Archive for December, 2011

Year In Review by Andrew

Every year critics and fans alike love to make lists of the best things that were released during the year. We decided to join in on the fun and we, Master Optician, myself and super_redhead, are doing our first ‘year in review’ lists.

FAVORITE EU NOVELS READ IN 2011:

(Notice that is “read” and not published in 2011)

1. Choices of One- It’s true that I didn’t read all of the EU novels released in 2011. I probably didn’t even read most of them (I missed Conviction, Ascension, and Shadow Games, at least). For more money, though, you can’t go wrong with Zahn. While some of his later novels were not his best, there’s no denying that the Thrawn trilogy is three of the best novels in the EU. He had a particularly strong return to form with this novel. Set between episodes IV and V, this novel has intrigue, intertwining plot threads, and is genuinely suspenseful.

2. Revan- My knowledge of The Old Republic is quite pathetic, but Revan was a lot of fun. It was fun for someone like myself, for example, to delve into the Sith society. Revan is a good, flawed hero, and, unlike some fans, I didn’t hate the Darth Scourge character. Didn’t play the Knights of the Old Republic games? Have no fear! The book is very readable, and goes into a lot of back story you may have missed.

3. Death Troopers- This is the only one on my list not published in 2011. If you missed when it was published in 2009, I recommend you go and pick it up. It’s a horror story. Substitute the haunted old house for a prison barge and you’ll have an idea of how this story works. It’s got a couple of characters from the original trilogy, zombies, and, at a little under 300 pages, it goes by in a blur. Despite all its faults this novel is entertaining as hell.

LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2011:

1. Darth Plagueis- Oh, man, you know it’s Darth Plagueis. It’s difficult to remember what EU novel has been more anticipated than this one, and it’s easy to see why. Go back and take a look at that cover again. The cover alone is dark, atmospheric and haunting. Plus, it’s got James Luceno, one of the better writers in the EU, at the helm. I’ve stayed away from all the excerpts that have been released, because when January 10th rolls around I want to be experience this novel.

2. The Phantom Menace 3D release- Yeah, I know that this is one of the prequels and that it has Jar-Jar Binks in it. Still, it’s Star Wars on the big screen (even if it is in 3D). For a lot of kids this will be the first time that they’ve seen Star Wars in the theater. Like a lot of you, I’m holding out for 2016, 2017, and 2018 when the originals will be in theaters, but seeing the Maul/Jinn/Kenobi fight on the big screen again will be epic.

3. Continuing to contribute to Knights Archive- This is a bit of a cop out but it’s true. My first review was posted here in July and I’ve been loving every minute of this since. I can’t tell you how much fun it has been getting to know and interact with so many fans. Thanks for helping to make this a great year.

DARTH PLAGUEIS Giveaway!

You want thissssss, don’t you…

Surprise! In a stunning move, we have decided to give away our copy of Star Wars: Darth Plagueis! The giveaway will start tonight (December 28th) and last until Monday, January 2nd. On that day we will also post our non-spoiler review of Darth Plagueis, so that day will be our own mini Plagueis event! This is how the giveaway will go down…

  • Retweet the designated tweet. NOTE: We will re-post the tweet all during the contest. You only need to retweet it once. We keep track of all the entries.

That’s it! The winner will be selected from the list of eligible entries and notified. Happy tweeting!

Earn 15 SwagBucks by Sending a FREE Star Wars eGreeting & Benefit Toys for Tots

A new offer has been added to Swagbucks where you can earn 15 Swagbucks by sending a FREE Star Wars eGreeting to a friend or loved one! You can send as many as you would like but you will only receive the 15 points once. To make this even better for each eGreeting sent they will donate a new Lego toy to Toys for Tots up to 1 Million toys!

To earn your points:

Login or Sign up for Swagbucks.
• Next click on the Earn tab then Special Offers.
• Then click on the RadiumOne tab.
• It is the 3rd offer down on my screen!

To receive the Swagbucks it must be sent to a valid email address.

SEE ALSO:
Swagbucks

Review: My Best Friend is a Wookiee and Collect All 21!

