jueves, 26 de diciembre de 2013

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Hello everyone.

It's been a while since I have had time to return to the Star Wars Defender Blog. Anyway, here are some important announcements I wish to make:

1. We are Now on Facebook: The Facebook page sadly doesn't have a lot of likes, so I would be more than happy if any of you with a Facebook account would like to give us a "like". Here is the link: 

2. My good friend Adam from Nilbog's Storybook Land has a great new post on the Expanded Universe. His sentiments mirror my own for the most part, and gives us an outlook for what may or may not come in the future. As I have said before, I really hope George set things straight with Arndt (and now Kasdan and Abrams) into what road the new films need to go into and told them NOT to adapt "Dark Empire" or something of that nature. But since we know that it will be an original story and with the various tweets Pablo Hidalgo has been giving us, it's dead certain at this point that the entirety of the post ROTJ EU is an AU at this point (and sadly a similar fate appears to be in the future for The Force Unleashed). However, it isn't my universe, so I have no say into what happens whatsoever. We can also say that with the interviews we've been reading on Dave Filoni so far, that Rebels will be closely tied to various concepts and ideas George had of that time period, and that the show will include prequel era influences whenever possible. It's clear at this point that Dave Filoni is at the ''helm'' of Star Wars and has managed to graduate to the rank of Master. I have no doubt that he will make a great show that will add up to The Clone Wars and the films. 

For Adam's article, click on this link: 

3. In the coming week(s) or so, I'll seek to get ahead of all the topics Star Wars and related things, including my thoughts on Disney's purchase of the Indy rights, On the comments of the EU regarding Pablo Hidalgo and finally on an update to the casting call and the characters of Episode VII. 

So for now, all I can say is, enjoy the Holidays, stay close to your families, and May The Force Be With You. 

viernes, 15 de noviembre de 2013

JJ Abrams Wants it Both Ways

So once again JJ Abrams has talked about Star Wars in an interview that was conducted recently in The Times. He had a couple of things to say about the hateboy produced "Dear JJ Abrams" video:

“I would say that (the website conveys) a feeling that we share very much… I loved how Star Wars had that sense of a world far beyond the borders of what you can see and have been told – it’s one of the things it did so brilliantly.
If you watch the first movie, you don’t actually know exactly what the Empire is trying to do. They’re going to rule by fear – but you don’t know what their end game is.
The beauty of that movie was that it was an unfamiliar world, and yet you wanted to see it expand and to see where it went.”
Any self respected Star Wars fan who reads this at first might feel like they want to cry their eyes out in a bench at their local park, but reading things further will make you reach a different conclusion.

"Abrams is eager not to criticize the more recent movies and suggests that he may need to tread a careful line not to alienate fans of the originals and the younger fans of the prequels. 

He said: A lot of kids who grew up with the prequels when they were young really do identify with those movies as much as my generation identified with the originals."

So there you have it: JJ Abrams wants it both ways. And it doesn't really surprise me. 

For starters, we realize that the hateboys count on Abrams on bringing him the Star Wars they want-which probably includes his friends Damon Lindelof and Simon Pegg. On the other hand, the younger fans (including his kids) and GL himself, are keeping a somewhat close eye to see that the film is a valid continuation of the saga. With that type of pressure, he has the unimaginable task of having to, you know, please everyone. And that obviously is something that remains to be seen until the film is released, but meanwhile, he is walking in the thin line that both sides of fandom are standing on.

Will he be able to pull it off? Nobody knows. What we do know is that if we analyze these recent comments with ones he made previously, we see the parallels and get to understand Abrams' point of view better.

Abrams: Well, I’m just a fan of "Star Wars.” As a kid, “Star Wars” was much more my thing than “Star Trek” was. If you look at the last three “Star Wars” films and what technology allowed them to do, they covered so much terrain in terms of design, locations, characters, aliens, ships — so much of the spectacle has been done and it seems like every aspect has been covered, whether it’s geography or design of culture or weather system or character or ship type. Everything has been tapped in those movies. The challenge of doing “Star Trek” — despite the fact that it existed before “Star Wars” — is that we are clearly in the shadow of what George Lucas has done.

Abrams: It's funny how in a weird way sometimes by demystifying a character it takes away from some of the fun that you felt about that character. It takes the mystery out of it. Sometimes a character is more interesting when you don't know everything about them. Even someone from my generation -- and I'm ancient compared to so many of the Star Wars fans out there -- for me the character of Darth Vader was always so compelling because you were putting together all these thing in your head and making all these assumptions, that to get to know Anakin as much as we ultimately did changed the way you consider Darth Vader. It's crazy that my kids relate to Anakin; which to me is criminal because I grew up believing Vader was a bad guy. I related to Luke and Leia and Han Solo. You just don't relate to Vader! I still think it's wrong to be on Anakin's side. So I guess there's no one character I can point to and say that I want to know more about him or her, it's just that Star Wars is so vast it would be great to find new characters that have that level of emotional intimacy.

Here, we can see that Abrams not only had admiration for the prequels in terms of the ground it covered and the places it visited, he also conveys a similar feeling of what he said about the video: primarily that he likes the idea of mystery that existed with the original films, but at the same time realizes that his kids and others relate to the characters of the prequels. 

See folks? There's nothing to worry here. I'm fairly positive Episode VII will deliver. Whether or not it will please both fandom's, is something less than likely since it seems pretty clear that he is following GL's advice, at least as far as Jett Lucas is concerned. 

viernes, 1 de noviembre de 2013

Halloween: Anakin Skywalker

This Halloween I had the chance to be Anakin Skywalker at the end of Return of the Jedi (without being a blue ghost). I've had various Star Wars costumes throughout my life, going back to when I was 6. I remember that year I was a young Anakin with a podracer suit. 

As I grew older, I began to make combinations with different sets of costumes and made up my own costumes along the way. One of those combinations came to be part ninja, part Jedi, and part Jack Sparrow. I also remember the next year I had the chance to be a part Jedi, part farmer with a cape. I friend of mine gave that costume the nickname of "bounty farmer". 

Anyway, I look forward to being Anakin or some other Jedi in the future. 

domingo, 27 de octubre de 2013

Harrison Ford is Back...Or So it Seems

I rarely write about rumors here, mostly because the majority don't have a chance of being even remotely true, and the few that are probably true are only half true. 

Jedi News's source of rumors has now said that Harrison Ford is finally onboard with Episode VII, something that has been in the speculation box for nearly a year now. However, the interesting part is that Ford signed not only for Star Wars, but also wanted a commitment to Indy 5. So if all parties get arranged, then we might see Indy 5 after all by 2016. It's also worth noting that he wanted to see the synopsis of his character on more than just Episode VII, and that he signed on for a multi film deal. 

Of course, we can't be sure that everything this new rumor says is true, but it's the one that has the best chance of being true. I assume that Mark, Carrie, Anthony Daniels and maybe even Kenny Baker have already signed in early on, but with Harrison it was harder to convince him, and Indy seems to have been the giveaway since Ford is more fond of the archaeologist than the space smuggler. Peter Mayhew apparently replaced his knees in order to be capable of walking again, and be back as Chewbacca.

I have been anxiously waiting for Indy 5 to hit the theaters since 2008's Crystal Skull, so here goes to hoping that we get Harrison back into both franchises. 

sábado, 26 de octubre de 2013

JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan Take Over the Script

Star Wars fans where expecting some form of news on October 30th due to the anniversary of the Disney acquisition. However, something rather strange and unexpected popped up earlier, and it was a different kind of news from the one the fans wanted to hear. 

For some unknown reason, Michael Arndt is no longer working on the script of Episode VII. Director JJ Abrams, and old time screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan have taken over. We also got the good news that Ben Burtt, Matthew Wood and Roger Guyett, who had all previously worked in Star Wars, will be returning (no word on John Knoll or Dennis Muren). 

Obviously, this kind of news helps bring in the surface new rumors, and a rash response from the side of the fans. One such rumor claimed that Arndt's story and characters were thrown out the way and that the story was started from zero once again. 

There is no way that rumor has any chance of being even remotely true. For starters, we know from an interview made to Jett Lucas that George has been "constantly talking to JJ". I simply don't see JJ and Kasdan throwing the script and starting over with George under some form of supervision. Not only that, but it's also been repeatedly confirmed that Episode VII will be released in the Summer of 2015, regardless of what the rumors say. A rewrite of the script so close to shooting would only delay things further. 

Jedi News gave in a similar theory that I have, which is basically that Arndt was hired to finish the script up to a certain point, and later somebody else would take over. This is supported with Kathy Kennedy's announcement that "Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point". 

Having Lawrence Kasdan as a major screenwriter is good in the sense that the guy has a good picture of what Star Wars is, having worked with George previously and known the plans of the prequels decades before they were made. As far as JJ goes, I'm confident he will deliver. 

Of course, we won't know for sure what exactly goes on behind the scenes for some time. We should, nevertheless, remain optimistic that things will turn out great.

jueves, 17 de octubre de 2013

New Info on Star Wars Rebels

Most of you probably know already the info that was released about Star Wars Rebels in the New York Comic Con. However, I still would like to analyze and say my own opinion on the matter. 

For starters, we got to see the first look on one of the main villains of Rebels, and that will be the Inquisitor, a dark Jedi tasked by Darth Vader to hunt down the remaining Jedi Knights. 

He striked to me at first as looking too much like the Son from the Mortis Trilogy, but I later got over it to realize that the two would be very different characters. 
It's also important to note a couple of things: Pablo Hidalgo is known to have said at some point that there would be Inquisitor(s) not just an Inquisitor. Perhaps this guy will be the main focus of the show, but then it brings into question the grand-scheme of things-when will these guys be killed off? And by whom, if so few Jedi are left? It's certainly interesting to see what approach they will take, to see, if the Inquisitors are killed before A New Hope or after. 
Dave Filoni goes on to talk more about it on the video, about how it's going to be Empire-centric with it's villains. It's important to note that many Clone Wars veterans, including Joel Aron and Killian Plunkett, will be involved in the making of the show. New, as well as old vehicles and ships will make appearances in the show. Rebels will take place 14 years after Revenge of the Sith and 5 years before A New Hope.
Another interesting bit we got to know was that George Lucas's ideas for the time period would be incorporated into the show, but he would no longer be directly involved. Dave Filoni has taken the helm as the storyteller, which is a great thing, because he has now been assigned the rank of ''Master'' after 8 years of working with George in Clone Wars, and George can now go happily into retirement with Mellody and their daughter, Everest. 
One of George's ideas for the time period, would be that the Stormtroopers would be made up of ''brainwashed'' civilians, mainly because the clones were too individualistic for the Empire. Due to accelerated aging, the Jango Fett clones are no longer serving as soldiers, and are instead training the Stormtroopers, or are retired and abandoned by a galaxy that never really cared for them. All of these implications put into question the execution of Order 66, which will be further explained in the upcoming bonus content, to be released in 2014. 

Another interesting concept is the fact that much of the show will take place in Lothal, a planet that wasn't involved in the Clone Wars and is instead now being occupied by the Empire. With the promise of economic prosperity, the Empire soon becomes a military and crushing force on the planet, recruiting Stormtroopers and building TIE fighters. It's fairly possible that this show could go on to be a critique of Imperialism and Industrialization, and may touch on environmentalism, something that wasn't really explored in the Clone Wars. 

The Jedi did come to be mentioned by Hidalgo, saying that with the Inquisitors goals, ''The fact that there is one in the series...the Empire has reason to believe there are Jedi somewhere.'' Hidalgo recognized that ''There is a presence for the Jedi in the show but we are being very cognizant of the fact  that Order 66 signifies something.'' They also want to keep in mind the importance of Luke Skywalker being the only Jedi a few years after this show is set. 

That does bring to question one thing...Ahsoka. Will Ahsoka still be a Jedi, or not in this show, or will she appear? That remains to be answered, along as to which famous film characters will make an appearance. 

So far this is probably the best thing to have come out of the Disney acquisition. 

sábado, 5 de octubre de 2013

The Star Wars Optimist

Before I can jump in into this pretty big and fishy topic, in which I'm pretty sure plenty will disagree, let me just say one thing before I start: I am naturally an optimist. I like to think that intelligent, not mindless optimism, is the only realistic strategy through life. If Luke hadn't been optimistic when he went inside the Death Star, he would have fallen to the dark side and become the new apprentice of the Emperor. Worse, Vader wouldn't have been redeemed, and the galaxy wouldn't have been saved.  So at the end of the day, when it comes to a moral that Star Wars teaches us, of which their are several, is that we have to persist and get back up after bad things happen. If we don't, then it will only make our lives miserable. 

That is a lesson that many fans have either forgotten about, or are simply ignoring, when it comes to the future of Star Wars under Disney. Some are saying that Disney will ignore the prequels when it comes to Episode VII, others are doubtful that the Clone Wars Bonus Content will be released, others have been getting upset over rather neutral comments from JJ Abrams, etc, etc, etc.

And you know what? I can't take this pessimism. I'm sorry. By thinking negatively not only are you being unhappy, several around you will be faced with that same unhappiness.

Sure, I'm not saying that this has been an ''easy'' year for fans anyway. I understand that many still feel sad over the cancellation of Clone Wars and 1313, and so forth. But friends, their are plenty of reasons to wake up the next day and feel good about your life and about Star Wars. As some say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one I think explains it better than anything I may argue in the future:

If this doesn't give you any faith in the future of Star Wars, Fine. Go ahead and be cynical and say that you aren't pessimists, but realists and that I am a delusionary dreamer. But at the end of the day, what does that give you? 

In the end, the fans will only be optimistic about Episode VII if their is anything to be hopeful about. With George having meetings with JJ and Kathy, their are reasons to remain hopeful. 

sábado, 28 de septiembre de 2013

Heroes and Scoundrels

When Star Wars was first introduced to audiences in 1977, it became a worldwide phenomenon. Many have argued looking back that it's success is largely due to the fact that it came at the right time. The United States had recently come defeated out of the Vietnam War, and was facing a scandal out of its previous president. The country was in a state of despair. Episode IV gave the public a sense of hope, and most importantly, it gave a group of heroes with a strong sense of morality: the Jedi. 

The Jedi ever since first being introduced, have been the central core to the saga, even if their appearance in Episodes IV-VI wasn't as prominent as in I-III. And part of the reason why they remain so iconic and important to the franchise, has to do with the image they represent: that of the moral hero. 
Part of the appeal of characters like James Bond, Boba Fett, Jack Sparrow and Han Solo has to do with the fact that they reflect a broken aspect of ourselves. When Bond was first introduced in the Ian Fleming novels, he was a guy who could sleep with a woman and later murder her and have no remorse over it (I'm talking about the character of the novels). In some ways, Bond was no better than the bad guy he was fighting against. And this is of course, part of why the audience like the character. 
Bond...James Bond
We live in a society in which several young kids are being raised by the television and the Internet, due to the fact that their parents are too busy working a full time job. Most of these times, these kids grow up to idolize the celebrities that were popular at the time. And it's a real shame, because as Joseph Campbell described it very well in The Power of Myth, ''One of the many distinctions between the celebrity and the hero, is that one lives only for self while the other acts to redeem society.'' This isn't to say that Han Solo is a celebrity per say, but that he is more of a selfish character...at least in most of A New Hope.

However, every now and then a hero becomes noticed by the popular culture, and makes us all realize and see the good within us as humans. Gandhi did that in the 40's. Martin Luther King did so in the 60's, and more recently Pope Francis has been receiving high level of appraisal and respect outside of the Catholic Church. In today's popular films, few characters embody the ideal moral hero better than the Jedi.

That isn't to say that the Jedi are perfect, by any means. But in several ways, they serve as great role models to both young boys and girls alike, in a time in which the world's traditional morals are more desperately needed than ever.

And  I'm pretty sure that more than one Star Wars fan has previously or still, wishes to have been mentored by the likes of Obi-Wan, Yoda and Qui-Gon, because ultimately, many of us wish to become wiser and see the best that is within our own potential. In several ways, I find that to be the reason for Obi-Wan's popularity, and one of the reasons why he is my favorite character: We get to see him mature from a young man into a wise old master. Few other film characters get that type of development, and it's one of the things I hope we can get from an old Luke Skywalker in Episode VII.

So, at the end of the day, even if scoundrels like Han Solo and Boba Fett are popular among the fans, their is a reason why the Jedi are the central part of Star Wars. 

sábado, 7 de septiembre de 2013

Paul F McDonald ''The Star Wars Heresies''

Paul F McDonald's famous blog titled The Star Wars Heresies is a very interesting take on exploring the philosophy, religion and mythology of Star Wars, and is one of the best strongholds over Episodes I, II and III. He is the primary reason I have taken an interest in reading Joseph Campbell. Now several of you can take their first step into a larger world, by purchasing his newly released book.

Here you can purchase the book:

jueves, 5 de septiembre de 2013

In the True Defense of George Lucas

A common ''myth'' that the hateboys have fabricated over the years is about how George Lucas was responsible for absolutely everything in the prequels and how he somehow did nothing in the originals. This is obviously one of the biggest lies manufactured by the Hateboy Nation, and goes to show the level of insanity and immature behavior these haters have. However, it should be clear that not all of them support the same views when it comes to GL and the prequels. One of them being the notorious Mike Ryan from the Huffington Post. 

In his post titled Star Wars Episode VII: In Defense of George Lucas, Ryan starts off with the ''myth'' that it's somehow contrarian to defend GL these days. He further explains below: 

First, let's back up a second. When I say this is "odd," I mean that if we did a smash cut (or, since we're talking about Star Wars, a screen wipe) from 1983 to today, this sort of attitude would seem preposterous. Of course, 30 years have passed, which is quite enough time for a director to erode his relationship with a fanbase -- and, yes, that's exactly what Lucas accomplished with the prequels.

Let's settle down a couple of things here. George Lucas has not eroded his relationship with the fanbase. If I recall correctly from Celebration VI in Orlando, and the various public appearances he's had over the years, George has been very warmly received by the crowds how have seen him. Sure, Lucas's relationship with the hateboys is one that eroded a looong time ago, but that is more related with the lack of decency these people tend to have than anything else.  Not to mention the fact that with Episodes I, II, III  and the Clone Wars, Star Wars has gained a new generation of fans, most of which have a high degree of respect and admiration of GL. Oh, and did I mention the complaints of people who where clearly worried when George wasn't going to be very involved in the upcoming Episode VII? People who asked if it would be Star Wars without George Lucas? Exactly.

Now if you keep reading his article, you notice that Ryan has at least some level of respect for Lucas. He clearly sees him as a ''big ideas man'' responsible for the story that came to happen in Empire and Jedi. His view that George is a great storyteller however, crashes if you remember well something Ryan wrote back in June titled Jedi Are Boring. He ended this article with this outrageous statement:

The original Star Wars movies worked because we related with Han, Luke and Leia. It's impossible to relate with a Jedi. Also, who would even want to relate to a Jedi? They're boring.

So on one hand Mike Ryan says that George is a good storyteller but on the other he pretty much says that the most important characters of the Star Wars saga are boring? Of course, both ideas are completely contradictory to each other. What this illustrates the most is the truth of why the hateboys hate the prequels and in turn, aren't really fans of Star Wars:

The truth is plain and simply, the hateboys had a very different view in mind about what Episodes I, II and III would look like. However, once the films were released and they didn't live up to those expectations, ideas, dreams or whatever, they were disappointed. So in the course of the years, they have ransacked every argument in the book, while not realizing that the real problem is themselves, not a filmmaker who has become one of the most financially successful and most influential in the past 30 years.
So, in The True Defense of the Maker and Master himself, George Lucas, we can say that he has created a very popular space opera that has spanned 6 films, countless books,comics and games, and a very popular TV Show. Not only is he highly influential as a filmmaker and a storyteller, but also he is widely admired by the fans. At least, by the ones who truly love Star Wars.

P.S.: Oh, and by the way, at the end of Mike Ryan's Defense of George Lucas article, I checked to see the comments section, which typically attracts hateboys like how a shark is attracted to blood. However, to my very delightful surprise, Bryan Young stood up for the prequel supporters, and posted this comment:
Thanks Bryan for the support!! We need more of this type of defense in hateboy territory!!

lunes, 2 de septiembre de 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch in Episode VII?

Sorry friends that I haven't written in a very long time, but moving into starting college life in the US from another country isn't exactly the easiest thing to do. Now that I have some free time on Labor Day, let's talk about Star Wars. 

Of all the rumors that have been circulating, in particular when it comes to casting and the return of dead characters, most have zero to zero chance of being true, in particular when they all come from Latino Review. In all honesty, who in their crazy minds thinks that Zac Efron has any chance of appearing in Episode VII? And what is the deal with the return of dead characters? People need to stop obsessing over the least common denominator. 

However, one interesting rumor that has surfaced as of recently is that Benedict Cumberbatch will be part of the cast of the next Star Wars film, and is supposedly one of the ''big casting announcements'' Lucasfilm has yet to make. Now, does this have any chance of being true? 


Let's remember that the casting call needed an actor in his 30's who would be an ''intellectual''. Several fans have wanted Cumberbatch to play as Thrawn, but since the EU won't be visited this time, it's extremely unlikely Thrawn will make an appearance. Benedict fits in the role of the ''intellectual'' very well, as we know from his appearance as Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek: Into the Darkness

Wait, what did I just say? 

You heard correct folks. JJ has already worked with Cumberbatch in the past, so on that part of the show, it's possible he might be cast again now that he knows the actor. But on the other hand, having an actor who played in the Sci-Fi franchise of Star Trek making an appearance in it's space opera rival isn't exactly the most wise thing to do. So, who knows?

UPDATE!! UPDATE!!: Their is no truth in the rumor, according to a representative of the actor. This is the statement: 
"There is no truth to the rumour Benedict has been cast in Star Wars."

lunes, 12 de agosto de 2013

BREAKING NEWS: George Lucas and Mellody Hobson welcome Baby

Friends, something great has happened in the life of the maker and master, George Lucas, as he and his wife welcome a newborn baby, daughter Everest Hobson Lucas. The girl was born Friday and delivered by a surrogate, the Huffington Post claimed. GL himself has already 3 adopted children. 
All I can say is congratulations to George and Mellody on this wonderful news, and on the new addition to the Lucas family!

jueves, 1 de agosto de 2013

Shadows of the What?

Well friends, something deeply disturbing has emerged from the innermost depths of holy hell. A torturing concept destined to upset and terrorize the very sanity of some of the most well inversed and intelligent Star Wars fans. 
If anybodies fear for what could be the villain of Episode VII has come to an excruciatingly painful realization, it's probably my own. The curious thing is that most Star Wars folks didn't even raise an eyebrow when Rogue Leaders: The Story of Lucas Arts written by Rob Smith and with a foreword by none other than the man himself, GL, was released in November of 2008/ containing in it a page of all the Star Wars cancelled titles for video games included none other than STAR WARS EPISODE VII: SHADOWS OF THE SITH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The folks over at EGM Now.com gave us their theory of the existence behind that very disturbing video game title:

''The book contains logos for 20 Star Wars titles that were in development at the studio, including a tie-in for Episode VII subtitled Shadows of the Sith–I’d guess the original plan was to continue the franchise via games before Disney bought the rights.''

 I'm not buying this. It would be completely moronic to continue the Episodic franchise in a series of video games rather than do them in film. I am 99.99999% certain that George Lucas himself would have never, ever gone this way. Besides, all evidence points out that George Lucas only gave the go-ahead to do Episode VII, after he discussed with Bob Iger the idea of selling his company, meaning it happened AFTER May of 2011. So indeed, this discovery is very strange and in some ways, it could lead to a dark thought.

What surprises me the most is not that this list was published 5 years ago and nobody has been talking about it, but that now that it's been released, nobody close to Lucasfilm is asking for confirmation, of whether or not it is the title of Episode VII.

The only reasonable explanation really is to think that this, along with the other cancelled games from Lucas Arts, were all a bunch of brainstorming ideas for what potentially became The Force Unleashed. And at least, that is what the Darth Maul, Han Solo and Vader games are. So it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that the Episode VII game was some sequel to Shadows of the Empire talking place after Jedi, and some dude in Lucas Arts gave it the pretentious title of ''Episode VII'' before GL smashed the project, or someone smashed it, and they went off with The Force Unleashed. It makes absolutely no sense for Lucas Arts to be working on a video game 4 YEARS before the film was even getting created in story treatments and scripts. As far as I'm aware of, that's not how things work in the film industry.

Now, If my theory proves to be wrong, then I have literally no clue as to what future Star Wars faces in the big screen. And if I follow my gut feeling, it tells me it's nasty. 

domingo, 28 de julio de 2013

Top 100 Star Wars Characters 10-1

As I said way back in February when I was starting this list, their would be characters you think deserved to show up that never made it, and characters you thought didn't deserve to be in it. However, as a very wise man once said, all good things must come to an end. So with you, the Top 10 Star Wars Characters. At least, for now. 

domingo, 21 de julio de 2013

Top Star Wars Characters 20-11

These are the secondary most important characters of the Star Wars saga.

Episode VII: Five Burning Questions

These are the burning questions that have been raised due to the fact that Episode VII is getting released  in 2015. Mind you, for anyone who isn't a die-hard Star Wars fan, that this film release is a paradigm-shifting act. It will potentially change the way we see Star Wars, forever. 

1. Is their any story worth telling? 

The truth is, the biggest question we all have as Star Wars fans, is, what more can be left to tell after the ending of Return of the Jedi? Anakin was redeemed, Luke had become a Jedi, The Empire was gone, The Sith were destroyed, Han and Leia were in love and the Ewoks were happy. One of the few ties that were left unanswered is how Yoda told Luke ''to pass on what he had learned''. Which brings to the next question...

2. How will Luke's New Jedi Order be? 

Essentially, one of the few things we can be almost certain about Episode VII, is that in the 30-40 years since ROTJ, Luke must have founded a New Jedi Order. He probably restored it at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, and went off to train Jedi, possibly Leia being the first. Obviously a couple of questions related to this do come up: How many Jedi will the new Order have? My guess would be that if Luke trains his students the ''rushed'' way he was trained, we might have anywhere from 20-30 Jedi. But who knows? Another question that remains is, how will the new Order be in comparison with the old one, and how will it act in relation with the Republic? Which leads us to...

3. Will Leia be a Jedi or a Senator? 

Luke told Leia in Episode VI that in time she would learn to use the Force like him. One would think that the first student Luke would have trained would have been Leia. At the same time, it raises question to the whole Attachment issue of the Jedi Order, and whether or not it will exist in this New Order. A primal assumption everyone has made is that Leia and Han Solo will be married in Episode VII. If the Celibacy part of the Order is kept, you can guarantee that Leia will be portrayed as a politician. Though if she is a senator, it does raise the question: Senator of what planet? 

4. Will Luke be Married? 

George Lucas stated back in an interview in 2008 that in his vision, Luke never got married. If Lucas didn't change his mind since then, we can assume that the Celibacy part of the Jedi Order was maintained. If however, Lucas changed his mind at some point, then it raises the question: Who will be Miss Skywalker? Will it be Mara Jade, or someone else? And if it is Mara Jade, who will portray her? One thing I know for sure is that, it would be a pretty big change if a Skywalker isn't the protagonist of the next trilogy. 

5. Who Will Be The Main Villain? 

The success or failure of this trilogy rests primarily on this main crux, primarily because if handled wrongly it can lead to horrible decisions. We can't have the Sith back as the villains of the next trilogy: It's too problematic on several fronts. And besides, we already saw them take over the galaxy and be destroyed, so their is little purpose in seeing them again. As I have said before, a third faction of force-users is needed. The spiritual and religious part of Star Wars needs to be respected above all else, and it would be excruciatingly painful to see it slip by. 

These, folks, are perhaps the most important questions I have, and several of you might have, as we move forward. 

domingo, 14 de julio de 2013

American Graffiti

American Graffiti is a coming of age film made by George Lucas after he had a bet with friend and mentor, Francis Ford Coppola. The film was released on August 11th, 1973 and was based on George Lucas's life as a teenager growing up in Modesto, California in the early 60's. 
The film stars Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Paul Le Mat, Cindy Williams, Charles Martin Smith, Wolfman Jack and Harrison Ford in a cameo. The main characters are all friends who live in Modesto, as the film details their lives during an entire night, as they party, have fights, and cruise in their cars, the way life was for young folks back in the 60's. 

It's curious to note that three of the main characters in the film where all based on George Lucas at different points throughout his early teenager/young adult life. George may not have been the most popular kid back in the day, but he later went off to become a hell of a car racer. His passion was at one point so big that he wanted to go into car racing professionally, but a terrible accident at some point in his life ended his dream. Some of that passion must have lived with him, since in all of his films, some type of race occurs, be it a normal car race, a Podrace or a Trench Run. It's even known that Lucas went recently to a Formula 1 race in Monaco. 

The importance of American Graffiti, looking back on it in retrospect, is to show that whoever you were in High School: be the popular kid, the normal boy, or the underdog, won't determine your success later in life. If you need anymore evidence, simply look at the maker himself. This theme is also evident in the Star Wars films, as both Luke and Anakin came from humble origins, and were underdog's that became heroes once they embarked in an adventure. 

I personally think that the film is a fun one to watch, that also has a message of ''simplicity'': Life was better in the old days, when it revolved around small towns and everyone knew each other, and when young folks would listen to rock and roll and cruise in their cars because their was nothing better to do. Nowadays the world is a much more complex place, where popular culture has enforced a ''mono-culture'' in film, music and other media that seeks to get young people to identify with vice, misogyny and materialism over their traditional values. 

George Lucas had proven to the world that he could make a successful film that the public would love. He had the vision and the capacity to make Star Wars. The rest, you could say, is history.

Rating: 8.5/10

viernes, 5 de julio de 2013

Possible Planets and Locations for Episode VII

It seems that it has been forever since I have made any speculation post regarding Episode VII. An important one of course, and one I seem to have missed at some point, is the speculation regarding what planets and locations we will see in the next Star Wars films. Here are some possible places we might see:
1. Coruscant
If their is one planet that must return in the next films, it's Coruscant. The capital of the Republic and the Empire, which was encompassed of one big city, was very prominent in Episodes I,II and III. In Episodes IV and V it's completely absent and in Episode VI we only see it at the very end, when everybody is cheering over the destruction of the Empire, statues of Palpatine are torn down and stormtroopers are incapable of stopping the masses of happy people. We barely saw it in the later films, due to the fact that most of the action took place in the Outer Rim, where the Rebels where building up their armies and recruiting star systems to support their cause. However, assuming that the Republic has been restored and fully functional in Episode VII, we will likely see Coruscant again. It would be nice to see some changes to the city compared to what we saw previously, as well as bring back major points of importance, like the Jedi Temple and the Galactic Senate. So, if anything, Coruscant is a given in the next trilogy. And to all the haters who can't stand CGI: If you don't think the picture above looks realistic, their is something wrong with your eyes and you better go see a doctor. 
2. Tatooine
Despite the fact that Tatooine is a backwater planet located in the Outer Rim, it's by far, the single most important planet in the Star Wars saga, due to the fact that it's where Anakin and Luke Skywalker were raised and the place where the Jabba the Hutt lives and appears in 5 of the 6 films. It's hard to see how Tatooine could be involved in the next trilogy in particular if Luke's kids are raised in Coruscant. But, you never know. The only requirement would be to go to Tunisia. 
3. Naboo
Coruscant, Tatooine and Naboo are the 3 most important planets in the six films. Naboo would be the third in that ranking, since it's the home planet of Padme Amidala, mother of Luke and Leia and wife to Anakin. Naboo features prominently in Episodes I and II and briefly in III and VI. Whether or not we see it again in Episode VII and beyond is anyone's guess. The same problem exists here as it does with  Tatooine in the sense that it's difficult to see how it could be involved. I would imagine however, that Luke and Leia might have visited the planet at one point, in order to find out more about their mother. 
4. Dathomir
I'm simply throwing in a wild guess here, but if the Nightsisters do turn out to be the villains of Episode VII, then I guarantee you we will see the red planet Dathomir once again, as seen in The Clone Wars. 
5. New and Unknown Planets
In every Star Wars film we are always introduced to at least one new and exciting planet. My bet on Episode VII is that we will likely see more than one new planet. We may likely also see some familiar places from either TCW or the films, planets like Mandalore, Bespin and Felucia. Some rumors have indicated that partial filming may take place in Ireland, which would allow for us to see a new and distinct planet. At the same time, I am 99.99999999% certain that Coruscant WILL appear in the next film. 

miércoles, 3 de julio de 2013

On JJ Abrams and Episode VII: Take 2

The last time I talked about JJ Abrams as director of Episode VII, I was quite optimistic in his delivery of the film, saying that he understood that their children related to the newer Star Wars films, and even if he didn't like everything about them, he at least respected the films and George himself. I forgot to mention that time about how Abrams probably had not that much saying as far as the film went, since George and Michael Arndt probably figured out how most of the film would turn out long before he came on board. 
Since the picture above pretty much shows we shouldn't worry too much about him, at the same time, it's important to take notice that until very recently, George Lucas hadn't really commented that much on JJ being on board as director. Some of the news of last month point out that he is optimistic: 

“Yeah, J.J.’s a great director and we’re friends. I think he understands the whole thing and how it works.
“And if he doesn’t, Kathy [Kennedy] will keep it straight.” he added with a laugh.
As for his own involvement in the next three films, George said he won’t be doing “much.”
“If they need help or anything, they’ll give me a call,” he said. “Otherwise, I’m off on my own.”
Additionally, the legendary director said that no matter how good “Episode VII” is, there will always be critics.
“No matter how you do it, it’s a complicated cultural icon. Therefore you’re always going to be in trouble no matter what you do,” he said. “So, the best thing you can do is just plow forward and try to do the best story you can.”

What this reveals is that George's involvement in the next film will be somewhere around his involvement in Clone Wars in the sense that he gave the basic layout of the story and the rest of the crew figured it out on their own. 

It still however begs for the question of how the film will be. It would certainly anger a lot of fans if the hateboy of Simon Pegg lands his way in a role in this film. And I'm not sure about other Star Trek actors landing roles in Star Wars. As much as several of them are good, they wouldn't really work for this type of film (not to mention that JJ has to really lower down the pacing of his films). 

Besides the point it's important to note that the most notorious hateboys in the Internet, including Simon Pegg, Damon Lindelof, Mike Stoklasa (the guy behind Red Letter Media) and Mike Ryan from the Huffington Post have all been lauding about how JJ will bring back Star Wars and other BS, when these guys will likely hate this film like they hated their predecessors. As George said it before, no matter how good Episode VII is, their will always be a bunch of moronic trolls over in the Internet nitpicking over every freakin' second of the film. So I wouldn't be surprised if by 2015, these guys turn their backs on JJ and hopefully leave Star Wars for good. 

As far as what JJ brings to the table in the next Star Wars film, it's difficult to predict at this point. Not enough news has leaked about Episode VII since January when Abrams was hired as director. But now that were getting closer to shooting, I believe that we may find out more about the film, and what exactly JJ intends to do as a director. 

martes, 2 de julio de 2013

THX 1138

THX 1138 was the directorial debut of one of the greatest filmmakers of our time, George Lucas. His mentor and friend Francis Ford Coppola helped produce the film, which was developed from Lucas' student film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 43B which he made in 1967 while attending University of Southern California's film school. The film was the first view to the world to what George Lucas was capable of. The film was released on March 11, 1971.
The film itself is set in a dystopian world, in which the population is controlled by android police officers and mandatory use of drugs that suppress emotions and sexual desire. The main character of the film, THX 1138, stops using his medication for some time, and has intimate relations with her roommate. He is eventually imprisoned as the government discovers this, in an area that resembles a white limbo world. He escapes with the help of SRT, and the android police goes off in an all out chase against them.

George Lucas is very clearly influenced in this film by none other than Arthur Lipsett's short 1963 abstract film, 21-87 (shown below). The meticulous editing and combination of audio and visual montage was both groundbreaking and influential, in particular when it comes to this film, and many of Lucas's future projects. An echo of a phrase in this film even inspired George Lucas in the creation of the Force in the Star Wars films:
"Many people feel that in the contemplation of nature and in communication with other living things, they become aware of some kind of force, or something, behind this apparent mask which we see in front of us, and they call it God."
It's also important to note that other things that show up in THX 1138 are clearly seen in the Star Wars films, in particular the vehicle chases. The end sequence of THX 1138 has a car chase, which clearly shows George's passion for automobile racing. The oppressive stance of the government shown in the film is in a lot of ways similar to the Galactic Empire in Star Wars, showing George's views of fighting the system that treats us like machines and threatens to destroy our humanity. And perhaps most notorious of all the similarities, is the sunset the main character sees at the end of the film, much like the sunset Luke Skywalker sees at the beginning of A New Hope. It wasn't until several years later when Seth MacFarlane interviewed George Lucas that it was revealed that the sun represents being outside the box. The sunset is the essence of change, and the people who are staring at the sunset are going from a life of inside the box which is basically, the same every day, to the unknown. Their running either to a nightmare or to a new dawn and they get a second chance.

George Lucas with THX 1138 showed the world that he was a guy with a wild imagination, a brilliant storyteller and an original thinker who seeked to defy the status quo and change the world. While the film suffers by being boring at parts and being somewhat difficult to follow through, it's still an innovative breakthrough. He wasn't George Lucas yet; he was discovering himself and seeing what worked and what didn't. But it was still the first time he made himself known to the world.

Rating: 8/10

Top 100 Star Wars Characters 40-31

These characters, as we move forward, have more and more influence to the events of the saga as a whole. 
To see previous parts of the list, click here: 

martes, 25 de junio de 2013

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is the epic conclusion to the greatest film franchise of all time. At least, until 2015 comes around. George Lucas had previously planned for Episode VI to be a mere continuation of the saga, having the episode be a bittersweet ending that would lead in to VII, VIII and IX. However, he had a change of heart at one point, which led to Gary Kurtz be kicked out of the producers seat. Kurtz has since then been on a vendetta against George, accusing him of being ''greedy'' and in favor of the marketing of toys instead of the films. In all honesty, over the years George has proven to be anything BUT a greedy man, which only shows that Kurtz accusations and the hateboys efforts have been a colossal waste of time.  
Anyway, going back to Episode VI. At this point, Palpatine is near final victory in his quest to purge the galaxy from adherents of the light side. Now that the second Death Star has been in construction for a few years, and is reaching near completion, he has personally allowed for the Bothan spies to know the location of the Death Star, in order to lure the Rebel fleet in a battle that will destroy them, and seduce Luke Skywalker into the dark side, therefore replacing the ill and robotic Darth Vader. Palpatine has always achieved his evil and diabolical goals in the past, why should it be any different now? 

Darth Vader in the meantime, has every intention of joining with his son in order to defeat the Emperor.  Both of them have the Sith Rule of Two in mind, but the difference is, that while Darth Sidious demonic soul only wants to finally achieve victory for the Sith and the dark side, Vader is beginning to feel conflicted in the inside regarding what he should do. 

On the other side of the galaxy, while Admiral Ackbar and Mon Mothma are preparing themselves against the decisive fight over the control of the galaxy, Leia, Luke, Lando, Chewie and the droids are over at Tatooine figuring out how to free Han Solo from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt. Lando entered firstly undercover, and later the droids would follow as a way to see if Jabba would give Han. After he refused and kept the droids, Leia had to enter disguised as a bounty hunter, with Chewbacca as a ''prisoner'', in order to free Han. Leia would later take the droids and Chewie, with the help of Lando. Since that also failed, Luke Skywalker, as a near trained Jedi had to come and bargain by force with Jabba. Luke then falls into a pit and faces the monstrous rancor, only to end up killing him as he chokes with the door. Han, Luke and Chewbacca are all sentenced to death, to be eaten by the Sarlacc.

Once R2-D2 releases Luke's lightsaber, and Luke uses it, we clearly see that in the interim between Empire and Jedi, Luke has gone into training of his own. The EU goes off to reveal that Luke went into Obi-Wan's home in Tatooine and uncovered a journal that allowed Luke to continue his training, and had instructions into the construction of a lightsaber. Boba Fett dies in the most comedic way possible, something undermining for such a serious character. Jabba also dies at the hands of slave Leia.  Leia, Han, Lando and Chewie go to reunite with the rest of the Rebel fleet. Luke meanwhile, goes to Dagobah in order to fulfill his promise to Yoda.

Yoda on the other hand, is very ill at this point, facing death at the age of 900 years. He talks with Luke for one last time, confirming Vader's parentage to Luke, and reminding him that he is the last of the Jedi. After Yoda vanishes, Luke talks to Obi-Wan's Force Ghost. He gives us the famous A Certain Point of View line, reveals that Luke is Leia's sister, and says that he must defeat Vader and the Emperor in order to be a full fledged Jedi. Luke however, believes he can redeem his father.

Luke then arrives and meets with the other Rebels, in order to plan their battle. The Big Three along with Chewie and the droids must go into the Sanctuary Moon of Endor in a stolen Imperial Ship in order to infiltrate the shield that is protecting the Death Star and destroy it. Along the way in Endor, they meet with the Ewoks, a strange group of beings all the size of a 6 year-old. The Rebels ally with the Ewoks in order to infiltrate the shield generator. In the night before the epic battle, Luke must go into the Death Star, and fulfill his destiny as a Jedi. Before he goes however, Luke tells Leia about not only her parentage, but their relation as siblings. Leia is obviously affected by this, as Luke leaves to the unknown.

The Battle of Endor begins the next day. Admiral Ackbar and Lando Calrissian using the Millenium Falcon are ready to lead the Alliance into victory. As they realize that the shield generator is still up, they are forced to attack the Imperial Fleet first. Han, Leia and Chewie lead the fight with the Ewoks to infiltrate the shield generator and destroy it. Neither fight goes well at first, since the Death Star destroys two Rebel cruisers, and the Ewoks have several casualties.

Palpatine meanwhile, is in his tower on top of the Death Star, seeking to turn Luke into the dark side, telling him that the only way to save his friends and family from dying in battle is to join him, much like how his father was turned decades back. Luke faces uncertainty, and despite the fact that he can overpower his father in combat, he isn't sure of what to do. Darth Vader, feels even more conflicted as the story progresses.

Han Solo, then with the help of Chewie, figures out how to trick the Empire and enters the shield generator. After implanting some bombs, the shield gets destroyed, and Lando along with Wedge and other Rebel pilots charge deep into the heart of the Death Star, in order to destroy it. Darth Vader meanwhile, discovers that Leia is Luke's sister after reading his mind. Once Vader threatens to turn Leia to the dark side, Luke reacts violently, defeating his father in confrontation. and caling the attention of Sidious. Sidious orders Luke to kill his father, and finally embrace his apprenticeship to the Order of the Sith Lords. Luke looks in disgust to see that Darth Vader had a robotic hand, much like how he also has one. He realizes in horror, how his vision in the cave of Dagobah of becoming another Darth Vader is becoming more and more real. He then rejects the dark side of the Force and declares himself a Jedi, like his father before him.

Palpatine gets upset to realize that the ultimate apprentice won't turn, so he decides to electrocute him with Force lightning. As Luke Skywalker stands on the door of death, his father realizes that Luke is the only person who ever loved him that has a chance of being saved. That's when Darth Vader returns to being Anakin Skywalker, and throws Emperor Palpatine down a reactor shaft, destroying the Sith Lords once and for all. Of course, Anakin's sacrifice comes at a high cost, having his own lung respirator largely damaged. He tells Luke to take his mask off, in order to look at him with his own eyes. Once that happens, Anakin says his final words to Luke, before he dies.

Luke manages to escape the Death Star on time, as Wedge and Lando blow up the Death Star on time. Han and Leia declare their love for each other, while Luke burns up his father in a Jedi-type funeral. As we see, various planets around the galaxy, including Naboo, Coruscant and Tatooine celebrate the victory of the Rebel Alliance over the Empire, and the restoration of democracy into the galaxy. As the Rebels celebrate on Endor, Luke notices the force ghosts of Yoda, Obi-Wan and a younger Anakin Skywalker. The Jedi have returned.

Return of the Jedi is by far my favorite Star Wars film. It's a great way of ending a mythic saga that tells us in the end that good will prevail over evil, that their is a transcendence beyond the universal tragedy of man, one of redemption and hope, that lives on in many of the worlds mythic traditions. Star Wars brings up that concept, and no better example exists of that than Return of the Jedi.

Finest Moments of the Film:

1. The entire sequence in Jabba's Palace and the Sarlacc pit. It has always been one of my favorites.

2. The arrival of the Emperor, the death of Yoda, and Obi-Wan's conversation with Luke.

3. The Space Battle of Endor, including the ''It's a Trap'' moment.

4. The Fight Between Darth Vader, Luke and the Emperor.

5. Vader's redemption and his death. Makes me tear up every time.

6. The Victory Celebration.

Rating: 10/10

lunes, 24 de junio de 2013

George Lucas gets Married

This past Saturday, Star Wars creator George Lucas got married to Mellody Hobson in Skywalker Ranch. All I can say is congratulations to George, I hope he married the person he truly loved, and I hope he keeps some eye on Star Wars and enjoys retirement.

May The Force Be With You. Always.

miércoles, 19 de junio de 2013

Casting Call from Episode VII Confirmed

Bryan Young from Big Shiny Robot and Eric Geller from TheForce.Net have officially confirmed after contact with a Lucasfilm employee that the casting call the website Schmoes Know leaked is the one from Episode VII. It's one of the very few rumors confirmed to be true of the film. 

Let's take a look at it: 
Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2013, 9:00 AM Pacific
Feature Film
Walt Disney Pictures/LucasFilm/Bad Robot
Executive Producer: Tommy Harper
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk
Director: JJ Abrams
Writers: Michael Arndt
Casting Directors: April Webster, Alyssa Weisberg & Nina Gold
Casting Associate: Jessica Sherman
Casting Assistant: Rachel Dill
Start Date: Early 2014
Location: UK
[YOUNG MAN] Early 20s.  Not classically handsome.  He is witty and smart.  Physically fit.
[MAN] Late 20s.  Physically fit, handsome and confident.
[YOUNG WOMAN] Late teens.  Physically fit, independent and with a great sense of humor.
[YOUNG WOMAN #2] Late teens.  Tough, smart, physically fit.
[MAN - 40S] Physically fit, military type.
[MAN - 30ISH] An intellectual.
[MAN - 65-75] Tough and opinionated.

We can infer a couple of things from this casting call:

1. The story treatments and characters likely came from George Lucas, given the fact that none of those descriptions fit already established EU characters.

2. The EU post ROTJ is essentially toast at this point. Not only do none of those descriptions fit the children of Leia and Han Solo, but also none of them fit the description of Luke's wife, Mara Jade. It is either because they have already cast an actor to play the role of Luke's wife (be Mara Jade or not), she is not going to show up in the film (either Luke is single or a widow) or her character's description is simply not on the casting call.

This is good news I guess, in the sense that the EU won't be a determining factor in the plot and story of the films, and is instead a product of George Lucas's imagination and possibly Michael Arndt. Here we only have 7 roles on a movie that will likely have as cast leading roles of anywhere from 12-19 actors. With Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford having all but confirmed their roles, and with the extremely likely possibility of the Droids being back, including maybe Peter Mayhew and Billy Dee Williams, we have approximately 14 characters in the can. So, from the looks of things, Mara Jade is not likely to be in the film.

However, their is one thing that worries me from the casting call, at it's the fact that their is no female role that could be considered for the Nightsisters. So it does beg the question: Who the hell is going to be the villain? A Sith can't be, or else you are destroying the purpose of the previous films. Something's got a give folks. At the same time, we don't know if they have already cast the female villain that would be the role of the head Nightsister.

Let's just hope that the villain issue is figured out, and that somehow, in someway, we are NOT throwing out the Prophecy of the Chosen One out the window. Or else, Michael Arndt and JJ have some explaining to do.

Does anyone have any idea of a male villain that could work and NOT be a Sith? Share your thoughts.