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MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU PART 3- THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF STAR WARS EPISODE 1 THE PHANTOM MENACE AND A RE-EVALUATION OF STARWARS THE LAST JEDI A YEAR ON (AND A WEEK LATER THAN PLANNED!)

StarWars_3D_OneSheet%20(Medium)-5628It was the 20th Anniversary of Jar Jar Binks being inflicted on the world last weekend. Well, more than that. The Origins of The Empire/Clone Wars/Imperial Senate/Jedi and Darth Vader are all introduced here. All the brief hints/mentions from Episode 4, 5 and 6 get fleshed out in the Prequel Trilogy.

 

There is more than meets the eye going on, while Podracing/trade disputes and Binksy are just distractions and toy marketing opportunities for Lucas, the deeper story is of Palpatine’s machinations and manipulations of the Senate Trade rules/ the Jedi and the Sith-coming out party with his alter ego Sidious and sacrificial Sith Darth Maul.

While it was something unexpected, it did set the scene for the rest of the saga. The shocking death of Qui Gon Jinn was like the execution of Ned Stark at the end of Season 1 of Game of Thrones.

I Might have to look for some cosplay ideas- Trooper Bob hasn’t made an appearance recently, but something new sounds good. Though Dewie the Wookie went down well at Widnes Library and Comic Con, so heaving him around looks like it may become a new thing for TVP this year, oh yay!

 

While one of the best films of all time is Star Wars Episode 5- The Empire Strikes Back. I was initially disappointed with the release of the Last Jedi in December 2017.

I went to see it twice, once by myself and then with my nephews Andrew and Ben.

When Disney acquired Lucasfilm and The Force Awakens was released, there were comparisons drawn with A New Hope, but TLJ seemed to be a complete rip off of Empire Strikes Back.

I felt conflicted about both the story and characterisation. Especially Luke. The opening battle looked like it was in slow-motion. Then, partway through. After the bridge was blown out, Leia suddenly comes back to life and flies across space. Then over halfway through the film a new character turns up, takes over and belittles one of the main new characters in a shockingly sexist way while there’s a slow chase, a very slow chase, like two tortoises racing takes place.

And they were just a few niggly-wiggly plot points that should have been weeded out in draft form or at shooting stage or even edited out of the final cut.

So I didn’t know what to make of it. Fast Forward to the summer and Youtube is on fire with critics and fans ranting about this, that and Solo. I guess it was easy to follow the bandwagon, seemingly betrayed by Lucasfilm and Disney.

Anyway, I read the novelisation and it seemed to make more sense. Luke’s story is expanded, Leia’s training is alluded to and the moment I referred to as ‘Mary Poppins in space’ is actually described quite well, from Leia’s point of view. It isn’t the first time someone has used The Force to do something extraordinary and impossible- how about Luke scoring the bullseye with those Torpedoes against The Death star? Stretching out a hand to make his Lightsaber fly out of the ice and disarm a Wampa? Acrobatics on Dagobah and Bespin and other examples? Even Yoda spinning round fighting Dooku made me gasp, other people cheered and a few jeered. The Cinema was packed for Episode 1, but not for 8.

THE major difference with the novelisation is that everything is given a backstory, an explanation or a reason to happen. Even Holdo is more sympathetic. It’s more rounded and deeper- actually seeing the events unfold from each Characters Point of view, not something that can be done easily in a movie.

And yes, having seen the DVD again, it does make better sense; even Laura Dern’s Holdo is a bit more likeable, with the sexist put-down line cut.

Still not the best of the bunch, but after reading the book version, it’s okay.

 

So, question becomes- what’s next? There’s enough material to cherry-pick from Legends to make a few new Trilogies and Series from. Old Republic/origins of the Jedi/ Sith War/ Founding of the Republic etc. The new trilogy could be episodes 10/11 and 12, but Prequels-to-the-Prequels or something else. With the 50th Anniversary in 2027, perhaps Lucasfilm should adapt the MCU Model- have films out in phases, this is phase 1 still. Phase 2 could be set in Another Galaxy far, far away, phase 3 the cluster of galaxies and so on.

