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All is as the Force Wills it – Unpacking the Rogue One Trailer

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So many pretty new pictures! I got together over the weekend with David Schwarz, Ben Crofts, and eventually, guest contributor Nick Adams, to discuss our immediate reactions—thrills, hopes and concerns—to the new trailer for Rogue One that premiered last Thursday. That’s all there is to say—enjoy!

Mike: First topic: it’s hard to have a measured conversation about a trailer without devolving into “ohmigod that shot was so cool”, so purely from an aesthetic standpoint, what were some of your favorite images?

David: It’s hard to choose, isn’t it? That trailer was a feast!

Ben: Superlaser star destroyer eclipse, Donnie Yen = badass

Ben: The canyon sequences were damn cool.

David: I have to go with the Death Star eclipsing Jedha’s sun. There’s something primal about eclipses, I guess. Plus it made me think about what the view from Alderaan was.

Mike: I choose to think that the Death Star went out of its way to block the sun just to mess with everybody.

Ben: Eclipses are just a great homage to THAT Empire sequence with the Executor. There’s also that talk Tarkin gives in Darklighter about seeing the Death Star rise above a world.

Mike: I wonder if Alderaan could see it at all—it seems way, way closer to Jedha than it was to Alderaan. Which could have any number of implications.

David: I also loved the final shot, the “we are with you to the end”. A bunch of nobodies ready to fight the Empire. 100% Star Wars. » Read more..

Life Debt: Redrawing the Map

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Map? What map? Why, the only map worth talking of. That of story possibilities within this new world of Star Wars, which has just entered its third year. Life Debt came along and kicked down several doors, blew up a few sealed passages and, by way of raising merry hell, re-drew the map. How has it done this? I got together with Nick Adams, occasional Eleven-ThirtyEight guest writer, long-time contributor to Jedi Council Literature and, for his sins, Moderator, who some will know to have been the trigger for the creation of Admiral Nict in Star Wars Legacy, to bat a few ideas back and forth. Here’s what we came up with.

There are some Life Debt spoilers in this article with regard to the post-Endor war with the Empire.

Ben: Nick, you correctly commented that in the space of a year the new continuity has racked up more destruction than Legends accrued over a decade! It also got me thinking as to what this could mean for new stories.

One thing that Legends suffered from was the perception of a hierarchy of material, that the films should always be deemed top dog and nothing should undermine that status in any way. I always found that to be at odds with the idea of Star Wars being a multi-media tale. At the same time, some of the Legends stories I enjoyed most were the madly ambitious – like Dark Empire. To others, that was the poster child for what they loathed – it brought back the Emperor, had an Imperial civil war and took Force powers way, way off the scale. Similarly the X-Wing stories Iron Fist and Solo Command stood out for being ambitious enough to do fleet engagements. » Read more..

Republic Restored – Taking Stock of the New Republic

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For those of you who are regular readers of Eleven-ThirtyEight, you’ll note that in the lead-up to The Force Awakens, various articles were published wherein we speculated on the state of the galaxy post-Return of the Jedi. More specifically, what sort of government the Rebel Alliance would found in the aftermath of their victory at the Battle of Endor. Back in July 2013, Mike Cooper gave me the honor of being the first to write an article about the “Glorious Cause” of the Rebellion and the New Republic that they needed to establish.  In my original article, I highlighted five essentials that would be needed in the sequel trilogy to show that sacrifices of our heroes in the original trilogy were worthwhile. Now, with The Force Awakens out and various tie-in materials released, it is as good a time as any to take stock of what we now know and how it matched up to my original list.

The “Glorious Cause” successful

Thanks to various books and comics unveiled under the Journey to The Force Awakens banner, we learned early on that the Rebel Alliance was successful in defeating the Empire and restoring the Republic. What probably surprised many fans was how quickly and how completely this success was achieved. For those of us who grew up and cut our teeth on the old Expanded Universe (aka Legends), the battle to liberate the galaxy and defeat the Empire was a long, tough fight. It ultimately took nearly fifteen years in-universe to have the Galactic Civil War truly end, with the signing of the Bastion Accords between the New Republic and the few remaining sectors of the Imperial Remnant. As a result of that, many fans (myself included) assumed that the war post-Endor would be a long, drawn out fight. » Read more..

In the Spotlight at Last: The Return of the B-wing

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This past week, Star Wars Rebels brought out of the shadows one of the coolest and most unique of Rebel starfighters, the B-wing. The craft, a longstanding part of the veritable “alphabet soup” that is the Alliance Starfighter Corps, hasn’t received much love compared to its far more common & iconic cousins over the years, but that has begun to change in the new canon that has cropped up in the leadup to The Force Awakens. While nearly anyone can recognize an X-wing, the B-wing fighter has been overlooked and in the shadows since its appearance back in 1983’s Return of the Jedi. In honor of this awesome craft and it’s newfound glory, let’s look back at the history of the B-wing over the past thirty-plus years.

The B-wing began its life as concept art for Return of the Jedi. Designed by artist Joe Johnson & ILM modelmaker Bill George, it began it’s life as a series of sketches, referred to as “B fighter” or “Rebel Alien Fighter”. The second name is rather telling, as the very nature and design of the fighter varies significantly from the more traditional rebel fighters like the X-wing and Y-wing. When Return of the Jedi was being developed, George Lucas instructed his ILM team to create new designs for the rebel fleet, showing that the entire Alliance was assembled to take on the Empire’s second Death Star. This team created numerous new craft that ultimately made it on screen, including Admiral Ackbar’s iconic flagship Home One, two other variants of the Mon Calamari star cruiser (winged & wingless), a smaller vessel now christened the Dornean Gunship, the speedy A-wing, and the B-wing. » Read more..

Man Your Stations – Why It’s Time for Fighter Pilots on the Small Screen

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It has been quite an exciting few weeks in the world of Star Wars. As we steadily creep towards the release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, the unstoppable juggernaut that is the Disney/Lucasfilm team continues to release more and more information about the new movies (namely the excitingly titled Rogue One), a whole slew of new novels & comic series that will flesh out the canon of the New Expanded Universe, and hints begin to emerge on the potential for Star Wars to appear on the small screen in a live action series. It is an exciting time, to say the least, and you will be forgiven if the sudden deluge of new and exciting information causes you to momentarily squeal like your inner fanboy or fangirl.

While we all spend our free hours (WARNING: doing this at work reduces productivity, or so my boss says) reading, discussing, and analyzing what we DO know, let us not forget the greatest joy of all- SPECULATION! And there is nothing more exciting to speculate about than the unbridled potential of a live action TV series. There are all kinds of directions a TV series could go. Bounty Hunters, new Jedi, entirely new characters- the possibilities are endless. And yet, if Rogue One‘s title is any indication, there is one group above all others that has a sufficiently built-in fan base to sustain a TV series: starfighter pilots. » Read more..

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