Review: The Force Awakens Novelization

star-wars-force-awakens-official-posterA novelization can be a tricky thing. After all, it’s not creating its own story but adapting someone else’s (which is a whole ’nother battle than coming up with a plot.) The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster not only has to face that complicated task but also gets to follow in the wake of the best Star Wars novelization ever. Released in ebook on December 18th and in hardcover on January 5th, The Force Awakens is an enjoyable but not groundbreaking read.

First and foremost, the novel is definitely no substitute for watching the film and there are certainly aspects lost in translation. The charm of John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac just doesn’t make it on to the page all of the time. In all fairness, capturing that much charisma would have been a near impossible task for almost any writer. Foster’s also not one of those writers who writes amazing starfighter battles and thus what were exhilarating moments on the screen come off as a bit dry on the page especially without a John Williams soundtrack to back them up.

What this book does do a good job of is help expand upon the new galactic status quo. It fills in some of the gaps that the movie did not, like giving us Lor San Tekka’s name for one along with some tantalizing hints about his past. Additionally, Foster gives us more Leia, something that’s always a positive. Perhaps most interestingly, the book shows readers how Poe escaped—something well suited for inclusion in the novel where it can’t impede the dramatic effect of the X-wings’ arrival.

Perhaps more than anyone, Kylo Ren benefits from the transition to the page. Not only are his speech patterns more elegant (think Vader’s slaughter on Mustafar in the Revenge of the Sith novel) but readers also get into his head at some of the key character moments, potentially shedding a brand new light on some of his actions and reactions. Han Solo and Rey are two other characters that readers really benefit from getting inside of their heads. The fast-formed bond was one of the highlights of the film and it’s almost sweet to see Han’s side of it before they go into Maz’s cantina. Follow that up with an incredibly sweet moment between Rey and Chewie at the end that mirrors a more bittersweet one from the start and you’ve got some great character bits in here. It’s in the character moments where the novelization does its best.

As a note, the hardcover does include eight pages of color photos from the film—a little bonus for those who waited for the hardcover that wasn’t printed until after the film was released.

Is The Force Awakens novelization an essential read for any Star Wars fan? No, but it is still fun and can provide fans with more of the galaxy far far away.

Thank you to Del Rey for providing us with a copy of the book for review purposes.

The Force Awakens – Our Reactions

star-wars-force-awakens-official-posterAfter more than three years, the wait is finally over. We have seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Many of us more than once. What did we think? Were our hopes met? Even better, were they surpassed? Who cried? Who laughed? Who fainted?

Our raw, emotional reactions to the movie we never thought would happen are under the cut.

(Spoilers, of course.)

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Hold on to yer butts, we’re getting a trailer.

star-wars-force-awakens-official-posterYesterday afternoon starwars.com graced us with the official poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, along with confirmation that, yes, we’ll be getting a new trailer (the first full-length trailer, and the last one, apparently), tonight during Monday Night Football. The trailer will air during halftime, which should be around 10 pm eastern time.

Around the same time yesterday afternoon, three short teasers started airing on TV and were released on the internet. You can see them combined into one video below.

Tickets will go on sale immediately after the trailer airs. If you’re lucky enough to live near Disney World, there will be a special opening night event at Hollywood Studios. Brian and I will be there with bells on!

Last but not least, after the trailer drops I’ll be taking part in a special “Trailer Council” organized by Bobby Roberts from the Full of Sith podcast, and featuring voices from other Star Wars podcasts. You’ll be able to catch the recording on our feed within the next few days. And of course, we’ll have our own trailer analysis on this week’s episode of Tosche Station Radio and a reaction post tomorrow on the blog.

trailer council

The Force Awakens News from Entertainment Weekly

jj-abramsSometimes, the best news is the kind that nobody was expecting.

Earlier this week, Anthony Breznican of Entertainment Weekly revealed on Twitter that there’d be no new trailer or footage from The Force Awakens shown at Disney’s upcoming D23 convention. This wasn’t much of a surprise, since director J.J. Abrams revealed prior to San Diego Comic Con that the next trailer wouldn’t be released until the fall.

