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.
Chris Alexander wrote a great piece on the Star Wars Blog about how he got through waiting to see Star Wars by reading the novelization. And it took me back to my own similar experience.
Sit back, kids, and listen to an Old Fart Star Wars fan talk about life in the good ol’ days of 1977 and 1978.
I was nine when Star Wars was first released. It’s hard to describe the phenomenon of how quickly it became a part of everything in that first year. This was before the internet. So the fact that it immediately integrated itself into our culture is a wild situation that I’m not sure will ever be repeated. By the middle of the summer of 1977, my friends and I were playing Star Wars without actually having seen the movie. (Without any toys. Can you imagine?)
So here we are, in the post-Legacy of the Force Expanded Universe. And, as we learned at Celebration, one of the first things out of the gate will be a trilogy focused on Jaina Solo. Fans of the only remaining Solo kid greeted the news with boundless enthusiasm – and just a hint of trepidation. My feelings are less clear. On the one hand, I think it’s long past due. On the other hand… No one has really managed to make me actually care about Jaina yet, and I think it’s probably long past time.
Every Star Wars character has an iconic outfit or two. (Or twenty. Hey, Padme.) Obi-Wan has his Jedi robes, Han Solo has his bloodstripe pants and vest, Boba Fett has his armor. Hell, even Chewbacca has his bandolier.
When it comes to Expanded Universe characters – at least those that derive from books, as opposed to more visual mediums like games or comics – things get a little trickier. Authors generally don’t go for detailed descriptions of clothing, so it’s usually pretty up in the air… At least until someone gets on a book cover, or makes an appearance in a comic book. Which is how Mara Jade got the black leather catsuit that has become – like it or not – her trademark.
This is not the post I set out to write when I asked the other day which Star Wars ladies should be headlining novels. After all, Nanci already quite eloquently laid out why we need more women in the Expanded Universe. But on Friday, EUC posted a rebuttal to her post, titled Let’s Stop Thinking About Gender and it seems there’s still more work to do on the ground level. I know, I was shocked, too. Though I probably shouldn’t be.
Clearly we’ve forgotten that Star Wars is aimed at boys! And that by asking for something as minor as a female characters whose functions include something other than being Big Bad Lady Cthulu or Confused Teenage Girlfriend makes us the sexist ones! For shame, ladies. For shame. Because we’ve never heard anything like this before.
The internet is for porn.
We all know the song (from the Broadway musical Avenue Q), and it’s funny because, in a way, it is true. And hose of us who have been around the internet for a while are familiar with the infamous Rule 34: if it exists, there’s porn of it. It’s nothing incredibly shocking but, if you listen to the media hubbub surrounding the bestselling novel 50 Shades of Grey, you would think otherwise.
Over at Galactic Drift, Racheal recaps Troy Denning’s book tour stop in Carmel, Indiana, complete with the above video. Denning talking about the “Jacen Solo era” that Apocalypse is closing out, the push for war stories, tying into the Legacy comics and more.
As for news, Denning said he’s not involved – and isn’t sure if he will be – with whatever is happening next in the EU.
One thing that rubs me (and others) the wrong way is his reference to Tatooine Ghost as a “chick book.” It’s not one of my favorites – I don’t even own a copy – but it is exactly the kind of story I think the Expanded Universe needs more of now that the glut of long series are over: Character-focused adventures that don’t have the fate of the entire galaxy in the balance. (Another example: Zahn’s Survivor’s Quest.) I can take or leave any romance aspects; I just want stories that give some consideration to the characters, not just their lightsabers and blasters.
I’m not saying we need to totally get rid of the galaxy-in-peril plots – as Denning points out, there’s a demand, and they are part of the formula. It’s not Star Peace, after all. But the one thing that the EU has been missing lately – at least if you’re not in it for brand-new characters – has been the balance of ‘galaxy’ books and ‘character’ books. Successful Star Wars stories that manage to do both – Matt Stover’s Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, for instance – have been few and far between lately. And while I can’t speak for everyone, I’d rather have one Mindor a year than any of these drawn-out cast-of-thousands deals we’ve been getting. Or at least in addition to whatever cast-of-thousands thing is going on.
And really, does focusing on character over endless battle scenes really make something ‘for chicks?’ Really? Yes, this is Star Wars, and by the very nature of the franchise there’s always going to be a lot of pandering to the lowest common denominator… But throw the rest of us a bone every once and a while. Please.
Last week, three different sources pointed me to Rod Hilton’s blog post from last fall on the Machete order for watching the films of the Star Wars saga (especially for newcomers). While his overall proposed order (start with IV – A New Hope and V – The Empire Strikes Back, then go with the prequels, then show VI – Return of the Jedi isn’t new — Last year, we covered Drew McWeendy’s Film Nerd 2.0 showings to his two sons), Machete goes a step further by cutting out The Phantom Menace. Not because Hilton feels it is a bad movie, but because he points out that it is mostly irrelevant to the saga. Either a point gets brought up again in the other prequels or it isn’t needed at all in the larger scheme of things (Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn, Valorum, podracing). He points out how he thinks it makes the saga stronger, by preserving some of the big reveals, and relating whiny Anakin to whiny Luke as showing Luke on the same path to the dark side in Return of the Jedi as Anakin in Revenge of the Sith. He also points out some of the weaknesses of his ordering of the films, most notably about the Prophecy of the Chosen One, and Anakin’s return to rescue Shmi and pick up Threepio in Attack of the Clones. The Machete Order got me thinking, and also prompted a discussion among some Club Jaders, who looked at the notion of order and TPM‘s relevance from several angles.
I don’t know why I was surprised when James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis failed to blow my mind.
I bought the book on the release date, but didn’t start it until last Monday – mainly because I knew I’d have to recap the Luceno Facebook chat on Wednesday and I didn’t want to be spoiled for what folks on Twitter were labeling AMAZING REVELATIONS. So I forced myself through it in two days.
And I was not blown away. The revelations? Not that amazing. To me, anyway.
There are no overt spoilers for Darth Plagueis after the jump, though there are some references to the content which may be obvious to anyone well-versed in fandom. Continue reading