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Starkiller: Superweapons and the Sequel Trilogy

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Buried in the Force Friday blitz at the beginning of this month was the first The Force Awakens-related update to StarWars.com’s Databank section. Naturally, very little new information actually came out of the new entries; many didn’t include pictures, and some of the character entries were nothing but the same one-sentence bios from the back of their action figure cards.

One big new piece of info did show up, though—or rather, if you follow the spoiler reporting, a confirmation of one of the oldest rumors: there’s a superweapon on the table.

I actually stopped reading spoilers a long time ago, but even I had heard bits and pieces to this effect; and sure enough, the exceedingly minimal entry for the First Order’s Starkiller Base nevertheless deigns to include the apparent in-universe reasoning for its name:

“An ice planet converted into a stronghold of the First Order and armed with a fiercely destructive new weapon capable of destroying entire star systems.”

While certain reporting (and certain memes) has tended to paint the First Order as an upstart group of ne’er-do-wells rather than a serious galactic power, the ability to destroy an entire star system? Well, that changes the equation. Superweapons have a mixed reputation among Star Wars fans, though; the Expanded Universe is known for adding a whole bunch of ’em to the lineup (including the Sun Crusher, which did exactly what the Starkiller is alleged to do and was totally invulnerable besides), and even many movie purists will tell you that concluding the original trilogy with a second Death Star wasn’t exactly George’s Lucas’s most creative idea. So I put the question to the staff: is this a mistake? A ham-fisted attempt to replicate the feel of the OT? Or are superweapons a crucial part of Star Wars’s magic formula? Read More

In which we chat about the post-Endor war situation but really TFA

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If you’re new to Eleven-ThirtyEight this may be the first real Aggressive Negotiations piece you’ve seen here—unlike most of our content, Aggressive Negotiations are raw, largely unproofed live chats among our staff and occasionally others. Being so very off the cuff and unscripted, they can sometimes get a little out of control (this one in particular tops out at over seven thousand words, which just might make it the longest piece on the site), but the goal is to present fandom in its most pure form—and this is absolutely that.

Today’s topic: the post-Endor political status quo, prompted by the latest round of The Force Awakens bits and pieces from Entertainment Weekly and elsewhere. I couldn’t make it to this one myself, and in fact as of this writing I haven’t even read the damned thing yet, so this ought to be fun for all of us. Force Friday ahoy! – Mike, EIC Read More

Star Wars’ Intersectionality Problem

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The biggest piece of Star Wars news from this year’s D23 Expo was the reveal of the rest of the Rogue One cast as well as a first look at all of them in costume. Like the rest of the Star Wars blogosphere I was extremely excited by the news and immediately set to over-analyze every scrap of it. My first thought was “wow, what a multicultural cast!” Followed shortly after that was “…but why is Felicity Jones apparently the only woman?” It seems once again that Star Wars fans are being asked to choose between ethnic diversity and gender parity.

The original trilogy movies are, frankly, lily white and heavily male. Leia is the only woman with a significant presence across the three movies and Lando’s the only significant nonwhite character. The prequel trilogy fares a little better, with the addition of strong secondary characters such as Mace Windu or Bail Organa (both male) and Shmi and various handmaidens (all white). But the fact remains: a Star Wars character can apparently be either nonwhite or nonmale…but not both. Read More