Dave Filoni, supervising director of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, made a post on StarWars.com thanking fans of the Clone Wars for their support over the years. To show his appreciation he shared some concept art of untold Clone Wars stories. Check out his post for all of the images. He also revealed one unresolved answer. Echo, a Clone Trooper who was presumed to die in the third season episode “Counterattck” is alive. The complete Clone Wars series is currently available on Netflix.
The new Starbucks at Disneyland’s Downtown Disney opened today. We will have a full report later but wanted to share our first images of the new location. We also livestreamed a walk-through of the Starbucks. Look for a full report on Laughingplace.com later this week.
BuzzFeed has a look at Broadway’s Aladdin. They interview the cast of the show as well as feature a video that has the cast singing “Friend Like Me,” “Arabian Nights,” and “Prince Ali”
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that long-time Disney Cast Member Kevin Myers is retiring. The 42 year Disney veteran went from busing tables in Adventureland to leading Walt Disney World’s resort operations. Taking his place will be Tom Wolber who is moving from heading Downtown Disney and Sports. Under Tom, Resorts and Transportation Operations will be merged. Tom will be leading a reorganization of Walt Disney World’s lodging division in the coming months. Maribeth Bisienere will take over Sports and Downtown Disney which will also include Water Parks and Mini-Golf. Maribeth recently led Walt Disney World’s Merchandise and Food & Beverage Operations. Before retiring, Kevin Myers will be coordinating overall operations during new contract negotiations with Disney World’s major unions and making preparations for further international growth.
QVC will be releasing the “Moi” collection by Miss Piggy when the Muppets take over the network on March 16. The new lifestyle brand has released an ad teasing the new line.
To focus on expanding creative storytelling beyond traditional content areas, ESPN is forming Exit 31, a creative enterprise that will combine the resources of three existing units – ESPN Films, Grantland and FiveThirtyEight – under one umbrella. The group – whose name refers to the exit off Interstate 84 which leads to ESPN’s Bristol headquarters – will experiment with subjects, formats, editorial approaches and platforms to create offerings that complement ESPN’s already expansive storytelling in new and different ways.
Well-versed in multiplatform storytelling and analysis, the groups will continue to expand into content beyond sports when appropriate. Exit 31 will also facilitate organic collaborations across ESPN and will be led by Marie Donoghue, senior vice president, global strategy, business development and business affairs. Reporting to Marie in this endeavor will be three of her existing reports Nate Silver (Editor in Chief, FiveThirtyEight), Connor Schell (Vice President, ESPN Films and Original Entertainment) and David Cho (Senior Director, Strategy and Business Development, Grantland and FiveThirtyEight) and new report Bill Simmons (Editor in Chief, Grantland).
Said Donoghue, “Storytelling is at the core of everything ESPN does, across divisions. Formally combining these teams will create a collaborative studio environment whose mission will be to take risks and experiment with editorial approach, visual presentation and programming across platforms. We hope to continue to bring a variety of creative people into ESPN from varied sources – including non-traditional sports media sources – to cross-pollinate within Exit 31 and across ESPN’s existing and award-winning content divisions.”
Initial projects under Exit 31 include;
- FiveThirtyEight Films, a collaboration between FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films that will be a storytelling vehicle to create short and long-form films drawing from the work of FiveThirtyEight and using data analytics as a part of its ethos
- Grantland’s in-progress, exclusive series chronicling Steve Nash’s return to the Lakers called The Finish Line
- ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Soccer Stories
- The recently announced documentary series following the US Men’s Soccer Team leading into the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil called “Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil”
- Ongoing 30 for 30 Shorts
- A new Grantland Video Podcast Network
The newly expanded FiveThirtyEight – launching on March 17 – will maintain the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the original site Nate Silver founded in 2008, while extending its coverage to diverse areas such as sports, politics, economics, science, and life. The site will highlight a team of talented new voices to deliver storytelling that is both data-driven and editorially compelling. The site will focus on data visualizations as a key way to use information to tell stories.
Created in March 2008, ESPN Films and Original Content produces films showcasing some of the most compelling stories in sports. In 2009, the group launched the Peabody Award-winning and Producer’s Guild Award-winning 30 for 30 film series, comprised of thoughtful reflections on the past three decades told through the lens of diverse and interesting sports fans and social commentators. The strong reaction from both critics and fans led to the launch of 30 for 30 Volume II, which is currently underway. Additional projects from ESPN Films and Original Content include the critically acclaimed Nine for IX series, SEC Storied, the webby award-winning 30 for 30 Shorts and ESPN’s annual ESPY awards.
Since its launch in 2011 by Bill Simmons and ESPN, Grantland has focused on developing entertaining and original content from both established and award winning writers like Malcolm Gladwell, Chuck Klosterman, and Wesley Morris, putting them alongside up-and-coming contributors like Bill Barnwell, Zach Lowe, and Katie Baker. Not limited to just creating short and long-form written work, Grantland has also launched two podcast networks to join the already popular BS Report with Bill Simmons, all three of which have topped their respective iTunes categories, as well as the award-winning Grantland Channelwhich includes the popular “Bill and Jalen” NBA series and “Grantland Live: March Madness.” The channel was created in partnership with YouTube and has generated more than 47 million views.
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that negotiations have begun between the theme park operator and their largest unions. The existing contract was set to expire March 29 but was recently extended until July 17 as the negotiations continue. Commenting on the negotiations a Disney spokesperson said, “Since our last negotiation, we have created nearly 6,000 new full-time jobs and provided wage increases that were well above the industry average, even in the midst of one of the worst economic downturns in history.” On the other side of the table, Service Trades Council President Ed Chambers said, “At the end of the day, we all want better wages, better benefits and better working conditions.”
Marvel announced that they are working on an all-age Ultimate Spider-Man Infinite Comic based on the Disney XD animated series. Infinite Comics are digital comics that take advantage of digital platforms by being designed for those screens and featuring digital transitions. The comic will be released later this year and will be released in 10 different languages to reach a worldwide audience. In an interview with Marvel.com Marvel VP of Digital Products Kristin Vincent said, “We are trying to foster and grow the next generation of comic lovers. We’ve heard from parents saying, ‘I think my kids would get a kick out of comics and I just can’t find a way to make it relevant in their lives the way it was in mine.’” Marvel believes introducing kids through the Infinite Comics platform will engage kids that have grown up in a digital world.
At their SXSW panel today, Marvel revealed Tales to Astonish” a new original video documentary series. In an interview with Marvel.com Marvel VP of Content & Programming John Cerilli says, “So many of Marvel’s stories and characters were created by storytellers—editors, writers, pencilers—who like all great artists are often influenced by events happening in the real world. In ‘Tales to Astonish,’ we now have the opportunity to explore all of these influences and, in turn, entertain a wider swath people who may or may not have known about these things, but are interested in entertainment with really compelling narratives.
The first episode will revolve around the 2006 Marvel event Civil War. While no release date or information about future episodes was given, Marvel did release a trailer for the upcoming episode.