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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

Ship Approaching, X-Wing Class! – The OT Aesthetic of Episode VII

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—WARNING: THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES SPY SET PHOTOS FROM EPISODE VII—

Despite nearly a decade and a half of Star Wars media being inundated with the look & feel of the Prequel Trilogy and the subsequent Clone Wars series, the aesthetic of the Original Trilogy is back in a big way for Episode VII. That J.J. Abrams and his crack team are doing this is no surprise, given that the majority of them grew up during the original releases of Episodes VI, V, and VI. This really sank home for fans last month when an intrepid fan with the skills of a Bothan spy released several images and aerial drone shots of an Episode VII set. And not just any set. This set had all of the classic trappings of a Rebel Alliance base.

As a 31 year old fan who encountered Star Wars as a young kid via VHS tapes and had his love of it sustained by the Expanded Universe, the sight of a Rebel base is exactly what Star Wars is all about. The set has all the familiar elements of Yavin Base, Hoth Base, and the hangar on the Rebel flagship Home One. When I first saw these images, I felt a level of excitement for Star Wars that I hadn’t felt in a long time. My beloved EU had died a slow and painful death, so my interest in Star Wars (well, at least in new stories) was dying too. The announcement of the Sequel Trilogy changed all this. Suddenly, there was that old excited feeling and the sense of wonder. Read More

In Praise of Minor Characters

Let me get the obligatory “statement” out of the way. I love Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia. The Big Three, along with loyal Chewbacca, dashing Lando Calrissian, and the lovable duo of C-3PO and R2-D2 are the core of the Original Trilogy. The annoucement that many of these characters (minus Lando, at least for now) were returning for Episode VII was positively received by both fans and the media. Like I said, we all love the main characters of the Star Wars Original Trilogy.

But some of us love other characters more.

Sacrilegious as it sounds, many fans are equally passionate about the movie’s minor or background characters. Admiral Ackbar (full disclosure, this author’s favorite character), Boba Fett, General Veers, Mon Mothma, and Admiral Piett are all examples of very popular characters. Some had true supporting roles (Ackbar, Piett), while others either just mostly stood there (Boba Fett) or had one scene (Mon Mothma). Many of these characters owe their increased popularity to the old Expanded Universe, recently rebranded as “Legends”. But, when it comes to supporting characters who are wildly popular, and spawned comics, books, and games, one man stands head and shoulders above the rest (sorry Boba Fett, you don’t get any love in my article).

Wedge Antilles. Read More