Entertaining Insanity – A Review of Star Wars: Dark Disciple


darkdiscipleThe Clone Wars dominated the landscape of Star Wars media for a good ten years or so, from the release of Attack of the Clones onward. The once-mysterious conflict referred to by Obi-Wan was fleshed out to an almost absurd extent. Once the Disney era of Star Wars publishing began, though, that focus shifted back toward the original trilogy era, leaving fans used to the focus on the prequels feeling left out. Then Dark Disciple was announced, and the combination of author and subject matter made most fans throw up their hands in either jubilation or utter despair. Christie Golden’s only contributions to Star Wars before now were in the Fate of the Jedi series, which has a rather mixed reputation among many readers. Not having read them myself, I sought to go into this book with as open a mind toward Golden as possible, since I try not to assign blame to authors for elements in books that are, often, works by committee to some degree.

What I did not expect from Dark Disciple was how much it resembles its other major building block (and something I do have familiarity with): scripts from Star Wars: The Clone Wars that never made it through production due to the show’s cancellation. » Read more..

Second Look: Lords of the Sith: An Extended Discussion


I have a sneaking suspicion that I disagree with Alexander Gaultier more than anyone else I’ve brought on board this site. Not in the sense that we actually argue, almost ever, but in the sense that we have very different values and expectations where this franchise is concerned. But despite his utter disinterest in some of my favorite things (like Hoojibs), I like the dude and I respect where he comes from, so when his review of Lords of the Sith came in and differed enormously from my own opinion, I knew he and I could have a nice, substantial conversation about those differences without devolving into, well, a typical internet debate. Which isn’t to say that Alexander held himself back:

“I can understand what you feel when you read the book, at least in theory, but I honestly can’t make the connection between the text that I read and the reaction you’re describing. To me, it’s as if we were reading two entirely different stories.”

Hashing out earnest disagreements is one of my favorite things about fandom, and I consider myself lucky to have Eleven-ThirtyEight as a vehicle for airing debates like this. Maybe someday I’ll get around to asking Alexander why he refuses to watch Star Wars Rebels…or maybe I don’t want to know.

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Second Look: Legends: The Past Has Much to Teach


Deep in the bowels of ETE we have—and I’m quoting—a Super Secret Site Schedule/Idea Board, for sorting out upcoming pieces and laying claim to/handing out concepts that aren’t quite ready for the schedule. A long time ago I jotted down “The Legends U as archaeological site – where we left it”, and as time went on, I totally forgot where exactly I wanted to go with that. I offered it up to the others, and Rocky Blonshine agreed to run with it—and run with it she did:

“In short, where did we leave Legends? As one reasonably complete story, to be honest. There are many time gaps still that could easily be filled in by other stories. Some of the earliest works do not make sense in the larger timeline simply because we didn’t have important pieces of the story. Nonetheless, there is a story that flows well together and allows for many new stories to be formed.”

As our token Crucible defender, Rocky also speaks at length about how that book, controversial or otherwise, serves well as a capstone to the entire post-Return of the Jedi EU, finishing on a thematic note that strongly suggests the end of one era and the beginning of a new one. And a new era was certainly what we got.

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Second Look: Oh Captain My Captain – The Essential Role of Hera


With the late-season episode “Vision of Hope” as his springboard, in Oh Captain My Captain – The Essential Role of Hera, Ben Wahrman extolled the virtues of the Ghost crew’s real leader, Hera Syndulla. While lapsed Jedi Kanan stands at the forefront in many of their missions—and holds the designation Spectre One—it’s just a canny smokescreen for what’s really going on:

“Hera is the one not only calling most of the shots, but also keeping the team from flying apart due to mistrust, differences and the simple friction of five (six counting droids) beings rooming together and constantly in each other’s faces.”

And not only is Hera essential as a character, Ben also highlights voice actress Vanessa Marshall for being just as important to Rebels‘ real-life public image as Hera is in the story, and laments that this one-two punch isn’t reflected more in the show’s merchandise:

“Hera remains an enigma, mentioned but never featured, all but invisible outside the context of the show itself.”

Ben suggests that this might change with Season Two; only time will tell.

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Second Look: Shrines, Temples, and Tombs – A Look at Existing Beyond Death in Star Wars


In Shrines, Temples, and Tombs, a guest piece by longtime ETE follower John Gauthier, the mysteries of life beyond death as presented in the prequel trilogy are revisited in light of The Clone Wars‘ Lost Missions Yoda arc. Those episodes were not just bonus information, John said, but an essential part of the story:

“With Empire as the precedent, The Clone Wars did the legwork. Fans spent the years and months leading up to Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith speculating about the seemingly inevitable return of Qui-Gon Jinn, but it was The Clone Wars that explained the story – and significance – of his existence beyond death.”

He went on to take the Expanded Universe, and its somewhat more liberal treatment of Force ghosts, into account, concluding that where the Sith historically were able to retain their identities by attaching themselves to places (their own tombs, primarily), for Jedi these connections were instead with individuals. Will this conceit hold up in the new canon, based on what we’ve seen so far? John had a few thoughts on that as well.

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