Friday, November 14, 2014

An Interview with James Luceno

I interviewed James Luceno about "Tarkin" on Den of Geek. The full interview can be found here. Like the post says, we talked about Palpatine's first name, how to write the Sith, and the origins of Tarkin's story.

The two most interesting parts of this for me were Luceno's stance on female characters and the way Tarkin quietly establishes that the new canon looks a lot like the old.

Like John Jackson Miller in "A New Dawn," Luceno said he made "deliberate choices" in terms of scattering female characters throughout Tarkin's Imperial crew.

In reference to the new canon, Luceno said "I do think that the so-called new canon will share much with the old" and that there was no reason to re-invent a planet like Murkhana if one that fit the bill already existed. We've seen the canonization of caf and other small details, and now of some major events in the lives of Darth Vader and Tarkin. I'm curious to see whether more events will be pulled into the new canon. I would be happy if the two looked very similar. Other authors may not be as proactive as Luceno was, or as organized, but I can see any Star Wars author wanting to re-use events that don't contradict anything in canon. Luceno's response makes me think that maybe some of my favorite things in Legends might still be canon - they just haven't been re-canonized yet.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

"The Force Awakens," The Fan Film

There were a few moments, immediately after announced that "The Force Awakens" had completed principal photography, when the internet hadn't caught on. Minutes later, the title of Episode VII was all over the news. Before that, though, the title would have elicited different results.

One was a forum post on, where user "Queen Gimmedala" guessed the title in 2012.

Another was a fan video, filmed in Vancouver in 2005. A brief trailer and 50-minute film were created by videographer Dan Lalonde and his friends.


I talked to Lalonde this week about the title and his homebrewed movie, in which a wealthy man from modern day Vancouver discovers that he has Jedi powers.

"All I remember about the title is it just came to me," Lalonde said. "When I got it I kept it. There was no big searching for the name....I imagine the title means [in Episode VII] what mine means. The Force hasn't been used in a long time and it erupts or awakens."

Lalonde found out through Facebook that his movie shared a name with next December's official Star Wars sequel. "I found out today on my Facebook news feed and its kinda surreal and awesome knowing until its released I will see that name everywhere."

"I'm surprised that they used the title," he said, because a quick online search would have brought up Lalonde's film.

Titles of works cannot be copywritten in the United States, but Lucasfilm has a history of supporting and acknowledging fan film with events like the Star Wars Fan Film Awards.

"People are saying I should get money from this," Lalonde said. Instead, he sees the movie as a demo reel for his dream job. "But the most I want is to talk to J.J. Abrams, visit Skywalker Ranch and get a job with the man himself."

For now, Lalonde is hoping his video will go viral. On YouTube, he said he takes a less serious look at its measure of success: "Thanks to everyone who commented. The crazier they are the more hilarious it is to read...If you guys can share this on your wall or the article on Yahoo and help it go more viral to make it even more ridiculous." 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Whirlwind Week

Obviously, the big news today is the title announcement. Half a day later I'm still pleased, and still in the dark - the name is mysterious and powerful in a way that hearkens back to "A New Hope" or 'The Phantom Menace," with a little more momentum than both of them. It's a look forward - and it tells us nothing about the plot.

This week also saw the release of the Rebels episode Breaking Ranks to the general public. It ties in with the junior novel "Servants of the Empire: Edge of the Galaxy" by Jason Fry, and I'm already curious about the new characters. Zare was a good choice for a character to expand upon in the new continuity.

Speaking of, the novel Tarkin was also released this week. James Luceno is a master of fitting together the jigsaw puzzle that is continuity, and EU fans might find that Tarkin has some interesting statements to make. My review is out at Den of Geek. For more on Tarkin, watch this space.

Episode VII Title Revealed just dropped the title of Episode VII in a seemingly innocuous post. Read below: