Wednesday, September 20, 2006

a LONG time ago (and far FAR away)

Editor's Note: It FEELS like a long time ago and far far away since we really really DWEEBED, huh?! Did ya MISS me?! Still in post-show recovery, but trying to get back to the dweeb SWIM.

Let's catch up on a bundle of SW stuff, ok?

First...a little sad news.

Robert Earl Jones, father of James Earl Jones, dies at 96

A fairly recent pic (basically what he looked like in "The Sting" as well).

ENGLEWOOD, N.J. — Actor Robert Earl Jones, a fixture in Broadway shows and movies and the father of actor James Earl Jones, has died.

Jones, 96, died Sept. 7 at the Lillian Booth Actors' Home, according to the home and Dale Olson, his son's agent.

Jones was a third-grade dropout from Senotobia, Miss., who worked as a sharecropper, then became a boxer before arriving in New York City and taking up acting. The poet Langston Hughes cast him in an early role in the Harlem Suitcase Theatre.

Jones appeared as boxing champion Joe Louis in Spirit of Youth among other films and Broadway productions before his career was interrupted in the 1950s when he was blacklisted for refusing to testify before the House un-American Activities Committee.

Robert Earl Jones, circa 1938.

His movie career resumed by the late 1950s. He had roles in films including Odds Against Tomorrow, Wild River, The Sting and Witness in a career that lasted into the 1990s. In all, he appeared in more than 20 films.

He also appeared in several stage productions with his son, James Earl Jones, the actor who gave voice to Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies, among dozens of other roles.

In addition to his acting, Jones ran marathons, including the New York City marathon in 1996.
Besides James Earl Jones, Robert Earl Jones is survived by son Matthew Earl Jones and a grandson. Funeral services were private. Editor's Note: I actually had the priveledge of seeing Robert Earl Jones on stage in a play at Steppenwolf in Chicago several years ago. He had the same resonant voice and amazing diction as his son James, but was about half the size. He was mesmerizing.

And now.....a few items about the 'maker' ---

George Lucas donates $175 mil to USC

According to the Hollywood Reporter, George Lucas has donated a whopping $175 million to the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.

The donation, which will be made through his Lucas Foundation, is the largest single donation in USC's history. As for allotting the donation: $75 million will be earmarked for the construction of new educational buildings and renovations of existing structures at the school, while $100 million will provide an endowment.

USC is the alma mater of Lucas. Elizabeth Daley is the dean of the Film school at USC.

George Lucas Announced as Rose Parade Grand Marshal
Chewbacca, Wicket the Ewok and an all-American Dixie band were all on hand to help Tournament of Roses President Paul L. Holman introduce the next Grand Marshal for the 2007 Parade -- George Lucas.

"When I considered a choice for Grand Marshal I thought about all the unique aspects of our events and our organizations," Holman explains. "The challenge, then, was to find an individual who embodied the same attributes that are part of the Tournament of Roses -- bringing people together through entertainment, innovation and technology -- but mostly a spirit of permanence, something that links generation to generation -- and someone who brings joy to young and old alike. And so it was my great honor to name George Lucas as the Grand Marshal of the 2007 festivities, to preside over the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game here in Pasadena on New Year's Day."

George Lucas, Chewbacca, Wicket with Pasadena Tournament of Roses President Paul L. Holman.

On the front lawn of the Tournament of Roses headquarters, Chewbacca and Wicket surprised international and national press with Wookiee roars, Star Wars music, an Ewok jig and Lucas himself who was more than happy to tell reporters why he'll always love the Rose Parade.

"It's a great honor to be part of the Parade," Lucas says. "I've grown up with it as I think all American kids have. It was a major event in my household. We'd all look forward to getting up early and watching the parade. And occasionally my family would come down for the Rose Parade from Northern California, which was always a giant trip. I came to the first Rose Parade when I was about 10 years old and it was quite an experience then. It's more than amazing to be the Grand Marshal now."

