My Review of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Whenever I mention the Star Wars: The Clone Wars show to people they always ask me, “Oh I haven’t really watched it, is it good?” I feel like a lot of people just dismissed this show as a kids version of Star Wars, which is doing it a great disservice. I decided to take some time to give people a closer look at this show, because I feel that is a (mostly) outstanding entry in to the Star Wars canon.

For people who may not know, the show is about the myriad conflicts that occurred during the Clone Wars (the period between Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith). The main 2 characters are Anakin Skywalker and his new Padawan learner Ahsoka Tano, with many appearances by all of our favorite characters including Obi-Wan, Padme, Yoda, Mace Windu, Chancellor Palpatine, and yes Jar-Jar. The first point I’d like to address is that this is just Star Wars for kids: absolutely not true. This show is about war. It is not graphic by any means, but characters die in just about every episode and more clone troopers than anybody could count meet their maker through the course of the series. The lives of the clone soldiers weigh heavily on the commanders and Jedi conscience, and frequently through the stories characters question if they are really on the “good” side of the war.

On to to the characters. One of the things this show does (unfortunately even better than the prequel movies) is portray the characters from the Star Wars universe. I won’t go in to every character (though I happily would) but I would like to mention some that stand out. Anakin is not the same whiny teen from Episode II or angst-ridden young adult he is in Episode III. We see Skywalker frequently disregard rules to save lives (not always successfully either), and learn that just because Ahsoka is young doesn’t mean she can’t teach him too. Ahsoka Tano is a wonderful character, and probably my favorite in this show. She is intelligent enough to take the value she can from Anakin’s teachings and not the extreme emotions that he puts behind them. It is very intriguing to watch her grow and to see her make the very hard decision she makes near the end of the show. Lastly Padme Amidala is portrayed with far more believability and conviction than Natalie Portman ever achieved (Sorry Nat, love ya’). Her and Anakin have more synergy and you get to see how much of a struggle their (not so) secret relationship is.

Ok, now I will be fair and mention the Cons. One: Jar-Jar is in it, and he is exactly the same. The good side of this is that all the other characters hate the idiot just as much as we do. They make him stay on the ship and try to keep him as far away from anything important as possible. Two: the show is still targeted to kids. Most storylines have a lesson to be learned, some of the logic is ridiculous (Jedi can use the force to sense almost anything, but get snuck up on all the time), and the child characters always manage to heroically help save the day. To me, the biggest con is that the show took many things from the Star Wars EU (expanded universe) and then changed them in strange, seemingly pointless, ways. Because the Clone Wars show is now official canon for the Star Wars universe we have little perverted pieces of the old Legends canon that made their way into the new one. Such as the Sith homeworld being changed from Korriban to Morriban for no reason even though it is exactly the same for all other purposes, Jabba having a son (the Hutts changed genders for childbirth and Jabba never had a kid before he died in the EU), and Darth Maul being raised from the dead just for fan service. I know this is just me knit-picking and complaining about losing the old Legends canon, but it does bother me.

So if you have considered watching this show but weren’t sure if it was worth your time, or it was “ruining” the Star Wars universe, I urge you to check it out. The entire series is on Netflix now and the few episodes that didn’t get finished are on the StarWars.com site.

Thanks for reading guys.

TL;DR The Clone Wars is actually really great IMO and don’t write it off as a kids show. It’s probably better than the prequel movies.

Disney CEO Bog Iger confirms dates on next movies

Disney CEO Bob Iger in front of the Millenium Falcon

Disney just sent out an annual report to stockholders which included a message from Disney CEO Bob Iger. David Gremillion from Get Your Geek On is stockholder and received this message:

“As one of the few people allowed to visit the set during filming….and one of the fewer who’s seen most of the footage…I can assure the millions of Star Wars fans who have spent the last decade hoping for a new movie this one will be worth the wait. And it’s only the beginning of a new era of exceptional Star Wars storytelling; next year we’ll release our first standalone movie based on these characters, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII in 2017, and we’ll finish this trilogy with Episode IX in 2019.”

Big surprise that the CEO of the company says that one of the biggest movies the company will ever make is going to be great. Coming from his mouth it could be taken as just hype, though all other people associated with the film have stated the same.

The facts that we can take from this message are, that new installments in the upcoming trilogy are going to happen every other year and that we are definitely getting stand alone movies in between each one. This was already the rumor we had all heard but it is always better to know for sure.

Now to continue speculating about the first stand alone movie; Han Solo and Boba Fett please.

-Derek1138

Star Wars: Battlefront new art and details!

IGN just got to reveal a new high-res piece of art from the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront game in production by DICE studios. See their article here.

