An interview with Dark Empire writer Tom Veitch sheds some new light on the early ’90s Star Wars literature revival, including just how much input George Lucas had and how SE and Heir to the Empire somehow ended up in the same continuity.
→ The Lucasfilm Story Group’s Rayne Roberts recently appeared on the Black Nerd Girls podcast, where she talks about The Force Awakens, Star Wars lit, and even dodges a Rogue One question.
→ At StarWars.com, our own James interviews Jason Fry about Aliens of the Galaxy, a new guidebook for younger readers.
→ Timothy Zahn was named Grandmaster at the tenth annual Scribe awards for media tie-ins.
→ Jay Shah unpacks the Thrawn ‘mystique’ for Eleven-ThirtyEight.
Del Rey revealed their complete timeline of Star Wars books this week, featuring their new canon novels (and a short story.) It doesn’t include books from the other publishers (like Marvel’s comics or Disney Lucasfilm Press’ Lost Stars or the upcoming Ahsoka) but it’s a good starting place for anyone who needs it.
→ Speaking of starting places, StarWars.com has a nice primer on Grand Admiral Thrawn from Linda Hansen-Raj for anyone who wants to do some reading before he returns on Rebels. (Or just to learn what all that fuss was about.) On that note, Zahn’s Thrawn is now available for pre-order.
→ It turns out that George Lucas is a really big fan of Marvel’s Han Solo mini-series – he wants to buy all of Mark Brooks’ original pages from the first two issues.
→ Celebration Europe gave us a glimpse of what the Lucasfilm Story Group does – and it’s so much more than just maintaining continuity. This article is Pablo approved!
The Case for More Padmé Amidala. Sarah Dempster at Eleven-ThirtyEight on why Leia isn’t the only Skywalker who should have a political novel.
As is quickly becoming tradition, Phil Noto (on his own) did a post-trailer poster. (Also on his Tumblr.) Revelist has collected some of the first wave fan art. (You can also keep an eye on the Rogue One tag on our Tumblr.)
→ Here’s one for any of your less-than-obsessive friends who might be confused about where Rogue One fits in, from our pal Bryan Young. (On that note, as I was writing that last sentence, my mom texted me asking about “the Jedi in the white cape.” That said, I have no doubt that Lucasfilm is already well aware of the issue and has planned marketing accordingly. We’re still most of a year away from the movie, remember?)
→ A look at the new (and old) stormtroopers we see the trailer, from a 501ster.
→ Naturally, our first official announcement post-trailer was the toy packaging.
→ Second official announcement: Rogue One director Gareth Edwards, co-producer John Swartz, and executive producer John Knoll will pick the Filmmaker Select award for the Star Wars Fan Film Awards. (Seems like this replaces the ‘George Lucas Selects’ category of previous years.) Submissions are open through April 24.
→ Of course, you can’t have a new Star Wars movie trailer without folks jumping to conclusions about certain characters, and ‘Jyn Erso is Rey’s mom!’ has been popular enough to warrant pieces arguing against it from Birth Movie Death’s Devin Faraci and IGN’s Terri Schwartz, both of which I very much agree with. (I also find the oh-so-related ‘Jyn is the new Mara Jade!’ speculation deeply distasteful, which I may go into further detail on soon. As for the Jan Ors comparisons, Pablo has it covered.)
We had The Atlantic looking at The Force Awakens fan fiction last week, but now there’s a historical look-back at slash in the fandom from Lady Business at Livejournal. Behold! Fans actually asking permission to fandom! Letters from the fan club president! “Fandom is about celebrating the story the way it is.”
The spectre of all this was still hanging over fandom when I first found it in the ’90s, believe it or not. (Or maybe I just knew a lot of zine folks in the Star Ladies.) It wasn’t until after The Phantom Menace – and the huge and (officially*) uncontested slash fandom that came out of it – that the paranoia eased.
* There were flame wars. Oh, were there flame wars. But Lucasfilm stayed out of it. Slash bans – like the infamous one at TheForce.Net’s Jedi Council forums that was only removed last year – were solely coming from fansite owners and operators.
