Thrawn

thrawn-zahn-tall-435x375In the 90s, Lucasfilm strongly pushed the Star Wars novels. Timothy Zahn wrote the Thrawn Trilogy. I probably bought as many as 50 Star Wars books wanting to read about what what happened next, before, and during the movies.

I suspect the strength of all our interest is what made Episodes I-III possible. And Disney seeing the continued strength of the brand made VII-IX plus Rogue One and the coming Solo movies appeared obviously good moves.

However, I dunno what to think about Thrawn.

When Disney bought Star Wars from Lucasfilm with the intent to make more movies, we fans in the early days thought “Heir to the Empire” starring Mitth’raw’nuruodo (aka Grand Admiral Thrawn) was not likely the next story because it took place five years after Return of the Jedi. That movie should have been released around 1988.  We figured back then on a Jacen and Jaina Solo (the force sensitive twins of Han and Leia) story. Then Disney dissolved all this material into the Legends. Fan theories show people still want to believe in the old material.

Thrawn is evidence why we continue to have faith some of the old Expanded Universe stuff is not permanently dead. Disney brought him back for the Rebels series foreshadowing and expanding on Rogue One. They have expanded his character so much they even tasked Timothy Zahn to write a novel chronicling his rise. First he was the future, then he was banished, and now he is back.

So… Bring back Mara Jade!

Review: Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel
Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rogue One is a prequel to A New Hope. Catalyst is a filler book tying together the events of Revenge of the Sith movie with Rogue One. I have not yet seen the upcoming movie, but the given what I know from watching the trailers dozens of times, I feel comfortable that I understand where it will be going.

The plot and writing are pretty basic. Books like this name drop a bunch of characters, so we have the expected names like Jyn Erso, the Emperor, Darth Vader, and Moff Tarkin. Plus some extremely minor characters non-fans would need Wookiepedia to recall. Plus some new faces show up.

I liked some of the science introduced in the story. There are some hints that I hope are further expanded in the movie where I can tell my friends, “Well, if you read Catalyst, then you would have seen that coming.”

View all my reviews

Invention vs Sustaining

Alien Light
Alien Light

Alien 7… I mean, uh… Prometheus opened today. I am going to see it with some friends Sunday. One star or five, I would go see it. Heck, several other movies by Ridley Scott got me to buy a ticket just because of the first Alien movie.

Naturally this movie is going to take bad to a stellar level. Nevermind the original director has come home again after decades. That did not make Star Wars better.

So why is it that sequels and especially prequels tend to be so bad? After all, there is plenty of lore upon which to write a script. Hollywood pumps millions into these movies. There are plenty of good actors, writers, producers, and directors to ensure a quality movie. Make a good sequel and fans of the series will love you forever.

I wonder if creating something new is easier than sustaining something existing. With a sequel, maybe that lore becomes a weight tying the hands of the writers and directors? There are boundaries set regarding the world, the characters, and most importantly what they can or will do. The movie becomes predictable. Money does not overcome this. Being willing to break the mold does.

My next thought was maybe movie creators should take a page from comics. There are close to as many alternate versions of Spider-Man as I have years in age. When something gets old and tired, reboot it with a new universe. This does not solve the actual problem of sustaining the brand on its own.

One has to be willing to make a new brand. It has to be a new invention not much constrained by the original. J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek had some of the familiar elements including an old school Spock. What I liked most was the highly emotional new Spock. New boundary. (Okay, yes, I know teenage Spock in Search for Spock excepted the rule.) It might have the same name, but it must feel new.

Or… As described in the Demise of Guys, I played too many video games and have a addiction to novelty. Too many sequel movies are the same movie I have already seen.

Every Movie Geek Needs His Quotes

GeekDad published a list of top 100 Geek quotes. I happen to like movies and quotes. However, this list seems lame. None of my favorites even made the top ten.

  1. “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” Obiwan Kenobi, Star Wars. Of course, I got more attached to this quote when a coworker used this to perplex our boss. I’m sure there are days he regretted hiring so many twenty somethings.
  2. “Half of writing history is hiding the truth.” Mal, Serenity.
  3. “I’ve done far worse than kill you. I’ve hurt you. And I wish to go on… hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her. Marooned for all eternity, in the center of a dead planet… buried alive. Buried alive.” Khan Noonien Singh, ST:TWOK
  4. “I must not fear. / Fear is the mind-killer. / Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. / I will face my fear. / I will permit it to pass over me and through me. / And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. / Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. / Only I will remain.” – Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, Dune
  5. “How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life, wouldn’t you say?” Captain James T. Kirk, ST:TWOK
  6. “Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, SW:TESB. Yes, I have a teeshirt about this.
  7. “Raspberry. There’s only one man who would dare give me the raspberry: Lone Star!” Dark Helmet, Spaceballs.

What are your favorite movie quotes?