Thin Line Between Technology and Entertainment

After meeting with the mob at the elevators, I quickly dashed downstairs to secure a seat for the Matters of the Force Technology Panel at 4:30 in Dunwoody.  Chad McFee, MOTF moderator, secured the rooms’ attention by a brief introduction of the panels’ guest.  Panel members included: Chad Cunningham, past member of the; Dr. Steven Howe, physicist; Aaron Allston, current writer of SW Universe; and Steve Sansweet, Lucasfilm fan relations representative.

Without preamble the panel started with questions from the audience.  The questions ranged from amusing to occasionally painful but the panelists were always quick to keep things in perspective and lighthearted and all had fun.  One of the more popular questions, “where do they [Star Wars characters] go to the bathroom?”  With a chorus responding, “In the refresher!”  After laughter settled, one young fan, who had seen the movies, and read a few books timidly asked, “What color is Yoda’s lightsaber?”  Steve Sansweet mysteriously responded, “All will be revealed, all will be revealed.”

At times, the questions required more maintenance.  Sansweet settled these questions by reminding people that Star Wars technology, as created by George Lucas, primarily focused on looking aesthetically pleasing while allowing those people working in the background to explain these scientific phenomena in a manner that would keep the fans interest and love.  He was speaking of people like the current and previous Star Wars fictional writers, the role-playing games writers, editors and artists, and the hundreds of people who eagerly that worked hard to keep the spirit of Star Wars alive.  If that wasn’t answer wasn’t good enough, Aaron Allston willing fielded many questions under the behest that “It’s [his answer] bullshit but its high-grid.”  Quick to crack a smile and spread witty replies, Aaron still summed it up well, after one interesting question, by stating, “story is the thing of paramount importance.”

The scientific guru, Dr. Howe, added an involving perspective that showed how much the realm of science could be used to explain some of the more curious aspects, at least in theory.  With a few interesting comments on ion cannons, fuel in the Star Wars universe, blaster operations, and antimatter, the crowd accepted his pontifications willingly.  Some questions allowed the discussion to sway from the technical perspective of the movies into the realm of writing and consistency in the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars has always provided a platform for imagination and discussion and even the occasional complaint.  Attack of the Clones anyone?

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