Tag Archives: Star Wars

Journal of the Emerald Specter 71: Bring on the New Year

Shut your mouth, it’s 2018!

Yeah, yeah… I know, “hey DJ, you probably wrote this last year and we are only just seeing it now.” Well, that is true… but I’m a lot closer to the actual release date than previous articles have been over the course of December, so I’m nearly real time.

But enough talking to myself, it’s time to look at a “New Year’s roundup” of sorts.

So, it’s time to start thinking about the BuJoRPG again. I’ve been overwhelmed over the course of the last two months and haven’t had a chance to put any effort into the bullet journal at all… like, I mean if I was bullet journaling steadily all year I wouldn’t have a single entry for November or December.

Work hurts.

When I last left off from working on the system, I was deep into creating a map for one to explore a “storyline,” more information on the “Jade Realm” that I’d pseudo-created for the BuJoRPG. Well, having had a chance to really give that a thought over the last couple of months, maybe I want to step back from world building to actually just build the basics. I’m reevaluating the approach, and I’m not starting over, I’m just going to hold off on the world building part. BuJoRPG2 may see some upgrades, slight rewrites, or things of that nature… but I’m going to be working on it again.

Speaking of bullet journaling, I wanted to start a new journal for 2018 and I had previously wanted to power through my original journal before I did that, but I’ve decided to use that journal as a testing ground for the BuJoRPG stuff and just start a new journal entirely. On January 1, 2018, I will have started the new year with an attempt to get re-organized and hopefully that leads me to a better chance at 365 days of journaling.

This month, the inaugural “basho” begins for the year as the Emerald Specter 2018 Winter Basho kicks off as previously announced. As I write this, there are four competitors out of 12 that will be participating in the event and I’m hoping that the rest of them jump on board before the actual kick off day.

The time controls are one move per day, which is as fast as I can guarantee I’ll personally be able to play. With my working schedule, several life unknowns, and just not really wanting to tie the event down to a single day or something like that, I’m hoping that the play is fast enough to ramp up the basho schedule from four to six for 2019, though we’ll see how this all actually plays out.

Realistically, I’m anticipating half of the players in the 2018 Winter Basho to not participate in future bashos. While I’d love to believe that the gimmick of chess crossed with sumo is enough to bring back people to compete for the “titles” that are involved, I’m enough of a realist to understand that to build a steady “roster” of players, this is probably going to be a two year plan. Some people will get it right away, some will pop in and check it out before deciding it isn’t for them.

This is one of those years where I haven’t payed as much attention to the NFL as I have previously. There have been years where I’d watch all three games on TV on Sunday, then watch the Monday game and when it was available, the Thursday and Saturday games.

This year? Pfff… I can’t tell you how many Sunday mornings I’ve woken up and just didn’t realize football was on TV. Hell, there have been days where my wife and I went out to eat and the only reason I knew I’d missed football is because it was on in the restaurant.

I’m mentioning this specifically as an NFL subject, but I’ve also slacked on watching the Premier League and the MLS, too, as 2017 hasn’t been a good “sports year” for me.

In 2001, I made a spreadsheet that was able to track the “picks league” I’d run for the people I worked with. The NFL schedule came out and I went to work ensuring that you could just input the scores of the games on the appropriate sheet and everything would update automatically. You could track up to 20 people in this league making the selections and while the coding of the spreadsheet was a little time consuming, I really enjoyed making it.

I’ve only made one similar since that year. When the 2018-2019 NFL schedule comes out, I plan on doing that again. I’m not sure I’m going to include places for people to keep track of their picks but if I build the basic sheet, I’ll be happy enough with myself.

Sticking with sports, the UFC has had a damn good year in 2017. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for 2018, too, as I’m going to start watching more of the events that I’m interested in seeing. I’m a big fan of the women and would guarantee to see the “lady fights” that were on whenever they were on but 2017 didn’t really let me get into UFC as much as I’d wanted.

Going out to watch UFC is something of a problem, as nearly all the bars and restaurants in the area that show the fights are packed to the hilt and have waiting lines out the door. Watching the fights at home is a costly endeavor, too, but if I can find out who at work likes to watch the UFC and is willing to split the cost, I’ll order the fights and none of us will take a giant hit on the price.

Yeah, I know that isn’t how the UFC intends these things to be watched, but we’re still paying to watch the fight and the groups aren’t going to be bigger than five or six people, so it isn’t like I’m hosting a public showing.

The last month or so, you’ve been treated to the “resurrecting old IPs” columns for possible future solo RPG adventuring. I’d even gone so far as to say I was going with my “Tron” idea and started figuring out what system I was going to use…

Then the holiday rush started and everything went to the back burner. EVERYTHING.

Well, if I’d have started RPing that scenario back in November or December, I might be supercharged to keep on with that storyline until some sort of “break” or “conclusion” came along… but since I haven’t even gotten to start the thing, I’m deciding whether I want to use another scenario or just move forward with the Tron one. Finding others to play with has forced me into using solo RPG as the only option I have.

Hey, DJ, what about the last column? You mentioned building some sort of fleet?

Yes, I did, and I’m glad you mentioned that.

Right along side working on the BuJoRPG2, I’m also going to be writing articles for the new fleet. The world that I’m creating does need some explanation and these articles can basically be used as the “training” for anyone wanting to play in the fleet.

Things I need to write up (generally speaking): biological information on the available and known species, a brief history of the planet from which the protagonists hail, how space travel works in this fleet, cultural backgrounds of the different nations on the planet, military structure, and basic things like how to run a SIM.

There is a lot to write and I’m really the only one that can write them up. I’ve got someone lined up to help design starships for the graphics side of things and with any luck, they won’t all look like a single person designed them (similar to what Star Trek ships look like).

I’ve attempted to write prose for a long time. There have been many, many false starts, and even fewer endings. The sad thing is that the “space series” short stories that I used to write are all in the past and I’ve seemed to have lost the ability to keep doing that sort of thing. So, I’m going to give myself a year to accomplish a goal that, if I don’t actually start doing it, I’ll never do.

I’m going to write a single issue, 22 page story, comic book script.

Not only am I going to write 22 pages of comic script, I’m going to then draw the damn thing, ink it, color it, and see how long the whole process takes me. There is no illusion that I can get this task done to completion in a single month, but if I’m going to write the script I want to see the end result.

I’ve talked about, pined over, and romanticized creating comic books since I started collecting them way back in 1987. There were six issues of a homemade comic that I made that have long since been lost that I even made, though I would tell you right now that they are horrible and the stories wouldn’t hold up at all under any scrutiny.

If I don’t do this in 2018, then I cam put that dream away and forget about ever doing it because talk is cheap and I’m tired of not doing anything about it.

The whole goal is to finish this project in 365 days, have a finished product by the end of 2018. I think that is a realistic goal and I’m hoping that it will inspire me to make more if I can complete one.

Wouldn’t that be great?

I’ve seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi. There has been both super positive and super negative reaction to it, and I’d like to throw my two cents in as well.

“Old school” fans will proclaim from the mountain tops that the Original Trilogy (or OT) is really the only Star Wars there is, claiming it to be untouchable for its greatness. The majority of these fans are over the age of 40.

The younger generation of fans, the ones that grew up during the Prequel Trilogy (or PT) are the ones who understand that the OT is good but really love the PT and hold that as the standard to which Star Wars should strive.

We also have a few fans out there that like all of the saga, none of one of the trilogies aforementioned, and there are even still more with other variations of likes and dislikes.

The OT fans that hold up that trilogy as the best profess to wanting more stories with those characters and we are getting that with this Sequel Trilogy (or ST), but things aren’t working out exactly as they’d hoped. The OT super fans are also the ones primarily upset over the loss of the Expanded Universe (EU) that was turned into “Legends” by Disney after the purchase of Lucasfilm.

