Thursday, June 28, 2012

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Four Blu-ray Release Date and Cover Art.

Clone Wars: Season Four is headed to home video on October 23, 2012, keeping in the tradition of releasing the previous season after the new season begins airing.  I am sure some marketing expert knows why they do it this way, but my confusion continues.

The set will feature a style similar to the Season Three set and different then the original Season One and Two releases.  This time we get Darth Maul on the cover.




SOURCES: IGN and Blu-ray.com Forums

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Star Wars Want: Blu-ray Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars Series


There is a gap in my Star Wars Blu-ray collection that is just screaming to be filled.  We have Blu-ray releases for the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, the Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace special, and each season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, yet one of the most recent Star Wars video releases has yet to get the Blu-ray treatment.

Genndy Tartakovsky's micro-series premiered on the Cartoon Network in 2003 and subsequently saw a two-volume DVD release in 2005.

Currently these DVD's retail on Amazon.com for $38.02 for Volume 1 and $45.94 for Volume.

Transitioning this series to a single Blu-ray disc release simply makes to much sense to be ignored and seems like a simple way to make a few bucks for Lucasfilm.

Volume 1 contains 20 3-minute episodes and has a run time of 69 minutes, while Volume 2 contains 5 12-minute episodes and has a run time of 64 minutes.

I can understand not wanting to confuse kids and parents regarding the current Clone Wars series, but fans should be able to purchase this series without having to go the "used" copy route.

I am sure that many of my fellow fanboys and fangirls would agree, can we have the Tartakovsky series in Blu-ray? Pretty please?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Where are the Bothans in The Clone Wars?


The climactic battle of the Star Wars films is preceded by one fateful line that introduced us to a species that we never had a chance to see.
"Many Bothans died to bring us this information." ~ Mon Mothma
The Clone Wars animated series has introduced and re-introduced us to numerous alien species in animated form, but there is a rather large and glaring admission in terms of the Bothans.

If like me you grew up re-watching the original trilogy repeatedly, whenever Mon Mothma mentioned the Bothans, my imagination always wondered who where these guys, what did they look like, how did they die.

I wanted to know more.

In the EU we have a very interesting culture built up for the Bothan species, but the most famous Bothan is someone that you would probably want to punch in the muzzle if you ever had to spend five minutes in a room with him.  In fact I am sure Ackbar spent more time during the early days of the New Republic thinking how ways to inflict pain on Borsk Fey'lya then a Hutt thinks about dinner.

How have we gotten four seasons of The Clone Wars series without the Bothans?  

I am rather perplexed.

It is interesting that according to Wookieepedia, the Bothans took a line of neutrality during the Clone Wars.

Whilst a longtime member and support of the Republic, the Bothans remained neutral during the period known as the Clone Wars. In this time, the Bothan Senator Polo Se'lab abstained from politically charged votes leading up to the conflict. Though not playing one side against the toher, the Bothans serve each one in a professional but not exclusive manner. Their reasoning for helping both the Separatists and Republic was in the belief that furnishing each side with intelligence would hasten the end of the war. This stance on neutrality did not stop both the Confederacy and Republic from courting Bothan aid to their respective side though this only increases their stance at supporting neither faction in the Clone Wars.
With the Clone Wars rapidly approaching Episode III and their conclusion, I have to wonder if the Bothans will once again be left off the screen.

SOURCE: Wookieepedia

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hunting the Hunter: The Fate of Cad Bane in The Clone Wars


From time to time I like to take a step back and ruminate on characters or story lines on The Clone Wars.  Accurate or not, I find it to be a useful intellectual exercise that helps me think about writing and story telling.

We have a number of characters that have been created for The Clone Wars television series, one of my personal favorites is the Duros bounty hunter Cad Bane.

What purpose does Cad Bane serve in the Clone Wars?  

