In February, Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano on The Clone Wars and founder of fangirl merchandise company Her Universe, chatted with fans on the Star Wars Books Facebook page. She announced that Her Universe had acquired the rights to produce shirts with Expanded Universe female characters, opening the door for the possibility for fans to show their love for characters who have only appeared in the books and comics. Back at Celebration VI, Her Universe had been granted a one-time license to produce a limited edition Mara Jade shirt. The line wrapped around the convention hall and the shirt sold out almost immediately. The X-wing hoodie and dress discussed in the February chat have been available since Disney Star Wars Weekends in May, where the hoodie sold out by the third weekend. While X-wing pilots appeared in the movies, some of the most beloved X-wing pilots in the Galaxy Far Far Away were introduced in the novels. Pilots like Tyria Sarkin Tainer in the X-Wing novels, Leia Solo in the ongoing Star Wars comic, and Jaina Solo during the New Jedi Order have donned the orange flightsuit. The hoodie, available at Think Geek, and dress are fun ways to share fangirl pride.
Yesterday, Eckstein announced two more Expanded Universe shirts: one featuring Mara Jade and another with Jaina Solo. The Mara Jade artwork comes from the paperback cover for Choices of One, and the Jaina Solo promotional artwork was featured at the Star Wars Books panel at Celebration VI. Both shirts will be available at San Diego Comic-Con. A free copy of Choices of One will be included with the purchase of the shirt. Each day of the convention will feature a different exclusive as follows:
Wednesday: Return of the Jedi necklace, limited to 500
Thursday: “Ahsoka’s Choice” t-shirt, Dave Filoni artwork, limited to 100
Friday: Jaina Solo v-neck shirt, John VanFleet artwork, limited to 100
Saturday: Mara Jade t-shirt, Daryl Mandryk artwork, limited to 100
The three shirts will be made available for a limited time only at Her Universe’s online store starting July 18th.
In a new chat yesterday, Eckstein explained why she picked these two pieces of art. “I picked the Mara Jade design because of Dunc from Club Jade… As for the Jaina Solo art, I thought it was beautiful and it would really translate well to a t-shirt design. Some pieces of art are great as prints but don’t translate well to a shirt design.” She also shared some of her favorite Star Wars moments, the Mortis Trilogy and Season Five finale arc from The Clone Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, and her favorite Star Wars character, R2-D2. Eckstein talked about being inspired by “the strong characters in this genre” and that she has “all sorts of stories in [her] head,” which she hopes to publish one day. At the conclusion of the chat, Eckstein asked what specific Expanded Universe characters, artwork or moments fans would like to see captured on merchandise. Feel free to share your ideas with her in the comments.
Eckstein is currently co-hosting the Course of the Force, a lightsaber relay from San Francisco to San Diego, that benefits the Make-A-Wish foundation. She chatted with fans on her way to the next stop, Malibu. On Saturday, July 20th, from 6:30pm to 7:30pm in room 24ABC, Eckstein will host a very special panel at San Diego Comic-Con: “Her Universe: Geek Girl Fashion – A Discussion Between Fashion Professionals and Fans.” In addition, Ellen Connell from the Her Universe online column, “Ask Ellen,” will be meeting fans at the all-new Her Universe booth in the Lucasfilm Pavilion on Sunday from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. All this year, Her Universe has been celebrating the Year of the Fangirl, which spotlights a different fangirl each day on her website.
Tricia Barr writes about Star Wars, genre storytelling and fandom at FANgirl Blog and Star Wars Insider. She has just completed her first novel Wynde. Fans can connect with her on Twitter at @fangirlcantina or Fangirl Zone on Facebook.