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released in theaters, OT fans initially went orgasmic because they could now ignore the prequels entirely and just focus on moving “forward.” Well, you either seem to really like TFA or really dislike TFA, I haven’t really seen any “in between.” The movie was basically an entire “fan wank” rehash of the OT condensed into a single movie. Yes, there are redeeming bits and interesting beats in the movie, too, but overall, it’s the OT retold in a single movie.

Now that TLJ (The Last Jedi) has taken us into new territory, officially, the OT fans are crying super hard that this new movie isn’t their Star Wars. I have mentioned in some Facebook posts that I felt the movie didn’t really feel like Star Wars but I accept that things need to change in order to not continuously rehash the same story over and over again.

My question to the PT haters has always been: how can you hate half of something and claim to be a fan of it?

If I rank the Star Wars movies, and I’ve done this before TLJ came out, I’d have a different order if I included the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story into the mix… I don’t normally add that one because it’s not a numbered episode, so after putting thought into what I really think about TLJ, the order I’d rank the films in the saga are as follows:

  1. Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith
  2. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  4. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  5. Star Wars: A New Hope
  6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  7. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
  8. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

With a prequel toping the list, I can feel (through the Force) millions of “fans” cry out in agony. RotS is a superior movie, although the film suffers a little from some lumps, it isn’t as “hole filled” or terrible as the OT people want to make it out to be…

I’d probably slot Rogue One right behind The Last Jedi if you made me add it to the list… but since I’m not going to rank the Solo film (as I have zero interest in it) or a Boba Fett film (as I also have zero interest… and as an aside, the character did literally jack shit on screen and he’s super popular? Why? He has literally done nothing to warrant the popularity), I leave Rogue One off that list as well.

When George Lucas made the prequels, the OT fans cried that he ruined their childhood. Those same fans rejoiced at the purchase by Disney, leaving GL out of the mix entirely… and now they’re crying about the fact that Disney is actually doing something interesting, albeit not what they wanted, with the franchise.

You can’t hate and love the creator simultaneously. Pick one.

Star Wars has a bright future. Rian Johnson was given the green light to have his own trilogy, divorced from the Skywalker saga entirely. What have I heard fans think the new trilogy will be about?

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Mandalorians
  • Knights of the Old Republic

Really? These are completely divorced from the Saga? I don’t think so, McFly.

The key words are “divorced from” and people are having a hard time grasping that concept.

I want to end this segment by boiling down a little 411 for the kids reading this: Luke Skywalker, son of Anakin Skywalker, with R2D2 and C3PO, are what the Saga is about. This links them to Rey, Kylo Ren, Snoke, Darth Vader, Darth Sidious (Emperor Palpatine), Padme Amidala, Chewbacca, Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Leia Organa, Lando Calrissian, Admiral Ackbar, Mon Mothma, Jabba the Hutt, Biggs, Wedge, Mace Windu, BB8, and more characters than I can continue to name before I have to start looking them up… If Rian Johnson is going to tell a trilogy that is original and new, then there can be no connection to these characters aside from a passing mention.

Speculation ran rampant about Rey’s parentage and it comes down to the fact she’s a nobody. Why does everyone in the galaxy, read GALAXY, have to be related? Let’s do something new, something different, and let’s stop living in the past.

Nostalgia is for people who don’t know how to move forward.

Emerald Specter 13: Star Wars the Series

emeraldspecter

Welcome to another edition of the Emerald Specter column, number 13, and I wanted to do something a little off beat for this edition. I wanted to run through a scenario that I don’t believe will happen, but would expect to end the way I detail.

This edition, I’ll be exploring the concept of Star Wars as a television series. I’m running on the fictional theory that maybe the Force Awakens never happened… maybe the Clone Wars or Rebels never happened… let’s just say that someone gets the bright idea to turn Star Wars into a TV series to “revitalize” the franchise.

Hey, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica are TV series, why not Star Wars?

