Thrawn Trilogy Retrospective: Dark Force Rising Introduction

Dark Force Rising was published in June 1992, an entire year after Heir to the Empire and a mere month before I first saw the Star Wars Trilogy in its entirety. As soon as I finished HttE I rushed to the bookstore and purchased my very own copy of the new Star Wars books. I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to wait a year to find out what happened next. (I wasn’t so lucky when it came to The Last Command, but that’s another story.) DFR might even have been the first piece of Star Wars merchandise I purchased all by myself, even before getting VHS copies of the films. (While HttE originally belonged to my father, it soon “magically” made its way onto my bookshelf.) And thus my status as a SWEU follower first and foremost was solidified early on in my fandom.

DFR is my least favorite book of the series, and the installment I’m least familiar with. I’ve read HttE more times, and I’ve skimmed TLC more times than I can count because of all the Luke and Mara stuff. But there are parts of DFR I really, really love. Garm bel Iblis is a great character, and while 11-year-old Nanci didn’t go quite so far as to ship him with Mon Mothma, 34-year-old Nanci totally picks up on that implication (and kind of wants to write a tragic fanfiction about them). I love that Mara Jade is willing to drop everything and ask for help from Luke kriffing Skywalker, the man she’s sworn to kill, in order to rescue Talon Karrde. I love Leia Organa Solo being the badass Lady Vader on Honoghr.  And I love that by the end of this book, Luke is absolutely despondent at the idea of losing Mara, so much so that Han picks up on it. (Like I said before, Han Solo was the first L/M shipper.)

There’s not much else I can tell you about the book. I remember the basic plot beats, and being really interested in the Katana fleet mystery, but I can’t recall much more than that. Other than I liked it a lot and waiting several months to read TLC was absolute torture.

I’m really looking forward to revisiting DFR and seeing what I remember and the parts I’d completely forgotten. I hope you’ll enjoy the ride!

 

 

Posted in Retrospective, Star Wars, SWEU, Thrawn Trilogy Retrospective | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Review: Sabine: My Rebels Sketchbook

Here at Tosche Station, we don’t dive into the Star Wars children’s books very often but Sabine: My Rebel Sketchbook by Dan Wallace and Annie Stoll is just so awesome that we had to talk about it here. Just like it says on the label, Sabine’s Sketchbook is written like it’s Sabine’s latest sketchbook (the seventh this year!) and is filled with her artwork, thoughts, and random notes. Given that this is a children’s book, there’s much more writing and explaining that I would actually expect to see in the dozens of sketchbooks that Sabine undoubtedly has stashed in her cabin but that does nothing to detract from how thoroughly enjoyable this book is for all Rebels fans.

Like a sketchbook would, the book clearly takes place over a period of time. Towards the start, Sabine details everyone’s call signs but only goes up to Spectre 5. As the book progresses, they eventually add Ezra to their little crew and it covers the timeframe for all the episodes from the first half of Season One. While the book is intended for kids, adult fans of Rebels will undoubtedly get a kick out of reading it too. Throughout the book are tons of little tidbits about the crew of the Ghost and about Sabine herself. I feel like this book actually gave us more insight into who Sabine is as a person than eleven episodes of the television show which is a nice feather in the book’s hat. Expanded Universe fans will also enjoy spotting all the little bits that find their way back into canon status thanks to this book. (I won’t spoil the surprises for you.)

Much like a comic book, Sabine’s Sketchbook is a collaborative effort between Dan Wallace and Annie Stoll. I found myself lingering on each page so I could catch every last detail that Stoll worked into each page. Her use of different styles is perfect for an experimental artist like Sabine and the varying “completeness” level of each piece (some are just pencil sketches while others are finished works) gives a feel of authenticity to the book. Honestly everything about the artwork in the book is perfect from the graffiti to the quick sketches to the more completed and colorful works. It’s clear that Stoll really gets Sabine and I can’t imagine another artist working on this project. Honestly, everything about this book just confirms that Sabine Wren is a great character to have in the Star Wars universe: a woman of color who unabashedly loves the arts and explosions and who can hold her own.

The only thing that I wasn’t terribly fond of in the book was the number of “official artwork” pieces that were included on the pages. I’m not sure if the promo shots or the episode screenshots were more jarring. Annie Stoll’s art is so good and perfect for Sabine that the book didn’t really need them. This is a relatively minor issue but I hope that if they make a second Sketchbook (and oh boy do I hope they will!) that they’ll use far less of it and more of Stoll’s work.

I give Sabine: My Rebels Sketchbook two thumbs up and strong recommendation to pick up whether you’re a kid or an adult.

Thank you to Studio Fun for providing us with a copy of the book for review purposes.

Posted in Books, Rebels, Reviews, Star Wars | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

All of Legend of Korra Streaming Online

If you missed seeing Legend of Korra, the fantasy action adventure animated series with a kick-ass WoC main character, the first time around or if you just want to watch it again (because really, who wouldn’t want to watch it again? Someone who is not me, that’s who), you’re in luck! Yesterday Nickelodeon posted the entire series online for free streaming on their website. Check it out here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have cartoons to marathon.

Posted in Television | Tagged , | Leave a comment

15-Second Teaser Trailer for Tomorrow’s Daredevil Teaser Trailer

The official trailer for Marvel’s Daredevil, the first of their Netflix series, goes up tomorrow, but that’s not stopping them from teasing the teaser. Because that is a thing they do now.

(via The Mary Sue)

Posted in Comics, Television | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Review: Star Wars Rebels: Vision of Hope

rebels logoThe Ghost really needs to leave Lothal. Like now. This is getting out of hand. Warning: This review will absolutely contain spoilers.

Continue reading

Posted in Rebels, Reviews, Star Wars | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Video Games and a TV Show

KOTOR logoKnights of the Old Republic: The best Star Wars game that was ever released and that ever will be released.  Yes, I know.  You’re all tired of hearing me talk about how much I love KOTOR but that doesn’t stop it from being a great story and taking another look at it would give Lucasfilm a chance to help fix a few of the problems currently facing them.  I won’t repeat myself and go into how very Star Wars the story is and how great the characters are.  Instead, I’m here to pitch you an idea for the new canon.  Ready?  Here’s the pitch: Revamp both Knights of the Old Republic games for modern consoles and take advantage of the chance to update the graphics and to properly finish the second one, finally make that third KOTOR game, tell the lead up story as a television series on a major network (or even cable), and canonize both Revan and the Exile as women.

Let’s start from the top.  Knights of the Old Republic was fun.  Regardless of what you think of the second game, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a Star Wars fan who didn’t enjoy playing the first game.  It’s a well-liked and familiar property set in an era that’s almost definitely unaffected by the Story Group’s new overarching canon.  Bringing the games out of Legend and into official canon could quite possibly go a long way towards making some of those still upset about the canon change happier.  Also, imagine getting to play the games except created with modern technology.  The original games continue to have their charm but modern graphics paired with an awesome story?  (Just think about it, we’ll wait.)  This is also a great opportunity for Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords to be properly finished so we can finally play the droid factory planet without having to mod beyond belief.  A third game to round out the trilogy is a no brainer really.  It’s been ten years and portion of the fan base is still clamoring for KOTOR3.  It’s a license to print money.

A prequel (don’t look at me like that’s a dirty word) would be the best plot line for a tie-in show that would let the games stand alone and it would give the writers plenty to work with.  To tell the story, I’d imagine that perhaps three to four seasons of 10-13 episodes each would be ideal.  They could chronicle the attack of the Mandalorians, the refusal of the Jedi to answer, Revan and Malak going off and becoming heroes as they lead the fight back, their descent into darkness, and then rise of their Sith army.  It would ultimately culminate in Bastila’s mission that results in Revan’s capture and amnesia.  Is it ambitious for a television show?  Sure but we now live in a world where Game of Thrones is wildly successful and has a huge budget.  I could see Disney green-lighting it.

One of KOTOR’s greatest strengths was its characters and Lucasfilm would be wise to take advantage of them.  The supporting crew were all well-rounded with their own backgrounds and motivations and the protagonist was, well, entirely dependent on you.  The best thing though was how diverse the cast was in terms of race, gender, and species.  It’s something more properties should take a note of.  That said, it wasn’t perfect and this is where the game should take a hint from Saints Row IV.  Yes, that Saints Row IV.  In Saints Row, you play as the Boss who is a character you customize completely and your crew treats you the same way regardless of gender including romancing.  During a recent replay of KOTOR, I got frustrated that the game prevented me from being able to romance Bastila as female Revan.  I’d love to see a version of the game that isn’t quite so tied to turn of the century social rules especially since we’ve now seen what Bioware can do.

darth revanI don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that Star Wars continues to have a gender problem though.  We’ve discussed it ad nauseum here at Tosche Station from the lack of representation in merchandise to the painfully unequal casting announcements.  While I will always adore that KOTOR lets YOU decide what gender Revan is and even what they look like, I do thinking officially canonizing it would be a good thing but this time as a woman.  Same goes for the Exile.  John Jackson Miller’s Knights of the Old Republic comics did a pretty good job of skirting the issue of Revan’s gender but if Disney wanted to capitalize on this property and make a live action television show, they’d have to make a definitive call.  By making Revan and the Exile female in what would undoubtedly be a very popular storyline in the franchise, Disney would essentially be forced into giving them the respect that they (and the other female characters) deserve when it comes to merchandizing.  Even in this unfortunate Natasha-less, Gamora-less, and Hera-less world that we live in, I have a hard time seeing them be able to justify NOT making toys of the two main characters.  (Just imagine if they even canonized Revan as a woman of color…)

Three video games (revamped and finished for the modern world) and a TV show are really just the bare bones of the KOTOR initiative.  There’s an opportunity for tie-in novels and comics and toys galore but most importantly, it’s an opportunity to please Star Wars fans both new and existing, make strides towards putting more women in the leading roles, and play around in a part of the timeline that won’t interfere with the films at all.

Also I just really want more KOTOR.  And a TV show about Revan-the-Jedi-Master-Strategist as she defeats the Mandalorians.

Say it with me now: three video games and a TV show!

Posted in Column, Gaming, Star Wars, SWEU | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tosche Station Radio #102: Where’s Hera?

Logo

Play
Play in new window | Download

On this episode of Tosche Station Radio, Amy Ratcliffe and Bria join the hosts to answer a question that’s been bugging us all lately: Where’s Hera?

There’s only one thing New on the Blog this week: Brian did a live-tweet style review of Idiot’s Array.

In Fixer’s Flash, the hosts have been busy watching Agent Carter. Nanci’s been writing and working on a new novel. Meanwhile, Brian is obsessed with various sportsballs.

Deak’s Dirt starts on the interactive side. Like Star Wars games? You’re in luck! Good Old Games has released a crap ton of them. Meanwhile, Celebration will be screening the Navajo version of A New Hope, will also be bringing back Speed Dating and the Tattoo Pavilion. Strange Magic comes out this week, if that sort of thing is your bag.

Biggs’ Bull$#!^ has standalone casting rumors ahoy! Rooney Mara, Kate Mara, Felicity Jones, Tatiana Maslany. George says Disney went their own way with Episode VII.

Camie’s Concerns this week looks into the stunning lack of Hera in Rebels and Star Wars merchandise. She’s the captain of the ship, so where is she in the marketing and merch? Amy and Bria join in to discuss articles they’ve written on the subject (Amy’s here and Bria’s here) and tackle why it’s deeply problematic to exclude her. After the break, Nanci and Brian discuss a more recent revelation that the Episode VII target toy market excludes girls.

Amy Ratcliffe can be found online at numerous sites, but her personal blog is here at Geek with Curves. You can also find her on Twitter with the handle @amy_geek.

Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net and a part of Majestic Giraffe Productions. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of Tosche-Station.net. You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and Audible.com.

Her Universe - Flaunt Your World - www.heruniverseshop.com Listen to a bestseller for $7.49 at audible.com!

Posted in Tosche Station Radio | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment