Melinda’s Brew : Stepping Into A Larger World (2)

Melinda’s Brew : Stepping Into A Larger World (2)

Let’s see … where did I leave off last time? I was sharing my recollections from my delightful luncheon with Jonathan Wilkins, editor of Star Wars Insider. πŸ™‚ Jonathan had mentioned that the Insider would be publishing an upcoming article about Star Wars’ female fan base and the lack of female character toys. Have you seen Issue # 151 yet? It contains a great six-page spread about fangirls written by Tricia Barr. I could tell you all about the article (well done, Tricia!), but what fun would there be in that? Find a copy of the periodical, and read it! And all the other great stories in the Insider! You won’t be disappointed.

[Besides, this is supposed to be a blog about my too-short meeting with Jonathan. πŸ™‚ You want to hear more of the story, right? πŸ™‚ ]

I do want to share with you what Jonathan was able to share with me about Episode VII, but if you don’t mind I’d like to relate a charming, fan-based story first. As events unfolded in Jonathan’s retelling, I couldn’t help but smile, and consider with that touch of bittersweet emotion that my own girls are past the age of innocence …

Jonathan attended the launch celebration of “The Yoda Chronicles” LEGO DVD, bringing along with him his godson, Milo, and Milo’s friend, Alex. The two little boys were in seventh heaven surrounded by Star Wars characters. Thinking Milo and Alex would enjoy meeting and talking with Darth Vader, Jonathan pointed out the two lads to the dark clad Vader, and the Sith Lord strode over to the boys. As imposing as Vader is, the boys seemed unaware of the Sith Lord’s approach. He stood there quietly until Milo and Alex noticed him … which they did eventually. Startled, the boy’s reaction-in-tandem was to scurry behind a nearby sofa! πŸ˜‰ That elicited a hearty laugh from me. πŸ™‚ All I could think about was how every parent should have Darth Vader at his/her beck and call to keep their younglings in line. πŸ˜‰ (Wouldn’t that be something? lol) The encounter in no way, shape or form caused Milo’s love of Star Wars to wane, Jonathan noted. Milo’s reaction to DV was a bit unexpected, my luncheon partner added, because Milo’s favorite franchise characters tend to have Dark Side leanings. (Darth Milo has a nice Dark Side sound to it, doesn’t it?). For Halloween, Milo wants to be a Tusken Raider. Scary indeed!

The next generation of Star Wars fans. πŸ™‚ Still going strong. πŸ™‚

Jonathan wasn’t able to share a great deal about Episode VII with me, for which he apologized. “We’re under lockdown,” he explained. He was unable to give me a tour of the Insider’s editorial offices — something this veteran reporter-turned-freelancer would have enjoyed thoroughly from a professional point of view. It has been a long, long time since I’ve been in a newsroom. “We have Star Wars [and Dr. Who, for all you Doctor fans out there! πŸ˜‰ ] posters and stuff all over the office (that no one but us can see),” Jonathan explained. I got the impression the scenario would play out like this: “I could show you, but then I’d have to shoot you.” πŸ˜‰ A bit disappointing, but I definitely understood. A good reporter knows when it doesn’t pay to press an issue. Besides, I was having such a good time, and I didn’t want Jonathan to feel uncomfortable. I wanted him to enjoy our time together as much as I was. πŸ˜€

He did share that he has been onsite where Episode VII is being filmed — at Pinewood Studios, although the soundstages were rather quiet the day he and other members of the press were in attendance. As production ramps up, Jonathan mentioned he hopes he is invited to the legendary studio to see our heroes — past and present — in action, maybe even meet J.J. Abrams. πŸ™‚


Recently celebrating its 150th issue, the Insider is on its way to another 150 with the recent publication of Issue # 151. Jeffrey Brown, author of Darth Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess created a beautiful work of art especially for the newest issue.

For Jonathan, one of the perks of his job is getting to interview a host of Star Wars actors/actresses and members of the crew for Insider articles. Recently, he had the opportunity to chat with Freddie Prinze Jr., who is voicing the character of Jedi Master Kanan in the upcoming animated series “Rebels”. Talking to principle players from “across the pond” creates its challenges. πŸ˜‰ Foremost is just finding a day and time that works with both interviewer’s and interviewee’s schedules. “Then there’s the time difference,” Jonathan quipped. Between London and California there is an eight-hour gap. Using the Freddie Prinze Jr. interview as an example, Jonathan continued — good-naturedly: “My work day is pretty much winding down — wound down — when his was just starting. I try to sound fresh … but sometimes that can be hard. My day is ending as theirs is starting.” Jonathan smiled, and added, “I do the best I can.” I couldn’t help but smile. “I know what you mean,” I laughed. “I’ve lived in three time zones for the past year — California’s, where Erin lives, my own in Wisconsin, and London’s, where Caitlin has been since September (2013). Sometimes I don’t know whether I’m coming or going, or where I am!” We shared a good laugh. πŸ™‚

Despite dealing with the time difference between London and the States, Jonathan noted that he always enjoys the interviews. “You can tell how excited everyone is to be in something Star Wars,” he said, and offered a big smile. The actors are just as geeky [my adjective; not his πŸ˜‰ ] as the rest of us, he added. That certainly comes across in Jonathan’s interview with Vanessa Marshall, who voices the role of ship captain Hera Syndulla in this fall’s “Rebels”. You can read Jonathan’s interview with VM in Issue # 151. πŸ™‚

Our conversation turned to Star Wars Celebrations and Coffee With Keobi. Jonathan asked if I had been to any of the US fetes, and when I mentioned I had been to all but CII, he asked me if CI — held in Denver, Colorado — was as infamous as he’s heard.