"And I swear it has nothing to do with my having two Star Wars floats in the Parade," Lucas laughs. The presence of Star Wars at the parade was first announced at Comic-Con International 2006, when the event was identified as the kick-off for the 30th anniversary celebration of the saga. Editor's Note: I was thinking...what with the SW movies all done...that maybe I didn't really have all that much to live for. (Book 7 of the Harry Potter saga notwithstanding). But now I can watch the parade this New Year's, and know that we are kicking off another big year of STAR WARS doings for our big anniversary!!!

Ain't life grand?

As the Grand Marshal, Lucas will reside over the Rose Parade, which will include 200 costumed, marching 501st stormtroopers from more than 20 countries, as well as the world-famous Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band from Louisiana, also in costume.

To reflect the 2007 theme of "Our Good Nature," two Star Wars floats -- one inspired by the Ewoks of Endor and the other by the garden planet of Naboo -- will also be part of the Parade. Editor's Note: Actually, the Naboo float, follwing BEHIND the Endor float, will have a barbeque pit. (Which sauce goes best with roasted Ewok?)


"I'm learning how to properly wave," Lucas laughs. "My only concern about serving as Grand Marshal is that I'd miss seeing the rest of the parade, so I have to figure a way around that. I'm hoping to enjoy the experience as much as I can and then see the entire parade later on television."

George Lucas, Chewbacca and Wicket the Ewok pose with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association staff.

In addition to his Parade duties, Lucas also will perform the traditional coin toss on the field of the historic Rose Bowl stadium. Though he does warn about his possible bias if his Alma Mater is involved.

"I'm going to have to test my coin flipping abilities," Lucas says. "However, I don't know what will happen if USC is part of the championship. If they are in the Rose Bowl, I can tell you right now who's going to win that toss."

Previous Grand Marshals have included national cultural and political icons including Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog, actors William Shatner, Bill Cosby, Bob Hope, Bob Newhart, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Frank Sinatra, athletes Hank Aaron and Pele, politicians Senator John Glenn, former Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O'Connor, former U.S. presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon, and the Apollo 12 astronauts. Legendary Star Wars music composer John Williams also served as Grand Marshal in 2004.

"It's an honor to be listed with all the other Grand Marshals," Lucas says. "There's a long line of great Americans and cultural icons of this country who have contributed, and I'm proud to be included among them."

Uncle George tosses the ole pigskin...snicker....

Nets pay the piper for 'Titanic'-sized themes (Horner, Williams collect backend coin for news music)
Cue the trumpets.

Katie Couric's Sept. 5 debut as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" was heralded by a fanfare from "Titanic" composer James Horner, while NBC's new "Sunday Night Football" is being ushered in with a dramatic march from "Star Wars" cleffer John Williams. Both used L.A. studio orchestras of 85 to 90 players.

Those familiar with the process say the upfront "creative fee" was probably small and that nets usually own the music outright. The big money comes on the backend, as composers collect "performance income" from multiple TV plays over time.

One source suggests Williams has made $15 million-$20 million on his news music alone.
Horner says CBS "didn't want it to sound like a Madison Avenue corporate logo" and that Couric sought a "more cinematic, sweeping, Americana-ish" theme.

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol says Williams' long association with the network -- his NBC News theme has been on the air since 1985, and he has written four Olympic themes -- led to the football gig. Williams delivered four themes, which will be parceled out among the NFL games and studio show "Football Night in America."

The composer, who has never attended a pro football game Editor's Note: Never? I mean, even the QOTD has visited the stadium from time to time! , says he tried to invoke "a gladiatorial spirit, but also identifiable as an American experience."

The webs tend to hire lesser-known composers like Bob Israel (ABC's "World News Tonight") and Edd Kalehoff (CBS' "48 Hours") for music.

But in the days of Edward R. Murrow, Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring" opened "CBS Reports." NBC's "Huntley-Brinkley Report" closed with Beethoven's Ninth. Henry Mancini's "Nightly News" signature didn't last long, but his "Decision '76" march introduced election-night coverage for 16 years.

ABC hasn't had a star composer for years, but it hired Marvin Hamlisch for the original "Good Morning America" theme in 1975, and Bill Conti for several themes including "PrimeTime Live" in the late '80s.

Editor's Note: Now, as we prepare to celebrate 30 years of Star Wars'ing, the official SW website gives us a few little flash-back items ---

Life in 1977
When Star Wars hit theaters in May 1977, punk music pushed out disco and Burt Reynolds became the poster boy for outracing the boys in blue. Take a look back at what life was like in 1977 in preparation for the DVD release of the original theatrical edition of Star Wars!

Editor's Note: The coolest thing about 1977? EVERYBODY looked geeky. Even the cool kids!

Editor's Note: I'd say that's Danny Bonaduce in line right in the middle, there, except that he is exactly MY age....and I graduated high school in 77. (sigh...yes, I've just outed myself for once and all as a ......GEEZER).

Highlights of 1977:
President Jimmy Carter is inaugurated as the 39th President of the United States; pardons Vietnam War draft evaders in the same year.

Elvis Presley is found dead at his home in Graceland at the age of 42.

The bands the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Talking Heads and Motorhead release their debut albums. The bands the B-52's, Black Flag, INXS, Whitesnake, Def Leppard and X form.

Stevie Wonder wins the Album of the Year Grammy Award for Songs in the Key of Life.

The television shows "Three's Company," "Fantasy Island," "Eight is Enough," "CHiPs," "The Love Boat," "Soap" and "Lou Grant" debut. Editor's Note: Ahh....the real CLASSICS. (smirk). And for you trivia buffs: have you seen Mark Hamill in the Pilot of "8 is Enough"? (He had to get out of his contract to that show in order to stay with the SW saga!

ABC broadcasts the TV miniseries "Roots" -- setting ratings records.

Comedian Bill Murray becomes new cast member of "Saturday Night Live."

A private plane crash kills three band members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Celebrity deaths include Anaïs Nin, Freddie Prinze, Joan Crawford, Groucho Marx, Bing Crosby, and Charlie Chaplin.

The first Apple II computer debuts.

The New York City Blackout of 1977 lasts for 25 hours, resulting in mass looting.

United States Senate Hearing on CIA mind-control research program Project MKULTRA begins.

David Berkowitz, otherwise known as the serial killer the Son of Sam, is captured after one year of murders in New York City.

Cost of a movie ticket is $2.23, while gas is .62 a gallon. A first class stamp is .13.

New York Yankees win the World Series with help from Reggie Jackson who hits 3 home runs and earns the nickname "Mr. October."

Top-grossing films: Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever, Smokey and the Bandit, King Kong, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and A Star is Born. Editor's Note; Most of these proving that there is no accounting for taste, and that perhaps BOX OFFICE isn't the best gauge of QUALITY.

Other films released: Annie Hall, Eraserhead, Oh, God! , Orca, Pete's Dragon, The Goodbye Girl, The Rescuers, The Spy Who Loved Me, Pumping Iron and Carrie.

Annie Hall wins Oscar for Best Picture, and Woody Allen wins for Best Director.

Atari develops the Game Brain -- the first Atari system to use cartridges. Cinematronics releases Space Wars, the first vector-graphics arcade game. Mattel releases Missile Attack, the first handheld LED display electronic game.

Hit songs:"Heroes" - David Bowie "We Are the Champions" - Queen"Watching the Detectives" - Elvis Costello "Carry on My Wayward Son" - Kansas "Go Your Own Way" - Fleetwood Mac "God Save the Queen" - Sex Pistols "Margaritaville" - Jimmy Buffett "Nobody Does It Better" - Carly Simon "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker" - The Ramones"You Light Up My Life" - Debby Boone "Dancing Queen" - ABBA"Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band" - Meco Editor's Note: Raise your hand....those of you who were alive in many of you have most of these songs on 45? (And for those of you NOT alive in 77, a 45 is a gun).

Life in 1980
As fans lined up to see The Empire Strikes Back on the big screen in May of 1980, a dormant volcano erupts in the United States, and a Beatles legend dies unexpectedly.

Highlights of 1980

John Lennon is shot and killed outside his New York apartment by Mark Chapman.

The U.S. Olympic Hockey Team defeats the USSR in the semifinals of the XIII Winter Olympics in the Miracle on Ice. Later in the year, President Jimmy Carter announces that the U.S. will boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

Millions of viewers tune into the TV soap opera "Dallas" to discover who shot J.R. Ewing. Editor's NOte: And do you remember WHO did it? (Sad to say that I remember. And I didn't even WATCH the show regularly. But my SORORITY house had a who shot JR party. Complete with a purloined wheelchair....before the days of PC...and cigars and J.R. Beer!)

Celebrity deaths include Alfred Hitchcock, Steve McQueen, Mae West, Jimmy Durante, Jesse Owens, Henry Miller, Peter Sellers, Dorothy Stratten, John Bonham, Bon Scott, and Ian Curtis.

Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington causing $3 billion in damage and killing 57 people.

Cost of a movie ticket was $2.69, while gas is $1.19 a gallon. A first class stamp is .15.

Top-grossing films: The Empire Strikes Back, Superman II and Nine to Five.

Other films released: Airplane!, Any Which Way You Can, Fame, Flash Gordon, The Fog, Friday the 13th, Ordinary People, Raging Bull, Stir Crazy, The Blues Brothers, The Blue Lagoon, The Elephant Man and Urban Cowboy.

Ordinary People wins Oscar for Best Picture, while its director Robert Redford wins as well.

Robert De Niro wins Best Actor Oscar for Raging Bull.

Walter Cronkite retires from the "CBS Evening News."

The Cable News Network (CNN) -- the first 24-hour news TV network debuts.

The Rubik's Cube hits U.S. toy stores. Editor's Note: See kiddies...this is what we did to waste time BEFORE we had computer solitaire and!

Comedian Eddie Murphy joins the cast of "Saturday Night Live."

The television shows debut: "Solid Gold," "Strawberry Shortcake," "Bosom Buddies," "That's Incredible!," " 3-2-1- Contact," "Too Close for Comfort," and "Magnum, P.I."

The bands Minor Threat, The Sisters of Mercy, and Husker Du form, while Wings, Parliament, The Germs, The Eagles, and Wire break up.

The U.S. ends diplomatic relations with Iran and imposes economic sanctions after American hostages are taken on Nov. 4,1979.

Warner Communications' Atari releases the Centipede, while Namco releases Pac-Man.

Hit songs: "All Out of Love" -- Air Supply"Ace of Spades" - Motörhead "Another One Bites The Dust" - Queen "Call Me" - Blondie "Don't Stand So Close To Me" - The Police "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" - Pat Benatar "Love Will Tear Us Apart" - Joy Division "Turning Japanese" - The Vapors "You Shook Me All Night Long" - AC/DC "Games without Frontiers" - Peter Gabriel

Updated Mando'a Glossary and Guide
While reading through Bloodlines, the latest novel of the Legacy of the Force series, you may encounter intriguing phrases in Mando'a that are unfamiliar to you. The language of the Mandalorians was developed and refined by author Karen Traviss, and it continues to grow as more Mandalorian tales are told in the Expanded Universe.

As a helpful supplement to readers, presents an updated downloadable PDF of the Mando'a Language Glossary,(

as well as the Quick Grammar Guide. (

Hyperspace members can read about the making of Mando'a in this exclusive online suplement:

Editor's Note: For EU fanatics, this is VERY cool stuff. It isn't just a language lesson, but some real insight into the culture and history of the Mandalorians.

Cool Exclusives Coming this Fall to Target!
Hasbro and Target continue to team up to bring great Star Wars exclusives. Look out for these toys in a Target store near you this Fall!

