Hosts Jimmy Mac and Jason Swank take the stage…joined by Dave Filoni, who will moderate!
Filoni: “The strongest female characters are behind the scenes…I owe them a great deal, and you should know about them.”
Presenting…line producer Athena Portillo, creative executive Rayne Roberts,
production manager Liz Marshall, and senior concept designer Amy Beth
Portillo says she became a Star Wars fan when her father took her to see A New Hope at a young age, where they waited in line for hours. Her first crush was Luke Skywalker. “Han was just more of a smooth operator,” she’d tell her sister.
(Meanwhile, concept art of female characters shows on screen.)
Portillo loved the action and adventure of the original films.
Rayne Roberts remembers the movies being on as early as daycare. “It was just always there.”
Filoni: “There’s a hope to Star Wars…that we all connect with…and it connected with you in daycare!”
Liz Marshall grew up with the movies, and says they just “give her great memories of being a kid.”
Amy Beth Christenson: “Star Wars was the very first movie I saw in the movie theater.” And seeing the walkers in Empire Strikes Back is a vivid memory. She’s been a fan ever since.
What did everyone decide to study in college to put them on a path to Lucasfilm?
Portillo: “I actually wanted to be a journalist.” She took a lot of strategy classes, and concentrated in magazine writing. But she got a job right after college at Lucasfilm, writing for the Star Wars Newsletter, then wrote for Star Wars Insider.
Roberts studied photography at NYU, and got into the magazine industry as a photographer. She did photo shoots for movie coverage, and decided that’s what she wanted to do, and went back to school for film.
How much of a challenge was it to change career paths? “It was challenging…but I knew I was home. It all worked out.”
Liz Marshall says she knew in high school that she wanted to do something in the arts, and went to Wagner College in Staten Island. She was assigned a report on Princess Mononoke and loved it. She transferred to Emerson College in Boston, and decided to work in animation in production.
She was hired as an intern on Clone Wars and worked her way up, and is now a production manager on Star Wars Rebels.
Amy Beth Christenson says that she knew what she wanted to do early on, seeing a Ralph McQuarrie art book.
She started at LucasArts after college graduation.
Portillo worked as an unpaid PA on the Special Editions while working in Licensing. She discovered a love of visual effects, and then worked for ILM.
Portillo met the SE wampa, and wrote a cover story for Star Wars Insider.
She worked with Phil Tippet for a time, and then came back to Lucasfilm to work on Strange Magic — and that’s when she met Dave Filoni.
“I totally Palpatined her!” he says, telling her she should work on Star Wars, not Strange Magic.
Working on Rebels is “a dream come true,” she says.
Amy Beth Christenson: “I’ve been employed by Lucasfilm for 15 years, half of that has been drawing Sam Witwer’s face.” Big laughs.
ABC has worked on several LucasArts games — the last two were the Force Unleashed series as lead concept artist. She designed Starkiller and many more characters.
She moved over to television, working on Clone Wars seasons five and six, and now Rebels.
Liz Marshall came in as an intern for the design team on Clone Wars, and worked her way up. She worked with Kilian Plunkett closely, and designed the Nightsisters together in her first week!
“Everyone wanted to teach me…and let me grow in my career…It was a special place.”
Roberts was recruited to start a development group.
Filoni says he storms into her office about once a day, asking for help.
What does everyone like about Star Wars?
Portillo: “I love Darth Maul. I love the Nightbrothers.”
Roberts: “My favorite character is Darth Vader, aka Anakin Skywalker. I love his whole journey. His arc means so much to me.”
Marshall: “I like the critters of Star Wars. The bantha, the wampa, the Ewoks.”
She admits that she has an unlicensed toy from childhood that she always thought was an Ewok…but is actually a Jawa. “And I love the puffer pig. Those characters are just so fun.”
Filoni is surprised… “Thank God I haven’t met a puffer pig this weekend.”
Amy Beth Christenson’s favorite character is Han Solo. After seeing the Force Awakens trailer, “I don’t think I’ve sobbed that loud [ever].”
Women are a big part of Clone Wars and Rebels. Can there be more merchandise of the women characters? Filoni: “I think it’s happening over time…I think the Hera and Sabine figures are fantastic. It’s something that fans are gonna win.”
Does Sabine have a new color scheme for next season?
Come to the premiere tomorrow and find out!
If you could wear the outfits of a female character, which would it be?
Portillo: “I love Shaak Ti’s robes…if I was as thin as the Nightsisters, I’d wear their tights as well.”
Marshall: “I really love Padme’s dresses from the prequels. They’re beautiful.” When making Clone Wars, they’d look at the costumes in the Archives. The detail was amazing.
Christenson: “Anything Mandalorian. Sabine.”
Where do they draw inspiration?
Filoni gives credit to his wife, and strives to create characters that “break down” stereotypes.
Fans are thanking the creators for all the female characters — especially Rebels have two main women protagonists.
Can Darth Revan be made canon?
“Anything’s possible.” – Roberts
(Filoni enjoys being a moderator — and not having to answer the hard questions.)
How did they make these characters a reality?
Portillo details the production process — it all starts with story brainstorming, and everything is laid out.
Filoni credits Carrie Beck, co-creator of Rebels, and says he wants to do this panel every year. “You’re an inspiration to me every day.”
That’s it! Thanks for following along!
TAGS: Star Wars Celebration