Finn

Bullying and Star Wars

Bullying and Star Wars
Echo Station

 
 
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In this weeks episode Kris and Ian talk about the controversial  subject of bullying in the Star Wars community and how it effects the fans, the actors, and the overall feel of Star Wars. They sit down and talk about actor Ahmed Best (Jar-Jar Binks) and the recent video he released about his struggles after The Phantom Menace came out and what he went through, actress Kelly Marie Tran, Daisy Ridley, their own experiences with bullying and so much more. Warning! There is mention and talk of not only bullying but suicide as well in this episode. So if you are uncomfortable with talking or hearing about said subject we recommend you listen to the news section and then turn it off after. We realize that it is a heavy subject to speak about and not everyone is comfortable with talking and or listening about it.

Comment below or hit us up @EchoStationCast on Twitter or Facebook!

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Echo Station Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Kristina Davis
Ian Turner

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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Grid Talk: 07 – The Force Awakens

Grid Talk is back after a month’s absence to bring your Episode 07 all about Episode VII! That’s right, The Grid Daily is bringing Star Wars The Force Awakens discussions to the podcast. This week, the cast of Screen Heroes is joined by prop builder and Grid Daily contributor, Jon Czerkwinski as well as the other half of the Super Sirens, Hillz. We talk everything The Force Awakens which includes a ton of spoilers as we discuss plot points, characters, costumes, possible connections to canon and old Expanded Universe content, and more. The Force Awakens has crushed box office records and brought tears to the eyes of many. Now it’s time to sit back, listen to what we liked and what we took issue with, and of course, let the Wookiee win. Here’s Grid Talk Episode 07.

The Force Awakens Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rae Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guests
Hillz Lewis
Jon Czerwinski

Executive Producer and Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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contact@thegridscififrontier.com

Grid Talk: 07 – The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens, a new hope for Expanded Universe Fans

I am a Star Wars fan.  In junior high, it would have been difficult to find a shirt I owned that didn’t reference Star Wars in some way.   We had the prequels releasing throughout that time, but with those being huge disappointments, I had to get my fix of a galaxy far, far away somewhere else.  Thus, I turned to the EU (Expanded Universe, which consisted of novels, comic books, and video games).

It wasn’t Qui-Gon or Jar Jar that made me happy to be excited to be a fan, it was Kyle Katarn, Mara Jade, and Darth Revan.  Games like Knights of the Old Republic,  Dark Forces, and Masters of Teräs Käsi  (don’t judge me!) were my jam.  I read Timothy Zahn’s novels between classes in school. I wasn’t very popular, as you can imagine.  You nerdy kids today have it so easy!

So when Disney purchased Lucasfilm and announced that the whole Expanded Universe wasn’t canon in any way, shape, or form, I was crushed.

Fast forward a bit, and I watched The Force Awakens, and my opinion has changed.

While the characters I love may not exist in name anymore, many of their stories are set up to play out in the movies.  I am going to cover where I think the similarities lie, and maybe some of where they might be heading.  From here on out, there will be MAJOR SPOILERS for The Force Awakens (TFA) and the Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) games.  You have been warned.

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Still here?  Good. Let’s get into some references to the Expanded Universe.

So to start, Rey bears a pretty major resemblance to Bastila Shan from KOTOR, as well as her daughter Satele from SWTOR (Star Wars the Old Republic).  Coincidence?  Maybe.  Also take into account that they both use staff type weapons (Bastila uses a yellow bladed saberstaff).  Not only that, but Rey’s grey outfit at the end of TFA looks very similar to many old republic styled outfits.

Expanded Universe Bastila Shan KOTOR Rey The Force Awakens

There were some new Force powers introduced in TFA.  Remember when Kylo used the Force to stop Rey in place so he could capture and interrogate her?  That is called “Force Stasis”, and was introduced in KOTOR in a very similar way.  Darth Malak used the same move to capture Bastila Shan.  Kylo using the Force to interrogate Rey and Poe is also very similar to another KOTOR force power called “Mind Domination”.

Just like Rey in TFA, Bastila is captured by her Sith enemy and locked into a partially reclined torture device, and subjected to Dark Side probing.  Do these screenshots look familiar?

Expanded Universe Bastila Torture KOTOR Expanded Universe Bastila Torture KOTOR

When Finn and Rey meet, he intends to try and save her, but she saves herself, beating up a slew of attackers in the process with her staff.  This is very reminiscent of this scene in KOTOR (even a similar weapon!):

Expanded Universe Bastila saving herself KOTOR

Remember Finn and Rey having to escape a planetary attack in the Millennium Falcon?  Bastila and Revan have the same situation happen, except the ship is the Ebon Hawk instead of the Falcon.

