Archive for January, 2012

Review: Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual

I’m someone who takes on my own vehicle maintenance and repairs. I can’t do it alone, though, and throughout the years have relied on the supremely helpful Haynes auto repair manuals. I own several, in fact. Once we purchase a new vehicle, one of the next things I buy is the corresponding repair manual. So I’m very familiar with the publication. Several months ago, when I found out about the upcoming Haynes/Star Wars: Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual, I was very excited. A book that combined my favorite manual and one of my favorite Star Wars ships? I’m game. With all that said, here are my impressions of this latest Star Wars publication:

One word I’d use to describe this book is: Fun. Flipping through the beautifully illustrated pages turned me back into the kid that loves Star Wars. There is a perfect mix of text and images. Millennium Falcon enthusiasts can easily spend a few hours and lose themselves in this book.

Every major function of the ship is described in detail, from cockpit controls, weapons and combat techniques to hyperdrive functions and escape pods. Included among the technical jargon is a nice history of the Falcon, including past owners and variations of the ship model. There’s also quite a few shots from the movies themselves, which provides a nice reference to accompany the illustrations.

Speaking of illustrations, wow. This book is packed full of beautifully rendered images. I literally had to tear myself away from each page. From cover to cover, this book is a satisfying treat for the eyes.

The only complaint I have, if you could call it that, is that this publication is nothing like a normal Haynes repair manual. When I first heard the news about this book, I immediately pictured a Haynes manual like the ones I currently had on the shelf. While I didn’t expect the book to be several hundred pages thick that featured black and white images, I did expect at least something similar. Like step-by-step repairs, a troubleshooting guide, a maintenance schedule or even the instantly recognizable spark plug condition guide found on the back cover of every manual (Not that I think the Falcon uses spark plugs, but something similar could have been used).

In my opinion, there’s no real reason why the Haynes name is on this book, other than to attract repair-minded people such as myself. I’m sure in the early stages a Haynes manual for a Star Wars ship was a winning idea, and it still is, but somewhere along the process this book became more about the Falcon and less about a typical Haynes manual. Detailed descriptions of many individual ship parts: Yes. Instructions on how to tear down, rebuild and reinstall said parts: No. I realize there’s no need for a Falcon book like that in real life, but that is what a Haynes manual is all about. That’s like pairing up with Webster to create a Star Wars-themed dictionary, but in the end fail to include any definitions, pronunciation guides or any other extras like measurement scales that you usually see within a typical dictionary. In-universe speaking, this is the kind of book a ship salesman would use, not the service department.

That said, this really is a cool book that kids and Falcon enthusiasts will enjoy. I can foresee the reader wearing out the pristine pages because of constant use; this book will be looked at constantly and enjoyed every time. People who want to buy the book simply for the Haynes value might want to pass it up, though.

SEE ALSO:
Review: Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual by Andrew
The Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual

The Clone Wars Review: Friends and Enemies

The Clone Wars
Episode 4.16: Friends and Enemies

SPOILERS!

Synopsis:

Obi-Wan Kenobi is still disguised and undercover as Rako Hardeen when he crash lands the ship he, Cad Bane and Moralo Eval rode to escape the jail last episode. They are now on Nal Hutta to get supplies and a new ship to get off the planet. At one store Cad threatens the store owner for not having good weaponry with a toothpick. Obi-Wan tries giving his partner credits for the trouble, but she dismisses it to tend to the store keeper.

The three then decide to split to gather supplies. Cad and Moralo bought weaponry whilst Obi-Wan bought a ship. Cad and Moralo take advantage of Obi-Wan though by taking the weapons and leaving in the ship. Obi-Wan is then captured and knocked out to awake hanging by the guard of the Hutt’s guards. The guard questions Obi-Wan, but Obi-Wan gladly gives the location of the ship that he found through a tracking device so they could shoot down the ship. Obi-Wan escapes and contacts Yoda and Mace Windu for credits for a new ship. Cad and Moralo come back after being shot down to Obi-Wan who provides them with a ship.

Palpatine, whom Anakin is protecting, tricks Anakin into thinking the Jedi Council was wrong not to search for “Rako”. Palatine asks Anakin to go to Nal Hutta and find “Rako’s” trail. Ahsoka and Anakin find them quickly by speaking to people around quite ruffly and threatening too. When Anakin finds the bounty hunters he jumps out on the ship and has a battle with Cad. Ahsoka and Obi-Wan both crash the ships, though, after they bump each other out of the air. Obi-Wan gets out of the ship and tries to find Anakin to explain to him the truth when Anakin comes out and nearly kills him. Bane arrives and again engages in battle. In the end Obi-Wan wrestles Anakin and pins him to the floor, addressing him by name and saying not to follow him before Anakin passes out. Ahsoka arrives to protect Anakin’s body from Cad, but the the bounty hunters escape in their ship that is still functional.

Anakin wakes to tell Ahsoka Obi-Wan is alive and that they’ll find out why this all is while meanwhile Mace Windu and Yoda find out that Palpatine had sent Anakin off to Nal Hutta and decided to tell Anakin the truth about the mission.

This episode was quite amazing seeing exactly what I wanted to see. Again. A moody, emotion driven Anakin, with Ahsoka by his side, with Palpatine’s words ringing in his ears, to go get the “bad” guy. Awesome.

Palpatine was how he is, all supportive of Anakin’s feelings and emotions, and the fact that he’s special, and telling him how wrong the Jedi Council is. It was like I was watching a Star Wars film. But that’s what this series is: short mini-movies, works of art. I’m still unsure about where the arc is going though, and how much Palpatine knows. Does he know about the top secret mission? If so, did he send Anakin to find out the mission then get upset that the Jedi Council and Obi-Wan didn’t trust him, and oversaw his powers? This is certainly what it looks like from here.

I’m growing more curious about Ahsoka’s fate. I’m aware she is becoming a lot like Anakin, as his padawan. Just the same facial expression that screams hatred and the stance when they’re battling the bounty hunters. I wonder if she trusts Palpatine and agrees with him like Anakin, because if she does it makes me wonder….

The Clone Wars Review: Deception

The Clone Wars
Episode 4.15: Deception

SPOILERS!

Synopsis:

Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka are walking to a transport when a sniper, hit man Rako Hardeen appears and shoots at Obi-Wan. Split up, Obi-Wan chases Rako only for him to fling himself in his line of sight and fall off a building. Anakin loses Rako, and so quickly runs with Ahsoka to see the fallen “dead” Obi-Wan. A funeral takes place with members of the Jedi Council and the Senate, as well as Ahsoka who is worrying about how Anakin is taking the loss. We then see Rako at a cantina drinking to celebrate his kill.

It is now that we find out it was the Jedi Councils plan all along to “kill” Obi-Wan so he could go under cover as Rako himself to figure out a Separatist plot to kill Palpatine. A medical droid shaved Obi-Wan bald like Rako and gave him an injection that made his face an exact replica. With the help of Mace, they then go to the Cantina where Rako was and lure him into a back room where they take his clothes and a sample of his voice to complete Obi-Wan’s transformation. The plan was set in place when the Jedi Council gave the location of “Rako” to Anakin and Ahsoka. They go in angrily and arrest Obi-Wan, but this was just all part of the plan.

Once in the jail it’s clear that Rako had a reputation and Obi-Wan used that to gain respect and, most importantly, trust from Moralo Eval, the criminal hired to kill Palpatine with the help of Cad Bane. Cad first helps them escape the jail by causing a diversion: Boba. Boba picks a fight with Obi-Wan over a stolen bounty, but Bossk and others join in and overthrow the clone guards around them. Obi-Wan escapes with Cad and Moralo, and they steal a craft to get away. Cad has his suspicions on Obi-Wan though, as he hesitated to shoot a clone. This episode concludes with them flying away.

This episode looks like the arc is on a good start. I really enjoyed taking a look inside the under street and the jail on Coruscant, and what goes on between all the darker people and bounty hunters. I think that in a few shots the lighting did well in portraying this, like the dark shades when Obi-Wan and Mace were in the cantina back room, or the horizontal lines from the shades when Anakin and Ahsoka arrested Obi-Wan. This lighting reminded me of Padme’s room in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, when she was nearly assassinated.

Again I feel sorry for Obi-Wan. He was sent under cover on a mission that required him to go through a lot of pain, in many events, and still asked about how his funeral went with a smile. Although I was impressed with how much he still looked like Ewan McGregor, I almost choked when I saw his hair all shaved off. And about Boba’s new hairstyle too. I liked the old cuts much more.

I also loved a grumpy Anakin, (and Ahsoka). It was exactly what I wanted to see in this episode. When Anakin and Ahsoka walked into the cantina and demanded Rako’s whereabouts, I again thought of Attack of the Clones, when Obi-Wan and Anakin looked for Zam in a cantina. In fact, a lot of this episode reminded me of that part in that movie. Just all the chasing and running away and sneaky Bounty Hunter-like work. Even the lights from the billboards and little things like that. Plus the range of aliens like Quarren and Rodian was a nice touch, but I guess it was Coruscant, so that was to be expected.

Overall I did enjoy this episode and it does leave many questions still to be answered. Like what’s the real motive under all of this? We are talking about a Separatist attack on Palpatine. Both are tied together… so it should get interesting.

The Essential Reader’s Companion Cover Art

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 novels. This book will cover all the fiction that has built the Star Wars Expanded Universe over the last thirty-five years. Written by Pablo Hidalgo and featuring more than one hundred color illustrations by popular Star Wars artists Chris Trevas and Jeff Carlisle, this book will be an invaluable source for Star Wars readers and fans.

Here is the final cover for the upcoming Essential Reader’s Companion, due to be released on August 21st. Link It’s quite similar to the preliminary cover art that was posted in the current Random House online catalog. (See link below)

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 Preliminary Cover

The Clone Wars Review: A Friend in Need

The Clone Wars
Episode 4.14: A Friend in Need

SPOILERS!

Synopsis:

This episode begins in the palace of Duchess Satine where six senators, three from the Rebublic, three from the Separatists, are trying to negotiate. One of the senators is Padme Amidala accompanied by Ahsoka Tano. The meeting isn’t going too well when, to Ahsoka’s surprise, Lux Bonteri, a Clone Wars orphan, disturbs the gathering. He loudly accuses Dooku for the murder of his mother, but is then taken away by the Separatist droids to be killed. Padme sends Ahsoka to go and rescue him.

Ahsoka finds Lux about to be killed by droids under the holographic command of Dooku and then takes him to a Republic ship to escape the planet. Anakin, in a hologram, tells Ahsoka to bring Lux to Coruscant to join the Republic. When she tries, though, Lux tells her that he won’t comply but, rather, has a plan to get revenge on Dooku for his mother’s death. When Ahsoka presses on the idea of taking Lux to Coruscant, he stuns Ahsoka and takes the ship on a new course for his plan.

Ahsoka wakes in the ship without her lightsabers to find herself on a snowy planet. She gets R2-D2 to find her weapons and goes outside the ship to ask Lux what’s going on. When the two meet, though, a group of Mandos from the group Death Watch surround them and one of them, Bo-Katan, greets Lux as if he was expecting him. When Bo-Katan asks who Ahsoka is, Lux was quick to give her the cover as his betrothed. Lux, Ahsoka and R2 were then taken to the Death Watch headquarters.

Once there and alone Lux explains to Ahsoka his plan. He traced the location of Dooku before with a holotracer and plans on giving the information to Death Watch so they can help Lux get his revenge. Ahsoka doesn’t believe that Death Watch would help at all, but rather kill Lux after they received the information. Whilst arguing the pair are nearly caught by the Death Watch leader, Pre Vizsla, but in order to hush Ahsoka in time without causing suspicion, he kisses her. Pre Vizsla asks Ahsoka to leave and Lux hands the information to him on Dooku’s whereabouts.

While this is happening R2 is put to work in repairing broken droids the Mandos shoot for practice, and Ahsoka is put into the kitchen where some native women are being enslaved, one being the granddaughter of their leader, Pieter. Pieter makes his appearance soon after at a Death Watch celebration, demanding the release of the women of his tribe. That morning Death Watch return to the tribe with the women, before Pre Vizsla kills Pieter’s granddaughter with his darksaber and gives the order to set fire to the entire village. Ahsoka attacks Death Watch but is quickly captured.

Ahsoka escapes with the help of R2 who causes a distraction, gives Ahsoka her lightsabers and, with the droids he repaired, attack the members of Death Watch. A battle commences between Ahsoka and Pre Vizsla, but they all escape in a speeder to the ship. Once on board Ahsoka sets the ship to go to Coruscant, but finds Lux in the escape pod. He tells Ahsoka he can’t join the Rebublic, but will see her again, and their departure marks the end of the episode.

This episode was a great standard, I thought, and had a lot of great things I was excited to see. Mandos, specifically a female Mando with a helmet shaped as an owl, a new snowy planet with an Asian-like race, a quadruple decapitation plus another forbidden Jedi pairing. (The best sort of pairing.)

I’ll start with Ahsoka. This episode made me remember her progress throughout this series in maturing and growing. She seemed very focused and sure in bringing Lux to his senses, and wasn’t too distracted from her Jedi morals. I think this shows a bit more of her personality, especially in her adult life.

I found Lux and Ahsoka quite cute together, despite what some other viewers of the show might think, and I am quite interested in their futures. And Anakin’s thoughts on him. Because there are many possibilities between them.

I’ve got to repeat that I loved the owl Mando helmet. If I recall it was put into the show by Dace Filoni because his wife loves owls. I love owls too so seeing my favorite animal and Star Wars together was quite am awesome thing. I’m not a huge fan of Mandos myself, but I must admit I enjoyed the battles and that darksaber.

I must say though, the next episode’s preview looks amazing and I can’t wait to see a moody Anakin.

Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide – Updated and Expanded

Revised and expanded!

Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide, newly revised and expanded, reveals the story of the amazing Star Wars saga in full detail. 40 new pages help to explain every detail about Star Wars from the millennia-spanning history of George Lucas’s long ago, far away galaxy to the Star Wars movies and ever-expanding range of books, novels, comics, and media. Packed full of interesting facts about the world of Star Wars merchandise and fandom, astonishing pieces of art, and full-color photographs, DK’s compendium is the key to knowing ALL there is to know about the iconic brand that is Star Wars!

Featuring tons of all-new content including characters, storylines, vehicles, weapons, merchandise, news, and beyond:

• LEGO® Star Wars™ sets and minifigures
• Latest seasons of the ever-popular animated series, The Clone Wars
• The Force Unleashed video games
• Blue-ray release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace
• Updated galactic timeline and galaxy map
• And much, much more!

The Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide – Updated and Expanded edition is due out April 16, 2012. Link

SEE ALSO:
Review: The Ultimate Visual Guide – Updated And Expanded

Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories Cover Art

Look for this paperback edition that features an all new novella also written by John Jackson Miller on July 31, 2012. Link

SEE ALSO:
A Look Inside The Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories
Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories Synopsis

Lost Tribe Of The Sith: SECRETS

Here’s the blurb for the 8th and final episode in the series…

In Sith teachings, nothing is more important than the individual: the glorious center of the universe, around which all other lives pale in importance. But the planetary home of the Lost Tribe of the Sith is not the center of the universe, but a backwater — and the tribe’s legendary founders were little more than slaves themselves!

When the Lost Tribe suddenly rediscovers its forgotten origins, frustration and anger threaten to finish the society once and for all. But the past holds more secrets still — knowledge that, in the right hands, could place the evil rulers of Kesh on a path toward a greater destiny in the stars…

The free eBook will be available in all eFormats on March 5, 2012 and will feature an excerpt from the upcoming Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse.

SEE ALSO:
Lost Tribe Of The Sith 7: PANTHEON
Lost Tribe Of The Sith 6: SENTINEL
Lost Tribe Of The Sith 5: Purgatory

Review: DARTH PLAGUEIS

(NON SPOILER REVIEW)

Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis “the wise”?

The above is the question heard around our world. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith answered many questions we had about the Saga, but left us wondering and perhaps fascinated about this new character, Darth Plagueis. We had precious little info given to us, but what was said, though likely twisted to suit the needs of Palpatine’s listener, left most of us yearning for more.

Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith who lived many years ago. He was so powerful and so wise that he could use the Force to influence the midichlorians to create life… He had such a knowledge of the dark side that he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying.

Whoa, hold on a second. Did he just totally undermine our thinking in regards to Anakin’s creation? Is it possible that Anakin was brought forth because of the Sith? And did Anakin finally discover how to save Padme from death? Wait, this is Palpatine talking, who we know is a Sith. He has to be lying.

The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.

We heard this powerful statement at the beginning of the Revenge of the Sith theatrical trailer as well. I think most of us then realized that this movie would deepen our understanding of the Dark Side, and would likely make some in the audience uncomfortable in the process. In the first two prequel episodes, Palpatine used his influence covertly upon his prey; now he seemed to be brutally honest about his secret lineage.

He became so powerful… the only thing he was afraid of was losing his power, which eventually, of course, he did. Unfortunately, he taught his apprentice everything he knew, and then one night, his apprentice killed him in his sleep. It’s ironic that he could save others from death, but not himself.

