Yankee Canon Swap: Reboot, Year One

sw2chaykinWe knew early on that a group piece would be in the cards to celebrate this, the one-year anniversary of the Legends announcement. But without really planning it, it just sort of worked out that several of us had their own larger commentaries to offer on the reboot, modern fandom, and the current state of continuity—such that by the time we got around to today’s piece, I thought something more distinct was warranted.

With that, allow me to present Yankee Canon Swap! Which is an odd title that basically means I told the gang to pick a canon story to replace with a Legends one they preferred. But! That would be too easy, and really, borderline whiny. The thing is, there are very few canon stories to choose from at this point, and (though opinions vary) there isn’t really one universally agreed-upon stinker in the bunch that would make for an easy answer—so what I wanted was to get us thinking about Bigger Things than just which stories we liked and which we didn’t; I wanted to talk about priorities, by potentially forcing ourselves to reject a good canon story because what it represented wasn’t important enough to us as what some other story represented. » Read more..

What Star Wars Can Learn From IDW’s Transformers

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Unlike Star Wars, there are numerous versions of Transformers and you don’t even have to factor in Michael Bay’s version! Marvel UK, Marvel US, Dreamwave, IDW – that’s four variants right there and there’s likely a few more still.

It is IDW’s reboot, started several years ago, with Simon Furman writing it, that has the most lessons to impart to Star Wars, if it but listens.

Furman’s arc re-imagined Transformers, with a multi-front galactic war being fought between the Autobots and Decepticons. No longer were they limited to Earth, no longer was it all set on one planet – though Earth did become a significant resource due to Shockwave’s age-old plotting. In this new structure both Megatron and Optimus Prime were generals, marshalling troops and resources on a galactic scale. Thus, when both take a hand in events on Earth, it is indeed A Big Deal™. » Read more..

In Defense of Anarchy: What I Saw on Thursday

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As I’ve probably mentioned before, I don’t really follow The Force Awakens spoilers. I recognize that in this line of work it’s inevitable that certain things will get around to me, and some have, but by and large I don’t know if what I’m going to talk about in this piece is already confirmed, debunked, or neither—these are just my impressions, as an educated guesser who’s seen more than his share of Star Wars stories. When the new teaser was revealed last Thursday, a lot of stuff was pretty much what you’d expect—X-wing pilots in orange, TIEs chasing the Millennium Falcon, a masked villain with a red lightsaber.

But if you looked closely, not everything was so easy to contextualize—especially one shot of stormtroopers fighting against a rogue TIE fighter in some sort of hangar, immediately following a distraught-looking Finn removing his own helmet. If there’s one plot point we can safely rely on at this stage, it’s that John Boyega’s stormtrooper character defects or deserts early on. The stormtroopers in the original trilogy were nothing if not anonymous and interchangeable, so choosing to begin the story of the sequel trilogy with the face of the Empire going AWOL is an effective way to demonstrate that things aren’t quite as clear-cut now as they were with Palpatine in charge. » Read more..

Portrait of a Disgruntled Fan

roguelogoNow that Celebration Anaheim is underway and some portion of our audience will be reading this on their phones surrounded by other Star Wars fans, I thought it would be a good time to begin a new recurring interview feature whose title I’m shamelessly ripping off from Stephen Colbert, Better Know a Fan. While I pride myself on this site featuring a healthy range of opinions among its regular staff, I occasionally come across people whose perspectives are interesting to me but not necessarily in an editorial context—this will be my vehicle to offer those people a moment at the microphone. If you’re familiar with the Literature boards at the Jedi Council Forums, my first subject will be very familiar to you—in only a few years of posting, he’s become a fixture there, and while we may not always agree with him, we all know exactly where he stands.

Zachary Skaggs, known at the JCs as Zeta1127, could be listed in the dictionary under the word “consistent”. Despite being relatively new to the online community, he makes no bones about his view that Star Wars’ glory days are well behind it, thanks to the editorial direction of the last several years of “Big Three” novels and now the continuity shakeups of The Clone Wars and the sequel trilogy. While normally I’m content to keep incessant fan negativity at arm’s length, especially here, Zachary isn’t your typical complainer. As, frankly, unreasonable as his views of Lucasfilm can be, the man doesn’t have a trollish bone in his body—no matter how much some of us roll our eyes or even outright tease him for being such a downer, he takes it all in good humor and never gets petty or personal, which in my view warrants respect. I wanted to find out what makes him tick, and he was gracious enough to oblige me. » Read more..

Hyperlane to the Danger Zone: Essential Elements for a Rogue Squadron Movie

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We don’t really know very much about Rogue One right now. We have a title that may or may not mean something to us, the release date, and the names of one member of the cast (in an unspecified role), the director, the producers, the score composer, the source of the core concept, the person who named it, and the writer. Unless more should be revealed in the time between when I write this article and when it’s published, that’s just about it.

Anything apart from that is nothing more than pure speculation. So, in order for this article to actually contain meaningful content, we’re going to have to treat a certain assumptions as if they were fact: specifically, that the name Rogue One does refer in some way to Rogue Squadron, and that it is a movie focused on the exploits of that particular unit of starfighter pilots.

Now, it’s entirely possible that these assumptions will be proven false in the coming months, especially if one takes the initial report regarding the concept art for the film into account. It may turn out to be something more along the lines of Wraith Squadron, dealing with hybrid commando-pilots.

It may not be a movie about starfighter pilots at all. Even if that ends up being the case, I will have no cause to complain, but I will continue to maintain the viability of a feature film centered around starfighter pilots and their spacecraft. Today, we’re going to talk about what steps might be taken to ensure that Rogue One is the best space ace movie it can possibly be.

» Read more..

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