Archive for June, 2018

Video: Why Hayden Played Anakin Perfectly

June 29, 2018

From Star Wars Theory:

“Thrawn: Alliances” Preview

June 25, 2018

star wars.com has preview of the upcoming Timothy Zahn novel “Thrawn:  Alliances,” his second Thrawn novel for Del Rey.  In this one, everyone’s favorite art-loving Chiss teams up with Darth Vader, a relationship that goes back to the days of the Clone Wars.

The SDCC exclusive version of the book features the cool studly Thrawn with the cool studly Anakin Skywalker art on the cover.

Natalie Portman Returns To Star Wars Roots At The Mouse House

June 25, 2018

Natalie paid a little visit to Disneyland and here she is watching her “grandson” in action:

What a proud nana!
 
And here she is posing with a First Order stormtrooper. Somebody tell her they’re not Republic clone troopers ;).

Attention Shoppers! PT/CW Stuff On The Way

June 22, 2018

Earlier this week, Funko announced a series of Clone Wars Pops coming in August:  Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Ahsoka (along with a Hot Topic exclusive version).  There will be a shared SDCC/Hot Topic exclusive Cad Bane coming next month.

And that’s not all for Clone Wars news.  Ashley Eckstein hinted a couple of days ago that there will be a Clone Wars clothing line for both men and women coming soon!

Meanwhile, Sideshow announced its SDCC exclusives, including a Hot Toys Dark Side ROTS Anakin Skywalker 1/6 scale figure.  Yours for $265, it’s available for pre-order for attendees and whatever’s left will be on sale through the website after the con.

 

Creators’ Rule Of Engagement

June 18, 2018

As threatened, I’m writing a manifesto for how creators and fans should engage.  I’m starting with creators first for a few reasons.  Reason one…I found out that a Star Wars author whom I have never directly engaged with or even tagged while discussing him blocked me on Twitter.  The only reason I could think of it happening is that I had criticized his posts and the author must have taken the time and trouble to search his name to see who was talking smack about him.  Who does this?  Doesn’t he have deadlines or something to meet?

Reason two is that creators have a platform that the rest of us do not have.  They have instant name recognition or at least greater recognition than us regular Joes and Janes.  They have thousands if not hundreds of thousands if not millions of followers.  They have the power, directly or indirectly, to unleash those followers to pig pile on an individual while having the sympathy of other fans, the studio/publisher/production company, and the media.

Reason three is that creators are, like it or not, ambassadors for the brand.  I’ve written about this numerous times.  They represent Official Star Wars and this means they have a responsibility to do a good job representing that brand.

First off, Lucasfilm needs a new Fan Relations person.  No one has been in that position since Steve Sansweet retired some years back.   Ideally, it would be someone who Loves Star Wars and is really excited by it AND at the same time is diplomatic, incredibly patient, and has a sunny personality.  That person would be a go-to for fans and that person can provide Lucasfilm with feedback or at least some on-the-ground-intel, and show creators new to the fandom how to interact with us.  I would nominate Ashley Eckstein because she is all of those things and she is widely respected and admired by the fan base.  But she’s a busy gal as it is with Her Universe and other ventures, so that’s probably not going to happen.   Maybe Vanessa Marshall would be a good candidate.  Maybe Sam Witwer.  A creator like Dave Filoni has too much on his plate.  In fact, it definitely should not be a creator.  No writers, no Marvel people, no story groupers, no directors, and no producers.  The idea is to get Lucasfilm out of the siege mentality instead of reinforcing it.  Sansweet was a BNF, the world’s best known Star Wars collector, but I’m not so certain about today’s crop of fans who, shall I say, have a bigger platform.  This is largely due to my not being terribly impressed with their ability to bridge gaps among the fans.  Too many spend too much of their time fighting other fans, posting partisan political rants, and kicking up controversy.  An ideal Fan Relations person publicly stays above the fray.  The only caveat I have about a new Fan Relations person is that we’ve reached the point where if the person selected doesn’t check off the right amount of boxes, then some elements of fandom has a collective meltdown.

Creators should:

 

Treat respectful fans respectfully.  They don’t have to like your work or agree with you, but as long as they’re polite about it, they aren’t owed caplocked curse-outs in return.  Or to be treated rudely in person.  All you can do with genuine trolls, if you’re not handy with mic dropping comebacks, is to ignore them and/or block them.  Mass blocking however, is a TERRIBLE idea.  Only deal with the person annoying you.

Not encourage their fans directly or indirectly to attack individuals on social media.  You have a larger platform than that person does and encouraging thousands of strangers to harass or humiliate or doxx someone for merely being obnoxious or having a different opinion is petty.  It’s like shooting a fly with a nuclear missile.  All you’re doing is throwing around your power.

