Archive for the ‘Books About SW’ Category

Fates Of Characters & “Canon”: A Really Short Commentary

February 28, 2017

The most recent novel in Del Rey’s post-2014 continuity reveals the fate of a particular prequel character. You can go look it up if you want. I haven’t read the book and don’t intend to. In any case, I suppose it is funny that it’s “canon” this particular character survived as long as he did, past the OT era, though I’ve noticed some complaints as to where this character ended up. All my humble opinion is that if it’s in a book, it just doesn’t matter. For now the movies can’t contradict this storyline but you have to remember, a company owns Star Wars now and what’s canon today outside of Lucas’s six movies may not be “canon” tomorrow. Since 1977, Lucasfilm has deep-sixed at least two tracks of outside-the-movies canon. The whole Marvel run from 1977 to 1986 was declared apocrypha. “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” is apocrypha. The Brian Daley Han Solo books are apocrypha. So are the L. Neil What’s His Name Lando Calrissian books. I don’t even think “The Star Wars Holiday Special” was ever “canon.” Those crazy kids’ books with Trioculus, Han’s floating house and the Space Pirate Boogie, Mount Yoda, and Ken The Fresh Jedi Prince of Bel Air? Not canon either, even if they started after the second wave of “canon” that arrived with “Heir To The Empire” and “Dark Empire.” Dark Horse’s stuff superceded Marvel’s stuff, while Marvel has chosen to reboot the entire comic world timeline when it got the ball back in 2015. Bantam’s stuff overrode the paperbacks of the ‘70s and ‘80s. The second wave was based on West End Games’s roleplaying game, which isn’t canon anymore either. The prequels actually made a lot of the stuff produced post 1990 inaccurate or obsolete. Various episodes of the Clone Wars freely contradicted various books and comics, much to EU fans’ annoyance. Then it was reboot time again in 2014.

All it takes is another company purchase, corporate merger, or changing of the guards within the company to open the possibility again of “rebooting” the books and comics. Someone decides the way things are going are not to that person’s liking and poof, everything changes. If book sales were to slump, the suits are going to demand changes to bring sales back up again. It’s just how it is.

So when you read these things, read them for your own enjoyment and don’t get too invested in them.

Book Report: “Ahsoka”

November 7, 2016

“Ahsoka” by E.K. Johnson

In many ways, Ahsoka Tano is the Harley Quinn of Star Wars. Sure, she’s nothing like the psychotic villainess who’s in love with the even more psychotic Joker but the trajectory of their characters are very similar. Both weren’t part of the original “mythology” but were created for an animated television series where each took a life of her own and quickly built up a devoted fan base. Ahsoka is as much a part of Star Wars now as Quinn is part of Batman and the DC universe, though if “Ahsoka”’s book sales, popular appearances on “Rebels,” toy sales, etc. are anything to rely upon, it won’t take 24 years for the spunky Togruta to make the leap to live action as it did for Harley Quinn.

Publishing this novel was a smart move for the Lucas Books department then, knowing Ahsoka’s vast popularity. I figure a lot of people will love this book because they love Ahsoka and Johnson does a decent enough job characterizing her. A lot of people will love this book because there are prequel references aplenty as well as references to “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels,” as you might imagine. There are times when Johnson knows how to produce the feels. However as a novel, it’s good but doesn’t quite reach “great.”

Spoilers ahoy!

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Popular Character From Canceled Show Inspires #1 NYT Bestseller

November 3, 2016

E.K. Johnson’s “Ahsoka” has scored its third week at the top of the New York Times’ YA hardcover list.  Of all of the new canon books, I think this the only one that has reached the top of any NYT list much less one that has had a 3-week staying power at the top.

Time and again cold hard facts have proven fans still love The Clone Wars and if this doesn’t make Disney sit up and take notice, nothing will.  The book is also heavy on prequel-era references and the suits should take notice of that too.

I’ve got about 80 pages to go and as soon as I’m done I will post a review.

Book Author (Mostly) Defends PT

June 7, 2016

Cass Sunstein, the former head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs wrote a book called “The World According To Star Wars.”  I have to admit I only knew of Sunstein as one of President Obama’s policy wonks and I was really surprised he decided to delve into pop culture, especially since in this interview with The AV Club (groan) he admits he wasn’t into it all of that much when he started out writing it.

The even more surprising part of it is how Sunstein mostly sticks up for the prequels:

VC: That folds into your larger defense of the prequels, a cause that you’re passionate about in the book. You argue the commonplace view, of “original trilogy = good, prequels = bad,” is oversimplified. It’s almost part of what you’re talking about—this idea that we want to streamline narratives to retrofit the conclusions we come to.

CS: Yeah. I think it’s not politically correct to like the prequels. If you say you like the prequels in polite company, you kind of mark yourself as not quite right. There are a couple reasons I want to say some nice things about the prequels. One is that they are visually spectacular. The start of Attack Of The Clones is really tremendous. Many of the scenes in Attack Of The Clones are tremendous. I think that’s the most underrated of the seven. Revenge Of The Sith, that’s a good movie. Scenes in which Anakin turns to the dark side are both really good in themselves, and they eerily mirror what happened to Luke. That’s very cleverly done. I think there’s a lot to be said in favor of them.

And okay, they don’t have the kind of joyful giddiness of the original three. That’s fair. I think I want to say it a little bit with respect to George Lucas: Give the guy a break. You know? He took real risks in the prequels. He thought really hard. They’re very ambitious movies. If you watch the first one, The Phantom Menace, a little bit with the feel of being a kid, I can’t say it’s a great movie, but it has greatness in it. Again, Lucas did some amazing things visually.

Second Site Calls For More Padmé Fiction

May 5, 2016

This time, it’s Catrina Dennis on Blastr:

From dedicated comic book runs to feature-length novels, characters throughout the Star Wars universe are seeing their stories expand in countless ways. But, despite being thrown to the wayside and sometimes discarded as weak, Padme possesses a history as a defiant freedom fighter who was wise beyond her years. So, why should her story be limited to being told in scattered episodes of The Clone Wars, or through the eyes of other characters, such as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi? Much as she was in the journal that started it all for me, Padme deserves to be given her own voice to tell her story, expand upon the intrigue of her political career, and detail the relationships of the characters who stood alongside her throughout her life.

Yeah!

“Propaganda” Book Coming In October

March 14, 2016

Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo has a propaganda art book coming out in October, featuring stuff from all eras of the saga.

Jedi-Bibliothek has more info and images.

Fun Stuff To Buy

February 20, 2016

Need to show your allegiance to the Separatists or the Republic?  Check out these vinyl decals you can buy on eBay:

Separatists

Republic

Today the delivery guy brought the Star Wars English-Japanese Dictionary For Jedi Masters ordered from JBox.com in Japan.  Unless you can read Japanese, you won’t learn a thing but it has scores of amazingly cute illustrations from the prequels (along with regular photo stills) as the films are used to teach English.  While you’re at it, the Dictionary for Padawan Learners has similar cartoons and lessons from the OT.

Nickel Review: Art of Coloring Star Wars: 100 Images To Inspire Creativity and Relaxation

December 22, 2015

I ordered a copy of this new Star Wars “adult” coloring book, which is some kind of new trend. The book is actually a hardcover, not the soft heavy paper covers you normally find with kiddie coloring books.

As the title says there’s at least 100 line art images of characters and symbols from Eps I-VI. Some are kind of simple, others are really elaborate and getting some of those colored with regular ol’ Crayolas or markers would be kind of challenging. A lot of the pieces are unique, while others are older line art mixed in with new elements. Art nouveau and mandalas seem to be the most common styles.

A lot of the art is beautiful. An enterprising and skilled fan could photocopy one of the images, color it, and scan it to use on “personal” items like t-shirts or mugs or whatever. I think there’s a fair representation of the prequels in the book. After all, it’s probably the only place you can find an art nouveau rendition of Sebulba or Jar Jar.

Art supply stores like Michaels or Aaron Brothers might have it in stock. Otherwise you can order it from Amazon, Walmart, and other fine retailers.

In Other News From NYCC

October 10, 2015

Disney Press plans on unleashing a YA novel called “Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku,” which I think is about one of the minor characters in TFA.

Greg Rucka, who is writing Marvel’s Shattered Empire series, had some stuff to say during a panel that we’ll all find refreshing:

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Wow!

Review: “Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge”

October 5, 2015

Ian Doescher wraps up the SW prequel trilogy with his Shakespearean take on ROTS. The really interesting thing about this adaptation is that since ROTS is so dead-on as classic tragedy, this book almost completely plays it straight. There’s not a lot of inside joking around aside from the two Jedi characters who provided commentary in all of the prequel adaptations; in this case they’re wondering why their handbooks go from Order 65 to Order 67 and if it’s anything they should be concerned about.

Where some of ROTS’s most compelling, innovative, and fascinating moments are at least in part visual, Doescher had to improvise how to present them in literary form meant for a stage. You get some interesting results like Palpatine staging a fake play for Anakin’s benefit that dramatizes the legend of Darth Plagueis. The “ruminations” scene is replaced with long soliloquys. The silent coda at the end of the film is changed to Yoda delivering a speech at Padmé’s funeral. Other scenes that relied on intercutting are divided so that one whole scene plays out before it goes to the other scene. For example, Yoda and Sidious battle before Anakin and Obi-Wan do. Padmé dies first, then Vader’s transformation occurs.

Other than that you really do get the feeling this isn’t so much a Shakespeare spoof on Star Wars as it is Shakespeare’s ROTS screenplay circa 1599. The inside baseball stuff is almost exclusively for English/Shakespeare geeks who can recognize the way Doescher is playing around with verse depending on the characters and situations, which he helpfully explains to some degree at the end.

For me one of the highlights is how he handles Anakin and Padmé, not only in this book but in the previous ones. Instead of taking the cheap way out of making fun of them and their romance, Doescher takes them seriously and it probably helps they fit that Shakespeare template to a tee. The charged dialogue in “Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge” as they reunite for the first time captures the tension between them on film.

The only real criticism I have of “Tragedy” is how Doescher’s reimagining of Jar Jar as a highly intelligent being with his own agenda had no payoff. Granted Jar Jar did not have much of a presence in ROTS but in this adaptation, Jar Jar’s not there at all. So what happened? It’s almost as though Doescher forgot to tie up his own arcs.

Now that I’ve read all of these, I’ll probably have a break for a while and at some time in the future read the adaptations done for Eps IV-VI. I’m sure there will be a TFA one done sometime in