Following the success of last year's "Death Troopers," "Red Harvest" gives us another zombie/"Star Wars" mash-up. This time instead of zombies attacking and eating the brains of storm troopers, it's the Jedi taking on zombies. And not just any Jedi, mind you but an isolated training camp of Sith apprentices. On the surface it seems [...]
I really enjoyed this story from beginning to end. Time travel, familiar characters, a pitch-perfect narrative, and a truly amazing Force-centric final battle make for entertainment that hooked me from the first sentence and never really let go. This particular Star Wars tale centers on the pursuit of Lignan, a rare ore that enhances a [...]
In the limitless reaches of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, it’s quite shocking to consider that zombies do not appear more often. Well, until now. In Death Troopers, the horror of the undead is brought to the population of an Imperial prison barge, in particular two young brothers, the chief medical officer, and a couple [...]
by Paul S. Kemp The Civil War is almost over when Jedi Knight Jaden Korr experiences a Foce vision so intense he must act. Enlisting two salvage jocks and their ships, Jaden sets out into space. Someone -- or something -- appears to be in distress. But what Jaden and his crew find confounds them. [...]
Matthew Stover joins us this week to talk about his two newest books, Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor and Caine Black Knife.
Matt gives us a little back story on The Acts of Caine series with a little overview of the world in Heroes Die, in which the main character is a bad guy in the truest entertainment sense of the word. The sequel to Caine Black Knife is currently in the works! Keep your eye out for His Father's Fist...
Matt also tells us about his approach to writing Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, and wanting to bring the light-hearted flavor of the early books in the series back to the books coming about today.
by Matthew Stover
I'm a sucker for Star Wars books. After reading Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command) captured the frenetic, everything-is-happening-at-the-same-time pacing of the original Star Wars trilogy and provided an engaging story to boot, I bought any post Return of the Jedi book I could get my hands on.
I really dig going to the movies. I love the whole experience: finding the best seats, picking up the munchies at the counter, seeing action on a huge screen, and trailers. I so dig trailers! I actually collect QuickTime movie trailers, and I'm damn proud of that collection. I think, over the years, I'm getting pretty good at figuring out what to expect with a film based on a trailer. Yeah, I'll still get stung now and then, but some have remained true to what the film delivers. And just for the record, I think the best trailer ever made to date goes to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which is not only promising an incredible time, but shows that the director "got the joke."
And then there are trailers like the one I just saw for Episode III. Two words: train wreck.
Let me start from the beginning...
I was all set to get into Sin City, and the trailers began. I cringed when I heard the familiar John Williams' riff and the LucasFilm logo appeared, but I said to myself "Relax, Tee, it's just a trailer..." Now, this could give you the impression that my mind is already made up on Episode III, but I found myself on the fence this weekend about whether or not I wanted to see it on finding out that Wayne Pygram (the actor behind Scorpius in my show, Farscape) is playing a young Governor Tarkin. Now, I admit: George Lucas chose well because Pygram does have that Peter Cushing vibe about him. By the looks of the credits, though, Pygram's appearance is similar to another Farscape actor (David Franklin) when he showed up in The Matrix: Reloaded as a Maitre'd. Basically, if you blink, you miss Pygram. But now, especially after seeing what Lucas did for Katie, I was beginning to reconsider my boycott...
Then I saw this trailer.
This preview begins with Palpatine chatting it up with Annie...er, Anakin...and this was when I felt my blood boil. Actor Ian McDiarmid was delievering his line ? one ? word ? at ? a ? time. It was Constantine all over again, the only difference being that Keanu actually put some emotion behind his dialogue. (Yes, Evo...it was that painful.) I was particularly angry because I've seen Mr. McDiarmid on stage before in a really wicked production of Volpone. (Theatre 101 ? Volpone was written by Ben Johnson, one of Shakespeare's contemporaries. Very edgy. Very funny.) McDiarmid was in the title role, and he was nothing short of stellar, but here (and throughout the trailer) his delivery of lines was so slow I could feel myself ageing.
Then we get to the random battle sequences peppered throughout. Sure, they looked pretty, but it reminded me a little too much of the battle sequences from the earlier-mentioned Matrix sequels. Instead of "Let's orchestrate something really, really beautiful..." it was "Let's try to cram in as much as we can fit on a 70mm screen..." This is what I caught, and it also seemed that I was getting more and more outer space sequences and less "Okay, here's what the movie is about." I can only assume this was because Lucas wanted to keep Hayden "The Human Brake" Christensen's appearances in the trailer as brief as possible.
Smart move because the moments he did appear, Christensen was still as flat as the Kansas prairie and just as whiney as a California vineyard. It was hard not to chuckle as I thought about the fan film Episode III: A Lost Hope where the actor spoofing Christensen was actually better that Christensen himself. But throughout the trailer, Anakin pouts, broods, and tries to look menacing.
Finally, there's the crowning moment that made me go "Come again?" Maybe I am sensetive to this as I'm currently undergoing edits for my next book, but Obi-Wan, in that crucial scene above the volcanic pits that fans have been talking about since the 70's, screams out to Anakin "You were the chosen!"
