My Star Wars Thoughts

3 weeks ago we did a Star Wars special for the Extra Sequential podcast. Well, I saw ‘we’ but I was sick, so my usual co-host Mladen was joined by fellow Perth podcaster Luke Milton. They did a great job talking about all things Star Wars-y, but since I already prepped my notes I thought I’d put them up here. They are a bit ramshackle though, and Mr. Milton has some great thoughts on the Star Wars Blu-Ray at his blog. Ok, here we go…

I’ve only seen the original trilogy and most of the extras on Blu-Ray, but the films look awesome. They’re the best looking SW films I’ve ever seen. In fact, they could be the best looking films I’ve ever seen. From the first second you notice how different they look. This is a great visual upgrade and worth the price just for that. When R2-D2 and C-3PO first appear, they look dirty, lived in – real. The extras are OK, but there’s not  a lot of new ones made specifically for this release. In fact, the extras on the DVDs, particularly on the prequel trilogy, are much better. It is very exciting to see the mythical deleted scenes on the original films though, even if they’re not the best quality. Some introductions from George Lucas as to why they were left out would’ve been good, although it’s kind of obvious to anyone who’s seen the films a few times that they would’ve slowed the pace. The three major changes that have received the loudest complaints aren’t actually that bad in the context of the films. Obi-Wan’s weird noise in scaring off the sand people, Vader’s “NOOOO!” cry and the blinking Ewoks are OK. In fact, I think only Wicket now CGI blinks, but it looks fine. Yes, Vader’s cry as he kills the Emperor was unnecessary, as we don’t need his inner turmoil spelled out for us. His original silent reaction was enough, but his first “NOOOO!” in Revenge of the Sith is much more annoying.

HOW I FEEL

Star Wars was the first film I ever saw (on VHS) and one of the first films I saw at the cinema was the Ewoks film Caravan of Courage. The original trilogy are so magical because they comfortably cover so many genres. It’s funny, mainly thanks to Han’s dialogue, ie, “Who’s scruffy looking?”, “We’re all fine here, how are you?” after he blasts the communication panel, and of course there’s healthy elements of adventure, sci fi and fantasy. When Luke swings across the chasm with Princess Leia at his side, and John Williams’ magnificent theme swells – ah, what’s not to love?

A FEW FACTS

The first film debuted in 1977 on 32 screens.

It made over $307 million and held highest grossing film title for next 5 years.

6 films over 18 years, making $4.5 Billion in movie ticket sales, and over $13.5 Billion in merchandising sales.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” and variations thereof has been spoken in every SW film, and even in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Lego SW games have sold over 20 million copies.

WHAT IF?

As I begun compiling my notes and thoughts, I began to wonder, “What if the first film wasn’t a huge success and it was just another forgotten ‘70s film? Where would George Lucas be today?’

No-one expected SW to be a success, even Lucas bet 2.5% of film’s profits against Spielberg that his Close Encounters would make more money, so Spielberg still gets proceeds from the first film.

EXPANDED UNIVERSE

This year is 20th anniversary of the Expanded Universe, which really kicked off with Timothy Zahn’s novel, Heir to the Empire. There have been dozens since in the intervening years and I’ve read a few which feature Luke’s family, and Han and Leia’s kids battling the cruel Yuuzhan Vong, which are now featured in the Invasion series of comics by Tom Taylor and Colin Wilson, which are awesome.

Lucasfilm has to authorize everything, but there’s still continuity errors like Chewie in Episode 3, as he shoulda been a baby, not  an adult.

If you like SW, you must read the comics and books of the Expanded Universe. They range form being set 25000 years before Ep. 4 until abt 50 years after, which is the best period.

COMICS

Tag & Bink are Dead in 2001, written by Kevin Rubio (Troops from 1997). The pair caused all the major events in the films via their stupidity. The last one was 2006’s prequel Revenge of the Clone Menace.

Star Wars Infinities – 1 for each of the original films. 4 ish mini done in 2001 and 02. Alternate realities of the film’s events. The first one is written by Chris Warner, with art by Drew Johnson and Al Rio. Opens with the assault upon the Death Star, and Luke’s 2 torpedoes go in the shaft, but malfunction and blow up too early, meaning the Death Star doesn’t blow up and destroys the rebel base on Alderaan. Luke thinks Leia is dead and goes nuts. He goes to Dagobah and continues to wrestle with his anger. 5 years later he learns Leia is alive and has been brainwashed and is now a representative for the Empire. The Emperor wants Vader’s heir to replace Vader as his apprentice, so if he can’t have Vader’s son, he’ll have Vader’s daughter.  Yoda uses Force suggestions against Admiral Tarkin, who uses the Death Star to destroy the Empire fleet. C3PO was reprogrammed for the Empire, but he and Leia are eventually redeemed.

Empire Vol. 2 Darklighter – collects issues 8-12 and 15 of Star Wars: Empire. Written by Paul Chadwick with art by Doug Wheatley. It focuses on Biggs Darklighter (seen in the Ep. 4 deleted scenes), his acceptance into flight school in the Empire, forming a small rebellion, and his sacrifice during the Death Star battle. It’s very Star Wars – familiar characters, vehicles, planets. Luke’s not in it much, but we do see their friendship. We also see a Womp Rat (perhaps for the first time?). Superb, dynamic art. A must have for SW fans.

Dark Empire 1. Been 3 volumes so far. Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy. The TPB collects 6 ish mini. Set 6 years after Return of the Jedi. Luke, Han, Leia, and the usual gang are all in it. Light, almost ‘80s art, kinda like Bill Sienkiewicz. It was OK, but I preferred Darklighter. It was first published in 1991 and 92, and is the first Dark Horse series after they got the SW rights. Palpatine is back as a spirit and lives on in a series of cloned bodies. Han, Leia, and Chewie rescue Lando and Luke who were shot down. All pretty intense and epic.

Invasion. As I mentioned, the thirds series of Invasion (subtitled Revelations) is out now, and Trades of the first 2 series are out. Dark Horse pump out some high quality SW comics and you can find them all right here. Their newest one is called Agent of the Empire-Iron Eclipse. It’s a 5 ish mini-series by John Ostrander and Stephane Roux. It’s set inside the Empire and has a James Bond vibe to it. Sold! The first 40 page ish comes out on December 14 and can be ordered form your LCS (local comic shop) now.

4 Comments

  1. About the Chewbacca thing, the Expanded Universe has been pretty specific that Chewbacca is at least 200 years old, so its not a plothole. But since thats never mentioned in the movies, I can see how that’d be a bit confusing… Then again, you could just assume he’s about the same age as Darth Vader?

    • Wow, I didn’t know he was that old. I just know that a younger Han saved Chewie when he was a baby (and thus Chewie was indebted to him for the rest of his life), so I don’t think the timelines match up.

      • Ah, there’s yer prorblerm.

        Han saved Chewie, life-debt etc is all spot on, but Chewie wasn’t a baby at the time. You’ve been watching too much Muppet Babies methinks… And as far as I’m concerned, there is nothing wrong with that.

  2. Ah, my mistake then, but I bet Chewie was a cute baby.


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