I’ve been going to Comic Con for about 7 years now. I missed one year due to a ticketing mishap, but it’s been a pretty consistent event in my life since college. But this year was almost another absence thanks to some ticketing mishap, ie the damn things were sold out in 30 minutes while I was at work. But luckily, I was able to snag a press badge by the grace of god (or the black abyss, depending on your level of internet cuntiness), and I was able to go. And this year, aside from some press events, was no different than any other year. Getting to wait on line for an Empire Stage event only to be told an hour in that the event is full. Too many people with an almost religious affinity for not cleaning themselves bouncing into me, testing my limits of not wanting to go to prison. Spending way too much on comic books that I’m not gonna read until I clear out the stack I bought from last year’s event. It manages to be similar and different enough to justify spending the time, effort and considerable amounts of money to go.
But this year, something struck me: It’s gotten alot bigger since I’ve been going. This isn’t one of them old fangled cries of despair from a dumpy, middle aged man who wishes it was just more about the comics, man. I like that it’s an event with everything (except for the anime. Those fans need to be shipped away on a time machine to prison island Australia). It’s just the first time I realized how uncrowded it used to be. The number of people herded in together rival San Diego now, so it’s a test to survive these crowds. But it’s a testament to how many cool events there are that it makes me forgive all that crap. And the first day held a really cool event for a show that I really like that has helped rehabilitate it’s franchise.
Thursday was host to the panel and press block for the second season of Star Wars Rebels. Voice actors Taylor Gray (Ezra), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka), and Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Seventh Sister) were there, as was creative lead Dave Filoni. The event for the public isn’t something I’m gonna write about on here because that stuff can be viewed online. And I won’t talk about the screening of the first two episodes of this new season, as episode 1 has already premiered in the time it took my procrastinating self to put this up, and to talk about episode 2 is dickish and not something I’m into, the whole spoiler thing. So I’ll talk about the press room for the show.
The event for this show was more of a press conference, not a round table or series of interviews like others did this weekend (foreshadowing). A whole heaping of press shoved into a room, jockeying for the chance to ask a question in the allotted time. Being Star Wars, the given hour was not even close to enough time to give everyone a shot. I didn’t get the chance. Which was a shame, but we got some cool stuff in there despite my brilliance going unnoticed. Sarah Michelle Gellar was only able to stay for 10 minutes, having other business to attend to. So the beginning of this event was for her and didn’t stray from that. We got to know how she got the job (husband Freddie Prinze Jr is main role on the show). We got her experience working in the booth (very freeing and lacking in self consciousness). She had a great time playing a villain, able to have fun at being someone so confident in their ways, an intellectual villain. And that the fact that being in Star Wars is a big deal for her, being a part of the massive history of the franchise. For Gellar, that was about it as she had to leave.
With Gellar leaving, it went to the rest of the crew. But it was pretty much dominated by Filoni. Most of the questions went to him, which isn’t surprising since he’s the creative at hand. Can’t really ask Gray or Eckstein about upcoming stories or what’s in store. So he talked about how he wanted to make the franchise more girl friendly, making this season lean into the female characters more and adding some, like Gellar. The aim is to make the breakdown even. James Earl Jones is brought up and he talks about how exciting it was for him to be on the show, and how it was almost impossible to direct him since he’s so iconic. This one got some brief answers from how awesome it was to have him on the show from Gray and Eckstein. The history between Ahsoka and Vader is brought up as to whether it will come to a head this season, which got a long answer about how unique Ahsoka is in the Jedi but was typically coy about future storylines. Since this series is \all cross connected now, he gets into a bit of the cooperation between the various projects to make sure things all connect and feel right, as one story is having a rebellion group and in Rebels the group is called Fulcrum so that project will have Fulcrum. Asked if Ahsoka will show up in Star Wars: Rouge One, he’s coy about giving an answer either way. A really deep cut question comes from an obvious fan of the material, asking what happened to the clones? So Filoni gets into the way all the clones are programmed but some probably aren’t programmed right just by probability. So some are probably just older men working grunt duty and how some were killed. Some probably sit around thinking about the morality of killing the Jedi generals. Others probably think the Jedi were evil. There’s no clear, concise answer because there’s too many to really have a set answer. Which is a nice way to set up the moral questions in the world.
The next two questions get Gray into the mix. Because the first one has someone bring up the theory that Ezra ages into Kylo Ren in Force Awakens. Obviously Gray had never heard the theory, but that Filoni has. Cause Gray’s jaw drops and he looks ecstatic, while Filoni just looks annoyed. Basically Filoni won’t give a clear answer, but all signs point to no. And then he’s asked about Ezra’s development in the new season. He says that he gets more confident and alittle cocky, thanks to being needed in some ways by the rebellion. His force training grows and his parents end up being a big part of his journey. Nothing too spoilery, but he’s excited to show where Ezra is through the season. Rounding this panel up was someone asking Eckstein if she has any input on Ahsokas backstory and what she had been doing between Clone Wars and Rebels. They joke how her ideas for the character are very silly, but get to the point that it all falls down to the writers and how her only real input is in line deliveries or some dialogue choices. Other than that, it falls down to the writers.
And that’s it. The panel ended and we left the room. It was a fun event, the first I had been a part of. It wasn’t entirely illuminating, since the franchise is very much about secrecy and just the basic idea of not ruining stories before the season even starts. But the crew was easy going, even if Filoni got the lions share of questions. It’s obvious that the show is in good hands and that Season 1 wasn’t a fluke.