Tag Archives: Star Wars

Quote of the Day – Greedo vs. John Wayne

“Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?’ ” Lucas asks. “Because I was thinking mythologically — should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne? And I said, ‘Yeah, he should be John Wayne.’ And when you’re John Wayne, you don’t shoot people [first] — you let them have the first shot. It’s a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to.”

-Interview with George Lucas, Washington Post

While we’re on the run up to a new Star Wars movie, one that George Lucas had nothing to do with, I figure I might as well abused everybody’s interest in the series.

And it has been a long time indeed...

Back when George Lucas had an email account…

So there is that story and interview featuring George Lucas over at the Washington Post.  You should probably go read it if Star Wars holds any sway over your life, and not just the excepts floating around the internet.

Of course, the big one seems to be GL trying to justify why he changed Star Wars in his 1997 edit to have Greedo shoot first.  In that he invokes the westerns of his youth.  Unfortunately, I watched a lot of those same westerns, and as I recall it, if the other guys goes for his gun you’re cleared to shoot.  Waiting for the other guy to shoot first gets you dead.  And since Greedo was already waving a blaster in Han Solo’s face, Han always seemed justified in my mind, by the code of the old west or any other reasonable standard.  I thought that back in 1977 and I thought it again when watching Star Wars again last week.

More a case of GL overthinking things in my opinion.  Ah well.  I own three versions of the scene, one on VHS, one on DVD, and one on BluRay.  In the end, it was a fleeting moment in the movie that didn’t have a large impact other than to set the tone that Han Solo was working some tough people.

More interesting perhaps was this tidbit:

Partly so he doesn’t have to read the worst about himself and his movies, Lucas says he has assiduously avoided the Internet since 2000 — no Facebook, no Twitter, no e-mail even — but that doesn’t mean he avoids people.

Because, on the internet, we are horrible.  But it seems that when he meets people in person, they mostly gush about how big of a deal Star Wars was to them.   We’re much better face to face… most of the time.  All of which is a bit sad.

Anyway, I found the article interesting, including his somewhat mixed feelings about the new movie.  Disney didn’t use the ideas GL provided and declined to bring him around to advise, so this will be truly somebody else’s movie.

Dating My Daughter – The Star Wars Test

This started as a comment on MBP’s post on this topic, but quickly sprawled into enough text that I felt I ought to bring it back here and make it a post on its own.  All the more so since we just had a “Star Wars” Thanksgiving which included watching some of the movies and debating their relative merits with a fellow nerd.

And it has been a long time indeed...

And it has been a long time indeed…

So young man, when you come to pick up my daughter for a date and I ask about your favorite Star Wars movie, here are how I may view potential answers and how said answers may predict our own relationship.

Safest:

  • The Empire Strikes Back – Best Star Wars Evah!  Just a quick statement about what endears it to you and you are safe on this front.

Safe:

  • Star Wars – Nobody can argue with the classic that started it all.  Tell me about how it changed your life.  It is okay to mock some of the bad acting, but only if you acknowledge that such enhances the movie’s authenticity!  Just know who shot first.
  • I’m more of a Star Trek fan – An acceptable dodge, though you will be required to display deep knowledge and/or own an actual Star Fleet uniform.  Be prepared to rank the movies and the various series.  Tread carefully it you intend to mock TOS… and know what I mean when I write/say TOS.

Requires Some Effort:

  •  Revenge of the Sith – Can be justified, but you will be grilled on the topic.  Bonus if you point out what a bastard/fool Obi-wan was, leaving Anakin legless and on fire rather than finishing him off.
  • Return of the Jedi – May mark you as a bit young/immature if you express a love of Ewoks.
  • Star Wars – Things may be dodgy if you insist on referring to it as “A New Hope.”  I don’t care what George Lucas says, you aren’t dating HIS daughter, now are you?
  • One of the LEGO Star Wars specials – We can work with this.  Come let me show you my own LEGO collection.  Tell me which minifigures you like best.  Praise my limited edition Golden C-3PO!

