domingo, 22 de junio de 2014

Horror Beyond Imagination

Sorry folks that I have been off the bloggers chair for such a long time. Watching the World Cup has been taking away most of my free time and I haven't had the right motivations to finish my piece on the Jedi Order which will be coming on it's way. Anyway let's cut the meat. 

Of all the rumors that we have seen of Episode VII, their have been some stinky ones, but none that come close to my fears of what I absolutely DO NOT want to see in the upcoming Star Wars Trilogy. This one really came close to terrorize my sanity and at the time of release and made me not want to even care about the future of Star Wars anymore. But how can I divorce myself from that? It would be like ripping a hand or something out of me. Thankfully, a well known guy from a respected Star Wars website debunked the most chilling part of the rumor. 

But anyway, here is why I consider it to be Horror Beyond Imagination, the rumor that the Inquisitors would be the villains of Episode VII, that they would try to resurrect the Sith, and that our heroes are still the Rebel Alliance and have been fighting a war for 30 years: 

1. The Prophecy of the Chosen One: Folks the truth is that whether you like this prophecy or not, it's pretty much the equivalent of Holy Trinity importance in the Star Wars universe. It's what the first six films rotated around and what arguably two of the most important arcs of the Clone Wars one way or another touched upon. This is one of the most important cruxes of the story that very few fans really understand, one which the EU certainly never did and decided to massacre it by bringing back the Emperor as a clone, having another Sith Empire take over the galaxy centuries later and so forth. So please JJ, for the love of Yoda and the Whills, DON'T BRING THEM BACK!!!!! Reducing Anakin's sacrifice to merely saving his son reduces the importance of the hero as a World Redeemer and merely makes it a family drama. It really reduces the weight and the importance of the character's act. 

2. So, Luke isn't very strong in the Force?: Here's the thing. The war between the Rebels and the Empire took about 4 years to be, in which they managed to destroy both Darth Sidious and Darth Vader, two of the most powerful beings in the galaxy. Are you seriously telling me that Luke Skywalker, a fully trained Jedi Knight, couldn't defeat a group of Force users that where probably weaker than Vader? AFTER 30 FREAKIN" YEARS? Talk about a Plot Hole the size of Jabba the Hutt. Talk about lazy and weak storytelling. 

3. What the hell was everyone Celebrating For?: So yeah, we all know that at the end of Episode VI a bunch of planets (including none other than Coruscant!) where celebrating the demise of the Empire, going so far as to bring down the statues of the Emperor and easily get rid of whatever Imperial  security was stopping them at the time. Sure, it's fairly possible the Empire didn't fall entirely, but not even in the EU did they last that long. With the Balance of the Force, it would be nice to think that the galaxy is a more peaceful and enlightened place, where war isn't breaking the toll everywhere and planets aren't getting destroyed and such. Which brings me to my next point...

4. Star Wars IS NOT meant to be a dark and depressing story at the end of the day: So you know, the generation of people in the prequels faced in the end something worse than what they could have imagined. The galaxy was left in a state of despair. But despite the fact that Star Wars deals with complex and dark issues, Star Wars has always been about seeing the goodness in people and having an optimistic outlook on life. It's very telling that when compared to many blockbusters of the last decade, Star Wars is one of the few that is life-affirming and has been for the most part, family friendly entertainment with only one film having a PG-13 rating. And contrary to many people who are so obsessed with violence and darkness, I commend George Lucas for having done that, which is something Steven Speilberg identified as what made Star Wars special, mainly it's "marvelous innocence and naivete". Making Episode VII having an apocalyptic backdrop makes the accomplishments by Luke and the Rebel Alliance worthless, ruins the beautiful ending of Jedi, and most of all isn't in accord with what Star Wars should be about. Having Luke's generation go through something just as bad, if not worse than the previous generation, is such a huge letdown and perhaps the biggest reason why the EU post Jedi was such a massive failure. 

5. OT 2.0 and so much for "Moral and Philosophical Issues": Basically what this argument amounts for is saying that if this rumor would be true, it would be basically another version of the Original films, with little regards to change the story or make it original, or even throw curveballs. It throws into question if Lucas's ideas for the Sequels are even being applied to this new series. Worst of all, it makes you think what exactly JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan have been doing for this past year writing that script, considering the fact that this plot is basically an EU fanfic. I mean, why would I even want to watch another film series about the Rebel Alliance destroying the Empire, when that is literally what we saw previously in the other trilogy?

The good news, as I guess could be said is that Eric Geller from The Force.Net was informed by an unnamed source (probably Pablo Hidalgo or someone at Lucasfilm) that the Inquisitors hell bent on resurrecting the Sith would not be the villains. However, it still leaves the Empire part of the story unknown. Several other rumors have been pointing towards the direction that an Empire, albeit changed stylistically and more modern, might be the villain of the film. This could only work within the context of the story if it is a) a New Empire inspired and created from the previous one or b) a Remnant that went into hiding until the time was right. So you know folks, let's not give up hope yet.

viernes, 25 de abril de 2014

The EU hits the fan

So yeah, now we know. It's been a year and a half now since the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, and finally, now finally they decide to let the bomb out and say that Episode VII will not be based on the EU post Jedi and it will tell a different story. Man are these guys now slow to reveal news. 

