Luke Skywalker

Collecting and Star Wars

Collecting and Star Wars
Echo Station

 
 
00:00 / 46:06
 
1X
 

Welcome back to an all new episode. Today Ian and Kris talk how they started collecting Star Wars merchandise! They talk everything from collecting figures, to dolls, ships, 90’s figures, statues, their most prized possession, and so much more! They also talk some breaking Star Wars news that has happened over the past week. So grab your favorite Star Wars collectables and lets dive in!

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 by Flying Killer Robots

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John Williams Tribute

Welcome back to another episode of Echo Station! We are finally back from hiatus guys!! And in honor of us coming back we are doing a tribute to the master of music himself, Mr. John Williams! Kris and Ian have picked their top 6 or 7 John Williams themes throughout all 8 films and discuss why the picked them and put them on their lists. They also talk huge Star Wars news regarding new Disney+ shows, D23, Star Wars Barbies and much more. So strap in and sync up those soundtracks!

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 by Flying Killer Robots

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

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/055Hy86EaxEdQdjJjswEPX

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Social Media: @EchoStationCast

John Williams Tribute

Peter Mayhew Tribute

Today on Echo Station we mourn the passing of Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew. Mayhew was of course known for his portrayal of the lovable Wookiee Chewbacca in the original trilogy, Revenge of the Sith, parts of The Force Awakens, and consulted on episodes 8 and 9 with Joonas Suotamo (The new Chewbacca) taking over the role due to Peters advanced age. Kris and Ian share personal stories about meeting Peter, we discuss a bit of Star Wars news, and we fondly remember the big walking carpet who is now watching over our Princess in the sky.

If you’d like to make a donation the the charity that Peter started follow the link: http://petermayhewfoundation.org

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

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/055Hy86EaxEdQdjJjswEPX

Spreaker: https://www.spreaker.com/show/3360934

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

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Ixlalgr5lliy6jt477iqzpwucde

Social Media: @EchoStationCast

 

Peter Mayhew Tribute

Star Wars Battlefront: Death Star DLC

This past week marked the arrival of the third Star Wars: Battlefront DLC, “Death Star.” Releasing two weeks early to season pass holders, this DLC allows players to fight inside the infamous battle station, finally dogfight in space, and make the famous trench run from A New Hope. The Star Wars: Battlefront “Death Star” DLC comes with an all new mode in multiplayer, Battle Station, new star cards, weapons, ships, pickups, and new heroes and villains to play.

Here we take a look at the three new phases presented in the new mode, Battle Station that was specifically created for this DLC.

Phase 1Battlefront DLC

The first phase is where you attack a Star Destroyer preventing one of the rebellion landing craft from entering the Death Star. This is where the dog-fighting in space comes into play. As the Rebels you must attack four key hard points on the Star Destroyer in a limited amount of time in order to break the blockade and allow your shuttle to pass through. As the Empire, you are trying to prevent your Star Destroyer from being blown up and allowing the Rebels access to the Death Star. During the space battles you get new pickups as you’re flying around. This allows you to call in wing-men to help assist in the battle. The Rebels get Y-Wings and B-Wings while the Empire get TIE Bombers and Defenders (a fighter previously in the EU). Think of them kind like probe droids in space; they hunt enemies down while providing you cover and giving you more points.

Phase 2star-wars-battlefront-death-star-dlc

The second phase is where the Rebels make their way inside the Death Star to retrieve R2-D2 who has the stolen plans for the station. In there you fight along the halls and hangers of the Death Star and try to retrieve R2 before the Empire stops you from doing so. New heroes come into play during this mode as well, Chewbacca for the Rebels and Bossk for the Empire. Both have unique special abilities than can aid in the battle for their side. Along with new heroes and villains you get new skins for the Rebels and Empire. Ranging from the classic Tantive IV Rebel security uniform to a Death Star gunner’s uniform there is a lot to pick from. Also included in the map is, of course, the Death Star layout itself. This map is one of the bigger maps. It is beautifully designed and has callbacks from the original Battlefront games back in the early 2000’s. Here you utilize the new star cards and blasters that EA and DICE have developed.

Phase 3Trench Run-Death Star

Once you retrieve R2 or if you stop the Rebels from doing so it will lead you to the third and final phase which is the trench run. Similar to how it goes in the movie, you must either defend three fighters going into the trench from TIE Fighters and give them time to destroy the Death Star, or try and prevent the Rebels at all cost in doing just that. If you play as the Rebels and are chosen randomly by the game to destroy the Death Star then you must navigate through the trench and hit 12 checkpoint markers. The trench isn’t just a straight line, it’s a lot of twists and turns through narrow gaps to try and reach the exhaust port. You will need to use speed, timing, and your power-ups if you want to reach the objective on time. If all three fighters fail, then a new batch is picked to try and do another run until the Death Star is blown up or time runs out. As the Empire you are trying to protect the Death Star no matter what. The same pickups from the first phase are available to both sides to try and protect one another. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker return as the heroes for this phase in their ships. Luke in his X-Wing with new abilities and Darth Vader in his TIE Advanced X1.

So far this is the last of the Original Trilogy themed DLC we are going to get. The final DLC, “Rogue One: Scarif”, which will tie into the new movie, will be released sometime this December.

How are you all liking Battlefront so far? Are you satisfied with all the DLC to date? What DLC would you have wanted to see or game modes you want to see in Battlefront 2? Let us know in the comments below.

Star Wars Battlefront: Death Star DLC

Top 10 Lightsaber Hilts in Star Wars Movies and TV

“This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster, an elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.” Obi-Wan Kenobi introducing Luke Skywalker to his father’s lightsaber.

This quote has stood with Star Wars fans ever since the first movie premiered in 1977 and we saw a lightsaber for the first time. From that day forward every kid and a lot of adults wanted a lightsaber of their own. To this day, that testament remains the same. Now of course in this day and age we can’t have a real one, at least not yet. But what I love most about the lightsabers in the Star Wars movies and TV shows are how unique every single one of them is. That comes down to the hilt design more so than the color of the blade. Each hilt of a lightsaber is unique and built by hand by the various Jedi or Sith that wield them, or is passed down from person to person. This is my top 10 list of my favorite lightsaber hilts from the movies and Clone Wars/Rebels animated series.

Number 10 Lightsaber Hilt

Mace Windu’s HiltScreen Shot 2016-01-13 at 4.36.04 PM

This purple-bladed saber was used by the second greatest Jedi on the Jedi Counsel. This sleek and elegant blade was plated with chrome and gold finishes to represent his senior status on the Jedi Counsel. A thinner hilt than some, but it suited Mace well with his style of fighting called Form VII or also known as Vaapad. He sadly lost it, along with his life while dueling Darth Sidious.

Number 9 Lightsaber Hilt

Sidious's hiltDarth Sidious’s Hilts

Little is known about these hilts created by the famed Sith Lord. But what is known is that both of them were constructed while he was still an apprentice to Darth Plagueis out of a nearly indestructible metal. These are also the same blades that killed his former master in his sleep. Most people did not know he created two hilts and was trained in fighting with two lightsabers at once, as seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars when he fights Darth Maul and his brother Savage Opress.

Number 8 Lightsaber Hilt

Lukes lightsaberLuke Skywalker’s second lightsaber

This famous hilt was constructed after Luke lost his first lightsaber (his father’s before him) to a duel with Darth Vader on Cloud City in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. This particular hilt is reminiscent of Obi-Wan’s third lightsaber that Kenobi constructed during the beginning of the Clone Wars in honor of his late mentor. It now emitted a green blade instead of a light blue, and was used by Luke throughout him teaching a new generation of Jedi, until Ben Solo betrayed him and became Kylo Ren which forced Luke into exile. Little is known what happened to his lightsaber after these events, but it is believed that when he went into exile, he threw away his hilt to forget his past.

Number 7 Lightsaber Hilt

Savage Opress LightsaberSavage Opress’s Hilt

Following in is brother Darth Maul’s footsteps, Savage wielded a duel saber staff during the final years of the Clone Wars. This staff was much thicker than Maul’s to accommodate the new Zabrak’s enhanced skills and size thanks to the Nightsisters. With this lightsaber he killed many Jedi and practically anyone who got in his way. He would also use the hooks on both ends to impale his enemies before igniting his blade and running them through.

Number 6 Lightsaber Hilt

Askoha RebelsAshoka Tano’s second lightsabers

These two lightsaber hilts replaced the ones Ashoka used before leaving the Jedi Order during the Clone Wars. Thin and curved in design, Ashoka used these during her adventures with the Rebel fighters as they fought against the might of the Empire. Her blade color switched from green to a pure white, symbolizing her non-affiliation to the Jedi. Ashoka most notably used these lightsabers to take on two Inquisitors, The Seventh Sister and The Fifth Brother respectively. Although Tano left the order when she was still in training as Anakin’s Padawan, she showed exceptional skill and control while fighting the two Dark Side users.

Number 5 Lightsaber Hilt

Dooku's hiltCount Dooku’s Hilt

This curved hilt was used by Darth Sidious’s second apprentice Count Dooku. Dooku not only had a curved hilt during his apprenticeship with Sidious, but while he was also a member of the Jedi Order. Dooku favored the design over a traditional hilt because of his title and strength as a duelist. He dueled and killed many Jedi with this blade until his demise at the hands of Anakin Skywalker on board General Grievous command ship during the Battle of Coruscant. It is presumed that the hilt was destroyed along with the ship as it broke apart during the battle.

Number 4 Lightsaber Hilt

Darth Maul's SaberDarth Maul’s Hilt

Used by the Sith Lord Darth Maul during the occupation of Naboo, this uniquely designed hilt was actually two separate lightsaber hilts constructed into one long staff. Darth Maul was a force to be reckoned with when he was dueling someone because not only of the twin blades but because of his furry behind each strike to an enemy. Eventually it was cut in half, along with Maul by Obi-Wan Kenobi after the death of his master at the hands of Maul. Darth Maul survived however, and continued to use the severed half of his original blade during the Clone Wars and to duel against his former master on the planet Mandalore.

Number 3 Lightsaber Hilt

Rebel's Inquisitors Inquisitor’s ringed Hilt

Much like Darth Maul and Savage Opress before them, the Inquisitors used duel bladed lightsabers to hunt down remaining Jedi Knights during the years following the formation of the Empire. The one difference when comparing the hilts are that these were one spinning rings that could spin clockwise and counter clockwise depending on how the user wanted it. Very fast and hard to use, the Inquisitors were trained on how to use the ringed blades to not only fight, but to intimidate their enemies as well, making them feared across the galaxy to all who came across them.

Number 2 Lightsaber Hilt

Luke's hiltAnakin Skywalkers Hilt

Possibly one of the most famous hilts within the Jedi Order was used by Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars. This hilt was silver in color with black finishes and a bright blue blade. After the fall of Anakin to the dark side, it was taken by his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi and eventually given to Anakin’s son, Luke Skywalker, and from Luke it was passed onto a young force-sensitive girl by the name of Rey 30 years after the Battle of Endor. While this hilt won many battles during the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War, along saving countless numbers of people, it was also used for terrible deeds. Most notably during the Jedi purge and attack on the Jedi Temple at the end of the Clone Wars, where it was used to slaughter countless Jedi and younglings.

Number 1 Lightsaber Hilt

Asajj VentressAsajj Ventress’s twin Hilts

These twin curved blades belonged to Count Dooku’s most trusted assassin and Dark Side user Asajj Ventress. This former Nightsister and Sith warrior acquired them from Count Dooku as a gift after she showed him her skills in a fighting arena. These blades, however, belonged to Dooku’s first apprentice before her, Komari Vosa, and when her death came at the hands of Bounty Hunter Jango Fett, Dooku kept them until he found a new apprentice to use them. Asajj was extremely skilled in using two sabers at once in either separate forms or formed together in a saber staff., she battled numerous Jedi, most notably Kenobi and Skywalker, and killed countless Padawans and Jedi Knights. What was most unique about these hilts is that at any moment during a battle, Ventress could attach them to form a saber staff to duel her enemies much like Darth Maul. Her’s however, was much harder to handle because of the curved shape. Eventually these hilts made there way to the fallen Jedi Barriss Offee when she stole them from Asajj to try and set her and Ashoka Tano up for sabotage and murder.

Did your favorite lightsaber make the cut? Sound off bellow with what your favorite lightsabers are.

Top 10 Lightsaber Hilts in Star Wars Movies and TV

Star Wars: A Ranking

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens crushing every box office record in sight, I believe it’s time to set down a ranking of the seven existing Star Wars Saga films before we begin the Star Wars Anthology. I’ll be ranking from worst to best based on my personal opinion. There will be spoilers, so you have been warned. One thing I want to note is that I am ranking these films off of their original theatrical releases. I am NOT including Special Editions or Blu-Rays releases.

7. Star Wars Episode I: A Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace poster tall

As the only film left out of the infamous Machete Order, is it any surprise that the first of the Star Wars  prequels would land last on my list? Let’s give the film its due though. The “Duel of Fates” song from legendary composer John Williams was superb and the villain, Darth Maul was intimidating and flat out cool. But a single song cannot save a movie, especially one in a franchise as beloved and successful as the Saga and killing off a brand new and exciting villain so fast is plain disappointing (and yes, I know the character returns in the cartoon). The overall story is boring and unnecessary. Jake Lloyd’s Anakin Skywalker was a cute kid but nothing more and the odd relationship with Padme (Natalie Portman) just did not work for the characters’ ages. Now, the saving grace of Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn was another positive but the character is killed off almost as quickly as his foe, Darth Maul and while Qui-Gon does return in the officially canon TV animated series The Clone Wars, we do not see him again in a Saga film. I think my biggest problems with this film revolved around the style and tone of the movie. Everything is shiny, pretty, and nice. The environment felt too sterile for Star Wars. Sterile is for Star Trek. Star Wars is supposed to be on the frontier of space.

And do I even need to mention the Midi-chlorians? I’m sure glad J.J. Abrams chose not to.

6. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones poster tall

Only slightly better than Episode I, Attack of the Clones speeds things up which makes the relationship between Anakin and Padme less creepy but nonetheless, the movie still falls mostly flat.  While we do get more action and a lot more Jedi fighting with lightsabers, we still get a lot of political talk that slows down the action, again, something for the Trek and not the Wars. The CGI effects in this film are borderline awful. George Lucas used blue screens so much, I seriously doubt that anything in the movie is real at all. The movie is the most forgettable of the franchise, which is why I don’t have much more to say about it. But, since I also don’t have a lot of bad things to say, it does edge out the one with the random and unnecessary podracing (though that did spawn a pretty cool video game for my N64).

5. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith poster tall

Enter emo Anakin. While the Peter Parker in Spiderman 3 became more emo than evil, Anakin did the same but on a significantly more whiny level. Seriously, it got annoying and it got annoying fast. Hayden Christensen’s character was creepy and irritating throughout BUT we get a ton of very important information that leads to the events of the original trilogy. We finally see how everything comes to be, how the Empire is born, so to speak. We also get that intense fight scene between Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin. While the end of that fight is pretty messed up, it’s a great fight scene that took better advantage of the CGI technology. The darker tones worked well, especially with the death of Padme and the birth of Vader. Now, I don’t like the whole Frankenstein’s Monster moment but I do appreciate the show of Force power Vader has and how Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) put Anakin back together. I will say that Yoda’s big moment against Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) is absolutely epic and fantastic until the actual lightsaber battle starts.

4. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars Episode VI Revenge of the Jedi poster tall

Ewoks aside, I always loved this film. As a kid, it was my favorite of the Star Wars films mainly because it had more space battles and action. As I grew up, I did notice its short-comings which is why it falls to fourth on my list. The story is a significant rehash of A New Hope which a larger Deathstar (something you only know from material external to the films) but this time is has a shield!  I do enjoy Luke’s story which shows him on his journey to actually giving into the Dark Side for a short time. I am, of course, referring to when he uses the Force to grab his saber from the Emperor’s chair arm. I also like the redemption of Anakin by saving his son, defeating the Emperor, and finally becoming a happy Jedi Force ghost with Obi-Wan and Yoda.

3. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

 

The film that started it all is truly a fantastic one. Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope poster tallA New Hope  is one of my favorite movies of all-time and to this day is still considered one of the most successful by number of tickets sold. The story was new, bright, exciting, and fun. The scenes, alien puppet characters, and practical effects were monumental in enhancing the field of special effects. George Lucas’ accomplishments with this film are unparalleled and the film holds up. I still love watching our young heroes thrust into their perilous journey together, so many one-liners, so many references. There are too many iconic things about this film to put in a ranking article such as this but needless to say, I love this movie through and through even with its dated technical problems.

2. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Yes, I fell into the hype. I was pumped for this film. Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens poster tallIt’s been so long since we had a new Star Wars movie and even longer since we had a new one that truly fit the bill. I was able to attend opening night with several friends. I even made some purchases that my AMC theater had available for the “Galaxy Premier”. Call me a sucker if you want but damn did I have a good time. What a fun and exciting movie. The newest Star Wars film was everything I wanted it to be. Nothing more and nothing less. I left the movie feeling perfectly content. I was happy and had very few complaints. If you’d like my full details and thoughts on the film, please listen to Episode 07 of our podcast series Grid Talk available here and on iTunes here.

1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The darker, more serious Saga film is still my overall favorite. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back posterThe story is compelling, the action is purposeful, and the practical effects are still great. Our characters are more seasoned and more sure of themselves. Han is quick to fire on Vader which makes Solo even more heroic in the face of danger. And what has ever topped the big reveal of Vader being Luke’s father? We get our introduction to Yoda, the most power of the Jedi. We learn of the Force ghosts with the return of Obi-Wan and the movie ends on an open note with things not going particularly well and Han frozen. The Empire Strikes Back’s job was to take the bright and heroic tale we had already seen and bring it crashing down to reality. Our heroes are not without weakness and are not untouchable. We had no idea if Han Solo was even alive or would ever return and for those who were alive when the film first came out, it was possible he would never return since Harrison Ford wasn’t sure if he’d come back for a third film. Overall, the movie is deeper and more sophisticated than A New Hope without all of the random merchandising issues of Return of the Jedi.

Conclusions and Thoughts

Star Wars The Force Awakens Wide Poster

I love Star Wars, through and through. I am invigorated with the addition of The Force Awakens and cannot wait for Rogue One, the first of the Star Wars Anthology films, let alone Episode VIII which is set to begin production very soon. While I know the prequels have their downsides, they are, for the most part, important to the franchise. They provide characters and context that expand on and enrich the Saga’s universe. With that said, given my reflection here, it might be time to finally get the prequels on Blu-Ray. Right now I’m sitting on a VHS of Episode I, a DVD of Episode III, and I don’t even have Attack of the Clones.

But hey, maybe one day, Disney and FOX can come to some agreement and we can get the theatrical cuts of the original trilogy on Blu-Ray. If that day every comes, I’ll be there.

What about you? How would you rank the seven Star Wars films? Let me know in the comments!

Star Wars: A Ranking

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)

iTunes Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/grid-talk-sci-fi-frontiers/id1057992963?mt=2

RSS Feed
http://thegridscififrontier.com/feed/podcast/gridtalk

Social Media
@GridTalkTweets

Email
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

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
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/grid-talk-sci-fi-frontiers/id1057992963?mt=2

RSS Feed
http://thegridscififrontier.com/feed/podcast/gridtalk

Social Media
@GridTalkTweets

Email
contact@thegridscififrontier.com

Grid Talk: 05 – Dark Skywalker

Star Wars: Battlefront Beta – Review

As most of you may know DICE and E.A. Games have been working on a new Star Wars game in the Battlefront franchise titled simply Star Wars Battlefront. It isn’t a continuation on the previous series but a reboot of the franchise. Well this past week they released a Beta version of Star Wars Battlefront across the PS4, X-BOX One and PC for all to play and go through. With three out of the 13 different modes unlocked for the Beta version, players got just a taste of what DICE and E.A. have been putting into this next game and possible rebooted franchise. So here is my review on all three game mods, the pros and cons for the game as a whole, some DLC, and what hopefully this game will deliver on its release date of November 17th. (I should also mention that I played this game on the PS4)

Walker Assault Mode

The first game mode I tried out was the famed Walker Assault. I did get a taste of this as well when I went to San Diego Comicon. They had a tent set up with this as a playable thing. Now it was on PC and I myself am a PS4 guy. So I died pretty much every single time while playing it at SDCC. I was therefore very happy when it was released on consoles. The basic idea for this game mode is a 20v20 online battle on either Hoth or Endor (Hoth was the only one available for the Beta version).  You either play as the Empire or Rebel Alliance as you take control of unique vehicles, power-ups, and weapons. You either defend your base if you’re a Rebel or lead Imperial Walkers and troops to destroy the Rebel Alliance if you play as the Empire. The choosing of what side you are on for any of the three game modes was completely random. So it’s unknown if that will stay the same when the final version of the game is released or not.

In the Hoth mode, it was just like watching Empire Strikes Back. Everything from the music, to the location, sound effects and objectives really did feel like the battle of Hoth. The match played fairly simple. Either you’re the rebellion and you’re trying to activate uplinks around the map to call in Y-Wing Ion Bombing runs or you’re the Empire and trying to destroy the uplinks and lead the walkers to the shield generator. There are an array of weapons and power ups scattered across the map for you to find, including the rare and hard to grab AT-AT power up, where you get to control the cannons on the Imperial Walkers and hero card where you get to play as either Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader for this map. With those two being some of the hardest to grab they will surly go fast if you can’t find them first. You can also fly Tie-Fighters and X-Wings respectively but sadly not the bombers. This is a fast-paced map with a very large open landscape for all you sniper fans out there. This mode during the Beta would earn a solid 8.5/10 with me.Star Wars Battlefront Gredo Battle

Drop Zone Mode

The second game mode I tried was a mode called Drop Zone. In this mode you have to capture and defend five escape pods that are randomly dropped from the sky onto the map. Once you defend and secure the escape pod it releases power-ups from inside as a reward. The team who captures all the pods or has the most in 10 minutes wins the match. The developers have stated that they intend to add more escape pods to capture but only did a small amount for the Beta. This mode took place on the new planet they have been pushing called Sullust. Mentioned briefly in Return of the Jedi this is the first time in the newly formed Star Wars canon where we get to see this volcanic planet in all its glory. This mode has a smaller map and I believe only 6-10 players on each team.Star Wars Battlefront Vader ForestI am not sure if there will be other locations for the game mode but I do know for sure Sullust is one of them. Was this the most fun game mode I played? No. But it was more action packed and extremely fast paced with tight corners and rocks to maneuver between. I found it super relative after the third time playing it but that’s just me. So if you like the close combat style and capture the flag style gameplay, then you will surely love this mode. Personally I would give it a 6/10.

Survival Mode

The final game mode that was released with the beta is called Survival. This is a part of their single player/co-op missions. During this you only play as the Rebel Alliance as you are stranded on a planet and must fight off 15 waves of Imperials either by yourself or with a friend. During around every 3-4 waves a drop pod will land in your location and you must capture it to gain the power-ups from within. Star Wars Battlefront Luke ForceThese power-ups include personal shields, orbital strikes, rocket launchers, and Ion magazines for your blaster just to name a few. This is the typical survival mode that are in games now, you kill all the enemies in the wave and then more challenging enemies emerge in the waves after. During the game you want to use the environment around you to take cover and spy on what the enemy is doing and where they are going. This mode probably features the smallest map out of the three in this article. So use the corners and rocks for major cover from snipers and AT-ST’s. With each wave the Imperials grow in number and strength so you can’t just go full head on charging them. You have to plan your attack according to what power-ups you have and what type of enemy there is to face. This mode was a solid 7.5/10 for me.

Battlefront: Pros

Now on to some pros and cons for this game. I can’t list all of them but I will hit on the key ones fans have been vocal about and some I found while playing it. Let’s start with the pros. The game is beautiful! The graphics are absolutely amazing and blew my mind when I saw them. This is so far the best looking Star Wars game out there right now. The snow shines like real snow on Hoth and you can leave footprints in the sand and have destructible environments in forests and while blasting at rocks. It is just amazing. It really feels like a Star Wars game when you see the blaster bolts firing from your rifle and hitting your target ahead. You no longer have a count for ammo or thermal detonators like you did in previous Battlefront games. It is on a cool down system for the rifles/blasters and grenades replenish over time along with your health if you’re hit.

You get to customize what species you are. You sadly didn’t get to during the beta but they have confirmed, along with customizing weapons, you get to choose your species. They haven’t released what’s to choose from yet but rumors are Twi’leks, Rodians, Sullustians, and many more. You also get to play as a female soldier! After all these years of featuring female characters who are totally bad ass you get to play as them on the front lines. You get to play as iconic hero’s and villains. Everyone ranging from Princess Leia to Boba Fett and with a whole lot more to chose from. You only got to play as Luke and Vader during the beta but they played fairly easy. If you were a fan of the heroes and villains you could play as in Battlefront 2 then you will love these because it’s basically the same game mechanics. And finally the gameplay itself. It feels like a PS2 game. Not in a bad way at all, mind you, but like how the original games felt. It’s very simplistic with not a whole lot of buttons to use. You basically point and shoot. You will have to play it to see what I mean by that, but it’s totally a good thing.

Battlefront: Cons

Now on to some cons. No campaign mode. In the previous two games there were actually story driven missions where you played through iconic battles and locations from the movies or expanded universe. This does suck, but they have said that there will be single player missions. Whether or not those are story mission or whatever is still unclear. So we will have to wait and see what those are all about.
Star Wars Battlefront FalconThere are no hangars for ships/ground vehicles. Before, you could just walk up to a random ship or ground vehicle and get in no matter what side you were on or what you were doing. In this you have to find and activate power-ups for vehicles of any kind. So in all reality if you’re on a big map you may never find a vehicle power-up for a good long while if others keep taking them or if they are scarce. But they do make up for it in a way by just having a fighter squadron mode. So that may calm people down who can’t fly anything during normal game modes.

There are no Republic or CIS sides to play as. I will miss playing as those two sides just because it gave the previous games more to work with character and troop wise, not just the Empire or Rebels. There are only limited locations and planets. So far, only four planets have been announced to fight on and it’s looking like that could be it for now. I sincerely hope not because there are so many locations in the Star Wars universe, and it would be a shame to limit it to just 4 or 5 planets.

Finally, there is no space combat. That was a huge plus for Battlefront 2 and it was so cool! Docking in huge capital ships and taking out their support systems, then flying out and destroying fighter support was a blast. With the game engine and mechanics that DICE and E.A. have come up with for this, a space combat mode would have been killer! I am hoping they will add that in either the next hopeful game or as a small DLC pack.

Speaking of DLC packs, E.A. has just announced that there will be four add-on packs that you can buy for Star Wars Battlefront, one of them being a pre-order bonus, which is called The Battle of Jakku. This takes place one year after the Battle of Endor as the newly formed New Republic tries to capture a major post on the planet. This is also the setting for a good part of the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. So fans get to see and live out what happened before we see it some 30 years later on the big screen. Those who pre-order the game have early access to it and those who do not pre-order it must wait a week before its release to the public (It’s rumored to be a free download, btw),

All in all, I hope this game really delivers to the fans what they want and need. Most Battlefront fans have been waiting for a new game since Battlefront 2’s release in 2005! So no pressure to DICE and E.A. I really did enjoy myself while playing through just those three modes. And with 10 more to be released along with all the DLC, I am sure that this will be one of many Battlefront games to come.

Have you picked up the Star Wars: Battlefront beta? If so, what do you think so far? Which platform are you playing it on? Comment below!

Star Wars: Battlefront Beta – Review

A Review of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” Apparently this is even true in galaxies far, far away. Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope is a masterpiece and succulent fusion of two very different genres. Contrary to what one might think, it is not simply Star Wars written in Shakespearean dialogue, but its own separate piece of art generating flawless finesse in taking our boy from Tatooine and re-imagining his story told in Victorian England by the Bard himself.

It may be fruitful to compare this style to something akin to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame Smith. However, I find it very different. Smith simply took the original writing of Jane Austin and had fun playing with the words by changing out words like “love” with “brains.”  Doescher doesn’t do this at all. Apparently, Lucasfilm gave him all sorts of freedom to do pretty much anything he wanted. So this book is best described as a Star Wars and Shakespeare fan’s attempt to blend the two genres into something equally as beautiful. If you’re asking me, he succeeded. Now to the good stuff. What makes it awesome?

ShakespeareswvaderThe Mechanics 

Anyone who paid attention in High School English remembers that William Shakespeare is arguably the greatest writer/storyteller/poet/Renaissance man of all time. They will also remember that the reasons he is recognized as this is by his impeccably unique writing style. He pretty much invented the English Sonnet for crying out loud, not to mention modern story telling. The man was a genius to put it lightly. So, like myself, when hearing that this book existed, you most likely asked yourself, how can someone pretend to match the elegance, craftsmanship, and artistry of the The Bard? it’s simply impossible. Call me a little obsessed with the guy, but It is virtually impossible to match Shakespeare’s talent. Doescher doesn’t quite make it there, but he’s pretty dang close. Here were the main pieces of Shakespeare’s writing style that Doescher nailed on the head.

  • Iambic Pentameter. Once again, for those of you who paid attention in school, this word is familiar. But to those who didn’t, you’re very confused at what I may be getting at. An overwhelming amount of Shakespeare’s work is written in iambic pentameter. I would go as far as to say that around 95% of it is, making this the most essential thing for Doescher to excel in. Quick English lesson to aid the confused: most people in school are taught that iambic pentameter is simply ten syllables per line. However, it is far more complex than that. It follows five (penta) pairs of iambs (one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable) to create a cohesive rhythm. If you would like to learn more about this in detail, follow the link here for a great TED video explaining it in depth. Doescher does this without breaking a sweat. It seems, flows, and sounds nearly exactly like Shakespeare. In fact, he even uses it with characters speaking different languages, like Chewbacca with Shyriiwook, Greedo with Rodese, Jabba with Huttese and even R2D2’s beeps and squeaks. Here’s an example from Verily, A New Hope next to a selection from Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare so you can get the idea of what this looks like in action.
    • “How LONG, now, ERE thou CANS’T aCHIEVE lightSPEED” -Obi Wan (Act III, Scene 4)
    • “if MUsic BE the FOOD of LOVE, play ON” -Duke Orsino (Act I, Scene 1)
  • Puns: Shakespeare is truthfully the King of Puns.  One of my favorites comes from Romeo and Juliet in a conversations between Sampson and Gregory in Act I, “Sampson: I will show myself a tyrant. When I have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the maids, and cut off their heads. Gregory: The heads of the maids? Sampson: Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads; take it in what sense thou wilt.” Doescher includes several puns throughout, but most of them are a play on what us Star Wars fans expect to see vs. what he actually does. So I’ll let them be a surprise.
  • ShakespeareswlukeAsides and Soliloquies: One of the most common ways that Shakespeare develops his characters is by allowing them to talk privately to themselves. It’s a well known proverb that “a man is really only himself when he is alone.” Shakespeare utilizes this truth in every play he wrote in order for the audience to fully understand his characters better. He does this with two different methods, either an aside (character talks only to him/herself and no one else can hear) or in a soliloquy (a monologue or long speech when the character is the only one on stage). These mediums are especially helpful to aid the audience to see development in the most difficult characters. In Hamlet, the main character with the same name has, over the years, been labeled the most difficult character. This is why Shakespeare awards this character with 4 of the 5 soliloquies in the play, one of them carrying some of the most famous lines in history, “To be or not be, that is the question,” and “Aye, there’s the rub.” There are two characters in particular who are given multiple asides and a few soliloquies to gain our understanding. Han Solo and R2-D2. The latter is most interesting, because, when speaking to others, R2 uses his beeps and squeaks, but, when speaking to himself or the audience, he speaks good old Galactic Basic Standard, or what we call English.
  • Songs: Shakespeare loves to write lyrics to songs to express deep emotion with his characters and allow them to pour out their feelings. Two of the most famous songs are sung by Ophelia in Hamlet and Ariel in the Tempest. Doescher gifts this wonderful blessing to none other than Princess Leia after the destruction of her home planet Alderaan, and it is beautifully written as well.

The Art of Re-Imagination

shakespeareswjabbaAs hinted above, this story is not simply a carbon copy of Star Wars. It’s a beautiful merger of two different genres in a new re-imagination of a well known story. Doescher takes some liberties, and includes some scenes I may not have. Namely the discussion between Jabba and Han. Deoscher also sheds some light on some arguments and where he stands on them. So you should read it and see where he stands and keep your eye out for my review of The Empire Striketh Back.

Are you a Shakespeare enthusiast? Have you read this book? Let us know what you think in the comments.

A Review of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope