Archive for Simple Tricks

The Last Jedi Incredible Cross-Sections – An Interview with Jason Fry

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We’re excited to be back once again with friend and frequent interviewee of Eleven-ThirtyEight Jason Fry, who kindly answered our burning questions about the capital ships, starfighters, and ground vehicles of The Last Jedi! Jason’s list of Star Wars works is both popular and growing; in addition to the newest Incredible Cross-Sections, he also wrote the TLJ tie-in Bomber Command, and of course, the impending official film novelization. Jason’s a longtime fan and author who brings deep knowledge, professional writing, and great humor to his works. In this interview, we’re treated to not just info about the Cross-Sections, but also his process as a creative writer.

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First off, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! This is your second Incredible Cross-Sections book and the first where you were also the author of the movie’s novelization. How was your experience writing this book different from The Force Awakens Cross-Sections?

It was easier for a couple of reasons. First off, Kemp Remillard and I had already worked together and enjoyed the experience. Whether you’re talking about two writers or an artist and writer, collaboration is a weirdly intimate thing, and you go through a certain amount of sounding each other out and discovering if you’re going to get along. Kemp and I had already done that and become friends in the process, so this time around we were able to go full speed from the start.
Second, The Force Awakens had let us work out the history and visual language of this new storytelling period. That hard work was already done and we could build on it, which was a lot of fun. » Read more..

Luke Week: We Are All Luke Skywalker

Second Look is Eleven-ThirtyEight’s biannual tradition of highlighting some of our most interesting older pieces. In recognition of Luke Skywalker’s electrifying return to the saga in The Last Jedi, this time around we’ve declared it Luke Week! Every day this week you’ll find a different piece taking a closer look at Luke’s character and legacy—some recent, some less so—back on our front page for another moment in the spotlight. – Mike, EIC

legendsoflukeTo say Ken Liu’s The Legends of Luke Skywalker has been keenly awaited would be an understatement. Since the great reboot that followed Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, there have been exceedingly few stories of what Luke has been doing after the fall of the Empire. There was Shattered Empire, but that was only one issue out of four and that was more or less it. For some the book has been a disappointment for its lack of actual ‘here’s what Luke really did next’ material. Instead, the book is of a far more playful and trickster nature, built around stories being told of Skywalker. Are they all true? That’s up to the reader, but there are hints that sometimes tip the deck one way or another. Expecting a book coming out ahead of The Last Jedi to have much in the way of revelations is expecting the impossible, the pattern was set by The Force Awakens. If there are major ‘this really happened’ stories, they will be next year, not now. Nor was the book ever deceptive about its premise in its marketing either.

The first story concerns an engineer spinning a tall tale to a rapt audience. It is subtly suggested the audience’s main interest is in how ludicrous a tale can be spun, for it is a tale of mad, bad conspiracy theories aimed squarely at the exploits of Luke, Han and Leia, with one aim: to drag them down and dismiss them as frauds. When the reader engages with this tale, the initial response may well be to opt for outraged dismissal: what a pile of crap, this is an outrage. Yet to do so would be to play into the story’s hands, Liu is quite aware outrage might result. Look further: When we read or watch or play a Star Wars story, we do so separately from our lives. Luke, Han and Leia are not actual people. What if they were? If you were living in that galaxy at the time of the films or after, if you heard three people led the war the take down the Empire that ran the galaxy, then how can you possibly live up to that? If they did that with their lives, what does that make yours? Easier, by far, to spin a few conspiracy theories that render them frauds as then you’re protected, no comparison to lose out to.

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Luke Week: Arbiters of Compassion: What Luke Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn Teach Us About Finn

Second Look is Eleven-ThirtyEight’s biannual tradition of highlighting some of our most interesting older pieces. In recognition of Luke Skywalker’s electrifying return to the saga in The Last Jedi, this time around we’ve declared it Luke Week! Every day this week you’ll find a different piece taking a closer look at Luke’s character and legacy—some recent, some less so—back on our front page for another moment in the spotlight. – Mike, EIC

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It’s almost timeless in its use. In Beauty and the Beast, a prince and his castle were cursed for failing it. In Tales From Watership Down, the folk hero El-ahrairah tested the integrity of a warren through it. In Hebrews 13:2, the Bible says that some have entertained angels by passing it.

This is the test of compassion.

It’s the moment when a character encounters an individual who is undesirable to or unvalued by society in some way. Helping or showing compassion to this individual appears, on the surface, to pull time and effort away from the character’s goal. The test is: will the character divert from their path to help this individual, or will they continue on their way? Their choice in this matter reveals their true self and results in consequences.

Probably the most iconic test of compassion in Star Wars takes place in The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke is tested by Yoda, who is currently concealing himself as an annoying local. When Luke’s impatience overrides, at last, his mask of politeness, he fails the test, which nearly costs him his Jedi training. By the time Return of the Jedi rolls around, he’s learned his lesson and applies it on a much larger scale, twice.

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Luke Week: Brace Yourselves – Luke Skywalker Needs to Die in The Last Jedi

Second Look is Eleven-ThirtyEight’s biannual tradition of highlighting some of our most interesting older pieces. In recognition of Luke Skywalker’s electrifying return to the saga in The Last Jedi, this time around we’ve declared it Luke Week! Every day this week you’ll find a different piece taking a closer look at Luke’s character and legacy—some recent, some less so—back on our front page for another moment in the spotlight. – Mike, EIC

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It’s been lurking in the fandom subconscious for some time; we’re just afraid to confront it. Surely they would never kill Luke Skywalker in the very next film after offing Han Solo? The childhood hero for millions, forced by his own guilt into a lonely, tortured exile, returns to the galactic stage only to shuffle off its mortal coil for good? That would be absurd, wouldn’t it?

Lisa Schap already speculated, long before details of the story were known, about the necessity for Luke to be written out of the sequel trilogy. Didn’t everything change, though, with The Force Awakens? Didn’t Han’s unexpected (yet quite wonderful) role as Rey’s mentor/father figure, and his tragic death, mean Luke dodged this particular bullet?

I’ve felt that way for a long time. I’ve lived happily in denial. I’m sorry to say, though, that knowing what we now know about Luke, I can no longer deny the truth. TFA only prolonged the inevitable. Luke dying in The Last Jedi is not just a very real possibility – it might also be best not just for the story of the trilogy as a whole, but also for Luke himself.

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Luke Week: “Who is Luke Skywalker?” or, How I Learned to Stop Caring Who’s Related to Whom in The Force Awakens

Second Look is Eleven-ThirtyEight’s biannual tradition of highlighting some of our most interesting older pieces. In recognition of Luke Skywalker’s electrifying return to the saga in The Last Jedi, this time around we’ve declared it Luke Week! Every day this week you’ll find a different piece taking a closer look at Luke’s character and legacy—some recent, some less so—back on our front page for another moment in the spotlight. – Mike, EIC

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It’s December, and we are officially less than twenty days from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you’re like me, you’re juggling work, the holidays, the inescapable excitement of the upcoming film, and some kind of re-watch of the first two trilogies (with perhaps some Clone Wars sprinkled in). And you’re doing it with friends – friends with questions about why and how the Republic fell, where exactly Darth Vader falls in the Imperial hierarchy, the relative autonomy and purpose of a protocol droid, and, naturally, where the new characters of The Force Awakens fit into the sprawling scheme that is the galaxy far, far away – and who they’re related to.

It’s not the easiest question to answer. You could recite the talking points given to the actors, or quote director JJ Abrams’ cryptic but brief epilogues for Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and Kylo Ren. You could also launch into an explanation of the plot, uncovered and expounded upon over the course of the year by the spoiler community, or instead pivot to fan theory and speculation about who’s related to whom, some strong but some still very silly (Finn is NOT Lando’s son, folks).

Or you can share what I’ve been saying recently: it doesn’t matter, because they are all some version of Luke Skywalker.

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