In the most general sense Bane provides us with a "cool" supporting character, similar to the role played by Boba Fett in the Original Trilogy.  Bane also provides us with a representative of a prominent class of characters in the Star Wars galaxy, i.e. the bounty hunter.  This blaster-for-hire character has powerful cultural origins drawing on concepts such as the Samurai or the old West gunslingers.

Bane also serves an important role in terms of story telling.  Anytime you are telling a story that precedes a story you have already told the fate of characters or plots is already well known to the audience.  If you simply used the same characters and their predetermined fates, you could tell an interesting story but you loose loads of dramatic tension.  With Bane and other characters created specifically for The Clone Wars you have unresolved fates.

Will Cad Bane survive the Clone Wars?

The funny thing about telling prequel stories is that when you create new characters you have to figure out why they didn't appear in the stories told earlier that where set in later period of time.  Cade Bane doesn't appear in Episode III, IV, V, or VI.  How do we explain the absence of such a major player in galactic events from the stage in the context of those four films?

There are four main explanations for the lack of Bane's character in the films, he either simply "accidentally" off-camera, retired, imprisoned or dead.
Gentle Giant Ltd's Maquette has dubious continuity value. 

"Accidentally" Off-camera

This is the ret-con way of explaining Bane's absence.  Basically he is still around the galaxy, but just by chance he wasn't around any of the key events of the four films.  This is the least satisfying of the explanations and as such the least likely that we would see upon the conclusion of The Clone Wars series.  It would be a shame to see the fate of such an interesting character as Bane be left unresolved.  The best justification for this fate would be if they wanted the character preserved for possible inclusion in the Live Action Series. Gentle Giant produced a Maquette statute of Bane that said Bane was, "a favorite freelancer of the Empire for many of their dirty dealings."  I would take a package blurb by Gentle Giant with a big grain of salt in regards to continuity, but we can't really ignore that it is out there and as such provides a potential fate for the character.



Retired

Bounty hunting is a rough business and no doubt Bane has made a lot of money, so perhaps he simply rode off into the sunset to enjoy his retirement.  Such a peaceful fate for such a violent character seems unlikely, and seeing how he is a villain a happy ending also wouldn't be the most satisfying for the audience.

Imprisoned

We have already seen Bane in and out of Republic custody, so it is possible that as the Clone Wars ends Bane is arrested again and incarcerated.  As the Republic becomes the Empire, perhaps the Emperor keeps Bane in one of his many prisons, keeping him alive in case he could be useful but off the space lanes to prevent him from causing trouble.  This story line could also keep Bane viable for inclusion in the Live Action Series.

Dead

This is both the most likely and most satisfying fate would be for Bane to die during the final season of the series.  After all not many who interacted with Darth Sidious during the Prequel era went on to long lives, Sidious isn't a fan of loose ends.

We have seen Bane tangle with other bounty hunters, stand up to Hutts, duel with Jedi and dispatch Clones. It raises the question what would be the most entertaining and useful way for Bane to die and who should be the one to take out the baddest bounty hunter in the galaxy?

The answer is as simple as it is obvious, there is only one character who should kill Bane and that is Boba Fett.

"You can run, but you'll only die tired."

Fett taking out Bane serves as both a changing of the guard in the bounty hunting world (or Bounty Hunter's Guild if that is still in continuity) and also serves as a seminal coming of age moment for young Boba Fett in the series.

It is already clear that Boba Fett has matured greatly in the series, early on he had a nursemaid in Aurra Sing who was clearly bossing young Boba around.  By season four however we see a teenage Fett in charge of his own gang of adult bounty hunters.  If you think of yourself as the toughest hombre in the galaxy then the obvious step is to take out the individual that most people think is currently the toughest hombre.

We could have a serious blaster, gadget and hand to hand fight between Fett and Bane that would be pretty awesome.

SOURCES : StarWars.com, Wookieepedia, and Rebelscum.com

Sunday, June 17, 2012

X-Wing eBook Discount Bundle: All 9 X-Wing novels for $56.99


Do you like your space battles with a liberal sprinkling of humor and healthy dose of emotional gut punches?