Danger Zone:

  • The Clone Wars – First, you’d better know that there was a movie before the TV series.  Then you’d better own an action figure or a LEGO set or be prepared to explain how it and the TV series improved the Star Wars canon.  Saying “Ahsoka was hawt!” will not cut it!
  •  Attack of the Clones – Will need an essay, submitted in advance, on this one.  I WILL run phrases through Google to see if you plagiarized any of it.  Comparing it to US Middle-east foreign policy is walking a tightrope.
  • Phantom Menace – Almost no hope at all if you go this route.  Seriously, WTF?   You cannot disavow Jar-Jar and midichlorians fast enough to recover.  Will mark you as a fool or a troll unless you are prepared to show me an actual pod racer you built in your back yard.
  • Star Wars: Droids – How do you even justify this?  Some Boba-Fett backstory?  Anthony Daniels needed the money?  I’ll listen, but you’ll need to explain how C-3PO never brings any of this up during the movies without reaching for the “memory wipe!” card.
  • Star Wars Holiday Special – Only if you actually own an VHS copy of it.  Otherwise you will be branded an ironic poseur.  Take your piano keyboard tie and get out!
  • I only watch Anime – I can see how you met my daughter, but you’d best be moving the conversation to Hetalia, Space Battleship Yamato, or Attack on Titan or our conversation will dry up quickly and you’ll be stuck with me staring darkly at you.

Get Out:

  • Star Wars: Ewoks – Do your parents know you’re out after dark?
  • Star Wars: Rebels: – You were made to drink store brand cola as a child, weren’t you?
  • I only watch Anime and I once went to a convention dressed as Sailor Moon.  Here, I have some pictures… – You can never recover from this.  Do us both a favor and just leave now without making eye contact.
  • I don’t like science fiction – Who sent you?  Are you at the right house?

 

Thrawn Dies at the End

I have a pile of partially finished… or in some cases barely started… posts about books saved on this blog.  Every time I finish reading a book or listening to an audio book, I feel some minor compulsion to write about it.

It is obviously not a major compulsion, since I rarely ever finish those posts.

Well, that and I have never really been good at the book report thing.  When I get to the end of a good book I want to talk about it with somebody else who has read it, not write a spoiler avoiding summary that cannot discuss the meat of the book.  Such is life.

Anyway, in an attempt to clean up my drafts folder, I am going to take what I have and try to hammer them into something I can post and throw them out there as Sunday posts.  Quality not guaranteed.

I am going to start with a pair of books, the wrap up of a trilogy, and I apologize for the spoilers.  Even the post title is a spoiler, done in pursuit of a dubiously humorous allusion.  But there is worse below.  And the series is over 20 years old now.  Anyway, on to whatever it is I am doing.

Two years ago I wrote up my feelings after reading Heir to the Empire again on its 20th anniversary.  I was somewhat serious in that post.  I am less so here.  Anyway, earlier this year, realizing I needed to pick my two titles for the month at Audible.com, I decided to finish off the series.  So I started in on Dark Force Rising and The Last Command.

Han looks really old...

Han looks really old…

My picks could have been better spent.

Much of what I wrote about Heir to the Empire applies to these two titles.  The production values are excellent.  The narrator is spot-on with voices 99% of the time.  But the good guys… Luke, Leia, Han, et al… remain as glued to the past as a middle aged guy who feels his life peaked in high school.  Everything they do ends up getting a reference back to the original movies.  Hell, Luke’s big plan of the second book is to break into the detention center of a Star Destroyer via the trash compactor.  And, like anybody who seems to live solidly in the past, they become dull and predictable.  I played “shout out the next line” in the car every time there was a dramatic pause, and for the the regular crew I was right every single time.

And it wasn’t just that I had read the books 20 years back.  This was just some tired writing.

But that was pretty much the case in the first book as well, so no change there.

What did change was that the master villain, Grand Admiral Thrawn, couldn’t pick up the slack the way he did in the first book.  In the first book we were learning about him.  He was new and fresh and interesting.  However he didn’t evolve much after that.  He looks at some culture’s art, figures out their weakness, and devises a plan to exploit it.  He is wise and insightful, except when the plot needs him to be arrogant and blind.  He is the master of every engagement and thinking two moves ahead, except when the plot needs the New Republic to win.  And his every plan comes to fruition, unless it involves Luke, Leia, Han, et al.  In that case he is constantly thwarted by those meddling kids.

Seriously, rename the Millennium Falcon to the Mystery Machine, make R2D2 an incomprehensible talking dog, and C-3P0 a Maynard G. Krebs knock-off with a constant case of the munchies and the rest writes itself.

Meanwhile, the story is telegraphing the ending from the middle of the second book.  Really, the only big question is why it takes 600 more pages to get to the inevitable result.

The second book, Dark Force Rising, revolves around two key things.  The first is the mysterious “Dark Force” or “Katana Fleet” or “Lost Fleet” or “MacGuffin Fleet.”  This is a a fleet of 200 dreadnought class destroyers (Which seem to be about cruiser size in a fleet composition, since they are formidable but smaller than an imperial Star Destroyer.  Way to mix ship classes into a complete mess!) that went missing back during the clone wars.  The Old Republic was working on automation to save on crew requirements, so had linked all these ships together.  Then the crews were hit with a bout of space madness or some such, jumped the whole fleet off to some random location, died, and were never seen again.  Only somebody has found the ships and the race to collect them starts.

