Archive for October, 2012

Disney Acquires Lucasfilm: Reaction

Reaction to the news of the Lucasfilm purchase by Disney has been pretty constant around the net. From excitement to dread, people all over are sharing their opinions. Here are some of the more notable comments from within the world of Star Wars about the change in ownership, and of the upcoming third trilogy.

This article will be updated as more reactions surface.

Starwars.com Announcement

Disney Press Release

Lucasfilm

Pablo Hidalgo

Full Article: Link

“Then, just a few short days ago, the other shoe dropped when I heard about the Walt Disney Company acquiring Lucasfilm. My first thought went to that 1990 article with its seven scant paragraphs that promised new movies. When George talked about the future of Star Wars, over 20 years ago, he was at Walt Disney World. It was destiny. The will of the Force at work.”

Jennifer Heddle

Via Twitter: Link

  • “As far as we all know here, it’s still business as usual. I am personally VERY excited to work on books for Episodes VII, VIII, and IX. :)”
  • “Yeah, re: how new movies will affect EU? I don’t know yet. We’ll let you guys know when we know.”
  • “Yeah, I think Disney is the perfect company to do this. Hopefully it will mean great things!”
  • “My speculation? Some characters we know from EU. Broad strokes we might recognize. But completely new story. (Again, pure spec.)”

Mary Franklin

Via Twitter: Link

  • “All good here – business as usual. Star Wars fan leaders, please continue to contact me as you always have.”
  • “carrying on business as usual. Working on Europe, and thinking about VII!”

J.W. Rinzler

Full Article: Link

“As of today, Lucas has given his new co-chairman Kathleen Kennedy several ideas and is really going into semi-retirement. Now, in a relatively short time, compared to the decades of speculation, fans will learn the secrets of Episodes VII, VIII & IX. Star Wars has risen again!”

Joel Aron

Via Twitter: Link

  • “So proud and honored to be working on #starwars #clonewars at this amazing time! And looking forward to the future! :)”
  • “I’m so off the charts excited, that I can’t wait to get to work in the morning! Today is a huge day for Star Wars!”

Authors

Timothy Zahn

Via Facebook: Link

“1. No, I haven’t been contacted by either Disney or LFL.
2. There’s no indication that anything from the Thrawn Trilogy (or any other EU book/comic will be part of the new movies.
3. There’s also no indication that they *won’t* make an appearance. Right now, we really have nothing on any of those details.
4. If Disney *did* want to use anything from the EU, they wouldn’t need the author’s approval or permission to do so. Everything that’s been written under the Star Wars logo is LFL properly (as is only right and proper), and they can do with it as they please.
5. If by some miracle Disney *does* want my input on the project, I *will* be on the next flight to California. Heck, I’ll charter a plane if I have to.”

Christie Golden

Direct Statement To Us

“I love Star Wars and I love Disney. No one knows how this is going to play out, but I am optimistic!”

John Jackson Miller

Via Facebook: Link

“I’ve said before that Star Wars is like a national park; a cultural treasure. All of us who’ve been fortunate enough to work with it do so with great respect and care. I’m sure Disney will do the same. After all, they’re fans, too!”

Nathan P. Butler

Direct Statement To Us

“I am less concerned about the impact of Disney on Star Wars, given how well they handled the Marvel Cinematic Universe, than I am about the impact of an Episode VII set after Return of the Jedi. That very likely means the end and/or invalidation of the modern post-ROTJ Expanded Universe.”

Michael Stackpole

Via Facebook: Link

“I’m sure that any of the EU writers would be thrilled to have their material included in new films. I also think it’s a long shot that we’ll be brought in since we’re not known for writing scripts. (Having written some, I can tell you, it’s a different animal.)

It will be a fun future, however. I can’t wait.”

Bryan Young

Full Article: Link

“There is clearly a great many unknowns with something this big. What will a new Star Wars film look like? What will it feel like without a 20th Century Fox Logo? But there are many things to be grateful for: for one, this is George Lucas handing his baby over to the next generation on his terms. He will no longer be in full control of it and others will make the decisions, with him acting as creative consultant. We’ll get to see other filmmakers take on the saga, which is what many wanted and expected out of the Prequels. I love the prequels and wouldn’t wish them changed, but for many, this news is what they wanted.”

Abel G. Peña

Direct Statement To Us

“I think the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney is a very, very good thing. For the sake of the franchise, this has just basically assured that, truly, Star Wars *will be* “forever”—or as close as we can get. I love Disney stuff, and I always unabashedly have. I watched Tangled in the theater *by myself*, and I plan to watch Wreck-It Ralph this weekend. Their stuff speaks to the kid in me, just like Star Wars always has.

Luke Skywalker. My dude…. I can barely believe it. This is a no-brainer. Bring on VII, VIII, IX.”

Dan Wallace

Direct Statement To Us

“I’m definitely surprised, but am excited and looking forward to what comes next.

For a story to become a legend it needs to be reinterpreted for new generations: Alice in Wonderland was written in the 1800s, made into a Disney animated movie in the 1950s, and made into a popular Tim Burton movie in 2010. The Wizard of Oz was written in 1900, made into a popular movie in 1939, and made into a hit Broadway show in the 2000s.

It’s this kind of thing that keeps franchises alive in the public imagination, and I’d rather have Star Wars be a vibrant, living thing than just something we remember fondly from when we were younger.”

Sean Williams

Direct Statement To Us

“It’s exciting we’ll have a new SW movie in 2015. Hopefully it won’t conflict with the EU, and hopefully the EU will continue to grow and evolve as it has so marvelously in recent years. I’m sure Disney will be respectful to the legion of fans out there, because without them Star Wars wouldn’t be the amazing thing it has become. Personally, I will keep my fingers crossed that The Force Unleashed III will become a going concern–that’s the story I most
want to see concluded, and soon!”

Actors

Ashley Eckstein

Via Twitter: Link

“My two world’s have just collided #Disney buys #Lucasfilm My two FAVORITE things are are now one! Very exciting! WOAH!!”

Ewan McGregor

Via Twitter: Link

“Disney have bought Lucasfilm and are planning on releasing Star Wars ep 7 in 2015!! Congrats George and best of luck with whatever is next.”

Matt Lanter

Via Twitter: Link

“More Star Wars films announced!!! Ahh this is a good day!!”

Mark Hamill

Via Twitter: Link

“Congratulations to George for today’s mega-deal! Can’t comment on Ep 7 before I have all the facts which are short supply right now-Patience”

Peter Mayhew

Via Twitter: Link

  • “I’ve always liked that Mouse, and I’m looking forward to all the exciting possibilities this brings to the Star Wars Universe.”
  • “So Disney Princess Leia? Goodbye slave bikini, hello tasteful one piece….”
  • “About to start filming on Disney’s “Chewbacca and the Beast – A love story with no conditioner.”"
  • “Pssst. Stay calm and imagine the good things, like how about an entire Star Wars theme park at Disney designed by ILM….”
  • “About eleventy million of you have asked me about Chewie and episode VII. The answer is I don’t know. But feel free to start a movement….”

Other Notables

Sue Rostoni

Direct Statement To Us

“This is great news! Bringing on Kathleen Kennedy was such a positive move, and now selling to Disney! Wonderful for George to reduce the stress of running a huge business, wonderful for the employees to be managed by a creative woman who understands entertainment, and fantastic for whichever educational endeavors George chooses to share proceeds with. And for the Fans! What could be better! More movies crafted by folks who already love the franchise. I’m very enthusiastic for the future of Star Wars.”

Steve Sansweet

Full Article: Link

“When George started talking about retirement several years ago, many of us were concerned. We felt strongly that it would take more Star Wars movies to ensure the survival of the brand; Expanded Universe fiction, merchandise, and even great TV series weren’t enough. In my mind, at least, the best possible endgame for Lucasfilm would be an acquisition by Disney. These are two companies that have family entertainment in their DNA; they complement each other in so many ways. In fact, when Star Wars premiered in 1977, more than a few reviewers said it was the kind of film that Disney should be making.”

Kyle Newman

Via Twitter: Link

  • “If you have concerns about this Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm you are crazy. This means movies AND a theme park. Relax and enjoy. In 3D.”
  • “About to freeze myself in Carbonite. Wake me up on May 21, 2015. Thanks. Night. #starwars”

SEE ALSO:
Accepting Disney and Star Wars
Disney Acquires Lucasfilm
Disney and Star Wars

Video Game Review: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike

- Spoiler Review -

We’ve all heard the follow saying at least once in our lives: “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” But what should you do if you’ve already succeeded? The success was Rogue Leader and Factor 5 had to find a way to answer that question and better a formula they largely perfected. In 2003, two years after Rogue Leader’s release, fans and gamers alike got to find out if they managed to succeed again. For the most part, Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike outshines its predecessor, but for every step forward, it occasionally takes two steps back. Read more

Disney and Star Wars

Like most fans, I’m still reeling from today’s news. For a lot of us, if not all of us, this was a complete surprise. While it was no secret that George Lucas hadn’t been involved in a lot of Star Wars  dealings, i.e. the EU,  Lucas had always been a constant for us. He was a figure that we loved, that we hated, that we had mixed feelings about, but there he was. He presence was large and his shadow loomed over Star Wars, even if he didn’t keep up with it day-to-day.  There was always talk between fans about what would happen when Lucas died because we knew that was the only time that someone else would be in control. Star Wars remained Lucas’ baby. Add that to the fact that he is in no need of money, and most of us couldn’t conceive of Lucas every giving up the rights to it.

Yet here we are. People complain that a big corporation like Disney is now in charge of our beloved saga. Sorry to spoil it but Lucasfilm was a corporation, but I understand it was our  corporation. Disney is now the third wheel in what has always been a private relationship between us and Lucasfilm. I don’t know what this will mean for Star Wars. I’m hopeful that Disney will do right by the characters and stories we love, that they will do right by the fans, but who can tell yet? This is day one in what will be a very long journey.

This brings me to the new trilogy. Never in my lifetime did I expect to see a new trilogy. The idea of a third trilogy is as old as Star Wars itself. It seems mythic at this point. There’s a lot of speculation of what will the new films be about. What will this do to continuity? Will we have to live with retconning or multiverses? Maybe.  We just don’t know yet. I’m incredibly skeptical of what a new film will mean, as well as the quality of a new trilogy. We have learned to be skeptical of what we might have previously embraced. We’ll just have to see what news we’ll get in the next few days and weeks, and hope against hope that these new films will live up to our expectations, and that Disney will remember fans who’ve been with Star Wars  for years and years.

We all love Star Wars , and we love it a lot. If we didn’t, then none of us would care this much. There have been disappointments in the past. Some of us will miss the Lucas’ presence. All we can do is follow Star Wars where it goes and hope for brilliant new stories from a galaxy far, far away.

SEE ALSO:
Accepting Disney and Star Wars
Disney Acquires Lucasfilm: Reaction
Disney Acquires Lucasfilm by Bry Dean

Disney Acquires Lucasfilm

So, this happened today. Disney purchased Lucasfilm for a cool four billion dollars. Link

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

First off, this is without doubt the biggest Star Wars headline, probably ever. But we were treated to another bombshell. A new trilogy is also in the works: Episodes 7, 8, and 9. Star Wars fans all over are no doubt still stunned by the news. I know my ears are still ringing. There are so many questions to ask, so many possibilities to ponder over.

  • How could Lucas just hand it all over?
  • Four billion dollars? Isn’t that CHEAP for Lucasfilm and all of it’s divisions? ILM seems like it would be a four billion dollar company by itself.
  • Who is now in control of the creative direction of the Star Wars franchise?
  • What will happen to the current stories, including Episodes I-VI, the Expanded Universe, The Clone Wars, and all other Star Wars media in the works?
  • What will happen to the other companies currently involved with Star Wars, including Random House, Dark Horse, etc…

Basically, what happens now?

There has been a mix of reactions today; many are dazed, others say they saw this coming, but I think everyone was surprised somehow. I mean, love or hate George Lucas, he has always been there. Perhaps this is strange, but I think that fact provided some sort of security that Star Wars would be ok. And perhaps security in general. I think it’s safe to say that many treat Star Wars like a security blanket. Others aren’t quite so attached, but still view it as a cherished hobby. Now, the future of Star Wars is definitely uncertain. Change is here. Many are afraid of change.

Bottom line: Business is business. Disney is business. Lucasfilm, and thus by extension Star Wars, is business. That is reality. George Lucas knows this. However, many fans don’t want to think of Star Wars as a business that can be sold. Star Wars was safe within Lucasfilm. Now that Disney has it, just how safe is it? How many hands will be allowed to work on it?

If you’re interested in George Lucas’s take on all this, watch the video below:

George does seem to indicate that he’ll continue to advise on some things. And there do seem to be positive vibes about handing the company over to Disney. I, for one, am trying to keep a neutral, positive outlook. Disney isn’t going anywhere, and hopefully the Star Wars as we know it isn’t either.

One thing is for sure: We’re about to see a brand new Star Wars. New movies, characters, books, toys, everything. It is exciting, but definitely nerve-wracking.

