Here is the brief and recent history of LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars as told by its creators Bill Motz and Bob Roth, in their own words. As you read you'll notice highlighted LEGO set numbers, well, by clicking on those links you'll be swept off to RebelScum.com where you'll learn all a about those sets featured on the show!
Let's get started...
At the end of Season Two of The Freemaker Adventures it wasn’t immediately obvious what was next for all involved but everyone agreed they had assembled a good team. So when the time came to do another series and it was clear a third season of The Freemaker Adventures just wasn’t in the cards, creators Bill Motz and Bob Roth sat down with Carrie Beck, Lucasfilm and LEGO creators/executives to discuss other options.
Bob Roth: We knew when we embarked on Season 2 of Freemakers that it was going to be the end of the Freemakers in that era. That’s why we embraced “Return of Return of the Jedi”; we knew that that chapter was ending.
It became apparent to everybody, quickly, that we left the Freemakers in a good place, and that we should leave it at that. We needed to take a wider view of the galaxy if we wanted to encompass all the things that a new series needed to.
So, we were just having a general conversation if more was going to be done and ultimately, they said yes, they want to continue it, but they want to do it in a way that supports the current films. Truthfully, we were pretty happy with how we wrapped up things with the Freemakers, so we thought why not explore the young Solo era and The Last Jedi era.
It was Lucasfilm’ s Carrie Beck, V.P. of Animation & Live Action Series Development, who came up with the idea to expand this timeline to include both the Solo and sequel eras. This would allow Bill and Bob to tie up a few loose ends, providing some closure on a few threads, and Lucasfilm to support their latest projects, namely Solo: A Star Wars Story and The Last Jedi.
Bill Motz: Certainly, from LEGO’s point of view, they wanted to be able to support what they were doing toy wise, with the latest films. So, they were, “what about this young Han Solo era” or “what about The Last Jedi era”, but those are very different timeframes obviously.
Bob Roth: There were lots of ideas being kicked around but it was Carrie Beck who came up with the kernel of the idea. Her idea was very broad strokes, sort of “here’s how were going to do it, what do you think?” and it was very much the big, big picture, with no details involved. We loved the idea so then it was on us to fill how it all made sense and how it worked.
Bill Motz: One of those things a good idea often does is, everyone resonated with it right away and a thousand ideas started popping up, it was very rich soil. We got to a point where we fell so in love with the idea that we just pleaded with them to do it. So, when it got approved, we were very excited. And even the shorts might seem random, it all adds up to something.
So, happy with the state of the Freemaker siblings by the end of “Return of the Return of the Jedi”, here was an opportunity to explore that family’s history and expand on their future. Since all stories are told from a certain point of view, this one needed a character that had the lifespan comparable to say Yoda or a Hutt. And in a case of pure serendipity, the show had that already built in to its DNA.
This story would be told through the lens of B1 battle droid and Freemaker attaché, R0-GR aka Roger. And speaking of longevity and Hutts, our good friend Graballa the Hutt would join in the fun appearing in a few episodes…
Bob Roth: Roger's been around since the very beginning of the saga, so letting him be the thread that connect the Lego Star Wars saga was a natural. Seeing Graballa's Beachside Resort dream become reality was a must, so he and his entire cohort were also an easy fit.
At the same time, we wanted All-Stars to stand on its own, so we didn't want to hobble newcomers with too much that relied on knowledge of the Freemakers or any other previous work for that matter. So we couldn't bring in everybody (though we still wish we'd found a way to stick in Durpin and Plumestriker as cameos)
Bill Motz: One of the fun things about Graballa was that Hutts live a long time so this is a guy that could have lived through the entire Star Wars saga, like Roger. And that’s why it made sense to tell Roger’s full life story, because he’s been there since the prequels and it made sense that he lived all the way through to The Last Jedi and beyond.
The format this time around would be a shortened single season and a bit of hybrid release. It would start off with five shorts followed by four standard 22-minute episodes, but even those would be made up of two 11-minute halves…
Bob Roth: We approached it the way we would approach the Freemakers Adventures, by putting together a writer’s room. Because it wound up being 5 episodes instead of 13, it was Jon Behnke, David Shayne, Carrie Beck, Josh, Jermaine Turner and us. We started with the shorts and simultaneously, Bill and I, sorted out what the four 22-minute specials were going to be.
The five shorts would be framed around different chapters from Roger’s autobiography, “From Trenches to Wrenches: The Roger Story” We first heard about this memoir in The Freemaker Adventures Season One episode “Zander’s Joyride” where Roger is tasked with keeping socialite Wick Cooper occupied. For what it’s worth, Wick found the memoir both tedious and boring.
With this series introducing new characters and spanning across there different eras, how would it all blend together to make a coherent story? As it turns out, seamlessly!
Bob Roth: We talked about a lot of directions for what All-Stars could be. Some very much involving the Freemakers and some having no link to the Freemakers at all. Carrie Beck was the first one to land on the idea of telling the story of the Freemakers past and present. As soon as we heard that, it clicked with us. We loved the idea of mirroring the Skywalker Saga -- Starting in the middle, then going back to meet the parents, and then finally moving forward with the next generation. And once we hit on the idea of keeping secret the fact that the first two episodes are essentially a hidden prequel to the Freemaker Adventures, there was no stopping us.
In the shorts we saw Roger interact with many classic heroes and villains from the Star Wars galaxy including Han Solo/Chewbacca, R2-D2, Cassian Andor, Stormtroopers, Rancor’s, K-2SO, Rose Tico, Jawas, Hera Syndulla and Admiral Akbar just to name a few. We also saw him visit many planets including Tatooine, Takodana, Malachor and Kashyyyk. And what would Roger be without his Freemaker friends and family including appearances by Lieutenant Valeria, Rowan, Kordi and Zander.
But it was the introduction of two new characters that would reveal what Bill and Bob had planned for the remaining episodes. First, in the short “It Gets Ugly”, we meet Roger’s first master, a mechanic named “Pace”, who together they would run into some trouble in the form of a Crash of Rancors. And then in the final short, “The Power at Jakku” we met the show’s first progeny, Moxie Freemaker, daughter of Zander Freemaker and Becky Smoochenbacher who is carrying on the Freemaker name and joining the Resistance led by General Leia Organa.
As mentioned, these shorts checked off a few different boxes for all involved, especially the facilitators of the show, the LEGO Group, let’s not forget them. Like we talked about earlier, both sides had a bestowed interest in promoting and pushing current and future products and content. Lucasfilm was still looking to promote The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story while LEGO had sets to match. Also, during production of the show, LEGO had released sets such as the Sandspeeder (75204) but had yet to show it off. It would make its first appearance in the short, “The Power at Jakku”, flown by Lieutenant Valeria.
Bob Roth: They never forced us to use anything, but they are always happy when we use the toys that are on the shelf. With the stories we laid out for All-Stars that was easy.
Bill Motz: There’s a certain respect the two sides show to one another in their chosen fields as they sort of bow to the expertise of each group. So, LEGO bows to Lucasfilm’s expertise on what makes Star Wars “Star Wars” and the storytelling aspect of each episode and series. But in turn, Lucasfilm will certainly bow to LEGO’s expertise on what makes LEGO and LEGO Play unique and special.
After the five shorts, and when it came to the episodes themselves, Bill and Bob used symmetry to bring all three timelines together. The first two would give us a proper introduction to the Freemaker parents, Pace from Corellia and Lena from the Ring of Kafrene, while the third and fourth would bring us into the current timeline following the exploits of Moxie Freemaker.
Mixing it up in these timelines while fun, wasn’t easy. There were many obstacles to overcome, namely the films themselves, one of which was also still in production. The Freemaker Adventures occurred at points in history that were depicted in real life a long time ago, but there were occasions where character decisions were made based on the new canonical continuum. In other words, Bill and Bob didn’t get to do anything they wanted, there were rules, even for a non-canon show.
Bill Motz: We were held to the same standard as any Star Wars show in terms of working with the continuity even though we are not canon, we’re LEGO canon. We can’t contradict canon but, for example, we’re allowed some leeway in terms of Vader and the Emperor being broader than they would ever be on film.
With All-Stars, which directly and indirectly references events from Solo, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, great care was taken as to not reveal too much. For example, at the end of the first half of “The Chase with Han/Escape with Chewbacca”, Moloch, a henchman for Lady Proxima and member of the White Worms Gang, shows up to offer Han a job. This is the coaxium deal gone bad that we see kick-off Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Also, because writing this series began so long ago, they also had The Last Jedi to deal with. So, in “Scouting for Leia/A Mission with Maz” and “Rolling with BB-8/Resistance on the Run” you must understand the scrutiny that was involved as so many of those events are directly tied to The Last Jedi. Even to go as far as showing very specific scenes such as Snoke’s throne room battle or even who survives the battle on Crait.
This made things difficult for the writing staff, minus Bill and Bob, who doubled as the Executive Producers of the series giving them access to certain very secretive plot points and details…
Bob Roth: This was over a year ago, prior to The Last Jedi. So, as Executive Producers, we can know things the writers aren’t, so Bill and I did the bulk of the crafting and writing at the beginning until things like The Last Jedi and Solo got released. It was a lot of need to know between us and Lucasfilm.
So, because these four episodes were so reliant on the Solo and The Last Jedi eras, Bill and I were the only ones allowed in on the secrets. It was mostly up to us to craft and write these episodes ourselves.
And even for the directors it was tricky navigating around what information was on a “need-to-know” basis and what wasn’t. Speaking with Frederik Buldolph, who directed the “The Chase with Han/Escape with Chewbacca” episode, he made the smart decision to just focus on the material and make the best show he could make…
Frederik Budolph: Because we were dealing with the Han Solo timeline, there was a lot of time spent learning about that production and gaining access to that material. But we had Lena and Pace in the background, trying to establish what they have in common.
At some point, in the middle of my episode, I snuck a peak at Martin’s episode and saw how it all connected. So, I went back to my episode with a renewed interest in making it work as good as I can, in making their dynamic as special as possible.
As for the episodes themselves, like I said, they take us from around 14 BBY and all the way up to 34 ABY, that’s covering a lot of ground. Of course, a portion of that timeline resides in the two seasons of The Freemaker Adventures, but this shortened season does a great job of giving you the whole picture. It is very much in context so if you haven’t seen the Freemakers then you’re likely going to get a little confused from time to time. But there’s enough meat on the bone from the films to put you in the right frame of mind.
The first proper episode, “The Chase with Han/Escape with Chewbacca” delivers two very familiar sights if you’ve seen the Solo film. The first half, features an exciting chase on Corellia as a young Han Solo and Pace zip around in a Mobquet M-68 Landspeeder (75209), barely keeping it together. In the second half, we’ve got Lena and Chewbacca teaming up together to ride a 20-T Imperial Conveyex (75217) on the planet Kethmandi, trying to escape Imperial Officer Estoc and some Stormtroopers.
This episode nearly contained a exciting sequence, giving us a look inside the conveyex as Lena fights off some fellow prisoners. But as you can see, Lucasfilm thought it a bit too much…
Bob Roth: We had one sequence in “Escape with Chewbacca” that we thought would be fun -- Lena fighting off fellow prisoners on the train while it rotated around a bend. We'd see what it was like inside the train and Lena was going to use the rotation of the train to her advantage. LFL thought it was going to be complicated and it didn't really move the story forward.
But 90% of that episode is what we initially set out to do and the other 10% is really close. We're delighted with the way that episode turned out -- It may be our favorite out of the bunch. Our director Frederik Budolph absolutely knocked it out of the park as did every one of the brilliant artists at Wil Film.
Next up was “Dealing with Lando/Han and Chewie Strike Back” and again we see a familiar scene as a now united Lena and Pace end up on Vandor in the cantina we saw in Solo. They run into a young Lando Calrissian and his co-pilot L3-37, who have a job offer for them aboard their ship, the Millennium Falcon (75212). They end up taking the gig which involves mining an asteroid which is made up mostly of corsusca gems. It’s an exciting sequence that serves as a turning point for Lena and Pace’s relationship as well. No surprise, it was a favorite of Bill and Bob…
Bob Roth: We can't pick one moment from All-Stars, but we will say Han Solo is a blast to write. Having set the Freemakers between Empire and Jedi, he was the only one who wasn't available to us, so it was great to finally scratch that itch. Also, we really had fun with L3 and Lando, especially in the comet mining scene.
Your personal philosophy and general outlook on life will always make you gravitate towards certain characters on a show or in film. I don’t know exactly what it says about my personality, but for my money, Lena and Pace are two incredibly well thought out and conceptualized characters. I was emotionally invested in both from the very beginning and I assume that stems from two things, my adulation of the Freemaker siblings and my perpetual pull towards underdogs.
Their story is about escaping hard times and never looking back, hoping to one day find a life for themselves even if it took years, and if necessary, alone. When their two paths collided, Pace the dreamer and Lena the survivor, somehow found themselves with a true partner for the first time…and they liked it. Turns out, the inspiration came from a very familiar place…
Bob Roth: As for Lena and Pace, it was probably an unconscious influence from our friend at LEGO, Jason Cosler, who is a great guy and the world's biggest Springsteen fan. Anyway, we knew the world of Corellia was going to feel industrial and hard-scrabble, like a Space-New-Jersey. So, turning to the Boss for some small inspiration made sense. (It was only later; looking at the Art of Solo book that we learned the design team had similar instincts)
We found Pace in “Born to Run” He's a dreamer trying to escape a dead-end home that is going to be the death of him if he doesn't get out. Someday he's "going to walk in the sun, but til then" he's going to run. Meanwhile, we found Lena in Thunder Road, which is very much the same song in terms of themes, but has a harder, more cynical edge. "You're no beauty, but yeah you're all right," "It's a town full of losers," and so on.
Those two songs became our touchstones for Pace and Lena -- They gave immediate shape to their characters and worldviews. They're two kids looking to escape their circumstances, but Pace has a brighter take on the galaxy while Lena has a more jaded worldview.
So, using the heart and soul approach, Bill, Bob and Bruce Springsteen gave us two great patriarchs more than worthy of carrying the Freemaker moniker. By looking outside of their own show and even Star Wars itself for illumination, they employed the Lucas approach of character design, using personal and creative influences for inspiration.
If those two episodes were the "meet the parents" of the Freemaker trilogy, then “Scouting for Leia/A Mission with Maz” and “Rolling with BB-8/Resistance on the Run” are all about the next generation. In this case it’s Moxie Freemaker, a character we met back in the “The Power at Jakku” short and is the daughter of Zander Freemaker and Becky Smoochenbacher. And these episodes would plunge us straight into the events of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, using the same sliding door approach Bill and Bob are known for.
Keep your eyes on the background as you'll see many familiar sequel characters and moments buzzing by behind the mains. They even show BB-8 commanding the exposed AT-ST walker (75201) during the final moments on the Supremacy!
It was no small decision to carry on the Freemaker name and it was very important they got the details right. Moxie, as I’ve written about before, is the embodiment of all the Freemaker’s that came before her, as Bob himself says…
Bob Roth: Moving forward, we wanted Moxie to be an amalgamation of the three Freemakers. She's got Kordi's fast-thinking wits, Zander's dare-doing, and Rowan's drive to do the right thing to help the galaxy at large, so she was a lot of fun to write. Seeing all those facets of her elders come forward and yet letting her be her own unique person was a kick!
Moxie, along with Roger and her friend Ka-Pao, are part of the Resistance now and are creating their own Freemaker legacy. Having survived the events in The Last Jedi, the three of them were left on a nearby Crait moon waiting to rendezvous with the remaining members including General Organa, Poe, Finn, Rey and the rest.
As for the siblings themselves, all three appeared in “The Power at Jakku” while Zander showed up in “The Prisoner of Tatooine” and Kordi, now a Senator, appeared at the end of “The Power at Jakku” to introduce Moxie to General Leia Organa. But one Freemaker sibling was noticeably absent from the “sequel” episodes. At the show’s conclusion, many fans were wondering where Rowan, the youngest and most powerful Freemaker, was during the galaxy’s most desperate time.
Bill Motz: We knew we wanted to tell the story of the next generation of Freemakers and there wasn't really a place for him. But we have our ideas where he is and what he is doing!
I suspect one day Bill and Bob will reveal the whereabouts of all the Freemakers including Rowan, but until then, we are left to our own devices.
So, what’s next? Of course, never say never ever, but the likelihood of more Freemaker adventures is slim to none. With Bill and Bob moving on and LEGO looking at different ways the two companies can get the most bang for their buck, original LEGO Star Wars stories told in a traditional series format, looks to be a thing of the past.
Star Wars and LEGO have had a very successful 20-year relationship with no signs of slowing down. As long as LEGO keeps making bricks and Star Wars keeps telling stories, there will always be a LEGO Star Wars.
And, perhaps one day, if we are fortunate enough, that means more Freemaker stories as well.
Till next time.
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