The second is the relationship between the martial but primitive Noghri and the rump Empire that seems content to use them as suicide commandos while manipulating them to keep them dependent on, and loyal to, the Empire.

For the first, Thrawn wins, grabbing 185 out of 200 ships.  But the New Republic is pretty relaxed about it because where is the Empire going to find crews… even with the automation reducing the requirements… to run 185 big ships?  Then somebody points out the whole “Empire able to make clones” thing and Mon Mothra (intentional error) shits a brick.

As for the second bit, enter meddling kids.  And we close wondering how long it will take Thrawn to die.

The Last Command opens up with Thrawn barreling to the peak of his mastery of the galaxy.  He is knocking over planets and taking whole sectors.  The New Republic is in a panic.  Grand Admiral Thrawn, dramatically lit, red eyes flashing, and laughing maniacally, stands at the gates of Moscow, his triumph at hand.

Enter meddling kids and some pissed off Noghri and the late Grand Admiral Thrawn is carried off by the chorus.

Close on Admiral Pellaeon, crestfallen at this turn of fortune (but secretly relieved at no longer having to look like a half-wit child next to Thrawn), taking over command of the rump Empire and forming a blue ribbon committee on unified paint schemes for all Imperial warships before retiring to the officer’s club to reminisce about the good old days when the Emperor was running the show and a man of his mild talents could rise to the rank of Admiral by just shuffling papers and avoiding any responsibility.

Or at least that is how I am calling it.  I couldn’t make it to the end of the last book, even with a professional voice actor reading it to me while in the car where I had nothing but traffic to deal with.  My mind kept wandering off… or perhaps it was running away to hide… and I would realize that I had missed great chunks of the narrative.

I am being unfair of course.  Part of the reason I lost interest is that the books are really in the “young adult” category at best and were written at a time when we were starved for anything Star Wars related.  Context is ever important.  These books were like mana in the 90s.

I did enjoy spotting the places where the books diverged from the eventual stories put forth in Episodes I, II, and III.  Things like the nature of the Clone Wars (a clone revolt), dark Jedi (no mention of Sith), and how Darth Vader lost his hand (no mention of Obi-wan sadistically leaving Anakin burned and dismembered on whatever industrial sweatshop world that was) spring to mind.  That was a fun game at times.

In they end, they are not bad books when you factor in their time, target audience, the constraints and demands that Lucas no doubt put on them, and the other titles from the 90s Expanded Universe collection.  These are still the best of that bunch and deserved to be best sellers back then.  But times have changed and so have I.

Quote of the Day – No Love for EA

First, the bad news: EA bags Star Wars games rights

Still waiting for the good news

-Headline over at The Register

The word has gone out that EA has acquired the rights to the Star Wars franchise when it comes to video games, something garnering about as many cheers as a wicked step-mother in a Disney story.  It is hard to be happy about the prospect of the potential for uninspired games with always online DRM which require servers that EA has a propensity for shutting down as soon as they think they can get away with it.

Of course, Disney should get its share of jeers as well, as not only did they farm out Star Wars video games to the likes of EA, but they did so on the back of laying off most everybody at Lucas Arts.

Wasn’t this easier when it was just George Lucas pissing us all off, but we would occasionally see a decent Star Wars game rise amongst the trash?

Disney Buys Lucasfilm, Plans New Torments for Star Wars Fans

When I saw this headline pop up over at Game Informer News, I had to check the calendar.

No, it is not April 1st.

Maybe this is some sort of “Devil’s Night” prank?

And it has been a long time indeed…

But the news seems to be popping up everywhere except The Onion.

What can this portend?  I can hear a million sighs of relief as George “The Destroyer” Lucas is out of the picture.  The quote:

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” Lucasfilm CEO George Lucas said in a statement. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers.”

But is Disney a step in the right direction?  Is Star Wars even a Disney-like property?  I thought Disney required kids with single dads and dead mothers, not kids with single moms and no dads.  And what will we get with a Star Wars Episode VII release in 2015?

The future looks… weird.

Now what is the best follow-on rumor to start right about now while people are stunned… the return of Star Wars Galaxies maybe?

And in what freaking order am I going to have to watch the movies after Episode VII comes out?

Hrmmm…

Anyway, how are you taking the news?

SWTOR – Did The Lore Choice Hurt It?

As part of writing my homage to the stylings of SynCaine when it was announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic was going to go free to play, I spent a bit of time looking for the right picture to go with the piece.

While I eventually went with another graphic, I was initially drawn to this piece which Google images was kind enough to bring to my attention.

Tortanic and the original cast

I really like the picture.  If it is yours, I apologize for using it without credit or permission.  I will happily assign credit where credit is due.  It is a master work of referential parody.

The reason I did not use it is pretty obvious; none of the characters pictured actually appear in the game.  That fact seemed to distract from the Titanic metaphor, and so I set the picture aside and went with another choice.

Later, I ran across the picture again in a folder of collected images on my hard drive and, in looking at it, I began to wonder if there wasn’t another message in it altogether.

If you were to make the picture correct for the SWTOR/Tortanic reference, what characters would you include?

Now, I fell off the SWTOR wagon pretty quickly in beta, so I may be way off base in saying that there are no of sufficient stature in the game to stand in for the original cast.  The game lore struck me as completely of Expanded Universe quality, which can be indifferent, and characters in such lore have a tough time breaking out enough to match even third tier characters who happened to be around for some screen time during the life and times of Anakin Skywalker.

Which makes a Star Wars MMO, where one of your key selling points is “Hey, Star Wars stories,” a bit more challenging.  Not that I think a Star Wars MMO has to trot out Han Solo the moment I show up just to get me to play.  That is crazy talk.

Okay, stop that you!

But looking at Star Wars games in general, those taking place in and around the movies out number those outside of that time frame by a fairly lopsided margin.  Just being original trilogy focused obviously doesn’t make a bad game good, but it certainly seemed to make some mediocre games more popular than they might have managed otherwise.

I realize that this ignores the popularity of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, which is clearly the standard bearer for Expanded Universe games.  Certainly when it was announced back in 2008 that BioWare was going to be making what was essentially a KotOR MMO, there was quite a bit of cheering.  But were the cheers because the lore from KotOR was so good, or was it because KotOR was a good SINGLE PLAYER game regardless of the lore?

And I will also admit that eulogizing a game that was still, at last report, the second most popular subscription MMO in the US/EU, might seem more than a bit premature.  But even the stalwarts have to admit that the subscription trend was going badly and the decision to go free to play is the sort of radical change you do not make if things are going well.

All of which brings me around to my real question.

Do you think SWTOR would have been better, more popular, or longer lasting had it been framed in the lore of the movies as opposed to BioWare’s setting 4,000 years before the movies?

Vader’s Not So Silent Night

From the LEGO people.

I like the snatches of lyrics from the rebel carol.

LEGO has a Santa Yoda page up this year that includes two more videos and a contest where people can submit their own.

And they are also pushing a LEGO Star Wars film, The Padawan Menace, which Vader appears to be trying to watch in the video above.  The movie is 22 minutes long, which seems a bit brief for a full price Blu-ray release.  But what do I know.

Heir to the Empire – 20 Years Later

It has now been over 20 years since the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Heir to the Empire was first published.

Old Cover and New

And I will admit right now that, for the last 18 or so years, I thought the novel was titled Heir to Empire.  At least that is the way my brain stored it away.  I prefer it without the definite article, but that might just be me.

Anyway, back to 1991, a dark time for Star Wars fans… this is long, and not game related, so I won’t flood the front page with it.

Continue reading

Han Killed Greedo With One Shot

Even in the worst Star Wars fan nightmare, George Lucas would not have Han and Greedo exchange a dozen shots over the table before one of them finally flopped over dead, not having experience any diminished capacity along the way.  Forget about who shot first, that scenario would be the real disaster.

Han going for his blaster

And yet, that is how it would play out in any Star Wars MMO you care to mention.  My experiences this past weekend indicate that the toe to toe, multi-shot blaster fight is, and shall remain, the norm.

Blasting away, two down and I'm barely scratched

Which is seriously making me reconsider my pre-order of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

The whole hit points vs. damage dealt routine just feels wrong in a game like this.

I realize that it is equally inaccurate in a fantasy MMORPG, but swords, armor, and magic lead to a much easier suspension of disbelief.  I can easily get past this in Azeroth, Norrath, Telara, or Middle-earth.  But there are six Star Wars movies and about three seasons of related TV out there showing people going down to one blaster shot all the time.

Including, of course, our friend Greedo up there.  As somebody else once quipped, the more important fact was that Han shot well.

For the most part, in the movies, only good guys, and the rare bad guy with one last act of defiance in him, generally survive beyond a single blaster bolt.

So I am trying to decide if playing a game where it takes 3-6 direct blaster hits to kill an NPC, all while taking as many hits yourself, is going to be something I can get past or not.