Something Truly Special: We Revisit Our Early Rey Theories

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Twenty-three long, speculation-fueled months ago, in the immediate aftermath of The Force Awakens, I asked the staff for their best early guesses and hopes as to the origin of Rey. Jay Shah was Team Solo, mostly out of affection for the legacy of the Expanded Universe’s Jaina Solo and a desire to see Rey channel that role in the new canon. David Schwarz was Team, ah, Durron—his point being that Rey should be the child of new characters, preferably a promising student or students from Luke’s first crop of trainees. Rocky Blonshine was Team Skywalker for all the familiar evidentiary and legacy reasons, and Ben Wahrman, while preferring “that she not be related to anyone”, chose Team Kenobi as a poetic way of splitting the difference between a protagonist coming out of nowhere and one forced to deal with all the story baggage of the Skywalker/Solo family.

I myself was Team Snoke. I go into detail in the original piece but my basic idea was that Snoke was once similar to Aftermath‘s Yupe Tashu—an adviser to Palpatine who gained access to a mysterious source of dark side power and ultimately intended his powerful child to lead the First Order on his behalf, only to have Luke Skywalker steal her away and hide her. TFA, therefore, was not about Snoke looking for Luke as much as Snoke looking for Rey, who he assumes is with Luke. As an aside I mentioned the possibility that she wasn’t his biological daughter, but rather a second attempt at the same experiment that created Anakin Skywalker; thus Snoke would be her figurative father and her actual lineage would be the Force itself—what better birthright with which to claim the mantle of Supreme Leader?

Fast forward a couple years, and that aside is looking much more likely. At nine feet tall, Snoke is pretty definitely an alien, and Rey is pretty definitely a human, meaning a biological relationship seems pretty implausible. I stand by the rest of the theory though—if we meet Rey’s biological parents at all, they could even be First Order loyalists who volunteered for Snoke’s experiments rather than having a baby just pop up randomly in the galaxy. Thematically, what appealed to me about it was the question “what would Luke have done if his father has been Palpatine rather than Vader?” If Rey owes her existence not to some conflicted underling but to the devil himself, what would that mean for her destiny, her “place in all this”? I’m still hoping to find out. » Read more..

What EA Can Learn From Star Wars: The Old Republic

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The Star Wars gaming industry has had its fair share of controversy in 2017. These types of grievances are not unknown in Star Wars gaming. In recent memory, Star Wars: The Old Republic has suffered through similar issues and yet the game is still chugging along like an old Corellian freighter. SWTOR, as it is commonly referred to, will be celebrating its sixth birthday on December 20th.

SWTOR has had numerous controversies over the years that have dwindled its player base, from players leaving the game due to many things such as the lack of new story-driven experiences, the implementation of microtransaction loot boxes, an overall lack of content and a poor progression system. All of these issues have also plagued other recent Star Wars games, including the Star Wars Visceral game that was delayed, and, according to EA, was shaping up to become a linear, story-based adventure game. EA seemed to decide that was no longer what they wanted, ultimately closing down Visceral and delaying the game to make adjustments to better fit their vision. Battlefront II has been criticized for its microtransaction and progression systems, and Battlefront I launched in 2015 to numerous complaints surrounding its lack of content. SWTOR was developed by Bioware and produced by EA and it has experienced all of these aforementioned controversies in its six years.

When SWTOR first launched in 2011, gamers were unaware that less than a year later George Lucas would sell Lucasfilm, and therefore LucasArts, to Disney. We had no idea that we would be given the opportunity to watch a new Star Wars film in the theater! We were also blind to the fact that the slate of Star Wars canon was going to be wiped clean of the Expanded Universe. Yet SWTOR has survived it all in this ever-evolving landscape that is Star Wars of the twenty-tens. » Read more..

The Expanded Universe Explains, Vol. XV – The Origins of the Jedi

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With The Last Jedi seemingly poised to spend a good chunk of time in the environs of the first Jedi Temple, it is likely to include revelations about the history of the Jedi, or even the Force itself, that affected Luke Skywalker profoundly and perhaps contributed to his belief that “it’s time for the Jedi to end.” We’ll have to wait a couple more weeks to find out what those revelations might be, and just how much detail we’re given. But in the meantime, did the Expanded Universe ever get into this?

You’d better believe it did—though impressively, Lucasfilm resisted the impulse to fully explain the Jedi’s beginnings for almost thirty-five years. In 2012, the comic book series Dawn of the Jedi by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema finally pulled back the curtain and stitched the few scant details we did have into a much larger tapestry of brand-new characters and conflicts that still felt true to their trademark brand of Star Wars melodrama. The series was successful enough that a tie-in novel, Into the Void by Tim Lebbon, was released about a year later (and only one year before the reboot was officially announced, meaning the whole project came in pretty close to the wire). Let’s talk about what they came up with. » Read more..

How We Choose To Fight – War and the Force

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“The Mentor believes that Rebellions are built on hope, but I don’t believe it. Rebellions are built on hate” – Staven, Battlefront II: Inferno Squad

Last year I wrote about the ways in which the value system of Star Wars as defined by the Force apply not just to the journeys of its Force-sensitive characters, but also to its politics. Movements of power and self-interest – whether the greedy exploitation of the Trade Federation or the militaristic authoritarianism of the Empire – represent the fear, hatred and selfishness of the dark side, while peace is found in the compassion, harmony and symbiosis of the light.

With Rogue One as its centerpiece, Lucasfilm’s recent work has largely focused on the build-up to the Galactic Civil War, adding new political context to the iconic conflict that defines the original trilogy. Yet for all the talk of new “shades of grey”, the core values of Star Wars have ultimately been reinforced rather than subverted.

With Saw Gerrera’s return to Star Wars Rebels in “In the Name of the Rebellion,” his conflicts with Mon Mothma and with Jedi philosophy were brought to the forefront. This article will look at why, in the moral universe of Star Wars, his conduct and motivations are such a problem, and the wider dilemma of understanding a story that teaches us both that evil must be fought, while also warning that violence is the path to evil.

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In Ron Howard We Trust – Why Solo Still Matters

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It’s no surprise that The Last Jedi is taking up every headline this side of the galaxy. The trailer left us with more questions than answers, and TV spots, cast interviews, and a steady stream of tie-ins have kept us speculating about the fates of our beloved heroes and who this Snoke fellow might be. But I want to step away from Episode VIII for a few moments to discuss something that deserves just as much excitement and fanfare: the Han Solo film.The Han Solo standalone film, recently titled Solo: A Star Wars Story, has received public skepticism and an unenthusiastic reaction from much of the Star Wars community. There has been a collective indifference about Han Solo in his younger years but I believe there is a meaningful story behind how he became the beloved scoundrel that we know and love.

The initial skepticism for the film came when directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were first slated to direct the Star Wars standalone. Since this duo primarily directed comedies, there was concern that the Han Solo film was going to turn into a “buddy comedy” (reminiscent of 21 Jump Street) – which was reasonable to worry about. Sure, Star Wars had humorous qualities to it but it was not a comedy movie. What ultimately transpired between Kathleen Kennedy and the directing duo made it clear that Lucasfilm had no intention of being blasé with Han Solo’s story. A short time later, it was announced that Ron Howard would be taking the helm of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

With news of Ron Howard taking over, concerns over what had been going on earlier in the film’s production had been laid to rest (for the most part). However, there was still skepticism regarding what Solo: A Star Wars Story would be about. What could we possibly gain by learning about a younger Han Solo’s journeys through the galaxy? Han has always been a beloved character within the Star Wars community and the idea of putting an origin story to his name seemed risky at best. It was already a big, yet necessary, gamble killing him off in The Force Awakens. Thankfully, that gamble paid off. I think the ultimate question fans of Han Solo are asking is this: will this film change the perception of Han’s character that many fans have had for several years? Hopefully, yes and – hopefully – no. » Read more..

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