It does show us that Endor is going to be in the game, which we really could’ve assumed since it always has been and is an iconic battle scene from the movies. The picture is still cool though and I’ve put it into my wallpaper rotation. DICE also stated to IGN that they will make special game modes for certain maps. My guess is this means something like the rebels attacking the shield generator on Endor, the Empire attacking the Rebel base on Hoth, and the Empire boarding the Tantive IV to find the Death Star plans. Which all sound awesome.

The article also features the trailer that DICE released at this last E3 in 2014. You should watch it if you’re at all interested in this game. It’s a little personal look at how serious DICE is taking this game, and some actual game play footage as well.

I’m really excited about this game, my son and I still play Battlefront 2 together on our Playstation 2. I can’t wait to see his reaction to this amazing new version. The bad news for me is that I will have to buy a PS4 or XboxOne to multiplayer this with my son probably.

-Derek1138

State of the Universe

Let me start my blog with a summary of what the Star Wars universe looks like for fans right now. I know that most of you are not as avid fans as I am, so please allow me to bring you up to date with everything that’s happening. Here are the major developments in the Star Wars universe right now. (Warning: this is long)

New Movie – Episode VII: The Force Awakens 

I can’t imagine you would be reading my blog and not know there is a new Star Wars movie coming, but just in case you didn’t know: there is. Taking place 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens will have nearly all of the major characters from the Original Trilogy (Lando is notably missing) plus a host of new ones. Check out the IMDB entry here for the full cast. J.J. Abrams, of recent Star Trek fame, is at the helm and the signs are very positive so far. Cast members have been tight lipped about what the movie is really about, and internet rumors are wide and varied, but many people involved have been quoted saying that the film will be amazing.

Here is the trailer for The Force Awakens if you have not seen it yet. In it you see several of the new characters, but none of the old (unless you count the Millennium Falcon). Since the time it was released, a teaser post from StarWars.com has named all the new characters and rumor has it the next trailer will have our old friends from the original trilogy. My personal guess is that we will see the next trailer in front of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.

Future Movies

Besides Episode VII there are more Star Wars movies in the works. The word is that they are going to release a main movie (Ep. 7, 8, and 9) every 3 years with spin-off films between them. It’s official that Gareth Edwards, who directed the recent Godzilla blockbuster, is directing the first one and rumors say it is going be about Han Solo or Boba Fett (or maybe both). Yet more rumors abound that the others might be about Yoda, Obi-Wan, or Red Squadron (Luke’s X-Wing squad).

The rebooting of the EU (Expanded Universe)

A formal announcement was made last year that all of the previous Expanded Universe entries are being re-branded as the Legends universe, and are no longer canon with the films. The new canon only includes the six movies, the Star Wars: Clone Wars show, and the Star Wars: Rebels show plus the new content going forward. This meant that all Novels, Junior Fiction, comic books, video games, and everything before that announcement were no longer officially part of the Star Wars universe. At the time of the announcement there were books and comics that had not even come out yet there were already non-canon. This was very hard for me to take at first, though I have accepted it and I won’t go on about that right now (I’ll likely make a post on that at some point). The good part of this change, is that everything going forward will all be one unified canon. A problem with the old EU was that there were different levels of canon, and certain points were frequently contradicted by different sources. For the new canon they have a group of people who oversee all elements of the EU and make sure they don’t contradict. No more questions of which Boba Fett is really Boba Fett or who shot first (it was Han FYI).

TV Shows

The acquisition of LucasFilm by Disney also affected the TV shows in production. Clone Wars got cancelled in the middle of production on Season 6. The episodes that were complete are not on Netflix, and the incomplete ones are available on StarWars.com as storyboards with audio. Seth Green and Matthew Senreich (creators of Robot Chicken) were also in production of another cartoon title Star Wars: Detours. It was to be a comedic look at the Star Wars universe and 39 episodes are actually completed already. Seth has stated that the show will eventually be released, but not in the near future. A live action Star Wars show was also started years ago, but was put on hold as the effects budget was much too high for television.

Right now the only Star Wars show on the air is Star Wars: Rebels. Rebels is a little more lighthearted than the war torn stories of the Clone Wars series. It follows a small crew of characters fighting against the empire where they can. The crew includes a Twi’lek pilot, an ex-mandalorian girl, an alien from a race not seen before (based on Ralph McQuarrie’s original art for Chewbacca), a Jedi on the run, and young force sensitive orphan being trained as a Jedi. I watch the show with my son, and we thoroughly enjoy it (also Lando is in an episode, so that’s awesome). You can watch it online (with a login from your cable provider) on Disney XD’s website.

New Star Wars Novels

Besides the new movies, this is the biggest deal for me. I collect the novels and they are what took from me just liking Star Wars like everybody else, to being a HUGE SW fanboy. There are 161 Star Wars novels at the time I right this, not counting e-book only short stories and youth fiction, with 159 of these now being in the recently dubbed Legends universe (BTW I have read 104 of these). There are only 2 books now included the new canon. A New Dawn and Tarkin.

Star Wars: A New Dawn is a tie-in to the new Rebels show and serves as back story for some of the characters from it, and takes place between episodes III and IV. Star Wars: Tarkin is about the life of Grand Moff Tarkin who we saw as the commander of the first Death Star in A New Hope, and seems to tell the story of his childhood and involvement in the creation of the famous battle station. I actually have not finished either of these yet but will likely post a review of each when I do.

There are several more books scheduled for release in the coming year including: Heir to the Jedi (Luke working for the Rebellion), Lords of the Sith (Darth Vader and the Emperor in action together), and Dark Disciple (Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos in a storyline that never got produced when the Clone Wars show got cancelled).

New Marvel Comics

As Disney now owns LucasFilm and Star Wars, the rights for comics in the universe were taken from Dark Horse and given back to Marvel (which they also own). Several new series are starting in the beginning of 2015. The ongoing series, simply called Star Wars, just launched on January 14th. 2 mini-series following Darth Vader and Princess Leia are starting in February and March respectively, and a series titled “Star Wars – Kanan: The Last Padawan” launches in April and will chronicle the history of Kanan Jarrus (from Star Wars Rebels) starting at Order 66. If you’re interested in these be sure to support your local comic shop and start a subscription with them.

I had only dabbled in the Star Wars comics before this as there was just so many entries into that medium and it seemed ominous to try to catch up. However with this reboot, it is a perfect time for anyone to dive in either the comics or the books and be up to speed immediately.

Video Games

Since 1979 Star Wars and video games have been a match made in heaven. With the acquisition of LucasArts as part of the Disney buy-out at least 2 games in production got scrapped. One of these was 1313 (which I was quite excited about). 1313 had you playing a bounty hunter in Coruscant’s seedy underworld, think GTA in the Star Wars Universe The other was Battlefront 3, which has been restarted now and renamed to just Star Wars: Battlefront. Production of the new Battlefront was given to DICE studios, the team that is responsible for making the Battlefield games which Star Wars: Battlefield took their inspiration from.

A slew of games for mobile platforms are out there now including the strategy game Force Commander, and some other ones I can’t remember because I don’t really like playing mobile games. I feel like most of them are just time sinks that penalize you for not using their micro-transactions to make the game easier.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online game, think World of Warcraft) that takes place around 3,500 years before the movies. I personally play this game off and on and enjoy it as it is far more story driven than any other MMO I’ve every played. It is of course non-canon now, not that anything that happened 3,500 years before the movies really effected anything.

LEGO Sets

The Star Wars LEGO series has been a staple of the building block company’s toy line since 1999. Year after year they release, and re-release, new building sets based on scenes and vehicles from the movies, cartoons, and even a couple from some video games. Right now they are making multiple sets based on Star Wars Rebels and the original trilogy. Official word is that there will be 7 sets tying in to The Force Awakens to be released around the time of the new movie.

In short, there are tons of new things coming out and it’s a super exciting time to be a Star Wars nerd. If you’re still reading this long post, thanks.

-Derek1138

Star Wars, nothing but Star Wars!

So often I find myself in an extensive monologue inside my own head. The subjects are varied, though one tends to come up more than others: Star Wars.

A multitude of thoughts and emotions have waxed and waned in the tumultuous spawning pool of my mind regarding the changes happening in the Star Wars universe. A reboot of the galaxy far far away has happened and left behind an alternate universe of galactic history that never happened. It has been a difficult and stressful journey for me to arrive at the place that leaves me at peace with these changes, but it had to happen. My options were to angrily defy the new canon and adhere to the old texts as if they were ancient dogma, or to commit them to the archives of the Jedi library and embrace the opportunity to experience the wonder of discovering my favorite heroes new lives. Of course the only answer I could accept without betraying my personal fandom was the latter.

A rebirth of Star Wars is at hand. With new movies, books, comics, shows, games, LEGO sets, action figures, and more on the horizons there is enough news to fill the HoloNet 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, I do not encounter many other SW fans with the same level of devotion as myself, so I am taking to the interwebs to spread my opinions like democracy to the filthy masses (sorry you’re not filthy, maybe I got carried away).

So keep an eye on this blog for all the big, and not so big, Star Wars news in the future. I will not cover leaks about the new movie, only official announcements (unless maybe they are super interesting/dumb) and will always be sure to warn if any posts contain spoilers. I hope you will enjoy my posts, and comment letting me know your own opinions.

TL;DR: I need something to do while on the hour trip each way to work, so I’m gonna talk about Star Wars on this blog.

May the force be with you!

-Derek1138