Episode VII – No Hope at All

star-wars-poster“No Hope at All” .That would be my title of the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII.  Emulating Episode IV where it all began, could this new episode be the end? I have to question all of it because previous rumours suggested that Peter Mayhew would not be reprising his role as Chewbacca, but now it has been confirmed that he is and that his medical issues are obviously over.

Having said this it is clear that JJ Abrams is tossing out the Star Wars Expanded Universe insofar as the character development that fans have enjoyed through the novelization of their continued exploits.  Sadly this can also only mean one thing: the Death of Han, Luke and Leia.  I say this because lets face it, the real world actors who portray these characters are, shall we say, well past their primes.

Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill haven’t really done any noteworthy acting in decades and Harrison Ford, is well, 72 this year!  I admit they are all pretty pumped about having cameos in the new film, but it occurred to me that frankly that’s all it can be.  They certainly won’t be seen in future Star Wars films because it is likely, based on their age, that they will be killed off in this upcoming film.  It makes sense, because they want to “rework” the whole Star Wars thing and that is why the script is apparently focusing on the children of the original characters.

I suspect they will all die honorable deaths (as Chewbacca did in “Vector Prime”) and that the villain responsible will be the arc of the new storyline. I venture to guess that they won’t survive because it just doesn’t seem plausible to reintroduce the original characters from the first trilogy and keep them on for the next two films after episode VII. JJ Abrams knows this and has to move beyond the original characters quickly in order for the storyline to evolve around the offspring.

Although I am disappointed that the EU has been scrapped, I am happy for Peter Mayhew.  He has always been Chewy!

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Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi?

HeirtotheempireWell, it’s been confirmed.  Star Wars Episode VII has been set 30 years after the events of the destruction of the second Death Star.  The casting rumours are floating around still, but lets face it, at least one of the main characters from Episodes IV, V & VI will make an appearance.  Why? Well, think Luke Skywalker in a tank of Bacta Fluid (Episode V).  This stuff heals almost anything and since it will have been only 30 years, at least one of them must have survived!

Sadly, this likely means that those of us who have followed the character development of the main (and some sub) characters through the novels (since Heir to the Empire was released in 1991) will not see this timeline cemented in celluloid, or hard disk, whichever format they use these days!

Personally, after reading 65 of the novels I have grown with these characters and am not quite sure how I am going to accept a totally different interpretation of their lives on the silver screen.  Alternate realities will have to do.

Please don’t screw this up Mr. Abrams…i’m still really to young to be hurt like this 😉

So much for the expanded universe…

star_wars_logoAnother unconfirmed yet reliable source has indicated that Episode VII will be set 30 years after Return of the Jedi. The next films are going to be about Legacy as they will focus on the children of Luke, Han & Leia.

The fact that there is a casting call out for someone to fill the Chewbacca suit leads all of the diehard fans to believe that there will be no continuity (or very little) with the Expanded Universe Novels. The novelization began in 1991 and picked up the story of Luke et al right after the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi.

Since then there have been dozens of novels written that follow a timeline and ensure that every story is connected to the next, regardless of who wrote the book.  The idea was that in order to preserve the characters and the events that unfold after Return of the Jedi, all novelist had to read and incorporate events from previous novels.  Essentially this lead to character development that to date has followed the lives and events of the main characters (and some sub characters like Wedge Antilles) for over 45 years.

In these novels (spoiler alert), Chewbacca dies (a heroic death of course).  To bring him into Episode VII means Disney is not following the character development that has endured in the novelization of the Star Wars Universe for over 20 years.

So there you have it.  Expanded Universe fans are most likely going to be in for a shock and I’m sure there will be a lot of fallout because of it.  Personally I will find it difficult to absorb the next storyline presented in Episode VII but I am confident that JJ Abrams will pull it off somehow.  If he does, he will have done what Irvin Kershner did with Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back…still touted as the best Star Wars film of all time. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Wookies are known to do that

chewieBe very tall that is.  Rumour is swirling that there is a casting call for an individual that is 7’2″ – 7’6″ and not too stocky (not thin but not muscular either) for a role in an upcoming as yet untitled feature film being produced by Lucasfilm and Bad Robot (JJ Abrams production company).

Apparently Peter Mayhew, the original and IMHO the only actor to play Chewbacca in 4 of the 6 Star Wars films, is said to be suffering from health issues (legs mostly) and will not be recast as the favorite “walking carpet” in the upcoming Episode VII.

In a way it’s kind of sad.  I remember reading an article once about how excited he was to reprise his role as everyone’s  favorite co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon in Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.  Even though the part was very small, George Lucas still considered the aging Englishman as the person to fill the fuzzball suit one more time.

Personally knowing that it won’t be the same actor portraying a character that died a hero’s death in the Yuuzhan Vong War. in the expanded universe novels will be just one more reason why I hope Disney doesn’t destroy Star Wars in favor of capitalism.

Does this mean Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) will be the only Star Wars Alumni to be cast in every film? All I can say is: Peter, get well soon! We need you, Chewie!

Han Solo was a Lizard

theStarWarsMany diehard fans will agree that the original draft of Star Wars was a bit “off-the wall”, to say the least.  It is good to see that George Lucas has decided to release the original first draft to Dark Horse Comics.  Dark Horse has made the original draft into an 8 part comic book series due out in September 2013.

Reading about the adventures of Annikin Starkiller and General Luke Skywalker will definitely be interesting, considering in this draft, Han Solo is a 7 foot lizard and Darth Vader only has one scar on his head/face!

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to buy these before they sellout, which is most likely going to happen within a matter of hours.  I think I’ll mark my place in line now and avoid the rush!

65 novels and counting

I just finished reading the last novel in the Star Wars:Legacy of The Force series.  This is the 65th Star Wars fiction novel that I’ve read to date. All of them, excluding Splinter of the Mind;s Eye (see one of my earlier posts), are about the continuing adventures of the core group of characters from Star Wars: A New Hope.

It all started back in 1991.  Timothy Zahn had just published a trilogy of books, the first one titled “Heir to the Empire”.  Picking up where the original movie trilogy left off, it began an explosion of Expanded Universe media. Following these works, Star Wars novels and story collections by authors such as Kevin J. Anderson and Michael A. Stackpole were released, reinvigorating the Star Wars Franchise that had been largely dormant for years.

Since it’s release, George Lucas decided that if more were to be published, the novels would have to maintain continuity and that characters from one story could not be altered to satisfy a different story.  The novels also started a timeline which grew from what is referred to as After Battle of Yavin (ABY).  The books in the Expanded Universe would indicate how long after ABY the story occurred.

To date they have written stories that are set 138 years after the Battle of Yavin (the destruction of the first Death Star) and a couple of thousand years before it (origins of the Sith and the Jedi).  Although I haven’t gotten to the point where I’m reading about Luke Skywalkers’ descendants,  I have gotten far enough along in the character development to see Luke as an aged (he’s around 62 years old) Jedi Grand Master.

It wasn’t so long ago that he was just a starry-eyed farm boy from Tatooine who dreamt of adventure and excitement in a Galaxy far, far away,…

One of the best Star Wars Novels ever written?

Click for larger Image

Dark Horse Comics had a graphic version- this cover shows the massive creatures called Yuzzem

I was digging through my collectibles and came across my copy of Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster.  Unfortunately, again I had thrown the original out after assuming the Star Wars era had ended (I almost gave up around 1987) and ended up buying another copy many years later.  This was the first novelization of Star Wars and was actually written as a sequel to Episode IV: A New Hope.

I won’t get into a lot of details but suffice it to say that this was a remarkable story.  Considering I had read it before Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, I was convinced that this was going to be the next film version of Star Wars.  It would have been way cool, but George had other plans for a sequel.

If you haven’t read Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, you have missed a very cool novel that could have changed the story of Star Wars as we know it today.  Read more about the book’s background here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splinter_of_the_Mind%27s_Eye