In praise of Star Wars Rebels

I'm changing the name of this blog, and #WeWantLeia is why

I spoil it for Siri

Guest Post: How I came back to Star Wars action figures by YASWB

Beatrice and I watch Star Wars together

[Review] William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher 

Star Wars oil painting exhibit "Sandstorm" opens

Breakneck boredom: an old time Star Wars fan's thoughts on Star Trek Into Darkness

They put me on the news to talk about Star Wars

More from Steve Sansweet on Star Wars and gay marriage

Carmine Infantio has died

I can die happy: I've been interviewed by Dungeons & Dragons

Star Wars Episode 7: All My Children?

What JJ Abrams needs to really succeed with Star Wars 7

Star Wars: The Old Republic is gay--on one planet at least

Tongal and Pringles bring us DYI desecration of Star Wars

Reminiscences about West End Games' Star Wars Roleplaying Game

Here's the biggest Star Wars news of 2012

Stephen Quinn interviews me about Star Wars on CBC Vancouver

Star Wars: modern myth or global franchise?

Parents turn child's 1st birthday into extended Lucasfilm/Hasbro advert

Me reading from A Long Time Ago

Highlights and lowlights of the upcoming Star Wars Celebration VI

Grown men (mostly) dressed up as Lando Calrissian

Beggar's Canyon Toys offer Star Wars toy "restoration" service

Blog's t-shirts banned by Zazzle

Will the real David Prowse please stand up?

LaserSaber: Unlicensed, dangerous and yours for only $99

Is this the future of Star Wars?

Is Star Wars link bait?

Dissent not tolerated at the Prequel Appreciation Society

TSOT discovers its nemesis

Comme des idiots: Star Wars teams up with poncy fashion house

US Christian activist attacks SWTOR for being gay

Yodaphone--the latest product pitch from Star Wars Inc.

Attention tortoise-fanciers: do you like Star Wars?

History of Star Wars as related by a bot

Is Star Wars a travesty of science fiction?

Luke Skywalker and company on the Muppet Show

Yoda now shilling instant soup in Japan

Commander who?

$6000 for a toy you can't even play with

Star Wars underwear

Retro Star Wars decor in my son's bedroom

Phantom Menace 3D: Now With Plot

Star Wars and disco: the forgotten love affair

Will Muschamp: What a guy!

Oi, fanboy: grow up! A reply to Darren Franich


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Entries in blu-ray (8)

Feb112013 petition to Disney: release the original trilogy on Blu-Ray

Thom Stark of Houston has started a petition to Disney as follows:

For the mental health and welfare of nerds and geeks everywhere.

The Walt Disney Company
Please release the original, untouched Star Wars Trilogy on Blu-Ray for the mental health and welfare of nerds and geeks everywhere. You will make lots of money if you do, and buy yourselves the respect of tens of millions of fans in the process.

[Your name]

It has 25 signatures so far. Surely we can do better than that. Follow the link to sign. Petition | The Walt Disney Company: Release the original, untouched Star Wars Trilogy on Blu-Ray.


Rolling Stone article on the sounds of Star Wars

Rolling Stone has a piece on the sound effects behind Star Wars. It's a bit of an ad for the Blu-ray disks, of course, but nevertheless somewhat interesting: 

Most fans will probably take more immediate notice of the newly high-def presentation in the recently released Star Wars Blu-ray set, but most aspects of the classic films have been reapproached and tweaked to take full advantage of modern-day home theater systems. Burtt worked alongside supervising sound editor Matt Wood in bringing the Blu-ray box set together, a process which both men discussed in separate interviews with Rolling Stone.

"It's the first time we'll ever have the movie out in a format that is basically just a file copied right from our archives at Skywalker Sound direct to the public," says Wood. "It's just this uncompressed master that can finally be heard."

Rolling Stone: Behind the New Sounds of the 'Star Wars' Blu-Ray


Boba Fett cartoon from SWHS hidden on Blu-ray discs

Furious Fanboys report that George Lucas has slightly reversed his long-held position on the Star Wars Holiday Special, namely that it should never see the light of day again. Hidden as an easter egg on the new Blu-ray disks is the ten-minute-long Boba Fett cartoon which formed part of the infamous special. Here's Furious Fanboys's account of how to find it: 

To unlock the first appearance anywhere of Boba Fett, go to the Episode V section of disc 8 (the IV, V, VI Archives):

  • Click on Pursued by the Imperial Fleet
  • Click on The Collection
  • Click on Concept Boba Fett Armor
  • Click on First Look

Here’s the screen where you’ll find it:

This short animated portion of the Holiday Special is often said to be its one redeeming aspect. Nonsense. It may not be quite as bad as the Wookie sex fantasy scene that preceded it, but it is still awful. The story revolves around a magical talisman sought by the rebels (because it is a magical talisman). It turns out that the talisman makes humans fall asleep, so Chewbacca and the droids are the only ones left to save the dozing Han and Luke from Boba Fett, a seemingly-friendly mercenary riding a huge orangish pink dinosaur who turns out to be an agent of Darth Vader (and is apparently not human as the talisman has no effect on him). This is Boba Fett’s first appearance in any Star Wars tale. For the record, he does not speak with a New Zealand accent; no word from Furious Fanboys whether Lucas has corrected this glaring continuity error for the Blu-ray version. I wouldn't put it past him. 

If you don't have Blu-ray, or cash to burn, or the willingness to support Lucas in his latest defacements of his own masterpiece, search around the web a bit and you'll find the Holiday Special--but you may regret it.

Furious Fanboys: See the Boba Fett Holiday Special Cartoon on Blu-Ray!


More awesome Star Wars Blu-Ray improvements!

The picture above says it all. Go to Gamma Squad for more fan-generated improvements to the upcoming Star Wars Blu-Ray releases.

Oi, fanboy: grow up! A reply to Darren Franich

Darren Franich at Popwatch has a message for Star Wars fans, especially old ones like him (and me): grow up! Don't get so worked up about the latest pointless changes to the original trilogy in the upcoming Blu-Ray release. And for that matter, don't get so worked up about Star Wars at all.

Believe me, there is a big part of me that wants to join the chorus of betrayed fans. But why? Why am I so angry at the man who was responsible for some of the major formative moments in my existence? Studying various Star Wars encyclopedias was a gateway drug for enjoying actual genuine history books. Watching the films on repeat taught me basic film grammar. Star Wars made me love science-fiction, so I have to thank George Lucas for indirectly pointing me onwards to Philip K. Dick, to Iain M. Banks, to Robert Heinlein and Orson Scott Card and every other great S.F. author. George Lucas can’t ruin my childhood, because my childhood already happened.

And that, I think, is why all the George Lucas hatred is fundamentally misplaced — and, in fact, why my initial gut-reaction (“Screw you, George!”) reflects much worse on me. The reason why our first response is to hate George Lucas is not because Lucas is ruining our childhoods. Far from it. Lucas is, perhaps accidentally, forcing us to admit two things: First, that our childhoods are over; and second, that the things we enjoy when we are children tend to be silly.

Franich's article is entertaining and raises some worthwhile points. But on the whole it misses the mark, I think. One of his refrains is "Kids are stupid" and Star Wars was just one of the stupid things we enjoyed as kids. George Lucas once made a similar comment in a desperate attempt to defend/excuse/minimise the appalling mess he made in 1999, telling his audience to lighten up, it was just a kid's movie.

But kids aren't stupid. Mine aren't, anyway, and I don't think I was, either. And in any case Star Wars was not just a kids' movie. I certainly agree with Franich that Star Wars is not especially thought-provoking, or subtle, or emotionally challenging. It is not the best film ever made, and neither are its two sequels. But there was nevertheless something great about Star Wars, Empire and even Jedi. It's too easy to say, as Franich does, "I think that it is time to put away childish things. Time to admit that Star Wars — like fruit snacks and Nickelodeon — should perhaps be left behind in our adolescence."

At least some of the "fanboys" Franich is attacking are not 40-year-old virgins with hoards of mint-in-box Kenner action figures displayed like trophies in the basement suites of their parents' houses. They are not the Star-Wars-mad little boys described in Alec Guinness’ memoir, A Positively Final Appearance (which Franich predictably quotes). Some of the men (I think they are mostly men) who are upset by Lucas's latest nonsense are well-adjusted, successful, happy people with fond memories of a childhood phenomenon that swept them up, gave them joy, left them alone for a while, then came crashing back into their lives in an explosion of mediocrity and thoughtlessness that refuses to let up.

In my view, there is one fanboy out there who really should grow up--grow up and leave it alone a while: George Lucas. Stop hating George Lucas, and stop loving 'Star Wars' so much: Why it's time to grow up


Lucas makes more changes to the original trilogy? "Nooooooo!"

It seems George Lucas has done it again: vandalized his own masterpieces by stupid, pointless changes to the original trilogy for the upcoming Blu-Ray releases. From io9:

Most notably, "Vader now screams NOOOOOOOO when he throws the Emperor" in Return of the Jedi. And it sounds, quite frankly, kind of silly. Check out an mp3 of the new sound effect.


Second of all, when Obi-Wan scares off the Tusken Raiders from an unconscious Luke, we no longer hear Obi-Wan's famous "Krayyt Dragon" call, but instead it just sort of sounds like Walrus Man barfing. Check out an mp3 of the new version.


And then there's the new more realistic, blinking eyes on the Ewoks — see the clip at left featuring Wicket W. Warrick, which was sent to us by the same tipster who sent us the audio files of the new sound effects.

io9: Darth Vader will lose a little more of his dignity in Star Wars original trilogy Blu-Rays


Star Wars "will be changed for Blu-Ray release"

MTV Movies Blog reports:

The "Star Wars" films that hit Blu-ray on September 16 aren’t going to be the same movies you grew up with. Like the previous special editions director George Lucas has released, the Blu-ray releases will be tinkered with and updated to the director's liking.

Readers of this blog (I know you're out there!) will be especially pleased to learn of the rumoured changes to the prequels. These include:

  • All factual conflicts with the original trilogy have been corrected, e.g. Yoda taught Obi Wan, Leia knew her mother (if only briefly), Vader hunted down and killed the Jedi, R2-D2 no longer has superpowers, etc.
  • All wildly improbable connections between seemingly unconnected characters have been removed. In particular, Anakin did not build Threepio--a protocol droid fluent in six million forms of communication--to help his mother around the house, and Yoda is not best friends with Chewbacca;
  • The Force is no longer a side effect of midichlorians, with the result that the Jedi are no longer a Nazi-inspired race of superhumans;
  • All fart jokes have been deleted, decreasing the total length of the prequel trilogy by approx. 30 minutes;
  • Pointless 'characters' clearly there only because George Lucas liked to be able to drop their actors' names at cocktail parties (Liam Neeson, Samuel L Jackson) have been excised; and
  • The entire trilogy has been given a plot.

Doesn't sound all that bad, does it? Maybe I'll buy the Blu-Ray set after all.


Ask Vader

Personal advice from the universe's worse agony aunt

I'm generally ignoring the Star Wars blu-ray releases because (1) I don't care about blu-ray, and (2) three of the six films in the DVD dodally suk. However, there is a somewhat amusing tie-in web site that has just been launched: Ask Vader. Surprisingly, Vader cannot read your mind. You have to actually type in your question. Having done so, Vader looks pensive for a moment, then blurts out an answer--usually one of doubtful relevance or utility.

Ask Vader