It may be the Creative direction the franchise has needed.

Just a thought.

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MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU PART 1- HAPPY STAR WARS DAY AND LOOK OUT FOR DEWIE THE WOOKIE AT WIDNES COMIC CON!

It was sad to hear of the passing of Peter Mayhew last week. The Man behind Chewbacca the Wookie was indeed a gentle giant. I have had a Chewbacca toy/doll for ages and gave it a shower last weekend, in preparation for Widnes CC 2 today, but instead of it being Chewie, it’ll be his cousin Dewie that’s been shrunk by the Empire and needs a hug! He did have a Bounty on him, but got peckish, so eat it.

I’ve also got new socks with the Star Wars logo on. Just thought I’d share that too.

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 Happy Star Wars Day!

 

 

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MAY THE 14TH OF THE 4TH BE WITH YOU- BY MY DESIGN- THE RETURN OF EMPOROR PALPATINE IN STAR WARS EPISODE 9 THE RISE OF SKYWALKER TRAILER

Everything that has transpired has done so according to my Design” – Palpatine- Return of the Jedi

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Star Wars Celebration in Chicago proved memorable for a few significant reasons- The best being the Premiere of the new trailer, title reveal and appearance of Ian MacDiarmid, doing Palpatine’s voice to play the trailer a second time.

It was quite action packed, and the revelation that Palpatine may not be quite as dead as the end of Return of the Jedi is intriguing.

I only hope it lives up to the hype it’s been given. That laugh though, a short insane cackle that sends shivering sensations up your spine like a seismic earthquake off the Rickter scale shows that there is going to be an epic final confrontation in some form or other.

 

As for what may come next, for myself, I’m hoping it’s the Tiglet Wars, but for now, let’s watch the trailer again, for the dozenth time maybe.

 

May the 14th of the 4th be you!

 

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WHY STAR WARS THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK IS ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES EVER MADE

galaxy2I’ve seen a fair few films.

One of the best of all time is Star Wars Episode 5- The Empire Strikes Back. I’m not going to number them or make bullet points, but there are a number of reasons why I think it is one of the best movies ever.

First of all, Hoth. Yes the entire planet, it’s a big snowball, Han even says so. The fact that the Rebel Cell led by Leia/Riekan and co make a base there shows how desperate they are to avoid the Empire, even though it looks like they’ve only just moved in. I mean, I like a bit of snow, but an entire planet where it’s Frozen but never Christmas, brrr, shiver me timbers Captain Jack!

Next is a little green guy, playing Luke like a Grand Piano, Why not just introduce himself properly? Yoda’s first appearance was a creative risk, a gamble that paid off. It’s not easy being green and muppety, just ask Kermit the Frog, but the characterisation, the inverted speech pattern and downright cheekiness made him flawless. Stand out moment- lifting the X-Wing out of the swamp. “I don’t believe it” Luke says, doing a poor impression of Victor Meldrew. “That is why you failed” Yoda tells him gravely. And then there is The Cave. Yes, remember the failure at the Cave. Luke V Vader, who loses his head and revealed to be Luke! A Dark Side entity or Force-Projection? One of the mysteries of the Force never answered.

Then there is The Executor, known for years as Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer. Dwarfing normal Star Destroyers, its appearance to the brilliant theme of The Imperial March by John Williams was awe-inspiring, as was the Playset, until it crashed in the back garden!

Finally- Han and Leia. Ahhhh, a little bit of romance out amongst the stars. There’s friction there at the start, as well as a bit of flirtation. You get the impression it’s been going on for a while. While the tension ramps up in the Asteroid field, it’s Bespin where they finally acknowledge their feelings. The added complication of smooth-talking Lando, then the betrayal and Luke’s attempt at a rescue. The ending is bittersweet, Luke and Leia, still unaware of being related, look out on a neighbouring galaxy as Lando and Chewbacca fly off to search for Han. Then, to the awesome end theme the camera pulls back on the Rebel Fleet, heading away from the neighbouring galaxy and into the unknown. What an Epic Finale.

