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How The Clone Wars Changed My Life

As of this morning, the Clone Wars have come to an end for some of us, and for others, they’re just beginning, but for many of us they have left a mark on our lives that will never leave us. I started this podcast back in 2008, in anticipation of this exciting new animated series; the first of it’s kind, in the Star Wars Universe. I was aping those that had come before me; Starkville’s House of El, The Forcecast and Geek Out Loud in particular. I had listened to podcasts, and now I was going to start my own.

The_Clone_Wars_film_posterOf course when I started I hoped it would be successful. I don’t think anybody starts a task hoping for failure. But for me, success would mean having some folks listen to what I had to say about the Galaxy Far Far Away. I had no idea how far reaching it would be, and the people that would be listening. In the first year I was solo, but hoping to have a rotating cast of guest hosts. We had Steve. By the time we were headed into the Season One finale, I decided that I needed a co-host, so I put out the call to the listeners. I got one response. It seemed like a failure, but little did I know I had hit the jackpot. By the beginning of Season Two, Matt Krienke was now the co-host of Frontlines, and a friendship that I value more than many of my “real life” friendships was forged.

Matt and I continued on, covering everything Clone Wars, and a little bit of the regular Star Wars beat, and along the way we picked up Kyle Avery and Tim Geraci. At first it was just a request for a listener to write recaps for me, as I was running low on time, and recaps had often held up recording. Kyle jumped at the chance, and has been doing it ever since. Then we needed someone to write news for us, and Tim threw his hat in the ring. I’ve gotten more than I could ever ask out of these two, as they have served Frontlines tirelessly over the last few years. I am forever in their debts.

Then came the moment when everything changed; Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando, Florida. It was the 30th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and we were right in the thick of it with The Clone Wars. I applied for media credentials, and the wonderful folks over at Lucasfilm obliged. This was an opportunity to meet the cast and crew of The Clone Wars in person, and I couldn’t pass that up. What I didn’t realize was that I was headed to Orlando not to meet celebrities, but to forge some of the strongest friendships of my life.

223144_10150327343793627_7148130_nCelebration V is where I would meet Steve Glosson in person for the very first time, along with JC Cox, Riley and Bethany, Jason and Jimmy Mac, and many others. It was one of the greatest trips of my life. I interviewed James Arnold Taylor, Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, Tome Kane, and Catherine Taber. I asked Dave Filoni a question at the press conference, and I saw The Maker himself, George Lucas, on stage. I’m not ashamed to admit I shed a couple tears, and it was hard to say goodbye to all my new friends. But when I got back home something was different. Lucasfilm now knew who we were!

Over the next couple of years, we went from just a podcast to a legitimate news source for Clone Wars fans, all thanks to Tracy Cannobio and the awesome folks at Lucasfilm. We had promotional materials and videos, just like The Forcecast and Jedi News. We had been brought up to the show, and we weren’t going to pass the opportunity up. When Celebration VI rolled around, we didn’t just apply for media badges, we also applied to host a panel. And we got it!

580121_10152063313290652_527815677_nAt Star Wars Celebration VI, I hosted our 100th Episode Live Podcast, with Matt wired in on Skype, and Steve Glosson, Chris Smith and Kyle Avery on stage with me. I’d like to tell you we filled the room with people who came out to see us, but we didn’t. A couple dozen folks showed up (what could we expect when we were scheduled opposite Ian McDiarmid?), but the people who did show up were some of our longest listeners, from as far away as Australia! I still consider this one of the greatest successes of my life. And that was just the beginning of what would be one of the greatest weekends of all time. It was on this trip that I met Jason Hunt, Karl Laclair and Chris Smith, and for the first time, I got to meet Kyle in person. Along with Steve Glosson, Riley Blanton, and Bethany Blanton, we tore that sucker up! I have a hard time thinking of a Saturday night more fun than the one my wife, Crystal, and I spent with these people. We had found a community within the Star Wars Community that we could call home.

And then, a few months later, after everything had settled back into it’s regular flow again, Lucasfilm dropped the bomb; 7, 8, 9. New Star Wars and the acquisition by Disney disrupted every last bit of status quo we had at Frontlines. Kyle and Tim decided to start their own podcast, The Saga Continues, and the future of The Clone Wars was up in the air. A few months later, the fifth season would come to a close on what seemed like the final note of the series, and soon after that we found out it was cancelled, but not before some “Bonus Content” would be released. But before we found out any details about this “Bonus Content,” Star Wars Rebels was announced. Matt and I had a decision to make; would we close up shop with the end of Clone Wars, or was this just the beginning of a new adventure?

rebels-logo-smIf you’ve listened to the first episode of The Rebels Podcast, you know the answer to that question. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The next few months were full of sketchy details and little to no new information from Lucasfilm regarding either the Clone Wars Bonus Content or Star Wars Rebels. The one year anniversary of the Disney Acquisition came and went, and still nothing. But then, all at once, we found out all about the heroes of Star Wars Rebels, and that we were but a few short weeks away from finally getting to see the Bonus Content, in the form of The Lost Missions, a sixth and final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, to be released on Netflix.

And that pretty much brings us up to the present. The final season, along with the rest of Dave Filoni’s masterpiece, is now available to stream on Netflix, and the Clone Wars are finally at an end. It has been an incredible journey from start to finish, and I want to thank everyone at Lucasfilm from the bottom of my heart for not only making the best animated series on television, but for also fostering this great community and it’s leaders. Without the support of Lucasfilm, all of these websites, podcasts and fans would have had a much harder time meeting each other, and changing one another’s lives. Thank you so much for giving us that opportunity.

But wait, it’s not over! Matt and I will be back with more episodes of Frontlines, covering every episode of The Lost Missions in just as much detail and scrutiny as ever. And hopefully we’ll have some friends join us along the way. So in the immortal words of Princess Leia, “It’s not over yet…”

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