Another game we will never get to play…

It has been recently revealed that we had yet another Star Wars game in the pipeline that will never get to see the light of day. This time the game is based around the butt-kicking Sith Darth Maul, developed by Red Fly (the dev of TMNT: Out of the Shadows). Code-named Damage the game was to feature Maul set after his resurfacing to the galaxy. The game-play was to be heavily based around the Batman Arkham games.

This is the seventh game to be announced that it was canceled in a year. As a gamer this unsettling. I always love playing any Star Wars game, even the bad ones (looking at you Republic Heroes). Now I (and I am sure a lot of other fans do to), just need a game that is a fun time. With the last-gen consoles we didn’t see a single online multiplayer Star Wars game and this is the Golden Age of online gaming. That is why I was looking forward to First Assault so much. All of this looked like a revival of Star Wars games after a decade long drought. 

Seven games, while we know that at least one of this bunch would probably be a load of Bantha Poodoo it here was a good chance for a really nice game that would go down in gaming history’s annuals. If it wasn’t for Disney we would possibly be playing First Assault right now awaiting for 1313 and this Darth Maul game to come out for us to play. Why couldn’t LucasArts and Star Wars games have one last chance to shine before everything got canceled? 

Signing off,

LazyStormie

My Crazy Theory about the Sequels and the EU…

Over the past month or so we have been obtaining more and more news about the upcoming Sequel Trilogy. Such as the release date (December 18, 2015 for you guys who are out of the loop) and our first open casting call. 

Earlier today I was sitting in one of classes day dreaming and pondering on these developments. Then I got to thinking about the role of “Rachel” and thought of something interesting.

SEEKING YOUNG WOMAN TO PLAY 17-18 YEAR OLD. MUST BE BEAUTIFUL, SMART AND ATHLETIC. OPEN TO ALL ETHNICITIES (INCLUDING BI AND MULTI RACIAL). MUST BE OVER 16.

 

Rachel

 

Was quite young when she lost her parents. With no other family, she was forced to make her way in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17, she has become street smart and strong. She is able to take care of herself using humor and guts to get by.

 

Always a survivor, never a victim, she remains hopeful that she can move away from this harsh existence to a better life. She is always thinking of what she can do to move ahead.

One thing I would like to point out is that this character is 17 years old. While most people over look that small almost insignificant point I did not. If the movie takes place in 45 ABY right after Crucible and we look back to seventeen years earlier we see that “Rachel” would be born during the Vong War.

Now hear me on this. What if “Rachel’s” parents were killed during the YV War and she was put into a orphanage which she later ran away from. She then have to become let’s say a spice runner or something to survive(first thing I came up with). Bringing the spice across town to a dealer. One day this blows up in her face and is now on the lam from the authorities.

She then meets “Thomas” (the other character from the casting call) and they help each other out and sooner or later get mixed up in the greater galaxy (similar to Luke’s story from A New Hope). This could easily fit with the existing EU and be a fun story.

The story would also show a new generation of characters to the audience that are repeatable. I mean we all have done bad or stupid thing in our lives and this story would show that we can work together with others to be redeemed.

Plus like said before my proposed plot reflects on Luke’s journey in the Original trilogy. Imagine the moment when suddenly these two characters are thrusted into a greater conflict other than their own problems.

Either way that is my crazy theory and feel welcome to give me constructive criticism on my idea because I would love to hear it. Have a nice day or night and may the Force be with you…

The Most Beautiful Slums in the Galaxy (The History of the Coruscant Underworld)

Some may be surprised to know but I think that the Coruscant Underworld is one of the most beautiful locales in the galaxy. Even though I would want to live their due to the crime, the pests, and never seeing sunlight. But it really is a truly beautiful place I mean look.

Image

That is just amazing scenery and also my wallpaper.

But now unto business. The history of the Coruscant Underworld is riddled with crime and bounty hunters. In the pre-Republic era the bottom fifty layer of the planet were covered and several mutant species evolved.

When the Republic came into power the government did little to improve the situation. Food shortages led to riots and smuggling and when the Republic started to fall the situation got even worse. Crime lords, spice dealers, everyday criminals, and other outlaws moved in and start to cause even more problems. The problem even got so bad that the government declared marshal law in some sectors.

When the Empire came it became even worse. Even though the Imperials had more presence due to the hunt for the remaining Jedi who survived the Second Jedi Purge, they paid a blind eye to crime much like how they treated most of the galaxy (Wow, I am sounding anti-Imperial).

During the New Republic era things yet again got worse. With the Imperial Remnant attacking every few years much devastation was caused to the lower levels, which let them open for attack from the Yuuzhan Vong whom terra-formed the whole planet including the Underworld. Even with efforts from the Galactic Alliance barely recovered but it still kept going.

Im the times of Cade Skywalker the Underworld the underworld was mostly controlled by the Hutts and still was effected by the Vongspawn virus. 

So there is a quick rundown of the history of the Coruscanti underworld I hope you all enjoyed.

A Brief Update

All,

It’s been a month-long sabbatical for me, but all will return to normal this week.  We will resume the comics and Clone Wars reviews, and although the episode of Star Wars: Rise will likely come towards the end of the month, it is still coming.  To quote one Emperor, my resolve has never been strrrrongger!

Thanks to the truly fantastic authors for keeping the lights on here, I have missed you all, but I appreciate everything.

Cheers,

Drew

How Nick Spends His Free Time…

I find myself of late pondering the nature of villains. To be honest, this line of thought stems mostly from my recent intoxication with Greggory Macguire’s Wicked, both the novel and the musical. I’m sure this makes our very own Rachel ecstatic. Though I’d been meaning to get around to those works, it was her, in her constant role as catalyst for my love of all things musical, that got me off my rump and actually delving into the wonderful works of Oz. While The Wicked Years have brought me close to the world of L. Frank Baum—until now a work I could find little enthusiasm for—my musings ventured beyond the confines of the Emerald City, past the borders of Munchkinland and the Vinkus. This past month of consideration has brought me to several conclusions, few surprising, but none that I had openly considered before.

Obviously, no piece of fiction is complete without a proper antagonist. Often it is the villain of our heroes that most stick within our minds. Why is that? Forced to consider it, I have to say that while we all strive to be the hero—saving the maiden, righting wrongs—do we not, perhaps, relate to those more villainous? Though unconsidered until I was jotting this down, I find myself increasingly convinced. It’s no surprise we have a tendency to see the worst of ourselves. This harsh introspection is a trademark of human character, and our fiction is ever a reflection of ourselves. Furthermore, heroes by nature are larger than life, and those that possess flaws seem flawed in ways we’d almost wish for. Let’s be honest, heroes, as a whole, are a fairly unbelievable lot. Without that constant foil of their dastardly foe, even our favorite protagonists would fall a little flat. Heroic figures are role models, unachievable in their epic proportions, and therefore they are hard to understand and hard for us to relate to.

Consider with me, what makes the best villains you’ve ever seen? Who are they, what do they look like? On the surface, they are either frightening and powerful, else so smooth and cool you may mistake them for an ally to our hero before realization comes crashing down on you. While there are all sorts of effective villains, many of them find their roots in something all too familiar to us. Perhaps it was heartache and love that drove them to criminal behavior, like Mr. Freeze from the Batman franchise, intent upon saving his wife at all costs. The villain may hide behind their pride and virtue, like Judge Frollo from the Hunchback of Notre Dame, using that umbrella to justify his insatiable lust towards a woman and the deeds it drives him to. Maybe an immense ego places them above the reproach of their peers, like Professor James Moriarty from most Sherlock Holmes incarnations. After all, if one has no peers, does that not give them the right to do as they wish? My point, longwinded as it may be, is this; villains resonate within us because we see in them the vices and failings that we deal with in ourselves each and every day. Certainly we also possess the merits of the hero, more than we know, but those are far harder to recognize.  How do you know that you were brave, or noble? Not only are the occasions to showcase those virtues scant at times, but often are so part of our nature that we don’t even realize when we have displayed them.

That all said, we come around to the central theme of this post, which seems to be a continuing examination of what makes Star Wars the cultural phenomena it is. An unintentional turn to my postings, but enjoyable nonetheless. When last I left you, I had examined some of the fights that, to me, had helped to make the franchise stand out. This time around, I will, obviously, look at the villains that challenge our ragtag group of heroes.

I can’t deny that the various antagonists of this universe have been central to the success of the franchise. From the Fetts to the classics—the likes of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine—the villains have captured the imaginations and support of a large portion of Star Wars’ fandom. Even though, cinematically speaking, the Empire is undoubtedly the “bad guys,” they have a loyal and, might I add, large fan following. Not only do the films present us with compelling figures to lead this tyrannical government, the various mediums within the Expanded Universe have done a wondrous job of introducing members of the Imperial forces that have taken us by storm. The likes of Thrawn, Pellaeon, and Daala joined the Imperial ranks as strong, powerful figures that secured themselves a place in our memories. We as fans found that, despite being cast as undoubtedly evil, we rather liked the Empire.

For all this, however, it all comes back around to the original villains in the films. When A New Hope hit the screens, we had our first look at Darth Vader, a dark, imposing figure that strikes fear into the heart. From the size, to his suit—was he a robot, or was that body armor?—to the brilliant voice of James Earl Jones, he was the perfect villain. We saw him as a highly skilled, merciless adversary. We certainly wanted to hate him. Yet, as we progress through the original trilogy, we come to learn more of his past and, more importantly, his present state. Vader is not evil, that had never been his intent. Instead, we see he is a man who lost everything, including much of his body. His spirit is broken, and he moves throughout the films as a specter of who he could have been.  That changes in The Empire Strikes Back. When he learns that he has a son, more importantly when we learn he is Luke’s father, his first words are, “Come with me. My son, I’m offering you the galaxy.” Paraphrasing, sure, but that’s hardly a selfish sentiment. We see a depth that we thought beyond the man. When he witnesses his son being brutally murdered before his eyes, Vader rises up and destroys his master of decades. That spirit returns, Vader is healed, and it is a glorious redemption. In those last moments we see Vader for who he is, and suddenly the depth of his character becomes a little clearer. It’s subtle, but once built upon by the Expanded Universe and Prequel Trilogy, (Though, I think the character of Anankin Skywalker was criminally mishandled, so much so that it almost ruins the character of Vader for me, but that is a conversation for another day) we see that depth at its fullest and Vader steps forward as, perhaps, one of the best villains in recent history.

Even Vader, however, would not be nearly as effective without Palpatine looming over him. Here we have the classic villainous mastermind. Powerful, cunning, manipulative, you want to hate Palpatine. The Emperor, that classic twisted figure, boils your blood with his self-assured manner. A man that rose to take dominion of the majority of the civilized galaxy with primarily his cunning, he is the ultimate evil, serving to illustrate the merits of the heroes in the film. Add in the more minor villains—Boba Fett, Grand Moff Tarkin with his condescending confidence, even the minor moffs and Jabba the Hutt—and you have a broad spectrum of top notch villains that certainly make the galaxy a far more complicated place for our scrappy little rebellion friends.

The films themselves see phenomenal success in the area of bad guys, but it’s not until we get into the Expanded Universe that Star Wars shines in the field of villainy. With the downfall of the Empire, we see factions and splinter groups cropping up everywhere. A young New Republic struggles to assert dominance. We see the introduction of new villains who, in the end, we’re not sure if they truly are villains. Politicians in the New Republic end up more corrupt than their Imperial counterparts. Every which way we turn, we can’t be sure who to root for and who to boo down. Logic may dictate who the “bad guys” are, but our gut tells us that it’s simply all one big mish-mash, and depending on your point of view, the tag of villain can be thrown all over the place, just as the moniker of hero can. In my opinion, this is when a work transcends a simple story and becomes a living, thriving world. As the reader—or viewer, or player, whichever is applicable—begins to realize that the depth of the universe is such that it is possible to see the merits of any faction, that there are no true good guys or bad guys, they begin to experience it all more personally. It feels more real. When you reach this point, everything is connected and the universe begins to develop such depth that it is easy and, in fact enjoyable, to get lost in the intricacies, to forget for a moment that you’re sitting on Earth, reading a book.

For all the flak I give Star Ward of late, in particular the Expanded Universe, the hodge-podge of ideas, beliefs, styles, and preferences of the various authors, illustrators, designers, etc. have all come together to form a deep, thriving world that’s alive in its own right. These characters and events aren’t just stories told us once upon a time, but people and places that have taken root and live a little bit in each of our hearts and imaginations.  As a collective fan base, we have kept alive the universe we love between the droughts and valleys, waiting patiently for the next movie, the next series, the next video game. While the world is compelling, while the heroes are endearing, it’s the villains that, inevitably, keep us coming back to the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

Regards,

Nick

Why We Draft

Hai guys, Tristan here, and there’s something I’d like to talk to you all about today. It’s one of my favorite things about fandoms,  and Star Wars in particular.

So there’s this crazy thing that some of us more absurd fans go in for, drafting characters in a team and pitting them against other teams. I’m sure you’re at least familiar with the concept due to fantasy sports leagues and such, but you see, this has nothing empirical about it. It’s just all of our opinions going up against each other and trying to convince each other who’s right and drafted better. Why would we do such a silly thing? It’s all completely subjective, so there really isn’t any right or wrong answer to any of the matches. Well, I can think of a few reasons to participate in them.

First, it’s a place you can basically nerd out on something. You can show your knowledge of the topic, present it in a logical fashion, argue it, post quotes or scans of relevant information, and really just dig into something you enjoy just that much deeper than you normally would. You can read things in a focused manner, trying to draw out something that might get your participant a win. It lets you feel involved in a way that simply reading the books for enjoyment doesn’t, and it also tests your memory.

Second, it’s a way to be more passionate about something you care about. I mean really, people wouldn’t put the time and effort into five and ten page arguments if it wasn’t something that they could find it in themselves to really care about. Otherwise it’s just a waste of time and energy. I should know, I’ve put in the time and effort to write some of those arguments, and it really feels good when you see results out of it.  But there really is nothing much more passionate in a fandom than arguing or debating with another fan about the subject. Especially if you’re both convinced you’re right.

Third would be the participation. Think about it for a moment, you’re spending time talking to other people about something you love. Sure, you probably do that anyway, but in that kind of setting it’s completely expected. You can hypothesize about things that in more regular company you’d be laughed at or would garner all kinds of strange looks. That’s incredibly freeing. If I were to talk about things in that depth with, say, my girlfriend (who does like Star Wars, and reads the books) I’d get an eye roll or a sigh. In the draft? I get debate, and passionate responses.  And it’s understood that you’re even supposed to argue or debate this stuff, so no one gets mad at you for disagreeing with them. Normally anyway.

Fourth you have competition. It’s a test of your knowledge of the topic, which you really can’t get in a lot of other ways. You not only have to know enough about the subject to even want to get involved, but you have to know enough about it to put together a competitive team. This is not as easy as it might sound. By any stretch of the imagination. It took me almost five years to actually win one, and I’ve not actually come that close most of the time. For one thing you don’t necessarily know the judges, or what their opinions about things are, you have to formulate your own, and you have to know who will actually work with who and when they should be picked. So not only do you have to know the subject and characters involved, but you have to learn about how to draft in and of itself. For those with a competitive streak, this ends up being very fun. Others do it just to put together a joke team, i.e. just for the fun of the drafting process and being able to say that you “had” the character in your possession for a time.

While in some ways this really is a silly past time, it’s no more so than fantasy football or playing a video game. In some ways it’s probably more fun. At least with this you get more direct interaction with other people, which everyone needs to one degree or another, so why not get that interaction through a draft?

For those that still aren’t convinced about drafts, lemme ask you something. How many times have you said something like “Batman would totally beat Superman in a fight”? Haven’t all really serious fans said something like this at one point or another? That’s all this is basically, only putting it in a more formal setting and actually analyzing things as best we can to come to a somewhat legitimate answer instead of merely stating an opinion. We all do this kind of thing, even if it’s just in our minds. And wouldn’t you say there’s just something about being able to say “I have Mace Windu on my team.”? I’d like certainly like to think so.

