Before the PARADE passes by
So, without further ado......let's have a PARADE!
Lucas to be grand marshal of Rose Parade
'Star Wars' floats will include 200 stormtroopers
By ALEX ROMANELLI
Hundreds of fans will march in full 'Star Wars' regalia at the 2007 Tournament of Roses Parade.
(Photo: Mark Ashman)
Lucasfilm's 'Star Wars Spectacular' at the Rose Parade will include a float inspired by the landscape of the planet Naboo.
If you notice Darth Vader, flanked by 200 stormtroopers, marching through Pasadena on Monday, don't worry: You're not seeing things because you drank too much at a New Year's Eve party. Editor's Note: Don't rule that out. I would guess it depends on where you are in Pasadena when you see this?
"Star Wars" is making its first appearance in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, and George Lucas is using the opportunity to give something back to his most obsessive fans.
Centerpiece of the "Star Wars" floats -- the "Star Wars Spectacular," as Lucasfilm dubs it -- will be 200 members of the 501st Legion, a 3,500-strong group of hardcore fans who appear publicly in full "Star Wars" costume.
The 501st makes public appearances in accurate replica costumes, participating mostly at fund raisers and charity events, always pro bono. Although unaffiliated with Lucasfilm, the company sometimes uses the 501st at its official events.
"When we were releasing 'Episode III' around the world, we'd call up the local garrison and ask them to provide some atmosphere and color around the premiere," said Tom Warner, Lucasfilm's senior director of marketing. "George was so impressed with these guys -- with their dedication and professionalism -- he wanted to do something to get recognition for them." Editor's Note: And this is what makes Uncle George different from all the rest....he really DOES appreciate the fans. (He LOVES us, he really LOVES us!)
When Lucas had the idea for a "Star Wars" float in the Rose Parade, an open audition call went out to 501st members. Lucasfilm received 700 videos from costumed fans who filmed themselves marching. These were narrowed down to 200 participants, and Lucasfilm is flying those members in from across the nation and around the world, with 22 countries and 36 states represented.
About 80% will be dressed in the parade as the traditional iconic stormtroopers, with the rest appearing in related costumes such as snowtroopers, sandtroopers and biker scouts, Warner said.
"Think of it as the opening of the Olympics, with each foreign garrison represented by its country's flag and local garrison arm patches," Warner said.
Accompanying the 501st will be the Grambling State U. marching band from Louisiana -- 176 band members dressed as Imperial officers. Lucas is a big admirer of marching bands, especially Southern show-style bands. They'll be performing three compositions familiar to fans of the films -- the "Main Title," "Imperial March" and "The Throne Room" -- but Warner promises "a New Orleans twist."
Eight dancers and eight flag girls from Grambling State will also be dressed as Twi'leks -- exotic alien dancers from the "Star Wars" films.
Lucasfilm's "Star Wars Spectacular" will be bookended by two floats representing the theme of this year's parade, "Our Good Nature." First float will be the Forest Moon of Endor from 1983's "Return of the Jedi," complete with Ewoks swinging between trees. Editor's Note: Forget marching stormies....a float full of swinging Ewoks is SURE to make people swear off the hard stuff. (or START on it, I guess). The second float is the planet of Naboo, seen in the prequel trilogy, featuring royal queens, handmaidens, Jedi protectors and even working waterfalls.
Lucas is also the parade's grand marshal, following in the footsteps of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, John Wayne, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Stewart and Mickey Mouse.
Warner insists the decision to name Lucas grand marshal was independent of Lucasfilm's planned extravaganza. "We didn't go with that expectation at all. That came after we pitched (the parade organizers) the idea. George is honored and very excited. The 501st was really the genesis of this whole idea."
One million people are expected to line the parade's route in Pasadena, with about 30 million watching on TV.
With 2007 marking the 30th anniversary of "Star Wars," Lucasfilm plans a five-day fan convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center in May. Editor's Note: Which, sniffle, I SO want to go to. Sniffle....
Rose Parade Marching Drills Continue
Day 2 of marching drill instruction begins today (Editor's Note: This was on Thursday, I believe) in sunny and cool Pasadena, California, as the international representatives of the 501st Legion return to the secret training grounds for another full day of "buckets on" rehearsal.
Check out a few exclusive behind the scenes photos courtesy of Roy Waung :
Lucas Addresses the Troops at Pasadena
On the evening of Wednesday, December 27th, Star Wars Spectacular Rose Parade participants were blown away by a surprise after-dinner appearance by "The Maker."
George Lucas personally expressed his appreciation and enthusiasm for the efforts of the 501st Legion and the Grambling University Marching Band as they prepare for the New Year's Day event and promised to visit the troops again in the days leading up to the parade.
Click here for exclusive video!
http://www.501st.com/ Editor's Note: All you cynics can just hush. Cause when you watch this video, it seems really clear that Uncle G is genuinely fond of his fans and truly grateful.
Queens for a Day
December 06, 2006
Dressing in Queen Amidala's gorgeous gowns and waving at fans from a beautiful Naboo set may sound like a royal dream, but for three Star Wars fans it'll become their destiny during the upcoming Rose Bowl Parade celebration on Jan. 1, 2007 in Pasadena, California.
When Star Wars Shop customer care representative Kelsey Mccalla, and former 2005 Rose Court members Alaire Hanashian and Ashley Moreno were asked to be queens for the Star Wars float, they all jumped at the chance.
"During this year's announcement ceremony for the Rose Queen, one of the Tournament of Roses representatives inquired if I was interested in wearing Queen Amidala's costume on the official Star Wars float," Hanashian says. "I about stumbled over my words getting the 'Yes!' out. Star Wars has been a huge interest of mine while I was growing up, so being asked to be a part of the 30th anniversary float is euphoric!"
"Star Wars has easily been my favorite set of films growing up," Hanashian continues. "For each of the prequels' release dates, I've camped outside with friends for midnight showings. I wasn't even born when the original three came out! Editor's Note: Skinny and young. I HATE that. So to be a part of the Star Wars 30th anniversary and wear the genuine Queen Amidala costume is exciting beyond words. Plus my family and friends are huge Star Wars fans as well, so we're all sharing in the excitement over the event."
"It really is a big honor to be a part of a creation of Lucasfilm and Mr. Lucas himself simply because Star Wars and the subculture it has bred has become such a unique and permanent part of American culture," Moreno says. "I truly believe that there is no other phenomenon that has such a dedicated and loyal fan base anywhere else in the world, and to be able to represent and display all that is wonderful about the movies themselves is so exciting and special for me."
Mccalla has been a diehard Star Wars fan since the young age of four and still can't believe she'll have the chance to wear an authentic gown also worn by actress Natalie Portman.
"There are a lot of fans that would love to be in my place to be wearing a gown from the movie and to almost be a part of the Star Wars experience," Mccalla says. "The original trilogy made me a fan but my boyfriend, Matt, brought me into my full nerdiness. Editor's Note: Umm....DWEEBiness, if you please! I loved going to the Fan-Force meetings and being able to talk with other people about the films. The films are part of life for me and I have met so many people through the Star Wars fan community that I would have never met otherwise. It is always growing and will always be around."
Not only has Mccalla been a longtime fan, but she's also an avid costumer which makes this experience even more thrilling.
"A few years ago my mom and I made the blue dress Padmé wore in the deleted scene from Episode II," Mccalla remembers. "I've worn it at a few conventions including Celebration III and Comic-Con. As a float queen I will be wearing the Black Post-Senate Gown from Episode I, from the scene in the Chancellor's office where they are discussing the changes in the Senate."
To prepare for their royal roles, the queens were fitted specially for their authentic gowns created by designer Trisha Biggar from the Lucasfilm Archives. Aside from the Post-Senate gown, fans can expect to see the Red Senate Costume from Episode I and the Packing Dress from Episode II.
As part of their responsibilities, the queens will take their respective places on the Naboo float -- one of two Star Wars floats in the parade. The other Star Wars float depicts Endor complete with three Ewoks.
"Our duties as float queens are to represent the graceful image of Queen Amidala on the Star Wars 30th Anniversary float during the parade, and at several 'float showcasing' events before and after the parade," Hanashian explains. "Each of the floats for the Rose Parade are made of intricate flower designs, usually incorporating several million flowers of varying colors; the Star Wars float will be no different. Each of the three Queen Amidalas will be positioned in different locations on the float. My spot happens to be on the throne at the front of the float with two Jedi guards accompanying me on either side."
"My duties as a float queen are to show up bright and early on the first of January and be ready to have a blast representing Star Wars!" Moreno adds. "The Naboo float has multiple levels and working waterfalls along with lots of exciting characters and iconic costumes."
The queens are excited to see what the fans' reactions will be to the intricate and action-packed floats which not only embody the Star Wars spirit, but also the parade's theme of "Our Good Nature."
"I think these Star Wars floats will bring the freshness the Rose Parade," Mccalla says. "Just seeing a marching stormtrooper gives me goosebumps and to hear the marching band playing Star Wars themes will be awesome. I'm also really excited to meet so many other hardcore fans who will be marching along with the floats. It's also going to be amazing to get to see the floats up close and personal; if I wasn't doing this I'd be stuck at home watching it on TV."
"Personally, I am looking forward to seeing the pride and excitement in all of the eyes of the fans on New Year's morning and the thrill they will receive as they watch the floats roll by," Moreno smiles. "What other float entry can boast space-traveling Jedi, swinging Ewoks and a howling Chewbacca?"
"The imagination behind the whole Star Wars series is part of what has made it so popular. It's strange, and different, and far-out and has a universal appeal to all generations. Star Wars is a classic example of something so visionary that it can't help but take the world by storm. There truly is nothing else like it and I'm sure Star Wars buffs the world around will be thrilled to see some original costumes from the feature films and to be able to 'bust out' all of the Star Wars trivia!"
"To me, just seeing the costumes again, the Jedi and the Queen's included, brings back the magic that the movies first evoked," Hanashian says. "It almost reminds me of the celebration at the end of Episode I when the parade is held to celebrate the peace treaty in the film -- the excitement, the color, the elaborate costumes all create this surreal atmosphere that the Rose Parade is all about. Of course, the best part of being a queen on the float is simply being a part of this bigger celebration. The Rose Parade itself is about celebrating a New Year, and people coming together to rejoice over the opportunities that the future holds. To be a part of the Star Wars float, within that larger celebration, is to be a part of the memories that so many people have about the Star Wars films."
Right Left, Right Left: Training Troopers
December 11, 2006
Marching in unison while wearing stormtrooper armor is no easy feat. So the 501st members participating in the 2007 Rose Parade called in reinforcements for training. The 501st garrison leaders and Col. Anthony Toledo answered the call to action.
"My role as Legion Executive Officer is to assist the Legion Commanding Officer (Mark Fordham) in whatever activities and functions are needed to help the 501st Legion function smoothly, cohesively, and consistently across the units," Edward Karl explains. "During our face-to-face meeting with Lucasfilm in April 2006, Mark and I were told that there was a top secret project in the works involving the 501st Legion participating in the Rose Parade. Even more amazing was the fact that this idea originated from George Lucas himself who, as I understand it, wanted to show his appreciation for the warm support that he has received from the men and women of the 501st Legion at his various public appearances." Editor's Note: Don't ya just want to give Uncle G a BIG oleHUG??!!!
After the meeting with Lucasfilm, Karl and Fordham decided to gather the 501st members together to train in a specific way for the parade.
"Given the different marching styles and techniques in the world, as well as the varying degrees of experience levels within the 501st Legion, Michael Hass from the Cloud City Garrison recommended that an Instructional Marching Video be developed so that our marching troopers around the world would have a good understanding of a specific marching style and technique to lessen the learning curve in Pasadena," Karl explains. "I presented Michael's idea to Mark Fordham (LCO) who was in complete support of this project and, in fact, volunteered to drive to the San Francisco Bay Area from his home in Provo, Utah, to participate in the Instructional Marching Video session. With Mark's concurrence, I presented the concept to Ian Hiebert (Commanding Officer of the Golden Gate Garrison) and Dean De Anda (Executive Officer of the Golden Gate Garrison), who were both supportive of this idea."
