Category Archives: blog

Awesome written content

How Rogue One Will Challenge the Star Wars Model

When  Gareth Edwards made the intimations at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim that Star Wars Anthologies: Rogue One would be something of a grittier approach to the franchise detailing a military mission to extract the Death Star plans from right under the Imperial’s nose, swaths of fans everywhere were both rejoicing at the fact of another Star Wars movie but also worried about whether it would truly be a Star Wars movie or just a high budget sci-fi movie.  Some worry that a Full Metal Jacket style film will lose that mysticism and mythological tendencies that we have come to know and love in the other movies.  Personally, I feel that a grittier addition to the saga and a different type of story would both benefit and expand the beloved Star Wars story, rather than hinder it.

NEmFetpzBFS0pu_5_b

As a grandson of a Vietnam marine veteran I grew up hearing both the tales of hell and horror and those of kindness and kin, and let me say that hearing the stories of pain and suffering made the ones that were of mercy all the more important.  The darker ones increased the impact the of positive sides of the story.  A Star Wars example of this is found in the transition between episodes 3 (Revenge of The Sith) and 4 (A New Hope).  In spite of what some consider dubious quality for the prequels it does make sense to admit that having more story that foils other aspects later in the timeline does actually increase the force behind the scene.  Now that we know everything evil that Vader did when he was converted to the Sith we have much more to rejoice about when he is redeemed by Luke Skywalker, showing Vader’s dark fall brightens his redemption.  I feel that Rogue One (if it’s half decent) will do the same to what is mentioned of the Death Star plans in A New Hope.  If Rogue One is done right we’ll hopefully get a little teary eyed at the famous “Many Bothans died to bring us this information”.  In short, its darker tone should hopefully deepen the power of the Star Wars narrative, something any fan would be okay with.

Its darker tone should hopefully deepen the power of the Star Wars narrative.

Another thing Rogue One will hopefully do is expand the Star Wars universe into almost a genre with internal genres (if you will).  This by no means suggests we abandon the Star Wars story telling we know and love, on the contrary, it will world build around those stories making them and the franchise more believable (From a certain point of view).  Finally, having varying stories and genres would give the Star Wars will give a sort of vitality that would allow the franchise to grow both as universe and as a unified story.

Welcome to Cloud City Casino

Launching today, Cloud City Casino is the official Gaming and Collecting Podcast of StarWarsReport.com.

The Star Wars Report‘s 2nd Airborne Division Podcast Network proudly presents our newest addition to the family; CLOUD CITY CASINO!CCC                                                                                              Hosts Michael Morris and Eddie Dease kick back in the clouds above Bespin where they discuss The Best parts of Star Wars; Gaming and Collecting! They get into conversations delving into the exciting times they have had in the past, the fun things they are doing in present, and what they look forward to in the future, now that Star Wars is shining brighter than both Tatooine suns.

Stay tuned to The Star Wars Report for their 1st episode! As well as many more to come!

Follow CCC!

on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CloudCityCasino
on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cloud-City-Casino
via email: cloudcitycasino@gmail.com

Fangirls Around the Web: April 2015

Happy Star Wars Day! The latest Fangirls Around the Web continues to shine a spotlight on female fans and their contributions to the Star Wars community.

First, happy belated birthday to Star Wars fangirl Bethany Blanton! She celebrated her birthday during Star Wars Celebration, and by browsing through her Instagram, it looks like she had a fantastic time!

Every last Friday of the month, transmedia author and scholar Natacha Guyot discusses all things science fiction with various talented women in a monthly feature called #SciFi Women Interviews. She kicked off the series with (me!) Star Wars fangirl Johnamarie Macias, and in April, Natacha interviewed science fiction writer and poet Yolanda I. Washington.

Congratulations to journalist Megan Crouse! She joined the Suvudu and Del Rey family as the new writer of the Holonet Digest series. You can read her roundups of Star Wars news over at Suvudu.com.

Also, congratulations to Mariel Mohns for winning the #StyleYourUniverse contest using Her Universe Star Wars attire. Find a brief interview of her over at GeekFashionWeek.net.

Fans from around the world came together last month at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. Here’s a rundown of fangirl highlights from the convention:

kathleen-kennedy-her-universe-tee

(Photo: Erik Davis)

Celebration-Anaheim-2015-Hasbro-6-Inch-Ahsoka-Tano-001-RebelScum

(Photo: RebelScum.com)

Fangirls, add this to your future shopping lists! Hasbro revealed The Black Series Ahsoka Tano 6-inch action figure at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. The figure is expected to arrive in 2016.

Scott Murray wrote about the fangirl presence at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim over at Coffee With Kenobi in a piece called, “The Fangirl Impact on Star Wars Celebration“.

April was also a big month for FANgirl Blog’s Tricia Barr. She revamped her personal site over at TriciaBarr.com. At Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, Tricia moderated a panel with a variety of Star Wars fans, known as From a Certain Point of View: A Diversity of Opinions in Star Wars. Tricia is also the co-author of the latest reference book, Ultimate Star Wars, and she will be on a book tour around the country. Check out the DK tour schedule over at FANgirl Blog for additional details.

FANgirl Blog is also a fantastic source of the latest fangirl news in the Star Wars community. Check out April’s Daisy Ridley Roundup to learn more about The Force Awakens actress and her character as well as last month’s Fangirls Around the Web to read up on female fan spotlights.

Fangirls in Podcasts

Here’s a collection of podcasts featuring fangirl hosts, co-hosts, and guests:

Coffee With Kenobi with special fangirl guest Amy Ratcliffe
April episodes(s): Show # 35: Celebration Anaheim Pre-Show! (95)

Fangirls Going Rogue with fangirl hosts Teresa Delgado, Tricia Barr, and Sarah Woloski
April episode(s): Fangirls Going Rogue #18 (special guest Ashley Eckstein), Fangirls Going Rogue: Star Wars Celebration

Far Far Away Radio with fangirl hosts co-hosts Meg Humphrey and Mallory Conlon
April episodes(s): Episode 203 – The Star Wars PrequelsEpisode 204 – The Force Awakens Teaser #2

ForceCast with fangirl co-host Megan Crouse
April episode(s): Episode 347: Do You Have a Question?Episode 348: The Funfare AwakensEpisode 349: We’re Home!,

Force Cult with fangirl co-hosts Tracy Gardner and Saf Davidson
April episode(s): Episode 13Episode 14Episode 15

Hyperspace Theories with fangirl co-hosts Tricia Barr and Kay
April episodes(s): Episode 8: Star Wars RebelsPre-Celebration ShowStar Wars Celebration Anaheim Day One Coverage Read, Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2015 Recap

Mos Eisley Comic Port with fangirl host Catrina Dennis
April episode(s): Kanan #1 – Episode 002 (special guest Johnamarie Macias), Darth Vader #4 – Episode 003 (special guest Elaine Tveit), Star Wars #4 – Episode 004 (special guest Amanda Ward)

Radio Free Tatooine with co-host Amy and special fangirl guest Catrina Dennis
April episode(s): Episode 25

Skywalking Through Neverland with fangirl co-host Sarah Woloski
April episodes(s): Episode 73, Episode 74, Episode 75An Interactive Fandom Adventure LIVE at #SWCA

Star Wars: Legends and Lore with special fangirl guest Elaine Tveit
April episodes(s): Journey to the Long Titles #2

The Wolfpack Podcast with special fangirl guest Johnamarie Macias
April episodes(s): Flashback Episode: Pre-Celebration Predictions

The Wookiee Gunner’s Rebels Chat with fangirl hosts Johnamarie Macias and Maria
April episode(s): Season Two Trailer

Fangirls in Writing

Here’s a collection of links to articles written by fangirls in April:

Fangirls in Arts/Crafts

Read up on the latest fan comics:

A selection of art and crafts made by fangirls in/around April:

May the Fourth be with you!

ThinkGeek’s May 4th Star Wars Deals

Hey all!

The folks over at ThinkGeek wanted us to make sure everyone got the word about some of their Star Wars deals tomorrow, May 4th!

  • 20% off all Star Wars products on ThinkGeek–including Exclusives!: 5/1 to 5/4
  • Free Limited Edition May the Fourth Pin when you buy $20+ of Star Wars items: 5/1 to 5/7
  • Visit this page for all things Star Wars… http://www.thinkgeek.com/star-wars/

unnamed

~ Bethany Blanton

Review: Lords of the Sith

The following is the Star Wars Report’s review of Lords of the Sith, presented by Joseph Tavano of RetroZAP!

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.

Lords_of_the_Sith-alt-

“It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted.”

Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.

On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as “spice,” an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources—by political power or firepower—and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.

For Syndulla and Isval, it’s the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. And for the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet’s surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries.

With Lords of the Sith Paul S. Kemp has written a wonderful book that is a true pleasure to read. (I told him so directly). I feel like Kemp must has relished the chance to write Vader and the Emperor doing something we have never seen before—going on an adventure. He nailed the voice of both of these characters, as well as the cadence of their relationship.

I see a consistency between the Palpatine of Revenge of the Sith and the Emperor of Return of the Jedi. His contempt and power are, well, palpable. Now deeply enmeshed in the dark side of the Force, this is the Emperor you expect: spiteful, challenging, and always in control.

Meanwhile, Darth Vader takes on the expected layers of complexity. Anakin is as gone as Anakin would ever be; Vader here is the personification of anger and a full devotee of the dark side. He accesses the Force only through anger, and any hint of his previous life brings only a cycle of pain and anger. What we, the audience, would see as a moment of clarity when Vader thinks of good things he once had, turns out to be a moment of distraction and confusion to Vader. It’s this turnabout of focus and worldview that shows us just how far gone Darth Vader is.

Internal struggle aside, Darth Vader is a mysterious wraith to the rest of the galaxy. He is the visage of death, unconquerable and rumored not to be human. Simply put—Darth Vader rips it up in Lords of the Sith. We see Vader the tactician; Vader the pilot; Vader the conquering warrior. Cham Syndulla and his crew are right to fear him. This isn’t the stiff figure of the OT, he can move with inhuman speed and power.

Kemp nails the relationship between the Sith master and apprentice.

Interestingly enough, Vader the Sith apprentice is a dual-edged sword. Again, Kemp nails the relationship between the Sith master and apprentice. The Emperor is forever needling Vader, stoking his anger and reminding him that he is a thrall to be destroyed at any time. And then there is Vader, who is an honest Sith apprentice; he is unflinchingly loyal to the power of his master, and at all times wondering if he can (and should) take him out. There’s more than a few tense moments where you wonder if the pot is going to boil over between these two. I’ll say no more.

Darth-hand-james-earl-jones-is-officially-returning-as-darth-vader-the-original-voice-of-darth-vader-isn-t-quite-so-intimidating

Maybe it’s just me, but I do feel like there is one thing lacking from the Palpatine-Vader relationship—when does Palpatine ever actually train Vader in the dark side? There is nothing of that in this story; Darth Vader is a complete and fully trained dark side adept. I had expectations that at this point in the timeline (less than halfway through the Dark Times), that the Emperor would be imparting more knowledge of the Dark Side to Vader other than reminding him that he needs to be obedient. Perhaps some discussion about Force lightning? If and when Vader can use it? Why purple energy wind escapes from Palpatine’s body when he dies? The dark side is a path many things some would deem to be unnatural, and I want to know more about that path!

There is one criticism I do have, and it has nothing to do with Kemp or the novel specifically. When the new canon was announced about a year ago, I welcomed it as the great opportunity that it is to finally tell one coherent, canon, and legitimate Star Wars story. Now, the medium did not matter; all stories put forth by Lucasfilm would work together to tell the complete history of the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

This changes the storytelling approach quite a bit. Authors did not have to be constrained to telling a Star Wars story where 1.) Things began in a familiar place 2.) New characters were introduced to tell a unique story and not overuse the major film players 3.) New characters take up a large portion of the book, but inevitably die or recede into the background 4.) The overall story of Star Wars is not impacted by the end of the book.

Why have the first four books in the new Star Wars canon not deviated from this formula? With the editorial input of the Story Group, these stories can be so much more. I want Star Wars books to answer canonical questions and tell powerful impactful stories that focus on the characters we love. I don’t want them to hint and scratch at such things—after almost forty years, it’s time to dive in. A cavalcade of new characters are on the way, you know. I think that authors would relish that opportunity, and I hope that this is a trend we are moving towards.

Read this book. It is a worthy entry into the new canon, and you will get a great perspective into the relationship between the Emperor and Darth Vader, and to me, that is always essential reading. Oh, by the way, there are also Royal Guards that get to see some serious action on the planet of Ryloth, a rebel cell lead by Cham Syndulla (you know, Hera’s father), and one of the most inventive attacks on a Star Destroyer I’ve ever read or seen.

Also, minor spoiler here:

Vader uses the Force to rip apart his enemies while flying a TIE fighter.

I hope Kemp gets the chance to write more Star Wars books. He has an ease with the galaxy far, far away that feels natural and intuitive. And, if we get to see more of the relationship between the Emperor and Darth Vader, I would want him to be the person to write it.

Trilogy, anyone?

-JT