I'd like to ask the writer, George Lucas, one question: who chose him, and for what?
Did Qui-Gon choose Anakin? Well, yeah, but his cheese was standing alone when the Jedi Council said "No, we don't really like the boy. We think he could grow up to be a punk." Even Obi-Wan was a little apprehensive about the child (but then again, that could have been Ewan McGregor subconsciously thinking "You're the best actor they found after a worldwide search?!"), but he chose to continue Anakin's training after Qui-Gon takes a sabre to the gut. In the second debac?er, film?the Jedi Council concluded that Anakin did grow up to be a punk, and Mace in so many words told Obi-Wan "The kid's a punk." So Obi-Wan tried to pull him in, and Anakin resented him for it. Finally, in this trailer, Anakin is denied the status of Jedi Master and Mace tells him in so many words. "We aren't making you a Master because we all think you're a punk."
But Anakin's the chosen? Chosen for what? To resent the Jedi Council and stick it to them in the end? If so, then yes?he was chosen.
Now if this shoddy bit of writing doesn't grab you, consider this: After unanimously saying "No, we're not making you a Jedi Master" the Council turns around and says "We think you would be a really good spy...so how about you take a closer look at Senator Palpatine. We think he's up to something."
Let me see if I fully understand this scenario: The Jedi Order which is made up a shitload of species?all with GREAT biochemistry (Thanks a lot for THAT ONE, George...)?needs a spy to keep tabs on someone they believe is "up to something" and so they pick the brattiest, whiniest, and most potentially dangerous snot-nosed twit that they just turned down for Master status to be that spy. Allright, I'll give the Jedi Order a pass for not figuring out with their collected control over The Force that Senator Palpatine was a Dark Side Master...but you mean to tell me, George, that the Council was so thick they didn't Anakin could be potentially (wait for it...) vulnerable?!?
Then, as said so eloquently in the Hitchhiker's trailer, we get the montage of eye-popping special effects that is "meant to blow out any remaining synapses," ending with the shot of what we are led to believe is Christensen in the Vader outfit...
...and the tagline "The Saga Concludes." Funny, I thought these were the prequels.
Does this really wrap things up? I would disagree as I'm left with more questions, especially if I were to watch Episodes I-III and then go back and watch the original (or even the special) trilogy. How did The Force go from "micro-organisms in a select few" to "an energy field created by ALL LIVING THINGS"? Did Obi-Wan thing Luke was too dense to handle metachorites? Chewbacca makes a cameo in this flick. Wouldn't he recognize Obi-Wan, Vader, or anyone else in the later films? (And don't tell me "Well, there was Chewie's look in the Cantina!" Please...that was Chewie being cautious. I refuse to believe, especially with the shoddy writing showcased in this trailer, that Lucas had that much forethought!) Obi-Wan genuinely refers to Anakin as a good friend. Could someone show me that friendship? And with all the action happening on Tattooine between these prequels, wouldn't that be the first planet Vader would check out if he's looking for his kids?!? Anakin even met Owen and Beru Lars...and you're telling me with all the power Vader had, he didn't figure out "Hey, Tattooine...I bet you my left respirator that's where Padame hid my son. That bitch!" And these are just a few questions I'm asking now...after seeing a five minute trailer.
What makes me all the madder and keeps me typing in the wee-small hours of the morning like a complete and utter rube is the fact that Lucas is opening his yap, saying "This is the film the fans have wanted since the beginning..." and "This is going to be Titanic set in outer space..."
You know what, George? Being a fan of the 1977 original theatrical release, I can tell you exactly what I've wanted since the beginning: a good story! I wanted prequels that remained true to the original three that made you who you are and assured you a place among Science Fiction greats like Clarke, Bradbury, Pal, and others. I didn't want you to "legitimize the science" behind your Science Fiction. (And to those nay-sayers who say "Star Wars isn't Science Fiction...it's a western in outer space." I say, "It's got spaceships, aliens, and laser pistols. Guess what?it's Science Fiction, Sparky!") I dodn't want my Space Opera to suddenly be given "Carl Sagan Approved" merit. I, as a fan, wanted the grand epic story about characters I gave a damn about, not metachlorites, Jar-Jar Binks, or clones from Boba Fett's dad. George Lucas has gone out of his way to try and make Star Wars into something closer to "Hard SF" when the original was nothing like that. It was a good, old-fashioned story, decorated with swashbucklers, shootouts, and starships. And we all bought it. Why? Because it was a good story.
That's what we wanted, George. That's what we wanted.
So, all this being said, take another look at the trailers for Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and consider the snippets of writing featured. You might be asking the same questions I've been asking (and still have no answers) since Episode I.
I don't know if I should call this a parody or fanfic. Either way, it had me literally crying on the floor. Funny, funny stuff. Now I don't need to see The Lucas version!
My favorite line from Yoda to Obi Wan after Anakin has turned into Darth:
Warned you we tried. Listen you did not. Now screwed we all will be.