Unleashed Figures

General Grievous and Boba Fett are coming back in new innovative tubular packaging that showcase the figures' electrifying poses. Each sculpture comes with its own display stand. Available exclusively at Target now!

Refreshing Star Wars Vehicles
Look for these toys this October at a Target store near you.

Kit Fisto's Jedi Starfighter:

Though he was as skilled a pilot as any in the Jedi Order, Kit Fisto preferred engaging in planetside combat, and took command of Republic forces in many unorthodox campaigns. As a result of his preferences and skills, Fisto did fewer performance enhancing modifications to his Delta-7 Jedi starfighter than many other Jedi. Instead, he strengthened its airframe, struts and landing gear to help it withstand high-speed reentry and rough landings, reasoning that the faster he could get on the ground, the sooner he'd be able to get into the fight.

Rogue 2 Snowspeeder:

When the Rebel's secret base on the ice planet of Hoth is discovered, the Empire launches a full ground assault. As Rebel transports take off in a desperate attempt to flee the Empire's clutches, a few pilots are brave enough to attack the invading AT-AT Imperial walkers. Flying T-47 snowspeeders (2-person modified airspeeders), the Rebel pilots attack the walkers head-on with dual laser cannons, harpoons and tow cables.

Zev Senesca (A.K.A Rogue 2), a Rebel who saved Luke Skywalker and Han Solo from freezing to death in the harsh Hoth climate, is the pilot of this particular snowspeeder. Zev is also one of a few daring pilots to fly his snowspeeder into battle against the AT-AT walkers. Editor's Note: Go ZEV! (he's so dreeeeeaaaaaammmmmy)

A New Star Wars Battle Pack

This Battle Pack set of five 3.75" Star Wars action figures includes Mace Windu with battle-action features!

Mace Windu's Attack Battalion:

Mace Windu was once a dedicated diplomat, but the nature of the Clone Wars has left him little choice but to become a true Jedi warrior. The Clone Commander leads a team of clone troopers into battle to protect the Jedi Temple. He uses a series of hand signals Editor's Note: Signals or GESTURES? (OOOO...not the Jedi way.....) to direct and position his battalion as they battle the invading droid army. These clone troopers follow their commander's orders and fight to protect the Jedi Temple.

Available exclusively at Target this November!

Medicom Stormtrooper a U.S. Exclusive at StarWarsShop

It's not often that an item can sell itself successfully based solely on a photograph. However, with Medicom's new 12" Real Action Heroes Stormtrooper, there may now be an exception to that rule.

Imported exclusively to the U.S. by StarWarsShop, Medicom's new Stormtrooper poseable figure looks so photo-realistic that one might actually think these images were actors posed in suits. Medicom's artisans have so masterfully captured the look and articulation of the costumed characters that this trooper is easily the closest representation of the notorious Imperial minion crafted to date.

Previous editions in the RAH series, which included Jedi Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, were quick sellouts at StarWarsShop (where both were import exclusives as well). These are not often available to import, so make sure to grab one of these incredible likenesses now during this one-time special offer. EDITOR'S NOTE: Let's buy two...since they are SUCH a bargain at $129.99 EACH! (They DO look pretty groovy, though!)

Upcoming Star Wars Wal-Mart Exclusives
Wal-Mart has a bunch of great Star Wars exclusives in store for fans and collectors coming this fall!

More Unleashed Figures!
Hasbro is reintroducing two more Star Wars Unleashed favorites in new tubular packaging that showcase the figures' electrifying poses. Each sculpture comes with its own display stand, and will be available exclusively at Wal-Mart this Fall!

Darth Vader Unleashed

Luke Skywalker Unleashed

Editor's Note: Check out the swingin 80's hair!

Star Wars Original Trilogy DVD Commemorative Figure Collection Editor's NOte: ie, buy the same toys you already have, but THIS TIME they are in new packages!

