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Review: Claudia Gray’s Bloodline is required reading for Star Wars fans, but you won’t mind

BloodlineIt’s rather refreshing to finally be getting some of the gaps filled in.

Claudia Gray’s Star Wars: Bloodline, out today, isn’t the first to give us a look at the galaxy beyond Return of the Jedi in the new canon. (It isn’t even Gray’s first, technically.) But it the closest to The Force Awakens so far, set less than a decade before the film. It’s also the first to feature a major character in anything beyond a glorified cameo. This is, by far, the canon novel with the most mass appeal to Expanded Universe fans new and old.

And yes, it’s good. I admit, I am worried that those of us who got and talked (vaguely) about the book early may be overselling the novel. After all, that’s what happened to me with Gray’s previous Star Wars book, Lost Stars. There was no early copy for me there, and it was the last of the Journey to The Force Awakens books I read. And it was fine! But I suspect the unrelenting hype damaged it a bit for me. (I may also be extremely a tiny bit burnt out on YA-style romance.)

Bloodline, on the other hand, was a blistering fast read for me. The minute I got it, I couldn’t put it down. As anyone who was following me on Twitter may have noticed, I read it in three hours. I honestly can’t recall the last time I read a Star Wars novel at that speed. It might have been back in the ’90s?

Some minor spoilers beyond the cut.

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Video: Unboxing Star Wars: Bloodline, C-3PO comic & Jello!

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Happy Star Wars Day! We’ve got a special episode of Unboxing Star Wars for May the 4th! First, Baby Jawa, Yowie and I check out the fun at “The Dome Awakens”, the Star Wars Day celebration at the downtown San Diego Public Library held on May 1, 2016. Then it’s time to review the recent C-3PO one shot comic by James Robinson and Tony Harris, and get excited for the new Star Wars novel, Bloodline, by Claudia Gray. We finish up with the results of our first try at making Star Wars Jell-o Jigglers, and then some Baby Jawa fun time!

Quick reviews
C-3PO #1 – A fun (and long-awaited) tale that does indeed explain the origins of Threepio’s red arm. Read this comic then watch the LEGO Star Wars short “The Resistance Rises: Poe to the Rescue” for an interesting crossover of canon and LEGO Star Wars.
Bloodline – Strongly recommend! I had high expectations for this novel because of Gray’s first Star Wars novel, Lost Stars, and she surpassed them. I really enjoyed this tale – it’s a top-notch story with some great characters, and Gray nails Leia’s character.
Star Wars JELL-O Jigglers Mold Set – Comes with two 6-character mold trays and 4 boxes of Jello! All the characters look great, except Yoda, who is in some sort of action pose which doesn’t quite work right. Be sure to use the special mold instructions on the big box instead of the regular Jiggler instructions on the inside boxes of gelatin.

Get more info on Wear Star Wars Every Day or make a donation at GoFundMe or sign up to make a per-day pledge.

Note: Del Rey provided a copy of Star Wars: Bloodline for review.

May 4th is incoming: Gird for puns

sunhamillWe don’t know what, if anything, is being planned for May 4th… Well, except one thing: Mark Hamill spent the 3rd as special editor for British tabloid The Sun. (It’s for charity!) Here’s the story, and the tweets.)

Last year on May 4, we got The Force AwakensVanity Fair cover story, which gave us our first look at Kylo Ren unmasked, Maz Kanata’s name, and a whole bunch of aliens. Alas, the magazine has already announced their May cover for this year, and it’s Amy Schumer. (Ironically?) Which isn’t to say I don’t expect Rogue One! Just maybe not this early.

In any case, history has shown us that Lucasfilm likely isn’t playing hardball tomorrow. (They almost never do – I just really love those silly VF shoots.) May the 4th is really a fandom event, and the fans will be out… In force.

(I’m sorry.)

GLAAD: Star Wars movies need gay, lesbian characters

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As part of their annual report on LGBT characters in movies, the anti-defamation group GLAAD is pushing Star Wars to introduce gay and lesbian characters into the films. Per Variety:

“As sci-fi projects have the special opportunity to create unique worlds whose advanced societies can serve as a commentary on our own, the most obvious place where Disney could include LGBT characters is in the upcoming eighth ‘Star Wars’ film,” the report reads. “2015’s ‘The Force Awakens’ has introduced a new and diverse central trio, which allows the creators opportunity to tell fresh stories as they develop their backstory. Recent official novels in the franchise featured lesbian and gay characters that could also be easily written into the stories.”

The introduction of gay and lesbian characters into the canon Star Wars novels has been controversial, but really, what isn’t?

Also at Variety, Brent Lang looks at why major blockbusters like Star Wars and Marvel have been reluctant to add LGBT characters.

25 years of Heir to the Empire

HeirEmpire_HCThe first Star Wars novel to be set after Return of the Jedi, Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire was released in hardcover on May 1, 1991. It was the first major step out of what’s now called ‘the Dark Times,’ when Star Wars was (mostly) a dormant franchise. The book was immensely successful and helped prove there was still an audience for Star Wars

Although now classified as non-canon ‘Legends’, along with the rest of the pre-2014 Expanded Universe, Heir remains an important part of franchise and fandom history. Hell, we wouldn’t exist without it.

Also it’s a damn good story and you should read it (along with ’92’s Dark Force Rising and ’93’s The Last Command) if you haven’t already. Though note I am totally biased.

Wear Star Wars Every Day: Week 17

My streak of Star Wars Celebration wear continues for #WearStarWarsEveryDay week 17! Plus we have a new per-day pledgemaker, so big thanks to Kismet! Also thanks to Kristen who donated Celebration shirts for two of the days! This review for Week 17 covers April 22 to April 28 of my wearathon, and an update on fundraising for Collateral Repair Project, a non-profit organization that provides emergency assistance, education, and community support to urban refugees.

Just a reminder, I want to turn May into a showcase of Star Wars fandom, highlighting different fan efforts such as websites, podcasts, costume clubs, collecting clubs, artwork, etc. So if you’ve got something cool to donate or lend, like a club shirt, hat or costume item, send it on over, and I’ll promote your group or solo effort. Get the shipping info here.

Get more info on what Wear Star Wars Every Day is all about, or make a donation or a per-day pledge!