So there are a few reasons why I rate ESB so highly, even more so than all the other films. Return of the Jedi was the Second part of ESB and concluded the trilogy. It will be interesting to see what JJ Abrams has done to finish off the saga and what might be coming next from A Galaxy far, far away. Or one of its neighbours in the Whills Cluster of Galaxies, as I’ve called them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96DEWl3Vg70

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DczKNnP2XoQ

 

 

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What about ANOTHER Galaxy of Adventures?

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The Galaxy of Adventure shorts are fun, cheeky little short Anime-style retellings of scenes from The Original Trilogy, each concentrating on a character like Luke, Chewbacca, Leia, Darth Vader and more recently Stormtroopers and the Force itself

My favourite part is where Palpatine’s machinations and manipulations are shown- “Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design”. The Master puppeteer says, although it is Luke and gang who mess that all up for him.

 

The universe is filled with galaxies, although Dark Matter and voids separate them, like islands. Unlike many other SF stories, the SW galaxy is far, far away, not like the Andromeda galaxy and forty-odd satellite galaxies of the Local Group.

In Empire Strikes Back, the fleet gather, with a large spiral galaxy in the backdrop. This has been interpreted as The main Star Wars galaxy, but that is a false assumption. The surrounding starfield wouldn’t be there if the fleet was outside, plus the Falcon flies ‘over’ the galaxy, not down into the gravity well.

So, that means it is a neighbouring galaxy, perhaps a twin to the SW one. And that means there is another galaxy of possible stories out there, including the possible Origins of the Skywalkers. What if Shmi was a refugee, or part of a Mengele-like experiment? Wouldn’t that explain Anakin’s abilities? Did Shmi have another child with Lars who then had Rey? That would make Luke her Uncle and Ben her cousin.

Another galaxy opens up even more possibilities for stories. An alternate take on the Yuuzhan Vong or the Nagai, two Intergalactic invaders, and if, as Obi Wan says the Force ‘binds the galaxy together’, what would bind another galaxy? An anti-Force maybe?

But that begs the question- how long is the Saga to go on for? Lucas original outline was the Journal of the Whills; alternate versions were the Adventures of Starkiller/Adventures of Luke Skywalker. It was supposed to be nine chapters, based on the 1930’s versions of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, which usually ran for 12 chapters, or episodes. Lucas finished at Return of the Jedi as it was about Anakin and Luke- the Fall and Redemption of Darth Vader- but The Journal can continue with other stories, other heroes and villains, other families, alien creatures and mystical Beings.

As well as the 40th Anniversary of Empire in 2020, 2022 will be 45th Anniversary of Star Wars Episode 4- A New Hope, with the 50th Anniversary in 2027. It’s an exciting time to watch further adventures from a long time ago, in a galaxy (or Galaxies) far, far away!

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Star Wars 101- Galaxies and Stardust (1/2)

 Where is the Star Wars galaxy in the Universe? I’ve been using my knowledge of Astronomy to muse over that one for a while.

It all began a long time ago, in a Cinema not so far away when a young Mercer watched STAR WARS EPISODE FIVE- THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK for the first time on the big screen, then on TV every Christmas, then on video, then back on cinema for the Special Edition, then on DVD Special Edition and then the Box Set with Original version and Special Edition together.

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I’ve even watched it again over the holidays, just the Original version though.

In the Final scene, Luke, Leia and the droids watch as Lando and Chewie leave to find Han Solo.

The backdrop is of the Rebel Fleet in space with a large galaxy in the background. For years this was misinterpreted as being outside the galaxy, now it’s being called a protostar, both assumptions are wrong.

Firstly, the starfield around the fleet means that it is inside the galaxy, as being ‘outside’ would have a void, or at least very few stars. The Falcon then flies OVER it and to one side away, and then the fleet head off away from it too- so clearly not heading into it.

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Secondly, ILM made those shots after Lucas asked for clarification of Luke etc in position to the Falcon, hence the window showing outside. In the Special Edition rerelease, it was changed to a reddish nebula (but I don’t really care about them, it’s the Original versions that matter, though that’s just my preference)

Anyway, calling it a Protostar ignores the spiral shape, plus the fact that it looks a hell of a lot like the Andromeda galaxy, especially the closer shot of the Falcon flying over the arms. I’ve seen many different pictures of it, as I set my Intergalactic version of Romeo and Juliet in it and it’s the main setting for my Intergalactic Crime and War serial Rebirth!

As Andromeda is the largest galaxy in the Local Group of Galaxies, it makes sense that a digital rendering making use of parts of it to show a nearby Intergalactic neighbour- call it Galaxy 2. It’s led to some speculation that the SW galaxy is actually Triangulum, but how far is ‘far, far away’ anyway? That implies massive distances and my theory is it lies somewhere beyond a Billion light years, but it’s up to Lucasfilm and Disney to set some stories beyond the Main galaxy. There were the Nagai and Yuuzhan Vong invasions in the old comics and New Jedi Order books, but whether they will be included in the New Canon in some form or another is yet to be seen.

Either way, it’s a First Step into a Larger world, as Obi Wan Kenobi said, but that’s a topic for another time!

https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/74385/is-the-galaxy-depicted-at-the-end-of-empire-strikes-back-a-real-galaxy

Oh, and by the way? The cinema where I saw it was The Empire Cinema in Widnes, where I also saw ET/Superman 1 and 2/Return of the Jedi!

 

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THE FIRST ROGUE- The New STAR WARS Prequel series And Star Wars Fan Film fest Winner- ‘Like My Father Before me’. PLUS- THE END OF THE SKYWALKER SAGA???

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When Lucasfilm/Disney announced that Diego Luna was to reprise his role as Cassian Andor from Rogue One, I thought- “At last!” Something gritty and darker that’s been missing from the last couple of films. Whether it starts off with Cassian with K2SO, or if he finds K2 and reprograms him later on I don’t know. As Prequel ideas go, it’s pretty nifty and I think LF can deliver. It certainly seems like they are making an effort to listen to the fanbase.

The Galaxy of Adventure shorts are fun, cheeky little short Anime-style retellings of scenes from The Original Trilogy, each concentrating on a character like Luke, Chewbacca, Leia and recently Darth Vader. My favourite part is where Palpatine’s machinations and manipulations are shown- “Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design”. The Master puppeteer says, although it is Luke and gang who mess that all up for him.

 

THE MANDALORIAN, the live-action series by Jon Favreau is still being a bit enigmatic. I still think it’s about Cobb Vanth, a self-styled ‘Lawman’ who finds a suit of Mando armour and becomes the Sheriff in a frontier Town on Tatooine, but I could be wrong. There were Mandalorians on Rebels, so it could follow them, or could even be about Montross from The Bounty Hunter games on PS2, for all I know.

 

Then there is the SWFFF- That’s Star Wars Fan Film Fest to you, an annual competition shown on the Lucasfilm website. I watched several after a couple of my Friends from The Keystroke Killer shared their entry. ‘Like my Father before me’ is about a trio of ‘retired’ Jedi who face Darth Maul in a mini epic. Aided by R2D2 and BB8, they defeat him to fight on another day.

Played well by DH Lewis, Jack Curenton and co, it’s a nice whimsical tale, even with a possible sequel as Jack C faces Darth V!

It won the Audience Choice award and is listed on the Lucasfilm website, which also includes Exiles/The Kessel Run and The Toys Awaken, a stop-motion Star Wars version of Toy Story, which is also pretty good.

I think I might work on a few short films myself for next year’s Fan Film Fest-

 

Storming the Dead. This was one of those happy accidents that sometimes happen when I went to Hamfest-Oldham Comic con in 2017. Spectre Squad, a cosplay/costuming group were there, along with some painted props/sets, including a door saying ‘don’t open, dead inside’ so I had the idea of Stormtroopers going in, so set up a mini-photoshoot with several of the guys posing in front. When I got home, I saw the footage and was inspired to make a Walking Dead/Star Wars crossover, so had to have Tiglet narrate it- great fun!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI0hQg8BE6w

 

ANOTHER CHANCE. When you think about it, the destruction of Alderaan in ANH is the most heinous crime you could think of- the murder of millions of people echoes real life crimes like The Holocaust/911/Darfur/Pearl Harbour. As leia said, it is the most desperate hour, echoed by Obi Wans line- “millions of voices crying out in terror and were suddenly silenced, I fear something terrible has happened” The saga’s most chilling moment, more chilling than Order 66. I get goosebumps and shivers. Battlestar Galactica has done it, but in Star Wars, the survivors are spread out across the galaxy. Like Games of Thrones, it is an epic tale of betrayal/survival from several viewpoints in different places. There have been hints of a persecution of Alderaani survivors in Inferno Squad and a graphic novel about Leia, but a series like this would be awesome. This could be The SW version of Game of Thrones. And if I could get Sean Bean for it, so much the better!

 

THE DARK ORDER

The universe is filled with galaxies, although Dark Matter and voids separate them, like islands. Unlike many other SF stories, the SW galaxy is far, far away, not like the Andromeda galaxy and forty-odd satellite galaxies of the Local Group.

In Empire Strikes Back, the fleet gather, with a large spiral galaxy in the backdrop. This has been interpreted as The main Star Wars galaxy, but that is a false assumption. The surrounding starfield wouldn’t be there if the fleet was outside, plus the Falcon flies ‘over’ the galaxy, not down into the gravity well.

So, that means it is a neighbouring galaxy, perhaps a twin to the SW one. And that means there is another galaxy of possible stories out there, including the possible Origins of the Skywalkers. What if Shmi was a refugee, or part of a Mengele-like experiment? Wouldn’t that explain Anakin’s abilities? Did Shmi have another child with Lars who then had Rey? That would make Luke her Uncle and Ben her cousin.

Another galaxy opens up even more possibilities for stories. An alternate take on the Yuuzhan Vong or the Nagai, two Intergalactic invaders, and if, as Obi Wan says the Force ‘binds the galaxy together’, what would bind another galaxy? An anti-Force maybe?

Rather than a series, this could form the basis of a trilogy, Episodes 10, 11 and 12. That’s the 45th and 50th Anniversaries sorted.

But that begs the question- how long is the Saga to go on for? Lucas original outline was the Journal of the Whills; alternate versions were the Adventures of Starkiller/Adventures of Luke Skywalker. It was supposed to be nine chapters, based on the 1930’s versions of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, which usually ran for 12 chapters, or episodes. Lucas finished at Return of the Jedi as it was about Anakin and Luke- the Fall and Redemption of Darth Vader- but The Journal can continue with other stories, other heroes and villains, other families, alien creatures and mystical Beings.

As well as the 40th Anniversary of Empire in 2020, 2022 will be 45th Anniversary of Star Wars Episode 4- A New Hope, with the 50th Anniversary in 2027. So there is a lot riding on what happens in the next year. It’s an exciting time to watch further adventures from a long time ago, in a galaxy (or Galaxies) far, far away!

MAY THE FOURTH (OF JANUARY!) BE WITH YOU!

PS- Sharing one of my favourite Xmas pics- see the full album on Tigletverse photography on Facebook!

https://en-gb.facebook.com/MrTigletsTravels/

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The Force is caffeinated in this one!

 

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