I think that those of us who grew up loving Star Wars all have a pretty similar tale to tell. Star Wars is one of those pursuits that will identify you early on as a geek by your peers. We were the kids who collected action figures and cards, who made fan films and wrote fan fiction, who read comics and novels with weird covers. There is a stereotype attached to Star Wars fans, a stereotype that I’ve never found to be true. Fans that I’ve met are successful and intelligent people, who love Star Wars, but are not consumed by it (though I will agree that there are those outliers). This sort of labeling and origin story has helped create a sense of unity among fans. Collect All 21! and My Best Friend is a Wookiee are memoirs, by John Booth and Tony Pacitti, respectively, written by fans, relating the experience of what it is like to have Star Wars be such a dominant force in your life.

I picked both of these books up last winter. My Best Friend is a Wookiee (to be called MBFiaW) was the first one I picked up. I went through the book in two days and began following Pacitti on Twitter. He mentioned Collect All 21!  and John Booth in a Tweet, and a couple of days later I started into that memoir. Both books are insanely readable (MBFiaW is the longer of the two at 256 pages, if that gives an idea of how quick they go by) and capable of being laugh-out-loud funny and poignant.

The books, though, were written by two very different kinds of fans. I think that this can be chalked up to generational differences. Booth saw the original trilogy in theaters, while Pacitti, like myself, was introduced to the originals on VHS by his parents. How we are introduced to the films plays a big role in how we experience them, as well as how the culture at that time receives them. For Booth and his friends thought that trilogy was the biggest thing to ever hit the screens, but by the time Pacitti and myself came along our classmates didn’t seem to care about those films as much. New films had come out by then, Jurassic Park being one Pacitti mentions by name, and they were what was big. It wasn’t until the Special Editions came out (on the big screen, no less) that our generation began to appreciate Star Wars.

A couple of years later The Phantom Menace was released. The prequels are another point that separate the two memoirs. Booth, the matured family man, accepts the new trilogy. It is especially moving when he writes about seeing Revenge of the Sith with his daughter. It is moments like that, Booth argues, which make the prequel trilogy worth it. On the other hand, Pacitti, the young fanboy, loathes the prequels. At times it can be easy to misread the book as a treatise on why the prequels were the worst thing to happen to fandom, as opposed to a memoir on how influential Star Wars was in Pacitti’s life

Booth’s memoir seems to me to be the one that focuses more on Star Wars. Pacitti writes as often about his childhood and college years as he does about the influence that Star Wars had on those periods. I found myself identifying with both memoirs for different reasons. I can relate to Pacitti from a generational standpoint, he being only a few years older than myself, and being able to share certain reference points. Though I certainly identified with Booth’s story, as well, particularly where the prequels are concerned (they certainly aren’t my favorites, but I don’t hate them the way a lot of fans, including Pacitti, do).

Both of these memoirs are highly enjoyable reads. These books helped remind me what it is to be a fan. We fans are a singular bunch. When you meet another fan you already share a code and there is, in part, a shared life story. Take some time to pick both of these up, and I think that you’ll be surprised by how much you’ll have in common with Booth and Pacitti.

Jedi Ninjas Ft. Team2X

Watch. Enjoy. Spread the word. :)

Rancho Obi-Wan: Plan Your Visit Now!

Here is the official press release:


RANCHO OBI-WAN BECOMES
CALIFORNIA NONPROFIT PUBLIC-BENEFIT CORPORATION
INSPIRED BY THE FORCE OF IMAGINATION

Petaluma, CA—December 15, 2011—RANCHO OBI-WAN (ROW), home of the largest privately held Star Wars™ collection in the world, is now a California nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to serve the public through the collection, conservation, exhibition, and interpretation of Star Wars memorabilia.

Fans can now play an active part at Rancho Obi-Wan by getting memberships, taking tours, planning events, and making donations. “The best part of Star Wars for me has been getting to meet and become friends with thousands of enthusiastic fans all over the world,” says collection owner, Steve Sansweet, who is President and Chief Executive Officer of Rancho Obi-Wan, Inc. “The saga has become a multigenerational touchstone of popular culture worldwide, and one role of the museum and its outreach program is to show how that happened.”

