Tag Archives: Star Wars Beyond the Films

Run Caleb! Run! (Kanan Part 1 of 2) – SWBTF #191

Kanan, Cowboy Jedi, Last Padawan, on the run and hunted. As well as questions like, what does it take to be considered a Jedi?, does Star Wars do flashbacks?, and if it was anyone other than Kanan, would we care? …all this and so much more! 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! Beyond the Films lies your Fandom!


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 are joined by the original Rebels Roundtable mastermind, Jonathan Brenner, as they sit down to discuss Kanan: The Last Padwan! 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!Star_Wars_Kanan_the_Last_Padawan_TPB

This episode your hosts discuss: Continue reading

PODCAST INTERVIEW: Before the Awakening – SWR #202

An interview with Greg Rucka, Finn, Rey, and Poe: Before the Awakening, as well as a look at Shattered Empire, Smuggler’s Run, and a glimpse at the inner workings of the Story Group, all this and more on this week’s episode of The Star Wars Report! beforetheawakening

Mark had a chance to check out Greg Rucka’s new book Before the Awakening and sit down to chat all about it with the author!Greg Rucka

This week’s topics include: Continue reading

Star Wars: Before the Awakening – 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.)


beforetheawakening

Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka (hardbcak, 2015)

On Force Friday, Star Wars fans were introduced to Greg Rucka, author of Smuggler’s Run (which I recently reviewed). Just a few days later, Rucka’s Shattered Empire began with its first issue from Marvel Comics. He is quickly becoming a mainstay of publishing surrounding The Force Awakens. On the same day as the film’s release, a third Rucka release (if you’ll pardon the alliteration) hit the shelves: Before the Awakening.

Before the Awakening is precisely what its name suggests: a set of stories taking place prior to The Force Awakens, featuring the three major film characters on its cover. The book features the stories of FN-2187 (“Finn”), Rey, and Poe Dameron in the days and months leading up to the film. It does so with varying degrees of success, though none failing to fit the bill.

Finn’s story follows the stormtrooper through the latter parts of his training, giving us a glimpse into his struggles with empathy vs. duty. While the attack on Jakku in the opening of The Force Awakens is indeed his first mission as a true, full-fledged stormtrooper, this was not (as reviews of the film often blast) an “out of nowhere” change for the character. His struggles began earlier, and the strike at the village of Tuanul in the film is simply the last (and most egregious) straw for the character. The insight into the character here should be enough to silence many of the naysayers about the speed of the character’s change of heart in the film.

Rey’s story spans a matter of months, as the scavenger on Jakku makes an impressive find and works with two marginally-trustworthy “friends” to make the most of that find. Unlike Finn’s story (and Poe’s, discussed in a moment), this story does not feel like it is leading directly into the film. Instead, it feels like a throwaway story sometime in the year prior to the film that serves as a means of providing us with more details about Rey, including where she developed some of her piloting skills (something else negative reviews of TFA tend to target). It is mildly enlightening, but not nearly as much so as Finn’s adventure, which clocks in at about twenty pages shorter than Rey’s.

By far the longest of the three stories in Before the Awakening (clocking in at about double the length of Finn’s tale) is the backstory of Poe Dameron. Spanning months like Rey’s outing, Poe’s adventure follows him in Rapier Squadron on missions for the New Republic and provides the “origin story” for how he becomes a pilot for Leia Organa’s Resistance. Moreover, it leads directly into Poe’s mission in the opening minutes of The Force Awakens. It is by far the most interesting of the three stories in the anthology, and we learn enough about Poe and the relationship between the Republic and the Resistance to, again, help silence some of those arguing that the relationship is unclear.

Ironically, this book does not carry the The Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens product line label, but it is the book that exemplifies that concept leaps and bounds more than any of the products that actuallly do bear that moniker. This is what people reading the “journey to” line actually expected to read.

The Verdict

Before the Awakening is a must-read for fans of The Force Awakens. You could almost skip Rey’s story and feel as though you missed very little, but the Finn and Poe tales provide enough detail and backstory to making this a “young adult” book that adult fans should definitely check out.

Recommended for: Those interested in the backstories of Finn and Poe from The Force Awakens. (Oh, and Rey a little too.)

Not recommended for: Those expecting huge revelations about Rey. Those are almost certainly being held back for future films.

I purchased a copy of this book at release, though Disney Lucasfilm Press later provided a copy for review.

The Aftermath of Aftermath – SWBTF #190

The aftermath of Star Wars: Aftermath, did your hosts love or hate it?, all this and so much more! 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! Beyond the Films lies your Fandom!


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 are joined by Cloud City Casino’s new Baron Administrator, Michael Morris, as they sit down to discuss Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath! 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!

Aftermath

This episode your hosts discuss: Continue reading

Star Wars: High Noon on Jakku – 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.)


highnoon

High Noon on Jakku by Landry Q. Walker (ebook, 2015)

In April 2016, a new anthology – something Star Wars fans have long been hoping for – will be released. The book, Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens will include six stories, four of which were recently released as separate ebooks, months before seeing physical print. Unlike in previous anthologies, all of the stories in this new tome will be written by a single author, Landry Q. Walker. Each story will feature alien characters from The Force Awakens. This review focuses on one of the four stories released in December 2015.

High Noon on Jakku

Taking place at Niima Outpost on the planet Jakku, High Noon on Jakku focuses on Constable Zuvio, the Kyuzo (i.e. Embo’s species) law enforcement officer seen in The Force Awakens. The tale begins with Zuvio facing his “trusted” droid, CZ-1G5, in a sort of “high noon” style pistol duel. The action then flashes back to shortly before the incident, wherein an apparent heist of digital funds from a computer aboard a banking vessel begins a hunt for the perpetrators. The tale proceeds until we “catch up” to the “duel” and see the situation resolved.

While it is nice to get some new background on Zuvio and his deputies, Streehn and Drego, the story adds little to them beyond simply giving us a story featuring them for the first time. Broadly speaking, the story plays out exactly as one would expect, right down to the “twist” of who the thief turns out to be. It is so straightforward and true-to-form that it feels like a written equivalent of a paint-by-numbers piece.

That said, as if compensating for the run-of-the-mill nature of the story, Walker’s decision to begin near the end of the story and then flash backward changes the nature of the tale from being entirely about the rather obvious heist case and instead puts the focus on why Zuvio would be facing off with CG-1G5 at all. Again, the answer is relatively obvious, but that shift in timing helps create more of a driving question for the story than the identity of the story’s criminal (which is so painfully obvious that the culprit might as well be named similarly to The Clone Wars Jedi Master Ima-Gun-Di).

This isn’t a bad story, but it does not offer much.

Does the Label Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Actually Fit the Story?

Given that we will be meeting Zuvio later this week in The Force Awakens, one could argue that anything that introduces new characters from the film counts as part of that “journey,” but unless there is somehow a story connection (beyond characters and location) between this heist and The Force Awakens, the “journey to” label’s validity here is tenuous at best.

The Verdict

High Noon on Jakku isn’t a bad story, nor is it particularly good. It is a straightforward, run-of-the-mill tale that serves to introduce us to Zuvio and his companions and little else. You will not regret reading it, but you will not gain much from the experience either.

Recommended for: Those interested in learning about Zuvio outside of The Force Awakens.

Not recommended for: Those looking for something particularly new, innovative, or unpredictable.

A retail purchase ebook (on Nook) was used for this review.

POST-TFA EDITORIAL ADDITION

Well, so much for Zuvio being a featured character in The Force Awakens. The question of “Where is Zuvio?” could rival the pre-release “Where is Luke?” question.