Day 1 of Star Wars Celebration VI brought forth a panel highlighting what fans can expect from the main site in the near and not-too-distant future. Primarily lead by StarWars.com's new lead named Ivan, the panel also featured SW.com Blog contributors Steve Sansweet, Ashley Eckstein, Katie Cook and Leland Chee.
The panel commenced with Ivan explaining that StarWars.com is a "perpetual work in progress." After starting out essentially as a marketing site for the Prequel Trilogy, the main focus of the site kind of dissolved in the years that followed the release of Episode III. The latest update to the site was designed to create more of an epic feel. Beyond what they hoped would be visually pleasing content, fandom has become a key component. Rather than try to keep up with all of the fans and fan sites out there that post regularly, the main site is hoping to help turn the spotlight onto the fan community and what they do so well. This is especially evident in the revamped Official StarWars.com Blog that incorporates posts from those inside LFL as well as posts from those within the fan community.
But what can we specifically expect moving forward?
- Look for the main site to start adding more exclusive video content as 2012 progresses.
- If you've been missing Dave Filoni's video commentaries for episodes of The Clone Wars, they will be returning with Season 5.
- Chris Hardwick has a new Star Wars video talk show called Transmissions that recorded it's first episode last evening.
- More web series style videos are anticipated as well
- And what got a big round of applause is the possibility of the old Droids and Ewok cartoons eventualy being streamed on the site.
- The next-gen version of the Star Wars Soundboards is set to launch by the end of 2012.
- Likewise, look for the Galactic Color Bot to get a facelift before the end of the year.
- Craft and drawing tutorials will continue but look for the addition of videos to be added into the tutorial mix.
-Jawa Junkyard - This is a puzzle/memory game that recently launched.
- Artist Katie Cook is working with the site on a future game.
- Ewok Village (Beta) - Look for this new game to launch any day now. As chief of your Ewok village, it's your responsibility to to keep the village happy and increase your Ewok numbers. The game saves so that when you come back, you continue where you left off. Keep the Ewoks happy by keeping them fed, sheltered and entertained. As your village grows, you can create new pathways for your villagers that include ladders, bridges, hang gliders and more. Due to its imminent launch, this game is being heavily promoted in the SW.com Lounge area on the show floor.
- Galactic Spy - This hidden picture game is going to be released in September. Follow the orders of such characters as Watto, Yoda, Darth Maul and others as they look to secure certain objectives through your diligent searching. Hints are available with the use of a Seeker Droid. We're sure other features will be included as well and we'll be sure to report on the game as more details are revealed.
- Last but not least, a new Boba Fett game is coming in October. It was described as being like an old NES side-scroller action game. The SW.com lounge on the main floor of CVI is teasing this upcoming game with a shirt giveaway for those who register on the site.
- The forums will be coming back! No timetable was given.
- Personal blogs will NOT be back.
- Better social features are on the way.
- Fan films are going to be getting a lot more love from the main site.
OFFICIAL SW.com BLOG
- The revamping was designed to put the focus on people, create stories that can't be found anywhere else, and encourage interaction. In other words, they didn't want the blog posts to be the same content you find on fan sites.
- Steve Sansweet - Steve was in initially concerned with the changes at the main site butt now seems excited about the direction they're taking. Besides discussing Ranch Obi-Wan, look for Sansweet to also share some fandom stories down the road.
- Ashley Eckstein, who was live tweeting during the panel, loves sharing behind-the-scenes stories. Don't look for too much from her TCW recording sessions as she has they record a year in advance so she has to avoid spoilers. While at CVI, she's producing a number of video diaries for the main site.
- Katie Cook - Beyond expressing her love for Chris Hardwick and her excitement for the new Ewok Village game, Katie said we can expect some silly cartoons from her every so often.
- Leland Chee - The Keeper of the Holocron enjoys getting feedback through forums and blog comments. Look for him to answer mainstream questions through Star Wars Insider while he'll reserve some of the more obscure questions for the forums and blogs.
TIDBITS FROM THE Q&A
- More educational activities and party tips will be coming to the main site.
- Member profiles are to be more extensive with possible cross posting through social networking sites.
- Localized event calendars are on the way.
- While they'd like to display more old commercials featuring Star Wars, distribution rights have made it difficult.
- Are TCW videos going to be available in Canada? They're working on it and other international customizations.
- TCW episodes, and other videos, will be coming to IOS devices in September and a new App is in the works.
- They're working on bringing back content from older versions of the site with a possible hash tag index.
- Star Wars Shop may eventually return in some capacity.
- There aren't specific plans for new Expanded Universe content but Leland is working on getting EU contributors to add more the the Official Blog.