SEE ALSO:
Disney and Star Wars by Andrew

Angry Birds Star Wars Gameplay Footage

UPDATE #2:

There’s not much else I can say about it, so here’s a full length trailer for Angry Birds Star Wars. I would like to point out that the Angry Birds-ified Millennium Falcon, seen at the very end, looks to function like the series’ “Eagle” character. Occasionally, some levels in the games can be frustratingly hard to beat, so you can “beat” them by purchasing the Eagle. Instead of puny skills like other birds, the Eagle will basically decimate an entire level with just the flick of your finger. It would seem like the Death Star would’ve been more fitting, but if your playing as the heroes than the Millennium Falcon will do just fine.

UPDATE #1:

Everyone’s countdown clocks are set for 2015, but don’t forget that in a few short days Angry Birds Star Wars releases. Several new gameplay clips have been unveiled, giving us a bird’s eye view (see what I did there? Yes, I’m sorry) of the game. Levels look to be a mixture of classic Angry Birds-style and the recently released Angry Birds Space gravity gameplay. Check out the clips below and get ready to save the galaxy one old Obi-Wan bomb bird at a time.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

All the fan art and promotional images in the galaxy aren’t enough to convince most gamers/app players to be excited for the upcoming release of the interesting combo-pack of Angry Birds Star Wars. Just today, Rovio, the developers of Angry Birds, have heeded the call of something more and released a video containing the first ever gameplay footage. This tease, including footage of Red Bird (5, standing by) Luke swinging a lightsaber, might just be enough to tip those on the fence over the edge. No matter which side of the fence you land on, this app releases to the public on November 8th across iOS, Android, and Windows 8 PCs platforms.

SEE ALSO:
Ultimate Sticker Collection: Angry Birds Star Wars
Review: Angry Birds Star Wars
Angry Birds Star Wars: The Squawk is strong with this one

The Clone Wars Review: Tipping Points

The Clone Wars

Episode 5.05: Tipping Points

SPOILERS!

Synopsis:

The rebels, with help from a hologram of former king, Ramsis Dendup, have completely earned the people of planet Onderon’s trust, and we see the city of Iziz especially start to rise up to the small Separatist droid patrols around the town. In response, super tactical droid Kalani sends a large group of droids and gunships to attack the rebels and take them out in one blow, and set the people in line out of fear. Steela, now leader of the rebels and general of the old Onderson forces, discuss their next move and location to attack. Saw wants to battle in the city, Iziz, but Steela argues lives will be in danger there. It is decided to lure the battle in the highlands to minimize risk. While everyone is departing Steela quickly kisses Lux, “just in case” with Ahsoka seeming unfazed, if anything, she’s happy for the two.

The droids arrive and a huge ground battle starts with the Separatist forces against the mix of military and rebels. The latter side seems to be winning until the gunships arrive. The powerful weapons easily shoot down enemies and have a ray shield that nothing the rebels have can get through. Ahsoka contacts Obi-Wan and Anakin pleading for the help of Republic. Obi-Wan says however that there’s nothing they can do to help an internal affair, and that it’s best to evacuate. After the hologram is cut off, though, Anakin introduces the idea of another party getting involved, Hondo Ohnaka, to help the rebels. Anakin travels to his base and, after paying the pirate, gets him to deliver rocket launchers to aid in the battle.

Still in a harsh battle, Hondo delivers the cargo at the perfect time, Saw goes right ahead and uses one of the rockets on a gunship and knocks it down from the air. One gunship however found the “nest” where Dendup and a few guards are hiding. Steela, Ahsoka and Lux race to protect him from the gunship and the droids it has. Steela manages to shoot the last of the droids just before it got to Dendup, but a nearby falling gunship shot down by Saw cuts their celebration short. The edge of the cliff falls of, and Steela manages to shove Dendup to safety at her own cost. She struggles to hold on and Lux tries to help, but he too would end up falling if it wasn’t for Ahsoka who force lifts him to safety. Ahsoka lifts Steela as is about to grab her hand when from the rubble of the fallen gunship, it blasts Ahsoka, hitting her in the shoulder. Steela is left to fall to her death.

Tactical droid Kalani sees no way out of the battle and receives orders from Count Dooku to withdraw the army. He also shoots the current false king Sanjay Rash, and marks the end of the battle. The rebels mourn the death of Steela, and a ceremony is held in front of the now free Onderon. There Obi-Wan and Anakin remark on Ahsoka and Steela’s journeys, as well and Lux revealing to Ahsoka that he’s joined the Republic and is the newly elected Senator of Onderon.

