State of the Sequel Galaxy: The Force is Finally Awake


(A brief note on Eleven-ThirtyEight’s spoiler policy—we don’t really have one. Editorially, I hope to keep the site in line with the philosophy I detailed in this post a while back; in short, “I am your father” is a spoiler, but “battle on snow planet” is not. Officially-released information, like Friday’s teaser, is absolutely not a spoiler. If one of us chooses to go into especially revealing material we will endeavor to warn you first, but by and large I’m leaving this to the writers’ discretion. If you’re the type to cringe at a movie still or a piece of concept art or a blurry spy photo, you may want to tread lightly in these parts for the time being. – Mike Cooper, EIC)

Well, it’s happened. We have a teaser for The Force Awakens, and now that I’ve finally stopped running around the internet hyperventilating, I can sit down and put together some coherent thoughts. Let’s talk about the state of the galaxy thirty years in the future and the design of the…

Spoilers to follow.

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With a Snap-Hiss: Examining Lightsaber Combat

Jedi_circleThe lightsaber: the iconic weapon of the Jedi Knight. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age, able to deflect blaster bolts and cut through armor plating, and you know you’ve definitely made the “vshhhhh” noise while turning on a flashlight and swinging it around. Lightsabers are showy and surprisingly useful weapons, and reinforce the fantasy element of Star Wars. We see many versions of lightsaber combat, and a look at a duel from a mechanical perspective makes it all the more impressive.

Let’s start with the basics of lightsabers. They operate like many different types of bladed weapons, though European longsword and katana have been the greatest influence. Lightsabers can be one- or two-handed weapons, can be dual-bladed, can be dual-wielded either as two normal-size lightsabers or a normal one and a shoto, and have great room for individual variation in style. Lightsabers can be extendable, can be waterproof, and can be heirlooms as well as originally made. From a combat standpoint, lightsabers are among the most versatile weapons we ever see. Because they are unique to the user, and able to accomodate so many species of Jedi and Sith, there are infinite ways to fight with a lightsaber. We see styles that seem more like modern fencing, styles that emphasize precision and control. There are some who are more flashy in their fighting, embracing Force-enhanced acrobatics. Against droids and blasters, some Jedi manage to use their lightsabers as more defensive weapons. With seven separate forms, the Jedi of the Old Republic refined their lightsaber skills into an impressive and deadly art, until much of that knowledge was lost with Order 66. Read More

How I Spent My Fall Break: NYCC 2014

151,000 people, four days, one large convention center, altogether too many overpriced snacks, nowhere near enough hours of sleep. That’s quite a convention experience. It was my third year attending NYCC, and this year, I wasn’t just there for fun and mischief. Being at the con as Eleven Thirty-Eight’s woman on the street was an experience, and I come bearing tales of what Star Wars has in store.


In all honesty, last year I saw a good deal more Star Wars cosplay. This year it was a bit scarce, though I did run into a Mara Jade, quite a few Mandalorians, a few Sabines, a Tahiri, and several different versions of Leia, Anakin Skywalker, and Darth Vader. The Rebel Legion and 501st definitely had less presence than last year, but there were a few around. As a whole, cosplay was not what stood out the most about Star Wars fandom. Instead, the very presence of the fandom was powerful enough.

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In Defense of Bantam

Thrawn_NECWe all have fond memories of the time when Bantam held the Star Wars publishing license- a time that brought us everything from the Thrawn trilogy to The Crystal Star. It’s a universe rife with opportunities and new ideas, full of unexplored territory and possibilities. The sense of wonder and exploration is one vital to the Star Wars universe, and the first authors to set pen into a much wider universe established many precedents. Some of this era has been retconned, some is known well as the strangest things of the EU, and some is lauded as the best of the best. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see why Bantam’s contributions to the EU are so vital, warlord of the week notwithstanding.

First of all, let’s make fun of Bantam. I think we have to start with Waru, the entirety of The Crystal Star, and the very fact that some extremely silly things happened in this era of Star Wars publishing. There are so many odd plot holes, confusing references to whatever may have happened in the Galactic Civil War, and myriad kidnappings of the Solo kids. There’s the ghost in the computer who possesses someone else’s body and falls in love with Luke Skywalker. Han Solo wins a planet in a card game, and no one seems to think this is weird.  However, this era does establish some good precedents. Seeing the Solo kids in danger all the time really establishes just how high-profile the New Republic’s First Family really are, even though the kids really just are trying to be normal kids. We don’t know what we’re going to find in backwater planets that haven’t really had much contact with the New Republic, and it could be extradimensional beings, unusual aliens, or stray Imperials. Having such a big galaxy and so few precedents set for just how it would all work gave the plotlines enormous creative freedom. Read More

Coming of Age in a Galaxy Far, Far Away


One of the staples of literature and media aimed at children is the story of growing up. It can easily be linked to the hero’s journey that is the mainstay of the Star Wars story arcs, and throughout the saga we meet many a young hero who has to grow up a little and save the galaxy. We watch Anakin and Luke Skywalker go from idealistic kids to serious Jedi- and then two different paths for the hero’s journey from there. The Solo children also face the challenges of growing up in an unstable galaxy, answering the call to adventure, and having to grow up in order to handle the challenges thrown at them. For each generation of Star Wars fans, we find the characters who are about our age when we first fall into their stories, and we grow up with our favorite characters. The theme of growing up bridges the young adult and adult novels, keeps Star Wars accessible to all ages, and brings in new fans as they get old enough to identify with the characters.

Luke Skywalker starts out as a young idealistic kid, seeking adventure far away from his backwater home planet. He wants to see the galaxy and have adventures, but when given an opportunity by old Ben Kenobi, he nearly runs away. Luke hasn’t been raised to be a hero and isn’t yet aware of his importance, and it does take rather tragic events to begin his growing-up process and start him on the path to becoming a Jedi Knight. It’s something of the stereotypical hero’s journey, and as a coming-of-age story, Luke has many opportunities to walk away and not deal with the danger of being a member of the Rebel Alliance and a Jedi Knight. It’s an important part of his growing-up process to stick with his journey, and it pays off in the end.

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