There’s a lot of The Force Awakens stuff I never covered, both because of the sheer amount of things happening and because I don’t make a habit of linking to deeply stupid stuff. (YMMV, natch.) But on Facebook, from a hero called Matty Granger, there is a delightful rip of one of the absolute dumbest pieces to come out in the wake of the film, and I entreat you to read it.
Oh, and the best part by far:
29. Who trained Rey to fight with a staff as effectively as she does, given that (a) she is an orphan with no friends or family, and (b) she has never been in a battle, but is, rather, merely a scrap-metal scavenger?
Dude. Wander down to the poorest part of whatever town you’re in and pick a fight with a mangy little mutt of a guy. The smaller the better. Once you’re out of the hospital, you’ll realize that people who are forced to survive in the harshest environments don’t train to fight. They learn the hard way and they get really, really good at it.
Now, I don’t necessarily agree with all of Granger’s assumptions/theories, but it’s always nice to see stupidity brought low.
What screenwriter Todd Alcott writes on movies and TV is always worth reading, and his pieces on The Force Awakens are no exception. Check out his thoughts on Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, and finally Poe Dameron and General Hux.
Here are a few other nice posts about various aspects of The Force Awakens. I also have a ton of meta queued up over at the Tumblr beginning Friday morning. (Currently binging on fan art.)
→ What to do when you’re not the hero any more, Laurie Penny’s look at how this year’s new movies (including The Force Awakens) and TV reflected a more diverse way of storytelling.
→ James Whitbrook on how Kylo Ren succeeds as a character where Anakin Skywalker failed. Or, there’s Bryan Young on ten times The Force Awakens nods to the prequels.
→ Two pieces for everyone sick of the ‘remake’ talk: Chris Taylor’s 5 questions and Joseph Scrimshaw’s how to talk to your family about The Force Awakens.
George Lucas was on Charlie Rose (via Indiewire) recently, where he was about as outspoken as he’s ever been on Star Wars in the wake of selling Lucasfilm to Disney:
“They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that. Every movie I work very hard to make them completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships, make it new,” he said.
George is gonna George, I guess.
An important read for this week – particularly in reflection of these comments – is Devin Faraci’s defense of George Lucas, and the importance of cultural context. (Something which also applies the “white slavers” comment you’re seeing around so much. Though George has apologized.)
Two different opinion pieces (or, as we call them in girl fandom, meta) regarding the Jedi Order popped up on the internet today.
The first, by Nanci at Tosche Station, argues for a restored Jedi Order – but a very different one than we saw in the prequels or the Legends novels.
In the second, Chris Taylor at Mashable considers the ramifications of the balance of the Force, and what that means for Luke Skywalker and the Jedi.
One of the latest writers to come into the Star Wars fold, Chuck Wendig, has a blog entry on canon this morning. (Warning: Lumpy.)
Here’s my favorite bit, which speaks to why a lot of us Expanded Universe fans aren’t up in arms over the Legends thing or calling for more.
The more strict and detailed the canon becomes, the more reverence we devote to it. And the more it restricts the future of that narrative. The more it chokes off what can be told. Doors close. Windows slam shut and are boarded over. Options are lost. The more we care about what’s “true” — in a universe that has never been true and whose power lies in its fiction — we start denigrating those things that aren’t. We view alternate timelines as somehow inconsequential. We dismiss fan-fiction as just some wish fulfillment machine instead of what it often is: a way to tell cool new stories in a pre-existing pop culture framework that aren’t beholden to the canonical straitjacket.
As someone with a lot of history in the fan fiction realm – remember, this site actually served mainly as an archive for Club Jade’s first several years – that is the perfect description of it: Another way to tell cool stories.
No, I don’t view Legends as fan fiction – it’s still professionally published and licensed, by professional authors, which most fanfic isn’t. (At all.) And the Legends authors never had the freedom your standard fic author does, to ignore or use whatever. Even in the beginning, there were guidelines and restrictions, which is why there wasn’t a crazy Obi-wan clone in the Thrawn trilogy.
But clinging to the concept of canon has, over time, done just as much harm as good, and it’s just plain unrealistic in many ways – which is Wendig’s point, really. The world doesn’t work like that.