This was our third year in a row attending Rhode Island Comic Con, which is easily the largest comic and media convention in New England, and likely second in the northeast U.S. behind New York Comic Con. Two years ago they outgrew their venue at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence after scoring most of the surviving cast of the original Star Trek to headline the event. So they immediately planned to expand to to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center arena located next door and last year, but a new venue presented new challenges in how to organize all the dozens of celebrities, the hundreds of vendors and the thousands of fans, resulting in other issues with finding where some celebrities were and not enough space for the lines.
Now this year’s guest list – Stan Lee?!? You could probably fill a convention on just that. But add other hot guests like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who had just proven himself as one of the meanest, craziest bat-wielding psychos on The Walking Dead, Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things, Gal Gadot who plays Wonder Woman…that’s filling up fast. And that’s just a few. How about Billy Dee Williams, Alice Cooper, Christian Slater, Summer Glau, Arthur Darvill, John Ratzenberger, Ric Flair…and I’m still only a fraction of the way through the list.
The convention opened on Friday, but due to other commitments we weren’t able to arrive until early Saturday. From all accounts, Friday went quite well. I was able to enter early and see the new setup, and the changes I saw made a lot of sense…more line space and corrals for guests in line for celebrity meets, better layout for vendors on the main floor, etc. The one gotcha – there is only one indoor path between the arena and convention center, via a narrow sky bridge, and due to crowd control and regulations they needed to make that a one-way corridor from the arena to the center. To get back to the arena for some of the headline guests and photo ops, you actually had to exit (and scan out your badge, so they had a better idea on the number of people inside) and walk back to the arena and enter via a special “re-entry” entrance.
I would never see the place that empty again. 🙂
Her Universe and founder Ashley Eckstein announced today that the Her Universe brand is being acquired by pop culture retailer Hot Topic. Hot Topic will take over operations of the e-commerce and wholesale operations. Eckstein will stay on and continue to develop the brand.
“We are very excited to partner with Ashley Eckstein and Her Universe,” said Steve Vranes, CEO of Hot Topic. “We have worked closely with Ashley, Araca, and Her Universe over the past six years, together bringing fangirl fashion to a growing community of passionate fans. Ashley and Araca have built an incredible brand with a loyal customer base, and we look forward to supporting Her Universe in this new capacity.”
“I am thrilled to be bringing Her Universe to the Hot Topic family of brands,” said Ashley Eckstein, Founder of Her Universe. “Six years ago I founded Her Universe with the mission to create an empowering community and t-shirt brand for fangirls. We’ve since grown into a fashion, entertainment, publishing and lifestyle brand. Operating as a division of Hot Topic, Her Universe will continue to be a stand-alone brand selling to various retailers but with the support needed to grow the company in ways I have always dreamed.”
Eckstein, in a separate letter, said, “I imagine your next question probably is, ‘Will Her Universe only be a brand at Hot Topic now?’ The answer is emphatically ‘no.’ Her Universe will continue to be a stand-alone brand that is available at multiple retailers and on HerUniverse.com just like we always have been. We will also be continuing with the Her Universe Fashion Show and Her Universe Press. Honestly, the Her Universe brand that we’ve all grown and built together will continue as you’ve known it, but exciting growth and amazing opportunities lie ahead.
“What can you expect? Here’s just a sampling:
* We’ll finally be able to offer more plus sizes
* We’re going to offer our designs in Europe
* We’ll be designing some fashion for men
* We’ll be re-launching a new and improved Her Universe Press
* We’re going to add more licenses, more active wear and more fashion categories
“I am personally going to focus on continuing to build our amazing community and offering more content and ways for fans to connect. Honestly, I cannot contain my excitement over what’s ahead! Hot Topic has been such an important partner of ours and now that we are joining forces, we are listening and we are excited to bring you more!”
I met Ashley just over six years ago, and I’ve been asking for men’s items since then, so yes, we’re happy about this announcement! Good luck to Ashley and Her Universe!
Some tidbits as I get a break from vacation/traveling…
On the movie front, Oprah Winfrey is near set to star as Mrs. Which in a new adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time to be directed by Ava DuVernay (Selma) for Disney. Amy Adams and Kevin Hart are also in talks.
Speaking of Disney, Disneyland is about to rebuild it’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction with a whole new theme based on Guardians of the Galaxy. The new attraction will be called “Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout” and be ready for next summer. Here is a video of Joe Rhode explaining the attraction:
Also on the Disney park front, if you can get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida, you have to check out the “Star Wars Galactic Spectacular” fireworks and light show. It is AMAZING!
The new Captain Marvel has been announced, and it will be Brie Larson. Kevin Feige made the announcement at Comic Con, but wouldn’t say what movie she might first appear in.
Syfy renewed Wynonna Earp for a second season.
Lastly, Fox has tapped Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) to adapt Isaac Asimov’s Caves of Steel, which has been in the works for a few years with Simon Kinberg with Henry Hobson. Ironically, Akiva Goldsman co-wrote 2004’s I, Robot, which is often mistaken as an Asimov story due to similar themes with a collection of stories Asimov wrote with the same title, but the movie was based on a short story by Eando Bender.
