ThinkGeek Products

ThinkGeek Product Reviews: Light-Up ChopSabers, R2-D2 Measuring Cup Set, Vader Stress Toy, and Moleskin Notebooks

ThinkGeek.com is a glorious shopping site you’ve probably heard of before. They offer fully-licensed merchandise from geeky franchise favories like Star Trek, Doctor Who, Marvel, Game of Thrones, and of course Star Wars. Once in a while they send me a few items to check out and review on the site and I’m happy to oblige. Today’s bundle includes four items.

ThinkGeek Bundle #1

 

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games

Classic LucasArts Games Go Digital

I count myself lucky enough to have been around at the dawn of home (and arcade) video gaming. From set-top pong variations right up until the Xbox/Playstation generation, I’ve seen and played them all. When home PCs started to become “a thing,” I was there also. Some of my fondest gaming memories are playing the early Star Wars titles on my old custom-built Pentium 90. I spent many an hour working through games like Rebel Assault, X-Wing and Dark Forces, not to mention non-Star Wars titles like The Dig and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. (more…)

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dhbundle

The Force is Strong in the Humble Star Wars Comics Bundle Presented by Dark Horse Comics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

San Francisco, Calif. – These are the comics you’re looking for. Humble Bundle and Dark Horse Comics have teamed up to launch the Humble Star Wars Comics Bundle. For a limited time, fans of the epic sci-fi franchise can pay what they want for up to $190 worth of digital comics, all while supporting a great cause. (more…)

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chewie

The Chewbacca You’ve Always Wanted

If you are anything like me, you watched Star Wars as a child and had dreams of robots, aliens, and flying through hyperspace.  For most fans there is at least one scene or character that just grabs you and becomes a favorite.  For me, that is Chewie.  Chewbacca the Wookiee.  I don’t know if it was because he growled and threw people around, or if it was the way Han somehow knew what he was saying, or just that he was so darn BIG.  Whatever it was, I’ve been collecting everything from backpacks and mugs, to action figures with his likeness.

Kenner and Hasbro have been doing Star Wars action figures since the movies came out, but a relatively new company named Hot Toys just created the Chewbacca you have (well… I have) always wanted.

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rebels

Star Wars Rebels – What would you like to see?

Star Wars is coming back to the small screen!

“Star Wars Rebels” is going to be asked to carry the torch until new movies come in 2015.   “Star Wars The Clone Wars” ended it’s 5 year run with what many, including myself, consider to be its best season.  Now, while we wait for more Star Wars, I think it’s a good time to look at this new show and speculate a little on what could be a major part of the saga.

You should already know that the show debuts this fall and that it will begin as a one-hour special on the Disney Channel, followed by a series on Disney XD.  It takes place between Episodes III and IV, about 14 years after the events of the prequel trilogy in a time when the rebellion is forming and the jedi have all but been stomped out of existence. (more…)

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looking

News Reporters Needed

If you’re a Star Wars fan and love keeping up with Star Wars news, here’s a chance for you to put your skills to work.

I’m in need of some good people with decent writing/reporting skills to help out with the site. Anyone is welcome to apply.

The site is based in WordPress so if you’re familiar with that, you’re halfway there. If not, it’s very easy to learn.

With lots of new films in the works and whatever else is coming, there’s going to be plenty of news to cover for years to come.

Why not be a part of the news instead of just reading it?

Contact me for details.

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coll

A New Collecting Magazine Hits the Stands

Cool & Collected is the name of the new magazine that just began its run this winter, prompted by a successful Kickstarter campaign.  The tagline for the magazine is, “The magazine for pop culture collectors.”  The first issue has an article about everyone’s favorite bounty hunter, Boba Fett!

A magazine, you ask?  Well, for the Kickstarter generation, you may not realize this, but people used to have to spend considerable time looking for the things they liked to collect.  Looking at this magazine brought to mind memories of how collecting used to be and how far it has come.

A review and look inside the first issue can be found here.  For a better look, you can purchase from the link above. 

We all know that the Internet has changed the way we acquire and process information.  Long gone are the days when it was necessary to read the morning paper and wait for the televised evening news to tell you what was going on in the world.  Now, everything (whether you want to know it or not) is just a click away. (more…)

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Boba Fett hoodie

Star Wars Newsbones: Dec. 2013 (Shopping; Attack Squadrons; Mythbusters; Episode VII)

Star Wars is the Keith Richards of Movies. The only difference being that one day, Keith Richards will actually die (for real) and Star Wars will live on. Just when you think interest in Star Wars is waning or going away, something happens to bring it right back to life. News is more frequent and now that Disney owns the whole mess, expect the merchandising to get even bigger. Whatever you’ve seen from Marvel in the last few years, that’s what you’re going to get with Star Wars and Lucasfilm. You’ll see new films, TV shows, comics, games and much much more. Here are a few recent news bits I thought you might enjoy and Happy Holidays! (more…)

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returnofvader

Episode VII Speculation: Darth Vader Returns!?

There are always going to be rumors surrounding any Star Wars production. That’s a given, and that’s actually part of the fun. I’ve posted a lot of speculation on this site over the years, some of which actually came true; some, not so much. When it comes to Star Wars films, much of the speculation falls within the bounds of what we know or expect, but what would a new Star Wars film be without a few new twists and turns that no one has really thought about yet? That’s where the fun lies.

So let’s talk about Darth Vader for a minute, shall we?

Yes, I said Darth Vader. You can call him Anakin Skywalker if you want, but like it or not, he’s always going to have that Vader stigma attached to him.

I remember reading a rumor a while back that said Darth Vader might appear in Episode VII. This was probably the spawn of nothing more than a fan with an internet connection, but I remember saying to myself, “Good God! If they jump that shark, I’m off the Star Wars train for good. If they come up with some lame way to bring back Darth Vader… I’m done!”

Then I did a little more thinking and thought of something that blew my mind a little, and will maybe blow yours a bit. Who knows? (more…)

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Media-Preview-Imagineering

D23 Expo… Star Wars Reveals?

There is another…

… convention to watch for this weekend.

San Diego Comic Con leave you less than excited about new Star Wars movies coming soon?  What about Star War Celebration Europe?  Did you get the feeling that the new movies were pretty much avoided, if not completely ignored?  Well… study that image above closely my friends.  This is a setup at the D23 Expo which is starting today at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Let’s see… I spy a crate that says “Orange Harvest – Speculation Beyond Imagination”.  If that wasn’t enough to give you a hint at what this was all about, I also can see a crate that says “Modal Nodes”, one that says C-3PO, one that says “Rancor Food”, and a crate that I would assume has thermal detonators inside.  Oh… and what is clearly a crate from which R2-D2 himself has burned his way out.

Disney, you had me at Orange Harvest.

This has me more excited than anything I’ve seen or heard so far.  Orange Harvest should ring a bell for big-time fans, since “Blue Harvest – Horror Beyond Imagination” was the fake working title of Return of the Jedi.  If this is the way Disney is going to hype these new movies, then so be it.  I almost bought a ticket to Anaheim just to stare at the crates in person.  Are they going to give juicy spoilers about what these new movies are going to be about?  I doubt it.  Are they going to at least talk about them?  I have to think yes.  Is there any word that actors , writers, or other influential people are going to be there?  Not that I’ve heard.

EXCEPTHere is the schedule of events for the convention.

