October 20, 2007
Story & Photos by Dave Demel (Lt. Starfox)

 

BUILT SANDTROOPER TOUGH
The morning started early as I loaded up my trusty dewback, Tex, and we hit the road heading north to Dallas. The convention opened early at 10am for those people with the VIP or Speed passes and at 11am for the general admission. There was plenty to do to keep me busy for one afternoon, to include several panels and Q&A sessions, the autograph room, various comic artists, the vendors in the exhibition hall and Hasbro made a small appearance for the first time.


Hook 'em!!!I started off by hitting the autograph area and looking for famous Sandtrooper Anthony Forrest. After waiting in his line for my opportunity to visit, he noticed my Sandtroopers.com t-shirt and we immediately struck up a conversation. He was a very cordial guy and easy to talk to. He shared some stories of his experiences with Darth Spice and Wizard World Chicago, and some were quite entertaining. After visiting for a while he autographed a few TAC Legends Sandtroopers for me and I bid him a farewell and "moved along". I stopped by Jeremy Bulloch's table and chatted for a few moments and discussed the panel he would be doing later with David Prowse and Daniel Logan. Afterwards I stopped along the various actors tables to include: Amy Allen, Daniel Logan, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Matt Wood, Tim Rose, Femi Taylor (Oola), Tom Kane, Mike Quinn, Paul Weston, Barrie Holland and Grey Delisle.

After this point I ran into fellow sandtrooper veteran James, aka Icypher from Louisiana. We checked out the various comic artists attending: Tom Hodges, Cat Staggs, Justin Chung and many others and then off to the R2 builders' room. The talent these guys have is mind-boggling with how they make these droids. There was also a Boba Fett display in this area also. After grabbing a quick bite and soda, we ventured into the exhibition hall to see what the vendors had available. If there was anything you were looking for, you could find it here. if you were willing to pay the price. There were many items available to include vintage figures, current carded figures, Gentle Giants products, Parks Sabers, posters, comics, framed art, etc. I ended up purchasing a limited edition C-IV set of playing cards in a nice display box for $10. During the walkabout we saw many people dressed up in various costumes, members of the 501st and the everywhere man, Ken Tarleton, aka Elvis Trooper. He is always a hit, wherever he goes. He even was doing autographs on his own autograph cards and handing them out for free.



H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P ...The next stop was a panel discussion with Jeremy Bulloch, David Prowse and Daniel Logan. The session started out with a slide show presentation of a tribute to Jeremy Bulloch for 50 years of acting. After the presentation, David and Jeremy told stories of their onset adventures and how they started their careers in acting. David Prowse has a very interesting back-story on how he started out as a weight lifter and how that landed him his first acting job, as Death in a play. Daniel Logan stepped in for a while and told some stories from his experiences on AOTC sets with Ewan McGregor. The discussion ended in a fun Q&A session.


From that point I headed to the Official Pix table because Shannon McRandle (Mara Jade model) was doing a free autograph session for those who purchased a VIP pass or Speed pass. She was very friendly to all of the fans as she took her time to personalize the item of your choice, as well as take a moment for a photo op. The next panel was starting with Lucasfilm PR man Steve Sansweet. His show was geared towards the future of Star Wars and this past year. He showed some clips from footage at C-IV in Los Angeles as well as Celebration Europe. He also played a promotional clip from the new animated series of Clone Wars and a short clip of David Filoni. After those, he showed a fan made film called The Force is Forever. This was a short film dedicated to the memories of those who have passed and moved into the force that was associated with Star Wars as actors or behind the season personnel. After Steve's presentation we were handed special autograph cards of Mr. Sansweet himself, which he signed each one after the show. Also during the presentation there was a little talk about the new Indiana Jones movie and a special picture of Harrison Ford was being sold for the first time ever at this show.


Next up was the costume contest, which I opted to pass on, but I got several pics of the entrants backstage. Some of the outfits were quite unique, be sure to check out my photo coverage of the event. Since I skipped the costume contest, I headed back to the Hasbro display where I ran into Hasbro rep, Derryl DePriest. This is the "man" at Hasbro and its Star Wars brand as he is the Director of Marketing Boys Toys. Many of you may know him as the gentleman that answers the bi-weekly Hasbro Q&A for all the online sites dedicated to Star Wars. He was great to visit with and answered just about every question I threw at him. He even verified that the AT-TE will be coming next year, late fall, just in time for Christmas. According to him, this is going to be a huge piece, larger than the AT-AT and will be priced above $100, no set price yet. He was also kind enough to show us some pre-production pieces of an all new Evolutions set to be named Fett Legacy. The three figures will include the original Mandaolorian, Mandalor, Jango Fett (in purple digs) and Boba Fett. These will all be super articulated and include several accessories. This set will be a very hot item when it is released. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take photos of these, but trust me, you will not be disappointed. They also had on display the Sith Legacy Evolutions set which included Darth Nihilus, Darth Bane and a shirtless Darth Maul, another hot item for sure. After taking many pictures and answering many question, the last hour of the show was over and it was time to close the convention down. I thanked Derryl for his time and he said that he wants Sandtroopers.com to keep sending in the tough questions. With that, I took off and headed into the sunset.

PHOTO GALLERY
To see the photo gallery containing 145 photos click here.