Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Spark of Rebellion

As of Friday, Star Wars: Rebels is available to view for subscribers to the Disney XD app. My review is here at Den of Geek:
The beginning of Star Wars: Rebels evokes the same joyous, meaningful sense of adventure as A New Hope. Disney brings Star Wars into the new era with the experienced writing trio of Dave Filoni (The Clone Wars), Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, Young Justice) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past), who have put together a fun story about a likable cast.

The show jokes about and references the Original Trilogy with energy and reverence, and explores what it means to live as a citizen of the Empire. Imperials don’t have to be blowing up planets - or stealing fruit from doe-eyed merchants - in order to show that the Empire’s oppression is manipulative and economically draining. A run-down “Tarkintown,” reminiscent of “Hoovervilles,” is a great, realistic setting...

I'll be covering Rebels for Den of Geek throughout the season, and I'm excited and honored to be looking at the show through a critical lens for them. I tend to follow the ages-old internet adage of 'don't read the comments,' but some of the fan reaction to recent Rebels articles, including this New York Times feature, got me thinking about the divide between Rebels and The Clone Wars. I don't think that fans should look at Rebels as something that killed The Clone Wars. It's more than possible to be a fan of both, as well as to admit that both shows had both value and flaws.

On that note, Disney/Lucasfilm generously released four unfinished The Clone Wars episodes and a slew of behind the scenes video. Check those out here. I'll have what I think might be less of a review and more of a commentary about those next week. I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't chance that these came out the same week as Rebels. Maybe Lucasfilm wants fans to know that the start of Rebels isn't some symbolic end for The Clone Wars.

And lastly, I also wrote about 9 characters who donned Mandalorian armor for Den of Geek.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rebels Post-Show

This week I was invited to the Rebels press screening in New York, for which I'd like to thank both Johnamarie Macias and Tracy Canobbio. There will be more on that later, but this week's ForceCast has spoiler-free post-show impressions from myself, Johnamarie, and Eric Geller.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A New Dawn Review

Readers took their first step into a larger world with the new EU in "A New Dawn," the Rebels tie-in novel that tells the first meeting of Hera Syndulla and Kanan Jarrus. In all the excitement I forgot to link the first book review I've ever done for Den of Geek.
Star Wars: A New Dawn is quite similar to Kenobi, John Jackson Miller’s award-winning previous Star Wars novel. Like Kenobi, it is an adventurous, detailed look into the galaxy far, far away. The book takes place primarily in one location (here, one sector) and devotes as much time to original characters as to the previously established ones. For those who want to read about how the heroes of the upcoming Star Wars: Rebels TV show started fighting the Empire, though, it’s not wholly satisfying, and some elegant observations rub shoulders with occasionally choppy prose.
Find my complete A New Dawn review here. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Rebirth: The Calm Before The Storm

The New Jedi Order was my first passion in Star Wars literature. Soon after seeing the movies for the first time, I got caught up in this ongoing story about Jedi fighting aliens. About ten years later I’m re-reading the series with a fresh perspective.

What to say about Rebirth? It is a curious mix of hugely significant events (Ben Skywalker's birth, Anakin and Tahiri's first kiss) and others that seem to exist in a vacuum (Kyp's plot, the Givin.) 

One thing I found interesting about Ben's birth was that Mara calls herself selfish for wanting to fight her disease alone. This is a nice follow-up to her earlier insistence on going it alone, and I definitely wasn't paying that much attention to her character development the last time I read these. On the other hand, seeing Ben and Tahiri in the same book for the first time makes their later interactions in the EU extremely awkward.

Rebirth doesn't have much in common with Conquest, and again one of the major surprises for me on the second go-around was how quickly the Yavin IV plot was over. By now in Rebirth, the Jedi have established a new home base in the Maw (another way the Kevin J. Anderson books continue to influence the EU.)

Nen Yim has her own plotline in Rebirth, and its creepiness really made me understand her frustration and drive.Omini comes into his own as a thoroughly hateable villain-behind-the-villain, in this case a lecherous Master Shaper. 

While I'm not the Jaina expert, it seems like this is the book that kicked off the discussions about Jaina's romantic relationships - would she end up with Kyp Durron or Jag Fel? I found Kyp to be unremarkable even when attempting to be charismatic.

Rebirth was slow going for me, especially since it starts out with Luke and Mara walking on a beach. I tend to side with Skywalkers, but I can understand where their critics are coming from when they ask why the leaders of the Jedi are vacationing during a war. Over all, the book was simply unremarkable, and hard to pin down because of it.  I suppose this was the calm before the storm that is Star By Star.