Tag Archives: George Lucas

From food to makeup, ‘Star Wars’ stuff is out of this world

Right now, in a store not too far away, there is a galaxy of new merchandise connected to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Beyond the usual action figures and apparel, the seventh installment in the space franchise (and the first from merchandise-driven Disney) boasts a broader array of branded products than ever before: from Chewbacca Coffee-Mate creamer (Wookiees drink coffee?) and “Star Wars” mascara to $400 designer Death Star shoes and a $4,000 Millennium Falcon bed.

“It’s wider and broader and deeper and covers more age ranges and is less gender specific than anything I have ever seen for ‘Star Wars,”” said Steve Sansweet, Lucasfilm’s former director of fan relations and Guinness world record holder for the largest collection of “Star Wars” memorabilia.

Expanding the universe of “Star Wars” merchandise internationally was part of Disney’s original vision when it acquired Lucasfilm, he said: “It was very clear from the front, and they have followed their game plan.”

The result is an amazingly diverse range of products, from the unexpected (light-up lightsaber chopsticks) to the unbelievable (haute couture Stormtrooper wear). International offerings have grown in scope and distinction, too, with local licensees and artisans interpreting the iconic characters for their cultures.

Sansweet recently added some Japanese items to his collection, including soy sauce plates and “little kokeshi dolls, which are typical of a small community in Japan,” he said. “They’re usually carved in traditional format of samurai or geisha or something like that, and now there’s a whole series of ‘Star Wars’ (characters).”

Retired from Lucasfilm, Sansweet now shares his “Star Wars” collection with the public through his nonprofit Rancho Obi-Wan museum in Petaluma, California, where he offers educational tours and hosts private events, including two weddings.

Here’s a look at some of the more unusual items keyed to “The Force Awakens,” some of which Sansweet has already added to his collection:

FOOD: Chewbacca isn’t the only one with his own Coffee-Mate creamer. Darth Vader, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Boba Fett also got the creamer treatment, and each is a different flavor. (Chewie is spiced latte.) New York’s Ample Hills Creamery introduced two new flavors in “Star Wars” packaging: The Light Side is marshmallow ice cream with crispy clusters, and The Dark Side is dark chocolate with espresso fudge brownies.

Other branded food items include special General Mills cereal boxes (one shows the Trix rabbit as Princess Leia) with plastic “droid viewers” inside and Kraft macaroni and cheese with pasta in “Star Wars shapes.”

“I’m chasing around trying to find bags of Darth Vader apples,” Sansweet said. “It’s crazy! But it’s fun-crazy.”

MAKEUP: CoverGirl’s limited-edition “Star Wars” collection includes nail polish, mascara and lipstick in such shades as Droid, Jedi and Dark Apprentice.

CLOTHING: Beyond the typical T-shirts and PJs, there are one-of-a-kind designer outfits based on “The Force Awakens” characters, such as Halston’s gown inspired by villain Kylo Ren, up for auction this month (www.charitybuzz.com ) to benefit the Child Mind Institute. American watch maker Devon has a limited-edition “Star Wars” model available for $28,500. The outrageous “Star Wars” collection from British footwear company Irregular Choice is more affordable but may be harder to wear. The C-3PO flats are cute and low-key, but the Death Star platform booties with the Stormtrooper- and Darth Vader-shaped heels are out of this world.

LIFESTYLE: Adult collectors might covet Pottery Barn Kids’ Millennium Falcon bed, modeled after the legendary starship (and only available in twin size). American Tourister has a line of “Star Wars” luggage, and the Disney Store has a backpack shaped like a Stormtrooper helmet. There’s a Darth Vader toaster that brands your breakfast bread with the “Star Wars” logo and the aforementioned light-up lightsaber chopsticks, plus an X-Wing knife block and many other household items.

Is there anything that can’t be branded “Star Wars?”

“There are limits,” Sansweet said. “I’m not sure we’ve seen the end of the limits yet.”

Mark Hamill: ‘Drafted’ for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Mark Hamill knew he had to say yes when George Lucas told him about the plans to move forward with a new “Star Wars” trilogy.

“It’s not like a choice. It’s like I was drafted,” Hamill told a massive crowd over the weekend at Star Wars Celebration of his decision to reprise his role as Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“Could you imagine if for some reason I said ‘I don’t think I want to do it?’ I would have all of you surrounding my house like villagers, angry villagers with lightsabers instead of torches,” joked the 63-year-old “Star Wars” veteran.

Hamill admitted he was caught off guard when Lucas invited him to lunch. When Hamill’s wife surmised that perhaps there was a new film in the works, Hamill laughed. Lucas had told him specifically that he was done making “Star Wars” movies after the prequels.

He assumed Lucas was going to announce a 3-D release or roll out another box set of the films, laughing about the number of versions that have been made available.

Still, his interest was piqued when Lucas disinvited Hamill’s daughter. He knew that meant it must be big.

When things started coming together, Hamill said he was cautiously optimistic about J.J. Abrams, the chosen director for “The Force Awakens.”

“I was a little suspicious because he was a ‘Star Trek’ guy,” said Hamill, laughing.

The actor quickly clarified that he likes “Star Trek.”

“It just seems odd,” he said. 

He went on to compliment Abrams for his inclusiveness. Abrams, Hamill noted, is also the first “Star Wars” director to be borne out of true fandom of the original films.

“He feels the way you feel in terms of wanting practical effects. Real sets,” he said.

Keeping in line with the secrecy surrounding “The Force Awakens,” which opens on Dec. 18, Hamill said he is always worried about leaking information. He claims he even learned the subtitle of the seventh film on the Internet.

“They’re so secretive these days,” said Hamill. “When we did the first one no one cared.”

Hamill was “cleared” to tell the packed house that he did record a voiceover specifically for the new teaser trailer, which debuted last week during the Celebration kick-off panel.

In the teaser, we hear Luke’s voice saying a familiar, but slightly altered line from “Return of the Jedi”: “The force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. You have that power too.”

He laughed and said that he kept messing up and saying: “My father had it.”

The end result is a combination of the original recording and Hamill’s new session, the actor said.

After playing the trailer once more in the large arena, Hamill marveled that there is “so much information there for you to speculate about” embedded in the footage.

“It implies so much that’s gone on from ‘Jedi’ till now,” he said.

“They don’t call it a teaser for nothing. They want to tease you.”

On the Web…

Online: http://www.starwars.com

George Lucas chooses Chicago as site of his museum

Star Wars creator George Lucas’ plans to locate his future museum of art and movie memorabilia in Chicago.

The Windy City beat out Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities vying to host the attraction. Lucas released a statement expressing his hopes to open the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in 2018 in Chicago.

“I am humbled to be joining such an extraordinary museum community and to be creating the museum in a city that has a long tradition of embracing the arts,” the statement said.

Given Lucas’ close ties to California, where he was born, the decision was a surprise. Lucasfilm’s visual effects division is based in San Francisco, and Marin County is the headquarters for Lucasfilm and Skywalker Sound.

But Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel offered Lucas a lakefront location close to other attractions, including the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. Meanwhile, San Francisco rejected Lucas’ first choice of a location near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Chicago also had a leg-up because Lucas’ wife, Mellody Hobson is from Chicago, and the city closed down Promontory Point along the Lake Michigan shore so the couple could host a star-studded party there after their California wedding.

Throughout the decision-making process, a spokesman for Lucas praised Chicago for the attention it heaps on culture, architecture, innovations and education.

“Chicago’s a great city. We have a tradition that resonates closely with the way George Lucas has described his museum, as a museum of visual storytelling,” said Gillian Darlow, CEO of Polk Bros. Foundation and a co-chair of Chicago’s site selection task force. “He wants to help inspire other people, especially kids, to have bold visions the way he did.”