Today, however, EW released a slew of articles and photos from the upcoming issue, featuring interviews with J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, information about character names, and a badass cover of Kylo Ren. Club Jade has an excellent roundup on what we’ve learned so far.  Here’s some of my highlights:

  • Kylo Ren is not the character’s given name. He comes upon it after joining a group known as the Knights of Ren. Also, his broadsaber is a weapon of his own creation. Could he be the Sith fanboy we’ve all been dreaming of?
  • Kathleen Kennedy persuaded Abrams to direct the film by asking him a simple question: “Who is Luke Skywalker?” While Abrams and Kasdan don’t reveal any new information about Luke’s role in the film, or even what he’s been doing up until that point in the timeline, it’s clear that he’s still a major influence in the Galaxy Far, Far Away.
  • Rey rescues BB-8 from a soccer ball style net, held by an alien named Teedo and his luggabeast. How does Teedo come upon BB-8? And does Rey have a history with the droid before rescuing him? That’s still unclear.
  • Yes, there’s a reason the surnames of Finn and Rey are still a mystery.
  • There’s a photo of John Boyega in stormtrooper armor next to the crashed TIE fighter, that can be seen in the Behind the Scenes reel from Comic Con. Odds are he’s the one flying that thing, perhaps out of the hangar that we see in the second teaser. “Fly, yes. Land, no!”

As if this isn’t enough new information for us to digest, Breznican teased more news coming tomorrow, featuring everyone’s favorite scoundrel-turned-general, Han Solo. Stay tuned….

Andy Serkis is Supreme Leader Snoke

The Official Site has a great interview with Annie Leibovitz about her Vanity Fair photo spread.

Included in that interview is a previously unseen photo of Andy Serkis rigged in mo-cap gear, and they also dropped his character name: Supreme Leader Snoke (of the First Order?).

Leibovitz also had some nice words about Adam Driver, who plays masked villain Kylo Ren.

snoke

Tosche Station Radio #102: Where’s Hera?

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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!

Maisie Richardson-Sellers Confirms She’s in The Force Awakens

It was one of the first casting rumors out there, but it turns out it may be true. Oxford educated actress Maisie Richardson-Sellers tells Refinery29 that she has a role in The Force Awakens. What role is she playing? Well, don’t expect her to reveal that anytime soon.

I had to sign many, many contracts. It’s very, very secret. But, everyone who’s working on it loves and respects the franchise so much, they all want to keep it a secret. We wanted to hold it tight, so it wasn’t hard for anyone. It wasn’t a forced thing; it’s our little child which we’re going to present to the world in a year.

Another woman, and another woman of color. The Galaxy Far, Far Away is getting a bit more diverse, and that’s awesome.

Tosche Station Radio #100: Century Mark

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This week on Tosche Station Radio, we recap and review the first half of Rebels season one!

Kicking off the show, the hosts highlight what’s New on the Blog. Nanci posted a Go/No-go for The Jupiter Pirates: The Curse of the Iris. She also continued on her Thrawn Trilogy Retrospective and finished Heir to the Empire! Shoshana discussed why she doesn’t like the Dr. Strange casting news. Nanci discussed why unlearning what you’ve learned about the sequel trilogy era is impossible when we know nothing. Bria reviewed Gathering Forces. We discussed our reactions to The Force Awakens teaser trailer in blog and podcast form.

In Fixer’s Flash, Nanci’s been busy finishing her manuscript and reading a new novel by Timothy Zahn. Brian’s been playing a whole bunch of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Bria’s been costuming (surprise!) and reading a new novel. Sho watched Jurassic Park for the first time (WHAT!?) and watched a ton of Legend of Korra.

Deak’s Dirt starts with Rebels Season 2 premiering at Celebration Anaheim. Dark Disciple gets a cover and a release date – July 7, 2015. Finally, Yoda’s voice will be in Rebels.

In Biggs’ Bull#*$&, there was something about a teaser trailer. Also, names! Names! We have names!

This week on Camie’s Concerns, we recap the first half of Rebels Season One. The highs, the lows, and what we absolutely loved.

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!

Tosche Station Radio #99: Teaser

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You’ve seen the Teaser Trailer. Sho and Bria join the hosts to wrangle an entire podcast episode out of 88 seconds of footage from The Force Awakens! What did we like? What do we need to know more of? Tune in to find out.

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!