Keep in mind, I don’t think this will happen. I’m not suggesting this will happen. I am not advocating for anyone to do what I’m going to be writing about, I’m simply coming up with what I think would happen if someone got the bright idea to reboot or reimagine the franchise into a TV series.

Let’s continue, shall we?ES_SWSo, Disney approaches George Lucas, whose dated science fiction franchise needing new life breathed into it, purchases the name, characters, etc and announces to the world that there will be a new series for ABC, Star Wars the Series.

The old school fans cried out in agony and were suddenly silenced when the marketing machine that is Disney starts announcing the casting for the series. The undiscovered young stars they chose, while initially dissed as “shallow imitations” of the originals, starts gaining leverage when clips from the first season are released, fans start slowly coming around… because Disney’s spending on this series make the special effects look better than anything ever seen on TV. Then comes the season, to much applause.

SEASON ONE

ABC sees record viewership for the premiere episode as the escape of Princess Leia with C3PO and R2D2 to Tatooine leaves enough of a change from the original film that people start wondering what the new direction is for this franchise. There was so much buzz, in fact, that the haters tuned in setting a new record for viewing… making the second episode more viewed than the first one!

The first season goes off like gangbusters (I’m not old enough to understand that reference, by the way, but why not use it). Leia and the droids locate Obi Wan Kenobi, who can’t leave without a farm boy named Luke. His Jedi skills allow the group to battle off the Empire, who finally capture Leia but allow Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, and the droids to escape to Mos Espa, where they look for a way to get off Tatooine to save Leia from the Empire.

Enter Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the Millennium Falcon. The group flees the planet and comes across the Death Star, the Imperial super weapon… just as it destroys Alderaan! The group gets captured and things look bleak just as the mid-season ends.

The second half of season one kicks off with the dramatic rescue and fight off the Death Star by the Falcon crew. There is the loss of Obi Wan Kenobi in the escape, which ends the in depth talk of the time before the “Dark Times” and the Jedi of old.

Several encounters with the Empire later, as the Millennium Falcon flees to find the Rebellion, they finally end up on Yavvin, where they finally gain access to the Death Star plans and plot the full scale assault of the Empire’s secret weapon. The clock is ticking as the Empire tracked the Falcon to Yavvin and are almost there, ready to destroy the planet and the bulk of the Rebellion!

The season ends with the epic climax of the battle at Yavvin, where the Rebellion manage to deal a serious blow to the Empire by blowing up the Death Star. Luke Skywalker, the hero of the attack, is joined by the support of Han Solo and Chewbacca in the finale, where they’re awarded medals for their valor… but we see, just before the credits roll, that Darth Vader escaped and has a new mission: find the Force user that destroyed the Death Star.

After the season, which was a resounding success, Disney announces that they’ll produce a second Star Wars series to run between Star Wars the Series, which will be a prequel to the Season One series exploring the era of the Old Republic that the Obi Wan Kenobi character kept talking so much about. Some fans roll their eyes, having hated the prequel movies, but all the fans of this new series are willing to give it a shot… knowing that Disney will be going in a new direction.

The deal is sealed for most fans when they discover the actor playing Obi Wan is returning to be the linchpin of the new series.

SEASON TWO (Star Wars the Series)

Viewership for the second season is high, though not as high as the series premiere. We pick up only one month after the end of season one, where Luke Skywalker arrives on the planet Hoth to join the Rebellion as they prepare to launch their next big offensive, which is to plan a full scale assault of Coruscant to depose the Emperor.

Things are changed, though, when word gets to the Rebellion about bounty hunters looking for key members of the Rebellion, which include the bounty from Jabba the Hut on Han Solo. When Luke starts showing real signs of his Force abilities, the Empire is led to Hoth by Darth Vader sensing where this new Force user is… and discovering the name of his target, Darth Vader contacts the Emperor and passes his information on, changing the focus of the two Sith who are leading the Empire.

When Vader leads the attack on Hoth, the Rebellion repels the attack just long enough to allow the bulk of the forces to escape, to fight another day. The Millennium Falcon is Vader’s sole focus, as the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker force Vader to follow the one lead from season one that he felt was best to locate Luke. Enter Boba Fett, the premier bounty hunter in the galaxy, puts together a plan to capture Han Solo for Jabba the Hutt, his true employer. The first half of the season ends when Luke crashes on Dagobah after exploring a Force vision and losing control of his X Wing. Enter Yoda, the only other Jedi left in the galaxy.

Casting news for the companion series, Star Wars the Old Republic, comes out with who is playing Mace Windu, Qui Gon Jinn, Anakin Skywalker, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, and Palpatine gets the fans really excited to see what is coming for the “between the seasons” series. Disney also announces that Star Wars the Old Republic will be only 13 episodes instead of the 20 that the main Series is. Then we kick off with the second half of the season!

We return to a galaxy far, far away with Luke deep in training to be a Jedi on Dagobah. We see all kinds of weird Force visions and learn the reason Luke doesn’t have to worry about being discovered is that Dagobah is cloaked by the Force, keeping them safe.

In a separate plot, the Millennium Falcon housing Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C3PO, and R2D2 are running from the Star Destroyer fleet through an asteroid field and then to Bespin, where they are introduced to Lando Calrissian. Unbeknownst to the Falcon crew, Boba Fett is on Bespin and has an elaborate trap laid for the crew.

Back with Luke, he starts seeing visions related directly to him, which relate to his friends who will be dealing with the Empire and bounty hunters. He becomes distracted, which sends Yoda into despair that his last pupil won’t stick around to finish his training. Before he departs, Yoda and the ghost of Kenobi plead with Luke to stick with what he’s already learned and not be swayed to the Dark Side of the Force. He promises and leaves, headed for Bespin… the city in the clouds from his visions.

On Bespin, the trap laid for Solo and the others is sprung, implicating Calrissian as a double agent. They resist until Vader shows up, with his fleet, and takes over Bespin by force. Solo is tortured and Vader plans to test the carbon freezing on him for the Emperor’s prize: Luke Skywalker. No longer shrouded from him, Vader senses him impending arrival.

Han Solo is frozen and Boba Fett takes him on Slave One towards Tatooine, where his employer, Jabba the Hutt, will pay him handsomely for his success. Luke arrives too late to stop the plot and ends up coming face to face with Darth Vader, the most dangerous man in the Empire. Their battle lasts an entire episode, ending with the loss of Luke’s hand and the revelation that Vader is his father, just before he is rescued by Leia, Chewbacca, and the cleared Calrissian on the Falcon… we are also given a glimpse of the lair of Jabba the Hutt and what awaits the heroes for season three in the season finale.

The long awaited companion series then starts with a bang!

ES_SW2

SEASON ONE

Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi are locked in battle with the last Sith, Darth Maul, on Naboo during a dispute on trade routes. The Republic supports Naboo but politics has bogged down the Senate, forcing the Jedi Council to become involved directly. When Maul escapes the battle to fight another day, we learn that he isn’t actually the last Sith but an apprentice to the last Sith Master, Darth Sidious. The plot to take their revenge on the Jedi begins.

Fan reactions to the new series are mixed but viewership rises as the season continues, renewing the faith in those who were worried the prequel series would follow too closely the original Lucas attempt.

The season continued when Princess Amidala, who starts showing an affection towards Jinn’s apprentice Anakin Skywalker, as she is ferried to Coruscant by Jinn and Kenobi to try and sway the Senate to Naboo’s favor. Their arrival is met by Darth Maul and a force of Battle Droids. Count Dooku, one of the strongest Jedi on Coruscant, leads the resistance against Maul but the real fight comes back to Maul vs Qui Gon Jinn.

When Darth Maul ends Jinn’s life in the Coruscant underworld, Kenobi leads Anakin to overcome Maul, resulting in the promotion of Skywalker to full Jedi status by slaying Darth Maul. Count Dooku is approached by Darth Sidious because of his “faltering faith in the Jedi,” recruiting himself a new apprentice that needs very little training. There is a space battle alluded to around Naboo, winning Naboo’s freedom from the trade dispute.

The season ends with Windu, Yoda, and Kenobi discussing the real possibility that Darth Maul wasn’t the Sith Master and what plans the Sith have for the galaxy.

Fans of both series start putting the word out that both series are taking different turns than the original source material and are hopeful that the saga will result in only bigger and better storylines for the future.

SEASON THREE (Star Wars the Series)

The season three opener gets nearly as many viewers as the series premier when the direction for the season came into question just before the launch. Instead of retelling Episode VI, the season starts out with Luke getting his mechanical hand and debating whether or not his path towards becoming a Jedi is right for the galaxy. This is done on Jakku, a planet eerily similar to Tatooine. Leia, Lando, and Chewbacca collect what they can in research to recover Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt while we see the control that Jabba has on Tatooine and surrounding systems.

As the season progresses, we see that the Empire is drawing in towards the inner systems and Coruscant, leaving the outer rim territories largely uncontrolled. This consolidation of power by the Emperor, revealed to be Darth Sidious, is in preparation for the reveal for the new super weapon to replace the Death Star. The exact nature of this super weapon remains a closely guarded secret, even from the audience.

News of the Empire drawing in forces the attention of Admiral Ackbar, Mon Mothma, and the Rebellion  leadership to start formulating a plan of attack. Several small engagements reveal that the super weapon is around the Coruscant system, so spies go in to investigate.

Luke eventually decides to return to Dagobah and finish his training, begin encouraged by the ghost of Kenobi. His secluded training is seen for the rest of the season dealing with Yoda, Force visions, and learning to become a full fledged Jedi.

Leia, Lando, and Chewbacca infiltrate Jabba’s palace, set themselves up in covert positions that enable them to have a chance at freeing Han, and they discover that Boba Fett is far more than he initially appeared. The power struggle between Jabba and Boba forces Boba off world, back to Mandalore, where he no longer threatens Jabba’s hold. When the liberation attempt is made, Leia and Chewbacca are captured by Jabba’s forces, leaving Lando without a viable escape plan and he is forced to remain disguised until help can arrive.

The season finale is the darkest cliffhanger yet, leaving Leia enslaved, Han Solo still trapped in carbonite, Luke driven to leave his training again due to visions, Lando unable to save any of his friends, and the Rebellion discovering the super weapon the Empire was hiding: a Sith Order with hundreds of apprentices being recruited from across the galaxy.

The season finale was met with mixed reviews, though more positive than negative. No one could seem to agree if the remake was better than the original film or if the new direction gave hope that there could be a new and interesting direction for the future of the franchise.

SEASON TWO (Star Wars the Old Republic)

The Senate is torn in half by debate after the destruction of Dantooine, which was blamed on the Union, an alternative to the Republic. The member states of the Union fully withdraw from the Senate and start building an army of droids. Their immediate hostilities force the Senate to begin asking for recruits to fight back, as the Jedi cannot battle the large scale assaults of the Union.

Just when the Senate was faced with the real possibility of being unable to defend the inner systems, the cloners on Kamino contact the new Chancellor Palpatine to report his order has been fulfilled for millions of clone soldiers. Forced into utilizing this fortuitous army, Palpatine gives the Senate the option and they unanimously vote to use the clones while also requiring the Jedi to investigate where this “order” came from, leaving those Jedi not investigating to become the generals of the clones against the increasingly aggressive Union.

Darth Tyrannus, also known as Count Dooku, is leading the Union from behind the scenes. Dooku is also being trained by Darth Sidious in the ways of the Dark Side of the Force. Through this training it is revealed that Darth Sidious and Chancellor Palpatine are one in the same.

The investigation reveals that a long dead Jedi is credited with the order of the clones but the host for the clones reveals he was paid by a man named Tyrannus, linking the clones to the Sith. As the investigators try to report this back, the clones turn on them and kill them, leaving the mystery of the clones hidden.

Windu, Yoda, and Kenobi confer and decide the Jedi are being targeted, as things they are doing in support of the war effort are becoming bad publicity for the Jedi Order as a whole. The season finale sees Anakin Skywalker becoming a personal attache to the Chancellor as a “plant” for the Jedi to figure out who the real enemy is.

Fans were once again mixed on the direction of the entire franchise, so Disney hired six of the top creators in the industry to bring back the large viewership of their first three seasons, as many fans blamed them for “resting on their laurels” from their initial success. Those that made this claim cited the last seasons of Star Wars weren’t nearly as successful. This collaboration caused a delay in the new season but everyone anxiously awaited what would come out of the delay.

SEASON FOUR (Star Wars the Series)

The season four premier was a smash success as Luke leaves Dagobah after Yoda dies, stating he must defeat Darth Vader in order to realize his training to become a full Jedi. He heads straight for Tatooine, where his visions revealed that his friends needed his help.

C3PO and R2D2 are sent to Jabba as gifts, or plants for Luke, to give the would-be Jedi a look inside the inner workings of the criminal underworld, and to provide hope that Lando wasn’t going to be all alone for long.

Attending the Sith Order Academy on Korriban himself, Darth Sidious places the last of the Nightsisters, Asajj Ventress, in charge to teach them all the ways of the Dark Side. Her training from decades before was incomplete, but with Darth Vader needed to run the Empire, only she remained as a viable option for Korriban. Korriban’s location was tough for the Rebellion to discern, as the moon was in orbit around the enormous forest planet of Endor.

Luke’s arrival on Tatooine is big, as he waltzes into Jabba’s palace and announces the imminent death of Jabba if his friends are not released. He’s taken into custody after Luke slays the Rancor in a pit below the palace, angering the crime lord. Jabba is so angered, he releases Han Solo from his carbon prison and plans to feed them all to the Sarlac, a desert creature. The attempt to feed them to the Sarlac is a failure, as Luke used his new lightsaber and a coordinated plan with Lando and Chewbacca to free the others and escape Tatooine. They then rejoin the Rebellion, only then learning of the new Sith Order.

Han Solo and Lando Calrissian join the upper echelons of the Rebellion as generals, with a full scale plan ready to go for a multiple pronged attack. Lando Calrissian would lead the attack on the Imperial fleet in orbit around Coruscant along with Admiral Ackbar. Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Leia would remove the shield protecting Korriban by freeing the natives on Endor and destroying the Imperial machinery. Luke Skywalker would lead the direct attack on Korriban, on the hundreds of barely trained Sith before they could become full Dark Side users.

The season finale sees the attack’s success in question when Luke Skywalker is captured by Darth Vader and taken to Darth Sidious to be swayed towards the Dark Side, Han Solo’s group is overwhelmed by a much larger Imperial contingent than expected, and the fleets clash is dire for the Rebellion when Coruscant hits the largest capitol ship with a planet side canon.

Fans were emboldened as the season went on and the viewership went up again. The hope for the Old Republic spinoff was greater, too, but fans were distraught when they learned that the next season would be the last season.

SEASON THREE (Star Wars the Old Republic)

The season premier of the final season of Old Republic is all about a flashback, showing Anakin and Padme Amidala in a forbidden relationship, growing through events already seen. Their union ends up with Amidala becoming pregnant, which is hidden from Anakin so that he wouldn’t be torn between his duty to the Jedi and leaving the order due to breaking their code.

The season continued with present day machinations of Palpatine maneuvering the mind of Anakin to be receptive to his turn towards the Dark Side. Obi Wan Kenobi detects the turning of Anakin’s mind, reports that to Mace Windu and Yoda, who realize that things are not what they seem.