Tidbits: Ford to preview Disney’s Star Wars park plans; American Gods gets Shadow; Time After Time pilot order
Just some quick stories…first, Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford, will star in a Wonderful World of Disney special called “Disneyland 60” where he will preview the upcoming Star Wars-themed park areas at both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in Walt Disney World. Filming of the special starts tomorrow and will air on February 21st on ABC. The special itself will focus on Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, with Derek Hough as host and Elton John, Josh Gad and Witney Carson already announced as guests.
The 100‘s Ricky Whittle will be protagonist Shadow Moon in the upcoming Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, about the struggle between the old gods of mythology and the new gods that represent modern society’s influences – money, power, technology, etc. Ex-con Shadow find himself as a bodyguard to the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, “a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.” Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are writers/showrunners, and David Slade (Hannibal) is directing the pilot and will direct additional episodes. Shooting is expected to start in April.
The Time After Time series remake for ABC we reported on in September has gotten a pilot order from ABC. It’s still early in the process as there does not appear to be any casting contingency in the pilot order, but I understand that studio Warner Bros. TV had one or more “if come” deals with casting directors if the project got picked up.
Star Wars Weekends, a multi-weekend event that Disney has hosted for annually for the last 13 years and occasionally before that, is over.
It was announced on the official Disney Parks Blog today, although we believed it already to be the case.
Construction will begin next year in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park, where the Weekends were held, in order to provide a whole new “land” dedicated to Star Wars. Previously, the Star Wars presence was limited to the Star Tours attraction, the Tatooine Traders shop, and more recently the Jedi Training Academy (where children get trained by a Jedi and then face Darth Vader!) With Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 everyone expected a bigger park presence and it’s on the way. A few details were released about that expansion:
- On December 1st, “Star Wars: Launch Bay” opens, giving fans a look at the franchise and the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, special merchandise and opportunities to encounter Chewbacca and Darth Vader.
- Star Tours: The Adventure Continues will feature a new scene inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens: a chase following the Millenium Falcon through the ship wreckage on the desert planet of Jakku. Those familiar with the random scenes in the attraction might be glad to know that for a few months, the Jakku scene will be in every ride, and then it “will be up to the will of the Force”.
- Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple (opening early December) is a re-imagining of the Jedi Training Academy which will take younglings to the secret site of an ancient Jedi temple where they will face Darth Vader along with the Seventh Sister – a new villain from the Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels
- Star Wars: Path of the Jedi will feature scenes from the complete Star Wars saga, also giving anyone new to the Star Wars galaxy an opportunity to get acquainted with the films.
In honor of the original radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds, here is the audio of my favorite rock opera, which is an impressive adaptation of the original story in music. And if you think the music is awesome, you need to see the concert…it is UNBELIEVABLE.
However, I do apologize in advance…some of these songs will stick in your head. But it’s a brave new world…
Walt Disney World plans Opening Night event for Star Wars: The Force Awakens at Disney Springs and Hollywood Studios
From our sister site, WDW Untangled…
On the opening night of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 17th, Walt Disney World Resort will host a special ticketed event at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) and Disney’s Hollywood Studios park for fans who want to be among the first viewers of the movie and celebrate with other fans.
Guests will have a confirmed seat at the AMC Disney Springs 24 theater for a showing between 7pm-8pm, and then celebrate over at Hollywood Studios at a private party afterwards until 2am. The party will include special access to the new Star Wars: Launch Bay exhibit, the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue attraction, a DJ dance party, and a preview of the all new fireworks display set to Star Wars music. Costumes are encouraged! But follow standard Disney guest costume guidelines – if you dress like a Disney character, for instance, you may not pose for pictures with other guests or sign autographs, etc.
Characters will also appear at Launch Bay – it is sounding like a private mini-Star Wars Weekends!
Tickets will go on sale immediately after the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens airs tonight during Monday Night Football. And in fact, tickets for showings at theaters around the country will go on sale at the same time!
Ticket prices will depend on which format you see the movie in: 2D ($94.99), 3D ($98.99) and 3D ETX ($99.99).
Note: Direct transportation between Disney Springs and Hollywood Studios will NOT be provided. Parking is free at Disney Springs, and parking at Hollywood Studios is included in the price of the ticket. Guests staying at a WDW Resort will be able to take transportation from Disney Springs to their resort, and then on to Hollywood Studios.
More FAQs can be found here.
Profiles In History kicks off their “Hollywood 74” auction this week, and they have lots of cool toys up for auction, including stuff from Star Wars, Star Trek and many, many more!
Some examples from the Star Wars collection:
The original Blockade Runner filming miniature from Star Wars: A New Hope
Star Wars “Ridgeback” Stormtrooper helmet
Carrie Fisher’s “Slave Leia” costume from Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi
The catalog is MASSIVE at over 600 pages. Take a look at the online version but prepared for a lot of time and clicking!
Check out the article on our sister site for details, but if you have been waiting for a bigger theme park experience than Star Tours, you’re going to be very happy…
After the success of A Force For Change, the other giant SF franchise in this universe is getting in the act with “Star Trek: To Boldly Go”, an Omaze fundraiser supporting nine charities (chosen by the cast members), with the big prize being a walk on role on Star Trek Beyond!
Six “Honorary Crew Members” will be chosen from separate pools of weekly entries, with those winners getting to visit the set, meet the cast, and see scenes being filmed. Then one Grand Prize winner will be chosen from all the entrants.
Donation amounts also come with goodies, up to a Captain’s Chair (limited number available)!
Check out the video below, and see more details and donate here! Entry deadline is September 1st.