The schedule shows 3 things of interest:

  1. 10:30 on Saturday – there is a panel that includes Lucasfilm (and Marvel by the way) and is going to look into upcoming “live-action adventures”.  Cell phones and recording devices will not be allowed and there will be “surprises included”.  Hmmmmmm……
  2. 5:00 on Saturday – Crash Course in the Force: Star Wars Saga 101.  Pablo Hidalgo, whom fans should know as a rather in-the-know-when-it-comes-to-Lucasfilm sort of guy, will be hosting.  Will he have anything to spill?  Probably will focus more on the worldwide phenomenon and the stuff that already exists, but interesting nonetheless.
  3. Darth Vader: The Evolution of a Villain – This is a showcase exhibit that will be at the convention center that was announced previously.

So, needless to say, I’ll be watching everything I can coming out of this convention on Saturday to see if anything is actually revealed.  I’m not getting my hopes up too high (yes I am) but I know that Disney likes to hype things themselves and keep things controlled.  News will come out eventually, but I’m ready for the hype to start!

Anyone else out there as excited about these crates as I am?  Let me know in the comments.

 

~kknight – is a lifelong Star Wars fanatic that is incredibly excited to be working with T-bone.  I’ve been to Celebration III, IV, V, and several conventions in Charlotte, NC.  HeroesCon shout out!  Will make the trip to San Diego one day… and you can bet that I’ll be in Anaheim in 2015.

 

 

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BS6-BOBA-FETT-CARBONITE-1032

New Hasbro 6″ Black Series about to Hit… Are You Excited?

Star Wars action figures are 3 ¾ inches tall.

This has been the standard for 30+ years.  Sure, there have been action figures produced in many different sizes over the years, but Star Wars set the 3 ¾ inch, or 1:18 scale, standard way back in 1977 when an American toy company named Kenner Products started producing action figures for what became the biggest merchandising franchise in history.

The term “action figure” was coined in 1964 by the Hasbro corporation with it’s 12 inch, or 1:6 scale,  G.I. Joe line that was targeted at boys and sprang from how popular dolls like Barbie were for girls.  G.I. Joe eventually ended up becoming much more popular after a move to the 3 ¾ inch scale.  Many other companies and other movie, comic, cartoon, and video game properties have followed in this model, producing action figures in this scale.

Hasbro is about to place their newest line of Star Wars figures on the market.  The new “Black Series” is the first realistic line that Star Wars has had in the 6 inch, or 1:10 scale.  The 6 inch action figure has had some recent popularity with Marvel Legends, begun by the Toy Biz company, and continued by Hasbro, based on the Marvel Comics catalog of superheroes.  Hasbro proceeded to follow this with a line of figures based on those same Marvel characters in… you guessed it… the 3 ¾ inch scale.

This news has been out there on the Internet for awhile now, so I’m sure I haven’t shocked anyone.  The question is… are you excited, surprised, bummed, or indifferent to this news?  The smaller figures are not going away.  In fact, there will be two lines, similar to the way Marvel is represented, with characters in each of the 1:10 and 1:18 scales.  There will also be Star Wars figures produced with the classic 5 points of articulation in the 1:18 scale aimed at kids for a lower price.  Did I mention the larger figures will be selling for $20 each?

I believe that this puts people in one of 5 different categories:

  • Old-school collectors that have everything in the small scale and don’t want the change to 6 inch figures.
  • Collectors that collect everything they can and are excited about something new.
  • New collectors that can’t wait to get a chance to collect the whole line… which is virtually impossible with all that has been produced in the smaller scale.
  • Kids that will see the variety of figures, want the more expensive figures, and either have the money to get them or have to settle for the cheaper ones.
  • And those who have stopped collecting anything except their particular niche due to either collector fatigue, the fact that you really can’t collect everything anymore, or the cost of plastic driving prices up.

I’ve heard a very vocal group placing themselves in the first or last category, stating they won’t be buying the new larger figures.  It is difficult to predict if the higher cost will stop new collectors from entering the arena, but it appears that Hasbro is appealing to those new collectors and to kids in order to keep this incredible run of toys alive.

Hasbro vice president of boys marketing, Darryl DePriest said, “Our focus here is the adult collector, the dad. We know they have their own generation of youngsters they like to share the adventure with. It can be something for dad, and the 3¾ world can be something for the kids to share.”

I won’t say where I am on the issue, but I can say that the image at the top of this article has me pretty intrigued to see these in person.  Pictures will be flowing in from San Diego Comic Con and it won’t be long before these are on the shelves.  Will this marketing and new scale of figures be successful?  Time will tell.

Tell me where you are in this debate.  Will you be buying these new 6 inch figures?   

 

~kknight – is a lifelong Star Wars fanatic that is incredibly excited to be working with T-bone.  I’m a toy fanatic and have a pretty impressive collection of Star Wars “stuff”.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to share it with everyone, but for now it is packed away.  Will I add 6″ figures to my collection? … probably a few.

 

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caravan of the force

Caravan of the Force

JediNews.co.uk and Star Wars Celebration Europe are delighted to announce Caravan of the Force in association with Toys ‘R’ Us.

Caravan of the Force is a two vehicle convoy with six people on-board, all with the common goal of raising money for Make-A-Wish Foundation.  The Caravan will be travelling from the UK to France, Belgium, Holland and Germany arriving in time for Star Wars Celebration Europe that takes place 26-28th July in Messe Essen, and then all the way back to London again!  As they reach each country they’ll be welcomed by the local 501st Garrison in order to raise awareness of the  trip and raise funds for Make-A-Wish.

The trip has been organized and will be led by James Burns and Mark Newbold who co-own/run Jedi News, the UK’s #1 Star Wars fan site and the largest English speaking Star Wars fan site in Europe.  James and Mark also write for the Official Star Wars magazine, Star Wars Insider, as well as the Official Star Wars Blog at StarWars.com where you’ll be able to track their progress with daily updates.  Lucasfilm worked with James and Mark to put the Caravan together and help turn their wacky idea into reality.

Joining James and Mark is fan favorite actor Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett in the original Star Wars films as well as a cameo part in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.  In addition to his Star Wars roles he’s acted in several other television shows and films including Summer Holiday and the James Bond film Octopussy which like Return of the Jedi also celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.  Jeremy’s wife Maureen is also coming along to keep us all in check!
The final two people joining the Caravan are Jedi News team members Matt Booker (Automattic Comics) and Dave Tree (All the Cool Stuff and Palitoy Archive) who bring their driving skills and almost eighty years of combined Star Wars knowledge on-board.

A journey like this is a great way to spread the word, explain what Make-A-Wish does, raise money for them, and at the same time continue to promote the great charitable efforts the Star Wars community provides worldwide each and every day.  Our aim is to raise a total of £5,000 for Make-A-Wish to help make a difference to children who won’t necessarily get the chance to travel on exciting journeys like this or enjoy the magic of Star Wars at a Celebration event. We invite friends, family, strangers and Star Wars fans alike to dig deep and contribute to the Caravan of the Force at JustGiving.co.uk which accepts all major currencies.  It doesn’t matter how big or little the contribution, it all goes to Make-A-Wish and hopefully together we can help bring smiles to the faces of many terminally ill children by turning their wishes and dreams into reality.

The Caravan would not be possible without our generous sponsors including Toys ‘R’ Us, Holiday Inn (who supplied our accommodation in the UK), Hyundai (who supplied our vehicles), P&O Ferries (who enabled us to cross the channel) and Vodafone (who are powering our communications across the whole trip).

You can join in the fun too at one of our first stops on July 19th when we’ll be visiting Toys ‘R’ Us in Brent Cross, London for the launch of Hasbro’s new Star Wars series of 3.75” and 6” figures called The Black Series.  The event will start at 7:30pm and Jeremy Bulloch will be signing autographs on a special Black Series backing card. You’ll have the first opportunity in Europe to buy the figures.  The 501st UK Garrison, Rebel Legion and R2 Builders Club will be on hand to keep the crowds under control and pose for fun photos.

There will be more chances to catch up with the Caravan of the Force at various locations across the UK, France, Belgium and Germany – more details to follow.

Donate Today!

Monitor the progress of the Caravan of the Force at StarWars.com, JediNews.co.uk, Facebook and on Twitter.

 

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Nooooooo

To Spoil Or Not To Spoil?

In 1996, I started this site. The “Special Editions” were just gearing up and everything in the Star Wars Universe was fun and nostalgic. Then the Prequels were announced and everything went crazy. News started to leak out in all directions and Lucasfilm went bananas trying to plug all the holes, quite often just denying stuff and calling the Internet rumors “crazy.” Well, they weren’t so crazy and while a bunch were quite ridiculous, a LOT of them were on the money.

In my case, I didn’t quite expect to be in the “spoiler” game. It sort of just fell into my lap. There were many sites posting information on Episode I before it came out but there were only 3-5 reputable ones and without sounding too smug, I think this site was perhaps one of them. It’s up for debate but I did receive a LOT of information. I was sent tons of material and in the end almost all of it proved to be legit. In fact, just the other day I was going through some old boxes and found all my old printed materials and notes. The stuff I had was surprisingly accurate and was in my hands over a year before the film was released, if not earlier. I had shooting schedules, artwork, character descriptions, scene-by-scene summaries, and lots more. At the time, I couldn’t really be 100% sure what was real but when things started coming in from multiple and unrelated sources, it became easier to draw conclusions.

In any case, the site became wildly popular and the more popular it became, the more sources sent stuff to me and/or other sites. It was hard to not just blanket-post stuff. Lucasfilm was pretty tough and they were threatening the site here and there. They almost took my domain name once. They asked for things to be removed on a regular basis. We got past it all and the film came out and did amazingly well. So their worries that spoilers would kill ticket sales were unfounded. I always maintained that (spoilers or not) the fan sites did nothing but drum up even more anticipation for a film and gave the studio TONS of free promotion/advertisement.  If things leaked, it was really their fault, not mine. Don’t blame me for posting it. Go after the leak.

For Episode II, things changed a little. I moved the site around a bit. I was associated with sites like Fandom.com (now gone) and Cinescape magazine and things got a little more complicated. Sources were still keen to come to me (many were the same ones so it was easy to trust them) but the site was under a different banner and if I posted anything crazy or too “over the line” for Lucasfilm, the Lucas lawyers went right to the top of the food chain. Many times my posts were removed before I even knew what happened.

So after a while I went back to my own server and had some more freedom but after all the Episode I spoilers (most of which I was under the radar for) they knew who I was and were watching even closer now.  Cease and Desist e-mails were a regular thing.  I still got away with posting a lot of textual stuff (rearranging spoilerish material in my own words), plus lots of sketches and images, many of which had to be removed before I was shut down.

Again, the film came out and did well, but not as well as Episode I. However, I don’t attribute that to the fan sites. I attribute that to the horrible backlash that Episode I received. Some would argue that Jar Jar Binks alone was to blame. You can make that call.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I’d even be in the game for Episode III. I thought that all the sources had moved on and nothing much would come my way. I was very wrong. While the amount of stuff wasn’t as large in total, the stuff I was sent was VERY revealing. I remember one incident where I broke the news that Lucas himself was doing a cameo in the film. I had the name of his character (Baron Papanoida) AND a photo of him in costume. I posted this on the site and a bunch of other sites picked up on it. Within hours I was forced to remove it and got lots of nasty e-mails. Someone on the inside told me I was very close to being sued (not sure if that’s true) and shut down (probably true). I was told that Lucas himself found out about it and got pissed which was why it was such a big deal. Can you imagine the internal e-mails flying around Lucasfilm? Remember, no one knew about this cameo yet. Anyway, just about everything else I had was solid and with a few little hiccups turned out to be legit.

So I had a good run for the prequels and the site was VERY popular around that time. I was pretty happy but I’m guessing that Lucasfilm wasn’t too happy with me because when it came time for them to start including fan sites at their press junkets and so on, they never once asked me which was kind of cool in a way. Wear it like a badge and all that. Ironically, years before, I was one of the first ones out there saying that Lucasfilm should have included fan sites from the start instead of demonizing them. But that’s all over now. I don’t have any regrets and it was a fun ride. History is judging the prequels as lackluster in comparison to the originals and that has absolutely nothing to do with fan sites posting spoilers on the Internet.

So the next question is: What happens with this new trilogy?

Once again, I’m at an impasse. I really don’t think any of my old sources are still “in the game.” I have no expectations. I don’t think I’ll be receiving anything spoilerific about these new films.

But what if I do?

It’s a tough call. I’d want to share it but I also want to see if Lucasfilm is going to make good on a recent promise made by Kathleen Kennedy about the fans to “…recognize they’re important to the process and acknowledge there are things you’re gonna want to make sure they get to know. So I think that’s something we’re going to monitor, pay attention to and think differently about.”

She’s obviously referring to Internet leaks here which is something this site has been known for in the past. Am I still relevant enough to be included in their list of trusted fan sites? Are they just going to stick with the top dogs who play ball that they can easily control? Will they include fan sites at all in their marketing and press efforts?  Lucasfilm was always a little behind the curve on that. They ignored most fan sites right up until the end when they realized they couldn’t all be ignored.

Let’s be honest here for a minute. People (fans and otherwise) are not at all beaming about the Prequel trilogy, box office numbers aside. The general consensus seems to be that it’s a lackluster effort with wooden acting, horrible dialogue and was a bit of a missed opportunity to really go back and explain a few things. I have always maintained that Episode II should have been Episode I and Episode III should have been split out into II and III. Lucas wanted you to see little innocent Anakin  and his mommy but in the end, people weren’t interested in THAT much back story, much of which could have been done in flashbacks or something. But it’s not our baby – it’s George’s. Well… now it’s Disney’s but you know what I mean.

So while Lucasfilm will probably deny this for all time, Star Wars took a pretty big hit. Sure, they tried to over-saturate with cartoons and other stuff but as for the films themselves, people might have “liked” them but they’re not going to go down as timeless classics like the first three seem to have. No one’s going to be saying, “Oh that Jar Jar… so funny!” thirty years from now.

So yes, even with something like Star Wars, there’s a lot riding on these new films and a lot to potentially lose here. This new trilogy has to be up to snuff. If the first one doesn’t really blow people away, people are going to just move on and the brand will suffer. I think Lucasfilm should really reach out to the fans and fan sites and come up with a good marketing strategy that keeps the sites happy and less inclined to just reflexively post anything and everything that comes into our hands.

Here’s an example which will probably never happen, but should provide a little perspective. If Lucasfilm came to me today and said they wanted to include me in their marketing strategy for promoting the film by sending me some weekly updates, maybe a once-a-month super cool exclusive that no one else would get, and perhaps some way to get other access like an interview now and then or something, I might be willing to go that route for the duration and not just blanket post things sent to me that are probably spoiler -laden and would most definitely result in me being removed from any and all contact inside Lucasfilm, thereby blowing my good standing with them (which I don’t have anyway, based on prior history, I assume.)

Alternatively, I could just ignore all that and post whatever I wanted hoping to not be shut down or sued or whatever.

Will they do it? Will they extend the olive branch to some of the popular sites? I’m sure they’re going to work with a few of the bigger ones. Those are the sites that have full working staffs and LLC statuses. But what about the smaller guys who might not get 19,000,000,000 hits a day but have been pretty successful in the past and have a decent following? I guess we’ll see what they decide soon.

The film’s being written. The director’s on board. I’m sure casting has begun. Things are going to start leaking very soon.

Get ready!

 

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What do you think? Leave some comments and let’s talk.

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