Monthly Archives: October 2012

Zombies in the EU – SWBTF #44

Zombies, Reanimated Dead, Sith Alchemy, and Magic, all on the next Star Wars Beyond the Films. YOUR Star Wars discussion podcast! YOUR ticket to the EU!

This week true believers, Beyonders, Fanboys, Fangirls, respected aliens around the galaxy, your EU Guru; Nathan P. Butler, and The Defender of the EU; Mark Hurliman, sit down to discuss Zombies in the Expanded Universe, as well as the novels Red Harvest, and Death Troopers. Strap in and tighten your crash webbing, Star Wars Beyond the Films is setting off on another rapid-fire trip into the galaxy far, far away!

Starting things off the guys lay out where their Geekdom lies in the Zombie genre. Both hosts have read a majority of the Walking Dead comics and are huge fans of The Walking Dead tv show. Mark has also read a couple zombie novels like The Rising, and World War Z.

They discuss the premise of Death Troopers, the tapping of Joe Schreiber to pen the first adult aimed SW horror novel.

They discuss the Han and Chewie factor in Death Troopers, and whether it was a mistake, or part of the strategy.

Mark also discovers some interesting things regarding Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided and the Star Wars Galaxies: Witches of Dathomir. The Blackwing Crystal

They ask: “Do we need an answer to why there are zombies? Does it need to be significant
Are Zombies in the SWEU a gimmick?”

Mark and Nathan both felt Red Harvest worked very well. Much better, even that Death Troopers. The setting worked, the story worked, the concept worked.

They also discussed concepts like, Force vs Magic.

Mark would love a third Zombie story by Schreiber, one that bridges the gap between Red Harvest and Death Troopers. As well as discussing free excerpts, and how Red Harvest had a lot of them given before the books release.

Nathan ponders Star Wars Zombie down loadable content for the games. Yes please!

 

Once again, your dynamic duo cover entirely too much Zombie action in their ONE hour, but don’t worry, give it a go; you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you might even get a little education on the EU while you’re at it. But no matter how you slice it and dice it, you’ll be having another adventure Beyond the Films. So sit back, hang on, enjoy the show, and may the Force be with you!

Email:         SWBeyondfilms@starwarsfanworks.com
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Wampa’s Lair Special Report! – TWL #35

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! Karl and Jason sit down for a Wampa’s Lair SPECIAL REPORT to discuss the big news about George Lucas selling the rights of his beloved LucasFilm to Disney! Not only is LFL being added to a great company but the BIG NEWS is that it has been officially announced that Episodes 7,8, and 9 are going to happen! So join Karl and Jason as they share in their excitement over this incredible news!

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Horror in Star Wars: A scare is not so far, far away

To quote author Douglas Winter, “Horror is not a genre…Horror is an emotion.”

Star Wars generally categorized as Space Opera specifically or as Science Fiction more generally doesn’t fit what one would consider as horror. The expansion of the Star Wars universe in various forms has allowed for many storytellers and artists to make their own contributions to the Star Wars story. One of the more unique developments of this expansion is the rise of the horrific elements in Star Wars that have elicited plenty of screams from fandom.

In the films:

The nature of the stories that George Lucas was telling, based on the structure of Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey,” combined with the setting of the films make clear that the six Star Wars films are not horror films.  It is interesting to note however that there are some commonalities in these films and horror films that come out of shared themes and character archetypes.  Many of these themes flow out of old folk lore, legend and the belief in the supernatural.

The Force is often discussed in terms of it’s relationship with religion and spirituality, but it also carries with it the influence of the universal belief in magic.  This concept of magic is evident in both the Jedi and Sith use of the Force.  The ability to supernaturally attack your opponent in particular marks the Sith as a group of characters who could easily be cast as the villains of a horror film.  After all, in Return of the Jedi, Palpatine looks very much the image of an evil withered witch.

