Quintessa: The Key of Cybertron

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Quintessa in Transformers The Last Knight

For those of you who actually enjoyed the live action Transformers films, I wanted to share a thought with all of you about the continuity of the movieverse plot. Like many fans, I enjoyed the live action franchise, despite there being questions that were left unanswered at the ending of Transformers The Last Knight. One of the most divisive of these is in regards to Quintessa, who she is, and where she comes from. After all, we learned from Optimus Prime in the first live action film that the AllSpark created worlds, and filled them with life, and that was how the Transformers race was born. If that is correct, then someone intelligent was responsible for the creation of the AllSpark. That someone is most likely Quintessa. According to an interview with Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (https://www.slashfilm.com/transformers-the-last-knight-credits-scene/) Quintessa is or was at some point human, but if that’s true then what is she now?

To answer that we have to look at the intro to Transformers Age of Extinction, where we are introduced to an armada of alien vessels entering the atmosphere of prehistoric Earth. Here we see them deploying objects which hover above the ground, and are then detonated, turning organic material into molten metal. We also are given a glimpse of these aliens onboard their ship, who are clearly biological entities, with mechanical enhancements. We later learn that these devices Cyber form entire worlds, and the Living Metal is harvested and returned to Cybertron where it used for among other things, to build the Transformers race. Arcam’s Razor dictates that the most reasonable explanation is the correct one, and operating on that theory we can presume that the race of creators visited worlds which were uninhabited by sentient life, and Cyber formed them. I suggest this because in Transformers Revenge of the Fallen we learn that the Thirteen Primes set out to find uninhabited worlds on which to build Star Harvesters.

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Cybertronian Star Harvester constructed on ancient Earth

These devices would detonate a local star, capturing it’s plasma and converting it into raw Energon. Doing so was the only way in which they could recharge the AllSpark once it was drained. So unlike the Transformers themselves which rely on liquid Energon which has been processed from the ore, the AllSpark as Ratchet claims in Transformers contains raw power, which cannot be controlled by any Transformer themselves. It leads us to consider then that the Creators used the Thirteen Primes to harvest power for the AllSpark, and set them over the race of Transformers, who were most likely used as laborers to do the creators bidding. The only element that is left in question then is Quintessa, and it is clear from the interview with Lorenzo Di Bonaventura that they have already established a backstory for her. Based on his statement, we can gather that Quintessa was originally a human being from Earth. We can also presume that she most likely survived a Cyber forming mission by the alien race, who captured her and retuned her to Cybertron. There she was studied, and somehow integrated with their own technology, turning her into a life form unlike anything that was previously known.

This transformation gave Quintessa abilities and knowledge that no human would have been capable of having, and thus made her an asset to their race. Quintessa would have eventually learned of Unicron’s existence, and known that in the future that she could not defeat the creators alone. Thus she created for them a race of laborers using the AllSpark, with the intention of having them destroy both the creators and Unicron in the future, leaving only Quintessa to rule over Cybertron. It would become her ultimate act of vengence from being taken from her world, and having it seemingly destroyed. The eventual rise to power of Megatron, and his rebellion of the creators was most likely an uncalculated event for Quintessa, but one that she allowed in order to fulfill her own purpose. Like the Fallen and Vector Prime, Quintessa appears to have the ability to teleport herself through the fabric of time and space, if only over short distances. We could then surmise that she hid herself within Cybertron during the war, most likely surrounded by Autobot guardian knights who were oblivious to her intent.

Those who were escaped before she could kill them. The war ended as the AllSpark was launched into space, and without it Quintessa did not have the power to restore Cybertron on her own, leading to the events in each film. The movieverse plot involved Megatron  recovering the AllSpark, and the Fallen using the Star Harvester to recharge it’s power. They would have then used the AllSpark to revive Sentinel Prime in order to teleport Cybertron to Earth, allowing Quintessa to kill Unicron once and for all. Had Transformers 6 been written, we may very well have seen Unicron’s power harnessed by Quintessa to complete her original goals. This summary has taken me nine years to complete, believe it or not, as I spent hundreds of hours doing research on this subject. I hope that it provides a takeaway for all of the movie verse fans, as well as presenting a closer look at things for those who were critical of the live action films.

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Cybertron restored and departing Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

A visitor’s guide to Galaxy’s Edge

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The Millennium Falcon arrives at Black Spire Outpost on Batuu

With an early spring upon us, you can bet that many families will be planning for early vacations this year, and that includes trips to Walt Disney Land in California, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park in Florida. Both of these parks continue to change and expand their attractions to entertain guests, and the latest hype is all about their new immersive Star Wars themed attraction called Galaxy’s Edge. In this blog, my goal is to provide you with a bit of history on what exactly Galaxy’s Edge is, how it was built, and what specific attractions and features it includes. I will also provide you with insight into plans for both parks that have yet to see the light of day, and let you know if it’s worth the expense and time that you and your family would invest if you visited the parks. So, strap in, and let’s see what all the hype is really about.

Concepts and Imagineering

Modeled after the Black Spire Outpost on the fictional world of Batuu, Galaxy’s Edge is an ambitious collaboration between Disney and Lucasfilm, which was first announced by Disney CEO Bob Iger at the D23 Expo in August of 2015. Construction on both sites began in April 2016, with the Anaheim park opening first on May 31st 2019, followed by the Florida location on August 29th of the same year. Both locations encompass fourteen acres of land, and cost around one billion dollars to construct at each park. Both sites occupy areas that were formerly shut down for other attractions. In addition, certain areas of both parks had to be redesigned to allow for the new Star Wars themed area to be constructed. Galaxy’s Edge features two attractions, Rise of the Resistance, and Smugglers Run, as well as cast members from both the Resistance and First Order who interact with guests. There are also thirteen food vendors and shops, which I will provide a brief summary of in the following paragraphs.

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Galaxy’s Edge Concept Model

Galaxy’s Edge was originally designed to be an environmentally immersive experience, allowing guests to participate in actual role play scenarios with cast members. They would receive an assignment upon arrival, and visit different areas around Black Spire Outpost in search of clues for their next assignment. Guests were meant to encounter actual Holograms of characters in broad daylight, and witness lightsaber duels between Jedi and Sith. Autonomous droids were planned to randomly wheel themselves about, while guests would be hunted down by Stormtroopers. In addition, there was a life size animatronic Dewback that guests could ride on. Although Disney submitted various patents to the U.S. Patent office for new technologies, none of these planned concepts have yet to become a reality. For fans who knew about them like I did, it was a severe disappointment. Currently there are plans to open a massive interactive hotel experience called the Halcyon at Galaxy’s Edge in Orlando. Construction has already begun on the project, and it will be a multi-day immersive experience involving interaction and role play amongst guests and cast members. So what do you get for your money? Read on.

What a piece of junk!

Nestled among the towering spires of the outpost is a life size reproduction of the Iconic Millennium Falcon. At one hundred feet in length and one hundred thirty feet wide it is the most prominent feature of Galaxy’s Edge, and it’s also serves as the entrance to the Smuggler’s Run attraction. This attraction allows up to four guests to serve in various roles who must work together as a team to fly and fight the Millennium Falcon through a mission. Though there are guests who visit Galaxy’s Edge just to have their picture taken in front of the Falcon, it isn’t alone. Scattered around the location you will find several T-70 X-Wing starfighters, as well as an RZ-2 A -Wing Interceptor. Since the First Order maintains a presence on the planet, you will find several of their ships present as well. There are heroes from both sides present to greet and interrogate you, and if you aren’t careful your activities will be closely monitored by the First Order. The second attraction in the land is known as Rise of the Resistance, and in my opinion isn’t that great. Guests essentially are seated in a droid controlled transport and “ride” through various scenes with special effects. I was not impressed by it.

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The Millennium Falcon at Galaxy’s Edge

Food and Merchandise Vendors

The following is a brief synopsis of the thirteen on site food and merchandise vendors located at Galaxy’s Edge.

Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo: A full service restaurant inside of a functioning hanger bay.

Kat Saka’s Kettle: An outdoor food stand where guests can purchase a unique snack made from popcorn.

The Milk stand: If you’re a fan of Blue Bantha Milk, then this is one place where you’ll find it!

Oga’s Cantina: Probably the most awesome place in the park, it’s a restaurant and Cantina with a full size bar, where you can sample drinks from across the galaxy.

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Oga’s Cantina

Ronto Roasters: Another outdoor food vendor featuring grilled pork and sausage wraps.

Bina’s Creature Stall: This is a shop full of plush animals and creatures from throughout the galaxy. My favorite: The TaunTaun!

Black Spire Outfitters: One of if not my favorite shops at Galaxy’s Edge, it offers travelers the opportunity to purchase the exact garments worn by the natives of Batuu!

Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities: Travelers will find ancient artifacts of both the Jedi and Sith in this fascinating shop, including Holocrons and Khyber Crystals.

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Dok-Ondar an Ithorian shop owner

First Order Cargo: If you’re looking to join the First Order, then this is the place to buy your equipment and uniforms.

Mubo’s Droid Depot: Another favorite of literally every guest, you can build your very own BB or R2 droid here from a variety of parts in various colors, and get a backpack to carry it in!

Resistance Supply: If you want to get in the fight, then this is the place to get equipped to do it!

Savi’s Workshop: This location bears the most attention, as it is the number one location visited by guests. Here you pay to go into an ancient shop that serves as a front to hide it’s true purpose, as a supplier of the most ancient and forbidden weapon in the galaxy: a lightsaber! Guests are lined up, and make several choices while in line, before being ushered to a work station. Here a cast member walks the guest through what I can only describe as a spiritual experience of constructing a lightsaber from real metallic parts, and choosing a crystal to power it. The final act is to install their lightsaber hilt into a port where it connects to a blade that the guest has chosen. There are various colors and crystals to choose from, and each crystal is unique in how it gives a lightsaber it ‘s color, light, and sound effects. Rare crystals can be purchased at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. Though expensive, it is truly a once in a lifetime experience and worth the cost.

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Savi’s Workshop

Toydarian Toyshop: a shop featuring hand made toys from around the galaxy.

Is it worth my time and money?

Now that you have a better idea of what Galaxy’s Edge is all about, you’re probably asking yourself is it worth the extra cost? To be fair, any trip to the Disney parks is expensive, meals included. On average, it costs one adult about $200.00 for park admission for one day, three meals and drinks, and a snack. For the younglings, you get to save about ten percent of that cost. If you plan to buy collectibles and souvenirs, then you should research their cost and plan accordingly. The bid ticket items are the build your own lightsabers which go for around $225.00, as do the Resistance fight suits and Jedi robes. If you want a professional photo in front of the Millennium Falcon, a cast member can snag one for you for only $15.00! If you’re super rich and have money to throw away, you can buy Stormtrooper armor for just under $7,000, or a full size radio control astromech for $25,000 ( No, I am not kidding). If that’s too much to take in, you can grab a Blue Milk for a whopping $8.00 and head for the next transport home.

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Bantha Milk anyone?

Overall I would say that yes galaxy’s edge is worth the cost, particularly if you have kids. Everyone knows what Star Wars is, and there’s something there that almost anyone can enjoy and relate to. While there you’re hear cast members use certain phrases to refer to real world items in universe (a cell phone is a data pad, the restroom is the fresher), and they will readily interact with you at any time. It’s a great way to escape all of the negativity of everyday life, and that’s one of the reasons that Walt Disney designed his parks the way that he did. It’s meant to be a form of escape, and who couldn’t use an adventure in a galaxy far, far, away?

 

Star Wars update for Collectors

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In the image below is a figure released in Q3 of 2019, the Imperial Stormtrooper from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It’s a figure that I wanted to use as a troop builder, and had planned to buy at least two squads of them ( sixteen figures in all). Recently I couldn’t find it at retail, so I began searching for it online, and I have to admit that I  was both shocked and upset by what I found. On average the figure was selling for roughly thirty dollars, which is more than double it’s original Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price ( MSRP). I ended up buying three of them for sixty five dollars on Ebay; far short of my intended goal thus far. I wanted to take a moment and share with everyone some details on this figure, as well as some of the factors that may have contributed to the small fortune that I’m preparing to invest into a group of Stormtroopers.

Though there have been many variations on this figure released over the years, this one has been considered the best sculpt yet, Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why it’s value on the secondary market has more than doubled in less than a year. Generally speaking, you don’t see too many figures that jump in value in such a short period of time, without them being considered rare. Moreover, the Vintage Collection consists of super articulated figures, with many being re- released with Hasbro’s proprietary Photo Real technology for collectors. Still, it’s hard to grasp a Stormtrooper being catapulted to such demand; or is it? One of the things that you have to learn as a collector is that a figure is essentially worth what you are willing to pay for it. It is still a toy, however toys in general can become extremely collectible, and Star Wars is certainly no exception.

