Friday, April 18, 2014

Past and Future

Most of my posts have been on Den of Geek this month. The New Jedi Order re-read is continuing with "Hero's Trial," and some more interesting posts will be coming up later in May, including interviews and maybe a guest post about cosplay.

I continued to dive into what it means for Amy Hennig to head up a Star Wars video game, and interviewed some fan creators who couldn't wait for a new Star Wars game, so created their own.

One of my earlier posts for Den of Geek launched this month with the best fight scenes in The Clone Wars. The action scenes are always some of my favorite parts of the show.

Returning to gaming, I suggested five things that could make Visceral's game great. I am of two minds about speculation in general; it can be interesting and fun to imagine an idealized, personalized form of whatever is coming next for the franchise, but right now Episode VII is in a bit of a holding pattern, with very little information to work from. We'll see whether the game even ties into the movie.

There was also a preview for a Han Solo comic called "Rebel Heist" from Dark Horse.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Lost Missions: The Disappeared Review

My last two reviews of The Clone Wars were posted at Den of Geek this week. For the first time, after reviewing these episodes, it really hit me that my run with The Clone Wars was done. I did not so much mourn as reflect. My answer to people in the real world asking whether I like The Clone Wars is almost always "It's complicated."

My reviews of the Yoda arc can be found here.

"The Disappeared Pt. 1"

Mace Windu's deadpan acceptance of a mission with Jar Jar is funny, but my tolerance for female characters being kidnapped was wearing thin in this episode.

"The Disappeared Pt. 2"

I didn't expect a Jar Jar-focused episode to redeem itself so well, with beautiful scenery and a lot more ladies.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Amy Hennig to Helm Star Wars Game

Amy Hennig, former Writer and Creative Director of the "Uncharted" franchise, has joined Visceral Games as Creative Director of their upcoming Star Wars project.

Hennig worked on the "Jak and Daxter" franchise before becoming the game director for "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune" and from then on helming the Uncharted series. She left developer Naughty Dog in 2014, and EA vice president Steve Papoutsis announced on April 3, 2014 that she would be joining Visceral Games on a Star Wars project about which no further details have been revealed.

"Amy and I have spent a lot of time talking about what her first project would be," Papoutsis said in a press release from EA.  "There are a lot of different directions we could have gone, but I could sense that what really excited her about this opportunity (because let’s face it, we weren’t the only ones knocking at her door) was Star Wars.  Amy’s a huge fan. We happen to be making a Star Wars game. Just thinking about the possibilities made both of us even more excited about having her join the team."

Personally, I'm thrilled to see an accomplished woman join the video game side of Star Wars, along with Kathleen Kennedy as president of Lucasfilm.  

In an article with the LA Times from 2010, Hennig talked about never having encountered any sexism in the work force, but sometimes having to tell modelers to dial back the breast size on female characters.

She also talked about 1977 as a critical year for entertainment: "Our brains were never the same after that."

Today on Twitter, Hennig said, "It's a privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to the Star Wars universe, after it's had such a formative influence on my life." 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Guest Post: A Look Back at Dark Tide

Author and Star Wars Insider contributor Tricia Barr joined me on my New Jedi Order retrospective to talk about Dark Tide, NJO fandom, and the importance of Jaina Solo.
Shea Standefer as Jaina Solo
When Megan asked me to take a look back at the Dark Tide duology, I did what I often do when preparing a blog post: I pondered my memories, returned to the source itself, checked back on what I had written previously and what others had, too. With the sweeping scope of the nineteen-book story, and some of the monumental events that occur in the subsequent novels in the series, it can be easy to forget just how much of the groundwork for those memorable later moments was established in Dark Tide.

With his novels placed immediately following the high-stake opener Vector Prime – a moon dropping on the family dog, I mean, Chewbacca – Michael Stackpole was handed a tough assignment. Over the preceding years, Stackpole and his friends Aaron Allston and Timothy Zahn had talked often while writing for Star Wars. In a way, they had served as a kind of unofficial story group who weaved in lore across their respective books featuring some of their favorite characters – who were also fan-favorites – including Wedge Antilles, Mara Jade, and Soontir Fel. Stackpole continued this trend in Dark Tide, giving key roles to Jedi Masters Corran Horn and Mara Jade Skywalker, the X-wing unit Rogue Squadron and its leader Gavin Darklighter, and returning at least some presence from the Fels and the Empire of the Hand back to the Known Regions to join the defense against the Yuuzhan Vong invasion. Unfortunately Stackpole’s contributions as a Star Wars author ended after the New Jedi Order – he’s specifically stated he would return to Star Wars if asked – which makes the loss of Aaron Allston all the more painful to me personally as a fan. Stackpole and Allston really kept the opera in “space opera,” and they did it by attacking stories from a personal level, by creating relatable characters, putting them in fantastical situations, and never forgetting what makes Star Wars special.