It is. Really. If it wasn’t for the Rebels cartoon and its friends, the A New Dawn book and the Kanan comic, I’d still be able to not care about the Clone Wars cartoon. Well, that and someone deciding to reboot the entire line a couple of years ago…
If we go back but three years you’ll find I was quite adamantly defending the first Clone Wars run from being steamrolled by its fatter, younger brother! So, what changed? How did I end up in a position where watching the The Clone Wars’ opening movie came to be not only a good idea but a fun experience too? There hangs a tale…
I became interested in Rebels due to brilliance of John Jackson Miller’s A New Dawn, which focused on Kanan and Hera. Before then I had no reason to be interested, but those two characters got and kept my interest. Marvel also released a Kanan comic which delved into his origin tale in more detail. The first arc of that book also presented an entirely new take on the clones’ betrayal of the Jedi with Order 66. For anyone who had watched the Clone Wars cartoon, they’d likely have the full story of the chips in the clones and the sense of violation they inflicted. I did not have it but was intrigued enough by the pieces I had.
Even so, what about that animation style? I was far from an immediate fan – cartoony? Sure, but a bit too stylized. That cannot possibly work, can it? Again, all the fault of Rebels. Sure, Rebels is a few years on, the animation has advanced, it’s not quite so stylized – I can notice that only now, but nonetheless the series convinced me that Star Wars can work just fine as animation in the modern era. (Go back far enough and you’ll encounter the Droids and Ewoks cartoons which were fun as a kid, not sure how they’d hold up thirty years on.) » Read more..
Stories like Star Wars exist to take us away from the mundane reality of life, to transport us to a more wondrous place. Recent weeks have been, in real life, very sobering for those in the UK in the wake of the result of the referendum to stay or leave the European Union. So, in the style of bleak, gallows humour, what might the world of Star Wars really be like? Cue snapshots of an alternative history of the galaxy, far, far, fucking far, away….
Luke Skywalker crashed his landspeeder after being sold illicit moonshine by Wuher, who was subsequently shot by a customer who thought he was being poisoned. Investigation of Wuher’s bar showed that that accusation was not without merit. Fortunately for the galaxy, Skywalker recovered and Wuher was more attentive to merely covertly poisoning his customers from then on.
When told the Death Star was the ultimate in asteroid clearance technology – the galaxy believed it because the Coruscant Star was never wrong. The Emperor had closed meetings with the owner to discuss how to really run the galaxy. Said owner also assured the Emperor, in great detail, that the magazine’s journalists would never, ever slice Imperial communications in pursuit of a story. In similar vein, the documentary A Death Star Is Born was buried for being too accurate a representation of Imperial policy-making. » Read more..
Sometimes creative people are akin to magicians in that they like misdirection – and where Star Wars’ newest villains, the First Order, are concerned there is a lot of going on right now. I should declare here that this is a purely speculative piece, no inside information, nothing up my sleeves… It may be nuked to high heaven by the revelations of Episode VIII, whose bombardment begins December 2017. Or, it might bolster what I lay out here. We’re not going to know for ages so let’s have some fun instead…
In the wake of Bloodline, it seems everyone is going ‘ah, that’s what the First Order is!’ This is a major error because you’re looking exactly where they want you to look, even better you are focusing on one aspect, when the enemy is rather multifaceted. Looking at the pieces available the inescapable conclusion is the First Order is a combination of pieces. It is neither precisely this or that thing, at a surface level it defies easy categorization by being a supposedly chaotic assemblage.
What are the pieces we have? There is Bloodline’s political cabal, lusting after more of everything. There is, way in the background, the successor to Brendol Hux’s Arkanis Academy. (Rebels: Servants of the Empire quartet of course, and no, I’m not going to stop mentioning it) There is a disappeared Imperial Fleet. There is the move to the Unknown Regions of much Imperial resource and materiel. There is, from Aftermath, the desire to find the source of the dark side in the Unknown Regions too. Old and new elements are all jumbled in a crazy patchwork. For something that calls itself the First Order where is the order in all this? » Read more..
A “fix” book? What on earth is a fix book? Much as we may love it, over the years, Star Wars has acquired a deserved reputation for some quite off the wall plot concepts. Ideas like casually dropping the bomb that Vader is Luke’s father to the far more infamous taxation plot of The Phantom Menace. In some cases, a book comes out and addresses such plots head on. It considers how to either make a broken plot work or enhance an existing one that works adequately but could be improved. With the advent of the prequels, this became more noticeable but was not restricted to them. Is Bloodline one of these books? No, it isn’t. Why? Read on…
It was Cloak of Deception in 2001 that first showed what could be done to support the films. This took the much loathed foundation for the Republic Senate falling apart and sought to provide a logic that explained why the taxation of trade routes was so problematic. James Luceno also wove in pieces on the Jedi, on Darth Sidious and almost every other plot strand that the film had slung around with abandon. In the process, this prequel-to-a-prequel improved nearly everything.
Jump forward a year, to 2002 and the New Jedi Order volume of Destiny’s Way came out. It remains hard to know exactly how much of that series really was planned out and how much was winging it, the finale The Unifying Force suggests rather more improvisation than might want to be admitted. Now, I doubt that would make any difference but back then, you had to have a plan! Or claim to have one. Everyone seemed to get far more cynical about this stuff after Lost. » Read more..
This article was sparked off by regular ETE commenter John, in response to the Fantasy Foresight piece that considered how simply killing all Imperials would have been insufficient to stop the Starkiller. What might these shadows be? And how do they play into that superweapon’s development? At the risk that the impending book Bloodline will blow up most of this, let’s consider a few possibilities.
First, the elephant in the room – that the New Republic was caught napping by the Starkiller. Would a government set up by those that destroyed Death Stars really be so spectacularly lacking in vigilance? The answer has to be probably not, but what of time eroding that? A decade on, the need to keep an eye out for threats would have reduced – likely certain politicians would be making political capital out of efficiency measures that reduce the spend on such monitoring. Two decades on? The deck tilts further towards no need for it. Add even more years in and… » Read more..