The look on his face looked so genuine, so satisfying. I know it convinced me that he was speaking some truth, and I began to conclude that he was referring to his master, his actions.

Is it possible to learn this power?

Not from a Jedi.

As it turns out, we would have to wait nearly seven years and endure one cancellation before the opportunity to learn more on a larger scale was available. That day is now upon us, in the form of Star Wars: Darth Plagueis, written by James Luceno.

That’s right: New York Times best-selling author James Luceno is back, and in my opinion is better than ever. What we now have before us is a novel that is absolutely delicious and satisfying. Admittedly, Darth Plagueis is more talk than action, but it is far from boring. It is extremely informative. Luceno does a masterful job in including scores of previous Expanded Universe content; this novel is a virtual big-city highway junction of references. The action that is contained in this novel, however, does not disappoint, as it rivals the somewhat mature content found in the Darth Bane trilogy written by Drew Karpyshyn in its detail and content.

Were you entertained and intrigued by Luceno’s 2001 novel Cloak of Deception? Then you are in for a serious treat. Luceno takes the term “political thriller” to a whole new level and executes it to perfection in Darth Plagueis. Lastly, James Luceno gives us rich back-stories for several characters, including the obvious: Plagueis, Palpatine, Darth Maul, but also some you may not have been expecting, including Count Dooku and Sifo-Dyas.

In short, Darth Plagueis more than deserves the title “highly anticipated”. It delivers on a scale rarely seen in the Expanded Universe. Hold on tight, you are in for the ride of your life. Now, read on for a more detailed review of the book.

(END NON SPOILER REVIEW)
Read more

Star Wars Live Action Series Tentively: Underworld

Star Wars producer Rick McCallum has revealed to IGN the working title for the upcoming live-action series: Underworld. Via Check out the interview below:

Who are you?

Hello, super_redhead here!

As I’m sure you know, I review Star Wars: The Clone Wars here on Knights Archive. What some others won’t know though, is that I’m a young, female geek. And that I couldn’t prouder of being one.

I’m the Sci-Fi geek in the class. The one who listens to the teacher, however unpopular that may be. But I’m also the one who really can’t see a difference in Girls and Boys when it comes to their opportunities in the future and what they can and can’t handle, like Star Wars. It’s a common stereotype that all girls like make-up and gossip, and have no time in their busy shopping schedule to like a good Sci-Fi film.

Well, that stereotype is wrong for some.

I don’t ever wear any cosmetics and I try to steer out of clothes shopping. But I love the Star Wars saga, as well a other Sci-Fi films, plus books, and the rest of it. And I’m not afraid to show it.

In primary school I had a great group of friends. Of geeks like me. Most of them were boys. We talked Star Wars and Lego and Pokemon and computers. But then we got a bit older, and I suppose we just sort of drifted apart. Now I can’t help but think that maybe it was because of my gender. But I didn’t take it heart, and now I have a great group of friends who share other common interests with me.

I’ve always been a bit bullied. Especially going into high school, but more about my hair colour than anything else. I guess that, over time, with the help of those around me, I learned to ignore them and to move on. And they learned I was mature enough to do so, and left me alone. Because of this I’m not scared of being different from the crowd and judged for it, rather, I’ve found ways to express my interests. I feel I’ve really come out of my shell and decided to do what I love best. And that’s geeking around. I read. I study. I go onto computers. And I watch Star Wars. And I let people know about it. My back pack jingles with Star Wars plushies, I wore a transformers shirt to a school mufti day and I talk to my science teacher about science. It’s just who I am, and I encourage all girls and women to do the same.

Stop being worried about what others think, but rather what you think about something. And if you like it or not. And if you’re going to show others that that is what you like.

Because, as a great man once said, If you spend all your life trying to become what everyone expects you to become, then you’d be the most boring person on the planet. So how is it? Are you going to be what people expect you to be, or are you going to show your interests, and become original, and show people who you are?

I’m a female Star Wars fan.

Who are you?

The Phantom Menace Novelization Cover Art

Here’s a look at new cover art for the The Phantom Menace novelization by Terry Brooks. Link (Enter the database and search “The Phantom Menace”) This special edition will also feature a brand-new Darth Maul short story by James Luceno. No word on whether this is final, but as you can see the image is taken from the poster for the upcoming The Phantom Menace 3D release:

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