When action figures for A New Hope were first revealed in 1977, they sold out before they were even produced, causing Kenner to issue early bird certificates for the following year. Star Wars toy sales continued to exceed expectations through 1983, before beginning to decline after the release of Return of the Jedi. The line was revived in 1995, where again, it continued to see demand among collectors. Though Hasbro had plans to cancel the line in the early 2000s, it didn’t happen, and the brand has been on store shelves ever since. Beginning in 2015 sales began a sharp decline, and Hasbro has lost an estimated 500 million in revenue in Star Wars toys over the last five years. The sequel films by Disney have raked in the cash, but have not been received well by fans. In addition, Hasbro has made changes to the Star Wars line, which has also affected what they produce and in what quantity.

Generally speaking the bulk of Hasbro’s toy sales for Star Wars comes from adult collectors, so it only makes sense to invest more into marketing to collectors than kids. Until 2019 Star Wars always featured a basic assortment of figures that were 3.75 inches in height, and had a minimum amount of articulation (five POA in most cases), as well as playsets and vehicles to accompany them.

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Basic Assortment figure from Star Wars The Force Awakens (2015)

Last year that changed with the discontinuation of the 5 POA line, which most likely was done as a cost saving measure due in part to poor sales. The focus then, was placed upon the highly successful Vintage Collection, an ongoing line of super articulated and highly detailed 3.75 action figures. The line initially ran from 2010 until 2013, before being brought back in 2018. It is now Hasbro’s only 3.75 production line for the Star Wars brand. The Vintage Collection also features vehicles and ships that are more accurately scaled, and highly detailed, with multiple features for collectors. One of the aspects of this line has been to re-release certain figures, and the Imperial Stormtrooper is one of those. Taking the Stormtroopers from Rogue One as a guide, the new Vintage Collection figure has been referred to by collector’s as the most detailed version of the trooper yet, and perhaps that is one reason for it’s increase in value.

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The Vintage Collection Rogue One Stormtrooper (2019)

Other factors may be due to poor distribution by retailers, particularly Wal-Mart, who is known for placing these figures on clearance within a couple of months of being released. Another factor may be a limited production run, which would have contributed to greater demand on the collector’s market. Also to be considered is future product being halted by the Coronavirus outbreak. Though Hasbro had already shifted some of it’s production to Vietnam in 2017, it is conceivable that they were still using production facilities in China, which have all been closed for the foreseeable future. This means that all planned waves will be delayed, and this was made clear at New York Toy Fair this past weekend. Often future waves will feature at least one repack, and the Rogue One Stormtrooper is one of those.

The final aspect that drives cost on the secondary market is scalping, which unfortunately is an all too common occurrence. There are people out there who are fans or otherwise, and who keep track of the values of these figures, and use that to take advantage of people like myself who couldn’t find the figure at retail, and are then forced to pay whatever they demand in order to get it. Sadly, there are online toy retailers who do the same thing. Ultimately, it’s up to you as a collector to decide if you’re willing to pay what a buyer is asking, or to wait it out and see if the price drops within the next quarter. Generally speaking if the item is out of production you can expect the value to continue to increase, and with it it’s cost on the secondary market. This is when you have to learn to patiently search every site and every listing in order to get the best price for a particular item. Though time consuming, It’s quite fun in it’s own right shopping for toys. Before I became disabled I used to drive hundreds of miles and spend an equal amount of money searching for action figures and vehicles for my collection.

I hope that this article has both entertained and informed you on some of the aspects of collecting Star Wars action figures, and why they sale for what they do. Perhaps you aren’t a collector or even a fan, but maybe now that you have gained some new insight into what drives those of us who are, you will have gained a new appreciation and understanding into toy collecting as both a hobby and a passion. Until next time, Good hunting, and May the Force be with you!

What Happened to G.I. Joe ?

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What happened to G.I. Joe? It’s a question that I’ve found myself asking more than once over the years; particularly since G.I. Joe The Rise of Cobra hit theaters back in 2009. I’m a big fan of the franchise, having grown up watching the cartoon, and owning most of the original toys from the 3.75 line, as well as some of the Hall of Fame twelve inch figures in the nineties. G.I. Joe represented the pinnacle of boy’s toys, and was a great moral example to all of America’s youth, finding fans in both it’s intended market, as well as with young girls. That’s right; G.I. Joe kicked ken’s ass out of the doll house and stole Barbie’s heart from day one, and we’ve never looked back! All kidding aside, that’s how great G.I. Joe became, and how fun it was to play with them. So what happened to America’s favorite hero? In all honesty, that depends on who you ask, as well as what their involvement is in the franchise. In this article I’m going to present a brief overview of the history of G.I. Joe, and attempt to answer that question based upon the Intel at hand.

Humble Beginnings

G.I. Joe was originally created in 1963 by a licensing agent in Manhattan named Stan Weston. Mr. Weston actually made the first prototypes of a twelve inch action figure himself. He eventually showed them to an executive at Hasbro named Donald Levine. Weston subsequently sold the license for G.I. Joe to Hasbro for One hundred thousand dollars. Whether or not Weston was entitled to a percentage of any of the profits in his contract is unclear, however the success of G.I. Joe is not. One of the most important decisions made by Hasbro early on involved the marketing of their new product. It was not acceptable to call G.I. Joe a doll, as no parent would buy their son a doll made for boys. Instead, the term “Action Figure” was used by Hasbro to describe G.I. Joe, and the figures were subsequently marketed with the trademark  “America’s movable fighting man” on their packaging. The first figures hit store shelves in 1964, and featured an Army Soldier, a Marine, a fighter pilot, and a sailor. These figures were produced until 1969.