Sansweet started collecting before the movie premiered in May, 1977. The collection is estimated to contain over 200,000 items and is constantly growing. Newly remodeled, the museum’s nearly 9,000 square feet houses 35 years of Star Wars treasures.

Fans can join ROW at one of the various membership levels: Initiate ($35), Apprentice ($75), Knight ($200), Master ($600), or Grand Master ($1,300). Three of the membership levels allow fans to tour the collection with host Steve Sansweet; they can also rent the museum for events ranging from business meetings to weddings. (The museum is not open to the general public except through reserved membership tours.) All annual members will get an exclusive membership kit along with a quarterly email newsletter. ROW is also planning members-only events and other special activities.

Individuals and companies will be able to make donations to help with ROW‘s educational and creative activities, its gifts of tours to other non-profits and charitable fund-raisers, its public outreach, and the maintenance of the building and collection. These contributors will be recognized on a “Wall of Stars” at ROW.

Full information on membership, events, and donations are in the accompanying document. (Copied in-part below) Further information can be found at http://www.RanchoObiWan.org. Follow ROW on Twitter @RanchoObiWan and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RanchoObiWan. For specific questions please contact: info@RanchoObiWan.Org.

Read more

Lord of the Sith by Steve Thomas

Here’s something new by artist Steve Thomas: A silk screen print entitled Lord of the Sith. Steve says that “It’s heavily based on an old “Sandeman” port advertisement poster.” Hurry up and get yours! (Click on image for purchase info)

Details:

150 piece silk screen limited edition
signed by Steve Thomas
18″ x 24″ $50.00

SEE ALSO:
Knights Archive Exclusive: Steve Thomas
Steve Thomas Star Wars Posters at Acme Archives Direct
Steve Thomas Star Wars Posters at Ltd. Art Gallery‏
Steve Thomas Star Wars Posters

All Steve Thomas images on our site are used with permission by Steve.

Star Wars: X-Wing: Mercy Kill Cover and Blurb

StarWars.com has posted the front cover art and blurb from the upcoming Star Wars: X-Wing: Mercy Kill, which is scheduled to be released August 7, 2012 in hardcover format. This is an obvious “must buy” for EU fans everywhere, but I have a feeling that many of them will wait for the mass market paperback release in order to match the rest of the series on their shelf.

Outcasts and misfits, spies and warriors, pilots and troublemakers — they’re Wraith Squadron. Founded decades ago by ace pilot Wedge Antilles, this elite intelligence unit, disbanded at the end of a catastrophic civil war, is reunited by former leader Face Loran to find out whether one of the galaxy’s most powerful military officers is a traitor… and whether anyone can stop him if he is. To succeed in their mission, the Wraiths must become thieves, pirates, imposters, forgers, and liars, staying just one step ahead of their enemies and the law!

SEE ALSO:
X-Wing: Mercy Kill 35-Page Excerpt!
New X-Wing: Mercy Kill Cover Art
Star Wars: X-Wing: MERCY KILL Blurb
Star Wars: X-WING: MERCY KILL

The Essential Reader’s Companion Preliminary Cover

Edelweiss has posted a product page for Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion, which includes a preliminary cover image. It currently has a August 21, 2012 release date.

A new, never-before-published entry in our extremely popular series of fully illustrated Star Wars Essential Guides. Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion is a book Star Wars fans have been asking for, and will be presented with astonishing full-color artwork throughout!

Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion is the first Essential Guide devoted entirely to published Star Wars fiction, from the original movie novelization, to young reader’s books, short stories, eBook novellas, and the most recent adult novel. This book will cover all the fiction that has built the Star Wars Expanded Universe over the last thirty-five years.

SEE ALSO:
Review: The Essential Reader’s Companion by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: The Essential Reader’s Companion
Preview 28 Pages of The Essential Reader’s Companion!
Sneak Peek: The Essential Reader’s Companion Images 2.0
Sneak Peek: The Essential Reader’s Companion Images
The Essential Reader’s Companion Blurb
The Essential Reader’s Companion Cover Art

The Clone Wars Review: Slaves of the Rebublic

The Clone Wars
Episode 4.12: Slaves of the Republic

SPOILERS!!

Synopsis:

Anakin, Obi-Wan, Rex and Ahsoka go undercover on planet Zygerria to locate the missing togruta colonists from Kiros. Anakin dresses as a slaver and takes up the name of Larrs Quell, with Ahsoka being his slave. His plan is to distract the queen whilst Obi-Wan and Rex find clues to the whereabouts of the colonists. On the ship Obi-Wan, Anakin and Ahsoka give their lightsabers to R2-D2, who is to follow Anakin around on the mission.

Once on the planet Ahsoka draws attention to herself by stopping Atai Molec, Prime Minister from whipping a slave. Anakin apologizes and asks Atai if he could see the queen, but he turns down the offer as Anakin doesn’t have an invitation. Anakin presses on though, and says that he has news of a Bruno Denturri. With this the queen invites him to her palace herself. There, Anakin wins her favor through flattery and news that he had killed Bruno and took his slave, posing as Ahsoka. Anakin and the queen take a walk to discuss view points in slavery and the queen grows fonder of Anakin when he saved her from getting stabbed by her slave. When the slave failed though, she committed suicide. Anakin wins the queen’s trust by giving Ahsoka as a gift, and she then invites him to sit at his side for the slave auction.

In the meantime, Obi-Wan and Rex looked around near the palace in the slave chambers and found Roshti, the governor of Kiros. He was weakened in the dark and fainted before he revealed the location of the colonists of Kiros. Obi-Wan tries to escape with Roshti, but were shot from the creature they were riding, leaving Rex to escape.  Obi-Wan is tortured for information about himself and is recognized by Atai Molec who was present in a hologram last episode. Obi-Wan was then to be sold at the slave auction.

At the slave auction Obi-Wan is first publicly shown and tormented. The queen gives Anakin a shock whip and tells him to show Obi-Wan his place. Once there though, Anakin gives the signal to R2-D2 who gives the lightsabers to their respective owners. Obi-Wan was freed from his cuffs, Ahsoka jumps to position the queen and Rex who had been hiding shot from within the over-lookers. In the chaos though, the Jedi lost. Ahsoka was shocked by the queen and fell as the others where all brought to their knees with shock whips.

Anakin then wakes in the queen’s chambers to find himself being kept hostage by her as a personal bodyguard. The queen promised his friends survival in exchange for his duty as a personal slave and guard. Obi-Wan, Rex and Roshti are taken to Kadavo to be processed into slaves and Ahsoka is locked up outside the palace. The episode then concludes with Anakin speaking with the queen, and her asking the question that if she was to let his friends go, would Anakin stay with her in return.

This episode, as was the one before, (I forgot to mention this last week), was based largely on the comic book to go with The Clone Wars. I wasn’t expecting the things I saw to be up on the screen. Although the series attracts a wide range of audiences, children are it’s main target, and particular parts of this episode were deep. One part, in particular, was the suicide of the slave girl. The part would be hard to understand for some young ones. Even the tottering of Obi-Wan, although shown last episode, was quite harsh. I just thought I might bring this up, but not that I don’t wish for children to see it, rather that it was interesting to see the series producers create that.

There were many highlights of this episode, undercover missions and bright slave girl clothes, but one thing I really enjoyed was the part where the team attack from undercover. It reminded me of the battle on Tatooine in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. In the movie, R2 gave Luke his ‘saber after Luke gave the signal for all his friends undercover to attack. It was great to see. Although the major difference was that Luke and his friends won that battle…

I’d like to see more character development from the last episode in the arc though. Anakin didn’t seem moody like I’d expect him to be, having his cover blown now. Even Obi-Wan or Ahsoka don’t get a good looking at… yet. Apart from that it seems like a good story so far.