“Infamous? I suppose,” I answered warmly. “In a city where residents say it’s sunny most of the time, Mother Nature decided to prove otherwise. πŸ˜‰ The first Celebration was held in tents and an airplane hangar. I’d say those who planned it did not really anticipate the huge crowd … nor did they expect the deluge because just about everything going on expected fans to wait in lines outside … under supposed sunny skies. πŸ˜‰ You know what, though? We all were in it together. It was Star Wars. We made the most of it. Sure, we were traipsing through mud and puddles. We got drenched. But we didn’t let it bother us.” πŸ™‚ Jonathan, who has been to a non-US Celebration, is looking forward to his first trip across the pond to celebrate with like-minded fans next April. πŸ˜€ “I’m really looking forward to it!” he beamed. Indeed! πŸ™‚ Look for him in Anaheim!

I was absolutely thrilled when the conversation turned to Coffee With Kenobi and the fact that Jonathan already was quite familiar with the website and podcasts. πŸ™‚ “Oh, I know Coffee With Kenobi,” he said. The popularity of what Dan and Cory has created is spreading across the globe!! How wonderful is that! πŸ˜€

Before long, Jonathan had to wrap up our lunch date, and return to work. Darn those hands on the clock! I walked back to Titan’s building with him. We hugged, said our good-byes, and Jonathan headed me in the direction I needed to go to stroll along the Thames on my way back to the City Centre. I hope he had as great a time with me as I did with him! πŸ˜€

You might be wondering right about now why I haven’t included a photo of my lunch date and me in either this segment or Part I. Okay … I admit it … I meant to ask someone to snap a picture of Jonathan and me. I had my camera with me! Only I was so engaged in our conversation, and having such a wonderful time … that it didn’t dawn on me that a photograph never was snapped until I was halfway back to my hotel! Ugh! Yes, I could have turned around, and headed back from whence I came, but the London sky looked threatening, and I was unarmed (no umbrella). At least I had the sweet memory of my meeting with Jonathan tucked safely in my memory banks — safe to share with you. πŸ™‚

[It also was my intention to share what turned out to be a fun happenchance that capped my afternoon with Jonathan, but as we can see, this entry already has gotten rather long. Thus, I will save it for next time. Besides, it is a tale that stands on its own. πŸ™‚ ]

Thanks for reliving with me what was, for me, a wonderful Star Wars encounter. πŸ™‚ I’d love to hear about your own special Star Wars encounters, so please feel free to leave a comment below. Until next time, MTFBWY. πŸ™‚

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  1. Jeff M
    July 17, 2014 at 14:13 Reply

    Holy cats, that’s some vacation!!!! You’re like 2 steps away from being in Star Wars!!! The closest I’ve come is a friend who is friends with JJ Abram’s script supervisor. He posted a photo on Facebook of himself with his newborn son both wearing chewbacca shirts and she “Liked” it, which means his picture was visible on the set of Star Wars. Your story is much cooler (just don’t tell him I said that). If this is how you network on vacation, I’d love to see what happens when you’re out on business. Great blog, I can’t wait to hear the next story!

  2. Jay Krebs
    July 18, 2014 at 09:20 Reply

    Fun happenchance, indeed!
    What a great story – you really got the skinny on all things Star Wars from someone close to its heart!
    Such an awesome experience! Woohoo! πŸ™‚

  3. Melinda
    July 18, 2014 at 10:11 Reply

    There is more, Jeff! πŸ™‚ Not about my time with Jonathan, per se, but where my meanderings took me after leaving him that afternoon. I plan to share that tale next time, on July 30. πŸ˜€
    I’m glad you enjoyed my wrap-up story. It makes me happy to know folks enjoy my ramblings. πŸ™‚ And wow! You are friends with someone who is friends with JJA’s script supervisor?! That is like 2 degrees of separation! How cool is that!!! πŸ˜€

  4. Becca Benjamin
    July 18, 2014 at 21:15 Reply

    O M G A W D!
    Melinda, this is truly amazing. You are one lucky duck, my friend and I’m very envious of you, down right jelly πŸ˜‰

    As cool as it is to hear how CWK has made it’s way across “the pond”, it’s not surprising. After all, it was only a matter of time.

    Awesome story, thanks for sharing it with us πŸ™‚

    1. Melinda
      July 24, 2014 at 09:09 Reply

      My pleasure, Becca! When Jonathan said Titan’s offices were so close to where Caitlin went to school (a little farther away than I thought, but that doesn’t matter. It was VERY easy to get to him. πŸ™‚ ), I had to make the meeting a reality. πŸ˜€

      I do consider myself lucky — to know you and all our other friends here at CWK (although I knew the bulk of those associated with CWK long before Cory and Dan created their podcast/website πŸ™‚ ). And, yes, to have had the opportunity to meet Jonathan. He was as delightful as (I hope!) I got across. That was another lucky occurrence. πŸ™‚

      I am such a geek. I’m glad I was in such good company. πŸ™‚

  5. Bethany
    July 19, 2014 at 11:07 Reply

    Wonderful!!! I love when good things happen to great people. πŸ™‚

  6. pambruchwalski
    July 19, 2014 at 14:13 Reply

    Very cool, Melinda. My best SW encounter was with all of you at C4…and no “celebrity” encounter I might have will out-do that one any time soon. πŸ™‚

    1. Melinda
      July 24, 2014 at 09:12 Reply

      I agree, Pam! Wholeheartedly!!! πŸ˜€

      It was great meeting Jonathan. Yet there was a magic to that meeting back in 2007. πŸ™‚

  7. Fangirls Around the Web: August 17, 2014 « FANgirl Blog
    August 17, 2014 at 18:54 Reply

    […] Coffee With Kenobi Melinda Wolf interviewed Star Wars Insider editor Jonathan Wilkins. They discuss the Lego Yoda Chronicles, Episode VII, […]

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