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An original G.I. Joe action figure

In 1970 Hasbro made changes to the G.I. Joe line in response to the ongoing negative criticism of the Vietnam war in Southeast Asia. The line was renamed “Adventure Team”, and departed from military themed service members to provide action and adventure characters from various settings. Along with the name change Hasbro also incorporated several innovations, including life like hair and beards, as well as a new mold for the figure’s hands dubbed “Kung Fu” grip, allowing them to better grip accessories. G.I. Joe saw success in other nations as well, due greatly to the figures being licensed by Palitoy Limited, an English toy manufacturer who produced the figures under a license agreement with Hasbro. The Palitoy figures were released under the title of “ Action Man” from 1966 until 1984, and were distributed in other nations as well by various companies.
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1982 would see the G.I. Joe toy franchise return in a new smaller format of 3.75 inches. These figures were the same scale as the current Star Wars action figures, but with more points of articulation. Tie-in marketing was pioneered with the G.I. Joe line, as the launch of the new figures was incorporated with the animated cartoon series, as well as an ongoing comic book title. Ancillary sales were also generated during this time from other merchandise such as lunch boxes, clothing, and role play toys. Reducing the scale of the figures to 3.75 inches also had the additional benefit of allowing Hasbro to design and produce vehicles and play sets for the figures, and this toy line became the most popular toy lines for boys during it’s run. It continued throughout the eighties and nineties until it’s cancellation in 1994.
Though the primary production run for G.I. Joe had come to an end, Hasbro would revive the franchise for various limited production runs that were primarily marketed to collectors. Each of these sub lines ran for a year to four years, and carried on the G.I. Joe line from 1997 until 2009.

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A G.I. Joe toy ad from 1982

The Rise of Cobra
2009 was a great year for G.I. Joe fans, as we got to see our childhood heroes on the big screen. For the first time ever, the story of G.I. Joe had been turned into a live action movie. The movie was directed by Stephen Sommers, and opened to audiences on August 07, 2009. It was number one on it’s opening weekend, and It went on to gross three hundred million worldwide, but received a lot of criticism as well as fan backlash. One of the most agreed upon negative aspects of the film was the actor Marlon Wayans, whose character Ripcord did not resemble the original character, and spent the entire film attempting to flirt with Scarlett. There were other aspects of the film that detracted from the original G.I. Joe that fans have come to know and love, and the numbers reflect that. Hasbro released a product line to coincide with the film’s release which was well received for the most part by collectors, and has gone on to nearly triple in value on the secondary market today.

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General Hawk from G.I. Joe The Rise of Cobra

G.I. Joe Retaliation
G.I. Joes next outing at the big screen was more of a soft reboot than a direct sequel, which featured new characters and an absence of the overall science fiction aspect that was prevalent in the first film. It was a more realistic movie, however it suffered from some very critical mistakes. The first problem to arise was the change in directors. John Chu had never directed an action movie, though he is quoted as being a fan of the franchise. I think this hurt this film severely, and had the studio brought back Stephen Sommers to direct the sequel, I think that a more successful film franchise would have been established. The next error maxe by the studios was to push back the opening date from June 2012 to March 2013. The stated reasoning was to convert the film to 3D, however rumors gave a different reason. Due to the late decision to move the release back, the marketing campaign was in full swing, including with Hasbro. The toy giant had already shipped product to retailers nationwide, and toys were already on store shelves and being sold when Hasbro issued a recall of the merchandise. It was finally decided to allow current stock to sell down, and toys were re-shipped again in March 2013. The film opened to mostly negative reviews, which did not sit well for the franchise.

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Snake eyes in G.I. Joe Retaliation

G.I. Joe Snake Eyes
With the failure of two major motion pictures based upon Hasbro’s most successful toy line, you can imagine that fans were left feeling disappointed and frustrated. To compound that, anytime toy sales don’t meet projected goals, then things get cut, and so it has been with G.I. Joe. To make matters worse, it seems that studio execs haven’t learned anything from their past mistakes, as a third G.I. Joe movie is set to be released this summer. This time it’s an origin story of the character Snake Eyes, and rather than abide by the character’s origins as creator Larry Hama had written, the character will now be an Asian male, rather than a Caucasian Army Veteran. I suspect this decision was made to appeal to the Asian film market, rather than to try and reboot the franchise for the G.I. Joe fan base here in America.
Fans here are already upset about the decision, and the film hasn’t even finished production yet!

G.I. Joe versus the cultural and political foes
If I were asked why I thought that G.I. Joe had quietly disappeared from store shelves, and was no longer the cultural icon and best selling boy’s toy line in America, then I would have to offer you the reader my personal feelings and thoughts, which is something that I try not to do. In this case however, allow me to share several key points that may help you understand why our Real American Hero has been silently retired. First, the original cartoon came to an end in 1989, followed by it’s successor in 1991. Shortly there after in 1994 the G.I. Joe Comic series came to an end, and with it the toy line. Though there have been at least a dozen separate G.I. Joe sub lines released by Hasbro, none of them saw the success that the originals did, and were mainly purchased by collectors.

From a cultural standpoint, the G.I. Joe brand as a whole saw a decline in interest due in part to a change in what young boys were being presented with. New cartoons and toys with an emphasis on technology has steadily become the norm, until the current generation of kids now barely play with toys at all. The action figure craze of the eighties has been replaced by cell phones and tablets and video games. Moreover, there has been a fundamental shift away from the ethics and morality that my generation was raised to abide by. Boys today are not raised or taught to become strong young men and future leaders; rather they are deprived of the masculinity and sense of manhood that we are inherently born with. God made us to be men and women, and in today’s society people have abandoned that moral compass in favor of pretending to be something that they are not.

In addition to these factors, we have also seen an increase in military conflicts and violent crimes committed with firearms, which no doubt have caused executives at Hasbro and other companies to question the results of producing military action figures and vehicles bristling with weapons. That in itself is evidence of the mindset of the culture in which we live. In closing, I would say if anything our young children need a positive role model to look up to, and something to give them a sense of right and wrong that they can relate to. A renewed G.I. Joe cartoon and toy line would be a great way to do that. It would help them see what I saw growing up: good versus evil, right from wrong. Choices and the consequences, as well as courage, discipline, honor, integrity, and valor. These are the characteristics that G.I. Joe presented to my generation on a weekly basis, and they could again. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.  Yo Joe!

The Mandalorian

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For months now the anticipation and excitement surrounding Disney’s new live action Star Wars series The Mandalorian has permeated social media; but was it all for nothing, or is it a new era in the Star Wars universe?

I first became aware of the project last year, and I began to follow the development of the show through inside sources, who leaked information and set photos from time to time. I must admit that after reading all of the leaks and news reports surrounding the series that I was both excited and optimistic.

One thing that I saw from the first trailer was the fact that this show appeared to have the creativity and imagination that the Original Trilogy is known for, and that the sequel films sorely lack. These initial impressions were confirmed tonight as I watched the first episode on Disney Plus.

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The show is set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and thirty years before the events of The Force Awakens. The galaxy is splintered after the fall of the Empire, as the New Republic seeks to restore freedom and a peaceful, galactic government. The euros in the Outer Rim however, remain hostile, lawless, and unpredictable.

The opening sequence of The Mandalorian brings us face to face with a character who is both new, and yet familiar. Wearing Beskar armor similar to Boba Fett, we see our protagonist standing in the midst of an icy waste land, with a tracking device in hand.

His actions and demeanor don’t disappoint, as we follow the anti-hero on a quest that takes him to unsavory worlds where he meets with people that we don’t trust, and neither does he. There are dark tones of desperation, and lighter moods of well balanced humor. All of it feels and looks like the Star Wars created by George Lucas.

Indeed, there is a wild west type atmosphere to what we see in The Mandalorian. There are dusty streets occupied by vendors, with the poor living in the shadows. It’s a desperate time for all, and many have chosen to profit from it any way they can. The Mandaloria. is the ultimate gunslinger, and his presence commands everyone’s attention.

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I have to say that The Mandalorian has quickly become a personal favorite, simply because it is so authentic and real! While watching the show I could picture myself living in that kind of environment, on a particular world. I didn’t get that with the sequels. The only modern entry into the Star Wars franchise that is on level playing field is Rogue One.

The Mandalorian delivers a well thought out story, and features great acting and great cinematography. Most of all, it  takes us back to that era a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away where we were all captivated by Star Wars. Perhaps now, we can be captivated once more.

 

Star Wars Prop Weapons

The weapons used in the Star Wars films are as iconic as the characters that weild them, and often leave us intrigued about their design and origin. Today I am going to share some of the real world weapons that have served as the basis for many of the props used throughout the Star Wars saga.

The Original Trilogy

Beginning in 1976 with filming of A New Hope, the armorers in England utilized many weapons, which were mostly of British and German origin, to make the futuristic blasters of the Star Wars galaxy. One of the most prominent was the Stormtrooper blaster, which was designed around a British Sterling L2A3 Mark 4 submachine gun. This post- WW2 era weapon was used by the British Military from 1953 until 1994.

The Sterling L2A3

It featured a collapsible and folding stock, as well as a side mounted magazine well to accept a thirty round curved, box magazine. To make the Imperial Blastech E-11D used by the Stormtroopers, the props department added linear shrouds over the barrel. They left the stock as is, while adding greeblies to the side of the weapon, and they used WW2 tank scopes for the sights. The thirty round magazines were replaced with short, straight mags For screen use.

For the Rebel Fleet Troopers the armorers made their Blastech DH-17 blasters by utilizing the same Sterling machine gun. They removed the barrel shroud and replaced it with a shop made prop barrel, and they also removed the folding stock and magazine well. An extra rod was attracted to the top of the receiver, and a single point scope was added to most versions of the weapon. Princess Leia’s blaster pistol was actually a Russian .22 target pistol with a modified barrel.

Han Solo’s iconic DL-44 Blaster was based on a WW2 C96 Mauser. It too, featured heavy modifications with a muzzle device, a heat sink in front of the mag well, and a side mounted targeting scope. This particular prop had three different versions used by Solo in each of the three films. All had slightly different barrels and muzzle devices, and scopes.

C96 Mauser used for the DL-44 Blaster

Ponda Baba’s blaster was an SE-14c ( Also used as a sidearm by the Death Troopers in Rogue One ) which was made from a Swiss Rexam Favor Mark 5 submachine gun. The barrel and stock were removed, while an extension was added to the rear of the receiver, as was a scope. The Stormtroopers patrolling Mos Eisley were all armed with modified MG34s, MG42s, and at least one trooper with a modified WW1 Lewis Machine gun.

Stormtrooper carrying a Lewis Machine gun

In The Empire Strikes Back we see the Rebel ground forces carrying Blastech A295 carbines, which are modified versions of the German MP44 machine gun. Later in Return of the Jedi, they are carrying the A280, which was made from a cast of the M-16 rifle. Boba Fett is seen carrying a unique blaster, which actually began as a Webley & Scott No.1 Mark 1 37mm flare gun. The end of the barrel was plugged, and greeblies were added as well as a scope.

Rogue One

In Rogue One, the Rebels primary weapons are again based on the M-16. This includes Cassian Andor’s Blastech A280-CFE, as well as the larger A310 rifles and A300 carbines used by the Rebel Pathfinders. Jyn Erso’s iconic Blastech A180 blaster is actually a modified Luger 9mm Airsoft pistol. A larger diameter ported barrel has been added, along with greeblies on the bottom and sides of the weapon. Interestingly, Jyn’s blaster is modular, however we never see it configured as a rifle on screen.

Jyn Erso’s A180 Blaster pistol

Functionality

During production of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, most of the weapons fired blanks to assist with visual cues for the actors, as well as aiding the visual effects artists during post-production. This was not continued during filming of Return of the Jedi. It is however, used again during Rogue One, in the form of airsoft guns. The image below captured during filming shows Jyn Erso firing her A180 blaster pistol at a Stormtrooper. You can clearly see the gases being vented around the charging handle as the action cycles during firing.

Jyn Erso firing her A180 blaster

Conclusion

These are just a few examples of the real world firearms that have been used by the props department of both Lucasfilm and Pinewood Studios to create the weapons of the Star Wars films. The armorers took inspiration from the tragedies of warfare, and designed an array of space age blasters that would go down in cinematic history.

Could Tallie Lintra have survived?

In Star Wars The Last Jedi we are introduced to a young A-Wing pilot with the Resistance, Lieutenant Tallison “Tallie” Lintra. Tallie is a squadron leader from Pippip three, where she learned to fly from her father, who used an old RZ-1 A-Wing as a crop duster. Tallie is mature for her age, and a competent leader, but unfortunately she only gets twelve seconds of screen time before she’s seemingly killed.

Yep, that’s right: one of the newest and most fascinating characters of the entire film buys the farm when a concussion missile fired by Kylo Ren detonates inside the hanger bay of the Raddus. The question is, did she and the other pilots really get killed? To answer that, we need to examine the factors involved with this incident. First we will look at the weapon being used, then at the Raddus itself. Finally we will examine Tallie’s A-Wing fighter to determine what if any chance she had to survive.

Concussion Missiles

Starfighters are generally equipped with weapons designed around ship to ship engagements, such as medium or heavy laser cannons. These weapons are normally supplemented by kinetic energy weapons such as concussion missiles, mag pulse warheads, and proton torpedoes. The assortment and type of weapons payload depends upon the size and type of fighter, and what role it is designed for.

In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren is flying a TIE Silencer, which is an updated and more heavily armed variant of it’s predecessor, the TIE Interceptor. The TIE Silencer was designed to both engage ement fighters, as well as capital ships. The Silencer is equipped with four Concussion missiles, and Kylo Ren flies into the Raddus‘ amidships area, which protects the hanger bays, before firing two of these missiles.

Kylo Ren firing concussion missiles

We see on screen as both missiles penetrate the magnetic field and detonate inside the hanger bay. The Concussion missile is designed around a solid penetrator they can pierce a ship’s hull, before the warhead itself detonates. The destruction is caused by the concussion wave from the blast, as it rapidly expands outward in all directions.

The Raddus

The Raddus was an MC85 Mon Calamari star cruiser, purpose built for the New Republic Defense fleet as a warship. It was larger than the preceding MC80c class, better shielded, and heavily armed. After it was retired from service during the New Republic draw down, it found it’s way to the Resistance as a gift from the Mon Calamari government. The Raddus was equipped with a newer, experimental shielding that could withstand heavy bombardment from enemy weapons.

The Raddus

It’s weakness was in the hanger bay. When it was attacked by Kylo Ren, both of his concussion missiles struck the interior bulkhead of the hanger bay before detonating. The delayed detonation instantly ignited nearby fuel cells and munitions, which in turn destroyed most of the vulnerable fighters on the flight deck. Had the missiles simply detonated inside the hanger, the resulting blast would not have caused the same amount of damage.

In either case, the blast would have destroyed the magnetic field, opening up the hanger to the vacuum of space, which would have instantaneously extinguished any fires In the bay. At the same instant the ship’s systems would have detected the pressure and temperature change, instantly sealing the blast doors to the hanger bay.

Detonation inside the hanger

Tallie’s A-Wing

Tallie Lintra was flying the RZ-2 A-Wing Interceptor, the latest evolution of the ship designed by Kuat Systems Engineering. Among other features, the RZ-2 incorporated a reinforced canopy, and armored hull. The cockpit was also protected by it’s own individual deflector shield generator. On the flight deck, it’s unlikely that Tallie would have powered up the deflector shields, however she did have her canopy sealed. Another advantage was in the positioning of her fighter; it was parked beside Poe’s X-Wing, near the back of the hanger bay.

Tallie’s A-Wing positioned inside the hanger

During the attack scene, we can actually see Tallie’s A-Wing as it is slid across the deck, slamming into the bulkhead before the blast doors automatically sealed. So what happened to Tallie Lintra? What we aren’t shown on screen is that as soon as those blast doors closed, the hanger bay was exposed to the vacuum of space to extinguish the fire inside of it. The instantaneous depressurization of the hanger bay would have blown everything inside of it out into open space, including Tallie’s A-Wing.

RZ-2 A-Wing schematic

The most logical conclusion is that Tallie was not killed, merely renderd unconscious from a concussion. She and her fighter would have drifted along with the other debris. The First Order would not have considered inspecting the debris field, as their objective was to annihilate the Resistance fleet. As for her fighter, the hull most likely was intact, but not flyable. Presuming that the cockpit remained pressurized, Tallie would have had enough oxygen onboard to survive for roughly thirty six hours before succumbing to oxygen deprivation.

So technically, Tallie could have survived. The question is, did she? If you want to find out, you’ll have to wait for the upcoming novel Rebel Strike to be released. Good luck, and May the Force be with you….

Jaina Solo versus Rey

Actress Jaci Twiss as Jaina in Legacy of the Force

In 2015 Star Wars fans returned to a galaxy far, far, away to continue the journey of the Skywalker Saga with Episode VII The Force Awakens. In this film we are introduced to a new protagonist in the character of Rey, a nineteen year old girl who survives as a scavenger on the desert world of Jakku.

We see in Rey many reflections of the legendary Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight and hero of the Republic. We also glimpse familiarities with Han Solo. As her journey continues, we see the potential for Rey to be an heir of the Force; but is that really who she is meant to become? Rey also shares some stark similarities with another heroine, not so different from Rey herself.

In this week’s blog, I want to introduce readers to a fan favorite from the Expanded Universe, who very well may have served as the inspiration for Rey, and provide readers with a comparison of the two characters, while allowing readers to determine for themselves who really is an heir of the Force.

Before there was Rey

Beginning in 1993 fans were introduced to the children of Han and Leia Solo in Timothy Zahn’s novel The Last Command. The oldest of the two children were twins, Jacen and Jaina Solo. Both children were strong in the Force, and went on to train with their uncle, the Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker. Both of the Solo children would become Jedi Knights, with Jaina especially becoming pivotal within the new Jedi Order formed by Luke Skywalker.

It would be Jaina which in later years was forced to confront her twin brother Jacen after he turned to the dark side and became Darth Cadeus. She would find help from an unlikely ally in Boba Fett. Aging and retired, Boba Fett used his knowledge of lightsaber combat to help Jaina attain skills that she previously did not have. She would go on to face her brother again, and defeat him being forced to take his life. Her actions would push Jaina dangerously close to the dark side herself.

Jaina Solo battles Vestara Khai

A Parallel unrivaled

Both Jaina and Rey share nearly identical qualities in that they are both intelligent and head strong, Force sensitive, skilled mechanics and pilots. They both are also skilled with a lightsaber. They both have played with the dark side of the Force, and walked away from it. This is where the similarities seem to end; or do they?

While Jaina’s character has a twin brother, Rey apparently is an only child, whose adversary is in Ben Solo. While Jaina has a clearly defined path and upbringing from the beginning, Rey seems to be an abandoned girl left on a desert world, almost as a slave to Unkar Plutt. Where Jaina is a natural leader, Rey is just beginning to learn how to fight.

Rey training on Ach-To

Both women are heroes In their own right, with qualities that make them intriguing and purpose driven characters which can not only carry the plot within the story, but they themselves become a plot of sorts on their own. Both are nearly identical, and yet different, which leads us to consider what these characters mean in the greater narrative of the Skywalker legacy?

First, regardless of Disney and Lucasfilm choosing to rebrand the Expanded Universe material as non-canonical, we will continue to have these stories with us. They are, with the exception of a few instances, within a solid structure and timeline which is more widely accepted and enjoyed by older fans. It is another means by which fans can enjoy the Skywalker legacy, which continues far beyond the films.

