Archive for Not A Committee

How Much Technology in Star Wars is Too Much?

luke-robohand

With the recent return of Star Wars Rebels, we’ve finally been exploring the aftermath of Kanan Jarrus’s blinding last season. Kanan’s existing doubts and fears were only amplified by his handicap, and he spent months in apparent isolation before finally learning from Bendu how to use his Force senses in place of the real one he lost.

“Warrior learns how to see without seeing” is a time-honored trope that was all but made for Star Wars, and I loved seeing Rebels‘ take on it—I see the value in telling that story, not just for its own sake, but as a means of growing Kanan as a character and opening his mind to new paths. But at the same time, I admit I have a little suspension-of-disbelief issue with it: couldn’t the guy just get new eyes? Forget the ample prosthetic limb technology that we already know exists; if they can clone an entire army of dudes and age them at double their natural rate, surely they could clone him new biological eyes?

Well, maybe, but maybe not. Post-reboot, there are far fewer examples of cyborgs in Star Wars than there used to be, and the ones that we do see often are often portrayed as faulty or not quite optimal–so it’s unclear whether a robotic eye, or a cloned one, is actually possible, as counter-intuitive as that might be. The reality is, Kanan doesn’t have new eyes because that story wouldn’t be as interesting—just like Return of the Jedi wouldn’t have been as interesting if Luke had to duel with his left hand only. » Read more..

Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence: Continuing Thoughts

obi-chosenone

“Don’t read the comments”—that’s what people are always telling you about the internet, right? That being the case, I have to say that I’m enormously proud of the comments we get here at Eleven-ThirtyEight; even when there are disagreements, they tend to resolve amicably, and input from our audience often results in a deeper understanding and appreciation of the topic in question for all involved.

A couple weeks back, we published a guest piece from Andrew Berg called Star Wars and the Myth of Redemptive Violence, which considered, put simply, whether Star Wars as a franchise was contributing to (or in opposition to) the Western cultural obsession with violence as a just solution. As the days after the piece went on, a discussion continued between Andrew and two longtime ETE commenters—Eric Brown, an occasional guest writer himself, and John Maurer. I find this topic fascinating my own self, and so robust and interesting was their exchange that I eventually sought, and was given, their approval to republish the whole thing as a new piece in its own right.

This piece will also function as a special extension of the conversation if anyone else wants to weigh in further; due to an issue we used to have with spambots, I had to disable comments on pieces older than two weeks, meaning that the original is now closed for good. Here’s to continuing this excellent line of discourse. – Mike, EIC » Read more..

To Novelize or Not to Novelize—Is There Any Question?

anh-novelMike: Sometimes you can know something without really being conscious of it—and often you can be very much aware of something without fully grasping its implications. One such fact occurred to me recently: getting a new Star Wars film every year means that there is every reason to believe that we will also be getting one film novelization every year. In perpetuity.

Going off of Del Rey’s recent publishing schedule (though Disney-Lucasfilm Press adds an interesting new dimension to this), that amounts to roughly one in five “adult novels” from now on. When the prequels were coming out, there were around seven adult novels per year instead of five, and of course only one movie every three years—meaning roughly five percent of Del Rey’s output at the time was novelizations, versus twenty percent now. That’s a huge shift.

Now, I’m not here to say I want to return to seven original Star Wars novels every year. Even with the excitement of the new canon, what we’ve gotten over the last couple years has been more than enough new material to sustain my interest as a reader, while leaving enough energy for me to check off an old Legends book once in a while. My interest is strong, but my time and energy have waned as I’ve gotten older—so while I’m actually grateful that the publishing has slowed down a bit, I’m also more choosy about what I really do want to read.

And I don’t know that I want to read a new novelization every year. While most people will agree that at least one, Revenge of the Sith, was able to break out of the box of, let’s say unremarkableness, that firmly contains most novelizations, that’s only one out of seven—and The Force Awakens seemed to confirm that RotS was the exception to the rule rather than a new priority. I don’t think it was bad, it was just…unremarkable. The fact is, the basic mission statement of a novelization doesn’t demand a whole lot of an author, and plenty of good ones have failed to break out of that box, or even, seemingly, to try. I get why they exist, I don’t really expect Del Rey to stop doing them anytime soon, but—I’m seriously wondering if they’ll soon stop being worth my time. » Read more..

Life Debt: Redrawing the Map

battlejakku

Map? What map? Why, the only map worth talking of. That of story possibilities within this new world of Star Wars, which has just entered its third year. Life Debt came along and kicked down several doors, blew up a few sealed passages and, by way of raising merry hell, re-drew the map. How has it done this? I got together with Nick Adams, occasional Eleven-ThirtyEight guest writer, long-time contributor to Jedi Council Literature and, for his sins, Moderator, who some will know to have been the trigger for the creation of Admiral Nict in Star Wars Legacy, to bat a few ideas back and forth. Here’s what we came up with.

There are some Life Debt spoilers in this article with regard to the post-Endor war with the Empire.

Ben: Nick, you correctly commented that in the space of a year the new continuity has racked up more destruction than Legends accrued over a decade! It also got me thinking as to what this could mean for new stories.

One thing that Legends suffered from was the perception of a hierarchy of material, that the films should always be deemed top dog and nothing should undermine that status in any way. I always found that to be at odds with the idea of Star Wars being a multi-media tale. At the same time, some of the Legends stories I enjoyed most were the madly ambitious – like Dark Empire. To others, that was the poster child for what they loathed – it brought back the Emperor, had an Imperial civil war and took Force powers way, way off the scale. Similarly the X-Wing stories Iron Fist and Solo Command stood out for being ambitious enough to do fleet engagements. » Read more..

The Pitch – New Ongoing Comics

vader25A few months ago, we ran a group piece on something I had been thinking about since Marvel started publishing Star Wars comics again—had the medium actually gotten stronger since the original Star Wars series, or would we look back on this era as being just as silly and dated as those early days of Jaxxon and Cody Sunn-Childe? What I noticed then that I hadn’t really considered before was that a good chunk of the regular staff here actually doesn’t read the comics and has little in the way of opinions on them.

Then last week, when I started thinking about what Marvel might come up with to replace the soon-to-conclude Darth Vader series, I decided to bring the question to the staff, and this time I wouldn’t accept “I don’t read comics” as an answer. It’s hard to argue that Marvel haven’t done a great job maximizing Star Wars sales among the existing comics audience, but I was especially curious what they might do to bring in all these superfans I knew who nevertheless barely touched the things. I got some interesting ideas back, to say the least—here they are.

Ben C: As Marvel takes the bold move of ending Gillen’s Darth Vader title, what’s next is a logical question, as is what they should do. The cynical response is to say Marvel will simply re-launch the book with a new creative team in a few months, pocketing the ker-ching generated by it. Here’s the non-cynical response: What if they don’t? What then? Well, over the last two years, Marvel have proved to be competent custodians of the Star Wars license. Due to some very smart creative combinations of writer and artist, with a mix of ongoing and limited series and a restrained use of events, the only question left to ask is what does Marvel have left to prove? » Read more..

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