Star Wars Weekends 2012 Dates Announced

Disney has announced the dates for Star Wars Weekends 2012!

We have confirmed dates to share today for next year’s Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. The galactic fun begins on May 18 and will run through June 10. And of course the centerpiece of the experience will be our 3-D Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction that debuted this summer. Here are the weekends:

2012 Star Wars Weekend Dates:

  • May 18-20
  • May 25-27
  • June 1-3
  • June 8-10

SEE ALSO:
Star Wars Weekends 2012 Promotional Videos, Posters
Catherine Taber To Attend Star Wars Weekends 2012
Star Wars Weekends 2012 Celebrity Hosts

The Clone Wars Review: Kidnapped

The Clone Wars
Episode 4.11: Kidnapped

SPOILERS!!

Synopsis:

The Togura governer of Kiros is forced to negotiate with Count Dooku when Separatist forces threaten war on the peaceful planet. Count Dooku reassures the governor of his people’s well being in a temporary haven whist they attack the Republic on the planet, but it is really a trap.

The Republic forces are Obi-Wan, Anakin and Ahsoka along with troops including Rex. They land on the planet and explore a colony, but find no people. They then easily defeat battle droids and surround the governor’s tower where Darts D’Nar, a Zygerrian slaver working with Count Dooku sits over looking the colonies.

D’Nar calls for Obi-Wan to discuss surrender but D’Nar then reveals that he had previously placed bombs in the colonies and that a trigger would simply activate them if Obi-Wan did not surrender. Obi-Wan recorded the discussion though, and sent it to Anakin secretly who got the troops to locate the bombs. He and Ahsoka then go to each bomb and deactivate them using their lightsabers.

Meanwhile, Obi-Wan distracts D’Nar by dueling him in hand-to-hand battle, a Zygerrian tradition. When the bombs are all deactivated and a droid informs D’Nar of the situation, he activates a last secret bomb on the back of a droid and pushes it on top of Obi-Wan to give himself time to escape. Obi-Wan quickly uses the force to push the droid out the tower’s window and tells Anakin and Ahsoka of D’Nar’s escape.

Anakin and Ahsoka manage to catch up to his ship and climb on the top of it. D’Nar detects them from inside and opens the craft in an attempt to knock them down. Instead, they climb inside and face a blixus, a large squid-like creature D’Nar had put into captivity. Anakin defeats the creature whist Ahsoka holds D’Nar hostage. They then find that the whole of the colony’s have been transported for a slavery auction.

Anakin, Ahsoka and Obi-Wan contact the Jedi temple and come to the conclusion that perhaps a darker force is behind the events and slavery and that the auction and slavery could aid the Sith.

This episode was the first of an arc, and I believe it’s gotten off to a good start. The episode wasn’t about the colony, which was what I was expecting, but it was rather about Anakin Ahsoka and Obi-Wan. This episode did remind me of why I like The Clone Wars: That every character has a story told different ways, in different battles. I think it reminded me of this because of the change in characters, location, lighting and writing from the last arc on Krell and the clones.

With that said, this episode was quite well done. I loved the visuals in this episode, little things like Ahsoka’s goggles, Obi-Wan’s floppy hair and the tower all looked really good, and suited the position that the characters were in. I enjoyed the new creatures like the blixus and the other captured animals, and really felt sorry for the poor things. On top of all this watching the brutal D’Nar was also great since he was a new alien to the big screen, a Zygerrian slaver, and the Jedi temple and Council was seen at the end, which was awesome. Seeing new things was the highlight of this episode for me.

The plot was good, and in an arc is going to be better I think, which is always the case. Music never fails to impress, plus the building of Anakin’s character is getting interesting. The Zygerrian slavers remind him of his past, and now even Ahsoka looks a bit worried for him. Ahsoka seems to have a nice character too now, she’s more mature and not nearly as annoying as when we first met her. In the episode all of her people go missing, but she keeps her cool, which was a great improvement to her personality.

Overall I’m excited to see the things I saw, and looking forward in what happens next.

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