August 31, 2012

Star Wars University After-Action Report

From World War to Star Wars was a blockbuster success! I am incredibly humbled by the amazing fan reaction to this special project. After two years of quiet research, I was floored by the turnout and engagement from a very diverse audience. Fans of all ages and backgrounds turned out for the hour-long Star Wars University class hosted by myself, Chris Reiff, and Chris Trevas. Sharing my passion for history and Star Wars with such an amazing group of fans was the high point of my Celebration.

The class opened with a story: of a crumbling republic where an unlikely politician rises to power amidst chaos, occupation, and a separatist threat. Thanks to a vote of no confidence, he becomes chancellor but he uses his new position to play on the fears of the people. He attains emergency powers and builds his military. With unlimited power, he would purge his own military leaders, build secret armies, and disband a senate. He would declare a new order and empire, build super weapons, and eventually be brought down by an alliance. Of course, this isn’t just the story of Star Wars – it’s also the story of the Second World War.

Cole Horton shares a story about The Millennium Falcon's most famous
passenger, Sir Alec Guinness.  Guinness served for two and a half
years during World War II
There are hundreds of connections between World War II and Star Wars, but this class focused on one major topic: The Millennium Falcon. We talked about battles in Karellia, how WWII airplane sounds were used for the Falcon’s engines, looked at World War II tanks that made up the Millennium Falcon models, and heard about the wartime hijinks & heroics of the Falcon’s most famous passenger: Sir Alec Guinness.

Finally, special guests Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas joined me on stage to talk about just a few of the WWII relics that made their way into the Star Wars Universe. Whether it is the Meteor jet aircraft engine or stormtrooper blasters, the Star Wars universe was filled with props originally used in the 1940’s.

The line for From World War to Star Wars at Celebration VI
The line before the panel stretches around the third floor.
From World War to Star Wars was the most attended
Star Wars University panel of the convention
Given the amazing turnout and interest, I hope there is opportunity in the future for more From World War to Star Wars presentations.  If you would like to see more, please leave a comment or tweet me @ColeHorton.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just a small note but I'd just like to point out that Guinness was in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve for four years; he joined as an ordinary seaman in 1941 before obtaining his commission the following year. He ended the war with the rank of sub-lieutenant.