The plots of TFA and KOTOR II both revolve around finding the last remaining Jedi by chasing down incomplete maps of the galaxy and following them into uncharted systems.  In TFA, the last Jedi was Luke who left the map with R2-D2, in KOTOR II it was Revan who left the map with T3-M4.

There are also some pretty large similarities between Revan and Kylo’s mask design.

kylo ren Expanded Universe Darth Revan KOTOR

That planet the Luke is on at the end of the movie could easily be Rakata Prime, which was a planet that was covered in ancient stone structures that are strong in the force, and was first mentioned in KOTOR.  Those stone structures could easily fit the bill for what Han says Luke is looking for. It just so happens that this planet was shown on the newest, official, canon map of the Star Wars galaxy.

Star wars Map

Speaking of planets from KOTOR, Malachor V is a planet introduced in KOTOR II that is full of ancient Sith temples and teeming with Dark Side energy.  In the visual dictionary released for The Force Awakens, Kylo’s saber is described as “an ancient design, dating back thousands of years to the Great Scourge of Malachor.”  The book is canon, as is Malachor now.

Visual Dictionary TFA

KOTOR had a super-weapon called the “Star Forge” that siphoned power from the sun, the same way that the Starkiller base did.

Pretty striking similarities, in my opinion.

So onto some speculation, because why not?

Maz Kanata mentions something about history repeating itself. Could Kylo’s more primitive clothing and weapon and Rey’s resemblance to Bastila be attributed to that?  Could history repeating itself be a reference to KOTOR’s story repeating itself?  Could Rey be from Bastila and Satele’s bloodline??!?!

I don’t think the mentions of Malachor and Rakata Prime are just nods to the fans.  I think that Snoke is probably living on Malachor, and that’s where he is summoning Kylo to to finish his training.

What do you think?  Coincidence?  Something more?  Did I miss some Expanded Universe references?  Will we see Rey wielding a yellow bladed saberstaff soon?   Let me know in the comments.

The Force Awakens, a new hope for Expanded Universe Fans

Star Wars – Expectations and Disappointment

I was born in 1977, the year that the first Star Wars movie was released in theaters.  I (half) jokingly like to say that I was born with Star Wars in my blood.  Some of my fondest and earliest memories revolve around Star Wars.

I remember endlessly watching The Empire Strikes Back on VHS tape.  (For those of you that aren’t dinosaurs, that’s how we used to watch movies before they could be streamed over the Internet.  No, before DVDs, too.  Yes, I’m old.)  In fact, I think I might have worn out VHS copy that we had, to the point that my mother had to make sure to re-record it the next time it aired on TV.

star wars 1I have vague recollections of going to see Return of the Jedi in the movie theater, and reenacting, with my best friend, the lightsaber duel between Luke and Vader for weeks on end.

So during my Junior year in High School, the announcement that George Lucas would be returning to “a galaxy far, far away” to show us the origin of Anakin Skywalker and how he would eventually evolve into Darth Vader made me giddy beyond belief.  One of my courses was a yearbook/journalism course, with a semi-regular assignment to bring in a newspaper article (good grief, I’m old) that was in some way ‘controversial’.

I brought in the first article I could find about the announcement the Lucas was working on a new Star Wars trilogy.  There was nothing controversial about the article at all.  I was just so excited that I completely forgot that aspect of the assignment.

Saying that I’m a fan might be understating things a little bit, which, as one might expect and like many other Star Wars fans out there, means that I had certain expectations about the prequel trilogy, expectations that were essentially shattered upon meeting the cold hard reality that is the prequel trilogy and the seemingly constant re-editing of the original trilogy.

Now I (only half) jokingly say that George Lucas both created and destroyed my childhood.

star wars 2Ten years after the release of Revenge of the Sith, I find myself in the same position again.  A part of me is almost excited beyond words at having a new trilogy of Star Wars movies in my future.  But I still have certain bare minimum expectations for what that new trilogy should be like, and I remember how badly I was burned before. So let’s talk about that for a minute.

Why don’t I just relax and forget about my expectations?

Well, first off, that’s just not who I am.  I’ve got a really good memory for a lot of things, including my favorite books, television shows, movies, etc.  I used to try and play a game with my mom where we would try to have entire conversations using only movie quotes to see who could keep it going the longest.

More importantly, the film industry doesn’t work like that.  In fact, they’re banking on your, and my, expectations.  Look at the movies that are produced these days, especially the ones that are blockbusters or expected to be.  The vast majority of them are adaptations, reimaginings, reboots, or sequels to existing properties.  They’re relying on your familiarity (aka expectations) of an existing property to entice you into paying the price of admission to the theater to see the next big thing.

What happened the last time we were here?