In my next post we’ll be going back to the more regularly scheduled programing of my chronological read through, and looking at the overall first story arc of Dawn of the Jedi. That’d be the first five comics for those of you wanting to follow along with me. There’s a chance I might do several posts on that storyline, but we’ll just have to see what happens. If nothing else you have a flying Rancoragon to look forward to. Have fun, peace out, and enjoy.

A Longer Introduction

Hello everyone my name is Holden but I am better known on the internet as Lazy Storm Trooper. I already did a shorter intro in my post on the State of Star Wars Video Games I did a few weeks ago but since everyone was doing longer introduction I decided to do one to.

To start off I am the youngest member of the team being only in high school.  As a surprising fact at first I hated Star Wars. It was around 2005 and there was a marathon going by release date as a lead in to Episode III. I only saw two scenes. One in Episode IV (were Obi-Wan shuts down the tractor beams on the Death Star) and one in Episode II (were Padme falls out of the gunship). My younger self thought that it was boring and I did not even think about Star Wars for years.

Then in 2008 I went the midnight release of The Clone Wars movie with my cousin. That was the day I became a fan. I read Tim Zahn’s Visions of the Future, Death Star, and Jedi Quest and loved it. I watched episodes of The Clone Wars when I could and started my collection Star Wars books.

Now six years later I own all but seventeen of the novels and have been registered on the Jedi Council Forums for a little over a year. You could say that my life has been influenced by Star Wars quite a lot and when when Disney brought the franchise and announced the Sequel Trilogy I was surprised.

So that me in a nutshell. Hoped you all enjoyed.

So here’s me

(So I started writing this a couple weeks ago, then got sick, so that’s why the dearth of content on my end. Sorry ’bout that everyone, and here’s hoping that won’t be a problem going forward.)

Hai guys, I’m Tristan, and I suppose we’ve already gotten to know each other a little bit already. I like to read (obviously), play games, and that’s enough of the canned singles ad kind of stuff. Why do people do that? It really doesn’t tell you anything about the person. When you say you like to take moonlit walks on the beach, why is that? Is it simply because it’s pleasant, or is a beach the last place you ever saw your dad and it brings back memories of him? And in the case of that last one, am I intruding? You see, all it does is make things even less clear than it was before. This won’t be one of those.

So who am I really? I’m a guy that loves Star Wars for a myriad of reasons, writing simply because it is interesting combining words to form maybe not poignant thoughts, but thoughts nonetheless, and making people smile. What better thing is there to give someone than a smile? You can’t take it away because the moment has passed, and they’re free and easy to cause.

I think in some way I’ve always been a writer, all you’d have to do is ask my mom about the stories I dictated to her before I could read or write a single letter. It was something I struggled with for years, because that’s what writing is, a struggle. Even admitting you like doing something as stressful as writing can be tough sometimes, as it took me more than a decade to finally admit that to myself, and now here I am writing on a blog simply because it’s something I like doing. I like it well enough to try going for a creative writing degree like Rachel, but unlike her I couldn’t handle some of the other required classes (damn that physics or chem requirement. My mind works with words and images, not numbers.) Now I’m working on a novel with Nick, and it’s somewhat shocking (and appalling far too many times) to look back at what we wrote three years ago and see how utterly mediocre it actually was. At least there was a good story in it, or we might have just dropped the whole thing.

Oh, speaking of images, I’m also something of an artist type person. At least I like to pretend I am, and that’s why I’m currently getting a Graphic Design degree. At least it means I’d be doing something different on a regular basis, because I am not one to deal with monotony well. I also don’t think I had much of a chance on this one. I’ve been surrounded by art and artistic people my whole life, from my Grandfather (he made totem poles and wooden statues in his back yard, I even got to help when I was nine), to my Dad with his Masters in Fine Arts, to my mother who’s been fooling around with the stuff since I was a wee little tyke. I do it because that’s what creative people do, they just have to find some kind of outlet to do stuff or they get depressed or a case of the crankies from hell. I’ve dealt with both, and neither one is terribly fun.

I suppose that’s probably enough rambling about stuff like that, and we should probably come to the point of this site: Star Wars (and the broader spectrum of Sci-Fi/Fantasy). I’m unfortunately too young to have seen it in theaters, but I’m hoping to remedy that as the 3-D versions come out (knock on wood). But what I wasn’t too young for was my Grandfather to show me the first one when I was seven or eight, and to have a marathon viewing of them because I was hooked. I even liked the ewok movies, which I suppose should qualify as a “dirty little secret”, but if you can’t talk about that kind of stuff around here, where can you? I suppose because of that I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for ewoks, with Tarfang easily being my favorite. Just the idea of an ewok with a deathmark and a dirty mouth is just funny.

From the movies it was an incredibly easy jump to reading the books, as I became an avid reader at a very young age. Maybe not to the point of my brother who read the Silmarillion at age seven, but you know, not everyone can do that kind of thing. I honestly don’t even remember what the first Star Wars book I read was considering how long ago that was, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was either the Thrawn Trilogy (doesn’t everyone start there?) or Shadows of the Empire, which is probably one of my favorite books and one I’ve re-read seven or eight times. There are few other things I’ve read as many times, but another Star Wars set of books is on that list as the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy is one of those few, and one of my favorite sets of books as well. As of right now I think I’ve read about 130ish Star Wars books, possibly more. So you could say I’m a bit of a nerd, and it’d probably be an understatement.

Incredibly, Star Wars has actually had a huge impact on my life in ways I never could have guessed. I’ve met some of my best friends as a result of my interest in it and finding boards.theforce.net way back in 2005. I’ve also met my current girlfriend because of that site. And then there’s Nick, who I’m currently writing with, as well as all of the other fine folk that are involved in this blog. It’s kind of amazing what kind of impact something as seemingly inconsequential as Star Wars can actually have on someones life. It’s the little things you could say. It was also role playing games on those same discussion forums that made me finally admit to myself that I enjoy writing, and where I started working on improving my abilities in regard to that. Sure, I wrote some fanfic, but it was definitely not the primary area that I worked on writing.

So where does that leave me now? I’m not terribly sure, as I’m still discovering myself, and still discovering Star Wars, which is something that I don’t think you can ever fully understand or know. Something as large or complex as an individual, or a universe like Star Wars, is always changing and growing, and hopefully we can all do some of that throughout the life of this blog. Maybe we’ll even have some fun along the way and find something thought provoking in that galaxy far, far away.

Nick Ranks His Favorite Lightsaber Duels, Oh My!

There is nothing more iconic of the Star Wars saga than the lightsaber. A simple statement, hardly surprising, but nonetheless true. Whether in novels, video games, comics, or the films, this piece of technology—and its wielders—stand at the center of revolutions and atrocities alike. They have been used to enforce order and to prolong tyrannical rule. Whether a rite of passage or a symbol of power, lightsabers inspire awe and dread amongst the denizens of the Galaxy Far Far Away. Within the confines of our own galaxy, however, regards towards these awesome weapons tend towards fascination. Since the first snap-hiss heard in Ben Kenobi’s small desert hovel, lightsabers have stirred our curiosity and inspired our sense of wonder. I imagine one would be hard pressed to find a fan of the franchise that didn’t want one.

What is it then that sparks our imaginations when we see these prismatic blades burst to life on screen? The concept is not necessarily original. Blades of pure energy are, while not exactly a staple of science fiction, hardly uncommon, but nowhere else does it leave such a lasting impression as within the Star Wars franchise. My first real post I’d like to start, methinks, on one of my two favorite aspects of the Star Wars universe. Move into this thing slow, as it were. I imagine this won’t be a short one, but few of my musings tend to be.

No doubt lightsabers have moved so fully into our hearts due to the stunning duels present in all of the films. More than simple fight sequences integrated to hold our interest, these battles embody the spirit of the space opera genre. Filled with passion and thrilling sense of danger, these duels provide a dramatic touch to the copious amounts of action within the films that has been integral to defining the core of the Star Wars franchise. Each fight serves a purpose. Often the fate of the galaxy rests on the shoulders of the victor. How would the history of the galaxy have changed if Luke had slain his father aboard Cloud City? If Darth Maul had triumphed over Obi-Wan Kenobi, what then would have become of young Anakin Skywalker? In the end, these duels are so compelling due to this history altering potential, but more importantly, the audience is made so acutely aware of the consequences of the battle. These fight scenes are no longer filler to captivate a bored audience, but essential parts of the story allowing the viewer to immerse themselves more fully into the drama unfolding before them.

So perhaps it is hardly surprising that the duels between Sith and Jedi are my favorite parts of the movies. I’m sure most fans would agree. Still, it is a safe place to begin, and I felt the urge to rank my top five fight scenes in the franchise’s six movies. You may agree or disagree with my choices, and I would love to discuss the merits and flaws of my reasoning below in the comments, if you should feel so inclined. Keep in mind, however, that I am not ranking the fights purely on choreographic merit. I am taking into account anything from the cinematography to the emotions of the scene to the context within the story being told. So, without further ado, we have number:

5 Master Yoda versus Count Dooku – Attack of the Clones (2002)

 

There is a part of me that didn’t want to include this fight on my list. I have my fair share of issues with this movie and these scenes in particular, and maybe someday I’ll go into those in more length (though I doubt you haven’t heard any of my grievances before). Retrospectively I am very uncomfortable with the animated Yoda, part of me ever the traditionalist and therefore longing for the good ole puppet.

That said, there can be no denying the impact of this scene. Sitting in a dark theatre, watching as the cripple Master Yoda, known so long and never seen moving quicker than a hobble, come to the aid of the young Jedi Knights lying defeated at Count Dooku’s feet. Though the Force-off is a bit much for me, and some of the lines are questionable, once the sabers come out it’s impossible to be unimpressed. As the fight spins and twirls across the room, one is left breathless at the feats of acrobatics being displayed. This scene was much-needed character development for the favorite old Jedi Master and helps to reinforce, in part, why this tiny being commands the respect he does. We also see for the first time in cinematic form the acrobatic capabilities of a master of the Force, and animated or no, it is awe inspiring. To me given all it introduces to the franchise, this scene nails the solid fifth slot.

4 Master Obi-Wan Kenobi versus Darth Vader—A New Hope (1977)

 

Who can forget this fight scene? It makes the list for a multitude of reasons, chief amongst them being that it was the first we saw of two lightsabers battling for supremacy. Though unimpressive choreography by standards of the fights to come in the franchise’s lifetime, it still presents an impressive showing. Consider also the mysterious references to a shared past, only lightly touched at this point, and this scene is poignant indeed. It is most set apart, however, by an underlying feeling that, perhaps, they are not trying as hard as they might. Each is calm, collected. While it is undeniable that only one of them will walk away, it seems that neither is trying overtly hard to end the life of their former friend. Context given, of course, by the expansion on their past that the Prequel Trilogy gives, but upon reviewing this scene it’s a fair assumption, I think.

3 Master Obi-Wan Kenobi versus Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader—Revenge of the Sith (2005)

The duel that the entire Prequels were driving towards, that unavoidable confrontation between two friends, slides in at number three. Though I have my qualms with it, largely the poor scripting on some of the lines and Hayden’s delivery (But again, we’ll not derail the discussion too greatly), this scene truly does deserve to be here. In the least, it is the stunning, energetic conclusion to the downfall of Anakin Skywalker. Though I noticed a lot of movements that were clearly gratuitous flair thrown in for no rational reason—fighting fluff—the majority of the duel was fast paced and exciting. The energy of it all was stirring, and the break in the fighting on the river of lava was irritating. That was a compliment. Considering the characters as they had been portrayed to this point, the conclusion was just as it should be. Still, for all its cinematic splendor, I couldn’t think to give it a slot higher than third, and almost didn’t give it that.

2 Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader—The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Second on my list, Luke’s first encounter with the mysterious and evil Darth Vader. Of the Original Trilogy, this is by far, in my opinion, the most energetic fight sequence. We see a brash Luke Skywalker walking into Darth Vader’s trap. Up until  this point, Luke has been seen as a bit of a powerful hero, and it’s not truly until he walks into that room that the audience sees how woefully inadequate the boy is for going up against the skill and experience of someone of Darth Vader’s caliber. Here, we see the man responsible for the decimation of the entire Jedi Order. Here we see the cold, calculated killer, playing with his prey. The fight perfectly reflects this experience gap. Skywalker didn’t stand a chance. Still, the boy has guts, and is able to hold his own, of a sorts. Granted, most of this seems to be without his lightsaber while crawling through catwalks and ductwork, but one uses what one has handy.

All this makes this scene truly superb, but one thing skyrockets it to the number two slot. This is the scene that leads up to the big reveal of Vader’s paternity of Luke Skywalker. Here, Luke’s universe is shattered as he learns the truth that Obi-Wan tried to keep from him.  Still, Vader offers to raise Luke up, to rule the galaxy together. Come now, that’s one swell dad, don’t you think? Especially considering the old cyborg had only known he had a child for a fairly short time. In the end, this fight sequence, to me, is a large part of Empire’s acclaim amongst the fanbase. It was truly a magnificent scene.

1 The Duel of the Fates—The Phantom Menace (1999)

Come now, could there be any doubt? This fight is the pinnacle of lightsaber duels the movies over. All leading up to it were in preparation, and all after only wish they could have succeeded so magnificently. No other fight in the franchise has been named. A large part of this, to be fair, was due to the amazing score written specifically for this duel, only adding to its splendid execution. We see our first saber staff, and the enigmatic Darth Maul made us all rethink our knowledge of lightsabers. The possibilities were amazing, and as a young boy I was captivated, even if I was always the Obi-Wan fan of my siblings.

More than this, of all the fight scenes present in the movies, none matches the Duel of the Fates for sheer perfection of Choreography. This scene was the last, and perhaps first, scene that was designed as nothing more than a true fight to the death. There are no attempts at witty banter, most likely failed. There is no plot exposition. Instead, we are awarded with intensity and ferocity hitherto unseen in Star Wars and, dare I say, never seen again. This fight brings with it an unreached level of—excuse my language—badassery that left none of the combatants looking weak or unskilled. When Qui-Gon Jinn is slain, you don’t think him inferior. You don’t blame him for losing. He gave a hell of a fight, and you couldn’t be prouder. When Maul is at last defeated, there is no denying his skill, nor is Obi-Wan found undeserving of his victory. In the end, when Qui-Gon is dying, and Obi-Wan takes on the young Sith Lord Maul, we see emotion and proficiency of fighting that we don’t see again. I will officially disagree with Drew on one point. I do not think that Obi-Wan’s later duel with Anakin can match this scene. Something indescribable sends this fight rocketing away from the rest, in a league of its own. It is, truly, ranked amongst the best fight scenes I have seen in any genre or medium.

To me, this duel easily deserves the slot of number one. The only qualm I have, throughout the entire scene, is that Maul’s death is just a tad slow, a bit less fluid than it should be. Considering my issues with even the other four on this list, I think that is impressive beyond expression.

Now that that is all done, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Not nearly the bitter old meanie I portrayed in my first posting. Perhaps I was just pulling your leg, and I’m really just a normal Star Wars fan doing an honest review of some of my favorite scenes? Well, to lay fears to rest, be aware that the worst fight scenes will be forthcoming. Some of them will be surprising, I think. I will be far less forgiving.

At any rate, I appreciate you trudging through this. As I said, feel free to comment, though I won’t rise to pointless bickering about opinion. I don’t expect to change your mind, nor desire you to change mine. Another posting will come at some point, I’m sure, so in the meantime, feel free to hit me up with any questions you may have.

Regards,

Nick

Republic Sports Radio E01: No-Show Moreno (NFL Preview)

Greetings, all.  SWRISE is proud to release the first episode of Republic Sports Radio.

A few show notes, right off the bat.

1) We are aware of, and apologize for the “wind tunnel” effect during the primary interview, always a dreaded possibility in podcasting.  I am looking into the source of this, and it should be fixed by next week.  Our editing minimized it as much as possible this week.

2) Doug Martin is incorrectly called the “pocket hamster,” when in fact he is the “muscle hamster.”  I don’t know what either of these are, but I’d rather be a hamster with muscles than a hamster in a pocket.

3) Big thank you to Yak, who provided great commentary.  We look forward to producing many more episodes, with rotating show hosts to get some new voices in as well.

Enjoy week 1 of the season!

Drew

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