If you do then the X-Wing series of novels is for you.  I cannot suggest highly enough this serious of books, but the news today that I saw via Tosche Station regarding the price of a new bundle for the X-Wing Series did surprise me a bit.

Ever since the Star Wars catalog of novels went digital on June 28, 2011 riding the ebook wave, we have seen a standardization of Star Wars novel pricing.  For books that debuted or had an paperback edition printed their ebook price became a standard $7.99.

As with everything in life their are trade-offs, now we have all the Star Wars novels in digital versions however this means that you are actually probably paying more now then you had if you were an early adopter and purchased what Star Wars novels where digital before June 28th.  For example in 2010 when only certain books where being offered as ebooks, I ordered Kindle editions of all the Legacy of the Force novels.The Legacy of the Force series came in two bundles, Books 1-4 for $13.80 and Books 5-9 for $9.99.  A total of $23.79 for nine novels.  This was a tremendous value and something I jumped at because the paperback entries that I have for that series are pretty roughed up after multiple readings.

While I understand that since 2010 there has been a revolutionary change in the publishing industry and the fact that now publisher's must make a larger share of their profits from ebooks, but the price of this bundle still feels a bit high to me.

The X-Wing series began in 1996 and the latest book in the series (until Mercy Kill's release) was published in 1999. So these books are between 13-16 years old.  A price point of  around $40 seems like a much more reasonable cost for a bundle given the contents. If you are going to have such a high price fore the entire series, then I think you separately need to put a discount on the solo release of the first novel in the  series, Rogue Squadron and sell it for $1.99 instead of $7.99.  Create a real incentive for those unfamiliar with the series to begin reading the books and allow them to decide whether it is worth buying.  I think you would get a lot more sales with a $1.99 test drive and $40 series price then you would with a $7.99 test drive and $56.99 price. It is true that the ebook cover price of $7.99 for each novel individually would total $71.91, so it is true that you are getting a value.  It strikes me that unless you have read the books before a price point of $56.99 is going to be cost prohibitive for many readers or parents of younger readers.


SOURCES: Random House, Tosche Station, and Roqoo Depot

First Ten Star Wars: Celebration VI Exclusive Artwork Prints


StarWars.com has released images and details regarding the first 10 of 35 exclusive artwork prints that will be available at Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando, Florida this August 23-26.

Anybody want to do me a favor and pick up one of each of these for me?  Thanks.  Tom Hodges, Jeff Confer and Tim Proctor probably have my favorite prints out of this set.  A real nice diverse batch of artistic styles in this group of prints.

Title: Return of the Jedi 
Artist: Jerry Vanderstelt 
Size: 24" x 32" 
Paper: "Pura Velvet" Fine Art Archival Paper 
Edition size: 250 
Price $100



Title: Star Wars: 1937 
Artist: Russell Walks
Size: 36" x 24" 
Paper: 180 lb Matte Paper 
Edition size: 250
Price: $35




Title: Untitled 
Artist: Tom Hodges
Size: 11" x 17" 
Paper: Acid free, archival paper 
Edition size: 250 (Remarque will be available
with pre-ordered prints)
Price: $30

Title: Boba Fett -- Concept To Realization 
Artist: Jeff Confer 
Size: 18" x 24" 
Paper: TBD 
Edition size: 250 
Price: TBD


Title: Duel of the Twi'leks 
Artist: Mark McKenna 
Size: 11" x 17" 
Paper: 80lb Irish linen board 
Edition size: 250
Price: $40


Title: Untitled
Artist: Ken Phipps
Size: 18" x 24"
Paper: Three Color hand-silkscreened by 
the artist on Domtar Cougar 100lb Cover
Edition size: TBD
Price: TBD

Title: Heroes of the Clone Wars
Artist: Grant Gould
Size: 18" x 24"
Paper: 100lb Gloss
Edition size: 200
Price: $45

Title: Someone Who Loves You
Artist: Tim Proctor
Size: 12" x 24"
Paper: TBD
Edition size: 250
Price: TBD



Title: Legacy
Artist: Jan Duursema
Size: 18" x 24"
Paper: TBD
Edition size: 250
Price: $40



Title: Trooper Break 2
Artist: Stephen Hayford
Size: 30" x 12.5"
Paper: TBD
Edition size: 250
Price: $30




SOURCE: StarWars.com










Thursday, June 14, 2012

Star Wars: X-Wing: Mercy Kill Mini-Excerpt #1 from Star Wars Books


"Pretty. What do we blow up first?"

The crew over at Del Rey are such teases and they are back at it again beginning a series of mini-excerpts from Aaron Allston's forthcoming novel, Star Wars: X-Wing: Mercy Kill.

So far we have had two excerpts released from the novel:
Excerpt 1: "He crawled southward, keeping well below the trench lip above.
Myri followed, occasionally peeking up above the rim to see her surroundings. “My father was on the Death Star Trench Run. You know, the famous one. Me, I get the General’s Basement Trench Crawl.” " 
Excerpt 2: "Then she noticed that Trey had stopped talking. Instead, he was leaning forward, his forehead pressed against a heavy-duty, locking transparisteel cabinet.
Myri moved until she could see his face. “Four? You suddenly look like you want to cry.” 
“I do.” He stepped back from the cabinet and shone his glow rod on its contents. 
The cabinet had two shelves, themselves transparisteel. On the top shelf were two silvery bowl-like stands, and in each rested a globe larger than a balled human fist—a globe with dials and a depressible button.  
Myri stared at them for a moment, then clamped her hand over her mouth to suppress a gasp. “Thermal detonators.” 
“Two of them.” Trey’s voice was almost rapturous. “I have to steal these.” "

Mercy Kill will be released on August 4th. 

Publisher's Summary:
The intrepid spies, pilots, and sharpshooters of Wraith Squadron are back in an all-new Star Warsadventure, which transpires just after the events of the Fate of the Jedi series! Three decades have passed since Wraith Squadron carried out its last mission. Taking on the most dangerous and daring operations, the rogues and misfits of the elite X-Wing unit became legends of the Rebellion and the Second Galactic Civil War, before breaking up and going their separate ways. Now their singular skills are back in vital demand—for a tailor-made Wraith Squadron mission.  
A powerful general in the Galactic Alliance Army, once renowned for his valor, is suspected of participating in the infamous Lecersen Conspiracy, which nearly toppled the Alliance back into the merciless hands of the Empire. With orders to expose and apprehend the traitor—and license to do so by any and all means—the Wraiths will become thieves, pirates, impostors, forgers . . . and targets, as they put their guts, their guns, and their riskiest game plan to the test against the most lethal of adversaries.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Prometheus (Spoilers)



A funny thing happened on the way to the Alien franchise...director Ridley Scott has delivered an interesting character study dropped in the middle of a summer SciFi flick.

If like me the last films you saw in the theater where The Avengers and Battleship then it is a bit of a disorienting experience in viewing Prometheus.

The first hint that this is not going to be your average SciFi movie is the rather delicate musical score.

At it's core Prometheus is a philosophical meditation on human nature and it draws on both our strengths and our flaws.

Prometheus is far from a perfect film, and will certainly not appeal to all audiences.  It felt like most of the film's action sequences where already shown in various trailers and previews, so keep in mind going in that while there is action it is really not the focus of the film.

The general plot of the Prometheus is that in the not so distant future scientists discover a series of archeological paintings/carvings that have common symbolism and provide an interstellar road map.

A rich loon (Peter Wayland) decides to fund a massive expedition to these coordinates in search of the creators of humanity with a largely uniformed crew.

Upon reaching the habitable moon they find ruins and remains and then all heck breaks loose.

The "main" character of the film is Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, but the most important character in the film is Michael Fassbender's David.  David is a rather interesting robot to put it mildly.

My biggest problem with the film was the way that key items where introduced into the film. There are a number of times that we are introduces to something that will play a large role later in the films and almost every time it feels to obvious. I'm looking at you surgical table.

The other thing that really had me shaking my head was Dr. Shaws ability to run, jump, and fight for her life seconds after having a Caesarean section procedure performed on her.  I am sorry but even doped up on super awesome future pain killers that seemed like an impossible feat for a human being.

Prometheus explores human emotions and impulses by using both human and non-human characters in a bit of an echo chamber of actions and reactions.

We have the humans, David, the Architects and the proto-aliens.

The proto-aliens are the easiest to understand and assess. They provide an illustration of the most basic biological imperative, the urge to survive. They where a biological weapon designed that was to effective and once the genie was out of the bottle there was no way to put it back in. A bit like the development of nuclear weapons, if only the weapons where self-aware.

The proto-aliens' "evil" is really just a matter of perspective.

The ability to reason and the ability to choose self-sacrifice over self-preservation is a profound human strength and is illustrated at to important points in the film. It is a good contrast to the proto-alien's behavior.

The Architects behavior is very human, but present us with a species that can truly play God. Interestingly the film begins with the rather noble act of self-sacrifice by an Architect in order to disperse the DNA building blocks for humanities creation.

The desire to create is natural, but it appears the Architects either disapproved of their human creations or simply neglected that creation and it spread beyond the scope they intended for it. The desire to eradicate humanity may simply have been the way to sterilize the lab environment after the experiment was over. It sets up a rather interesting look at how human's view other life forms on our planet as being of a lower order and how casually we create, experiment on and destroy those other creatures.

The Architects also apparently have the war like tendencies of humans, if the alien virus was designed as a biological weapon then clearly they had someone to fight, could have been each other or another species.

The Architects also suffered from the rather human flaw of being unable to anticipate or control the results o their action. In the end are we destined as a species to be the architects of our own destruction?

I rather enjoyed the irony of both the humans and proto-aliens both attempting to kill the lone surviving Architect at the installation.

The humans are a rather mixed bagged of characters.

We see illustrations of how the natural instinct towards curiosity can led to disaster. The curiosity and ability to create David has some rather unfortunate ramifications for certain crew members and ultimately for the human characters in the Alien films. That curiosity and need to know also leads to the planet where the humans walk into a situation they do not comprehend and do not react to until it is to late.

On a more micro level the curiosity leads directly to the snake charmer death that befalls Millburn.

The emotion of fear plays a large role in the film. The fear of death and the questions we face when considering our own mortality seem to be the key motivation for the funding of the expedition.

Faith is displayed at different times in different ways, from faith in a higher power or afterlife to a misplaced faith in our own abilities.

The desire for revenge is a very human if ugly quality. The end reveals another quality that results from the ability to reason, sometimes the desire to harm others is more important then self preservation. At the end is Dr. Shaw anything other then a intergalactic suicide bomber? Is she any better than the Architects she seeks to destroy?

Charlize Theron's character Meredith Vickers may have a pretty healthy case of patricidal tendencies, but she illustrates unbridled ambition and covetousness well. Though I wonder if the film's pacing and story telling would have been better served (tighter) with her and her father's role diminished greatly.

The most interesting character to think about is David. He is not the evil robot that we see in Battlestar Galactica's Cylons, nor is he the rather benign Star Trek: The Next Generation's Data.

The biggest unexplained question about David in the film is how much his actions are defined by his programming and how much was his own initiative. Perhaps this is left open as an allusion to the nature versus nurture debate in human behavioral psychology.

Why does David infect Charlie Holloway? Was he ordered to by Wayland, or was he simply curious to see the effects of his experiment?

Did David view himself as a higher order of life form than his flawed human creators? Did he view Holloway and Shaw the same way we view lab rats?

In a debate between morality and immorality, is David simply amoral? The easier answer would be yes, but there are enough slights that David suffers at the hands of his creators that it would not be unreasonable of he desired their destruction, even on a subconscious or in his case sub-routine level.

As a film I don't think Prometheus answers some of the larger questions and themes it addresses, but I don't think it is trying to. To me it is an attempt to in an entertaining way point out these themes from a variety of perspectives and expect you to ponder the film after you leave the theater.




EW.com Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Five Trailer (High Quality Video)



Finally a high quality version of the Clone Wars Season Five trailer, first premiered at Disney's Star Wars Weekends has hit the web.

EW.com's Inside TV page has the video along with a story by their go to Clone Wars correspondent Christian Blauvelt.

SOURCE: EW.COM

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Star Wars: Clone Wars Season Five Video: Embo attacks Anakin, Padme and Clovis

Clovis is back and he's going to be in trouble, hey now, hey now Clovis is back..

Youtube user Savanna was at Star Wars Weekends and posted a video clip that expands on a scene we saw briefly in the Season Five trailer.



This scene features Embo attempting to assassinate Rush Clovis while Padme is present and Anakin is standing guard.  A chase ensues against the frozen environment of an as yet unidentified planet.

For more coverage of Star Wars Weekends visit Savanna's blog: Pandas, Lightsabers, and Cameras, oh my!!

SOURCE: Youtube

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Clone Wars Commentary Video: Dave Filoni on Obi-Wan Kenobi


In conjunction with Star Wars Insider #134, StarWars.com released a video recorded during Filoni's interview for the Insider magazine article.

Filoni muses about the trials and tribulations of Obi-Wan Kenobi in TCW and beyond.

VIDEO LINK

Friday, June 1, 2012

Star Wars: A.L. (After Lucas)


Today there was a great disturbance in the Force as George Lucas formally announced the next step in his "retirement" plans.  Fans often joke about Lucas being done with Star Wars or making more Star Wars movies because of the different public statements he has given over the years, but while it certainly seems like he means it this time, I don't think this will be an inactive retirement.  Whether he steps away completely to work on smaller more personal projects, I don't think we have gotten the last Star Wars story out of George Lucas yet, and I certainly hope that he gets the itch to take a continued creative role in the franchise, even if he steps back from the business side of it further and further. 

One of Lucas' lasting influences will be a rather progressive approach to his business.  Not only does he reportedly treat employees rather well, treat fans pretty darn good, but he also has hired and promoted a good number of women to lofty positions within his company.

Today it was announced that Producer extraordinaire Kathleen Kennedy will be joining Lucasfilm as Co-Chairwoman of the Board.  The full Press Release reads as follows:

KATHLEEN KENNEDY TO BECOME CO-CHAIR OF LUCASFILM LTD. 
June 01, 2012 
Lucasfilm Ltd. today announced that Kathleen Kennedy will become Co-Chair of Lucasfilm. In an effort to move forward with his retirement plans, George Lucas will work with Kathleen Kennedy to transition into her new role. Lucas will become Co-Chairman of the Board of Lucasfilm and continue as CEO. Micheline Chau will remain as President and COO of Lucasfilm, and continue to focus on the day-to-day operations of the business. 
"I've spent my life building Lucasfilm and as I shift my focus into other directions I wanted to make sure it was in the hands of someone equipped to carry my vision into the future," said George Lucas. "It was important that my successor not only be someone with great creative passion and proven leadership abilities, but also someone who loves movies. I care deeply about my employees-it is their creativity and hard work that has made this company what it is today. As the company grows and expands I wanted to be sure the employees of Lucasfilm have a strong captain for the ship. I also care deeply about our fans and it was important to have someone who would carry on the passion and care that I've given the films over the years. So for me Kathy was the obvious choice, she is a trusted friend and one of the most respected producers and executives in the industry." 
Director Steven Spielberg said, "George's prescience is once again proven by his choice of my long time producing partner, Kathy Kennedy to co-chair Lucasfilm. Kathy has been a member of both of our families going into a fourth decade so it does not feel like she is going to another galaxy far far away. She will get just as much support from me with Lucasfilm as George has given both of us all these years." 
"George is a true visionary," said Kathleen Kennedy. "I've seen him build Lucasfilm from a small rebel unit in Northern California to an international fully integrated entertainment company. I'm excited to have the chance to work with such an extraordinary group of talented people. George and I have talked about the enormous opportunities that lie ahead for the company, and as George moves towards retirement I am honored that he trusts me with taking care of the beloved film franchises. I feel fortunate to have George working with me for the next year or two as I take on this role-it is nice to have Yoda by your side." 
Seven-time Academy Award nominated Kathleen Kennedy is one of the most successful and esteemed producers and executives in the film industry. As a producer she has an impeccable record with a robust filmography working with such filmmakers as Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Martin Scorsese, Robert Zemeckis, Barry Levinson, Clint Eastwood, David Fincher and Gary Ross. As a testament to her standing in the film community, she previously held the position of governor and officer of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and currently serves as a member of the board of trustees. She is also a former President of the Producers Guild of America. 
Kathleen will step down from her role at The Kennedy/Marshall Company, shifting her responsibilities to partner Frank Marshall. The Kennedy/Marshall Company is currently in post production on LINCOLN, directed by long time collaborator Steven Spielberg whom Kennedy also produced for on the INDIANA JONES and JURASSIC PARK franchises, and THE BOURNE LEGACY, written and directed by Tony Gilroy and produced by Marshall. 
Under the Kennedy/Marshall banner, the pair has produced such Academy Award nominated Best Picture films as WAR HORSE (six nominations), THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (thirteen nominations) THE SIXTH SENSE, (six nominations) and SEABISCUIT (seven nominations), as well as blockbusters including the BOURNE series and THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN. Marshall will oversee the company's current slate of projects and continue to expand it via their development deals with DreamWorks and CBS TV Studios.
The question becomes, what happens to the Star Wars franchise after George Lucas walks away?

When Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry in 1991 the franchise owned by Paramount gave control of the franchise to Executive Producer Rick Berman.  Berman was involved until about 2005 and as the years stretch on from Roddenberry's death it seems like some of the momentum or magic with Star Trek was lost.

As a franchise I think Star Wars has some advantages over Star Trek based on what Lucas and his company Lucasfilm have established long before his retirement.  The defining of Star Wars Canon and creation of a relatively unified continuity gives the franchise of Star Wars a greater cohesiveness than many other franchises.  In recent years we have also seen an increasing attempt to co-operate between the primary EU licensees Random House's Del Rey imprint and Dark Horse Comics.  Both the comic lines and novels are overseen at Lucasfilm by Editor Jennifer Heddle.  The novels and the comics are the primary expanded universe story mediums.  The ability of these two licensees to work in a co-operative fashion and with a unified vision means that the franchise has direction.  This isn't a guarantor of success, but it speaks to the fact that Lucasfilm isn't simply letting writers and artists slap the Star Wars brand on anyting they can come up with and use it to cash in.

Another important development is the emergence of a strong and successful show-runner in the person of Dave Filoni on The Clone Wars.  While Lucas has been directly involved in The Clone Wars series, it seems pretty apparent that he has a great deal of trust and respect of Filoni's abilities.  It makes one wonder if Filoni is being groomed as the future creative voice of the franchise.

One person that Lucas' announcement has me wondering about as well is Rick McCallum. McCallum has long been Lucas' go to producer.  Producing not only the Prequel films, but also The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Radioland Murders, Red Tails and the on hold Star Wars Live Action Series.  What is McCallum's future at Lucasfilm and what is the future of the Live Action Series?

Below are six areas of the Star Wars franchise that could be impacted by Lucas's retirement.

Reboot?

One possibility for the franchise after Lucas retires is a complete and total reboot.  New movies set after or before the two trilogies, remakes of the original trilogy, or more individual movies like the Joe Johnston Boba Fett film.

This could also mean a complete re-boot of the Expanded Universe with all the gnashing of teeth, ripping of clothing and wailing that that would entail.

Another possibility is to take a page out of JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot and restart the franchise in an "alternative universe," which would set up two separate continuities.  This could be good or bad, but mostly confusing.

I am not a fan of the reboot concept in just about any fashion, while the continuity certainly has it's warts, it is the very richness and depth of the Star Wars universe that keeps the franchise so appealing to me as it evolves.

Expanded Universe?

With the exception of blocking off areas of the timeline, characters and story lines, it is rather apparent that Lucas has a rather hands off approach with the Expanded Universe.  While this doesn't mean that others in the company like head of Lucasfilm Licensing Howard Roffman or Keeper of the Holocron Leland Chee aren't intimately involved in the EU, it does mean there has been a certain disconnect at the top of the company.

I would imagine that Kathleen Kennedy and others at Lucasfilm may make an even greater effort to integrated the continuity between the TV and any future film projects with the Expanded Universe.  This synergy should be beneficial from a marketing standpoint.   I think we are seeing the first hints of this with the video game Star Wars 1313 and the Live Action Series, both of which have similar settings and when we learn more about the game I would not be surprised if it is set in the early days of the Empire between Episodes III and IV, just like the TV series.

The Clone Wars?

I have to admit I am rather nervous about The Clone Wars.  Supervising Director Dave Filoni has talked about the fact that Season Five is basically in the can.  We know they are working on Season Six.  We also know how intimately Lucas has been involved in the story breaking and execution of the series.  Does this mean season Six will be the final season of The Clone Wars?  If Lucas is really stepping away, does this mean the series is pretty much wrapped up in his mind?  Or is he confident enough in Filoni to entrust Dave with another few seasons of the show without his direct involvement?  These are questions that I am sure have already been answered internally but I would be shocked if we got the answer to any time soon.


The Live Action Series?

Is Lucas's retirement the death knell of the Live Action Series.  Producer Rick McCallum has been beating the drum on the twin terrors of production costs and the instability of the cable television business model for over a year now.  Does Lucas stepping away mean that he thinks this project is dead?  Or does he simply have confidence that the full season plus two movies of the week scripts that they have produced are strong enough to give the series his "voice" even if it continues with minimal involvement from him?

Truth be told I could careless if the Live Action Series is produced as live action or transitioned to animation.  I want to see the more mature stories then are possible to tell than on the more broadly targeted Clone Wars series.  It's all about the stories, in whatever format they are delivered.

More Movies?

Clearly the idea of more movies set after the original trilogy is near impossible without completely recasting the characters.  It is possible and I would love to see animated films, perhaps like the DC and Marvel direct to video films.  Lucasfilm could do direct to video adaptations of some of the more important EU events, such as the Thrawn Trilogy or an X-Wing series of films based on that book series.

We could also see films set in different time periods either in the Legacy era or in the Old Republic era where casting is less of an issue.

Fan Relations?

Lucasfilm is incredibly tolerant and supportive of fans.  This blog is but one example of that tolerance.  Some franchises and companies exert much tighter control over their IP rights and are much less sympathetic to fan fiction, fan films, websites, artists, etc.

I hope that Lucasfilm as an institution doesn't change it's approach to dealing with the fans in the post-Lucas era.

Conclusion:

While Lucas may be reducing his role at the company that bears his name, I still think at some point he will get that itch again, I still think there is some Star Wars tales for him to tell.  If this is truly the beginning of the end of Lucas' crafting Star Wars, I think that the structures are in place to continue the franchise.  Whether or not the future crafters of the Star Wars galaxy can capture the same magic is another question entirely.


SOURCE: Starwars.com 
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