Col. Anthony Toledo soon got involved bringing his military expertise to the project.
"When the initial request from Lucasfilm was issued to the 501st Legion requesting Garrison troopers to submit their marching video, Dean De Anda called on his co-worker Colonel Toledo, a former U.S. Army Infantry Drill Instructor, to help train the Golden Gate Garrison troopers for the audition video," Karl says. "During the two-day training last July, I found Colonel Toledo to be very competent, professional, yet personable. He was not only open to new ideas, but was receptive to adapting the Army marching style to overcome the various challenges of marching in full helmet and armor. I later learned that LFL was so impressed with Colonel Toledo's ability to train the Golden Gate Garrison marching unit that they offered him the position of the Drill Instructor for the entire 501st Legion Rose Parade Unit. When we decided to develop the Instructional Marching Video, Dean contacted Colonel Toledo who graciously volunteered to spend his Sunday afternoon to help make it happen."
As the Master Drill Instructor for the 200 501st members who will be in the 2007 Rose Parade, Toledo was happy to prepare a video tutorial so participants could train to march in unison in full trooper armor.
"I thought that it would be an excellent primer for those who did not know how to march, and also it would give a heads-up to those who had questions about the drills," Toledo says. "It was also a great way to show those who have not had the opportunity to work with me to see what the basics of training will be like. I would like to see everyone on the same page when we actually start our practice, and this would be a great way to show others what we are looking for."
As various 501st members worked together on their marching techniques, Karl was impressed by their level of teamwork.
"The most surprising part of the training is how well everyone was able to work together," Karl says. "Despite our different backgrounds and marching skill levels, the marching troopers took their training seriously and gave it their best effort. Many of these same troopers then came out in force to support the taping of the Instructional Marching Video."
"For me, as a long time Drill and Ceremonies instructor, I was amazed how quickly and how motivated everyone was during the training," Toledo adds. "I was impressed with the members' professionalism, and what usually takes the average Army trainee weeks to learn we were able to accomplish in just a matter of a few days or even hours." Editor's NOte: Yes, but that might have something to do with the Sith battle meld helping the troopers? (something that I guess the regular army doesn't have....no matter how many times some of those guys in Washington audition for Sithdom....ahemmm)
Marching as a large group may sound easy enough, but adding a full stormtrooper or clone trooper costume into the mix can create difficulty merely because of obstructed views and inflexible armor.
"Some of the marching troopers had difficultly watching their teammates peripherally due to the obstruction from their helmet,"Editor's Note: An unreported reason behind the Empire's defeat? Karl says. "The hardest part of marching is actually perfecting the marching techniques themselves. The dreaded wheel turn, for example, where an entire row of troopers make a turn around a bend is particularly challenging. Fortunately, the marching team will not be performing too many wheel turns as there are only two sharp turns on the parade route."
"I have never worn the armor before, but I have tried on the helmet and I can see that trying to keep your alignment and guide with the person next to you can be quite difficult," Toledo adds. "So I really commend them on the effort they put on in looking as good as they do in the armor."
Karl and Toledo are excited to see the 501st members in action once the parade is officially underway, and they have a strong feeling the fans will be impressed as well. "I don't think that something like this has ever been done on a scale this grand, and I feel that the fans of Star Wars and the 501st Legion will get a great thrill watching their favorite characters march in the parade," Toledo says.
