Earlier this week we saw the announcement of a new animated series, Star Wars Rebels. With Dave Filoni on board, joined by Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, Young Justice) and spin-off screenwriter Simon Kinberg and a new look based on the art of Ralph McQuarrie? Exciting times.
Here are my thoughts on why it’s a good thing:
The events of the past month have made it clear that Star Wars is undergoing a major shift, and it’s made a lot of fans question the Disney sale. And those words – the “Disney sale” – are part of the problem. The sale is over and done with. What we’re going through now is more jarring, and a lot more ambitious. We’re going through a Star Wars reboot.
Wednesday, it was announced that Disney is closing down LucasArts, the video game division of Lucasfilm. This news did not come as a surprise to me, nor likely to many who follow the storied company closely. In the process, an estimated 150 employees have been laid off, including friends and former colleagues of mine. To they who worked very hard everyday to bring interactive Star Wars entertainment to the fans, we wish the best of luck.
Like every aspect of Star Wars fandom, the pros and cons of this move will be hotly discussed and contested among fans, and perhaps I will join you when the wound has healed somewhat.
Meanwhile, for those who lament that they will never see cancelled LucasArts projects Star Wars: 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, might I suggest that you may one day have a rescuer in Dark Horse Comics?
I swear I’m not taking This Is Madness particularly seriously – some things I am happy to leave to Hondo – but let’s admit it: It’s particularly disheartening to see neither of the female characters made it past the second round.
Hell, Leia, perhaps the most recognizable Star Wars lady, could only muster 33% of the vote against a droid. Now I love Artoo, but come on: He’s a droid. And having no particular attachment to either character, I’m not sure what to think of Chewbacca’s victory over Ahsoka. I can understand favoring Chewbacca – I mean, who hates Chewbacca? – but Ahsoka is certainly one of the most developed characters (not female, just characters) to come out of The Clone Wars, and she still only got 35%.
So much for the theory of a Clone Wars surge, huh? Should we chalk Obi-wan’s victory over Han to Ewan McGregor fans who didn’t stick around for the other votes? (No cookies for you, Wantons.)
Does it even really matter? Of course not. It’s a goofy March Madness takeoff, nothing more. (And given that I generally have little patience for most March Madness ripoffs, I’m a little ashamed at even falling for this in the first place.) But it’s still a damn shame, and a key reminder: No matter how many t-shirts we buy, we’re not done yet, ladies.
Hondo Ohnaka here! I have cleverly hacked this blog to let you know that I will be the rightful winner of StarWars.com’s character bracket voting nonsense, ‘This Is Madness’. There are many people who think that others like that Han Solo or Darth Vader fellow will win this vote, but really – who is more liked by anyone in the galaxy? Me. Because everybody I’ve met tells me that they like me most. Sometimes I may be holding them for ransom, but I think they prefer to be my hostages than anyone else’s guests anyday.
And now you can join Team Hondo. And you don’t even need to give me money. Just follow my votes everyday in ‘This Is Madness’ and you can share in my victory. If you don’t know what any of this nonsense is, no problem – just follow what I tell you to do. It works for my men, and they mostly end up being rewarded. Well, the ones who survive. Go to StarWars.com/ThisIsMadness and vote the way Uncle Hondo wants you to.
Today, your choices are:
- Light Side: Han Solo versus Lando Calrissian. Now Solo is a good smuggler with his shoot-first style. But how good is he without his Wookie pet at his side? Lando has much more, as-you-say, swagger. And he does know how to dress. And looking good is half the battle. Choose Lando. If he wins, he may owe me a favor. Or at least a bottle of Necr’ygor Omic wine.
- Dark Side: Darth Vader versus General Grievous. Hmmm.. A cyborg asthmatic against a coughing cyborg. And both wear capes even. But I think Grievous is the one you should pick, even though he sent his droid troops and shot up my base. He does have a slightly better taste in capes. As for Vader: Don’t trust a man if you can’t see his eyes. Of course, you can see MY eyes, you just have to get close.
Picks for Tuesday 3/19:
- Light Side: Obi-Wan Kenobi versus Qui-Gon Jinn. How good can Obi-Wan be if I could capture him time and again? So choose Qui-Gon, I hear he’s more… flexible than those other rule-bound Jedi. Obi-Wan is okay for a Jedi, but today I like Qui-Gon. Qui-Gon Jinn. reminds me. my gin.. is gone.
- Dark Side: Darth Maul versus Asajj Ventress. This is one of those things I should not tell you who to pick, simply because the other one would probably come try to kill me. That is bad for business. But Darth Maul did trash my base and try to get my men to betray me, and I don’t consider that a good sign. So Asajj Ventress gets my choice.
Is there any strategy to this? Of course there is! But just because you are on Team Hondo doesn’t mean I’ll tell you everything. Don’t even think of trying to stab me in the back, because you cannot stab a man in the back if he is shooting you first, in the front.
I am an admitted non-fan of the prequel trilogy; I’ve never claimed otherwise. I’m not going to now.
But folks: It’s time to get over the prequels.
The recent recap of last year’s biggest events reminded me of something that has been largely overlooked: George Lucas is retiring. Granted, he’s tried to retire before – a couple of times, if memory serves – with limited success. And the news was understandably overshadowed by the double-whammy of the Sequel Trilogy and the sale to Disney. But still. The Flannelled One is stepping down, off to work on experimental films or build a working X-wing or become a lumberjack or whatever retired billionaires do. Yes, there were the starwars.com videos, where he talked a bit about his future plans, but in general, this story has been ignored. Heck, I saw more chatter about Rick McCallum’s retirement. Rick McCallum is a wonderful guy, but there’s only one George Lucas. He deserves a little more attention.
So when Dark Horse first announced that Brian Wood would be starting a new ongoing series, simply titled Star Wars, back at Comic Con last July, and mentioned that Leia would be piloting an X-wing fighter, the two big fusses that popped up were about fitting continuity (isn’t it always?) and Leia in a role we hadn’t seen her in very often: fighter pilot. (Never mind that she’s been piloting starfighters since Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.)
Now that the first issue of the series is out for us all to enjoy, what’s all the hubbub?
So today is a month and a day since the announcement that Disney is buying Lucasfilm and making Episode VII. It’s been… A month. Don’t get me wrong: It’s been a great month, an occasionally frustrating but revitalizing month. A month to reevaluate. Continue reading
I’m not going to be the first person to say this, and I certainly won’t be the last: Don’t expect the sequel trilogy to follow the existing Expanded Universe. We know that George Lucas has done story treatments for these films that he’s handing over to Kathleen Kennedy and Disney’s LFL, and Lucas’s take on the EU has been, for most of its existence, that they’re an alternate universe. He has been a distant and uncaring god, at least as far as post-Return of the Jedi is concerned. He has used things from the EU occasionally, but I wouldn’t expect straight adaptations of any of the existing books or comics – at least not as actual episodes.