Is the EU Truly Dead?

News of a new Star Wars Trilogy, following the events of Luke Skywalker and family post-Return of the Jedi had been long-awaited and, given the age of the actors had a shadow of doubt. Thus, when it was announced that a plan to go forward had been agreed upon, fans cheered. Their elation was somewhat short-lived in many cases with the announcement from LucasFilms that the expanded universe would become the legend series. Suddenly things that at one time had been canon, were now relegated to a mythos around the Star Wars Universe.

Though I’m sure that this will make me very unpopular, I actually agree with this decision. Yes, Star Wars fans who have kept tabs on the ever-expanding universe over the years have lost so much of what they loved… however you have to consider the fact that there is a lot of ground to cover and to do so in the span of a two hour movie, retcon the literal hundreds of books that have come out, and still make a cohesive story would be next to impossible. A person who’s new to the series, or someone who was just a fan of the films is not going to know who the Crimson Empire was, who the Yuuzhan Vong are, and they’re not going to understand a lot of what happened immediately after ROTJ. So this move actually does make a lot of sense.

That being said, some of the EU has made it’s way back into canon. These things include Black Sun, the design of Dash Rendar’s ship, Darth Bane, and perhaps most prominently Grand Admiral Thrawn. However, most of these have been in cartoon form in the shows Rebels and the Clone Wars.

So with all that being said, is the EU forever dead and buried from the big screen?

Not by a long shot. We’ve seen other Universes (stewarded by the same people in fact), get reboots and become alternate universes. Not to mention the fact the Hollywood seems to love reboots… we may see it happen in Star Wars.

Think about it, they’ve all but killed off the original cast of Star Wars, Daisy Ridley claims that she’s not going to do another Star Wars movie after Episode IX, and we already have one role (Han Solo) recast with a younger actor. Given all this evidence, the fact that Disney has already promised the world a new Star Wars movie every year for the ‘foreseeable future’, it’s not unreasonable to imagine that perhaps a Legends movie could be on the drawing board somewhere.

So to the EU fans… don’t hold your breath, but don’t give up hope either. There is still a chance out there for Mara Jade, the Solo twins, Anakin Solo, the Yuuzhan Vong, Jaged Fel, etc.

Only the future will tell.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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In Defense of the Last Jedi

 

Lately, the most recent movie has been facing a lot of criticism. Some earned, some not so much… I want to try to tackle this as best I can.

There was an article posted on recently that came to my attention entitled Meet the Women Who Ruined Star Wars.

This page seems to be backed by internet provocateur Milo Yianopolis, so take that as you will. I know a lot of people rightly have mixed feelings about the guy. That said, I feel like it does illustrate a lot of the problems with the people criticizing Star Wars and I wanted to delve into it. Let’s take a look…

First of all, the title…. ‘Meet the Women Who Ruined Star Wars.’

Following is an image of Admiral Holdo, Rose Tico, and the president of LucasFilm, Kathleen Kennedy. First of all, I don’t believe that Star Wars was ruined. Audiences are divided on it and whether or not this could enter ‘classic’ territory is anybody’s guess. That being said, I liked the movie and even if the movie wasn’t good… it doesn’t ruin Star Wars.

So this brings us to the first problem; Melodrama. I get it, Star Wars is one of those big institutions that changed the ways we think about movies and its something that should be respected… and honestly, I think it has been. Rogue One was great, despite not being a typical Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens was safe, but still offered enough new content to keep us coming back for more, and honestly Star Wars Rebels has me foaming at the mouth to see where it goes. That show has really been a fun ride.

The Last Jedi didn’t ruin Star Wars, very little actually could. I would argue that not even the prequels ruined Star Wars. The only thing that came close to ruining it was the Special -Remastered- Editions. For starters, when you switch out the models and puppets that actually look real with laughably fake looking CGI, it becomes a problem. This was glaringly abundant in Return of the Jedi with the 4th Wall-breaking music-video at Jabba’s Palace, and most egregiously, replacing Sebastian Shaw with Hayden Christiansen at the end of the movie. This destroyed one of the most memorable, emotional scenes IMO. However Star Wars is not ruined. The original movies are still there, you can still go back and watch them and enjoy Star Wars just like you could when you were a child. These movies do not change that. If they bother you that much, pretend they don’t exist… that’s what most Phantom fans to with Love Never Dies.

Secondly, let’s look at Rose Tico and Admiral Holdo for a moment. These women didn’t ruin Star Wars or at least, they don’t deserve the majority of the blame. Kathleen Kennedy is a different story. She’s the boss lady at LucasFilm, so she does deserve some of the scorn lobbied her way. However you’ve got plenty of writers, and a director that was given way too much freedom to take the movie in whatever direction he felt like that also share the blame here.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the article…

“Suffice to say, and it’s been over two weeks now, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was met with not the greatest audience response.”

This is true, unfortunately. The movie has divided audience pretty straight across the board.

