Thursday, June 30, 2005

More Details About Star Wars in 3D And TV Series


Rick McCallum, co-producer of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, had this to say about the upcoming TV series:

...McCallum confirmed that the TV series (and future DVD sets) will take place during the 20-year time period between EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH and EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. He also said the show would reveal how certain characters ended up together, he didn’t get into specifics about which characters though. He might’ve been talking about Han and Chewie or Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett, but at this point its all speculation. Previous reports indicated the TV series would follow the exploits of lesser-known characters in the STAR WARS universe, so only time will tell on the validity of this bit of news. Finally, McCallum explained that the TV series would chronicle the younger years of Luke Skywalker. The plan is for the show to start production next year (after Lucas finishes his work on the new INDIANA JONES flick) and will have 100 hours of material produced. No details about what network the show will call home, or if it would be a syndicated series (ala STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION and BABYLON 5).

About the next rerelease of the movies... Dude, 3D?


Anyway, if the TV series has the heart of the Clone Wars cartoons, I'm psyched. There are a lot of good stories that can take place in the gap between Episodes III and IV. Obviously they can show the early years of the Rebel Alliance. They can show Vader tracking down leads on surviving Jedi. They can show Han and Lando as teens or twenty-somethings getting into trouble. They can show cute parallel stories about Luke and Leia growing up. They can show Obi-Wan continuing to act covertly as a Jedi. And the ass-clowns who like Boba Fett can have him too.

But they can really, really eff this up.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Your Focus Determines Your Reality

Lard Biscuit, who impressed me with his surprisingly insightful essays on symbolism in The Phantom Menace and Attack of The Clones, has posted his first impressions of Revenge of The Sith. With this first post he's engaging in introspection rather than analysis, but I'll keep checking his site to see when he puts the real meat up there.

To see my previous post about Biscuit, click here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Normal Innocent Bystander's Survival Guide

Okay, I couldn't resist. This list is funny too.

Tips from The Normal Innocent Bystander's Survival Guide:

  • Never take on someone that has just beaten the Hero, unless it is to distract him just before the Hero delivers the killing blow.
  • If the Evil Overlord announces to the world that he has reformed and wants only to help people, throw a party and give away money; don't go. Not even if he's playing Prince's music. Especially if he's playing Prince's music. If he's lying, you'll be a hostage or a statistic. If he's telling the truth, catch the next one.
  • Do not run back to get your teddy bear or puppy.
  • If your child has an adult friend who frequently urges your child to clear his/her mind, or tells you that your child has "a rare gift," set your affairs in order. Your days are numbered.
  • If mysterious strangers appear at the birth or adoption of your child and make epic proclamations about him/her, listen.

Monday, June 27, 2005

If I'm Ever the Hero

One of the most useful tools I’ve ever come across for detecting if your story has a bullshit villain is Peter Anspach’s Evil Overlord List. I first discovered it back in ’96. This list contains every cliché you’ve ever groaned at in any Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Superhero or Spy genre book, tv show or movie. The list is written from the point of view of an aspiring Evil Overlord who wants to make sure that he/she doesn’t “go out like a sucka,” to quote Mace Windu, er, Samuel Jackson.

The thinking-man’s Evil Overlord doesn’t make these mistakes. They’re so 20th century!

  • My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.
  • My noble half-brother whose throne I usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon.
  • One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.
  • When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.
  • I will keep a special cache of low-tech weapons and train my troops in their use. That way -- even if the heroes manage to neutralize my power generator and/or render the standard-issue energy weapons useless -- my troops will not be overrun by a handful of savages armed with spears and rocks.

There are literally hundreds more where those came from on Anspach’s site.

Tonight I stumbled across some companions to the Evil Overlord’s List from the POV of the Hero, Sidekick and True Love. They aren’t as extensive as the original list, but you’re sure to recognize all sorts of “stupid hero tricks.”

Samples from the “Things I Will Do if I Am Ever the Hero” list:

  1. When I am advised to destroy a magical artifact taken from the Evil Overlord, I will do so. [This goes out to Isildur]
  2. Anyone inquiring after the secret of my strength will be fed a line of plausible baloney as to how this strength can be lost. If the bogus advice is followed, the leak shall be properly investigated.
  3. If my Mentor tells me that I am not yet ready to confront the Evil Overlord, I will quietly accept his judgment and remain to complete my training. [Shout out to Luke.]
  4. If I am granted a vision of the future, I will not try to prevent anything that I see. It never works. [Anakin, this means you]
  5. When my powerful wizard friend fails to return at the appointed time, I won't wait until after my birthday to start my Perilous Journey. I will set out immediately. [Frodo, can you hear me?]

Samples From The “Things I Will Do if I Am Ever the Sidekick” list:

  1. If the hero tells me to stay put while he goes on ahead, I will do so instead of sneaking around and getting captured.
  2. I will be quiet and try to stay sober most of the time. If I get drunk and sing bawdy songs at the top of my lungs, I will attract prostitutes who are really working for the Evil Overlord.
  3. When the Hero tosses me his car keys, I will toss them back, and take the bus. Let the car bomb blow him up for a change.
  4. If the Hero is fated to slay certain entities, the Evil Overlord in particular, this means that I will not slay them, and should avoid trying.
  5. I will not goad bad guys with statements like "over my dead body."
Samples from the “Things I Will Do if I Am ever the True Love” list:
  1. If I have a friend who never seems to be around when the Hero shows up and clobbers the Bad Guys, I will draw the appropriate conclusions.
  2. If the Evil Overlord tries to force me into marriage, I will insist on a ceremony so expensive that it will debilitate his industrial capacity. I will be picky about the tiniest details of the ceremony and change my mind frequently so that the resulting delay will give the Hero more time to rescue me.
  3. After being forced into a compromising situation, I will not grab a weapon from the Bad Guy and toss it to the Hero when he walks in; I will instead grab a weapon from the Bad Guy and use it on him myself, before the Hero walks in.
  4. When the Evil Overlord forces me to help betray the Hero, I will make a show of resistance and then feign capitulation. I will then use whatever resources are placed at my disposal to screw the Evil Overlord (in a metaphorical sense, of course).
  5. I will never vow to slay the killer of my brother or other near relative; there is a fair-to-middling chance that the Hero did it, that it was an accident, and that I won't learn he did it until after I fall in love with him.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Galactica Season 2 Spoilers

Major spoilers for Battlestar Galactica season two from SyFy Portal. Read at your own risk.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Friday, June 24, 2005

How it was supposed to go down

Obviously, the prequels were nothing like what I imagined back when I first saw the OT, but it’s getting harder to remember what I first imagined. I should’ve written it down. Actually, I know did write it down – at least I did so re: my speculations about Return of the Jedi back in 1980 after having seen TESB – but when ROTJ came out I threw it away!


I think I was wrong about pretty much everything except that I knew Han would be rescued. No-brainer there. But I did not foresee Death Star II, and I did not guess that Vader would “redeem” himself and turn to the Light. I also thought that “the other” was going to turn out to be Boba Fett, who was going to be not only a Jedi, but Luke’s mom in disguise.

Okay, that’s pretty freaking ridiculous, considering that I knew it was a man under that costume, but I think I read that theory in Starlog and they seemed to know shit.

In my version, Luke and his mom were going to team up and take out Vader and Palpatine. Maybe the parents were going to kill each other. Who knows? I can’t remember. I didn’t foresee the final ground war involving furry primitives either. If anything, I would’ve assumed that the Rebels last stand would’ve involved storming the imperial homeworld, Coruscant. Instead of Ewoks chucking spears at inept stormtroopers on an inconsequential moon in the Rim, I would’ve imagined ordinary citizens pushed to the edge finding the courage to side with the Rebels and storm the palace.

Viva la gente!

Hoo boy! Was I wrong!

So, I got to thinking, when I first heard that the prequels were finally going to be made, what did I assume the movies would depict about the rise of Vader? What did I assume about Obi-Wan? Did I have the presence of mind to write this down, you ask? Hell no!


But since it was not that long ago, I can kinda remember that I had the following assumptions about what Anakin Skywalker’s background was gonna be like and how the story was going to play out. Based largely on Ben’s dialogue from Episode IV and VI and Yoda’s dialogue from Episode V, I thought a lot was a given.

I correctly assumed that:

  • Anakin was from Tatooine.
  • Luke’s mom was going to be something like Princess Leia.
  • Anakin displayed Force powers from a young age.
  • Anakin and Obi-Wan would clash over the twins’ mom. True, but not the way I imagined it. I assumed they’d clash because of a love triangle.
  • Young Obi-Wan would be somewhat arrogant. True, but not the way I imagined it. It’s almost a passive arrogance.
But I was totally wrong about everything else! I assumed that:
  • Anakin grew up with Owen.
  • Anakin would have a calculating, methodical personality, and possibly be a ladies man.
  • Anakin would have “warning sign” bad habits like smoking, drinking, gambling or cruelty to animals. False, but fun to think about!
  • Anakin would be well-liked by other Jedi.
  • Alderaan would figure prominently in the prequels. False. Naboo was the substitute for Alderaan.
  • Corellia would figure prominently in the prequels. False. What bullshit!
  • Anakin was already an adult, or at least in his late teens, when he met Obi-Wan.
  • Anakin was a civilian who got involved in the Clone Wars.
  • Anakin was a space pilot, but he also pitched in to help Owen with the moisture farm.
  • Anakin was possibly part of a planetary militia and he came to the attention of General Kenobi because of his piloting skills and bravery.
  • The clones of the Clone Wars were the bad guys menacing the Republic.
  • The Clone Wars was an “idealistic crusade” that Obi-Wan and Anakin volunteered for, but had no true stake in.
  • Obi-Wan was a military advisor to Bail Organa.
  • Obi-Wan and Anakin were close friends who shared everything.
  • Obi-Wan and Anakin were approximately the same age.
  • Obi-Wan taught Anakin the ways of the Force without Yoda’s knowledge or permission.
  • Anakin went to the Dark Side because it was the easiest way for him to use the Force due to his unorthodox (and late) training.
  • Anakin and the twins’ mom weren’t actually married. False. How silly of me! No way could George have let Luke and Leia be bastards!
  • The twins’ mom left Anakin, fled to Alderaan with Leia and married Bail Organa. She died not long after.
  • Anakin ran off to face the Emperor before he was fully trained and was defeated, converted and turned loose on the Jedi.
  • Anakin lost a duel with Obi-Wan and as he lay dying, he asked Obi-Wan to give his son his lightsaber. False. This would’ve been a big plot hole.
  • Anakin “died” (i.e. his heart stopped or was he was, ahem, brain dead) after facing Obi-Wan, but the Emperor used his Sith powers to reanimate him.

Hoo boy! Was I wrong!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Attack of The Clones: Infinities (2)

Picking up where I'd left off the other day with the Infinities alternate prequel stories...

Most of the premises I put forth are hard to generate storylines from, but the following one gets Owen in the mix and relates well to the Episode IV.

What if Anakin had resigned from the Jedi Order after Shmi’s death and had stayed on Tatooine with the Lars family?
  • Anakin tries arrives too late to rescue Shmi from the sandpeople.
  • Anakin massacres the sandpeople.
  • Anakin later relays Obi-Wan’s message to the Jedi Council.
  • Mace tells Anakin to stay on Tatooine.
  • Padme urges Anakin to go rescue Obi-Wan.
  • Guilt over the massacre of the sandpeople makes Anakin obey Mace’s order.
  • Padme goes to Geonosis to bargain with Dooku and save Obi-Wan.
  • Back on Tatooine, Anakin is comforted by being with the Lars family.
  • Anakin decides to quit the Jedi Order and tries helping with the moisture farm.
  • After Geonosis, Obi-Wan visits Anakin and lets him know that he can rejoin the Jedi any time he wants to.
  • Anakin becomes unsure of his decision to quit when he hears from Obi-Wan how many Jedi died on Geonosis.
  • The Clone Wars start. Eventually Naboo is threatened.
  • Hearing of this, Anakin resolves to rejoin the Jedi and contacts Obi-Wan.
  • Owen tries to talk Anakin out of it, but fails, leaving the former with a lasting bad impression of Obi-Wan.
  • Anakin’s Force skills are rusty and he finds he has to dip into the Dark Side to come close to the proficiency he’d once had – with predictable results.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Return of Meco

Those of us who were around in the 70's will no doubt recall that one of the first spin-offs of Star Wars was the disco version of the theme song by Meco. I have this record (it's probably worth something on eBay!) and though I'm absolutely horrified by this song now, I thought it was the shit back then.

So guess what? Meco's back. I got an email today from Sony for their Acid music production software and they threw in the following tidbit:

In 1977, Meco Monardo produced the biggest-selling instrumental pop single in the history of the record business - Meco's "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band." The disco version of the movie theme effortlessly moved to number 1, outselling the official theme by the London Symphony Orchestra in the process. It is the only instrumental single to ever receive the RIAA Platinum award (selling 2 million copies). Thereafter, Meco became something of a specialist in movie themes, finding success with adaptations of the themes from movies such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Wizard of Oz, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

Meco's newest CD is entitled Music Inspired by Star Wars and unlike his previous Star Wars recordings, seven of the ten new songs contain vocals. Nearly all of the music for Music Inspired by Star Wars was created and mixed using ACID Pro software. "Except for the vocals and Peter Frank's guitar solo, there were no live instruments nor any MIDI used in the recording," says Meco.

Out of curiousity I went to Amazon and I cracked up at the names of some of the cuts on his album:

I Am Your Father
You Are Reckless
Boogie Wookiee


All I can say is, "Craptacular!"

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Build Your Own Lightsaber Kit

Okay, I know it's stupid and I know I already have one... but I want this.


Now, for the first time ever, fans can build their own customized lightsaber! With the new Ultimate Lightsaber kit, you can fashion your own saber to fend off Sith Lords or Jedi Knights alike. Kit comes with several accessories to enhance the heroic or villainous look of your saber, with a base hilt and three filters to change the color of the blade. Two extendible plastic blades are included, which illuminate when powered on by 2 C batteries (not included). Hundreds of possible lightsaber configurations are possible with this great new kit that allows you to choose your destiny!"


Monday, June 20, 2005

Attack of The Clones: Infinities

Picking up where I left off back on the 11th with Prequel Infinities. As you recall, the idea is to change one major thing, but end up with the same result -- Anakin becomes Darth Vader.

Attack of The Clones:

  • What if either assassination attempt on Padme (the bombing or the insects) had been successful?
  • What if Anakin had reached his mom in time to save her life?
  • What if, despite the death of his mother, Anakin hadn’t massacred the sandpeople?
  • What if Obi-Wan had been killed by Jango Fett on Kamino?
  • What if Mace, Anakin, Obi-Wan or Yoda had killed Dooku on Geonosis?
  • What if Dooku had killed Obi-Wan or Yoda on Geonosis?
  • What if Padme had remained firm in her initial rejection of Anakin and they did not ultimately elope on Naboo?
  • What if the Jedi Council had sent Anakin to Kamino to search for the assassin and had sent Obi-Wan to Naboo with Padme -- and the latter two fell in love?
  • What if Anakin had resigned from the Jedi Order after Shmi’s death and had stayed on Tatooine with the Lars family?
  • What if Anakin had resigned from the Jedi Order after Shmi’s death and had returned to Naboo to marry Padme?
  • What if Obi-Wan had accepted Dooku’s offer and had joined him against Palpatine?
  • What if Dooku had “outed” Palpatine to Obi-Wan in his “join me” speech on Geonosis?
  • What if Jar Jar hadn’t proposed that the Senate grant Palpatine emergency powers?
  • What if the Senate hadn’t authorized the use of the Clone Army?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

More stupid Star Wars crimes


  • For the clerks at B.J.'s Wholesale Club in Leominster, Mass., the phantom menace seemed pretty real in 1999. Toting handguns instead of light sabers, two men dressed as Darth Maul burst into the superstore and took $80,000 in cash and merchandise, according to police. The hooded villains then stole a clerk's pickup truck for their getaway. Detectives lifted prints off the truck and arrested Jason Palmer, 23, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The other costumed Sith Apprentice was never caught.

  • Luke Skywalker was light-years away from Tatooine when he appeared in a Pennsylvania courtroom on charges of indecently assaulting a man in 2003, according to the Press Association News. The namesake, who appeared dressed in a navy T-shirt and trousers, nodded when the court clerk asked him, "Are you Luke Skywalker?" Skywalker denied the charges and was granted conditional bail.

  • Though some might consider North Dakota a galaxy far, far away, police in Bismarck didn't believe a car thief who identified himself as Obi-Wan Kenobi. When officers captured the culprit in 2001, he claimed he was the venerable Jedi knight, saying, "I was just obeying orders from The Force," according to Road & Track. The thief went so far as to sign a police document as "Obi-Wan Kenobi," but officers resisted the apparent Jedi mind trick and arrested him anyway.

Read more

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Darth Vader, Stickup Guy


When Darth Vader made an appearance at a movie theater in Springfield, Ill., on May 21, he wasn't there to recruit minions or to watch his doppelganger in the sixth and final Star Wars movie, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Instead, he robbed the cash register.

According to Springfield Police Lieutenant Doug Williams, an unidentified man wearing a Darth Vader mask, black pants and a black shirt walked into the Showplace Eight Theatre at about 9:15 p.m. The man made his way behind the counter of the front cashier area, shoved the employee aside and grabbed an undisclosed amount of money.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Hugh Jackman To Helm 'Wolverine' Film

From SyFy Portal:

For some, starring as a lead in a movie is quite an achievement. But for Jackman, it's just the tip of the iceberg as the Australian born actor's new-born Seed Productions has signed a first-look deal with 20th Century Fox, meaning Jackman himself will be producing the movie.
Even through I think comic book movies totally suck, I think Hugh Jackman does a good job as Wolverine. And I thought Van Helsing was a riot.

But I will not pay to see this movie. LOL!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

'BSG' Gets Lawless In Second Season

From SyFy Portal:

Lucy Lawless, best known for her performance as the lead character in the syndicated smash-hit series, Xena, Warrior Princess, will be appearing in several episodes of the second season of Battlestar Galactica, as confirmed by TV Guide.

Read more

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Dark Is Rising

This is old news, but I'm pleased that Susan Cooper's "The Dark Is Rising Sequence" is being developed as a movie. This series of young adult books is like the Narnia books in that it concerns British children that get caught up in a good vs. evil struggle with fantasy beings, but I recall it being somewhat more disturbing.

"Dark" is in the title, afterall.

Read more

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Arrrrgh! My eyes are on fire!

I can't blog tonight. I can barely see. We had the floors sanded and refinished and the fumes are freaking killing me!

My eyes are burning like a mofo!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Lord Raglan's Scale

In The Hero : A Study in Tradition, Myth and Drama, Raglan lists twenty-two qualities that heroes typically share. Historical figures usually score six or less, mythic figures much more.
  1. Born of a royal virgin.
  2. His father a King and
  3. Often a near relative of mother, but
  4. The circumstances of his conception are unusual and
  5. He is reputed to be the son of a god.
  6. An attempt is made to kill him at birth(often by father or father-figure) but
  7. He is spirited away and
  8. Raised by foster parents in a far country.
  9. We are told nothing of his childhood.
  10. On reaching manhood he journeys to his future kingdom.
  11. Faces trials and tests.
  12. Marries a princess and
  13. Becomes king.
  14. Rules uneventfully
  15. Prescribes laws
  16. Loses favor with the Gods or his subjects and
  17. Is driven away where
  18. He meets with a mysterious death
  19. Often at the top of a hill.
  20. His children, if any, do not succeed him.
  21. His body is not buried, however
  22. He has one or more holy resting places.

When the scale was applied to various mythic and biblical figures, it came out like this:

• Oedipus scores 21
• Theseus scores 20
• Moses scores 20
• Dionysus scores 19
• Jesus scores 19
• Romulus scores 18
• Perseus scores 18
• Hercules scores 17
• Llew Llaw Gyffes scores 17
• Bellerophon scores 16
• Jason scores 15
• Mwindo scores 14
• Robin Hood scores 13
• Pelops scores 13
• Apollo scores 11
• Sigurd scores 11.

Out of curiosity I applied the scale to Star Wars:

Anakin (12):
  1. Born of a (slave) virgin.
  2. The circumstances of his conception are unusual and
  3. He is reputed to be the son of a god (The Force).
  4. On reaching manhood he journeys to his future kingdom (Coruscant).
  5. Faces trials and tests.
  6. Marries a princess (ex-Queen) and
  7. Becomes king (Sith Lord).
  8. Prescribes laws (Enforces order)
  9. Loses favor with the gods (The Force) or his subjects (the Rebels)
  10. He meets with a mysterious death (electrocuted by Palpatine)
  11. His children, if any, do not succeed him. (His daughter goes on to lead the New Republic, not the evil Empire. His son goes on to lead the Jedi, not the Sith.)
  12. His body is not buried (it is burned)

Luke (11):
  1. Born of a royal virgin (Padme).
  2. His father a King (Sith Lord).
  3. He is reputed to be the son of a god (Father is a demi-god).
  4. An attempt is made to kill him at birth (Anakin tried to kill Padme)
  5. He is spirited away and
  6. Raised by foster parents in a far country.
  7. We are told nothing of his childhood.
  8. On reaching manhood he journeys to his future kingdom. (Leaves the Outer Rim)
  9. Faces trials and tests.
  10. Prescribes laws (resurrects the Jedi Order)
  11. Loses favor with the Gods or his subjects (Schisms emerge with his apprentices)

Leia (12)
  1. Born of a royal virgin. (Padme).
  2. His father a King (Sith Lord).
  3. He is reputed to be the daughter of a god. (Father is a demi-god).
  4. An attempt is made to kill her at birth (Anakin tried to kill Padme)
  5. She is spirited away and
  6. Raised by foster parents in a far country.
  7. We are told nothing of her childhood.
  8. On reaching womanhood she journeys to her future kingdom. (Goes to Coruscant as a senator)
  9. Faces trials and tests.
  10. Becomes ruler. (Leads the Rebel Alliance and New Republic)
  11. Prescribes laws (Tries to reestablish the Republic).
  12. Is driven away (Resigns as leader)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Phantom Menace: Infinities (2)

How would these scenarios play out in a comic, with caveat being that the single most important event of the prequel trilogy remains the same – Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader?


What if Anakin had lost the pod race?
  1. Anakin loses the pod race.
  2. Padme’s ship is forfeited to Watto.
  3. Qui-Gon, ever the maverick, steals the ship back.
  4. Anakin has stowed away on board.
  5. The Jedi Council tells Qui-Gon to take the boy back home.
  6. He doesn’t.

What if Obi-Wan had died in the fight against Darth Maul instead of Qui-Gon?

  1. Darth Maul kills Obi-Wan.
  2. Qui-Gon kills Darth Maul.
  3. Qui-Gon takes Anakin as his padawan.
  4. As time passes, Qui-Gon starts to compare Anakin unfavorably to his dead padawan, Obi-Wan.

What if both Jedi had survived the fight with Darth Maul?

  1. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon kill Darth Maul.
  2. Obi-Wan is promoted to Jedi Knight.
  3. Qui-Gon takes Anakin as his padawan.
  4. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon maintain their friendship.
  5. Anakin comes to resent this friendship.

What if Darth Maul had killed both Jedi?

  1. Darth Maul kills Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon.
  2. The Trade Federation is still defeated on Naboo.
  3. The Jedi Council attends the funerals of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon on Naboo.
  4. Mace takes on Anakin as his padawan.
  5. Anakin comes to resent Mace.

What if Darth Maul had killed Qui-Gon in their first encounter?

  1. Darth Maul kills Qui-Gon while he and Anakin are boarding Padme’s ship.
  2. Obi-Wan gets Anakin on board, but is too late to help Qui-Gon.
  3. Anakin blames Obi-Wan for Qui-Gon’s death.

What if, after being rejected by the Council, Anakin had run away on Coruscant?

  1. Anakin is rejected by the Council.
  2. Anakin runs away from the Temple.
  3. Anakin is found by Palpatine, who takes him in as his ward.

[Talk about worst case scenario!]

What if Padme had purchased Shmi’s freedom?

  1. Anakin destroys the Trade Federation’s droid control ship.
  2. Padme repays Anakin by purchasing his mom’s freedom.
  3. Shmi is set up in a little house on Naboo.
  4. Anakin goes to see his mom regularly.
  5. The Jedi discourage this.
  6. Palpatine has Shmi murdered.
  7. Anakin thinks the Jedi did it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Phantom Menace: Infinities

I did some Googling to see if Dark Horse was doing, or had done an Infinities treatment of the prequel trilogy, but I couldn’t find anything. Surely they’ll do it. Easy money.

Speculating on where the breaks in continuity could take place in the prequel movies, I came up with the following for The Phantom Menace:

  • What if Anakin had lost the pod race?
  • What if Anakin had failed to blow up the Trade Federation’s ship?*
  • What if Obi-Wan had died in the fight against Darth Maul instead of Qui-Gon?
  • What if both Jedi had survived the fight?
  • What if Darth Maul had killed both Jedi?
  • What if Darth Maul had killed Qui-Gon in their first encounter?
  • What if Padme had signed Nute Gunray’s treaty and Naboo had joined the Trade Federation?
  • What if Padme had failed to secure the alliance with the Gungans?
  • What if Anakin had been welcomed as a padawan by the Jedi Council, instead rejected?
  • What if, despite the death of Qui-Gon, the Council had remained firm in its decision that Anakin should not be trained?
  • What if after being rejected by the Council, Anakin had run away on Coruscant?
  • What if Padme had purchased Shmi’s freedom out of gratitude for Anakin’s role in winning the Battle of Naboo?
  • What if the Jedi Council had purchased Shmi’s freedom?

*This scenario is too close to what they did with the A New Hope Infinities story, so they probably won’t go there.

Friday, June 10, 2005

VG Cats: Episode III

Posted by Hello

This Episode III spoof cartoon on the VG Cats site is so cute! Go to the site to see the whole thing. Above is just one panel.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Star Wars: Infinities

Dark Horse Comics has a trio of Star Wars “Infinities” comics that take each movie of the original trilogy and asks “what if”? The artwork is uneven, but these alternate timeline stories are interesting enough.

What if the attack on the Death Star had failed?

In the Infinities version of A New Hope, Luke’s torpedoes hit the mark, but the chain reaction that should’ve destroyed the space station doesn’t happen because of faulty detonators. The Death Star is damaged enough to slow it down and Leia and some of the forces on the ground make it to their transports before Yavin IV is blown up. However, she is captured by Vader and taken to Coruscant.

With the rebellion now destroyed, Luke escapes with Han and goes to Dagobah, where he is trained by Yoda. Leia, in turn, is tutored by Vader, who moves her to the Dark Side (surprisingly convincingly, I might add!) by reasoning with her that she can be the person that transitions the galaxy back to peace once the Emperor, who is “ill” (yeah, right) has passed away. Vader doesn’t use any torture, he puts her up in a penthouse, gives her back Threepio as a companion, and he doesn’t go into any meaningless rants about “if you only knew the power of the Dark Side.” In fact, he doesn’t even mention the Dark Side. He doesn’t have to -- she’s sucked in by her own ambition. Five years after the destruction of the Rebel Alliance, Luke, with Han and Yoda, journey to Coruscant to bring Leia back to the Light and stop Vader and Palpatine.

The end of this comic is superior to what actually happened in Return of The Jedi. Yoda pulls the Jedi Mind Trick on Grand Moff Tarkin (yes, Tarkin. Pay attention. He's still alive 'cause the Death Star didn't get destroyed, okay?) and has him fire on the Imperial fleet, which is clustered around Coruscant to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the destruction of the Rebellion. Vader grapples with the Emperor long enough to keep him from frying his kids, and long enough for Yoda to commit suicide and kill the two Sith by having Tarkin crash the Death Star into the Palpatine's palace -- the former Jedi Temple.

That's kinda hot.

It occurs to me that an absolutely heinous number of innocent people would've been killed by this action -- the only thing worse than having the Death Star fire on your planet is having it crash into your planet! -- but it still would've been unbelieveable to see this on screen.

What if Luke had died on Hoth?

In the Infinities version of The Empire Strikes Back, Han’s tauntaun dies a mile before he reaches Luke. By the time Han does reach Luke, it’s too late. Luke dies after telling him “you must go to Dagobah to train with Yoda.” But it’s Leia he means, of course. Padawan Leia has a showdown with Vader on Dagobah, but it's Han who kills him with a blaster shot to the head.


He had his helmet on! Darth Vader doesn't wear flimsy stormtrooper armor!

Whatever -- at the end of the comic, the Emperor is still at large.

What if the rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt had failed?

In the Infinities version of Return of The Jedi, the rescue falls apart, which causes Luke to delay going back to Dagobah to continue the search for Han, whose body has been taken by Boba Fett. The death of Yoda causes a ripple in the Force and the Emperor is able to foresee where Luke will be going. Luke is captured by Vader on Dagobah. At then end of the comic, Death Star II is destroyed, but both the Emperor and Vader escape. The latter, unconvincingly, is outfitted with white armor and vows to help his kids and the former rebels find Palpatine.

Oh, come on!

Mon Mothma would surely have put Vader’s ass in chains, then put him on trial for war crimes, which would have been great for the morale of the New Republic -- it's the trial of the millennium, woo hoo! -- but hell for the Skywalker family. This premise in itself would make a good Infinities story. Betcha Leia would support the trial and Luke wouldn’t. Luke would try to spring his father from prison and Leia would be expecting that. I’m digging this idea. I’m sure this premise has been tackled by someone in a (hopefully well-written) fan fiction piece.

I will investigate...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Narnia Soundtrack In The Works From EMI CMG


Contributing artists and a complete track listing should be revealed in June. EMI CMG's soundtrack is scheduled for release on September 27.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A GTMO Special

When I came home today there was a hefty envelope in the mail from my old Army unit.


No, they haven’t called me back to active duty to replace the dead in Iraq -- they sent me an Army Achievement Award for service I initiated three years ago.

This is the citation:
“Sergeant Michelle M. Pessoa, United States Army Reserve, distinguished herself by superior meritorious achievement as a print journalist while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Joint Task Force GTMO at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from June to December 2002. Through her distinctive accomplishments Sergeant Pessoa reflects credit upon herself, the United States Army and the Department of Defense.”

Monday, June 06, 2005

Star Wars: Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader

An upcoming book, as promoted on

In Episode III you witnessed Anakin Skywalker succumb to the dark side and be reborn as the fearsome Darth Vader. To find out what happens next, you'll need to read Star Wars: Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Star Wars Fans Boost Narnia Sales

From Library Journal:

"Never underestimate the power of The Force: the Midas touch of Star Wars has carried over to C.S. Lewis. Fans flooding theaters to see Star Wars: Episode III; Revenge of the Sith, which earned more than $500 million worldwide its first two weeks, viewed a preview trailer for the forthcoming feature film adaptation of Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. As a result, Barnes & Noble reports that, since Sith's May 19 opening, sales for the Lewis book have risen sharply. The one-volume edition jumped to number 40 on the bookseller's Top 100 list, while the seven-volume boxed set moved to number 58. The Narnia film opens December 9."

The Shroud of the Dark Side

I've stumbled across an surprisingly in depth analysis of Attack of The Clones on Lard Biscuit's "The Shroud of the Dark Side" essays.

He discusses a lot of symbolism, but I was particularly intrigued by how he points out -- in exhaustive detail -- how the backdrop of the fall of the Republic is echoed in a series of literal falls by Anakin, Obi-Wan, Padmé and others throughout the film.

Here's a taste:

...Entering the Geonosian compound, Anakin and Padmé happen upon the battle droid factory Obi-Wan glimpsed earlier. They find themselves isolated on a narrow ledge that quickly retracts, and they both tumble down into the hellish industrial world of the factory. This is Anakin's fifth fall in Episode II, and Padmé's first. The scene unmistakably recalls Luke and Leia's predicament when faced with an unexpected chasm on the Death Star. But where the children succeed in swinging across to safety, the parents fall and become separated.

Here's another good observation:

Artoo and Threepio immediately follow their masters to the same ledge, and Threepio takes a similar dive into the droid factory. Artoo is the only member of our group who avoids falling, by unfurling his surprise rocket jets and blasting off. On a figurative level, Artoo's flight represents how he is perfectly at home in this world of droid construction. When placed in mechanical or computer-based environments, Artoo becomes a sort of "Jedi" in his own right, able to perform miracles and bend reality to his will, as indeed he saves the day for Padmé here.


Then the symbolism really kicks in once Mace Windu and the Jedi arrive. Windu scoffs when Dooku warns him that the Jedi are outnumbered, and Jango Fett's flamethrower attack forces the Jedi Master to leap backwards into the arena. Windu's fall represents the folly of his overconfident pride, as he's knocked off his high horse and made to acknowledge the truth of Dooku's superior numbers. A melee between Jedi and battle droids ensues, with the Jedi getting steadily worn down. At one point the Jedi Master Coleman Trebor attempts to attack Dooku, but ends up plummeting to his death in the arena below, the first of the movie's many falls to be a fatal one. We are witnessing the Jedi Order being knocked off its pedestal.
He even has a little something to say about Threepio's comic relief segment in the Geonosis arena:

Representing the idea of the good person turned bad, the divided Threepio foreshadows the fate of Anakin, his maker. Like Threepio, Anakin will lose part of his identity and transform into a villain; furthermore, Anakin will suffer dismemberment and find the remnants of his body fused with a hideous robotic form. Anakin's golden mechanical prosthesis at the end of Episode II even resembles Threepio's hand. In this context, Threepio's accidental outburst of "Die, Jedi dogs!" changes from humorous to chilling, since that's a threat that the transformed Anakin will actually carry out.

I can't wait to see this guy's analysis of ROTS.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Galactica Season 2 Info

From SyFy Portal:

"We may will be seeing one or two new human Cylon characters in Season 2, and Tom Zarek (Richard Hatch) will return," Graphia said. "We're also going to see some unholy alliances between people you would least expect to work together.

"I recently finished writing an episode involving a Kent State-like incident where the military becomes overzealous. In another story, we learn why our characters' ancestral home world of Kobol is cursed, and there's an episode where a reporter causes problems after doing a documentary-style piece on the inner workings of Galactica."

Friday, June 03, 2005

This is so wizard!


"Mike P," one of the people who commented on Vodka Pundit's review of ROTS had this to say about Padme:

Why didn't Padme have an abortion?

Or at least have the fetuses surgically removed and brought to term in cloning vats?

Was it because she wanted Anakin out of the Order and as her publically acknowledged husband? Maybe she thought Anakin's 'visions' were just his way of pressuring her to abort, and she didn't believe him when he said she'd die.

Without Padme's impending death, Anakin would probably ended up aiding Windu's arrest of Palpatine. I think it'd be kind of funny if the whole galaxy ended up going to pieces because Padme stopped using contraception to try to force Anakin out of the Jedi Order.


I said the same thing about the biotechnology being high enough to have solved the problem of her dying in childbirth, but, dang!

"Shell" brought up ideas that had also crossed my mind:

Darth Vader killing children I can accept. Doing it because he's having nightmares about his wife, I can't. Why not go public with the marriage, retain the best obstetrician on Coruscant (don't tell me galactic Senators don't have gold plated health care coverage!), quit the Jedi order and the Clone Wars, and stick to your wife like glue until the delivery? If being a Jedi was more important to him than his family, then show us that conflict. But I haven't seen any reviews or spoilers that even hint at that as a motivation.

[OOC: "This is so wizard!" is a bit of nonsense from the mouth of Kitster, one of Anakin's buds from Tatooine.]

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Dude, Where's My Dad?


"You can see it in the Star Wars saga when Luke Skywalker confronts Darth Vader in the famous 'I am your father' scene. You can see it when a young clownfish is separated from his father in Finding Nemo.

"And according to Sydney psychiatrist Julian Parmegiani, you can also see it in The Italian Job, The Day After Tomorrow, Tomb Raider, Elf, I, Robot, Bad Santa, The Upside of Anger and even The Passion of the Christ.

"Dr Parmegiani argues that these movies show a new Hollywood obsession with the phenomenon of absent fathers."

Anatomy of a Dark Side Disciple

I mentioned a few weeks ago after listening to the Tales of The Jedi and Dark Lords of The Sith audiobooks that the reasons that people (actually, they’re overwhelmingly men, with the exception of Aleema Keto and Asajj Ventress) turn to the Dark Side seem very flimsy. These stories are mostly based on comic books, so the lack of depth isn’t that much of a shock, but, still.

It’s really easy to spot someone who’s going to end up on the Dark Side -- they’re consistently arrogant. That’s why they always look shocked when they get killed.

Exar Kun: Started out as a Jedi historian, of all things. Threatened his master during a sparring session. Got pissed when his master told him to stop researching Sith lore because he was too immature to handle it. Quit his apprenticeship and went to a planet where worshipers of the dead Sith Lord Freedon Nad were acting up. Made contact with the dead Sith who led him into a trap and crushed every bone in his body. Rather than accept death, he chose the Dark Side. After this he went on to kill a lot of people.

Satal and Aleema Keto: Spoiled aristocrat cousins. They seem to have never had any morals to begin with, so this may be the rare case where you have people who were just born bad. These two didn’t like being chaperoned or told what to do by parents and family so they stole Sith artifacts from a museum, mastered the techniques, killed the relatives who were pissing them off, and became despots.

Ulic Qel-Droma: Headstrong, impulsive young Jedi. Poor diplomat, superior swordsman. Decided to infiltrate the Sith organization led by the Keto cousins even though every single person he knew told him it was a really fucking bad idea. But what do they know anyway, huh? He was poisoned by Sith shrapnel in a battle, got seduced by Aleema Keto, then decided, what the hell -- I’ll join you guys for real. He killed Satal, became Exar Kun’s apprentice, killed his own brother, then eventually repented after countless deaths.

While we’re at it, let’s look at some other Dark Siders and their motivations.

Darth Maul: He was raised in brutal fashion by Darth Sidious, so he seems to never have been exposed to the Light Side. In his one line in The Phantom Menace he sounds genuinely committed to the Sith having their “revenge” on the Jedi for God knows what offense. He displayed arrogance when fighting Obi-Wan and taunted the padawan with his lightsaber instead of finishing him off -- that’s why he lost a duel that he’d already won.

Count Dooku: I think he honestly believed that the Republic was morally bankrupt and it needed to be broken up. Of course, the fact that other people didn’t feel that way didn’t mean shit to him. Dooku didn’t feel that people have a right to choose the government they want. In his mind, he and the Sith would do a better job of running shit and he didn’t care how many people got killed in the process of “cleaning up corruption.” And he definitely thought he was the best fencer in creation.

Anakin Skywalker: Arrogant. Afraid of losing loved ones. Easily offended. Impatient. Also very gullible. He was raised as a slave, so the idea of the strong being meant to control the weak was firmly ingrained in him.

Asajj Ventress: In it for revenge. Blamed the Republic and the Jedi for her issues and the death of her mentor. She was very proud of her skills.

Darth Sidious: He talks about wanting to establish order, but who knows what he really wants, other than the elimination of the Jedi? Nothing about his true background and motivation is known.

So, this is the blueprint for a Dark Side disciple:

  • Male, usually teen to mid-twenties, usually human.

  • Tutored by a respected Jedi Master who is technically skilled, but emotionally distant.

  • More physically gifted than his peers, but displays less wisdom.

  • Few or no friends.

  • May be an orphan.

  • Wants to be acknowledged as the best.

  • Craves order, yet consistently disobeys others’ orders.

  • Victim of childhood physical or emotional abuse.

  • Masks fear with anger.

  • Displays naiveté and narrow-mindedness.

Interestingly enough, Luke almost perfectly fits the profile except for three things:

  • There’s no evidence of him being physically or emotionally abused as a child.

  • Luke never shows any interest in power.

  • Luke doesn't think he's the greatest thing in the universe.

Is it that simple?

You can have shoddy Jedi training, you can grow up unpopular, you can be gullible and impulsive, but as long as you were raised in a decent home, have no interest in controlling other people and have a realistic view of your abilities, the Dark Side won’t have anything to offer you?

Well, yeah. It seems so.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Still No Answers

  • Qui-Gon taught Yoda how to become a Force Ghost. Yoda taught Obi-Wan. Who the hell taught Anakin? And why didn’t Qui-Gon’s body disappear?
  • How come Chewie never mentioned to Luke that he knew Yoda? How come Chewie never mentioned to anyone that he’d fought in the Clone Wars? I’m really starting to think that no one knows what Chewie is saying, they just pretend they do.

    Leia: Where did you go after we evacuated Hoth?

    Luke: I was in the Dagobah system. I found the last Jedi Master! His name is Yoda, he--

    Chewie: Mrrrrgrrr? Wrrrggrr! [Translation: Pardon me -- did you say Yoda? I served with him in the Clone Wars! He helped us fight to save our planet. Oh, the stories I could tell--]

    Luke: No thanks, Chewie, I’m not hungry.

    Chewie: Grrrrmrrrf! [What? I said I fucking know Yoda!]

    Leia: That’s okay, I’m not hungry either.

    Chewie (storming off): Hrrrrgrff! [You know what? Fuck it. Let me go fix something.]

    Luke: Gosh, he’s so sensitive. I always feel like I'm offending him.

    Leia: He means well, but… all that hair in the food. You know what I mean.

    Luke: Yeah. Anyway, let me tell you about Yoda...

  • If it took nearly twenty years to complete the Death Star, how were they able to keep the plans secret until the project was complete? Tens of thousands of people would’ve had to have worked on that project. That’s a shitload of people and suppliers bound by non-disclosure agreements.
  • Still no answer to why they didn’t change Luke’s last name. I guess ignoring this problem was the smartest thing to do.
  • No explanation of how “Obi-Wan” became “Ben.” If they were smart, they could’ve solved this in Episode I. Jar-Jar could’ve found his name difficult to pronounce and said, “Mesa call you ‘Ben’” and the nickname could’ve stuck. Or “Ben” could’ve been what Obi-Wan remembered his mother called him. That would’ve been a nice touch.
  • It’s interesting that in the OT neither Vader nor Sidious seemed to realize that Yoda had had a hand in Luke’s training. Yet the Emperor knew that Yoda escaped him at the end of Episode III. Both Sith seemed to think Luke had been solely trained by Obi-Wan. I think if they had thought Yoda was involved they would’ve been really concerned.
  • How come Yoda was the only Jedi who felt a disturbance in the Force when Order 66 was executed? All 10,000 Jedi could not have been attacked at the same time. The speed of communication has to be bound by some laws of physics, right? The order wouldn’t have reached the Outer Rim at the same time it reached Corellia, but I betcha the Force could’ve told a Jedi that thousands of padawans were being killed on Coruscant before his clones turned on him 18 hours later on Ryloth.
  • What happened to Padme’s ubiquitous handmaidens? Did she fire them all? Since they were around her all the time, they surely would’ve found out she was pregnant pretty early on.
  • Why would the senate believe that the Jedi had tried to kill Palpatine for no reason? Some effort should’ve been made in the movie to show that public opinion of the Jedi was poor.
  • Why was the formation of the Rebel Alliance edited from the movie? That’s an important tie-in to Episode IV. How fucking stupid! That would’ve added, what? Three minutes to the movie? Didn't Lord of The Rings and Titanic prove that people will sit still for 3 hours or more if you give them a reason to?

    And last but not least:

  • We still don’t know the real deal about Palpatine. When he tells Anakin the story of Darth Plagueis, he seems to hint that he, Darth Sidious, may have already lived way beyond a normal human lifespan. If this is so, how did he become senator of Naboo? As a politician, his background would presumably be part of the public record. When he started his career, no one noticed that the new senator was 200 years old but looked like he was 50? And when did he find time to practice to become a Sith Lord? Was that something he did while holding down a regular job?

    The most reasonable explanation is that his background was completely faked and as he became more powerful he was able to silence all inquiries into his past. When he first got into politics he could have paid some Sith lackeys to pose as his family or he could have passed himself off as an orphan or an amnesiac. My belief is that at some time in the past, Sidious targeted an aspiring young politician named Palpatine, killed him, assumed his identity, and lived this guy’s life for decades.

    I’m cool with not knowing the answer to this last question, though. Some mysteries should be preserved.