"Star Wars, being such a recognized movie saga throughout the country and, in fact, around the globe, brings an instant bond with fans everywhere," Karl says. "I think that when the fans see the hundreds of Star Wars screen-accurate Imperial stormtroopers, sandtroopers and biker scouts, seemingly march off the movie screen and onto the streets of Pasadena, it will ignite warm and nostalgic memories of the first time they saw Star Wars 30 years ago. There will also be a whole new generation of younger fans who, not too long ago, had played with many of the very same action figures, including Darth Vader and clone troopers, who will be marching life-sized in front of them. Finally, there will be many true Star Wars fans who are members of the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, Jedi Assembly and Star Wars Fan Force, who, even though they are not selected to participate in the parade themselves, would be totally jazzed seeing their clubs represented by their fellow 'brothers and sisters' in such a highly publicized event. This is an exciting time to be a 501st member."
EDITOR'S NOTE: AND LAST, BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST, FOR THOSE OF US NOT LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE IN LA FOR THE PARADE, HERE'S A HANDY PIECE OF INFO ON VIEWING THE WHOLE THING ON TV.
FYI.....HGTV appears to be the place to be, tv-wise.
The Making of the Rose Parade 2007
January 01, 2007 10:00 AM ET/PT 9am CST
Before the first high-stepper horse, drum unit or floral float rolls down the most famous avenue in Pasadena, thousands of hours and endless passion pour into crafting and creating this national treasure—the Tournament of Roses Parade.
Delve into the tradition that documents the year's worth of sketching, welding, growing and grooming required to pull off the world-class pageantry that has greeted Americans every New Year's Day for over a century.
Meet grand marshal, George Lucas,Editor's Note: OOOOO....a SW drinking game!!! Everytime they show Uncle G during the parade coverage, wave, say "HI, Uncle George," and down a swig of mimosa! (or blue milk, or Corellian Ale, or whatever your poison)!!! before the live parade coverage on HGTV.
Rose Parade 2007
For 118 years it's been a bloomin' New Year's tradition and this year Rose Parade 2007 has even more stunning visual effects—along with the best marching bands and most majestic flowers in the world.
Grand marshal and filmmaker extraordinaire, George Lucas,Editor's Note: And take a SIP every time someone says "Grand Marshall George Lucas"! along with brand-new HGTV exclusives and, of course, live, uninterrupted (commercial-free) coverage make HGTV the best seat in the house! Paul James, Robb Weller, Karen McAloon and Chi-Lan Lieu host.
Editor's Note: And last, but certainly NOT least, what would a SW event be without SWAG to purchase! (I just ordered mine, natch).
Star Wars Collectible Rose Parade Pins
December 19, 2006
While not everyone can attend the Star Wars Spectacular at the 2007 Rose Parade in Pasadena,Editor's Note: Sniffle.... fans can still find collectible souvenirs to commemorate the event.
"This year, Star Wars fans are lucky to have two pins featuring both the float and the Grand Marshal -- a rare opportunity for collectors," says Nancy Chapman Melekian, President of Milestone Products.
Since the 1985 Rose Parade, Milestone Products have been creating collectible Rose Parade pins for collectors and float fans alike.
"The 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles created a demand for high-quality collective souvenir pins," Melekian says. "The following year, the Tournament of Roses licensed Milestone Products to introduce the Collectible Cloisonné pin set for the 1985 Rose Parade. Since then every float participant, marching band, float building company and the media are represented in the set, which contains more than 100 pins. These pins are hand-crafted in the highest quality cloisonné, a 600-year-old Chinese art form. The cloisonné process creates pins with vibrant, durable colors that guarantee a long life in any collector's case."
"The uniqueness of the Rose Parade pin is that once a parade passes, the pins are never produced again," Melekian adds. "This alone creates a high-demand for popular pins that capture the essence of the parade. Every parade participant, from bands to individual floats, is represented in a one-of-a-kind pin."
Past pins featured hundreds of bands from around the U.S. and the world as well as company sponsors and floats including Bank of America, Nestlé, Disney, Kodak, FTD, McDonalds, Dr. Pepper, Subway, Smart & Final, Target and IBM, among others.
In addition to the Rose Parade float pin featuring a stormtrooper design, collectors and fans can also purchase a special Grand Marshal pin of George Lucas. Editor's Note: Yep. I ordered me one of EACH!