“The reception is understandable: Nobody asked for a Star Wars movie with yo momma jokes, a crazy ghost Yoda that can call lightning from the sky by giving a thumbs up, or Porgs trying to make Chewbacca a vegetarian. Nor a scene where Luke milks Lena Dunham.”

Okay, I will admit that the light-hearted opening and rather… out of place comedy didn’t really mesh well with the film and failed to set the tone for the rest of the movie,  I agree with that point. Yoda calling down lightning as a ghost, I didn’t have a problem with. In the now-Legends series, we saw Force ghosts do all sorts of crazy things. The images of Padme’ showing up for Vader messed with him rather frequently.

Chewbacca being made into a vegetarian… come on, I didn’t get that either. I guess you could say that Chewy eating the porg right in front of another one was a pretty heavy handed scene that could be interpreted as a vegetarian scene, but I thought it was funny. The porgs kind of annoyed me anyway.

As for the Lena Dunham jab… I’m admittedly not a huge fan of her work or her as a person, given some of her comments and behavior over the years, so I’m not really going to get into that.

“It seems they were busy promoting the diversity on their team instead of guaranteeing success for the franchise.”

I’ve heard this concern a few times and honestly, these days when someone touts diversity instead of getting into details… unfortunately that really does send up Red Flags. It shouldn’t, but in this day and age, diversity is too often used as substitute for good writing. It seems these days that writers seem to believe that as long as they have a diverse cast, the story will be good by default with little to no effort. The end result is usually stale characters that come off as offensive stereotypes and one dimensional archetypes. I’ve covered this extensively in another piece, which can be read here, if you’re interested.

I do agree that I found it highly questionable how much they were talking about what percentage of their team was what race/gender, etc. Like, seriously are you trying to provide a product or service, or are you trying to appease some group ideologues? Really, no one should care. In this day and age, the genders and races of the development teams are irrelevant as long as they’re the right person for the job. The only people who care about this kind of thing are a very small and annoyingly vocal minority, most of whom likely don’t patron movies like Star Wars.

“While she ran around with “The force is female” t-shirts and staffed her story group with women, she apparently forgot to actually plan out this franchise… Rian Johnson revealed that there was no big outline on the trilogy, and that he had full creative freedom to do whatever he wished in The Last Jedi. Meaning Disney and the Star Wars story group left the fate and success of this multi-billion dollar franchise to chance and at the whim of whichever director & writer happened to be…” 

That is very true. This is one area where the article does point out the glaring problems, but also illustrates why the title of the article is incorrect. Those three women didn’t ruin Star Wars, if you consider the Last Jedi a ruining, this piece right here clearly shows that the director and the writers are the problem. Not only that, but this is where Kennedy comes into play as well.

Say what you will about Lucas, he had a story planned out with the original trilogy and follow-up prequel series. You can argue that he didn’t have a strong way to connect those two trilogies and that they were their own independent stories, but at least he had them planned out. With the prequels, it was surrounding Anakin’s growth and eventual fall to Darth Vader while the Republic essentially collapses and the Empire forms. That was the story. Here, we see a studio going rogue with their own source material and that is a major problem.

“It is unknown why he is returning to direct and write the finale of this trilogy, but fans speculate that Disney got cold feet after the shoot for the latest film was completed.”

Eh… except that Rian has been given a whole new Star Wars Trilogy to direct, so I don’t think they got cold feet with him so much.

“The characters in The Last Jedi mirror this mess. Admiral Holdo, nicknamed by critics as Admiral SJW, is the definition of leadership as explained by someone with critically low testosterone: a person who must not explain herself, is expected to be followed blindly and without question, and must not be upstaged.” 

Okay… this is one of the major problems with the complaints. I’ve heard people accuse this Vice-Admiral of being the physical embodiment of an SJW, feminazi, etc. However, none of that is accurate. I get the feeling that people saw her with purple hair and no uniform and… given the climate already established by LucasFilm and Disney in their constant touting of identity politics over telling us anything about the story, I think they were pretty much looking for a character… any character that even remotely fit the mold.

Here’s the problem… Admiral Holdo takes over command after literally everyone else who could have has either been killed or incapacitated. It’s an extremely tense situation with little chance of a positive outcome.

To the point about her not having to explain herself… she’s a vice-admiral talking to a recently-demoted loose cannon commander, who doesn’t seem to be able to keep his emotions in check. In any navy throughout the world, if any commander spoke to an admiral like that… best case brig, worse case, executed. An Admiral isn’t obligated to explain his/her decisions to their subordinates except under very specific circumstances. Whether or not she did the right thing by choosing to keep quiet about what she was planning and… whether or not her plan was a good one, can certainly be put up for debate. However her handling of Poe, from my perspective as someone who’s a major Navy buff, was fairly tepid. She could have easily just had him escorted off the bridge. She put him in his place, and that was that. She could have done a lot worse.

I honestly found her calmness to be in keeping with a good officer. Had she gone off like Poe did, there would have been a pretty serious breakdown on the cruiser. So really… I think people were looking a little too hard for the Social Justice character/narrative here and the arguments in favor of such a belief are thin at best.

