Star Wars: Unafraid and Lady Lovin’

Here’s the thing: I am not a movie buff, I am not a film student (anymore), and I almost never have strong feelings about anything. I go into everything with no expectations except cool women and pretty cinematography. You can imagine that a lot of recent films have disappointed me.

The Force Awakens has already given me everything I want, just in the trailers and teasers and TV spots. A female lead, gorgeous shots that are a blend of old and new, and Leia. My God, do I love Leia. I am perfectly content with just the teasers and trailer, and the thought that there is an actual whole movie coming out next week is so overwhelming I can’t even directly acknowledge the thought lest I explode. Or cry. I can’t look directly at the idea, I must tip-toe by the realization that this is actually happening.

But I have no fear (and really, do I ever?) I’m not known for my good taste in films, I unabashedly love terrible or unpopular movies. Can I count the number of times I’ve watched the Prequels? No, but it’s probably a higher number than the OT. The only thing that could legitimately make me dislike The Force Awakens would be awful treatment of the lady characters, but I have such utter faith in the team at Lucasfilm I hardly believe that will happen.

I do have hopes, though. Hopes that Rey and Finn will shine, and will inspire other films to cast women and people of colour in starring roles. Hopes that I will want to watch this movie as often as I crave watching The Hunger Games. I want to fall in love with Rey and Finn and the other characters the same way I have so fallen for their actors, so funny and charming and kind. I want this film to give me feelings so strong I realize I can never love any person as much as I love TFA. Finally, I desperately want to see Han and Leia have sweet moments. I will ship them till my dying breath.

Star Wars has always been an innovator, a leader, an inspirer. As long as I can remember, Star Wars has been in my life—from babysitting me when my parents didn’t want to deal with a bored toddler, to me wanting to be Obi-Wan’s sister with a pink lightsaber when we were pretending to be in Lord of the Rings back in primary. Those orcs didn’t stand a chance.

The OT showed me that I could be a princess and still be in space with cool ships and guns. The PT inspired me in part to take up politics so I could be like Padme, inspiring change in a country I felt so strongly for (a failed venture, that in part lead me back to falling in love with Star Wars.) The Clone Wars gave me Ahsoka, who I love so dearly I am actually astounded by the depths of my feelings. Abrams is wrong, Star Wars has always been for everyone.

I want the new films to give me, and all young girls coming into this fandom, women (note the plural) to look up to and give us hope for our futures, or inspiration for our present. This is really all I am hoping for: a positive force for women and girls of all ages. I don’t care if Rey is a Skywalker or a Solo, I only care that she is everything Star Wars has been needing for over thirty years, and that she’ll be someone for little girls to look up to and love.

I also really want Finn and Rey to hold hands. Romantically. Oh God, please don’t be related.

Lucasfilm.com relaunches, teases Episode VII concept art?

Possible Episode VII storyboard art

Lucasfilm.com relaunched yesterday with some new photos from the studios. Among them is the photo you see above featuring members of the Lucasfilm crew in front of what look to be some concept art.

Whether or not these are for Episode VII, we don’t know. What we can see is that the print on the left features the Millennium Falcon rather prominently. Take what you will from that.

Or, it could be just another masterful troll job by the good folks at Lucasfilm.

Disney and Paramount reach Indiana Jones agreement

Indiana-JonesPer Variety, Disney and Paramount have reached an agreement involving the Indiana Jones franchise.

Under the arrangement, Disney gains distribution and marketing rights to future films, in addition to retaining its current ownership rights which it secured when it acquired Lucasfilm.

Paramount will continue to be responsible for distribution of the first four films in the franchise and will receive a financial participation on any future films that are produced and released.

There’s currently no announcement that a fifth Indiana Jones installment, just a whole bunch of rumors. This deal would suggest that Disney is at least considering the possibility of another film to get Harrison Ford back in the fedora.

One Year Ago Today…

holy

The above conversation was probably representative of a number of conversations you all had with your peers. Except you probably didn’t bother to black out the expletives.

One year ago today, the entire fandom was blindsided by the news that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas. That was wild enough, but shortly after those rumbling began trickling out onto the Internet something even wilder happened. Disney confirmed the sale and announced that the one thing that was never going to happen was about to become a reality: The Sequel Trilogy.

At the time of the announcement, I was in a Taco Bell in Moses Lake, Washington having just finished up a work trip. Nanci sent me the above text message alerting me to the news and a few hours later Dunc from Club Jade joined us for the first and only emergency podcast episode we have ever done.

And here we were worried we’d have nothing to talk about after Celebration VI. What are your memories from the day Disney bought Lucasfilm?

Assorted thoughts on the Lucasfilm/EA exclusive game deal

EA LogoReaction to yesterday’s news that Lucasfilm will be licensing the Star Wars IP exclusively to publisher Electronic Arts was, to put it mildly, a mixed bag. First off were people happy that there were going to be new Star Wars games at all. Then there was the anti-EA crowd upset that Disney was licensing to the least popular company in the gaming industry. So what is it? Good news for fans, or Disney making a mistake and hurting fans?

Some assorted thoughts…

  • Disney and Lucasfilm were never going to break things up and offer rights individually on a per-game basis. There’s more leverage in locking a company up in on an exclusive multi-year deal. Because of this, only two publishers were realistic options: Electronic Arts and Activision. Given that neither company is particularly well regarded in gaming circles, it’s pretty much a pick-your-poison. For me, Electronic Arts has the better game developers in its portfolio so going with them is far and away the preferable option.
  • While Electronic Arts is hated by gamers (some would say irrationally hated), they’ve got fantastic game developers working under them. From the onset, they’ve announced that Bioware, DICE, and Visceral Games are going to be working on future Star Wars titles. This is good news. These are studios that have produced some fantastic products and are capable of doing great things with the Star Wars IP.
  • Yes, even Bioware is a fantastic studio. Whether or not you liked the ending to Mass Effect 3, they are a developer that has consistently put out above-average games that have featured top-notch writing efforts to create deeply immersive games.  Knights of the Old Republic 3? Maybe that’s finally back on the table now that Lucasarts isn’t pulling the strings. Maybe it means a single-player RPG experience in a completely different era. Either way, it’s exciting and turning Bioware loose on a new Star Wars title is great news.
  • For fans that have long wished for Battlefront III, this news is nothing short of a miracle. DICE is the company that produces the Battlefield titles, multiplayer online shooter titles with a remarkably similar feel to the Battlefront games. Critically lauded multiplayer online shooter titles, I might add. You might not get Battlefront III specifically, but I’d say odds are high you’re going to get a game remarkably similar to it.
  • Visceral Games is responsible for the acclaimed Dead Space games, a franchise that’s textbook core market.  They’ve shown they can do atmospheric titles that can push the action angle. Good fit for Star Wars? I think so.
  • Disney and Lucasfilm were never going to leave money from the core gaming market on the table. Claims that they would abandon more grown-up titles to only produce Facebook and iOS titles were simply overreaction to the news that LucasArts was closing down. Maybe it’s time we recognize that Disney isn’t out to make Star Wars fans miserable by cancelling everything we love and acknowledge they just might know what they’re doing?
  • LucasArts was having an increasingly difficult time producing games, so Disney handing the IP off to a company with a stable of high-quality developers was not only a smart business decision, it was a good gesture to fans. At the very least, it’s hard to get much worse than where the IP has been. It’s been a long time since the last critically acclaimed Star Wars title. Giving Electronic Arts a go might be just what the franchise needs to produce something special again.

Boil it down and I just can’t find much to be upset about. There is way more good news than there is bad news involved in this announcement. As of right now, three top-notch studios are going to get to work on the Star Wars IP and I, for one, can’t wait to see what they do with it.

Variety: Kathleen Kennedy in the running to take over Disney?

kennedylucasOver at Variety yesterday, senior writer Marc Graser took a look at Disney CEO Bob Iger’s handling of the massive layoffs that have hit the company over the last few weeks. Among the details was one particular throwaway line of note:

Many expect theme park and resorts chief Thomas Staggs to land the CEO role, although there are rumblings that Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy also may now be in the running.

Bob Iger is set to retire in about two years at what could be the peak of Disney in the 21st century. The studio is set to unveil a new Pirates of the Caribbean film, the Finding Nemo sequel, as well as two Marvel films in Ant Man and one of 2015’s most anticipated blockbusters The Avengers 2. Whoever steps in may be inheriting an extremely high bar to clear, and perhaps that’s the reason Variety is speculating that Kennedy is in the running.

Kathleen Kennedy is a highly by the film community and George Lucas in particular. That’s something that recently jaded and cynical Star Wars fans can take heart in. If Kennedy takes over at Disney, it means that Lucasfilm’s parent company would be overseen by someone the Maker sought out.

(Via Jedi News)

New Star Wars Films to Be Released Every Summer Starting in 2015

star-wars-episode-vii-logo

You get a Star Wars film! And you get a Star Wars film! And you…well, you get the point.

Today at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Disney and Lucasfilm announced that a new Star Wars film will be released each summer starting in 2015.

Episode VII will come first, followed by a standalone film in 2016. This alternating “episode-standalone” schedule will continue until, presumably, Episode IX is released (it felt really really really weird to type Episode IX as an actual thing that will happen, by the way). Bob Iger confirmed upcoming standalone films back in February, but this is the first we’ve heard of this aggressive release schedule. No note of how many standalone films will be produced, or if they will continue after the Sequel Trilogy ends.

We’re recording a new episode of Tosche Station tonight, so be sure to look out for a new episode with all of our thinky thoughts.

(via IGN and /film)

More layoffs at Lucasfilm targeting licensing and marketing

By all indications, there’s been another round of layoffs at Lucasfilm. This time it also affects the Lucasfilm Licensing division.

These layoffs are reportedly impacting individuals within licensing, marketing, and publishing. The first two make a certain amount of sense since Disney has huge licensing and marketing arms, but publishing would be a bit more out of left field as they do not have much in the way of in-house options on that front. Possibly the layoffs within that arm are confined to children and reference materials, which Disney can probably replicate. Adult fiction would be tougher.

Via Club Jade

UPDATE: Publishing not impacted

Sounds like the initial report was wrong on the publishing front. LFL’s Jen Heddle got in contact with Club Jade to clear things up:

This makes quite a bit more sense. If Disney can do anything internally, it’s licensing products and marketing everything under their umbrella. Publishing is still something that they in theory have the framework to do entirely internally, but isn’t what I would call a strong suit. For now (and I suspect for a long, long while), the setup remains the same for Star Wars literature.

More Entertainment Industry Layoffs: Disney Eliminates Studio Jobs

Not even the Mouse House is immune, unfortunately. According to Variety, Disney has begun the process of laying off at least 150 workers at Walt Disney Studios. Some of the affected employees are part of the animation division, marking yet another company that has been forced to downsize their entertainment arms.

At this point, it appears to be an industry-wide thing. The powerhouse Tippett Studios underwent layoffs a few weeks ago. Last week noted game developer and publisher Square Enix announced that they were eliminating a number of jobs from their Los Angeles studio as part of a corporate re-organization. This is just a sample of the hard times the entertainment industry has found themselves in lately.

While it’s easy for many fans to get angry with Disney for they layoffs at both Lucasfilm Animation and LucasArts, we have to understand that there simply wasn’t any malice involved with those decisions. The entertainment industry is in a state of upheaval right now and that’s forcing these studios to make some uncomfortable choices that lead to re-orgs and layoffs. Given the state of the industry right now, some of this restructuring could have happened even if George Lucas still owned the company.

Tosche Station Radio #49: Ended, The Clone Wars Have

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On this episode of Tosche Station Radio, the hosts are joined friend of the show Grace to discuss The Clone Wars and fandom!

Kicking things off, Nanci highlights what’s New on the Blog. The Waru Express visits the Hand of Thrawn, Scourge, and Survivor’s Quest. Next stop, Young Jedi Knights! The staff posted their list of the 15 Best Things in the Expanded Universe. Meanwhile, Brian offered his thoughts on the (at the time) possible end of The Clone Wars.

In Fixer’s Flash, Nanci’s kept herself busy by writing and submitting a short story. Brian attempted (but failed) to take advantage of getting a bunch of Marvel #1 issues from ComiXology. When the promotion does come back, he thinks readers should take advantage of it to pick up Hawkeye and Captain Marvel. He’s also getting set to fly across the country to Orlando. Why? Both Brian and Nanci are going to be at MegaCon on Saturday! If you’re going to be there, flag down the hosts for some nifty Tosche Station swag.

Deak’s Dirt kicks off with the Lucasfilm sale being profiled in Bloomberg Businessweek. The takeaway? George Lucas blabbed and said Lucasfilm and Hamill, Fisher, and Ford were in final talks to reprise their roles in the Sequel Trilogy. Unfortunately, Disney’s Bob Iger says nothing is confirmed but talks have taken place. Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing trailer and both of the hosts are very excited for a new take on Shakespeare. In further Episode VII news, Billy Dee Williams is rumored to have been approached to reprise his role as Lando. Finally in less-than-happy news, it was announced that there would be a new direction for Lucasfilm Animation. This means that The Clone Wars would be winding down and Detours has been indefinitely postponed. On the significantly more positive side, Lucasfilm did confirm that there will be a new animated series in a new era.

This week on Camie’s Concerns, Brian and Nanci are joined by friend of the show Grace for a discussion covering Star Wars, fandom, and most importantly this week, The Clone Wars. The crew take a look back at Season Five and the series as a whole.

Wrapping up the show, the hosts field questions in our Ask us Anything segment.

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.

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