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George Lucas In Japan

Editor's Note: Okay, I'm a little late with this one, but still, we've got an inside look at George Lucas' trip to Tokyo last month to ensure his Japanese fans remain faithful.

George graced Japan with his presence on July 6th, alongside Rick McCallum (Producer), Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker), Ian McDiarmid (Supreme Chancellor Palpatine) and of course the 501st Japanese garrison.

As camera people and journalists flooded the main hall, it became clear very quickly that the room was probably not going to fit everyone, for of course George does know how to fill a room -- and not just with CG. The mass media quickly ran to get the best seats in the house, awed at the storm troopers, royal guards and a towering Darth Vader in front of several Episode 3 posters.

But the crowd quickly found something even more pleasing, and entertaining. A life-size remote controlled R2 unit that whistled his way bee bopping around the corner of the room, alongside a shiny C-3PO. The crowd couldn't get enough of the droids at this point and then the announcement came introducing the four guests.

As the guests of honor entered the hall, Vader walked down to pose for photographers, and it was surely an impressive show of bulb fiction. One could either go blind from all the flashes, or dream they were like New Year's Eve fireworks. When finishing their poses for the press, they made their way up the stairs on stage and made a few polite comments on the movie and being in Japan.

We've probably stopped counting how many times McCallum has been here, as he didn't comment on it. He did get to be the first to play to the crowd with "May the force be with you." George mentioned how Japan has a special place in his heart and how it has influenced the movies a great deal. (kaff kaff like by actually providing the plot for A New Hope kaff kaff) and how the delay in the release date for Japan was "so that everyone got a good chance to see the movie". Apparently by good chance he meant on pirated copies. But hey, if it's good enough for George then it's good enough for me.

It was Christensen's third time in Japan and he was eager to talk about the movie. On the other hand, McDarmid had only just arrived for his first trip to the land of the rising sun one hour prior to the press conference.

One of my favorite actors in the movies, he kept the room smiling with his wit and charm, noting "It's my first time in Japan, so I've got a lot to be overwhelmed by. It's great to be here, with my colleague representing the dark side on our favorite movie to date. It's a lot of other people's as well, and I hope it's going to be yours."

After a series of questions to each of the guests, what stood out most was Christensen's observation that five years of his life has been dedicated to the films. Now that it has ended, it is a bittersweet feeling, actually a little bit more bitter than sweet.

And I agree. I enjoyed his performance a lot better in Episode 3, and really will hate to see the movies end. George then rubbed it in that it will be the LAST Star Wars as a feature film, restating what he has said before about the story of Anakin from nine years of age to his death, with nothing more to tell as a movie.

But when asked about making a TV series, he started talking about making a series called the Clone Wars, which they are writing the script on now. That left me wondering is that a season three? Or a new project by Lucasfilm? (A new project, to be done in 3D in Asia, Lucas formally announced today.)

I didn't quite follow that, but then he talked about doing a live-action TV series that will feature minor characters in the saga. He bounced around thinking when asked which of his creations was his favorite. At first he said that Yoda was his all-time favorite, but went on to say Anakin was also, because the story is about him. The emperor then ended with the KO punch, smiling slyly,"...and of course JAR JAR BINKS!"

Why spoil a perfectly amazing day?

Mish'al Samman

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