Jaina’s story is just as tangible as Rey’s, having recently been released by Hasbro as an action figure in it’s Black Series line. Both the reception of fans to the figure, as well as it’s unforseen sales were a welcome surprise to Hasbro’s marketing team. The figure ended up selling more units than they anticipated. That one factor speaks volumes from the fan base. I should know, I own two of them!

Jaina Solo Black Series Action Figure

With Rey, we see many possibilities, and few if any facts. Disney and Lucasfilm have used her character to fuel the fire so to speak in order to attract a newer, younger generation of fans; specifically targeting young girls. They have used her character to play upon the feminist agenda and movement, and to great effect. What they have failed to do with Rey is give us hope.

Hope in what you ask? Hope in a new generation of Skywalkers who would carry on the ways of the Force. At every opportunity they have denied Rey’s lineage, and even denied that Rey is a Jedi Knight. If not a Jedi, then what is she? Rey has remained a mysterious plot device, which could very well having a far more negative effect upon the franchise in the future.

In my opinion Disney and Lucasfilm should have accepted the Expanded Universe material as George Lucas had, and used these existing charcters to continue the Skywalker Legacy. It would have made for an emotional tipping point in Star Wars history, and been a far better means to honor the writers who have devoted their lives to this franchise.

Rey’s story will continue with Episode XI, and perhaps then all of the loose and tangled threads of the sequel trilogy will come together to form a more satisfying conclusion. As for Jaina, we may never know if she served as the inspiration for Rey’s character, but what is apparent is that though they share similarities, they are worlds apart. Perhaps one day we’ll learn that it was Jaina that was meant to be in George Lucas’ sequel trilogy. If so, I can only imagine where she would have taken us.

The Rise of Skywalker: hope for redemption?

When the teaser trailer for The Rise of Skywalker was released, I have to say that I was both excited and skeptical. Could Episode XI bring us any hope? Could this film potentially undo all of the damage done by the mistakes of the previous two films, and somehow restore the glory to the Star Wars franchise? Would Lucasfilm demonstrate to the fans that it’s still about the story, and not about the money? In all honesty, I don’t know. I have heard a lot of good things during production, and I think that there may be elements of fan service there, but the one thing fans have cried out for the most, seems to be out of reach. The fact that Rey most likely is not Luke Skywalker’s daughter will be a very tragic mistake for these films, and worse yet if she really does turn out to be a nobody. To title the film The Rise of Skywalker and she not be a Skywalker is in my opinion, click bait of the worst kind. If she did turn out to be Luke’s daughter, then that single fact would make this journey worth the wait.

Rey attacks a new TIE fighter in Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

We already know that Ben Solo is by blood, a Skywalker, but the film has never really been about him; or has it? Is there a deeper connection between Ben and Rey as some have suggested? Or is this too, simply the rumor mill at play? Mark Hamill stated about a year ago that he had read George Lucas’ script for the sequels, and they were a much different story than what we have been given by Disney. I took his tone to imply that he approved of them as well. Though we may never know what his story entailed, I have been given one solid piece of information about them, and that is Luke Skywalker dies in the final film. It would have been a far more appropriate way to close out the story of the Skywalker family, and an appropriate way to honor the actors involved. To kill off major characters in each film, is simply writing them out of the story for the sake of a convenient plot point. It bypasses the gravity of the character, and what they mean to the larger narrative at work.

I do believe that Episode XI will feature great action sequences, and that sense of adventure that we have come to see in these new Disney era films, but I cannot believe at this point that it alone will redeem the sequel trilogy. I hope that I am wrong, and that Lucasfilm surprises us all, but I simply cannot allow myself to believe in that, based upon what we have already know. If popular culture is anything, then trends speak volumes, and Goggle Trends has a lot to say right now about Star Wars. According to a recent article by the website JediBusiness, their research into current analytics show that interest in The Rise of Skywalker is at an all time low. That is not good news for this franchise. Why you ask? First, it speaks volumes about Disney and Lucasfilms marketing campaign and strategy. They made a mistake by waiting months to reveal the teaser, and we have yet to see a full trailer.

What role will Ben Solo play in The Rise of Skywalker? And will he ultimately be redeemed like Anakin?

In addition, The Rise of Skywalker will not be featured at San Diego Comic Con this year. In my opinion, that is a serious mistake. SDCC is THE annual event if you are a fan of anything fantasy/ sci-fi. To exclude what is marketed as the biggest film of the year from that event, means something is wrong. Furthermore, this is the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga, and the last Star Wars film scheduled for several years. Nothing about this adds up. Perhaps Lucasfilm has an aggressive marketing strategy planned to coincide with Triple Force Friday, the premier event revealing tie-in toys for the film, but not everyone will be interested in that. Many fans are new to the franchise, and are simply wanting to be entertained, and enjoy a great film. It leaves many questions unanswered, and points to The Rise of Skywalker possibly not being the success that Disney might want it to be. I hope that I am wrong, but at this point nothing can be ruled out.

Final thoughts

It has been a lifelong journey for most of us, and I believe that George Lucas set out to tell a story, and he devoted his life to that purpose. Along the way his company expanded into a four billion dollar plus operation, that has been involved with every form of entertainment and media. His dream of completing his vision for Star Wars continued in 1995, as work began on what would become the Special Editions. Behind the scenes, a new trilogy of Star Wars films had secretly begun development as well. The Prequels were not well liked or received by some, and the backlash from fans both angered and hurt Lucas. He vowed to never make another Star Wars film again. In my opinion, I could empathize as to why he was hurt, and I also believe that this may have played a part in Lucas’ decision to sell Lucasfilm to Disney. Now that the franchise has been sold, I see changes both good and bad. Had we gotten Lucas’ version of the sequel trilogy, I believe that they would have all been critically successful, and gone down in history as some of the most emotional stories ever seen in a film.

Unfortunately, that isn’t where we are. Good or bad, failure or success, The Rise of Skywalker has completed principal photography, and is destined for theaters in December. I hope that it delivers a powerful story that resonates with us all, and brings all of the films together in a meaningful way. I hope that it isn’t just a fan service move by Disney, or viewed as only a marketing tool to rake in the revenue. Somewhere, I hope that deep in the hearts of everyone involved, that they care as much about this story as we do. In the end, whatever this film may bring, Star Wars will live on, and the hope that it inspires in us all will continue to exist beyond these films. Perhaps one day we can look back, and read a different account of these stories, that was never made. It would be a fitting way I think, to say goodbye to the Skywalker legacy, and Star Wars as we know it.

The Last Jedi: A departure from continuity

I can say, that for the most part, The Force Awakens left us with a great many possibilities that could unfold. As production progressed on The Last Jedi, we discovered many tidbits of information that were leaked from various cast and crew members, allowing for a much clearer picture of what was to come; or so we thought. When The Last Jedi begins, it immediately continues where The Force Awakens left off. This is something that has never occurred in a Star Wars film prior to it. In the first moments of the The Last Jedi, we are greeted once again by an elder Luke Skywalker, who accepts his old lightsaber from young Rey. Rather than asking her who she is, (or where his severed hand might be found) or how she got it, he tosses it over his shoulder, without uttering a single word!

As the story progresses we meet a much different Luke than the one we knew from forty five years earlier. Once a brave headstrong warrior, humble and full of hope, we now meet an old man destroyed by hubris. It is difficult to imagine Luke Skywalker ever losing his focus, or his hope. In the words of Mark Hamill himself, “Luke would never do that, he would find a way.” So we see a glimpse of the conflict continue between Mark Hamill’s vision for his character, and the one written for him to portray. Rian Johnson stated in defense that he needed Luke to be like Obi-Wan forty five years ago. An older, wise sage to a younger generation. Every scene involving Luke was painful to watch, because none of it felt right. The most controversial and least liked scene of the entire film was the force projection of Luke dueling with Ben Solo. Even the timing of Luke’s untimely death was contested by Mark Hamill, to no avail. Though there are many more aspects of the film that created uncontrollable backlash from fans, I have chosen to focus on these aspects for a reason.

Luke Skywalker appearing weary to an old friend, R2D2

The Last Jedi, in my opinion was the worst film in the franchise to date. It failed to develop the story of Rey, choosing rather to make her character a nobody, rather than a part of the Skywalker lineage. Where she should have found control and discipline, we see disorder. Where she should have gained insight into a powerful past, we learn that her parents were just “filthy junk traders who sold her for drinking money.” For those believing that those words were an intentional misdirection, I urge you to research Rian Johnson’s statement on that issue. His intent was to make Rey a nobody, and so he dashed to pieces the hopes of millions of fans worldwide. From day one everything that was hinted at in The Force Awakens told us that she was somebody important, with J.J. Abrams himself stating that he intended for her origin to be of significant importance. So why the change? Why the abuse and detriment of Luke Skywalker? To answer those questions, we must look at several decisions made.

First, unlike with George Lucas, there was no complete outline written for these films in advance. Each film was written and directed by a different person, with different visions. Though there was creative discussions between Abrams and Johnson, there was no set path for them to agree upon. There was no outlined story treatment as in years past. This in and of itself created the failures that we have seen. As part of the proposal for Disney to acquire Lucasfilm, George Lucas was required to present a draft of his version of the sequel films. Unknown to fans, Lucasfilm was in the early stages ofdevelopment for Episode VII, when it was sold to Disney. Bob Iger ( and subsequently Kathleen Kennedy) rejected Lucas’ version of the story, as well as rejecting him as an advisor during production.

(When Gareth Edwards was tapped to direct Rogue One A Star Wars story, he flew George Lucas to Pinewood in London to get his input on production. “George really liked what he saw” is what Gareth was later quoted as saying. I believe that Disney disagreed with the young director’s bold move to involve Lucas, and brought in a second director to conduct re-shoots as a form of reprimand. Unlike the rumors swirling that Rogue One was a production nightmare like Solo, they simply weren’t true. Nothing occurred during production of Rogue One that would necessitate either Lucasfilm or Disney to either question or remove Gareth Edwards as the film’s director. The only changes that were agreed upon and made revolved around the film’s ending, which Gareth was not only a part of, but directing. (Later on the tone would change as Lucas continued to be used as an off screen consultant. The Last Jedi may have been a financial success, but it was an utter failure as an integral chapter in the Star Wars universe as a whole, and the Skywalker saga in particular.)

In addition to there not being an established story treatment for all three films in the sequel trilogy, there seemed to be an almost violent resistance by director Rian Johnson to accept input from Mark Hamill. Had Johnson stopped to consider the role that he had prepared for mark’s character from his perspective, then surely it would have necessitated rewriting the script to adapt to a new direction. In hindsight, the overall film may have only changed subtlety, but it would have given us a far richer story that would have been less fragmented. In addition to Luke’s role, the Mary Poppins flight of Princess Leia, and the death of Admiral Ackbar are also thorns in the flesh for Star Wars fans. One kills off a very memorable character in a very disrespectful manner; while the other portrays Leia in a very unbelievable and silly scene written just for the sake of having her character. These are just three very noticeable, and unjustifiable mistakes made during the production of The Last Jedi. In my opinion they are arguably some of the poorest examples of storytelling that I have yet to see in a film.

With the conclusion of The Last Jedi, perhaps you were like me and left the theater still liking the overall movie, but disagreeing with the story ( I think that fact should at least be apparent by now). So where does that leave us? And what are we to take away from this experience? First, the backlash from this film did not go unnoticed at Disney or Lucasfilm. In fact, Kathleen Kennedy has stated this year that The Rise of Skywalker will live up to the Hype. I apologize if I am skeptical at this point. After all, we just saw the worst STAR WARS film in history! Not to mention that three prominent characters die, having had no real depth to their story. (One of them in fact, Lieutenant Tallie Lintra, only had twelve seconds of screen time, before being blown out the hanger bay of the Raddus. I don’t think that a character could have been wasted as fodder anymore than she was.) Next, we should not get fixated on the failures of this film, but rather see the moments that it did give us.

Lieutenant Tallie Lintra, the hottest girl in Star wars, gets twelve seconds of screen time before she’s gone

In closing, the failures and success of The Last Jedi are influenced by our own point of view. For ultra passionate fans of Star Wars, we see it for what it failed to be. It was and will always be a missed opportunity to deliver a truly great chapter at the end of a story. Many like myself have invested their entire life to Star Wars in some way or another, and this failure resonates deeply within. Still others will see it as a great movie, and argue for it’s praises. Whatever side of the aisle you may be upon, The Last Jedi has in many ways, set the tone for The Rise of Skywalker. The fate of the Star Wars universe is literally hanging in the balance, and in my third and final article on this subject, I will discuss what we know, and what we might expect from the final film in the Skywalker Saga.