This episode was fantastic in its action and battles. We got to see Hondo again, proving to be quite friendly with the Jedi now, or a regular to the show, and it’s always a pleasure to see him. In the past we’ve seen the rebels acting as terrorists causing mischief in the city, but we’d yet to see them in battle until now, and it was a great way to end this arc. The episode was full of action, and was enjoyable that way.

Unfortunately someone spoiled Steela’s death for me before I saw the episode and at first I was shocked, but then I had high expectations of how her death was to be played out. Her death was shown as a gateway to free the people of Onderon, she was seen as a martyr and a great spirit, but also the cost of the war. It was nice to see, and a fitting end for the character and arc.

The characters we’ve seen for a few episodes now all change to work together in the end. Saw, especially, is still his active, straight-to-the-point self, but he’s proud of his sister Steela and even says so.

The minor things I was a little disappointed with was Lux, to begin with. He didn’t have much of a character change throughout the arc, and didn’t contribute too much over the average background rebel, even less than that. His relationship with Ahsoka and Steela towards the end was just getting confusing, but I hope Steela’s death and Ahsoka pushing her feelings aside means that he doesn’t get tangled up with anyone again.

But, the arc ended on a good, happy note. The people are free, the rightful king is back in place, and the planet is added onto the seat of the Republic, which is a win, but there’s always the cost.

Read 27 Pages of The Old Republic: Annihilation Now!


Random House has uploaded their Insight Book Preview for the upcoming The Old Republic: Annihilation, written by Drew Karpyshyn and due out November 13, 2012. Click on the image above to see the preview, which includes the book’s front matter.

SEE ALSO:
Novel Review: The Old Republic: Annihilation by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: The Old Republic: Annihilation
The Old Republic: Annihilation Cover Blurb Now Online
The Old Republic: ANNIHILATION Cover
Drew Karpyshyn Talks ANNIHILATION
Star Wars: The Old Republic: ANNIHILATION
Drew Karpyshyn To Write The Old Republic #4

Review: The Essential Reader’s Companion

I think the excitement for this publication was very high before the release date, and for good reason. The Essential Reader’s Companion promised a wealth of information on the Expanded Universe, a chronological listing of titles and a stunning collection of original art. No worries: It delivered.

All along we’ve been told how extensive this publication was, that this was one of the biggest projects in Star Wars publishing, and it really shows. At just under 500 pages, this book is no lightweight. The Essential Reader’s Companion contains 410 individual works and nearly 160 original works of art produced by several illustrators.

Author Pablo Hidalgo obviously spent a good chunk of his life with the development and research needed for a publication of this kind. In fact, he even divulged at Star Wars Celebration VI that he started taking the bus to work so he would have more time to read up for ERC. He also listened to the audiobooks on double speed. Such preparation was necessary to develop each novel synopsis, sure, but as an individual who has been around Star Wars and Lucasfilm for years, Pablo also provided insightful behind-the-scenes facts for nearly every listing. Continuity issues within the Expanded Universe are also addressed, but I guess it’s up to the individual to decide if they are addressed satisfactory.

The original works of art are worth the price of this publication alone, in my opinion. An exceptional author can enable a reader to visualize the words on the page in his mind, but it is truly satisfying to visualize certain scenes on a piece of paper too. There are a few inaccuracies, such as the conflict between Darth Plagueis and Maladin assassins shown on page 53. The actual texts describes a more bloodier battle, but as was explained at Celebration VI, such an accurate visual portrayal would likely be a bit much for new or young readers. The art on page 13 though, while stunning, is just inaccurate without reason, other than artistic license. Aryn and Zeerid were said to be holding on to each other as they jumped from the Fatman. The art clearly doesn’t show that.

Personally, there are still quite a few novels that I have not read, so I’ll keep away from their respective listings in the ERC, but from what I have read and experienced visually, this book proves to be quite an informative guide, and it gave me an occasional feeling of nostalgia as I revisited novels that I haven’t read in years.

At under $30, I believe it’s a great price for a publication so informative and interesting. Some might question its relevance due to the presence of free, online unofficial Star Wars encyclopedias, such as Wookieepedia, and I get that. But there’s many, many people out there that still love the feel of a book in their hands, and the fact that a book like the ERC is an official product. Either way, this book deserves to be on your bookshelf, or even on your coffee table.

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no charge in order to provide an early review. However, this did not affect the overall review content. All opinions are my own.

SEE ALSO:
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 Essential Reader’s Companion Preliminary Cover


The Clone Wars Review: The Soft War

The Clone Wars

Episode 5.04: The Soft War

SPOILERS!

Synopsis:

We left off in the capital of Onderon where the rebels are still in a continuous battle against the Separatist droid army and false king, Sanjay Rash. Rash still has the belief from last episode that the past king, Ramsis Dendup, who he has in hostage, is leading these attacks by the rebels or “terrorists”, even when Dendup repeats that the people themselves are rebelling. In response to the attacks and not being happy with Dendup’s reply, Rash orders his execution the next day in an effort to stop the rebels. Aiding the King’s decision was Separatist super tactical droid Kalani sent by Count Dooku to lead droids, and General Tandin who leads the Onderon army, and has since the fall and rise on the new king and introduction of droids on the planet. The pair have different tactics and ideas in dealing with the rebels, causing some tension between them.

News of the execution of Dendup comes to the ears of Dono, a rebel and a familiar face we’ve seen in past episodes. Ahsoka, rebel leader Steela and jealous brother Saw discuss what the next move will be, Steela wants to prepare and free Dendup the next day at the execution, where Saw wants to go and free him now. Saw and Steela argue until Saw leaves on his own accord. Dono, under Steela’s orders, quietly follows him from a distance. Ahsoka is worried for Saw, and the others in the morning and looks to Obi-Wan and Anakin for help, but decides to follow their orders and only help them if it’s needed. Steela is starting to make plans for the next day when Lux joins her. She starts to explain her plan but is distracted by Lux. She asks him to “stop looking at her like that”, and after repeatedly apologizing, Lux leaves to fetch the other rebels for a discussion.

Meanwhile, using a grappling hook, Saw breaks into the prison and finds Dendup. After brief discussion with him telling him of the rebels and gaining his trust, their conversation is cut short when Saw tries to land his grappling hook on the ceiling to escape, but is stopped by a one-way shield. Alarms immediately go off signalling to droids and the nearby Dono of his capture. The rebels were speaking to each other about the plan and Ahsoka was revealing her decision not to interfere where possible when Dono runs in and tells them about Saw’s capture. When Lux and some rebels get ready to go save him, Steela stops them, telling them that they don’t have the resources to help him and Dendup. Ahsoka agrees, adding the comment that Anakin told her earlier  “purpose must come before feelings.”

Saw is then tortured by Kalani and Tandin for information on the location of the other rebels. Saw doesn’t say, and when Kalani is about to almost kill Saw, Tandin gives the order to release him. Tandin and Saw talk about the Separatists, the latter making a note about not the rebels being terrorist, but patriots, and not simply causing havoc but resisting the droids that have been left to take over. The city then gathers for the execution of Dendup by orders of Rash by droids, with Tandin looking on from a distance. Just as two droids are about to hit the lever of the machine that’s about to kill, Steela gives the signal and shoots them with her sniper. Lux throws two smoke grenades that cause chaos on the platform and there’s an intense battle between the rebels and droids forces. Just when they’re about to escape, Dono is shot in the torso by a super battle droid, one of many that surround the rebels. They are all held captive now, and are all about to be executed, much to the town’s horror, when Tandin and a few of his men come and hold back the droids letting them all escape, but Tandin. Ahsoka pushes the droids around him over and allow them to flee. The people then rise up and destroy the droids who try to follow them in pursuit.

The rebels under Steela’s rule, and the army under the rule of Tandin unite under the guide of Dendup, and are preparing for more Separatist attacks from Count Dooku. Ahsoka reports back to Obi-Wan and Anakin, and is told that any decisions on sending help from them will be up to the Council.

This episode showed a number of themes and a growing amount of build-up to the end of the arc, and was very enjoyable. I found there to be a lot more action and politics than the love triangle or any sort of relationships between characters, but a good mix. Things are getting a lot more complicated between a whole range of difference characters at this point in the story line, and a lot goes unanswered. I’m hoping for a satisfying finale where we finally hear what Lux is feeling to get it out there, the rebels to conquer and win back the planet, and for the Separatists to leave the planet.

What stood out for me in this episode was the breaking down of a “good” and a “bad” side. It’s more complicated than that. The Separatists and the Republic were both mentioned by Dendup to be corrupt, which is true, so the whole ordeal, with the Jedi and their little involvement, makes it seem like it’s not an ordinary battle between good and bad, rather, a battle between the people of a planet and what’s best for them.

I was interested in the advice that Anakin and Obi-Wan gave to Ahsoka, and her attitude towards the whole thing. Anakin, for one, has said to stay focused on the task at hand, and that purpose comes before feelings, when he himself is married and will soon let his emotions turn him into a dark lord, but he seems to be a great teacher for Ahsoka, who is a lot like her Master. Ahsoka was obviously worried about the rebels, mostly Lux and Steela, since she trained and has been with them, so not being involved in the battle to release Dendup would’ve been hard for her. She’s made some great progress in the arc so far.

The arc is getting better at building up for the finale, and I have high hopes for the conclusion of the story about the rebels on Onderon.

Megan’s Review: The Essential Reader’s Companion

Here’s a secret: I don’t think the Essential Reader’s Companion is essential.

In the days of Wookieepedia, few things are if you want reference to the Expanded Universe.

Star Wars has been putting out Essential Guides anyway.

But if you want some fantastic art of never-before-seen characters, and DVD-extra style snippets about the making of books and series, the Essential Reader’s Companion is pretty cool. Pretty Cool Reader’s Companion just doesn’t flow as well.

The book’s art, by Brian Rood, Chris Trevas, and others, is a big part of the appeal. Images of the X’Ting from The Cestus Deception and the Haruun Kal soldiers from Shatterpoint were thrilling to see, and readers should have fun comparing the images to what they imagined their favorite characters to look like. Characters like Scout and Admiral Daala who may not have gotten full-page art appear in yearbook style throughout. Other images showcase exciting action and weapons. Still others, like a sabaac game from MedStar I, are more sedate but reveal new faces. (Speaking of MedStar, it was nice to be reminded of the jokes in that book: pause for a moment to appreciate that there is a Star Wars book that references a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.) Almost every page has some kind of art, whether it’s new or a book cover.

The other half of the Essential Reader’s Companion is, obviously the text, which talks about the plot, characters, and behind-the-scenes of most of the existing Star Wars books. The discerning fans have probably already figured out the chronological placement of some short stories, like Darth Maul: Saboteur, that refer a lot to the universe around them. It’s still satisfying to see Pablo Hidalgo write it all out, like a person finishing a jigsaw puzzle.

One of the more interesting entries was for the novel Rogue Planet, which shows an gap in continuity when it describes how the book was set up to introduce the Yuuzhan Vong. These aliens were intended to be a call forward to the futuristic New Jedi Order series, but since the book was written before Attack of the Clones was released, it mentions married Jedi. This discrepancy feels sightless now that AotC has been out for so long, but in 2000 there was no way to know that would become an issue.

Hidalgo describes some outdated texts as “historically inaccurate”, lending an interesting third reality to the elsewhere detached narration. It seems that there is the real world, the Star Wars world, and some third timeline, possibly also in the Star Wars world, where the books are seen as questionably accurate history. The beginning of the Companion also has a succinct explanation of what the Keeper of the Holocron called “G-canon”: George Lucas’s vision of the movies, which over-rides but does not prevent the existence of the Expanded Universe. Along the way, Hidalgo clears up some continuity questions.

At its best, the ERC is a timeline not only of the books but of how Lucasfilm and its various partner publishing companies handled the growing Star Wars universe. Sometimes they were drawn into mistakes that made some information apocryphal, and other times one book connects like spokes to five or six others, perfectly in synch. The former appear as nostalgic, and as I read I found myself remembering when I first read each book. The ERC succeeds as both an art book and a reference document. When you take into account the mass of information for free on sites like Wookieepedia, it also serves as a behind-the-scenes guide and an authority. It’s even satisfyingly weighty, worth the price if you’re really into art and continuity.

If you’re not, it probably doesn’t have a lot of re-read value, serving more as a teaser for other books. It doesn’t offer a hint at where to begin with the EU, so is suited more for completionists than new fans. I still would have called it something other than essential.

SEE ALSO:
Review: The Essential Reader’s Companion by Bry Dean
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 Essential Reader’s Companion Preliminary Cover

Twitter 1000 Follower Giveaway

It’s taken a little while to get here, but we’re finally approaching the 1000 follower mark on Twitter! As promised, we have a spectacular giveaway for our followers. This time, we’ll be giving away THREE prizes! Here are the details:

We will post a designated giveaway tweet. You must follow us on Twitter and retweet the designated tweet. The giveaway will last five days. Once the five days are over, we will randomly select three winners!

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The first winner chosen will receive the 3rd Place prize:

2012 Del Rey Sampler

This book was a Star Wars Celebration VI and New York Comic Con exclusive. It features excerpts from the following publications:

Darth Plagueis
Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse
Scourge
Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories
X-Wing: Mercy Kill
The Old Republic: Annihilation
Scoundrels

It also includes five short stories previously published in Star Wars Insider.

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The second winner chosen will receive the 2nd Place prize:

Fate of the Jedi: Backlash

-Hardcover, signed by Aaron Allston!

Repercussions from the dark side’s fatal seduction of Jacen Solo and the mysterious plague of madness afflicting young Jedi continue to wreak havoc galaxy-wide. Having narrowly escaped the deranged Force worshippers known as the Mind Walkers and a deadly Sith hit squad, Luke and Ben Skywalker are in pursuit of the now Masterless Sith apprentice. It is a chase that leads to the forbidding planet Dathomir, where an enclave of powerful dark side Force-wielders will give Vestara the edge she needs to escape—and where the Skywalkers will be forced into combat for their quarry and their lives.

Meanwhile, Han and Leia have completed their own desperate mission, shuttling madness-stricken Jedi from Coruscant to safe haven in the Transitory Mists and beyond the grasp of Galactic Alliance Chief of State Natasi Daala. But the bold maneuver has intensified Daala’s fury, and she is determined to shatter Jedi Order resistance once and for all.

Yet no greater threat exists than that which still waits in the depths of the distant Maw Cluster: A being of pure, ravenous dark-side energy named Abeloth calls out across the stars to Jedi and Sith alike. For some it may be the ultimate source of answers crucial to their survival. For others it could be the ultimate weapon of conquest. But for all, it is a game-changing—and life-altering—encounter of untold magnitude and a tactical gambit with unimaginable consequences.

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The third winner chosen will receive the Grand Prize:

The Essential Reader’s Companion

-By Pablo Hidalgo

This massive book is nothing short of spectacular! It includes just under 500 pages of Expanded Universe reference material; Lost Tribe of the Sith all the way to X-Wing: Mercy Kill.

Whether skimming through fateful eras from the Old Republic to the New Jedi Order; delving deep into the ancient history of the Lost Tribe of the Sith or the tumultuous Clone Wars; crossing paths—and lightsabers—with Dark Lords such as Plagueis or Bane, Sidious or Vader; helming the Millennium Falcon with Han Solo; or mastering the Force with Luke Skywalker, this one-of-a-kind, one-stop reference is a must for fans looking to maximize their knowledge of the sprawling Star Wars Expanded Universe.

We’d like to extend our thanks and appreciation to Del Rey for providing this copy as a prize!

TERMS:
This giveaway is valid to US residents only. Once the winners are chosen, they will be notified on Twitter. Account verification via email will precede shipment of prizes. The Essential Reader’s Companion will be supplied and shipped directly from the publisher. The 2012 Del Rey Sampler and Fate of the Jedi: Backlash will be supplied and shipped directly from Knights’ Archive. Void where prohibited.

Angry Birds Star Wars: The Squawk is strong with this one

Just last week, the rumor broke about a possible mashup of oddly epic proportions: Angry Birds Star Wars. I remember seeing the news thanks to my gaming website of choice, Joystiq, and had to make sure I wasn’t having a dream/nightmare. Never in a million Kessel Runs would I have considered crossing the extremely popular mobile game Angry Birds, where you sling the titular birds at pigs who have stolen their eggs, with the mythical saga of Star Wars. There have been stranger things, like the Transformers Star Wars toys or this hilarious list of fan-made mashups over at ForeverGeek, but I felt this rumor was about as real as the angels on the moon of Iego. The official, and newly released, Tumblr page from Rovio, Angry Birds’ developers, proved me wrong.

And like any good pairing of two mega-properties, the playable app will be joined by an intriguing merchandising line. The folks at IdleHands (which I saw thanks to this ClubJade story) stole the secret plans for a plush toy line, ridiculously rotund costumes, Jenga inspired playsets, and a figure pack. If your either a collector or have children (or both), you’ll likely find yourself emptying your wallet this holiday season.

As for the rest of us, the app releases on November 8th,where you can either opt to purchase it or get the ad-filled version for free (like all Angry Birds games). Either way, Rovio and Lucasfilm Ltd. stand to make a pretty penny or two when this megaton mashup launches. Hopefully that money can go towards making the live action TV show sometime in our lifetimes.

Pay a visit to the Angry Birds Tumblr page for cool fan art, funny wallpapers, and other little tidbits right HERE.

SEE ALSO:
Ultimate Sticker Collection: Angry Birds Star Wars
Review: Angry Birds Star Wars
Angry Birds Star Wars Gameplay Footage

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