Friday, November 16, 2012

Dreaming Disney - The ForceCast

Logo of hands holding a microphone.  Background text says The Galaxy is Listening.

Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise have joined the House of Mouse, and I for one am so excited to see you!
Fellow Disney fans are you behind on what Star Wars is?  You are probably at least familiar with the live action releases, but there is a much bigger universe than just six films.  Do you need to find a way to catch up on the latest news about this new Disney franchise?  Are you interested in dipping your toe into this universe?  Can I recommend to you The ForceCast podcast?  I think you will find it both educational and enjoyable!
Personally, I have been listening to The ForceCast for about five years.  My own reason was to catch myself up with the Star Wars universe as my kids helped me get back into this beloved franchise.  Yes I watched the movies whenever I stumbled on the marathons and I owned the DVDs, but Star Wars: The Clone Wars and sharing it with the Between Kids made Star Wars relevant in my household on a weekly basis.  And as I watched the episode I sought out a podcast to provide me news and information about the television show.   I could never imagine another live action release.  I sampled a few different podcasts but this is the one that stuck, and has stuck for years in my podcast diet. 
The weekly content is timely and interesting, and all about Star Wars.  A typical 2 hour show brings a variety of topics that may include news, an interview with someone associated with Lucasfilm, the Billy Dee Quote of the Week (always awesome), The Jimmy Mac Investigative Report which dives into the tough Star Wars questions, Star Wars in Pop Culture, and The Outrageous Unthinkable Story of the Week which typically is someone in the United Kingdom committing a crime with a Darth Vader mask on!  The shows are typically fun natured and enjoyable in an atmosphere set by the hosts.  What is really impressive to me is the amount of respect and cooperation that Lucasfilm has given The ForceCast.  Yes, former actors and contributors may appear for an interview in the Cantina, but a number of Lucasfilm employees and partners are frequent guests on this podcast.  Can you imagine if Disney creative forces appeared on fan podcasts on a more regular basis or any basis! 
It is not unusual for voice actors from Star Wars: The Clone Wars to make an appearance such as Ashley Eckstein, a big Disney fan, or James Arnold Taylor to discuss their current projects.  Many of these interviews will be highly interesting for Disney fans since these two actors have been very busy with Disney Hollywood Studio’s Star Wars Weekends the last few years.  And despite that fact that this is not a Disney podcast per say the coverage of this event has been fantastic and has included interviews with many participants.  Using their philosophy of no fan left behind, they have also shared audio from events at Star Wars Weekends that I have not heard on Disney focused podcasts.  If you are a Disney fan and a Star Wars fan, The ForceCast is your best chance to keep up with Star Wars Weekends from Betweenland. 
Another reason for Disney fans to sample The ForceCast is news from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  With a future season in production and rumors that Cartoon Network’s contract ends after the current season there is a decent chance that this program could be added to Disney XD or the Disney Channel in the future.  Along with discussing news of the production of the show and interviews with actors, the program even has regular access to the Supervising Director Dave Filoni.  He regularly checks in during the season to share his thoughts, including creative choices they have made.  He even answers fan questions, though he does dodge some that refer to future plot points.  Additionally, they offer a separate podcast series, The Clone Wars Round Table, which breaks down each episode with a panel of guests in detail.  For me this is must listen content and I honestly prioritize these hour long episodes before the main show during the run of each season.  If one wishes to understand the newest Disney animated television production, The ForceCast is your go to source.   
The hosts Jason Swank and Jimmy Mac are professional, Jimmy is a radio professional, and both are knowledgeable on their topic being lifelong Star Wars fans.  What is sometimes hard to imagine is that they were not friends before they partnered as their chemistry is great, with them understanding each other’s perspective and roles on the show.  It is also enjoyable to see how they hosts have impacted the Star Wars universe, with characters they have advocated for like the unlikely Ben Quadinaros, who their pressure has lead to appearing on a poster within Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  With their power and influence surely Kitser’s appearance is soon to follow! 
The Clone Wars Round Table is just one of their other show offerings.  Bibliophiles Jay Shepard and Chris Wyman host the Jedi Journals which discusses Star Wars themed books, magazines and comics.  The show provides fans both news of current and future releases, discussions on the state of Star Wars publishing, and interviews with authors and those within the publishing industry.  Even this world is impacted by the Disney acquisition, as one of the early questions is related to comics and the future of the Lucasfilm/Dark Horse relationship.  Additionally especially long interviews are released as their own show as episodes of In the Cantina instead of including in episodes of The ForceCast. 
Disney enthusiasts we have a lot of information to take in right now!  And we can expect changes for Disney fandom.  The ForceCast is a great place for you to visit to get your Star Wars news and conversations.  And I expect as we try to determine how Disney will be changed by Lucasfilm, Star Wars fans will be having a similar conversation about how Lucasfilm will be changed by Disney.  

P.S. Principal Skidmore is a lady guys.  I guess you might say you are part of a whole new world now!     

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