Only a few items of note this week, so let’s get to them!
OMAR JOINS HAN
Michael Kenneth Williams, perhaps best known as Omar on The Wire, has joined the as-yet-untitled Han Solo spinoff film! That’s literally all we know; no character hints whatsoever. Seems like LFL is at least starting to get the “wow, that’s a lot of white folks” memo, though. Faster than Marvel is, at any rate. (Source)
Lots of news this week! New books! New The Last Jedi details! New hair! Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Though rumored as early as December 2015, it’s now official; following the death of original Star Wars actor Kenny Baker, going forward (beginning with this December’s The Last Jedi) the adorable astromech will be portrayed by Doctor Who veteran Jimmy Vee. I guess this makes him R2-D2-2. (source)
This week? This week is a good week because we get Dr. Aphra #1.
Aphra’s been a lot of firsts since we initially met her in Darth Vader #3 in March 2015. She was the first significant new character we met in the Star Wars comics. She was one of the first (alongside Sabine Wren) Asian characters to have a leading role in the Star Wars universe. And Wednesday? She’s going to be the first female character to get a Star Wars ongoing title and one of the first characters unaffiliated with the films or TV shows to headline her own comic or book.
Short version? She’s a big freaking deal.
(And not just because she survived a Kieron Gillen book which is really admirable on its own.) Continue reading →
We need to talk about Padmé Amidala. More specifically, we have to talk about the raw deal that Padmé gets. No not the one that she got in Revenge of the Sith with her entire political plotline being cut from the film and her less than ideal death. No, I’m referring to the tendency of people (fandom and otherwise) to write Padmé off simply because she was either in the Prequels or doesn’t fit their model of a Strong Female Character because it’s really getting to be a problem.
Prequel dismissiveness aside, I’ve seen a pretty disturbing trend lately of writers leaving Padmé off their lists of prominent women within the Star Wars universe. Usually, that list includes Leia, Rey, Jyn, Ahsoka, and sometimes Sabine and Hera from Star Wars Rebels. It’s a list that doesn’t include Padmé despite her being strong enough to lead the battle to retake her planet, often going headfirst into danger when she’s trying to do the right thing, and having some of the strongest convictions of any Star Wars characters. She is also undoubtedly the prominent female character from three films.
When people talk about Padmé, they often do so dismissively whether it be because of the Prequels or because of her death or because of her fantastic fashion sense or because she’s not the flashy Hero of the story or because they simply don’t like her. That’s not okay. Say what you will about the Prequels but give Padmé the respect that she deserves and don’t omit her from a list of prominent Star Wars women just because you have an axe to grind. (And Padmé certainly can fight, by the way. She’s one of the best shots in the films but that shouldn’t matter.) Continue reading →
Welcome to the first installment of Teacups & 1UPs, a (hopefully) fortnightly column in which I will talk about games both indie, AAA, and in-between! These may not entirely be reviews, and they won’t always be the same format, but one thing’s for sure: I’m going to pair a tea with each and every game.
Why tea? Because I love tea. Next question.
The first game I’m going to be tackling is The Banner Saga, which a Steam review accurately renamed “Tactical Starvation: The Game“. It’s not a new game, so warning for potential minor spoilers as I pick apart the good, the bad, and the fantasy misogyny. Buckle up, I definitely have Some Thoughts about this game.
You wouldn’t think such a pretty game could be so cruel.
Insisting that only women/creators of color should write women/characters of color is part of the problem.
It’s an inevitable protestation brought up every time a comic company announces a new comic about a character that’s not a white guy. Most recently, the internet is all aflutter because Brian Bendis (who happens to be white) is writing Riri Williams, the black teenage girl who’s going to be the new Iron Man. Some parts of the internet want to see a WOC on the book instead. While I can most certainly appreciate the sentiment behind the movement, I find it to be a little more harmful than helpful for two very big reasons.
First, it sends the message that only women should write women or POCs should write POCs. For some books, having creators who have had the same life experiences as the characters is absolutely invaluable. Very few people would disagree that the life experiences of Sana Amanat and G. Willow Wilson do not play a fundamental role in creating Kamala Khan. Ta-Nehisi Coates also brings a unique point of view to his Black Panther book. So yes, there are absolutely some books that require a creative team with that intimate knowledge and strongly benefit from it. Every book doesn’t. In a way, it’s almost insulting to those everyone involved. Writers are supposed to have imaginations. If they only wrote about things they specifically experienced, fiction would be terribly boring.
Second, I truly believe that it actively discourages white male writers from creating characters of color. Bendis and artist Stefano Caselli get credit for creating Riri and hey, this is hardly the first time Bendis has created a young black character to take over the mantel of a white guy… Miles Morales anyone? Objectively speaking, why would someone want to create a diverse character when they know they’re just going to be faced with backlash for wanting to write a character they’ve made? I’m not saying we need to give white guys a gold star for making diverse characters but maybe a little credit or a nod of appreciation wouldn’t hurt.
The solution isn’t to stop asking for more women and minorities to get jobs creating comics (and everything else) we love so much. Instead, the solution is to ask for it more broadly and praise it when it happens. We should celebrate the work of Marjorie Liu on Han Solo and Becky Cloonan on Punisher a hell of a lot more than we do. To me, assignments like those are more groundbreaking than if Liu had been asked to write a Rey book or Cloonan a Wasp book (although I would not object to either of those.) Start bringing up the names of female and POC creators on your wish lists for books like Batman and Wolverine and not just Wonder Woman and Spider-Woman. And yes. I hope that in fifteen years, there’s going to be a young black woman writing the adventures of Riri because the character inspired her as a kid.
But (and this is a big but) let’s not pigeonhole or discourage writers from writing diverse experiences. We should absolutely continue to make our voices be heard in asking for more diversity amongst both the characters and creators. Change happens because people speak up and show that there is a demand for a certain type of story or character. Hold companies accountable but do so broadly and not just in a narrow lane.
Late Friday night, Dave Filoni took to Twitter to tease his appearance at Celebration London this summer and to remind us that “there’s always a bit of truth in legends.” Needless to say, fandom handled this precisely as expected. (Thrawn. Everyone’s losing their minds because it might be Thrawn. Or maybe Mara Jade. Nah, probably Thrawn.) Problem is… that’s boring. Why waste these beautiful months of speculation time by assuming a certain Chiss is a given? Here are eight more minor Legends characters who I think have potential to appear in Rebels.
Qwi Xux – She’s the most logical choice, really. With Rogue One rapidly approaching, what better tie in for Rebels than to delve into the building of the first Death Star? Qwi Xux was a very naïve scientist who contributed greatly to its creation. Perhaps the time isn’t right to directly introduce the Death Star but teasing its existence with a secret military science lab would be intriguing to say the least. Using Qwi would give Rebels a chance to further contribute to the idea of Imperials who aren’t bad people but who still support the cause and it would given them an excuse to design a blue bird lady.
Adan Dooku – If they’re looking for a cool Prequel Trilogy connection, reaching back to Count Dooku would be a smart one that could also tie into Alderaan. In the Agent of the Empire comic, Adan Dooku was the Count’s nephew who lived on Alderaan in exile amongst the Organa court. He may not have been the best of people in Legends but the sky is the limit when it comes to canon.
Laryn Kre’fey – Or, as Rogue Podron as renamed him, Cray Cray Kre’fey. It’s only a matter of time before Bothans make their return to prominence in canon. Rebels needs on ranking officer cannon fodder and we should offer up Laryn Kre’fey. He’s arrogant and not too smart. In other words, he’s the perfect character to bring over from Legends just to die because of his own mess up. (He’s a legend because of how much he’s sucked. That’s the joke, guys.) Continue reading →
Warning: This column involves spoilers for Star Wars: Bloodline
While aptly named, Star Wars: Bloodline could have just as easily been titled Star Wars: Legacy because when it comes to both of those, Leia Organa has more than enough on her shoulders. One she embraces and one she tries to ignore. After all, if your father was Darth Vader, wouldn’t you try and forget that too? Unfortunately, nothing stays buried. As Leia and Ransolm team up to get to the bottom of the ever-deepening mystery of Rinnrivin’s cartel, Leia is forced to confront the legacies of her fathers whether she wants to or not. Continue reading →
Perhaps better than any other Star Wars film so far, the lightsaber duels in The Force Awakens tell a story and establish who the characters are in that moment. Only the duel between Luke and Vader in Return of the Jedi even comes close to telling this sort of tale via clashing blades. At first glance, the duel between first Kylo Ren and Finn and then Kylo Ren and Rey is brutal and it doesn’t get any less brutal after repeat viewings. Gone is the elegance of the Prequel Trilogy and with good reason. Kylo Ren doesn’t have the benefit of training with a Jedi Order who has perfected the weapon over millennia and Finn and Rey have never even held a lightsaber before that day. Every swing of a saber has meaning and you don’t need to have seen a single other frame of the film to get what sort of people these three characters are.
Finn has the least training with these sorts of weapons and it shows. He gets in a few good blows but it comes off as more beginner’s luck combined with a Kylo who is far from being at his best. (More on that last part later.) With any sort of sword fighting, a raw beginning can sometimes have more luck than someone who has trained, as they do not react in a way that is expected. In other words, someone who has even basic training will be more likely to attack and block in a way that utilizes more standard stances and responses that will be easier for someone else with even more training to counter. Unfortunately, it’s just not quite enough to help Finn last more than a few minutes despite his determination to help his friend.
Kylo Ren’s responding actions speak louder than any words could. He doesn’t take Finn as a serious threat. A traitor? Sure but he’s clearly familiar enough with Hux’s training program to know that there’s no way FN-2187 knows enough to be more than a nuisance and it shows. He toys with Finn especially at the start, dodging some of Finn’s more wild swings with a distinctive ease and even knocking him to the ground and turning away instead of pressing his advantage and ending it. Turning your back to an enemy is an insult. It’s not until Finn lands a blow that actually hurts him that Kylo steps up his game and decides to end the fight now. This time, he’s not content with disarming Finn and follows it up with an injury that ensures the former stormtrooper will stay down.