star Wars trailers, some very favorably and some not so much. It was really great to see the trailers from the original trilogy and to see how far Star Wars trailers have come. And did you know that Harrison Ford did the voice over for one trailer? See if you can find which one.
On Friday after checking out the vendor floor, I went to the Star Wars Books: Writing the Force panel with Matt Martin, Christie Golden, E.K. Johnston, Cecil Castellucci, and James Floyd (and I was able to me the Jawa after). When asked what makes a good Star Wars story Matt Martin said it is important to have good core stories whether they are Star Wars stories or not. And while discussing heroes in literature Christie Golden said,”It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl hero or a boy hero.” No it doesn’t.
Saturday was a busy panel day for me. After going to the Pokemon Go! panel with my kids we went to the Ready for Rebels and Rogues panel hosted by Pablo Hidalgo. We got to see the Rogue One trailers, the season three Star Wars Rebels trailer, and a new Rebels TV ad featuring Grand Admiral Thrawn. Pablo said that Thrawn had been discussed as a villain for season one of Rebels, but “our heroes hadn’t earned the right to have this kind of villain yet.” Also, he warned fans against lumping Rey and Jyn Erso together as heroes just for obvious reasons. When talking about Rogue One character Saw Gerrara, Hidalgo said that between 2007-2009 Saw was discussed by George Lucas for a live action show, but due to various reasons that show never came to be. However, when Saw was made a character in Rogue One Lucasfilm only imagined Forrest Whitaker playing him.
Next, I went to the How The Clone Wars Changed Star Wars panel. It was great to see the passion of other TCW fans and to see the curiosity of Star Wars fans who hadn’t yet seen The Clone Wars. After the panel I was lucky enough to meet Pablo Hidalgo (we discussed dental plans), Matt Martin, Amy Ratcliffe, and Tha Mike Pilot. They couldn’t have been nicer to me. Meeting people like these is still my favorite part of Star Wars fandom.
After a panel about Quidditch (did you know there is an actual Major League Quidditch league?!) I closed out the weekend by going to the Full of Sith live recording, which included a surprise appearance by James Arnold Taylor. How cool is that?!
I’m really looking forward to SLCC 2017 and hopefully Mark Hamill will return soon. As he left the stage he promised that the next time he is at SLCC he will be on stage for 2 hours. Now if we can just get a Coffee With Kenobi panel in Salt Lake! Thanks for reading my Salt Lake Comic Con recap. Feel free to get in contact with me on Twitter @ryderwaldrondds or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you need more Star Wars you can check out my podcast, Idiot’s Array. And remember:
Coffee With Kenobi
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