Darth Vader is interesting on many levels, but in some ways I wonder if he set the template for a subset of horror film villains   In the films, Vader is relentless and methodical, a driven instrument to enforce the Emperor’s malicious will. Vader enormous size, his armor, his breathing and his supernatural powers create a very formidable and scary character.  In many ways he reminds me of Jason from the Friday the 13th franchise and to a lesser extent Michael Myers from the Halloween franchise.

Of course the visual smorgasbord that is the Star Wars films also provides us with a vast array of aliens and monsters that could be characters recycled from a Hollywood horror film’s prop department, and some where.  From the wolfman and devil in the Cantina, to the Wompa, Space Slug, Sarlacc, and Rancor, monsters and Star Wars goes hand in hand. These aliens and monsters are used to create emotion, fear, anxiety and tension both in the viewer and in our heroes.

On the small screen:

The Clone Wars animated series has allowed George Lucas, Dave Filoni and their creative team to experiment and try telling different kinds of Star Wars stories.  The series has oscillated between dramatic and lighthearted, two particular story arcs stand out to me. As borrowing heavily from the horror genre.  In season two, the Republic attacked Geonosis in episodes 2.05-2.08. The final two of these episodes entitled “Legacy of Terror” and “Brain Invaders” featured parasitic brain worms that could either be used to control undead Geonosian warriors or to take over the conscious will of a living person.

From The Clone Wars: Massacre (4.19)

The introduction of the Nightsisters of Dathomir and the head of their coven Mother Talzin, drew upon an existing Expanded Universe group of characters and infused them with a much more traditional brand witchcraft flavor. On Dathomir we also saw that the Geonosians were not the only ones with undead warriors, as the Nightsister’s magic created their own brand of witch-zombie warriors.

On the printed page:

I have always enjoyed Star Wars as told on the written page.  Between the unlimited special effects budget that is my imagination and the expanded storytelling opportunities that are provided in novels, it was Star Wars books that took my fandom to another level.

Just as we have seen with TCW, we have seen Star Wars publishing under the direction of Lucasbooks and Del Rey expand Star Wars story telling into the horror genre.  This trend is clearest in the works of two authors who approach the genre in different ways.  We have author Joe Schreiber and his novels Death Troopers (2009) and Red Harvest (2010). These novels take the Star Wars universe and use it as a back drop to tell zombie stories.  Death Troopers tells the tale of  a virus that is released on an Imperial prison bardge and in classic horror fashion, the fight to survive of a small group aboard the ship against the horde of zombies.  Red Harvest is a prequel to Death Troopers and tells the story of the origin of the zombie creating virus as part of a twisted experiment at the Sith Academy on the planet Odacer-Faustin.

It is worth noting that this isn’t the first time that Star Wars has tried this sort of explicit horror storytelling. In 1997-98 author John Whitman wrote a series of twelve young readers novels in the series titled, “Galaxy of Fear.”

Kell Douro and Jaden Korr by Chris Scalf

The other author that I feel has brought elements of horror storytelling into Star Wars to a strong degree is Paul S. Kemp.  Kemp may be best known for his fantasy work and he has a decidedly dark and brutal flavor way of telling a story.  Kemp has written two Jaden Korr novels, Crosscurrent (2010) and Riptide (2011). In Crosscurrent we meet Kell Douro, a Force-sensitive Anzat who has feeding appendages that sprout from his face and invade the cranial orrificaes of his victims. Douro then proceeds to consume his victims brain or “soup” as he calls it. We also are introduced to a New Republic era Imperial cloning lab that has been overrun and destroyed by the crazy clones that resulted of mixing the DNA of various Jedi and Sith together.

In Riptide we have the return of the insane clones and the introduction of the sentient Rakatan space station “Mother.”  Riptide has a very survival horror feel to it, and is a great example how using the darkness and suspense of the horror genre in other genres can enhance a story. This approach also can be seen to some extent in Troy Denning’s Dark Nest Trilogy, where the giant bugs not only illicit an instinctual repulsion and fear, but there is also the issue of the loss of indivdual will to the hive mind.  This theme of losing the ability to think for yourself is common in horror films.

Conclusions:

Star Wars is an amazing broad storytelling universe and this Halloween if you are looking for a good scare sit down by the TV or dust off a book and you may just find what you’re looking for.

-Peter Morrison (@PeteMorrisonLR)

An unabashed Star Wars fanatic, Peter is the creator of LightsaberRattling.com, his love of the galaxy far, far away is only rivaled by his obsession with the Red Sox. His words are his lightsabers, watch out or you may lose a limb.

 

Action, Politics, and a Really Cool General: “The Soft War” Review

The Clone Wars Season 5 Episode 4 Review

Hello and welcome back to yet another The Clone Wars review here on the Star Wars Report! In The Soft War, our rebels of Onderon attempt to save the former king from execution to gain the support of the people in the most substantial episode of the arc, and possibly even the season!

Like last week, the rebels have been trying to get the people to back their efforts against the Separatists. Now the rebels are going more public with their efforts. First by broadcasting their intentions, followed by an attempt to save the king from execution. The theme of the episode, I found, was about finding a new approach. Previous attacks by the rebels have made the citizens unsure about their movement, but saving their king from execution really resonated with the people, including some government officials, and got the rebels the support they needed.

What made this episode so great was a new character, General Tandin. Even when he fully supported the Separatist regime, he had more logical answers and effective solution ideas than any other character. If he really was a villain, he would’ve been a true challenge for the rebels. It was the droid that seemed to stomp on all of his ideas, which brought in another conflict into this arc that was my favorite concept so far. It basically explored what would happen if you threw a droid general and a human general in a room together. What is a machine’s logic is directly compared to a human’s when put into the same situation? In the series so far, none of the Separatists really seem to question any orders when they are given. There aren’t too many Separatist tacticians out there; that’s probably why they trained droids to do all the strategy for them. So it’s interesting to see the one Separatist who knows his stuff  well enough to challenge a droid general.

Sort of stemming from the ending of last week’s conclusion where Saw is upset that Steela was named leader of the group, the team members aren’t as happy with each other as before. This sets up Saw’s plan to go alone and try to save the king before the execution. He fails, but I thought it wasn’t completely unnecessary to show this outside of showing more of Saw’s instinct. It gave the king a chance to learn more about the rebels before the execution, whereas before he seemed confused about who the rebels were, what their intentions are, and why Rash believed he was in league with them. Saw also gets to learn why the king was overthrown, which is a pivotal part in convincing Tandin to join the Rebels, and without him, the whole movement would have failed. So now I can see what Saw’s importance is as a character.

The climax we saw was a big game changer, starting with Tandin’s rescue and betrayal of Rash. The rebels will now have an entire military to fight the Separatists in the next episode. They also managed to rescue the king and gain the support of the people. I found it odd that they didn’t try to reclaim the city’s capitol right then in what seemed like a coup. They ran away, leaving King Rash in control of the palace with the droids. What was so pivotal though is that Ahsoka didn’t need to get involved. Obviously, the rebels passed the test of the Jedi of whether the tactics they used on Onderon would work on their own without Jedi interference. It’s a huge stepping stone that will have to be proved on a much larger scale by next episode, where the Separatists will try to take total military control of the planet.

That’s going to wrap up my review for this week! I loved this episode; it had it all. Good action, good plot development, and it still leaves you at a cliffhanger. Please let us know what you thought of the episode by leaving a comment below! Thanks for reading and may the Force be with you…always.

-Ryan Zasso

Ryan Zasso first entered the Star Wars fan community in early 2010 with the podcast Fanboy’s Guide to the Galaxy. Interested in doing Star Wars related writing, he began writing for the Star Wars Report in 2011.

https://twitter.com/TheOneZasso

 

Aaron Allston at Dragon Con 2012 – SWR #67

This podcast features Aaron Allstons full panel, entitled “An hour with Aaron Allston” from D*C 2012.

SPOILER WARNING! This panel contains many spoilers about his most recent Star Wars Novel “Mercy Kill”

Be sure to download and subscribe below:

Riley Blanton

Host of the Star Wars Report podcast, Tech enthusiast, former CAP cadet. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of… well… other people.

Email:         starwarsreport@gmail.com

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