 Understand that if you take public stands on political or social issues or on fandom controversies, not everyone is going to like what you have to say.  Often the harsher the rhetoric, the harsher the response will be.  That’s the risk of mouthing off on social media.

Understand not all fans are like yourself or geek culture types.  This is especially true of extremely popular shows, movies, books, etc..  Things with broader appeal will have a broader audience.

Never assume anything about a stranger online, good or bad.  It’s grossly unfair to generalize about fans based on their opinions and attitudes.  Without evidence to the contrary, never assume a critic is coming from a place of some kind of –ism.

Realize everyone you interact with is a potential customer/fan/reader/moviegoer.  You don’t owe them the world because they’re fans but those folks don’t owe you their time and treasure either.  There are plenty of other things to geek out over in 2018  besides your stuff.

Never reduce yourself to using racist, sexist, or other kinds of demeaning language against a fan.  That damages you as a person and it damages the brand overall.

 Try to stay out of fandom controversies.  This may be very difficult in today’s environment, since agreeing to appear on a podcast others don’t like could in turn drag you into something you had nothing to do with in the first place.  Stay above frays as much as possible.

Be skeptical of claims some other fan is “problematic” unless and until you are willing to fully investigate these claims yourself.  Don’t take a social media mob’s word for it.

Take the time to get to know the fan base.  Ask fans questions on social media.  Listen in on a few podcasts.  Read some blogs.

Not trash or demean other aspects of the Star Wars saga or segments of the fan base.

Respect George Lucas, even if you never worked with him or on anything he directly created.

Remember, as long as you are producing Star Wars material, you are an ambassador for the brand.

Hot Toys Dooku and Yoda

June 15, 2018

Hot Toys, in its quest to deprive us of money, just posted preview pics of its upcoming Count Dooku and Yoda 1/6 scale figures.  Check ’em out here and here.

Sideshow has them up for pre-order.  Dooku is going for $243, Yoda is going for $189.

 

Natalie Portman Wants To Meet Her “Son”

June 15, 2018

It all started when Mark Hamill retweeted on June 9 Star Wars.com’s birthday wish to Natalie Portman along with the notation “True fact:  I have never met this woman.”

When Portman appeared on The Stephen Colbert Show, the host brought it up and her response was she would love to meet him.  The video’s up here.  Both joked that Hamill forgot to wish her a happy birthday, to which Hamill replied:

Somebody’s gotta make this happen! Let’s have the mother and child reunion!
 

The WTF Week That Was In Fandom & What’s Going On: A Nuanced Commentary

June 9, 2018

The same week tickets are selling out fast for Celebration in Chicago, Star Wars fandom’s dumpster fire turned into the Towering Inferno.  It started with a brawl over one of Rebel Force Radio’s hosts criticizing author Chuck Wendig’s tweets about “sh*tty Star Wars fans” and their behavior.  Then it went nuclear after actress Kelly Marie Tran (who played Rose in TLJ) abruptly deleted her Instagram posts after months of getting served haterade by various trolls.  (Tran hasn’t issued a public statement but some comments by those who know her seem to indicate that it was at least in part because of the negativity.)  In the wake of that incident, some very good things and some very bad things have happened.

The good news is that at least some people and the media are starting to realize there’s something rotten in the state of fandom and it has been for a long time.  It’s not hard to figure out the same kind of entitled harassment that plagued Jake Lloyd, Ahmed Best, Hayden Christensen, George Lucas, Katie Lucas, and even to a lesser degree Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman was at play against Tran.  The difference is that today there’s the social media getaway car and the trolls are now comfortable using sexist and racist jibes against their targets.  (Don’t tell me no because I saw with my own two eyes just last week on Twitter someone refer to her as a “fat Asian bitch.”)  I also think that we’re finally having this come to Yoda moment because the target was a minority and a woman.  It’s just too bad the media, which had its own hand in trashing prequel actors in the past, and fandom didn’t have that kind of compassion for a 10-year-old boy who’s now out of the public eye and living with schizophrenia.

The bad news is that I’ve seen a lot of commentary that lacks self-awareness and reflect a lot of the underlying attitudes of why things like this happen in the first place.  Sure you can agree that harassing an actor is wrong but that should be the point of your think piece, not to reiterate for the umpteenth time how much you hated her character or what you thought went wrong in TLJ.  Other think pieces, either by fans or by pros in the media, seem to go the Chuck Wendig route and blame all white men, the “alt-right,” and anyone else who’s not on their team politically.  This is unhelpful and will push fans further apart.  People aren’t mean by dint of their sex or skin color or their politics and by the way, how does anyone know who these trolls are?  It also ignores the bullying I’ve seen perpetrated against fans of a certain popular ship by females as well as fanboys, many of which are self-styled “woke” types.  Third, a lot of fans don’t seem terribly inclined to change their own behavior.  You can’t in one breath complain they don’t treat what you love about Star Wars with respect and then in the next, treat what someone loves about Star Wars with disrespect.

You see, I believe the root of the ugliness among fans lie in the following:

A.  A lack of empathy and understanding for fellow fans’ passions and interests.

B.  Anger over the lack of control over story direction.

C.  Bitterness over not getting their way.

Fans have to understand that they don’t have to love everything and they don’t have to agree with everything.  There are tons of ways to express yourself.  But they should also realize that after a while, bitterness and anger are boring, depressing, and useless.  You don’t win anything.  And it doesn’t help what you love about Star Wars when the news is bad.  There’s something deranged about cheering on bad news.  I hated that burn-down-the-village attitude prequel haters had in the past and I hate it now.  I’ve been to Resentmentville and really it’s not much fun.  I’m happy now to be over that.  If Star Wars doesn’t make you happy anymore, find something else that does.  Take a break from it.  And stop trying to wreck things for other fans who are enjoying themselves now.  Stop using fake moral superiority to put down someone else.

Lucasfilm can’t listen to everybody.  They make a decision and they have to commit to it.  Nobody is going to personally apologize because you didn’t like a particular movie, show, or character.  No matter how many people you drive off from running Lucasfilm, Jesus isn’t going to show up and run it exactly the way you want it.  I’m not saying Lucasfilm is above criticism.  Far from that…I’m getting to the content creator side in a second.  What I am saying is going on YouTube and calling Kathleen Kennedy a see-you-next-Tuesday and forming stupid boycotts makes you unreasonable and not at all worth listening to.  You don’t owe them your undying alliegance but they don’t owe you validation for your personal views either.

Now on the other side of that coin, I’m worried that not only fans are going to walk away with the wrong lessons about this and therefore come up with the wrong solutions, content creators/Lucasfilm will as well.  I’d actually concurred with some of Wendig’s points in his Twitter rant.  Fans shouldn’t be jerks to authors or film directors on social media.  Death threats are out-of-line.  I don’t have a problem when Rian Johnson for example takes an obtuse troll to town.  There are people who are sincere in their engagements and people who are just being a-holes.  I’ve had to deal with that myself and really, you don’t owe them anything.

However, Wendig went too far and started bringing in partisan politics.  Content creators shouldn’t be assuming their critics’ politics, their sex, or their intentions.  I love TLJ now but I don’t think it was fair for JJ Abrams to say those who didn’t like the film just have a problem with women.  Sure, some MRA types didn’t like the movie for that reason and a stupid “woman-free” cut of TLJ got undue attention from the media (So was Kylo Ren just talking to himself the whole time?  Are we to think Finn and Poe were the only people in the Resistance?  Luke was having an acid trip on Ahch-To?).  But I also know people who had other non-misogynstic reasons for disliking the film.  I worry that what we’re seeing is the beginning of a siege mentality at Lucasfilm, the kind that has recently plagued the comics industry.  Like I said, I was blocked by a former editor at Marvel because I followed somebody she didn’t like.  This is not a healthy way to have a relationship with the fan base.  Moreover, Lucasfilm has to be wary of letting Star Wars become a culture war football.  There’s pressure on the left now for Lucasfilm to “double-down” and win against those evil white men ruining everything while the alt-right and even mainstream conservatives are using the evil white men stuff to show their readers, “Look, they hate you.”  Nobody wins in this scenario; culture war footballs end up getting destroyed.

I’m going to come up with a fan and creator behavior manifesto.  Not that I expect anyone to pay attention to it, but I think it would help.

Big News From EA

June 9, 2018

EA dropped news today that should make gaming prequel fans pretty happy.

First was the announcement of Clone Wars content coming to Battlefront II.  This fall you  can relive the Battle of Geonosis and play as Obi-Wan Kenobi, General Grievous, Count Dooku, and Anakin Skywalker.

(Psst, we need Padmé!  We need Ahsoka!)

Read more here.

Second was the announcement of a new game called Star Wars Jedi:  Fallen Order with Respawn.  Set between ROTS and ANH, a padawan survivor of Order 66 has to well, keep surviving.  Look for this game to drop “Holiday 2019,” just in time for Episode IX’s release.

SyFy Wire On Prequel References In “Solo”

June 3, 2018

H/T Naboo News;

SyFy Wire posted “Five Times Solo:  A Star Wars Story Makes The Prequels Matter,” which covers some of the prequel references the film carries.  Spoilers in the link, of course.

(As of tomorrow, spoilers are fair game on SWPAS.)