Of course this shouldn't come as surprising to anyone really, since any fan that is aware of the convoluted mess the EU has become knows that Episode 7 needs a clean slate, as it's stated here:

In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe. While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded. Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe. For example, elements of the EU are included in Star Wars Rebels. The Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Sienar Fleet Systems are story elements in the new animated series, and all these ideas find their origins in roleplaying game material published in the 1980s

One thing that isn't very clear is if novels like "Heir to the Empire" will now be considered as Alternative Universe or such, but it could potentially play out to be that way in the future. We also get it very clear here that film canon isn't something they are going to mess with, regardless of what some may think: 

While Lucasfilm always strived to keep the stories created for the EU consistent with our film and television content as well as internally consistent, Lucas always made it clear that he was not beholden to the EU. He set the films he created as the canon. This includes the six Star Wars episodes, and the many hours of content he developed and produced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. These stories are the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align.

Needless to say it will be interesting to see the upcoming novels that will be designed in this new EU, which seems to be much better handled and much more interesting than how it used to be. Some of the new novels, which just look plain fantastic, are here below: 
I will post an upcoming new post on everything Rebels sometime in May when I have more free time of my own. In the meantime, I will post an opinion piece going deep into the Jedi, in order to discard some critics out there. 

The Tarkin novel will be in the vein of Darth Plagueis, and the Heir to the Jedi is a continuation of the Empire and Rebellion series apparently. And man, does the Lords of the Sith novel look epic. I've never been more excited for the EU myself. 

PS: Whoever thought A New Dawn was going to be the title of Episode VII can now put the nail on the coffin on that one.

To clarify the canonicity of the EU, Star Wars Books, a web page run by Del Rey, posted the following comments:

 I think the importance of this cannot be overstated so I wanted to repost it here:
"we mentioned this in another post - to be clear, there is no "new EU." There is only the established EU--hereafter known as Star Wars Legends, and the main, canon storyline, which includes the films, The Clone Wars and Rebels television shows, and the new novels beginning this September with A NEW DAWN. It sounds like a minor thing to point out, but it's significant in the fact that even the term "EU" always meant it was outside the main, whereas now, all new material will be part of a unified whole."
So note, ALL new books coming out, starting with John Jackson Miller's next book, are NOT EU. (The same goes for the upcoming comics from Marvel, any video games, etc). Del Rey and LFL (and Marvel, etc) are working together. As such, the upcoming books are NOT a "new EU" but, rather, all canon, along with the 6 movies, the Clone Wars TV show, and Rebels.
Yes, it is a continuity reboot, so to speak, removing all previous EU from canon (unless they want to bring it back in some manner--it's all there for them to choose from) but it DOES elevate these new books in a way we've not seen before.

viernes, 7 de marzo de 2014

Clovis Arc Review

If any of you have been sitting under a rock, or have been in a far away land disconnected from civilization, then you should know that all 13 Episodes of the Clone Wars Season 6 are available for streaming in Netflix. And let me say, they look gorgeous. If you wish to have a sneek peek, then by all means, be my guest and watch the trailer here:

As the Clovis arc is apparently set before the season finale events of Season 5, I decided to watch this arc first. So now, here is my review:


domingo, 2 de febrero de 2014

Hayden Christensen to return as Anakin?

Thanks to a blog dedicated to Hayden Christensen we managed to find out that Lucasfilm has been promoting the Saga via China's CCTV-6  channel in a special 30 minute interview with Hayden Christensen and Anthony Daniels (voice of C-3PO). George Lucas, JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and a couple of others make appearances in that and other videos that can be found in the link below: 

Besides the fact that it's great to see Hayden again talking about Star Wars, it also brings to mind a couple of other things that are going on inside the mind of Lucasfilm. As China has become an increasingly more important country in terms of box office results, this special was probably a move by Lucasfilm in order to bring the Chinese up to the hype of Episode VII and get those who haven't seen the films interested about it. And what better way to introduce Star Wars than to bring the main character into this special? 

Despite the fact that Hayden said his appearance in the upcoming film was "unlikely" let's remember also that JJ Abrams denied his involvement in Episode VII only to later appear as director 2 months how knows? 

So even if Hayden doesn't make an appearance in Episode VII, it's good to see that Lucasfilm hasn't forgotten of seeing the importance of the saga as a whole, despite what some may be led to believe. And who's to say that we won't see Hayden again as Anakin in the future? 

lunes, 20 de enero de 2014

The Lucasfilm Story Group

One thing that recently hit waves within fandom was a series of tweets that Leland Chee sent talking about how canon would be handled as things move forward. He basically said that what is determined as canon will now be decided by a group known as the Lucasfilm Story Group of which Leland and Pablo Hidalgo are members of. Now that George is retired it will seek to eliminate the hierarchy that currently exists and give everything the same level of canonicity. 

Of course, many interpretations could be given to this, and many people have already given ridiculous reactions to this set of news. But their are a couple of things we can know from the new Lucasfilm Story Group: 

1. Their creating some sort of master story plan: At the end of the day, what this all bogs down to is that most of the future content that comes out of Star Wars will be created by them. This will obviously eliminate the possibility of EU writers going into whatever direction they want, and giving us sometimes disastrous decisions in return. It will create a more cohesive version of the universe and one that doesn't fall apart the way the previous one did with its contradictions and over saturation. 

2. Various Unknowns will now determine the future of Star Wars canon: Let's face it, the problem with this is that many are uncomfortable with the idea of someone new dealing with Star Wars canon, but it's somewhat safe to assume that guys like Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg could be a part of the Story Group.  In that case, we can be sure that much of the integrity of Star Wars will be repsected far into the future. 

It's too early to tell how exactly this is going to impact everything but it's still safe to assume that a big chunk of the EU is going by the wayside (and some still are in denial about it). 

jueves, 9 de enero de 2014

The End of Dark Horse

As was predicted since the acquisition of Star Wars by Disney, Marvel is now going to be the helm of all comic books Star Wars starting in 2015. Dark Horse will be allowed to end it's current wave of comic books this year, and as stated by Big Shiny Robot, it is currently unclear if Disney will purchase the rights to reprint the comics made by Dark Horse.

Many fans were seemingly upset about the whole thing, despite the fact that it was something almost everyone saw coming (including myself). Personally, it's something that doesn't really affect me as a fan.

For starters, I never grew up reading comic books, and I was never really around them. Part of it has to do with my lack of interest in superheroes, but it also stems from the fact that Dark Horse failed to impress me as far as Star Wars is concerned. Not only because of the crappy storylines that were utterly predictable, boring and a 100% ignorance of the mythology of Star Wars (I'm looking right at you, Dark Empire and Legacy!) but also because the artwork was largely devoid of any resemblance to the characters of the films.
Of course, I'm the first to admit that I haven't seen everything these guys made with Star Wars, so there might be a few gems I'm not really aware of. One of the few things that Dark Horse published and that I have to say they've done a magnificent job with is the adaptation of George Lucas's first rough draft of Star Wars. Mike Mayhew's artwork is absolutely fantastic, and I think that they've really captured the essential origins of Star Wars before it even turned into a film.
However, before Dark Horse steps away from producing comics for Lucasfilm, they will produce a 4 part adaptation of what would have been the final Darth Maul arc of the Clone Wars. The series will be titled Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir and will likely end the arc of the character, once and for all. I still think that the fans should petition to see this adapted to the screen someday. Let's revive the Save the Clone Wars campaign folks!

We can conclude the end of Dark Horse by saying that the future of Star Wars comics remains uncertain (I've heard many complain about Marvel but like I said, I have little knowledge into anything superhero-related). But we can also be optimistic because the stories that will be adapted into comics will likely come from the Lucasfilm Story Group (more on that in a later post), so it's possible that we won't see weak stories developed into comics in the future.

jueves, 2 de enero de 2014

The Future of Indiana Jones

Jedi News reported in early December that Disney had managed to acquire the rights to the Indiana Jones franchise from Paramount, whom will still receive a financial participation from any Indy film that comes out in the future. 

This was accompanied later by a couple of statements from Alan Horn, Disney's Chairman, whom had the following to say about our favorite archaeologist. 

Disney's Alan Horn on Indiana Jones: "We need a story." Guesses it will be another two to three years before we see a fifth movie.
“There will surely be new Indiana Jones movies in the future, be they sequels or reboots, and when they do come to fruition, Lucasfilm will be producing.”

Around the same time, producer of the last 4 Indy films Frank Marshall gave an interested tweet saying that it was "A bit strange sitting in the Indiana Jones office in the Lucasfilm office on the Disney lot, but I'm sure I'll get used to it." 

Of course, it's anyone's guess what exactly this tweet means, but it's probably a safe bet to assume that Frank Marshall is back as producer of the next Indy film which is only a few years away. Having another adventure with Harrison Ford back in the hat would be a delight, but it also begs to question if Spielberg and Lucas will return as they are both essential to the franchise. 

Having a 5th Indy is honestly not surprising nor anything bad to be honest, since in the original contract with Paramount Pictures, we were meant to have 5 Indiana Jones films, so it would be nice for the dream to finally be fulfilled and have one final adventure with Harrison sporting the hat before he gets too old. 

What worries me though is the idea of a "reboot". A reboot in the James Bond style isn't desirable and is something that would have unimaginable fan backlash, given the hater culture that currently exists today. It would be almost impossible to accept another actor as Indy, given the fact that Harrison has been Indy for the best of 4 decades now, when each James Bond had only a decade to be Bond. So while James Bond is more open to interpretation, Indy is more tied to a particular time period and a particular actor.

The best way for a future for Indy under Disney would be to fill in the gaps between The Indiana Jones Chronicles and the films with different actor(s) and could be interpreted via animated series or films with younger actors. Even a series of Mutt Williams films would be possible, even if some folks may not like Shia LaBeouf. I know I do.