"The Grand Marshal pin, featuring a high-quality, photographic image, is one of our most popular pins," Melekian says. "The limited production of the Grand Marshal pin creates a high-demand particularly when the Grand Marshal is an icon like George Lucas." Editor's Note: And particularly when fans (like MOI) are such durned SUCKERS. (and proud of it?)
Former Grand Marshal pins have featured such icons as John Williams, William Shatner, Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog, Angela Lansbury, Gregory Peck and Bob Newhart.
"The Tournament of Roses parade and Rose Bowl Game are unparalleled events," Melekian says. "As the largest parade in the world, the Rose Parade is also the most watched, with millions of viewers annually. Each float and each Grand Marshal pin are unique to that year. The pins offer a special opportunity to capture the magic of a single, fleeting event that will never occur in the same way again. The collector's pins memorialize a moment in time with beautiful vibrant colors and high-quality cloisonné construction that will last generations. With a limited number produced for each parade, these collector's items tell the story of one special moment, in one very special parade."
Find more information about the Rose Parade Star Wars Spectacular and George Lucas Grand Marshal pins here at Milestoneproducts.com.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This just in (again, sent along by stalwart dweebpal PlanoKevin) ---
Director George Lucas arrives at the benefit premiere of "Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith" on May 12, 2005, in San Francisco. Lucas, the mastermind behind the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" sagas, can add another credit to his illustrious resume: Rose Parade grand marshal.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - George Lucas, the mastermind behind the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" sagas, can add another credit to his illustrious resume: Rose Parade grand marshal.
For a man accustomed to working behind the camera lens, Lucas embraces his latest challenge as the public face of the 118th annual Tournament of Roses on New Year's Day.
"There's nothing like being a grand marshal. It's a completely unique experience," said Lucas, sitting in the posh Beverly Wilshire hotel.
The 62-year-old director-producer took a break from his grand marshal duties this past week to reflect on the new year and practice his parade wave. He raised his cupped right hand and, with a flick of his wrist, turned it side to side like a beauty pageant model.
"I've done a lot of wave training," he quipped.
It seems fitting for Lucas to serve as the ambassador of the 2007 Rose Parade that will feature the three-piece "Star Wars Spectacular," which commemorates the 1977 release of "Star Wars," the first film in the sci-fi six-pack. The procession will include two floats depicting the moon of Endor seen in the "Return of the Jedi" and the garden planet of Naboo. Darth Vader will lead a group of 200 stormtroopers, assembled from around the world, who belong to a fan club called the 501st Legion.
Lucas won't don a stormtrooper costume at the parade, but he's not missing out. Earlier this year, toy maker Hasbro paid plastic tribute to the filmmaker by creating a limited-edition action figure of him with the snow white stormtrooper attire.
The 30th anniversary of "Star Wars" will be marked by conventions, festivities and the introduction of new video games in 2007. Lucas also is pursuing an animated 3-D TV series of "Clone Wars," a continuation of the Emmy-winning show by the same name that aired from 2003 to 2005. The new series has not been sold to a network yet, but Lucas was confident a deal would be reached next year. Editor's Note: I don't know....I mean, do you think people have already forgotten about Star Wars? (snicker....)
Lucas said he will team up again with actor Harrison Ford and director Steven Spielberg for the highly anticipated fourth installment of the "Indian Jones" movies. Filming will begin next year and the movie will be released in May 2008.
He is relishing his grand marshal status. He gets to ride in a rare 1911 Pope-Hartford Model Y car and will flip the coin before the Rose Bowl matchup between Michigan and Southern California, his alma mater.
Previous honorees as grand marshal have included Dwight Eisenhower, Bob Hope, Tom Brokaw and Bill Cosby. Editor's Note: And Kermit. Let's not forget Kermit the frog!
"It's always a great honor to be put in a category with other people you admire," he said.
Looking back at the galactic success of "Star Wars," Lucas said he's still amazed by the fanfare.
"It doesn't look like it's going to let up. It's as strong now as it's ever been," he said. Editor's Note: WOOOHOOO!!! (and WE helped!)