J.J. Abrams

Kelvin Timeline 10 Year Retrospective

Kelvin Timeline 10 Year Retrospective
Redshirts & Runabouts

 
 
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May 8th, 2009 marked the return of Star Trek after a long 4 year gap that started with the end of Star Trek: Enterprise. Now, 10 years later, Greg & Derreck take a walk down memory lane to discuss the state of the Kelvin timeline created in the 2009 film that includes Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond.

We’ll be back next week to wrap-up Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 as a whole and talk about what we want and do not want from season 3.

How do you feel about the Kelvin timeline and its films?

Comment below or hit us up @RedshirtsPod on Twitter!

Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts now on Spotify and Spreaker! The links are below!

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Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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Kelvin Timeline 10 Year Retrospective

Star Wars Celebration: Part 1

Star Wars Celebration, The Rise of Skywalker, and The Clone Wars. Oh my! We are back from our mini hiatus to bring you all the Star Wars Celebration news! Ian had the great opportunity to not only go to Star Wars Celebration, but he also got into the highly sought out Episode 9 panel! Join Ian and Kris as they discuss the Rise of Skywalker trailer and panel, going to Star Wars Celebration, and the new Clone Wars trailer reveal with part 1 of our Star Wars Celebration wrap up. And then join us next week for part 2 discussing The Mandalorian, Galaxies Edge, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and so much more SWC news.

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

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Echo Station Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Kristina Davis
Ian Turner

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/echo-station-a-star-wars-podcast/id1434248101

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Star Wars Celebration: Part 1

RR49: Star Trek Into Darkness Review

Next up in our Kelvin journey, we discuss Star Trek Into Darkness. The second J. J. Abrams film in the franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness takes the franchise is a different yet familiar direction after the 2009 reboot. We are introduced to new but old characters with a story that makes this film one of, if not the most controversial Star Trek movie.

Join us next week as we continue our Kelvin journey with our review of Star Trek Beyond and our 50th episode!

Be sure to check out @RedshirtsPod on Twitter and follow us!

What did you think of Star Trek Into Darkness? Are you a fan of the Kelvin timeline? Where do you rank this divisive film? Comment below or hit us up @RedshirtsPod on Twitter! Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer

Special Guests
Rae Stewart
Zach Story

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/redshirts-runabouts/id1290563072

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redshirtsandrunabouts

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RR49: Star Trek Into Darkness Review

RR48: Star Trek (2009) Kelvin Review

Alright Acting Captains. It’s time to punch it, fire everything, and elicit some emotional responses! We take a trip over the Kelvin timeline this week with our review of Star Trek (2009), the reboot\sequel\prequel from J. J. Abrams. Before beginning our Kelvin journey, we talk some news, specifically the details surrounding the newly announced Star Trek: Lower Decks series coming to CBS All Access!

Join us next week as we continue our Kelvin journey with our review of Star Trek Into Darkness!

Be sure to check out @RedshirtsPod on Twitter and follow us!

What did you think of Star Trek (2009)? Are you a fan of the Kelvin timeline? Are you hyped for the new Star Trek: Lower Decks show? Comment below or hit us up @RedshirtsPod on Twitter! Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer

Special Guests
Rae Stewart
Zach Story

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/redshirts-runabouts/id1290563072

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redshirtsandrunabouts

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@RedshirtsPod

RR48: Star Trek (2009) Kelvin Review

Jump to Lightspeed

Hello to all you Star Wars fans out there! Welcome to the very first episode of the HPN’s newest podcast series Echo Station: A Star Wars Podcast. Come join hosts Ian (cohost of Costume Couture) and Kris as they talk a little bit about their love for this massive universe, how they got hooked into it, and dive into Episode 9 shooting and casting news! Lets see if we can do this in less than 12 parsecs shall we?

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

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Echo Station Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Kristina Davis
Ian Turner

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

RSS Feed

http://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/echostation

iTunes

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RR12: Quentin Tarantino Star Trek Pitch

With Quentin Tarantino behind the helm of the next Star Trek movie AND Patrick Stewart showing interest in returning to the role of Picard, your three hosts work together to pitch the movie we think could come from such a partnership. We get through the basic premise and the first two acts before running out of time, so be sure to check it out!

We’ll give you a hint, there’s a taste of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” mixed in with “All Good Things…” and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Curious?

Listen in and let us know what you think of our idea, how you think it should end, or what you would pitch for a Quentin Tarantino directed Star Trek movie with Patrick Stewart!

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

Join our three-man crew for a journey that will span decades, every episode, every series, every movie, and every possible timeline no matter how small.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, and Google Play are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer
Jeremy Monken

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/redshirts-runabouts/id1290563072

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redshirtsandrunabouts

Google Play Subscription Link
It’s a Long Link, so Click Here

Feedburner Subscription Link
Coming Soon

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Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts

RR12: Quentin Tarantino Star Trek Pitch

RR11: The Wrath of Khan Review

We continue our Trek down memory lane with a review of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan! From the new uniforms, to the Kobayashi Maru, Eugenics wars, and space battles, we talk about everything we love about the classic Khan revenge flick, along with a few spots the film slipped up. It’s true. It’s not quite the perfect film but we’ll talk about that.

How do you feel about The Wrath of Khan? Where does it rank on your Star Trek movie list?

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

Join our three-man crew for a journey that will span decades, every episode, every series, every movie, and every possible timeline no matter how small.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, and Google Play are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer
Jeremy Monken

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/redshirts-runabouts/id1290563072

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redshirtsandrunabouts

Google Play Subscription Link
It’s a Long Link, so Click Here

Feedburner Subscription Link
Coming Soon

RSS Feed Link
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Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts

RR11: The Wrath of Khan Review

Star Trek Beyond: The Spoiler Free Review, It’s Fantastic

But I’m sure you’ve already heard that it’s good or that some reviews not liking Star Trek Beyond for its lack of depth, you know, the kinda of depth of classic episodes like “City on the Edge of Forever” or “Balance of Terror”, for example. What some people forget is that on average The Original Series was far from perfect. Depending on who you ask, only about half the episodes are really good. What brings fans like me back continually are the characters and how they interact. I’ll sit through some of the worst TOS episodes if the banter between Spock and McCoy makes me smile and if it has a theme or at least some solid message I’ll have a good time watching it. And that’s what Star Trek Beyond is, a simple character driven story with a theme. Its theme is camaraderie plain and simple. There are also much more sublet nods to ideas of globalization and provincialism and sense of wonder. Sometimes all you need is a nod if you want to focus more on the characters and you’ll have a great film.

Plot:
The plot is functional, nothing too elaborate, but it gets the job done. There are no big loop holes or dramatically illogical moments like what was found in Star Trek Into Darkness. But it does lack the freshness and charm of something like an origin story that is found Star Trek (2009). At no time was the story dull or boring, even during the moments of exposition and story setup it was fun to watch. The film moves from start to finish in a quick way that will leave you feeling like it’s going to end way too soon but the pacing never disappoints.  Interestingly enough where you could argue Into Darkness failed at plot twists and surprises, Beyond does a much better job at it. You’ll definitely want to avoid spoilers with this one.kirk-yorktown-uniform

Cast and Acting:
This film’s saving grace is its cast and acting. I know it’s been said before but if you think these actors have hit there mark before, you’ll be blown away with how they’ve improved on capturing the characters. They all feel much more visceral. Most noticeably is Karl Urban’s McCoy who is given a far greater role in the story. He’s your battle medic alright. And McCoy is gonna make you laugh, let me tell you.

karl-urban-almost-said-no-star-trek-beyond

The new comers to Star Trek, Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella, are well done also. You’d think Idris Elba, being so buried in makeup would be a mistake. When I first saw the trailer, I was reminded of the Remans from Star Trek: Nemisis, shallow Nosferatu like aliens that were flat and dull, more monster than villain. But Elba pulls it off well. He has a certain speaking cadence like Bane from The Dark Knight Returns but it’s actually much closer to how Ceaser speaks in the Planet of the Apes remakes. It draws you in, eager to hear every word, it keeps you hanging on his words. The villain interestingly enough has a not too subtle character arch that when it reaches its climax is interesting and adds to both the story and characters motivation, if a little to late.

bts-idris-elba-justin-lin

Sofia Boutella’s female heroin character, Jaylah, has some range as well. She portrays her as a strong and cunning independent survivor. Yet Boutell gives Jaylah a much needed vulnerability at times. Something that other space fairing, sci-fi flicks didn’t do with there stick fighting female leads (cough, cough Force Awakens). It’s Jaylah’s vulnerability with her strength that makes her compelling in the opposite way of how Rey was handled in Star Wars.

jaylah-franklin-chair

Script:
Much of the charm and fun from Star Trek Beyond comes from the clever script. Cheeky one liners and interactions between characters are what makes this film exciting during the down time between the action scenes. McCoy and Spock’s interactions are some of the best moments with the film. But every character has his or her scenes and contributions to the plot; no character is wasted and everyone has a reason to be there.

jaylah-scotty-scanning

The only draw back at the end is the problem solving felt a little too collaborative. Like cheesy 90s sitcoms where couples finish each others sentences when faced with a problem, it felt like they where kicking a ball back and forth and it felt a bit too forced.

Action:
The action is real good but perhaps not as good as something like Force Awakens. True, there are some moments where Star Trek Beyond introduces some very interesting shots and camera work that depict actions scenes in zero gravity in a new way, both in space and hand to hand combat. But these shots don’t always pay off. When they do, they’re something special.

kirk-motorcycle

Oddly enough though, the infamous motorcycle scene is actually pretty darn good. When I saw it first in the trailer I was reminded of the lame dune buggy scene from Star Trek: Nemesis. But it fits with the story and is fun to watch. I actually liked it. Kirk was the action hero we always knew he was.

Lastly, the space battles where good but not overly so. Much as with the plot, the strength is with the characters not the space ships.

Special Effects:
Actually, I was slightly disappointed with the special effects. Generally most sci-fi films do a great job at this, heck even fan films can have some great stuff. But there are some moments here and there where I guess they got overly ambitious with shots and angles and didn’t have the budget to make everything look perfect. I mean don’t get me wrong, the film overall looks great but early on in the above mentioned motorcycle scene for example,  it looked sub-standard, perhaps because they wanted an interesting pan shot for the camera. It may be from lack of budget more than lack of vision though.  I got to hand it to them for trying an interesting shot though. I’m no special effects purists.

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Overall:
Star Trek Beyond is a fantastic film but if you’re an old school Trekkie that hated the previous two films then there really isn’t much here you’d like. As for everyone else, you’re going to enjoy yourself with Beyond. It feels like a love letter to The Original Series, at many times echoing it in form and function. Though not a film with intellectual depth, it stands on par with the complexity found with Star Trek: First Contact easily and in many ways surpasses it. It’s an incredible bounce back from the shortcomings of Into Darkness and though in may not have the charm of the 2009 entry, it feels much closer to the source material than many other Star Trek films. In many ways, it was much closer to Star Trek: The Motion Picture as far as look and feel to The Original Series. That’s pretty darn impressive in itself.

362A58A300000578-3684901-Ready_to_boldly_go_Karl_Urban_s_Dr_McCoy_Chris_Pine_s_Captain_Ki-m-56_1468257153668

What did you think of Star Trek Beyond? Do you think Justin Lin was up to the task? Comment below with your thoughts!

Live long and prosper.

Star Trek Beyond: The Spoiler Free Review, It’s Fantastic

Bad Robot Surprises with 10 Cloverfield Lane

While the world was focused on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams, Bad Robot, and Paramount were planning something. The surprise came mainly to those who saw 13 Hours opening weekend because they were treated with a trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane, a horror\suspense film starring John Goodman that, according to Abrams himself, is a “blood sequel” to the 2008 film Cloverfield. The new movie, while not a direct sequel, may be connected and exist in the same universe as the original or it might simply be similar in tone and style, which is were the “blood sequel” comes into play. The IMDB page is light, showing no images or even a movie poster for 10 Cloverfield Lane, which is surprising since the film is slated for a March 11th release, meaning less than two months away. Additionally, the film’s cast is currently only three people, John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Thing  (2011), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), and John Gallagher Jr. (Jonah Hex). 10 Cloverfield Lane is directed by Dan Trachtenberg, marking his feature film directorial debut.

We’ve got the trailer below and as you can see for yourself, much is left to explain and understand about this quickly upcoming horror film but IMDB takes a stab at it with their synopsis:

Waking up from a car accident, a young woman finds herself in the basement of a man who says he’s saved her life from a chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable.

Sounds mysterious to be sure.

Check out the trailer below!

Alright, what did you think? Are you excited for 10 Cloverfield Lane? Do you think it’ll connect to Cloverfield in a big way? Comment below with your thoughts!

Oh and “I Think We’re Alone Now” is just a fantastic, creepy song to put in that trailer. I think it sold it for me.

Bad Robot Surprises with 10 Cloverfield Lane

Grid Talk: 05 – Dark Skywalker

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens just over a month away, we break down our thoughts and expectations for the iconic character, Luke Skywalker. Due to his absence in any promotional material, trailers, posters, etc. many think that there might be a twist on the origin trilogy’s hero. Has Luke Skywalker turned to the Darkside in the events after Return of the Jedi? He has gone into hiding as the only known trained Force user left in the galaxy far, far away? Perhaps he has become the new Lord of the Sith, since the only way to become one is to kill the previous. We discuss all of these possibilities plus a few more including a dive into his father, Anakin Skywalker and how his turn away from Vader at the end of the trilogy might affect his son’s choices. So sit back, grab some blue milk and enjoy the ride.

Dark Skywalker Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Timothy Jackson
Zachary Story

Special Guests
Nic Story

Executive Producer and Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

iTunes Link
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contact@thegridscififrontier.com

Grid Talk: 05 – Dark Skywalker

Thoughts on the Star Trek TV Series Announcement

Hurray! Star Trek is returning to TV! Excited doesn’t even capture me right now. All I can say is that I am beyond words that CBS finally decided to bring Star Trek back to TV. And with that, here are some words.

There is honestly just so much that I want to know, what didn’t seem to be revealed in the announcement itself. Who are the characters? What time period is this set in? Will there be Vulcans? Andorians? Romulans? Borg? But unfortunately, all of this is left to my imagination. Star-Trek-616433But let’s start with what we know. Perhaps the biggest piece of information is that Alex Kurtzman, co-writer of the J.J. Abrams Star Trek films as well as co-creator for shows like Fringe and Sleepy Hollow, is listed as executive producer. While not terribly informative, we can assume that this means the new Star Trek series will be set in the alternate timeline colloquially known as the “JJ-Verse.” Let it be known that I am a full-on fan of most everything J.J. Abrams has ever done including his Star Trek films so I have zero problems with it should this be the case. Setting this new series in a Star Trek universe that is both familiar and yet unknown presents many different paths it could go.

Vulcan_consumed_by_black_holeMy personal biggest hope is that they address the elephant in the room and deal with the destruction of Vulcan. When Nero created a singularity at the center of Vulcan, destroying one of the Federation’s founding cultures, as well as Spock’s mother, one would hope that it would be addressed. While admittedly Star Trek Into Darkness had its story dealing with different matters, I always hoped that the destruction of Vulcan would impact the Alpha Quadrant in some heavy ways. Most notably, how will the Romulans take it? Several episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series show Romulans as being conniving but also a respectable and proud people who hold their Vulcan cousins in decently high regard. Will the Romulans give the Vulcans humanitarian, or in this case vulcanitarian, aid? Or will the Romulans take advantage of this weakness and invade? Who knows.

My only other major hope, and I know I’m about to get a lot of flack for this, is that they don’t set the show on an exploration ship. Yes, I know Star Trek, with the notable exception of Deep Space Nine, has always been set on an exploration ship and that’s precisely my point. That concept is tired.  We’ve had 21 seasons of 4 incarnations of Star Trek all set on an exploration ship and I think its time to move on. Sure, exploration can still be a theme but having one ship with one captain, one XO, one engineer, one tactical officer, one helmsman, one navigator, and one science officer is just something Star Trek needs to get away from for a while. We don’t need a show that’s essentially another rehash of The Original Series or Next Generation… again. The bulk of Voyager and the first two seasons of Enterprise proved that. I know people are going to say that Star Trek‘s exploratory theme is where its roots lie but I would argue this. Yes, Star Trek is about exploration but not the universe, they were exploring the human condition. What you see in The Original Series is exploration of the universe used as a metaphor for exploring what makes humanity so human and I believe there are ways to do this without resorting to the same concept used by Star Trek for 21 seasons. Star Trek writers are some of the most creative bunch out there and I believe them perfectly capable of bringing us something so clearly innately Star Trek but not a tired unimaginative redo of the same thing we’ve known for 50 years. Star Trek is better than that.

cbs-all-access-logoOne possible concern I know several people have is its distribution model. This new Star Trek show has been announced as only being available on CBS All Access or as I call it, CBS Not Netflix. While yes, I understand your frustration for them not releasing the series on cable like normal but let’s be real here. Bringing Star Trek back to TV is an enormous gamble for CBS and I’m sure they want some reassurance that it will be a successful venture before they sink so much money into actually doing that for a cable audience. This new series is their beta tester and should it do well, I have no doubts that Star Trek will return to cable for everyone to enjoy. So let’s make that happen.

Finally, I want to address something disturbing I’ve noticed just today since the announcement was released and that is the absolute mind-boggling hate and general nastiness that so many people have posted in regards to the new announcement, mainly because of how Alex Kurtzman is attached to it and Kurtzman worked for Abrams. I’ve seen so many post hateful and negative remarks about how Star Trek is dead and they won’t watch it with Kurtzman at the helm. Star Trek finally returns to TV and this is the reception they get? Star Trek‘s return to TV heralded by negativity and disdain? It’s simply sad to see that what the fans claim to have wanted for so long suddenly turn against it because one of Abrams’ writers is at the helm. Regardless of how TV network politics and money matters happen, it’s the fans that kept Star Trek alive for this long and it’s also the fans that can kill it. To everyone, I urge you to not be pre-maturely judgmental. Be open, be positive, be accepting, and be the fans that kept this franchise alive for 50 years with 30 seasons and 12 movies. We all want more so let’s be open to more even if it’s different.

Sovereign_Crew_QuartersNow as I raise my glass, here’s to season 31. Make it so.

Thoughts on the Star Trek TV Series Announcement

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