Monthly Archives: October 2011

An Expanded Universe movie? Not sure about that…

Do you want to see a new Star Wars movie?

Suvudu released a poll on Friday asking what books fans wanted to see in theaters. The options are:

The New Jedi Order series
Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry
The X-Wing series by Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston
Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber
The Republic Commando series by Karen Traviss

I find myself torn on this issue. One part of me wants to see more Star Wars on the big screen. The other part shudders at what will be ruined and what will disappear. I know, I know. Book to movie conversations happen all the time. Some are crap; some are great. Some put the books to shame. And it’s Star Wars

I voted New Jedi Order, though I have no idea how it would fit into one movie. Shadows of the Empire has already been covered and it isn’t that great of story. The X-Wing series would be exciting and have great visuals, but where to start? Stick with the Rogue Squadron and leave it at that? What counts as a resolution? Multiple books need combined to make one satisfactory movie. As for Red Harvest, eh. It doesn’t have a large enough audience. Same with Republic Commandos. Commandos are nice sometimes, but won’t attract the general populace.

I’ve already discussed why I don’t want to see an EU cartoon series and all of those arguments fit my reservations about making an EU movie.

Something I like about Star Wars is that it is somewhat contained. Quite frankly, six movies are enough. I don’t want Star Wars to become Marvel or DC where the character stories depends on the series. The idea that in one universe Luke Skywalker married Mara Jade, in another he became a hermit and in a third he is part cyborg. That it’s all one story adds to the franchise’s appeal.

Hollywood tends to add in ridiculous love triangles, stupid events and other gunk to movies that come from books. For example, check out the trailer for The Lorax. There’s a love story. There’s no love story in The Lorax. It’s not about impressing a girl or joking around with the Lorax. It’s a good lesson in the destructive power of greed. The movie may show that, but is it going to get lost in the other muck? Based on the trailer, probably.

Not all adaptations are bad. Charlotte’s Web stayed true. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was solid. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was better onscreen than in the books. One for the Money looks like it’s going to be pretty good. It’s possible that a movie could be successful. Don’t hold your breath. The book to movie failure produces more duds than diamonds.

When it boils down whether I want an EU movie, I think the answer is no. There’s too much at stake and EU fans have lost enough as it is.

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Two months until SWTOR. What are you doing to fill the gap?

Would you look at that, we are less than two months away from the release of Star wars: The Old Republic. It’s a little hard to believe. Some SWTOR fans have entered a waiting limbo and are asking themselves these questions. Do I pick up another game to play? Do I wait? Is it worth the money to invest in another game for less than two months? Do I find something else to do?

Of course, for some future players this doesn’t matter. We aren’t playing a game right now. I find it futile to reactivate my “World of Warcraft” account for two months knowing I’ll stop playing when early access starts. If I had plans to return to WoW, then maybe, but news of the ridiculous expansion turned me off to the game. Some changes need to occur if I’m to return.

The holiday season does fill in the gap for many players. Players in the U.S. have Thanksgiving, and then there’s Christmas right after release for a good percentage of the world. With TOR coming out on Dec. 20 (unless you’re in early access), some day before Christmas shoppers may need to drag themselves out to the stores on the 19th.

What am I doing to fill in the time, you ask? Well, I intend to spend November participating in National Novel Writing Month.As for December? Who knows? Hopefully editing my story for NaNo.

Two months seems like a long time to some. Remember when you were a kid and the two months before Christmas was agonizing? That time will fly by and before you know it, you’ll be running around Coruscant chasing down a target.

If you want to follow a countdown, visit Docking Bay 94 where Joao from The Cantina Cast writes 80 blogs in 80 days to count down to TOR.

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Filed under National Novel Writing Month, Star Wars, Star Wars The Old Republic, SWTOR, SWTOR Release Date, World of Warcraft

Pandas in "World of Warcraft?" Free Diablo III? What is Blizzard doing?

Pandas. The new World of Warcraft race is a panda.

Oops, I’m sorry, Pandaren.

I thought this was a joke. When my husband sent me the text message informing me of this new race, I didn’t want to believe him. That feeling disappeared fairly quickly. After all, this is Blizzard. WoW is full of movie rip-offs and bad jokes. Harrison Jones, anyone?

The new expansion, Mists of Pandaria, will bring radical changes like other expansions. It always happens. Some of these may help keep long-time players invested in the game, like new talent trees. Others seem stupid, like the new pet fighting system a la Pokemon. Players will rant how much better Cataclysm was, even though players say it’s awful and Wrath of the Lich King was better. Before that, during the WotLK days, Burning Crusade was considered superior (have to agree there).

None of these changes, however, is as stupid as the Pandaren.

The gameplay looks like an MMO of Kung Fu Panda. You know, the kids movie starring Jack Black featuring a fat panda learning Kung Fu. Is Jack Black going to do a voiceover? It’d be appropriate.

In addition to turning WoW into a kiddie playground, Blizzard is also giving Diablo III and an in-game WoW mount to players who subscribe to WoW for one year. While some type of cross promotion between games is logical, this move reeks of desperation. Back on Aug. 4, IGN published an article stating that the number of subscribers has dropped. It’s not a huge drop, but one large enough to grab attention. While this is expected, one could reason that Blizzard suspects a large drop with the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic. It’d be a logical conclusion. Is this why they are making this offer, or is it an attempt to keep players around to the next expansion? Or is it something to do with Diablo III? Only time (or a nugget of leaked information) will tell.

With SWTOR coming out soon, I haven’t renewed my WoW account. I was thinking about maybe going back when a new expansion came out to take a break from TOR, but now I’m thinking not. I can’t take Pandas seriously. Yes, they appear in some small role in the lore, but come on. Image a Death Knight and a Panda in PVP. The only upside would be if I could wear their scalps over my Mage’s shoulder.

Seriously. I’d rather play Hello Kitty Island Adventure than Kung Fu Panda WoW.

(If you haven’t heard of the Hello Kitty Island Adventure bit, watch the Make Love, Not Warcraft episode of South Park. It’s the game Butters plays instead of WoW.)

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We’re more than ready for Zahn’s Han Solo book

As I mentioned earlier this week, Timothy Zahn will write a book featuring Han Solo. A late 2012/early 2013 release, character choice and classic-era timeframe will make for a much-desired tale.

The Fate of the Jedi series ends in the spring of 2012. In July, Aaron Allston’s Mercy Kill, featuring the Wraith Squadron, will hit shelves. Should Zahn’s Han Solo book see a late 2012 release date, then fans of the non-SWTOR novels will have quite a bit to cheer about next year.

Quite frankly, we need it. Fans who aren’t the fans of later books can enjoy a new title in the OT era. I can honestly say that I’ve never met or spoken to someone who didn’t like Han Solo. He’s a great pick for a non-Jedi lead. Given the character, this book has the potential to draw in fans from all eras of Star Wars.

The Han Solo book and Mercy Kill have the potential to be a fun, exciting trip to a galaxy far, far away. Knowing Allston and Zahn’s kills, I’m sure they will be more than worth the cost.

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Filed under Allston, Expanded Universe, FotJ, Han Solo, Star Wars, Zahn

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Taking the scenic route to 50

“How fast are you going to hit 50?”

Star Wars: The Old Republic” is almost here and many players are asking themselves this question. As with any video game, there are people who want to race to be the first to hit max level. Some people on the official forums have said that they will take time off work in order to play the game. I’m not talking about one day, more like week (talk about the potential of a fast burnout).

Racing to the top defeats the purpose of the game. With all of the cut scenes, story and dialogue menus to go through, there’s simply no way to hit 50 as fast as some players would like (even if you just randomly click on dialogue options). This game relies on its story to keep people playing. With the ability to sway your character dark or light, it gives an extra touch of personalization. It’s not like “World of Warcraft” where players don’t need to know anything about the quest aside from the actions needed to complete it. The lore appeals to some, but not all. That could be one reason why the game attracts to so many people. You don’t have to know anything about the lore to play.

Of course, the same could be said for TOR. Anyone can play that game without understanding knowing the details of the Jedi and Sith. The difference here is that TOR will tell you through voiceovers.

By pulling people into the story, TOR has a greater chance of engrossing players for the long run. The ability to somewhat mold the characters to your liking enhances overall play.

Many want to spend a good chunk of time jumping into the universe. While this is fine, cramming into too much time can cause a burnout. Imagine spending 12 or more hours each day playing the same game. For most of us, we’re going to get sick of sitting there. By Day 3, logging in seems like a chore. Why burn yourself out so fast? Take it slow. Spend a day getting into it and then play when you want.

MMO burnout happens all the time. It’s inevitable. Once that monthly fee goes through, it feels like you have to log on. Take a day off when logging on becomes a chore. If you pay monthly, the $14.99 averages out to about 49 cents a day. Compared to other forms of entertainment, that’s low. Not logging on for a day isn’t going to “set you back.”

Pushing through to 50 will cost players a rich experience. This is our chance to fulfill that childhood dream to be a Star Wars character; don’t waste it.

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Is Jaina Solo Luke Skywalker’s eventual replacement?

Is Jaina Solo Luke Skywalker’s eventual replacement?

“Perhaps that feared Luke Skywalker just that much. And that was a mistake. Luke Skywalker was not the Sword of the Jedi. Jaina was, and now the Sith had trapped themselves inside a locked temple with her” – Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse

Upon reading the quote from Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse, I found myself wondering why is it that Jaina is used at the end of a series to clean up messes. Yes, we’ve only seen this once before, but when an event happens twice within a short period, one starts to wonder.

Luke maintained a prominent role in every book of the Fate of the Jedi series. Odds are that most of the pages are dedicated to his particular plotline. (No, I’m not going to count, it’s just a hunch). Jaina has not. In each book, Luke deals with whatever mini plot is occurring on the planet he and Ben visit, faces Abeloth, fails at defeat and flies away. This formula would have worked more effectively had the Jacen plotline not been tossed aside and it hadn’t turned into a game of chase, but what’s done is done.

Now the Lost Tribe of the Sith and Abeloth somehow managed to worm their way onto Coruscant to cause problems. Based on the quote, it seems that Jaina will deal with the Sith in the Jedi Temple, as Luke cannot. Luke could not deal with Jacen, either. It was Jaina who ended that mess.

Jaina’s role as “Sword of the Jedi” crops up when it’s convenient. While it shouldn’t control every aspect of her life, only using it when Sith needed a swift kick in the butt alters the title. It makes Jaina sounds like a tool for the Jedi, or authors, to use. When she’s not needed, she fades into the background. Jaina doesn’t need that title to do what is right. Prophecies and titles are fine and dandy, but it’s the character’s choices that define them, not a string of words.

How does all of this make me wonder if Jaina is Luke’s replacement? Let’s look at their roles. Luke in the Legacy of the Force and Fate of the Jedi series played an important role, but could not take down the final opponent. Assuming Jaina takes down the Sith, something she’s proven she can do, she is once again solving a problem her uncle could not. If she takes down Abeloth that will further seal the deal. Given the quote, it’s a reasonable prediction.

By having Luke deal with the Sith and Abeloth throughout the series, he still plays an important role. He then steps aside to allow Jaina to defeat the Sith. He’s stepping aside for the new hero. If Apocalypse plays out this way, then it will be the second time Luke turns to his niece. He is no longer the “go-to Jedi” for grave threats. Luke’s role is more of a mentor and guide.

Passing the torch is a necessary step in a multigenerational story. Luke cannot be the hero forever. He has to move on. It’s inevitable. In a way, it feels like the authors are weaning readers off Luke’s role as the ultimate hero of the Star Wars universe.

And that’s okay. Part of what makes Star Wars such a lasting fandom is that the story is constantly progressing. The Star Wars universe is large enough to allow one Jedi to fit the mold of the mentor and teacher and another the fighter.

If these predictions are true and Jaina is the one to save the day, then why isn’t she on the front cover, you ask. My guess is marketing. The casual reader is going to recognize Luke (or Han, Leia and Lando) more than other characters. Del Rey already used EU characters on the fronts of Conviction (Tahiri) and Ascension (Ben and Vestara). Throwing a member of The Big Three on the cover of at least one of the last three books could be a way to try to increase sales.

Jaina fits the role as the “next Luke Skywalker” well. She’s not the same person, appeals to many fans and has enough experience to fit the job. While I don’t see her as the leader of the Jedi in the sense that Luke was, she would be a viable, believable hero- whether she works for the Empire or the Galactic Alliance.

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A Han Solo book and Jaina/Jag on Apocalypse?!

Yesterday’s DelRey panel at New York Comic Con brought two pieces of fantastic news.
1. Timothy Zahn is writing a Han Solo book.
2. Jaina Solo and Jagged Fel are on the back cover of Apocalypse and
“Perhaps that feared Luke Skywalker just that much. And that was a mistake. Luke Skywalker was not the Sword of the Jedi. Jaina was, and now the Sith had trapped themselves inside a locked temple with her” – Apocalypse

The classic era Han Solo book goes along great with Allston’s Mercy Kill cast, but more on that later this week.

The Back Cover
As a long time (well, since Jag’s appearance in Dark Tide II: Ruin), I’ve been a fan of that pairing. Jaina’s appeared on very few covers overall and Jag on none of the U.S. versions. As the “Sword of the Jedi,” logic argues that Jaina should appear more often. Logic, however, isn’t the winner in this case.

Unfortunately, their presence on the back cover doesn’t mean that they will have a large role in the book. Look at Tenel Ka. She was on the back of Conviction and hardly appeared in the book. Same with Boba Fett on the back of Ascension. The above quote indicates that Jaina will have a role, but Jag is unknown.

The back cover looks pretty good based on photos taken by those in attendance. Hopefully DelRey will show the completed image soon.

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Filed under Expanded Universe, Han Solo, Jagged Fel, Jaina Solo, Star Wars