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Saturday, December 05 2015 05:16

That's Right, R2... We're Going to the Global Press Event for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS!

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How did I get here? There was a moment of pause that was punctuated with misty eyes as I looked over an itinerary placing me in the same room - and the same table - with actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o and filmmaker J.J. Abrams. What really took a moment to sink in was the other name present - Harrison Ford. This is a man who was there the first time around - when STAR WARS was a new thing, and a little boy named "Jimmy" would spend countless hours having adventures with Ford's dashing smuggler, Han Solo in Kenner action figure form. It was STAR WARS that inspired me to try my hand at working in film and television, and here we are on the cusp of a new film that continues the original saga, with STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS hitting theaters on December 18th... and I've been invited to Los Angeles to cover the Global Media Days! While The Force is strong with this adventure, my journey to a galaxy far, far away is just one piece of the puzzle that includes projects from Disney, Lucasfilm, Marvel and ABC...

Along with 24 fellow writers in the pop culture parenting space, I will be covering the following projects:

MARVEL's AGENT CARTER - While there's now several small screen extensions of the MARVEL Cinematic Universe, none share the style on display in AGENT CARTER. With Hayley Atwell in the titular role with James D'Arcy as as Edwin Jarvis at her side, the action of AGENT CARTER shifts to Los Angeles for Season Two (premiering January 19) and we'll be going behind the scenes to see what CLASSIFIED secrets might be awaiting viewers in the months ahead.

ZOOTOPIA - I was fortunate to take part in press events for FROZEN and BIG HERO 6, so I'm really looking forward to dropping by Walt Disney Animation Studios to take a peek behind the curtain on their follow-up - the 55th feature in a library that began with SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS back in 1937. We'll be interviewing the filmmakers, previewing footage from the film, and will receive a drawing demonstration from some of the animators currently working on the film.

ZOOTOPIA features the voice talents of Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman, and opens in theaters on March 4, 2016.

THE BACHELOR - On January 4, THE BACHELOR is back for it's 20th season, and Chris Harrison will be meeting us in L.A. to discuss the adventures awaiting Bachelor Ben Higgins. From a date cooked-up by Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, to a pair of identical twins that are looking for love, rumor has it there's a lot of craziness ahead.

GALAVANT - A surprise hit that was originally thought by many to be a miniseries, this musical fairy tale comedy is back for a second season on January 3rd. We'll be meeting with the producers of the show, along with actor Timothy Omundson (King Richard) to get the inside scoop on what to expect in Season Two.

THE GREAT CHRISTMAS LIGHT FIGHT: Monday night, December 7, we'll be live tweeting the season premiere of THE GREAT CHRISTMAS LIGHT fight with host Carter Oosterhouse and his wife, actress Amy Smart! You just may see me doing some holiday things, so be sure to follow #LightFight on twitter.

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STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - I've written so much about STAR WARS on this site for the past five years, yet I have an endless array of stories and memories to continue sharing. With THE FORCE AWAKENS to be the first STAR WARS film that The Rock Daughters will see on the big screen, a new generation is about to fall in love with The Force just as their Mother and Father before them. We've already been passing the STAR WARS torch, but this week it truly comes full circle. It's hard to imagine that STAR WARS is back and stronger than ever nearly four decades from the start, and it's even stranger that my connection to it is about to become even stronger. Like The Force itself, STAR WARS is a franchise that truly binds generations. What are some of my first STAR WARS memories? Here's what I told Fandango this week:

AT-AT!"I can't remember the first time I saw Star Wars, but my parents were already buying me the Kenner action figures and play sets long before The Empire Strikes Back hit theaters in May of 1980. Seeing Empire, I remember as clear as can be — a four-year-old boy becoming completely enamored with Imperial Walkers, Hoth, Bespin and a strange, swampy location known as the "Dagobah System." It was there that we'd first meet Jedi Master Yoda, and in the years that followed, I would spend countless hours playing with my Dagobah Action Play Set and Battle-Damaged X-wing Fighter. Like many Star Wars fans, The Empire Strikes Back has long been held in the highest regard. Aside from superior storytelling and purely fantastic moments, I think a lot of its appeal had to do with the geographic locations that our heroes would visit. Nearly four decades later, I still refer to a harsh Northern Illinois winter as Hoth, and my girls and I have been known to take the AT-AT outside for some proper snow-play when the time is right. If you freeze-frame the shots of the First Order assembling at their Starkiller base in the trailers for The Force Awakens, you can see that some manner of AT-AT walker still exists!"

 Now we Share the Force as a family...

If you have questions for any of the folks involved with these projects, by all means please leave them below. For the next week, keep an eye on the social networks for real-time updates as they happen! The Force will be with me!

A new adventure...

 *Disclosure: Thanks as always to my old pal, Mickey Mouse for picking up the tab for all of this!

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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