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6/19/22

Big Rya Kirsch News! (6/19/22)

I said I'd come back when Obi-Wan Kenobi was done, but it'll be a month since I last updated, so why not? There's big news!

But before I get to that, the Obi-Wan deal. I have not watched it (most likely will when its done, heck I'm busy! I just watched Streets of Laredo and it's four hours!), but the results seem to be mixed. I know "Part VI" is all that's left, but it looks like most people wanted better out of it. I secretly hoped the Grand Inquisitor was gonna stay dead (can't avoid spoilers nowadays), so we could embrace looser continuity and bring back Darth Maul in the New Republic era! The reason I even considered there being retcons was because of this picture was leaked in April or so:

Weird huh? Some guy claimed it was from his fan film called Rendezvous. Okay than, but it looked convincing and random to me. Dead Mandos? But that sure doesn't look like Rosario Dawson.  Hmmm...

But to the real news, Project Rya Kirsch has reached Phase III. The first two phases (so far) has been thus: 

Phase I was "the search", when I scoured TheForce.Net, Kuat Engineer, and Phispace for fan films. It lead to much hilarity (the discovery of the Bad Fan Films!), and lasted from late 2019 to early 2021.

Phase II was when I started the project on this site in January 2021 (page now lost). Now the world knows about it. This lasted from early 2021 to now, mid 2022. 

But now is Phase III. In Phase III, I have finalized the films forever. There is no changing it now:

  • Duality
  • Contract of Evil
  • Chronicles: Seeds of Darkness
  • Revelations
  • Knightquest
  • Rogue
  • Broken Allegiance

And so now, Project Rya Kirsch has a name:

Masterworks is a fanseries of weekly episodes to be released in Fall and Winter 2024. For now, that is a goal. More details will be in the new Rya Kirsch tab, called Masterworks, coming soon (the old one will be archived; don't worry). I'm planning it to be similar to a Disney+ series, coming out around Christmas on Fridays, except livestreamed on YouTube at 9:00 PM. Pretty cool logo, huh? I chose Shadows of the Empire font, because that was used a lot in the 2000s era in fan creations, when it was still a big deal. 

I'm sure you've all noticed the Lost-and-Found Holobank. This tab is for the old Legends material that has either disappeared or is hard to find or in danger of disappearing. There will be plenty of cool stuff, and the coolest coming soon (I hope) will be the script for something that was once legendary in the fanbase...

Because of the long time I have to spend doing these tabs, I will probably not post for a while. Plus that, I've got a cartoon art blog now. There will be stuff in July, since this is a monthly site, but for now I've got to bang away at these hard projects, so forgive me for less essays and more quiet time on here. 

Well that's it for the moment. Keep checkin' back on the tabs! 

6/13/22

Review: THE NEW ESSENTIAL CHRONOLOGY



My first review!

In the Golden Age of Star Wars fandom reference books used to have actual new information n each book. New lore, like new characters and ships and events. This book did just that. The new lore was characters such as Contispex I and groups such as the Pius Dea. You'll never see this nowadays. But onto the review.

The book does its real job well, which is to tell SW completely as one story. It merges events together fantastically (such as Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, "Darth Maul: Saboteur" and the Darth Maul comic series). Even if there is a more-superior and updated Wookieepedia, the Chronology is still worth having because of its beautiful artwork, for its retcons you won't find elsewhere, and for being a source for Wookieepedia, so ha!

The Chronology, however, has one big problem: uneven focus. There are many things to book gives minute detail about, but others either are given a tiny paragraph, a tiny part in a paragraph, or nothing at all. For example, the Clone Wars (conflict) chapter has meticulous dating for the events, some of it by-month, and the Yuuzhan Vong War gets emphasis on a somewhat-similar basis. 

This book does what virtually all Legends reference books do, and not include the Jedi Prince series except in a passing little paragraph. I've never read it to comment on its supposed "badness", but from all the things I've read about it these events should have had big repercussions on the Galaxy. But because fans hate it so much it's just ignored. 

But at the same time, the bulk of the book is the post-Return of the Jedi era, especially the Bantam stuff. And while I love those stories, many of them are not stories that would make Galactic History, especially not The New Rebellion, The Crystal Star, the Black Fleet Crisis and the Corellian Trilogy. But somehow these stories take up a ton of space. The explanation is simple: this book is a Saga update for 2000's The Essential Chronology, which was published when there were only four films and a growing EU, so a big chunk of Bantam was understandable. But when you update the book, tone it down!

Having all of Bantam kept in means cutdowns, and by far the oddest is how all of those stories from between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back are missing...not even summarized, except a mention of Crimson Jack, almost a throwaway. Obviously, most of these stories aren't that important to the story of the Galaxy, but I fail to see how Splinter of the Mind's Eye, a novel written to be a sequel to A New Hope that fits in with nothing and is virtually, almost unretconnable, is necessary for the book, garnering its own painting. 

Funny story: on Wookieepedia someone with an apparent bias against the Expanded Universe wrote on the book's page that it was "full of contradictions", which is of course false. I deleted these comments, and as of June 13th, 2022 they have stayed off. 

At the end, a good book, which would be a great one with better control. 

GRADE: B

6/08/22

Boba Fett in SOLO

This is a real quick story. Did anybody notice Boba Fett in Solo: A Star Wars Story? Probably not. That's today's subject. It's also an experiment to see how an article will look without all those dramatic subheadings. You know: "backstory", "afterward", the works.

I did not notice this the first two times I'd seen the movie up to the point of early 2019 when I saw an article about it online, and was stunned. I got out my trusty DVD and lo and behold, there was Boba!

To find him, he occupies completely the scene when L3 yells at that guy in the droid pitfighting ring, you know, played by Clint Howard, that kid in The Andy Griffith Show with the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich that wasn't Opie, but now is an old man with crazy hair subjugating droids? That guy? 

Here he is (not Clint):




And then his clearest view:


That is unmistakably Boba Fett. But the important part here is what this actually means. Recently Jon Kasdan (Solo's cowriter) said that they wanted Boba as a part of the movie but was were told, in his words, he was "off-limits", somewhere "in development". Then why is he here? It's indicative that Fett was being teased here for the eagle-eyed. Alsop, this development was James Mangold's Boba Fett spinoff film that never happened, which I wrote about here

But now about Fett's appearance. I noticed firstoff that the Holographic Targeting Display ids missing, so that's interesting...but also could point to it not being him. But it looks like him, so uh, hmmmm. And also, those yellow lines on his head are present on the more-familiar Boba appearance, but scratched off:


Now for the loere standpoint. In Legends (which is still Canon, because it was Canon), already before this time he'd married and separated Sintas (I never liked this personally), captured the Fromm Family, and killed all those new clones during the Kamino Uprising. What he did in exactly 10 BBY (when Solo is set) is unknown. But by here his career was already soaring. 

That's all for now! Hope you learned something new!

6/04/22

Why RETURN OF THE JEDI is Slightly Overrated


Well, not slightly. Is.

Similar to my The Clone Wars dissertation, I will be discussing how I believe Return of the Jedi to be slightly overrated in today's SW fanbase. As always, this is just an opinion and I'm not going to say you're stupid for disagreeing...and I'm sure many will. But it's always best to have an open mind and listen to what others have to say, so please do this for me. 


BACKGROUND

Before Albin Johnson, there was this guy.

Return of the Jedi used to be one of my favorite SW movies. In fact, it was one of the ones I watched the most. I had had it as a kid as my dad's old VHS (for some reason I never owned it on DVD until 2020 when I bought the 2004 Star Wars Trilogy DVD, which is what I currently watch it on. The reason for never having it may have been because of favoritism from my upbringing for the "original" versions, if such a thing exists). At one point, I think it was my favorite. After watching it on TNT one Christmas Break I went on an anti-Prequel bender until I saw The Phantom Menace for the first time since I was eight (I told this story here). When I saw ROTJ again in 2020 with that DVD I thought, Man, that wasn't as good as I remember it. That opinion has stayed with me since. 

I'm sure you're now saying "There's old opinionated Buddy, trying to cause controversy", but it wasn't just me that thought this. Back in the Nineties people regarded it as the worst of the bunch; essentially The Phantom Menace and The Last Jedi before there ever was such things. Fans usually point to the Ewoks as the only problem, but there are way more than just that. The film critics weren't super nice about ROTJ at that time. Yes of course these are the same types of people who said The Last Jedi was great, but this time this belief was echoed by most fans too. For example, in the 1998 book The Complete Star Wars Compendium, there are many comments by the author about how disappointing it is. here's an appendix called "Fifty Reason [Return of the] Jedi Sucks" by Mark A. Altman of Scifi Universe, but unlike me this thing is way too overanalytical and overcritical, as film reviewers are (or should be). This book is also a source for some of the Behind-the-Scenes stories I'll tell here. 

A funny tidbit about ROTJ's former unpopularity is that a few from the cast echoed this, despite that they'll deny it now. Mark Hamill said he was disappointed with the film, compared to The Empire Strikes Back, lamenting that they just made a "kids' movie" (which isn't that what SW is supposed to be?!). Harrison Ford particularly hated it. He felt "awkward" around Ewoks, and was not happy about not dying, saying about how "George didn't think there was any future in dead Han toys". Lawrence Kasdan, the cowriter, said that he was disappointed about there being no deaths in it, as seen in Empire of Dreams. I don't agree. Han already had his big sacrifice by being frozen. A real death would have been redundant, and also any death from one of the Star Warriors would've ruined the point of Lucas' happy ending. Sadly, The Force Awakens would do just that. 

I think the reason ROTJ is so highly regarded now is that the hatred of the Prequels was so irrationally high that fans tricked themselves into somehow believing that the OT was completely infallible, including ROTJ, hence the term "Originals". The actually-rational hatred for the horrible Sequels helped further this. 

Before I get to the film, I'd like to explain why I don't like it. I think Lucas, as much as I love him, was alittle blinded with merchandising. He saw how much money he could make off Kenner toys and-boy this'd be awesome-a plush line! I think this line of thought is way more here than in the PT, where the only toy concept was Jar Jar. Additionally the PT is great because of the overlying arc Lucas built, which is the Rise of the Empire/Fall of the Republic one. This was so well-crafted and written out that you forgive some corny lines and some wooden acting (cough*Natalie*cough). Return of the Jedi doesn't have much complexity to redeem it. I recently watched all six in order to celebrate a bright future for SW, and the film holds up a bit better when put next to ther other five as one big story, but by itself its simply terrible. I repeat it, terrible. Here's why:


THE WHOLE MOVIE, BY ME

Instead of doing a reason-by-reason analysis, I'll just go over the movie and say what things I don't like about it. 


Okay, so the first thing wrong with the movie is the Jabba the Hutt sequences. There's nothing wrong with Jabba the Hutt of course, but the whole first thirty minutes of the movie with him and his palace just aren't great. It's too slow, personally, and has some of the most ridiculous moments in the whole franchise. For example, upon seeing Han's frozen body, C-3PO blurts: "Look, Artoo! Captain Solo, and he's still frozen in carbonite!" This is one of the worst show-don't-tell lines in all of ever. Another show-don't-tell in in the next ten minutes: seeing a certain Wookiee, Threepio shouts, "Oh! Chewbacca!" (This would rub off greatly in Rebels, where every episode begins with something like, "Well, after we help those Tarkintown refugees with those rations we stole from that Gozanti freighter...") One of the silliest parts of those thirty minutes is when Jabba is impressed by Leia/Boushh when she pulls out her thermal detonator. "My kind of scum!" Movie cliche number two! And oh yeah, do I need to Boba Fett's humiliating death temporary stasis?


So after all this Luke flies to Dagobah. The Dagobah part is good, Yoda's death being sad and all...until Obi-Wan shows up. That whole "From a certain point of view" business is my least favorite moment of the Original Six. What should have happened was that Obi-Wan tells Luke he lied to protect him from the horrible truth about his father. But for some reason they have him lie about it instead. "Uh, well, he's dead, like, on the inside. So I didn't lie...sorta." It makes Obi look selfish, foolish, and insecure, and this is worse when he's supposed to be an enlightened blue ghost! 

There's no point in going on too long about this, since it has become established lore,but I believe that Luke and Leia as siblings was just a horrible horrible decision. There is proof that Lucas had a twins concept for The Star Wars, but it was obviously scrapped, like every other weird idea he had in there. If he had really planned them to be related the whole time, it would've been said in A New Hope. Since Lucas had only thought he was making one movie, he had put alot of his other ideas into that one story. For example, the Death Star was planned for the "final act" of his planned six (yes six, not nine), but than was moved to the "only film...as it was intended to be (which thankfully didn't happen). But anyway, Leia was intended to be the damsel-in-distress, or the "sleeping beauty" motif for ANH. Lucas is all about motifs and mythological themes; this was one of them. I think after the crazy fan reaction to the "I am your father" revelation in The Empire Strikes Back Lucas tried to do it again...but in a clumsy way. 


I'd like to mention something that goes nowhere, because it inhabits every scene: Han Solo. He is probably my favorite SW character, but it was never because of this movie. For whatever reason, Han is written really poorly in ROTJ. He's turned into comic relief, becoming a bumbling buffoon, always smirking. This comes out through his dialogue the most, carrying the film's worst lines on his back ("I'm fine, pal, I'm fine"; "That bad, huh?"; "Oh. Great"; "Hey! Point that thing someplace else!"; "Just what I always wanted!"; and "Hurry it up will you, I ain't got all day" come to mind, but there are many others). He is also kind of pointless in the movie, just along for the ride. He's not intolerable to watch, but it's about as much Han Solo as Malakili is. Some fans have said that this was a part of his character evolution. I see their logic, but he shouldn't have evolved into clownery. That's devolution


Thus enter Ewoks. It was destined we get to this problem. For some reason, fans no longer talk about these characters negatively, when t one point in the universe it was the most hated thing in SW, behind Jar Jar (except I think Ewoks are actually worthy of backlash). It was now in the current "infallibility" era when people pretend they don't exist, because they're never praised. I find Ewoks more aggravating than Gungans because the latter are not blatant marketing concepts. It is very obvious that Ewoks were supposed to resemble teddy bears to sell teddy bears. And notice the ridiculous amount of Ewok merchandise after ROTJ: two TV movies, one cartoon, and a freaking ice show, for gosh's sake! And it's not because they were popular! And also remember they were supposed to be Wookiees; there was some reason this was changed. I do like the spinoff Ewok material though, so I'm not going to complain about those. 


My final issue with ROTJ is the Second Death Star. The Death Star was an essential part of ANH that made it special. TESB survived without some sort of planet-destroying device. The reasons for another Death Star are two: it was the original ending of the planned "third act" and ROTJ needed to end big, so why not another one of those things? This of course gave birth to the J.J. Abrams way of "pull out the planet killer", which is a quick way to escape a lack of imagination, or reveal it blatantly. 

Finally, the weirdest plothole ever: why does the Emperor have a big chasm leading to the core of the battlestation? Has anybody tripped and fell into it. At least this thing had railing.


AFTERWARD

And that about ends it for criticism. The rest of the movie I enjoy. I of course love the aforementioned sail barge scene, the speeder bike chase, and everything with the Emperor. But this should not distract from the movie's flaws. 

What do you think? Do you think these are minor problems? Are the Prequels worse? Comment below!

5/30/22

STAR WARS Celebration 2022 News Recap!


HOLY CRAP! That was the greatest STAR WARS celebration in history! Better than even the 1999 one, and I thought the 2019 one was pretty cool. But Lucasfilm must go to jail for causing a million fanboy head explosions, including mine! I normally don't do news, but this has been so much awesome I've just gotta recap it all! 

  • Andor will stream August 31st, 2022, with a "two-episode" premiere. There was a trailer. I liked this trailer alot. It didn't look much like a SW project, but it captured my attention, and I've watched it a million times since than. The clones and the Galactic Senate rotunda on Coruscant were cool, cuz the more Prequels, the better! It also looks like adults' SW (AKA more serious), which might be interesting.


  • The Mandalorian Season Three will come on in February 2023. I was surprised it was so long from now! I think that maybe its because we're gonna be overwhelmed by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor, and The Bad Batch (and some more...) for 2022. In a teaser we saw Babu Frik from The Rise of Skywalker. I was disturbed to see this. We should not have any Sequel connections, let alone in an excellent series like this one. More news on Mando, there will be a Season Four, and Favreau says a MCU-style crossover is likely, which is cool.
  • A new live-action series called Skeleton Crew is set for 2023, produced by Dave Filoni, Jon Favreau, Christopher Ford and Jon Watts (from the MCU Spider-Man Trilogy; another one gone from the fallen giant!), and stars Jude Law. It is apparently a kids' show set during The Mandalorian era (I guess it's another spinoff) . I was alittle disappointed by this news. A kids' show? SW is of course for families (and always should be), but a show made up of preteens on a ship? Gross! Maybe it'll be cool, but I doubt it.
  • Kathleen Kennedy says they're "further moving beyond the Sequels", which sounds like to me meaning that this era of SW storytelling is over, proving that God is merciful. People think she means that there'll be stuff post-TROS, but I took this as meaning that they're in a new era of storytelling out of that. Take the fact that all of their new projects has nothing to do with it! Of course, Sequel Shills on Reddit and elsewhere are celebrating Babu Frik in Mando, just because they despise "the Fandom Menace" for hating something that's bad. God forbid!
  • The High Republic Phase Two has three new novels, coming in Spring 2023: Cataclysm, Quest for Planet X, and Path of Vengeance. This new phase is called Quest of the Jedi, which was the first SW fan film back in 1990, but is now pretty quaint nowadays.
  • Taika Waititi's SW film is the next one, set for late 2023. We still don't know what it's about. I talked about it alittle here. I'm a bit cautious. Though Thor: Ragnarok is a hilarious movie, I don't want that approach to SW. If we're gonna have a sitcom, give us Detours back!
  • Another children's series, an animated one for littler ones called Young Jedi Adventures, is due Spring 2023. Set during The High Republic era, I can't imagine much coming out of this one. I do like the current little kids' series Galactic Pals though. 
  • The hit video game Jedi: Fallen Order gets a sequel though a new game called Jedi: Survivor. I have never played JFO, but will someday and wouldn't mind it at all, if it's as good as they say. But was that Shara Brie/Lumiya in a bacta tank?
  • Tales of the Jedi comes late this year as a CGI anthology set before and during the Prequel era. All we know about it is a baby Ahsoka and a cool-looking young Dooku. There was a trailer, and it had a definite The Clone Wars feel, which was awesome. Highlights include Dooku being a Dark Jedi and Yaddle fighting him. In all, I love everything about this project except the name, since "Tales of the Jedi" was already taken; it was a comic series in the Nineties. What's funny though, is that one of the storylines from the series is called "Knights of the Old Republic". 
  • Ahsoka comes out in 2023, that's all we know. There was an awesome teaser, and I nearly crapped my pants at Huyang from The Clone Wars! Sabine is confirmed to be played by Natasha Liu Bordizzo, and though no casting has been official it appears everybody's in it from the Ghost crew (that's living) except Zeb, whom they might be done with or are leaving as a cameo. I am not hugely into Rebels, but I am excited for the series. 
  • Visions gets a "Volume Two" in Spring in 2023. Nothing else, except that was expected! 
  • Lando is still coming; they're just waiting for Donald Glover to be ready. It was cool to hear this, cuz this is the only show no one talks about. I was worried it was canceled. Lando is one of my favorite Star Wars characters (behind my favorite, Han Solo). 
  • In the fall of this year comes Season Two of The Bad Batch, with the tagline "Long Road Ahead". There was a trailer, and it had some cool stuff, such as Palpatine, Cody, Scorch (from Republic Commando), Rex, Gungi the Wookiee Padawan, and a teenaged, less innocent, and still-cute Omega. 

I was super excited about all of this stuff. My only complaint is the little info on Waititi's film. I thought maybe that'd be the "big reveal", but it wasn't. 

With the three official exceptions above, all of those trailers were taken off the internet. I was amazingly lucky to catch them on Star Wars Leaks before they were removed. They might get official releases soon, and I wish to God I would've Bandicam-ed them, so fans would flock here. 

Here's a "photo gallery":

Bo-Katan in The Mandalorian Season Three's teaser.

Babu Frik in The Mandalorian Season Three teaser.

Concept art for Skeleton Crew.

Baby Ahsoka and her mother in the Tales of the Jedi trailer.

A younger Dooku in Tales of the Jedi concept art.

Padawan Qui-Gon Jinn in Tales of the Jedi concept art.

Huyang in the Ahsoka teaser.

Sabine and her Lothal mural in an Ahsoka screenshot. 

The Bad Batch's Season Two look.

The Bad Batch WWII-style poster.

And that's all for now! I am so geeked out! 

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This website is dedicated GEORGE LUCAS, RICK MCCALLUM, BEN BURTT and JOHN WILLIAMS, the true Masters of the Universe. And in memory of IRVIN KERSHNER.