Posts Tagged star-wars

The Star Wars #1 Review

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The Star Wars #1

Written by J.W. Rinzler

Art by Mike Mayhew

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

To quote the other guys “Its life Jim, but not as we know it,” based on George Lucas’ original draft of Star Wars, this series contains a lot of familiar names and locations but all played out very differently to its eventual cinematic incarnation. It’s an issue that demands repeat readings as it is next to impossible to read first time on its own without comparing it to the finished film. Once the novelty of recognizing characters and spaceships wears off, only one question remains – As a standalone comic is it any good? The answer, surprisingly, is yes. The tone has changed enough to differentiate it from Lucas’ space opera. The action is entertaining and characters, both new and old, have no trouble holding the reader’s attention.

The story opens with a Jedi, Kane Starkiller, hiding on a remote planet with his two sons, Annikin and Deak. A ship arrives containing a Sith Lord, that looks like a cross between Darth Vader and Bebop from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and attacks the two children killing Deak. Kane arrives, and in a beautiful panel, slices the attacker in half. Mike Mayhew’s art throughout the issue is a delight. It looks very cinematic and adds heft and scale that is required with an event book. He has managed to adapt Ralph McQuarrie’s conceptual art while adding his own touches without ever feeling like he is rethreading existing works.

The next arc of the book suffers from some of the same problems that affected the later trilogy, it gets bogged down with a lot of political to-ing and fro-ing. It is not quite Trade Federation blocking Naboo levels of boring but it isn’t far off. There is nice exchange between Kane and a man who looks like a ringer for George Lucas himself, called Luke Skywalker no less, when he is asked to continue Anakin’s Jedi training. Against the backdrop of this is an as-of-yet unnamed Emperor’s political plans to stop the Rebellion, before sending in the Empire’s troops to eradicate the Jedi once and for all.

There are a couple of nice cameos and nods to the original, Antilles gets a small scene, Princess Leia is introduced briefly as she leaves for university, General Vader is revealed and bears more than a passing resemblance to the crazy ghost chaser from “The Frighteners.” If there is one area where I felt let down it was with Vader who I thought deserved a far more memorable introduction then simply arguing with his underlings.

Overall the issue was a positive if flawed one. There are a number of potentially interesting threads and it is a nice sideways version of the movie. Hopefully the exposition heavy middle segment will not reoccur in future issues, the nice final line of the book seems to confirm that. The artwork is the real stand out, Mike Mayhew’s work is gorgeous. His designs of both ships and characters elevate the book above its sometimes clunky dialogue, as Harrison Ford famously said “you can type this $hit, but you can’t say it,” turns out even when typed it is still as clunky. Names like Darklighter, Starkiller, and Whitsun seem like they came from a small child’s playtime. There are a number of wonderful panels including a standout moment when Kane reviles the full extent the battle against the Sith has taken on his body. There is more than enough here to keep me interested in future issues and now that the mental hurdle of comparisons to the original has been overcome I can’t wait to see if the book can stand on its own two feet.

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To No One’s Surprise, John Williams Will Score ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

As expected, John Williams will be returning to a galaxy far, far away.

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy confirmed on Saturday that the beloved composer will score Star Wars: Episode VII. The announcement was made at a Star Wars fan event in Germany.

According to Williams, who has scored all six existing Star Wars films and has five Academy Awards to his name, fans can expect more of the same sounds in the new J.J. Abrams directed film.

“Of course I haven’t seen the script, the story is still unknown to me,” Williams says in a video attached to the official announcement. “But I can’t imagine there will not be some references to the existing stories that we know that would necessitate and make appropriate the use of some of the earlier themes.”

This information is really music to Star Wars fans’ ears, after a week that included this casting rumor.

Star Wars: Episode VII is slated for a 2015 release.

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7 Star Wars Characters Who Might Get A Spin-Off Movie

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Shortly after the surprise announcement that the world would finally get to witness Star Wars: Episodes VII to IX, it was also quickly announced that lucky fans would be treated to a bunch of spin-off films between each new episodic film, too.

It is believed that each one of the spin-off films would focus on already established characters introduced to us from the first six episodes. However, it has not been confirmed at this time who those characters might be and speculation is currently at a fever pitch. 2014 started off with a bang in its first week as the web has been abuzz with the belief that one of these movies will focus on Boba Fett, with plans already in the works via writer/director Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi).

The truth is that no one really knows what the plans are at this point, other than those behind the veil at the Walt Disney Company and LucasFilm. Many past Star Wars actors such as Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Ian McDiarmid, Ewan McGregor, Samuel L. Jackson and Ray Park have all expressed interest in reprising their original roles, however, which makes things interesting.

Right now, the only thing that we can do is calm our minds and let the Force guide us whilst we ponder what might be in store…

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10 Movie Bars You Should Probably Avoid On A Pub Crawl

TheWorldsEnd

This past week saw the release The World’s End, Edgar Wright’s final entry in the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy in which five old but estranged friends reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from two decades earlier but unwittingly become mankind’s only hope for survival against a heinous robot invasion.

Starring the likes of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman and Paddy Considine the film marks the long awaited return of the Pegg/Frost/Wright combo that brought us such fantastic televisual and cinematic moments as Spaced and Shaun of the Dead and its pub crawl theme got us to thinking about quite possibly the worst pub crawl you could ever go on. We’re talking 10 of the very worst examples of drinking establishments Hollywood (or Hollyweird) has to offer, starting at the least worst (which is still bloody horrible) and finishing up at the public house equivalent of Hades.

We’ve been to a few crappy locals in our time to know what we’re talking about and believe us the places on this list are more wretched, more disgusting and even more dangerous to your health than the Queen Vic at Christmas – and that’s saying something. So join us weary traveller as we take you on the What Culture Pub Crawl From Hell!

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Xbox: A Hidden Treasure Chest Of Star Wars Games

star wars games

This article is focused around the mountain of Star Wars games available on the original Xbox. That will attempt to explain why the Xbox was, and still is, the best console for the gaming Star Wars fan. There are countless Star Wars games out there; and every major gaming console has tried their hand at producing a successful line of games within this franchise. Star Wars, in a lot of ways, is almost a licence to print money. The PC has been, and will always more than likely be, the best format for all of your Star Wars gaming needs. Check out the impact of Star Wars Galaxies and Dark Forces to testify to that.

Sadly, most console ports of PC games are terrible, and most console specify games are even worse. Google Playstation’s Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi and you’ll see what I mean. Two consoles have deified this trend in the past. They are the Gamecube and the original X-Box. While I loved the Gamecube, I must quickly shoot it down now for no other reason than the limited number of great Star Wars titles it produced. It did give us Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II in 2001, and that easily tops most peoples’ list of the best Star Wars games with the its incredible level environments and attention to detail. And all the Rogue Squadron titles are still a treat to play. Although they are nothing compared to the sheer amount of quality games that the X-Box gifted us. Their importance to the Star Wars canon is still felt today. The Gamecube produced fun games, but not game-changers like the original Xox.

The Xbox presented us with both the realm of the Old Republic and the era of Kyle Katarn’s struggle against the New Empire. Two huge periods of time within the Expanded Universe that were opened up and explored by the games of this console. The Dark Forces games on the PC are some of the best, well thought-out and bloody hard games that the Star Wars brand can offer. The Xbox ports of the latter games are a nice addition to this lovely series of games.

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Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is the ultimate Star Wars game. You run around the galaxy fighting the new Empire and you can actually cut limbs off with your lightsaber. The force powers are tasteful and makes you feel like a Jedi. There are no superfluous additions to this game. There is no point where you feel jaded or bored, like most after a play through of Force Unleashed II. Jedi Outcast has an engaging plot and the action-packed gameplay is still outstanding 11 years later. The control of the force must be stressed again, you really feel like you have full control of the Force. While in The Force Unleashed series you have too much power, and feel more like a Roman god than a warrior monk. Then add to that poor camera issues. It is simple, less is more. Jedi Knight II didn’t have any of these issues, it is the best action-based Star Wars game ever made. STILL! It is on the original Xbox, and if you’re a fan, you must own this game! The sequel Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is set again in the sprawling worlds of the Expanded Universe where players can walk the path of the Jedi and learn the ways of the force or choose to play as mercenaries and use more conventional weapons such as blasters. Fans of I, Jedi can gleefully experience many elements of that book in this game.

The next major contribution of the Xbox to SWEU lore was The Old Republic. For those, like me, who grew up with consoles over a quality PC, The Old Republic was for birthed on the Xboxx with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic in 2003. KOTOR is a masterpiece. Everything about this game is perfect, the characters, the dialogue interaction, the game’s design and gameplay are all stellar. KOTOR game set the standard for every Star Wars game since, and it was the reason I bought an X-Box. Its impact is still felt today with ever-growing library of Old Republic novels and the free-to-play Old Republic RGPMMO.

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Both Jedi Knight and KOTOR have achieved so much as gaming series’ on this home console. It is hard to explain in one article. The current landscape of the SWEU was shaped, and perhaps to upcoming films will be in some way be influenced by the legacy of this console.

That was not all, in addition to the heavy SWEU hitters. The X-Box also had two games that engage with the film source material in a different yet, equally important manner. Star Wars: Republic Commando is a FPS squad-based combat game where you play as a highly trained clone trooper and assist in multiple small operations missions such as sabotage and ambush attacks based during the Clone Wars. This is an interesting interpretation of the Clone War Conflicts, that are hinted and shown a little in the prequels. The look of this game is taken from a gritty and “realistic” take on the world shown in Attack of the Clones. Yes. This would be technically dipping into the SWEU, but the look and feel of the game give this one a pass. The influence of this game can be seen in the Clone Wars TV show, and continued in the Republic Commando novels by Karen Traviss.

The next film based game is Star Wars: Battlefront II. If you haven’t played this game, stop reading and go buy this game. While not a movie tie-in. This game lets you play in the world of the movies; it puts you in the action. This is the Star Wars Universe told from battle-to- battle, and not just focused on the hero’s journey. You really feel that every man matters. This sequel to Star Wars: Battlefront added playable heroes such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, Boba Fett and a huge number of vehicles and maps. It still has a crazy amount of replayability. I have been playing this game since 2005, and it hasn’t aged a day.

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To be fair there were a bunch of bad games released on this console with the Star Wars name tagged to it: Jedi Starfighter, Clone Wars, Obi-Wan, and of course the movie tie-in games. However the positives of the big four KOTOR, Jedi Knight II, Battlefront II and the epic Republic Commando make this the best console for Star Wars fans. It is waiting to be rediscovered. There is no console that pleases a hardcore Star Wars fan as much as the original X-Box. Hence why I have plugged mine back in.

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Star Wars Episode 7: Mark Hamill Confirms Comeback Talks

Mark Hamill

Mark Hamill has discussed with Entertainment Tonight about what’s currently happening with the Star Wars Episode 7 talk of old characters returning to the Saga.

Hamill confirmed:

“They’re talking to us,” he reveals. “George [Lucas] wanted to know whether we’d be interested. He did say that if we didn’t want to do it, they wouldn’t cast another actor in our parts – they would write us out. … I can tell you right away that we haven’t signed any contracts. We’re in the stage where they want us to go in and meet with Michael Arndt, who is the writer, and Kathleen Kennedy, who is going to run Lucasfilm. Both have had meetings set that were postponed — on their end, not mine. They’re more busy than I am.”

Hamill, now 61 seems keen to have the whole gang back together:

“I said to George that I wanted to go back to the way it was, in the sense that ours was much more carefree and lighthearted and humorous – in my opinion, anyway. And another thing I’d want to make sure of is are we going to have the whole gang back? Is Carrie and Harrison and Billy Dee and Tony Daniels, everybody that’s around from the original [returning]? I want to make sure that everybody’s on board here, rather than just one. I guess I’ll have to tune into your show to figure out who’s on board.”

He also chimes in about the Spin Off movies coming up:

“That’s really smart. Then you’re more like James Bond pictures, where they come out and it’s not an investment of a three-movie arc. … It’s so rich, that [Star Wars] universe, in terms of quirkiness and oddball [nature]. We would talk about that [on the original film’s set]. We’d go like, ‘That little band that’s playing in the Cantina, what’s their story?! I mean, are they a traveling band? Are they the house band? Who’s their manager?’ They didn’t have names when we first were talking about them. Now they’re called, like, Sy Snootles – they come up with names down the road when they have to name toys.”

There’s plenty more chatter from Hamill over at the Entertainment Tonight site but so far it looks as if everything is still very much “in discussion” when it comes to Star Wars Episode 7. I for one will get twenty more types of giddy if Hamill returns to the role of Luke Skywalker because seeing what happened next for Luke Skywalker has always been the biggest draw to potential Star Wars sequels for me and frankly if Hamill’s in, I’m in too!

We’ll keep you posted on any more Episode 7 news and be sure to check out our current Star Wars articles and join in the discussions
on Whatculture! May the force be with you.

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Star Wars Episode 7: 10 Things To Avoid

With the shock news yesterday that not only has Disney purchased LucasFilm for a whopping $4.05 billion, but that they are planning to move forward with Star Wars Episode VII, the Internet geek collective exploded with theories about who would be directing it, and what it might actually mean for the franchise as a whole. Being skeptics of Star Wars ever since George Lucas unleashed onto us his (mostly) abominable “new trilogy” of prequels, we can’t help but be equally skeptical now that another new film – and potentially another trilogy – is heading our way.

That said, without Lucas directing or even producing the project, it’s possible that it can be a hit, if his successor is sure to avoid these pitfalls, which range from mistakes that Lucas is frequently criticised for already, to errors in judgement that plague sequels on the whole.

10. Telling The Same Story

There was the definite feeling at the end of Return of the Jedi that the story was neatly tied up, and there was nothing left to tell; Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie and Lando had kicked the Imperial’s collective ass, Vader was dead, the Death Star was space dust, and the Ewoks even got to have a little dance. One sure problem is that in every piece of canonical sequel fiction ever written, that was far from the end, and the war continued to rage, with various Imperial administrators fighting for control, sparking a civil war that itself could probably take up a trilogy of films, while they also tried to contend with the rebels.

The issue with saying “oh, you thought the war was over? Guess again!”, is that it would forever devalue Episode VI’s ending because, to be completely frank, people pay a lot more attention to a new movie than they do a spin-off novel, which most would assume is just non-canonical fan-fiction anyway. The best thing they can do with this new Episode is to divorce it as far as possible from Luke’s legacy; perhaps make him a mythic figure of the past, and move on with a different, maybe more intimate but nevertheless epic story. Given the expansive nature of this Universe, and how successfully it has been re-interpreted in video games for one, it shouldn’t be too difficult, especially if people more talented than Lucas are brought on board.

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