What the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy Can Learn from the Prequels

attackoftheclones

At first glance, it seems a bit ridiculous to pit the Star Wars sequels against the prequels. The easy comparison is between The Force Awakens and the original trilogy, since the former is a continuation of the latter and features many of the same characters. The prequels are basically just extended backstory while the sequels are passing the torch forward to tell something new. TFA was pretty universally loved while the prequels were…not quite as admired. Surely there’s nothing the prequels could offer in terms of advice for the sequels.

It is true that both trilogies have differing relationships to the original trilogy. For the prequels, the originals are the endpoint while for the sequels, they’re just the start. You can’t approach them the same way from a narrative and creative point of view. However, I think it’s worth looking at what the sequel trilogy as a whole could learn from the prequels. After all, both trilogies are basically reaching for the same goal: continue the story of the Skywalker family while living up to the high regard of the originals. That’s not an easy task.

And yes, I’m aware that this may seem counterproductive since pop culture at large tends to have a less than favorable view of the prequels. But there is a lot that the prequels did well, and even where the prequels didn’t succeed there’s something to be learned. When you’re making a sequel, what better way to do so than to look back at what came before to see what worked and what didn’t? And so, there’s three areas in particular where I think the Star Wars sequels would do well to take notes from the prequels.

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Clone Wars Character Autopsy: Saw Gerrera

saw-torture

It’s been a long time since we had one of these, so let’s recap exactly what we aim to accomplish. Character Autopsy as a term means a deeper look into how a character is portrayed, digging into their subtext and motivations and trying to figure out what makes them tick. Thus far, the articles in this series have focused on characters from The Clone Wars and were focused on their portrayal within the show’s context to form a basis for how they could be portrayed in future media.

So let’s talk about Saw Gerrera. Saw appeared in four episodes of TCW, through one extended season five arc that took place on the classic Expanded Universe world of Onderon. It was just announced that he would be making the jump from the small screen to the big one as portrayed in Rogue One by the esteemed Forest Whitaker. But who is he? What makes him tick? And why would he stumble out of the shadows asking prospective rebel agents about what they will become if they continue to fight the Empire?

We first see Saw as the self-appointed leader of the resistance against the Separatists on his world, along with his sister Steela and Lux Bonteri, the recurring-not-love-interest to Ahsoka Tano. Saw is a reckless and straightforward sort of person, focused on fighting the enemy and relying on Bonteri and his sister to be the diplomat and voice of reason respectively. He has the infectious enthusiasm to lead, but lacks the tact to soften the blows he strikes for the cause. » Read more..

The Freemaker Adventures and LEGO’s Piece of the Galaxy

freemaker-rowanrogerPremiering on the first day of summer, DisneyXD recently introduced us to the Freemaker family in the new show LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures. Following a family of scavengers, older brother Zander, younger sister Kordi, and Force-sensitive, twelve-year-old Rowan, with their battle droid Roger, making their way in the galaxy. The show is steeped in its love for the Star Wars galaxy and a fun side adventure for those who want just a little bit more out of the franchise that keeps giving, and giving, and giving.

The problem, for some fans, is that the LEGO series are usually made for children (as if that alone disqualifies a story) and that they aren’t canon. They’ve got a point – both Leland Chee and Pablo Hidalgo have confirmed that the series takes place outside of “the canon”. Does that mean that there is no place for the LEGO adventures in the lives of the most dedicated fans? Or does a non-canon series still have a lot to offer the fan who has seen it all?

My first introduction to the LEGO series was actually less than memorable. I had forgotten that I played the LEGO Prequel Trilogy game years ago when it came out on the GameBoy Advance. In the time that’s passed, I didn’t really connect with the LEGO video games (not out of disinterest in the franchise, but because I’m not much of a gamer). My interest was recently re-piqued when I saw the adventure starring Poe Dameron, BB-8, C-3PO, and Admiral Ackbar posted on the Star Wars Twitter page. » Read more..

The Expanded Universe Explains, Vol. XIII – Young Han Solo

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The Expanded Universe Explains series has had an interesting evolution over the last few years; originally it was a compendium of lots of actual questions posed by my friend Pearlann; once the reboot happened I then moved on to detailing stray movie references that had been told and retold in Legends multiple times (and thus, were especially in need of a reboot). That strategy eventually led me to one of the biggest messes of all—the theft of the Death Star plans.

Perhaps not all that coincidentally, that low-hanging fruit became the seed (ha, fruit pun) of the first Star Wars spinoff film—Rogue One. As such, interest in that particular piece has remained quite steady over the last eighteen months as more and more people become curious about the story. That recently led me to the conclusion that the next spinoff film, its premise also rife in Legends, was a worthwhile topic for an EU Explains, and so here we are.

24. What is Han Solo’s pre-A New Hope backstory?

Well, for starters, there’s a whole bunch of it—two entire novel trilogies, plus any number of scattered bits and pieces. If you really want to get the full young-Han-Solo experience, you’re in luck, as both the Han Solo Adventures, a self-contained trilogy by EU VIP Brian Daley, and the much more recent (and expansive) Han Solo Trilogy by Ann C. Crispin are among the best of the Legends material out there (while managing to be very, very different kinds of stories), and unlike a lot of my recent topics here, they’re pretty damn good at consistency—Crispin’s trilogy covers effectively Han’s entire life pre-ANH, meaning that at one point Han basically takes a leave of absence from his own book and the plot continues without him while the events of Daley’s trilogy are taking place. » Read more..

The Pitch – New Ongoing Comics

vader25A few months ago, we ran a group piece on something I had been thinking about since Marvel started publishing Star Wars comics again—had the medium actually gotten stronger since the original Star Wars series, or would we look back on this era as being just as silly and dated as those early days of Jaxxon and Cody Sunn-Childe? What I noticed then that I hadn’t really considered before was that a good chunk of the regular staff here actually doesn’t read the comics and has little in the way of opinions on them.

Then last week, when I started thinking about what Marvel might come up with to replace the soon-to-conclude Darth Vader series, I decided to bring the question to the staff, and this time I wouldn’t accept “I don’t read comics” as an answer. It’s hard to argue that Marvel haven’t done a great job maximizing Star Wars sales among the existing comics audience, but I was especially curious what they might do to bring in all these superfans I knew who nevertheless barely touched the things. I got some interesting ideas back, to say the least—here they are.

Ben C: As Marvel takes the bold move of ending Gillen’s Darth Vader title, what’s next is a logical question, as is what they should do. The cynical response is to say Marvel will simply re-launch the book with a new creative team in a few months, pocketing the ker-ching generated by it. Here’s the non-cynical response: What if they don’t? What then? Well, over the last two years, Marvel have proved to be competent custodians of the Star Wars license. Due to some very smart creative combinations of writer and artist, with a mix of ongoing and limited series and a restrained use of events, the only question left to ask is what does Marvel have left to prove? » Read more..

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