Was she a good officer who made good decisions? Eh… there’s an argument to be made both pro and con, however that’s for another topic at another time.

“But not before she has to finally sacrifice herself in a move that invalidates all other movies as she breaks the universe of Star Wars by hyper-space ramming a dreadnought.”

False. Absolutely false. We don’t know that. That information was never established in any Star Wars canon. We don’t know the nature of hyperspace outside of sub-canon technical manuals and Han Solo talking about how they need to make precise calculations.

“The final character, Rose, a small asian woman isn’t much better as we spend 30 minutes with her on a casino planet sequence that is ultimately pointless and ends with them saving space-dog-horses and Rose pretending that this effort was worth it. “

This one… yeah this character annoyed the piss out of me. I covered her in greater detail in another post and even awarded her a Jar Jar Award. I really don’t know what to make of her. The actress has called her a strong female character who is outside of the norm for a strong character… yet she makes a lot of really stupid, hypocritical choices, and acts like a teenie bopper fan girl throughout part of the movie. Additionally, the unneeded and… arguably unwanted social commentary surrounding her, brought the movie to a screeching halt.

“It seems Disney went too far in a few places, and already their newly flagship franchise is stumbling. If the executives at Disney wish to course-correct and not end up like DC’s cinematic universe, it would be wise for them to start with the person who did not plan this trilogy ahead of  time, and the team who failed to do their job in securing consistency from one movie to the next.”

Yup, sadly. I honestly loved the Last Jedi, but I have a feeling that there will be a fan edit in the near future that cuts out Rose Tico and the casino scenes. Between wasting talents like Gwendoline Christie, Max Von Sydow, Andy Serkis, and Benicio Del Toro, to a lack of direction, Star Wars does have a problem.

That being said, as I’ve said before, it took me some time to piece everything together and really take an objective look at the movie… but I actually loved The Last Jedi. It had its problems, and the social commentary really annoyed me, but the story as a whole went in a direction that I don’t think anyone really saw coming and really has me wondering where it’s going to go next. It wasn’t anything like what I was expecting and honestly, that kind of a thrill ride is a rarity.

So in summation, identity politics ruins a lot. We’ve seen it with Marvel, Sony, and a lot of other companies as well as other mediums. However I personally did not see that here, other than in the background with the staff writing the story. Yes there was social commentary that was unneeded and maybe that’s where the outrage belong. The inclusion of Rose Tico was not only unnecessary, but really hurt the movie more than anything. It would have been better to send Poe with Fin. This is especially true since the best scene in The Force Awakens was the Tie Fighter escape scene. Poe and Fin working off each other was very fun and light-hearted. So opportunity missed.

The defense of Rose, saying that she is a strong character is laughable at best and her flaws are on display for all to see. That being said, this is the problem with the skeptic community and those who don’t buy into the identitarian and social justice narrative; they have their own sect of outrage police. These people were looking for something to blame on the current political trend and when they didn’t find it, they went after one of the easiest targets; Admiral Holdo. The evidence isn’t there and while she may not have been a great character, what she’s accused of being is a stretch at best.

So if you want to be mad at Star Wars for inserting politics and social commentary where it was inappropriate, that’s fine. Hate on Rose and hate on the casino scene. You want to hate on a character that made questionable decisions, fine, hate on Holdo. Just make sure you’re hating on them for the right reasons…

Oh and please do not start attacking the actors and actresses, especially not with hateful comments. They really did the best they could with what they were given. If they’re on social media, feel free to let them know why you agree or disagree with their performance. Constructive criticism is always a good thing, but attacking is not right and completely unnecessary.

Anyway, what does everything think? Am I right or way off?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Star Wars Figure Review: Jaina Solo, Black Series

 

She finally came! That’s two of the three figures I’ve been waiting for and after delay upon delay, she finally arrived:

c3737_jaina_solo_310

Da da da daaaaaa!!! Ladies and Gentlemen, from the Legends series, the daughter of General Han Solo and Princess/Jedi Master Leia… Skywalker Organa Solo (jeez lady)…

Character Story:

Jaina is one of the three Solo kids from the Legends series. Her brother Anakin was killed fairly early on in the stories of the New Republic and eventually became an only child when she was forced to kill her twin brother, Jacen Solo AKA Darth Caedus. She is extremely powerful in the force, a member of the Jedi council and a crack pilot. In other words, she’s the Legends’ equivalent of Rey.

Untitled

Eh… kinda? Anyway…

Figure Back Story: 

Believe it or not, this figure has a storied history. Up until now, the Jaina had only a couple of outlets in terms of figure creation. She had a 3.75″ figure that came out during the early 2000s that was widely unpopular and didn’t survive on the market. As such they are rare and go for the not-so-cheap costs of between $45-$179, depending on if you want it loose or in its package. I honestly have one of these which I bought way back when they were in stores and… it’s good, but it’s not that great. The other choice is a Kotobukiya statue… which is basically an immovable anime girl in a Star Wars pilot suit. It goes for close to $300. Those aren’t really my cup of tea. I love anime characters, but this one really never struck me as accurate or well done.

Well a few years back, Hasbro came up with great idea of allowing the public to select and vote on who they would like to see made into a figure.

To their surprise… the majority of fans, myself included, selected Jaina Solo out of the legends series. An unnamed source told me that Hasbro was actually pretty surprised that the public wanted a legends character made, but thankfully decided not to pull a Boaty Mcboatface and pledged to begin work crafting a figure. Last year at Star Wars Celebration Orlando, fans were treated to the initial sneak peek of the figure in question… and all jaws hit the ground.

Given how many of the black series figures had looked, I was cautiously optimistic for a reveal. When I saw the initial reveal, I remained cautiously optimistic as the prototype is usually a lot better looking than the actual mass-produced figure. You have to expect these things as a collector. The Hasbro Black Series has a history of making insanely detailed figures… but the head and face sculpts have always been hit or miss.

So… did Hasbro do good this time? Let’s dive in…

Introduction: 

So Jaina comes in the black and red box, typical of the series. She’s number 56 in the collection for anyone counting. I love these boxes. They are easy to open, easy to re-seal so they can retain their collectability.

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Articulation: Her head is on a ball joint and her hair is a soft rubber, giving her head limited articulation. Her shoulders are on ball joints, as are her wrists. Her elbows have a standard joint and a second rotatable joint. Her knees have a double-joint which is a fairly new thing. Her feet are double jointed, and she has ball joints on her hips and waste. Her upper thighs also have a rotatable standard joint, but it’s not very good.

All in all, her articulation is absolutely outstanding. Her obtrusive equipment can be removed if desired (I don’t), thus giving her even more articulation. The only problem is that some of her joints are fairly stiff. When trying to loosen them, I highly recommend caution. HIGHLY recommend it. These joints can be easily broken and this will NOT be an easy figure to replace.

Rating: 4/5 


Appearance: This is where the figure gets high marks. She is insanely well done. Her outfit is a Legends New Republic Pilot’s outfit. Black on gold lining. Her boots have quite a bit of luster, and her holster is black on gold. Unlike most of the figures coming out, this one doesn’t feel like a woman’s head slapped on a generic… I want to say androgynous body. She’s slightly petite, but this looks far more like how she looks on the covers of most books and comics.

So what about the face? This is where I’m typically critical of the Black Series, nay mid-high end figures in general. The face is where they typically screw up. It happened on Luke, who looked more like the Dude. It happened to Rey who looked kind of butch and really either bored or exhausted. Did it happen here?

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Actually no. Granted, Jaina never appears in physical form, just in still artwork and… some really well-made fan films:

Hasbro clearly wanted to do their own creative take on this. Her face looks like Leia’s, but that smirk on the right side of her lip definitely reminds me of Han. So you can see both of her parents in this figure and I can easily say, yes… this is what a Han and Leia’s kid should look like. Others have said that the eyes look slightly ‘derpy’ and I can see a small articulation issue there, but really… it’s only noticeable if you look very closely and… if that’s the only issue, I can live with that. I can’t see docking the figure for something so minor.

Rating: 5+/5


Accessories: Jaina comes with three pieces; a blaster, a lightsaber and a helmet. I want to talk about the helmet separately, so let’s look at the lightsaber and blaster first.

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The blaster looks like an enhanced version of the broomhandle gun that her father carries. It is slightly more streamlined, but you can see the similarities. The muzzle has some gloss, while the handle is a very nice matte black.

The lightsaber is pretty cool. The unique purple blade is a nice modification from the pink blade of the previous figure. It is a fairly glossy black and gray paint scheme. I also love the purple on the hilt itself as well. The blade is removable and the hilt can be attached to her belt. The blade is slightly loose, but a quick twist does keep it in place.

Now let’s move on to the helmet. I LOVE THIS THING! It looks like the pilots helmets from the movies, except that it’s black. The symbols are highly detailed and it has even been distressed in some places to make it look like Jaina has seem some serious action in combat. The eyepiece is transparent and it slides on the figure’s head without much push.

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I love that her hair falls out under the helmet on both sides and the back, and will probably display her with the helmet on. I haven’t decided yet.

Score: 5/5


Overall: I love this figure. As someone who originally voted for Jaina, wanted to see a better figure made of this popular character, and didn’t want to see the Legends characters disappear into… well Legend, I anxiously awaited the release of this one with cautious optimism. Not only was I not disappointed, I was thrilled. This figure will have a front and center place on my figure shelf… and I don’t think she’ll be moved back for a very long time, if ever.

Score 5/5


So what does everyone think? Has anyone else grabbed this figure? What was your assessment of it? If not and you’re a figure collector, this one will not last long. It retails for about $25 at the moment. Later it will likely be a lot more expensive.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Star Wars The Last Jedi What we Learned/Presentation of the Jar Jar Award **SPOILERS**

Happy New Year, one and all!!

After an absolutely incredible Holiday season, it’s back to the grindstone. Back to fighting illness that of course had to come on the last two days of my vacation instead of when I could have rested, all while rolling the dice every day as to whether or not my car will start in single digit temperatures. It’s going to be a good year!

All right, so as you all know, I went to see the Last Jedi during break and… after careful debate with myself… yeah I’ll admit that I loved it! It was nothing like what I was expecting and I find myself anxiously waiting to see where it goes from here.. because I literally have no idea what could possibly come next. After The Force Awakens, I had some idea of what might happen, here… I can’t even begin to imagine.

Anyway, we all had questions/theories/etc. over what might happen and who some people might be. I wanted to take some time to debunk and/or verify some of them. I also need to give out the Jar Jar Award. Inspired by Jar Jar Binks and awarded to the Ewoks, I now need to give it to the character in the new trilogy.

So let’s get started…

What we now know: 

Rey is not a Skywalker. I think we’ve all but confirmed this one.

Luke is a terrible Jedi Master: As you would expect from someone who received minimal training, Luke was a fairly powerless Jedi Knight and now a piss poor Jedi Master. Being tempted to kill an apprentice is something a Sith Lord would do, not a Jedi Master.

Rey is not a Solo: Again, same as Skywalker. If they try to retcon this, it will really strain credulity.

Luke was not the last Jedi: I think this was fairly obvious to most, but when Rey shows up for training, Luke has cut him off from the force and gone to die.

Overusing force powers can kill you: The new power, force projection, pushed Luke to his limit. As such it eventually wore him down and claimed his life.

The stone Luke was standing next to was… a stone: I know a lot of people thought it was a grave. Well… it wasn’t, at least not one that was significant.

Gwendoline Christie’s was still wasted. Yup, we all thought she’d get more development in this movie, but it didn’t happen.

Max Von Sydow’s character from The Force Awakens was… yeah I think it’s fair to say that any reveal surrounding his role was a pipe dream.

The New Republic has all but been destroyed: I think we all believed that they would play a bigger role in this movie, but nope! Apparently the Hosni system’s destruction was all but the death knell for them.

What we don’t know: 

WHO THE HECK IS SNOKE!? Seriously, a single line of backstory would have sufficed. Something, anything, letting us know who he was, what made him bad, how he got his scars, ANYTHING! Apparently that was too much to ask and he was simply cannon fodder for Kylo Ren.

How did Snoke turn Ben Solo to the Dark side? Again, never covered.

Who are the Knights or Ren? What’s their story? Are they the other Jedi from Luke’s academy? Where are they?

Who is Rey? I still think she could be someone significant, perhaps a Kenobi or a Palpatine… I don’t buy that Kylo was being honest with her that one time throughout all the lies she told him.

If Rey is a nobody, why did Luke’s lightsaber call to her and why did it reject Kylo when he called to it?

How did Darth Vader reveal things to Kylo?

Where/when/how did Maz get Anakin’s lightsaber?

I may have missed some, but those are the big ones that I really wanted answered. Let me know down in the comments if I missed a reveal/unanswered question.

On to the Jar Jar Award. There were three contenders here:

Holdo-Elle

I think most people know where this one is going, but let’s start out with the runner-ups.

Admiral Holdo: I know a lot of people didn’t like this character. They kind of pointed the finger and accused her of being sort of the quintessential 3rd wave feminazi sjw. Eh… I guess I can see some of those traits in her, given her reaction to Poe, but I think that’s a bit of a stretch. I saw her more as a sort of motherly character who was stern, but also kind, calm, and collected. She had her act together when literally no one else did. Not to mention that she single-handedly knocked out most of the First Order fleet! She actually kind of reminded me of Mon Mothma in many ways.
That being said… I do wonder where Admiral Ackbar was during this. The cruiser they were on throughout most of the movie was a Mon Calamari ship. He was in the previous movie… you would think that he would be Leia’s second in command. However, it’s a small gripe.
So yeah, a lot of people didn’t like her, I personally did. So she’s on the runner-up list simply because of public fan reaction.

The Porgs:
“If this turns into a movie where the first order is defeated by an army of Porgs with spears and slingshots, but somehow can figure out how to work complex machinery, I officially quit Star Wars!” -Me to my wife before the movie.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen. The porgs were fairly insignificant wildlife around the characters. They were slightly annoying, but not enough to really make me hate them… and that sad face had me saying ‘aw… Chewy is mean!!!’ So yeah, insignificant and really not worth mentioning.

So the winner is… 

Rose Tico… this character annoyed the crap out of me. Like seriously. She acted like an obsessed, absent-minded, fan girl throughout the majority of her scenes. Her motivations were confused and messed up, she fell in love about as fast as a Disney princess, and pulled what was arguably one of the stupidest moves at the end of the movie! When Fin tries to sacrifice himself to save the Resistance, she slams her own speeder into his, risking both hers and his life, and pretty much screws over the resistance remnant.

Perhaps an even bigger reason to scratch your head is the fact that she’s constantly being paraded around by film media as this strong female character.

“Prevented four Resistance deserters from stealing escape pods. Assisted in the formation of a plan that would’ve allowed the Resistance to escape the First Order pursuit”, they responded to critics.

Except that their plan failed miserably.

“Persuaded a fathier stableboy to enable her and Finn’s escape from Canto Bight. Conducted an essential survey of available supplies available to the Resistance on Crait.

Except that most people didn’t seem to like the casino planet and thought it was little more than filler and needless and arguably unwanted social commentary that really brought the flowing narrative to a screeching halt.

“Saved Finn from an inconsequential course of action that would’ve ended his life. For a character who did absolutely nothing, that’s impressive… most impressive.”

Yeah, I already covered this one.

Look just because she’s a woman who does stuff in a story doesn’t make her a strong female character! It makes her a character who does stuff. Holdo and Leia were your strong female characters! I’m sorry, she was a really weak character and the fans really didn’t like her. She contributed very little, she wasn’t likable, she wasn’t believable, and her scenes were filler.

As such, sorry to say… she get’s the Jar Jar award.

On a side note though, to those of you out there that have been making racist comments towards her actor on social media… stop it. Really, it’s not funny nor is it necessary. I know the character sucked, but a lot of that hate should go to the writers and the director. No matter how good an actor is, they can be mired by this kind of thing, we see it over and over.

So yeah, not cool guys.

Anyway, let me know what you all think in the comments.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Star Wars The Last Jedi Review **SPOILERS**

 

So I finally got to see Star Wars The Last Jedi and when the movie ended, my wife asked me what I thought. My response was a simple, but unexpected three words…

I don’t know…

I’d seen some reviews going in, and heard opinions on both sides of the spectrum. So I went in with a cautious optimism. I knew Luke was going to finally reveal all. I knew we’d finally figure out who Snoke was, I knew we’d finally decode everything as to what was to become of the Jedi. This was going to be it, we’d finally get everything come together. So let’s break it down. Again I’m going to warn you all that there are spoilers ahead. So if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you’ve been warned. I am not responsible if you keep going.

So the Resistance… or rebellion… is on the run. This is weird, they refer to it as both. They’ve abandoned their base and are now being chased by a large First Order Fleet… and that’s pretty much where they are the entire movie. The resistance is on a Raddus class Mon Calamari Star Cruiser throughout most of the movie, running from an enemy fleet.

Rey goes off to train with Luke. She hands him the lightsaber and waits for him to speak his first sage words and… he throws the lightsaber over his shoulder and walks away. Okay…

So apparently her and Ben Solo have some kind of odd force bond. They speak throughout the movie, each trying to coax the other to their side. During this time, Luke reveals how his new Jedi Order fell… and how it was actually Luke’s fault. When he sensed what Ben was becoming, he had a momentary inkling to kill him. Ben woke up and saw his master looking down at him with a lightsaber… and at that moment, Luke realized that he’d failed.

Rey fights Luke until he admits it and then she leaves to go see Ben while Luke has a conversation with Yoda’s ghost about what Rey needs to learn.

Meanwhile, Fin takes off with a new love interest from the resistance cruiser and goes to a casino world to help find a data hacker that can help them get away from the first order. They’re told to find a gambler who was also a master hacker (*gasp* LANDO!?!?!?). Nope… they find Benicio Del Toro who helps them escape, helps them get on the First Order Flagship where Benicio betrays them, get’s paid for it, and leaves… okay… expected more out of him, but whatever.

So all the while, General Organa (Leia) has been injured on the Cruiser and one of her subordinates, Admiral Holdo, played by Laura Dern takes over. (Ellie from Jurassic Park if you don’t know who that is.) She’s actually a pretty good character, one I really liked and would liked to have seen more from… however she orders everyone off the cruiser in transports and tries to draw off the first order while they make their way to an old rebel base.

Rey shows up on the flagship where she confronts Supreme Leader Snoke. He pretty much tortures her and then invites Ben to kill her. He instead turns on Snoke and murders him… so we still have no idea who he is, but he’s dead so who cares. Ben then reveals that Rey’s parents are nobodies. Yeah, so all those theories you all had about who her parents were? They’re all wrong. She’s an insignificant nobody from a backwater world. Ben offers her to join with him and help him take over the Galaxy, but of course she refuses.

The First Order begins attacking the transports, at which point the Admiral turns her cruiser towards the First Order Fleet and engages her lightspeed drive, taking out the entire fleet. The remaining band of rebels land on the planet and take up refuge in the base, while the first order lands their remaining ships and are now referring to Ben as the Supreme Leader.

A fight reminiscent of Hoth ensues, the Rebels fly these old speeders and attempt to take on the First Order Walkers… and they get slaughtered. Luke then shows up on the scene and steps in front of the walkers to challenge Ben. The two have a… surprisingly bad ass fight, at which point its revealed that Luke isn’t really there. He’s still at the temple, but weakened and appears to be injured. He slowly disappears, becoming one with the force.

Ben leaves with the First Order, Rey reveals more Jedi powers, and the few surviving members of the resistance board the Millenium Falcon and head off into space.

So… the movie ends and…

We still have no clue who Snoke was.

Rey is revealed to be nobody.

The First Order is in Shambles.

The New Republic is apparently all but quashed.

The Resistance is no better.

Luke is dead.

Rey is a fledgling Jedi with no lightsaber as it was destroyed in the fight with Ben.

So what did I think?

Honestly… I don’t know, as I said above. The movie started off seemingly not taking itself very seriously at all. Way too many jokes and funny moments to the point where it was almost a comedy. Then it picked up and got serious. The fights were great and much of the story worked. That being said… I felt like it didn’t explain a lot of what it should have and… honestly we didn’t really see a lot happen. The Resistance spent most of the movie on a large cruiser slowly running away as it was getting pummeled by turbo lasers.

The parts with the Jedi were great, though I didn’t expect all of that backstory about Luke, nor his reactions. I am glad I saw it and do think it was a great movie, but… I don’t really know how to feel about it. I didn’t hate it, but I don’t know if I loved it either. I definitely give them credit for trying something new, but outside of losing Luke and Snoke, I don’t feel like anything was really accomplished.

Do I recommend seeing it? Hell yes. It’s definitely worth it. Just be prepared to leave the theater scratching your head.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Question: Did Palpatine Truly Care About Darth Vader?

 

I’ve seen a lot of information and theories flying around about Senator/Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine (Darth Sidious). There are theories that Darth Vader was a means to an end, that Darth Vader was disposable and the Emperor would do away with him as soon as someone else came along that might be better, or even worse, that Palpatine was some kind of celestial being (possibly Darth Plagueis) who could jump from body to body and was planning to jump into Anakin once he was properly prepared.

First of all, people… stop with the Plagueis theories. They’re getting old very quickly… Palpatine’s mentor was Plagueis, Palpatine is Plagueis, Snoke is Plagueis, the Grand Inquisitor is Plagueis…

Here’s a thought, maybe nobody is Plagueis. Maybe Palpatine made the whole thing up. Anybody ever thought of that? All right, moving on.

So we know that Palpatine is not above using pretty much anyone to get what he wants. He’s also not above sacrificing those people if need be. However, that being said, is it possible that in some way Palpatine actually cared about Vader/Anakin and cherished his friendship?

Maybe this is my own personal bias because I believe that everyone has some good in them. Palpatine is painted pretty much as bad as anyone can get, we know this. However even some of the worst people throughout our own history had friends, family, and people they genuinely cared for.

So the question is posed, based on what we know of Palpatine, SOLELY FROM Level 1 Canon, in other words forget the books, video games, etc. Based solely on Lucasfilm’s work (movies and TV shows)… does Palpatine truly care about Darth Vader or is he simply a means to an end?

Honestly, it’s a tough question to answer…

I mean if we look at scenes like the Opera chamber in Episode 3…

It’s… pretty clearly Palpatine planting the seeds of manipulation in order to make the dark side more tempting.

We also have this scene where Palpatine laughs as Darth Vader is defeated and attempted to goad Luke into killing him and taking his place.

However I don’t know if this is evidence or not… for a couple of reasons. One, we don’t know what would have happened if Luke had tried to kill his father. Would Palpatine have stopped him? Two servants are better than one.

 

Even if he did let Vader die, Vader had conspired against him in the past (Episode 3 and 6), something no doubt the Emperor sensed and decided that, despite his feelings, Vader was now a threat.

So then what evidence do I have that he actually cared about Vader? Well… it all boils down to two specific clips;

“You will not stop me. Soon Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us.”

He’s placing a lot of faith in Darth Vader here and it almost seems as though he’s counting on Vader surpassing him and perhaps one day succeeding him as Emperor, maybe?

However the biggest piece of evidence that favors this argument is a later clip from Episode 3:

If there was ever a good place to leave Darth Vader for dead, this was it. He was broken, dying, completely mad with rage, and wounded to the point of not being able to survive on his own.

Simply put; the Emperor didn’t need Darth Vader anymore. The galaxy had turned on the Jedi, they were already being hunted down by clones, and soon the inquisitors would be joining that hunt, and the Emperor had all but achieved his goal of galactic domination. Granted having Vader around as his enforcer made things easier, but the pieces would likely have fallen into place without a second ambitious Sith Lord being a liability.

Yet the moment that the Emperor sensed that Vader was in danger, he hopped a shuttle and made his way to the Mustafar system. Once he arrived, at seeing Vader’s broken form, he could have easily either finished him off or left him to die painfully. Instead he immediately directs the attention of his guard to where Vader is. Upon seeing him, the Emperor appears both shocked and relieved. He orders his men to get a medical capsule and then goes down to Vader and… by the looks of things attempts to comfort him.

But what about when he lies about killing Padme’? 

Did he lie though? Think about it, why did Padme’ die? The medical droids couldn’t figure it out, they simply said that she lost the will to live. Now silly as this is, since this is the plot point… what caused her to lose the will to live? The answer; Anakin.

A certain point of view? 🙂

I think this evidence is enough to make the case that he did in fact care about him on a friend level. However, I’m curious to what everyone else thinks. Let’s open this one up to a discussion.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Play Arts Figure Review: Rinoa Heartilly (Final Fantasy VIII)

I think I might start this as a normal thing when I get new figures. It happens regularly, so at least I can tell people the good and the bad and maybe encourage or discourage some people from grabbing figures that may or may not be any good. So this is… I think the third figure I’m doing a review of? I did a Spider Gwen, a Corrin… there may have been one more, I don’t remember.

First off, a little introduction to the character for those who may not know who she is…

5594-final-fantasy-wallpaper

Rinoa Heartilly, per DeadFantasy Wiki:

The daughter of Fury Caraway, a high ranking general of Galbadia, and Julia Heartilly a concert pianist who died in a car accident when Rinoa was young. Her personality is everything that Squall is not: feisty, compassionate, warm, and friendly, and these traits initially annoy him at first. However, She slowly wins over the irritated Squall, and eventually he returns Rinoa’s feelings and in the later part of the game the two become a couple. She has been participating in various underground protest movements against her government’s dictorship and is a member of Forest Owls. Rinoa later discovered that she would inherit the magical powers of a Sorceress from Edea Kramer and Adel

Rinoa made her first appearance in the rushed, but arguably ample followup to the smash hit, Final Fantasy 7. (I would argue that it’s better.) She is the primary heroine next to Squall.

Figures were initially released by the Bandai Anime @ 5.5″-6″ tall, however they little to no articulation, limited to SOME leg movements and the ability to remove their weapons. These came out in ’99 and for a while were our only options. I remember picking up a few at Funco Land (yes, back when that was a thing), and being somewhat disappointed by them.

By 2006, I was graduating college and my action figure collecting had ground to a near halt. I had mostly focused on Star Wars figures, and found the ones coming out around that time to be somewhat lacking. As such, I missed the release of these figures. It wasn’t until years later when I was doing research for my post about Rinoa’s absence from Kingdom Hearts. Seeing it on Ebay, I had to grab it, especially given the fact that the listing was >$40 and I saw it going elsewhere for $100+, including Amazon.

So it came a day or two ago and I’ve been getting a feel for it ever since. So let’s start off… This figure would likely be classified as a 1/6 scale figure though she’s slightly below that. She comes in a fairly large white box with windows on each side:

20171204_172518

Nothing particularly special there, but still nothing really to criticize. It’s easy to get her out of the package without damaging it, so she can be displayed either/or, which is great. So let’s get into the various features of this figure:

1438

Articulation: 

Pose-able, but not anywhere near the same level as a Figma. Her head is on a ball joint, her legs rotate on their pivots and she has standard joints at the shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles. However her mini skirt prevents much movement of the legs. This is a minor complaint because… well what else would you expect? The only other option would be to put a slit in the sides of the dress, which I don’t like the idea of doing. So I’m fine with the lack of movement. All in all, standard movement and articulation that is slightly limited by the outfit she wears.

Score: 3/5 


 

Appearance: 

There’s a lot to talk about on this one. First of all, this figure is super detailed, unlike the ’99 Bandai. The smooth surface of the original figure has been replaced by a patterned look, giving it the appearance of fabric. Also, the chain around her neck is an actual metal chain with rings on it. Everything seems carefully detailed and really well made.

My only complaint… is actually my main complaint about the figure in general… the face. I don’t know what it is with some of these higher quality action figures, but they seem to either have an abundance of detail on the bodies… but then fall short on the faces…

20171204_172501

I wouldn’t say it’s a bad sculpt, but any stretch, but Rinoa’s face is slightly rounder in the game… and her eyes here have a tired and sad look to them as opposed to the spunkie one that we’re used to. This is one area where the Bandai figure may have actually done better than the Play Arts one:

Untitled

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible, but it’s not exactly fantastic either.

Score: 3/5


Accessories: 

This category really kind of hurt the figure. All she really comes with is interchangeable hands, including the finger point that she does at the beginning and end of the game. She does not come with her glider weapon or dog, which is really a negative, especially given that her weapon is so unique in the game. What’s worse, other characters in this line appear to have theirs. I hate to say it, but that was really disappointing…

Score: 2/5


Overall: 

It’s bigger than I thought it was going to be. My collection is usually no larger than the 1/6 scale. Even so, I do love this character and the figure is pretty well made. She seems pretty durable for standard play, though mine will be going on display with my other figures. It’s not the pride or a jewel of my collection by any stretch, but it is a nice figure and a vast improvement over the previous incarnation.

Score: I’m going to give this figure a solid 3/5. I do really like it, despite its lack of accessories. Is it worth the $100+ price tag I’m seeing it for on Ebay and Amazon? No. So my advice would be to wait and keep your eyes open. One for between $30-$50 should pop up every now and then.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim