Tag Archives: Star Wars Beyond the Films

Star Wars: The Original Trilogy: A Graphic Novel – A Beyond the Films Review

With a backlog of recorded episodes and episodes to record very soonStar Wars Beyond the Films‘ Nathan P. Butler is now posting short, non-spoiler reviews for many new releases. Spoiler-filled discussion will often follow in the weeks thereafter on the podcast. (In the case of minor releases, that discussion may be kept for a Year in Review series of episodes.)


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The Original Trilogy: A Graphic Novel by Alessandro Ferrari (hardcover, 2016)

Star Wars film adaptations are a dime a dozen, and over the decades, these attempts to recreate the Star Wars films in other media have been of highly variable quality. Some have been brilliant, such as Matthew Stover’s novelization of Revenge of the Sith, while others have made us wonder whether the writer had actually seen the films (or done so while on drugs), such as a certain recent The Empire Strikes Back adaptation.

When word came that a trilogy of Brazilian comic acaptations of the Original Trilogy was set to be translated into English and released as a single hardcover volume in the United States, I was not at all excited. Did we really need yet another adaptation of the films?

It turns out that in some respects, the answer is actually . . . yes.

Bare Bones But Beautiful

Star Wars: The Original Trilogy: A Graphic Novel is a “pure” adaptation of A New HopeThe Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. It follows the films almost exactly with dialogue mostly intact (barring editing needs for space). Those with an eye toward detail will also notice that these adaptations actually use the newer cuts of the films, such as Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker Force ghost.

The story is carried by artwork that feels a little bit cartoony (which makes sense, given a younger target audience) and reminiscent (at least to my eye) of manga. The color work in particular really stands out, bringing a flourish to the artwork that the actual Star Wars manga adaptations (reprinted by Dark Horse beginning nearly two decades ago) never managed with their black and white format.

The only real downside to the work is that, as noted, it is an almost exact adaptation of the films, which means a lack of extra (or deleted) scenes or new information to provide what I’ve referred to as the “Stover Effect.” What you see in the films is what you get here.

The Verdict

There is little that I can really say about Star Wars: The Original Trilogy: A Graphic Novel. It is a stylized but beautiful adaptation that breaks no new ground. It gets the films right, which is a step above many of the earlier adaptations like those from Marvel around the films’ theatrical releases, but it does not add anything substantial to the experience.

If you are looking for a solid, accurate adaptation of the Original Trilogy, this is definitely one to pick up. If you are looking for something new or original amid the pages of film adaptations, this is one you can skip, though you will be missing out one some nice artwork in doing so.

Recommended for: Those looking for a mostly accurate comic adaptation of the Original Trilogy.

Not recommended for: Those looking for new tidbits in such a comic adaptation.

A copy of this book was received from Disney Press for review purposes.

Star Wars: Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens – A Beyond the Films Review

With a backlog of recorded episodes and episodes to record very soonStar Wars Beyond the Films‘ Nathan P. Butler is now posting short, non-spoiler reviews for many new releases. Spoiler-filled discussion will often follow in the weeks thereafter on the podcast. (In the case of minor releases, that discussion may be kept for a Year in Review series of episodes.)


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Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens by Landry Q. Walker (hardcover, 2016)

Back in December 2015, four ebooks were released, featuring four out of six stories to be presented in April 2016 as a new anthology, Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens. Now that April has arrived, so has the hardcover edition of these stories, which includes two new tales exclusive to the print version.

I have previously reviewed the four stories released as ebooks. You can find those reivews here:

This review will focus on the two print-exclusive tales in the anthology, along with a final look at the anthology itself.

A Recipe for Death

The first new story in the hardback print edition of Landry Q. Walker’s Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens anthology is A Recipe for Death. It follows Maz Kanata’s head chef, Strono “Cookie” Tuggs (seen briefly in The Force Awakens) as he investigates the murder of the castle’s sous chef, Robbs Ely. The investigation is held in a “reality television” fashion through a broadcasted cooking competition, wherein the chefs vying for Robbs’ old job are expected to let their guilt slip.

Like The Face of Evil, this is a tale with some darker aspects to it. While it starts off a bit slow, it picks up once the cooking competition starts, and as odd as that may sound, it is a novel enough idea for a Star Wars story that it works well enough here.

True Love

Perhaps the weakest tale of the anthology, True Love puts its focus on junk boss Unkar Plutt. When two of his underlings try to steal some of his hidden riches, they use an artificial intelligence to simulate a female of Unkar’s species to interact with him through what amounts to a dating website.

The tale serves to make Unkar even more of a jerk than in The Force Awakens, but it relies on both the “emotions” of an artificial intelligence and the stupidity of his underlings to play out.

The New Anthology, Taken as a Whole

Fans have wanted a new Star Wars anthology for many years, building on the success of several prior works, particularly the Tales of… anthologies that built upon film characters in the Original Trilogy.

Those works (Tales from the Mos Eisley CantinaTales of the Bounty Huntersand Tales from Jabba’s Palace) featured stories that usually crossed through the events of their respective live action films, and the short stories, written by many different authors, tended to often intersect with each other. They created tapestries that gave more depth to what we saw at Chalmun’s Cantina, in the latter half of The Empire Strikes Back, and at Jabba’s Palace.

Walker’s new anthology (and make no mistake, every story is by the same writer this time) does not make any attempt to have any of its stories cross directly into the events of The Force Awakens, nor do they really interconnect with each other, though such a feat should have been much easier with only a single author. Each story is essentially a standalone outing for characters seen in the background of the film (except Unkar, who is a more prominent character), set an indeterminate time before the film, with no real impact on the film or its context.

The result is an anthology with some interesting, off-beat stories that go from goofy to horror/thriller territory but never seem to actualy matter. Interestingly, one major complaint from the ebook releases of four of the six stories has been addressed, as the final print version does not bear the label of The Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was again mostly inappropriate for the content of the short stories herein. (To me, that actually makes the anthology a bit of an easier sell: you will not find yourself spending the entire time reading wondering why it was labeled as part of the journey to a film it has little to do with.)

Having now looked at each story in turn, along with the book concept in general, it appears it is time for . . .

The Verdict

Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens is not the anthology that fans were hoping for. Its connections to The Force Awakens are minimal, and its stories stand apart even from each other in an unspecified time frame in the years (or even decades) prior to the film from which its characters hail.

That said, if we can look beyond expectations and just take the book for what it is, this is a volume that contains some rather unusual (sometimes downright bizarre) stories that are, for the most part, worth checking out if seeking off-beat Star Wars content. In particular, I would highly recommend The Face of Evil, which is perhaps the closest thing to a true Star Wars horror story since Red Harvest.

At a cover price of $12.99, this will be a tough one for some fans to justify picking up, but if nothing else, it would be worthwhile to consider the individual stories to pick out one or two to check out as $1.99 ebooks. You will not walk away with much in terms of new insights into The Force Awakens and its background characters, and you can surely skip this one without ever noticing that you have missed anything. It is entertaining, though, in its own strange fashion. Your mileage will definitely vary.

Recommended for: Those looking for strange, off-beat Star Wars stories.

Not recommended for: Those looking for something that truly ties directly into The Force Awakens or evokes the same sense of connectivity of the early Bantam Spectra Star Wars anthologies.

The copy of this book used for review was a retail purchase, alongside paid purchases of the four ebooks in December 2015.

J.J. said what?! – SWR #219

This week, Mark has Nathan P. Butler on to sit in the co-pilot seat as they discuss J.J. Abram’s Tribeca Talks interview, Debunking Episode 8 Rumors, Royal set visits, Star Wars: Bloodlines, and more!

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TFA Retrospective Part 1 – SWBTF #196

The Force Awakens. Did we like it? Hate it? Did it end our Fandom?! Did Star Wars need a reboot? All on the next Star Wars Beyond the Films. YOUR Star Wars discussion podcast! YOUR Podcast of Legends! YOUR ticket to that Galaxy far, far away! Your Fandom lies Beyond the Films.


This week true believers, Beyonders, Fanboys, Fangirls, respected aliens around the galaxy, The Champion of the Multiverse; Mark Hurliman, and your Count of Continuities; Nathan P. Butler sit down to discuss their reactions to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. So strap in and tighten your crash webbing Fandom, Star Wars Beyond the Films is setting off on another rapid-fire trip into the galaxy far, far away!FB_IMG_1453243435772

This episode your hosts discuss: Continue reading

2015 YIR: The Uhm… Other Stuff – SWBTF #195

2015 Year In Review! The uhm, other stuff. From The Force Awakens, to Disney Infinity, and BEYOND! All on the next Star Wars Beyond the Films. YOUR Star Wars discussion podcast! YOUR Podcast of Legends! YOUR ticket to that Galaxy far, far away! Your Fandom lies Beyond the Films.


This week true believers, Beyonders, Fanboys, Fangirls, respected aliens around the galaxy, The Champion of the Multiverse; Mark Hurliman, and your Count of Continuities; Nathan P. Butler sit down to discuss their ongoing 2015 Year In Review coverage. So strap in and tighten your crash webbing Fandom, Star Wars Beyond the Films is setting off on another rapid-fire trip into the galaxy far, far away!FB_IMG_1453243435772

This episode your hosts discuss: Continue reading