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Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V: LucasArts, Inspiration and Appropriation

Being both a Star Wars fan and an avid video game player has been a rough road in the past few years. The fact that LucasArts, the videogame production arm of Lucasfilm, was closed by Disney shortly after their acquisition of the company, but even the past five or six years before that were disappointment after disappointment. In the last four years, we have Star Wars Angry BirdsThe Force Unleashed IIKinect Star Wars, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars and The Old Republic. That’s it and all. Going back two or three years more gives us Battlefront: Elite SquadronBattlefront: Renegade SquadronThe Force Unleashed in both initial release and the “Ultimate Sith” edition, three other Clone Wars tie-in games, and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.

Out of that list, only five games not tying in to the Clone Wars TV show made it to the mainstream console market: TFU, TFU II, Lego SW: Complete and Kinect Star Wars. The biggest release by far, however, is The Old Republic, a game developed over a five-year cycle that cost LucasArts, EA and Bioware $200 million to make, more than many blockbuster movies. While an argument can be made for all of these games relative to how fun they are to play or how entertaining they are, no one will argue that any of them are original, exciting and new concepts in the realm of video games. Read More

Rebels, Greg Weisman, and the Disney Factor

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As more and more information has been revealed about the upcoming TV show Star Wars: Rebels, including a couple of recent teaser trailers, a fissure has opened in the fandom. Just like The Clone Wars before it, the prospect of an animated series oriented toward a younger audience has a polarizing effect on most fans. A sampling of YouTube comments on the recently released teasers (not usually a healthy practice) shows a clear divide, with some voices praising the return of beloved elements like TIE fighters and stormtroopers, while others complain about the prospect of a teenaged character in one of the lead roles, already decrying the show as looking worse than TCW.

Of course, all of this is speculative and uninformed, since as of the writing of this article, the show is still several months away from airing. We know almost nothing about what the plot or arc of the show will be, and nothing about any of the cast aside from three character profiles and leaked pictures of toys. All we know for sure is who will be working on the show behind the scenes: Dave Filoni, who headed up The Clone Wars after Henry Gilroy departed in season 2, Simon Kinberg, writer of X-Men: First Class who is involved with the story of both Rebels and (according to rumors) the live-action movies looming on the horizon, and Greg Weisman, writer and producer of numerous lauded and praised cartoons over the years.
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