Just in time for the September release of the Star Wars Original Trilogy DVD collection, here's a look at the three commemorative figure 3-packs that were recently revealed at San Diego Comic-Con International. These will be available exclusively at Wal-Mart this September!

Darth Maul Lightsaber

Added to the exciting line of deluxe lightsabers, which includes the recently-announced Force Action Spring Loaded Lightsabers, is Darth Maul's Lightsaber (which does not include the spring-activation feature). Available exclusively at Wal-Mart starting in October. Editor's Note: So it doesn't have the new feature so what makes this special? Just askin.....

Star Wars Cantina Commemorative Tin Collection

Editor's Note: Ooo...I loves me some Bith boys in the band!

Wal-Mart pays homage to the Cantina Band of A New Hope with the Star Wars Cantina Commemorative Tin Collection. It includes five 3 3/4" Cantina Band figures (each with their own instrument) plus a collector tin. Available exclusively at Wal-Mart this December!

Darth Tater and Spud Trooper Collector Tin

Wal-Mart exclusive Mr. Potato Head Star Wars Collector Tin includes Spud Trooper and Darth Tater with exclusive tater topping dispenser! Limited quantities produced of this exclusive tin, which will be available November 1st!

Editor's Note: Despite constant rumors of their impending extinction, it's really the ToysRUs exclusives that look truly special and nifty (IMHO) ---

Toys 'R' Us Exclusives Coming this September
Hasbro and Toys 'R' Us have teamed up to bring an assortment of great Star Wars vehicle exclusives from The Saga Collection. Some new and some classics, each vehicle is irresistible!

Endor AT-AT

Used by the Empire to launch devastating ground attacks, these behemoths more than make up any instability with a menacing psychological attack. This awesome Star Wars vehicle features lights and electronic sound effects! Includes Biker Scout and AT-AT driver figures!

Luke Skywalker's X-wing

Luke Skywalker's famous starfighter has moving parts and comes with a Luke Skywalker figure that fits inside the cockpit! Vehicle also comes with dragonsnake and removable moss. Editor's Note: Check out the detail on this puppy! And it comes with its very own reptile and with MOSS. And a TANK top! (I might just have to make room for a vehicle or two in my limited display space!)

TIE Fighter

Awesome TIE fighter vehicle features large-scale wings, exclusive color variant, an opening cockpit and ejecting wing panels! Vehicle comes with TIE Pilot figure.

Exclusive Star Wars Kir Kanos & Carnor Jax 2-Pack

Coming Soon!

Estimated Arrival: October 2006(subject to change)

Price: $19.99

Get Kir Kanos and Carnor Jax in this shared Entertainment Earth Exclusive - #1 in the all-new Star Wars Expanded Universe series of 2-packs from Hasbro. Includes 3 3/4-inch figures of Kir Kanos and Carnor Jax, neither of which have ever been made as an action figure before! Editor's Note: Let's see....I love the EU, I collect the 3 3/4 figs, and I'm a semi-completist. Yeah...MUST BUY!

Buy this set and you'll get:1x Kir Kanos action figure, as seen in the Crimson Empire comic book series. He includes removable helmet, cloth cape, and double-bladed staff.1x Carnor Jax action figure with accessories.1x Crimson Empire comic book.

First in a series of Hasbro Expanded Universe Action Figure 2-Packs! If you miss out on this one, your collection will be incomplete! And despite rumors to the contrary, this item will not be made available in major stores!

Who is Kir Kanos? After the fall of the Empire and the final death of the Emperor in Empire's End, Kir Kanos set out to avenge the death of his former leader by taking out the traitors in the Empire. In the process, the entire guard is wiped out, except for Kir Kanos. Who's responsible for this? Kanos investigates in the Crimson Empire comic series. This great action figure includes awesomely sculpted armor, a double-bladed staff, a biker scout style pistol, a removable helmet with a scruffy face underneath, and of course, his red cape.

Learn all about Kir Kanos (and his bounty hunter alias, Kenix Kil) in our selection of related graphic novels.

Kir KanosAs one of the last remaining Royal Guards, it makes sense that Hasbro would design this special figure by taking inspiration from a regular guard figure. With a new chest and body, new hands, and a new head, this figure brings these formerly motionless guards to action! While his waist joint seems to be stuck, the ball joints at his neck, shoulders, and knees let him spring into battle, plus he has articulation at the wrists, hips, and elbows for a full range of movement.
With his trademark scar, this uniquely sculpted figure can peer out from behind his removable helmet. You can see his eyes right through the visor, and his cape is completely removable. His blaster pistol fits snuggly into his holster, and for those of us that still play with our toys, he's completely capable of sitting down so he can hijack an X-wing fighter or other vehicle in his quest to take revenge on the Rebels.

His brand-new head sculpt has short hair and one of the best facial expressions Hasbro has ever created. Seeing it up-close shows how much work Hasbro put into it, and the end result is a figure with loads of personality.

Carnor Jax Wearing the same armor of his fellow guardsmen, Carnor Jax uses the same newly sculpted armor seen on Kir Kanos. The difference, of course, is in the coloring-- the Lord Jax, a Sith-in-training, aspired to sit upon the vacant throne of the Emperor, and modeled his look to include the black color that the Galaxy had come to expect from a master of the Dark Side of the Force.

With a totally new head sculpt, Carnor Jax carries all of the arrogance of the Dark Side in his face with a subtle sneer appearing on his face. As the man who would be Emperor, he's armed with a Force Pike and a blaster which is neatly concealed in his holster. In the battle of supremacy within the remainder of the Emperor's elite forces, who will win?

This is the first in a brand new line of Expanded Universe 2-Packs which will come out in 2007, but this is the first one so start your collection here!


Sneaking peeks at 2007 stuff again: New Boys in White. An uncertain era produces a number of specialized Imperial forces.

2007. No way out but Up. (have we already seen this one? cool enough to see twice, at any rate). Sometimes, you can never have enough manpower to surround a Jedi.

2007. The Claw. Some droids can't help being so grabby

2007. Jaws of the Sepulchre. Some think them no more than mindless animals, but it clear that they know, respect and fear death.

Crystal Spiders. TJ Frame developed these crystal-carrying droids for Mygeeto.

Lemur Concept #8. Artist Sang Jun Lee illustrates one of many "Lemur people" concepts, a design direction that was ultimately abandoned for Episode III.

Wonderful and Unique. This illustration of a B-wing fighter includes a memo from Joe Johnston to modelmaker Bill George requesting a different engine design.

Shifty Passerby. The strange and sometimes dangerous crowd that mills in the lower levels of Coruscant, as illustrated by Dermot Power.

Sitting in Style. This early layout for a production painting by Doug Chiang features Nute Gunray sitting atop his walking mechno-chair.

An EArly Corvette. An unattributed sketch, possibly by Joe Johnston, shows design directions that would ultimately appear in the Corellian corvette.

Tank Styles. Joe Johnston illustrates a number of early Imperial tank designs, before the AT-AT direction was settled upon.

The other side of Otoh Gunga. This strange illustration from the UK Art Department envisions a very alien feel for Otoh Gunga.

Proton Torpedoes away! These quick-and-dirty (and unattributed) storyboards for a sequence eventually cut from Return of the Jedi depict an A-wing firing off ordnance within the Death Star superstructure.

Droid Profiling. An assortment of head designs to determine the look of what promises to be a memorable droid character.

Obsolete Falcon. By the time Joe Johnston began this examination the interior cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, the cylindrical shape of the ship was rendered obsolete by a new direction.

Portrait of Padme. Dermot Power's portrait of Padmé Amidala combines both classic and contemporary elements.

Vader goes to the birds.

Stormies in a hot tub.

Many Mauls. Many MINI mauls.

Star WARS? StarBUCKS? Latte, anyone?

And last, we have Star Wars in a religious moment (brought to us by....who else?...ODDBOB):