The offenses of which the prequel trilogy is guilty are terrifyingly numerous, and it’s not particularly difficult to find lists of those offenses.  For me, the most important parts of a really good movie is the strength of the characters and the integrity (the structural kind) of the story.  This is where things started to break down for me.  Since I imagine it’s possible for me to ramble on for quite a while about these various transgressions, I’ll stick with just describing my top two:

Motherhood and Memories

leia_truthIn Return of the Jedi, Luke asks Leia if she remembers her mother.  The conversation goes like this:

Leia: Luke, what’s wrong?

Luke: Leia, do you remember your mother? Your real mother?

Leia: Just a little bit. She died when I was very young.

Luke: What do you remember?

Leia: Just… images really. Feelings.

Luke: Tell me.

Leia: She was… very beautiful. Kind, but sad. Why are you asking me this?

Luke: I have no memory of my mother. I never knew her.

Yet, when they were born in Revenge of the Sith, there is literally no chance that Leia develops any kind of memory of her real mother that Luke somehow would not have.  Because she dies shortly after they are born.  What’s supposed to be one of the most powerful and emotional moments of the movie, and maybe even the trilogy, where Luke reveals to Leia her true heritage and what she may be called upon to face if he fails, is supposed to be a powerful moment.  But all the power of that moment seems to ebb away, for me at least, because what Leia says and what we witness as an audience do not connect together in any kind of reasonable way.

star wars 3Quick digression: I’m sure there will be people that suggest perhaps Leia was raised by Bail Organa’s first wife, and that she passed away when Leia was young, and that’s who Leia is referring to.  To this I respond that, first, that’s not the emotional intent of the conversation and, second, even if that’s true this is where we hit the limitations of movies.  And this is one of the big points of this post.  For movies, the audience can only follow along with what is presented ON SCREEN.  If it doesn’t happen on screen, at best with the audience actually seeing it happen or at worst with a character telling us what happened off camera, then it might as well not have happened at all. 

For two decades I expected that Leia did indeed know her real mother before she ultimately passed away.  Pulling the rug out from under that particular expectation was really bad for me, but nowhere near as bad as…

Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, and his family

I came out of the theater after seeing Attack of the Clones feeling rather dejected.  It hadn’t been a great movie, and I feared for what might come as part of the third movie in the prequel trilogy.  I imagined that the odds were high that the majority of the movie would continue to be disappointing, but I thought as long as they got one particular thing right to finish the trilogy, I’d be happy with it.

star wars 4That one particular thing was establishing why Vader would finally turn on the Emperor in order to save Luke at the end of Return of the Jedi.  In my mind it needed to play out like this: despite all of the evil that Anakin had perpetrated over the course of two decades, his love for his family needed to remain untarnished by the Dark Side.  That would give it the weight and power needed to finally urge Anakin to act, instead of Vader, for the salvation of his son. 

I wasn’t a huge fan of Anakin’s slaughtering of the Sand People in Attack of the Clones, but I was willing to accept it.  It was violent and angry, but it was an act meant to avenge the death of his mother.  So it fit what I hoped would be established.  How hard could it be for the trilogy to end with Anakin falling to the Dark Side without harming Padme?

Finally, Revenge of the Sith was released and I was once again disappointed.  Anakin uses the Force to Choke his pregnant wife.  He’s been haunted by ‘visions’ of her death the entire movie, and now he’s attacking her.

anakin-choking-padmeFor me, that destroyed any ability to believe that Darth Vader would turn against the Emperor to save Luke.  Anakin doesn’t know Luke, didn’t raise him, was never there to care for him or teach him, or do any of the things that would make him a father.  Padme, however, was his wife.  The woman he swore to love and cherish and protect above all else.  If he was willing to attack his own wife that way, I just didn’t believe that he’d sacrifice himself to save a son he barely even knew.

How am I going to be disappointed this time?

For the upcoming The Force Awakens and its sequels, the original trilogy will obviously serve as the base upon which the films are built, with 30 years of history and changes separating them.  This is the first thing that worries me.  Remember what I said before about how things need to happen ON SCREEN or they might as well not have happened at all?  There’s a LOT of room for things to go wrong here. 

So here are the things I’m already worried about, given the limited information about the upcoming movie.

Han Solo and Leia Organa not-Solo

The last time we saw these two crazy kids, what were they doing?  Snuggling by the Ewok bonfire, warm in the glow of their newly professed love for each other.  With that as the last thing we see of those characters, where do you imagine than_and_leiahey end up 30 years later?  Happily married with kids is where I think is the most reasonable place to go from there, and the Star Wars Expanded Universe (I’m sorry, Star Wars Legends) novels took the relationship in that direction to great effect.  It’s one of the things I liked most about those novels, despite how annoying the children turned out to be.  But from what little information we’ve seen so far, it doesn’t look like Han and Leia manage to maintain a relationship following the Battle of Endor.  From the information available so far, they’ve gone completely separate ways.

Luke Skywalker

In the EU novels, within a few years of the Battle of Endor, Luke has begun training other Force Sensitive individuals he has encountered to become a new generation of Jedi Knights to protect the New Republic.  For the new trilogy, that appears to distinctly not be the case from the extreme lack of any lightsabers shown so far outside of Kylo Ren and Finn.  Some articles I’ve read seem to suggest that Luke is mostly in hiding, as he fears even his own power.  I can’t find any confirmation of that particular line of thinking right now, but I desperately hope it is not true.  

Names are Important, but I’m not telling what they are

reyFinn and Rey are two of the new characters being introduced in The Force Awakens.  But unlike nearly all of the other characters being introduced in this movie, they only have first names.  According to J.J. Abrams, “It is completely intentional that their last names aren’t public record.” 

Remember, before Star Trek Into Darkness was released, how Abrams said that John Harrison is DEFINITELY NOT KHAN…except he totally turned out to be Khan?  Thifinns feels like that.  At least this time he’s not lying to our faces.  I can’t help but feel that the deliberate withholding of that kind of information is an incredibly cheap method of suspense for a story.  It’s a cheap trick to try and keep the audience guessing (not in a good way) and be confused.  And if those are the tactics you have to resort to, it makes me worry that the rest of the story you’re telling isn’t going to stand up very well on its own.

Now we wait…

Thankfully, the bar has been set really low with the prequel trilogy.  I’m cautiously optimistic, despite my reservations and seemingly already dashed expectations, because whatever The Force Awakens does, it just needs to be better than Episodes I – III.  How hard can that be?  Right?

Do you think Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to crash and burn? Or do you think it’s going to be incredible? Do you agree about the prequels? Let us know in the comments.

Star Wars – Expectations and Disappointment

5 Things We Can Deduct From the Star Wars VII San Diego Comic Con Reel

Despite two teasers and the newly released comic con reel, we still know very little about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Nevertheless, there are a few things we learned from the reel that should shed some light on the plot. Without further ado, here are five things we can deduct from the Star Wars comic con reel:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. The new TIE fighters have seen better days.

Courtesy Disney Comic Con Reel

Courtesy Disney Comic Con Reel

J.J. Abrams has told us that this new planet is Jakku and that a great battle was fought on this planet. However, the smoking TIE fighters show us that someone has shot them down. Perhaps the Millennium Falcon during that chase we have seen in both teasers?

2. This is Carrie Fisher’s costume.

Courtesy Disney Comic Con Reel

Courtesy Disney Comic Con Reel

A rumor was floating around for awhile that this was indeed her costume. Like it or not, the reel has confirmed that this is what her costume will look like… even though it strangely resembles the uniforms the Rebel Troopers wore in A New Hope.

Rebel Troopers from Star Wars: A New Hope.

Rebel Troopers from Star Wars: A New Hope.

3. Kylo Ren definitely comes to Jakku.

Courtesy Disney Comic Con Reel

Courtesy Disney Comic Con Reel

You can see here that Kyle Ren is walking down onto a desert landscape. Since Abrams has told us that it is not Tatooine, we can assume that it must be Jakku. Maybe we’ll see some lightsaber fights on the planet?

4. Rey flies the Millennium Falcon solo.

Rey falcon

Both pictures courtesy Disney Comic Con Reel

You can very clearly see the entrance to the cockpit of the Falcon in this shot. Both pictures courtesy Disney Comic Con Reel

This shot shows what is clearly the Falcon’s cockpit and that Rey (Daisy Ridley) is flying it. So why is she flying it alone? One of my theories is that Rey is in fact the daughter of Han and Leia. For some reason, she steals the Falcon and takes it to Jakku. Mind you, that is only a theory. All we know for sure is that she flies it with no one else in the cockpit.

5. Han will fly the Millennium Falcon with Rey and Finn.

Courtesy Disney Comic Con Reel

Courtesy Disney Comic Con Reel

Piggybacking off of the fact that Rey flies the Falcon solo, it would seem that Solo himself joins her and that she is co-piloting. Going off of my previous theory, is Han reclaiming his property? At the end of the second teaser, he does say, “Chewie, we’re home.” This implies that they had been separated from the Falcon for some time. Maybe Rey doesn’t even steal the Falcon. Maybe Han gives it to her while he goes into temporary retirement. No matter the reason, we shall find out when the movie hits theaters this December.

5 Things We Can Deduct From the Star Wars VII San Diego Comic Con Reel