A covert action to discover the truth leads Mace Windu to enter the Chancellor’s chamber and spy on his activities, forcing a confrontation between Windu and Darth Sidious, framed in Anakin’s eyes as the Jedi attacking the Chancellor during a time of war because they aren’t as popular in the eyes of the Republic. Anakin is the one that strikes down Mace Windu, causing him to fully take the mantle of Darth Vader. Darth Vader solidified his place at Darth Sidious’s side by slaying Darth Tyrannus.

The Union begins falling to the overwhelming clone armies but just as suddenly, the clones turn on their generals and take out nearly all of the Jedi in the galaxy in a matter of days. The only remaining Jedi on Coruscant end up being Kenobi and Yoda, both decide on taking on the two Sith Lords in charge of what was just named the Galactic Empire, replacing the Republic.

Kenobi takes on Skywalker on Mustafar, where the Empire is mining the metals for the Death Star construction. Their battle ends with massive physical damage to Skywalker and Kenobi mistakenly decides to leave him to die among the planet’s molten rivers. Yoda faces Darth Sidious in a battle at the capitol building, where Yoda is overwhelmed by the Dark Lord and driven into hiding on Dagobah.

The series ends with Darth Sidious rebuilding Darth Vader into the mechanical menace we see at the beginning of Star Wars the Series, with both Kenobi and Yoda going into hiding with the child of Anakin being taken into hiding… along with his sister.

Redemption for the companion series was a resounding yes, with the season running slightly longer than 13 episodes. Fans were rejuvenated and very interested in what would happen in the next season of Star Wars the Series.

SEASON FIVE (Star Wars the Series)

Much like the start of the final season of the Old Republic, the Series starts out in flashback… way back… with Darth Sidious training three apprentices to be full Dark Lords of the Sith. They were Darth Maul (formerly known as Savage Opress), Darth Daka (Asajj Ventress), and Darth Ren (whose true identity is not revealed). Their training proceeds to a certain point, when Darth Ren ventures away believing this own training is over. The other two’s destinies are known, and the first episode fills in much of the history of how Palpatine became Sidious… being taught by Darth Plagueis and eventually killing him for the seat of power of the Sith.

The season returns to the present with Darth Vader being pitted against Luke Skywalker by Darth Sidious. Han Solo and company is liberated and the odds are evened by the natives of Endor, the Ewoks, who help take down the shields from Korriban and eventually allow the Rebellion to sweep the Imperial forces off of Endor. With the forces around Coruscant weakened, the return of Han Solo and others to the battle gives the Rebellion the upper hand, forcing the remnants of the Empire to flee from the capitol. As the season progresses, Darth Vader is struck down by Luke Skywalker, but not killed, forcing the Emperor (Darth Sidious) to engage Luke directly. He loses when a hobbling Vader evens the odds after a change of heart, allowing for the Sith to be swept away from the seat of power in the capitol.

All Rebellion forces then begin to converge on Korriban, with Jedi Master Luke Skywalker leading the charge against Asajj Ventress directly. The recruits are all either killed or imprisoned in the raid, leaving the Sith in ruins and Korriban a rumor to the galaxy.

With the season ending in the removal of the Empire, fans were overjoyed to see that the creators really took the series back from the low point in season four, where there was doubts of the reimagining being a success. The direction for the future was of big interest, especially considering the season finale showed that Nemo Ren, formerly Darth Ren, was emerging as a threat with his small band of Knights of Ren seeking their place in the new galactic order of things.

Well… I’m going to stop this little exercise here, but only because I don’t want it to drag on too long… if there is interest, I’d write more about the Star Wars the Series direction. I don’t name actor names because of the “unknowns” factor that I believe the casting would take. I also don’t get too descriptive on episode by episode because then I’m bogged down by the tiny details that don’t need to be fleshed out. Know that the reimagining would be more cohesive, more uniform, and there would be more opportunities for storytelling to go in different directions now that I’ve gotten us through remaking the “Original Trilogy.” My own personal guess would be fleshing out the distant past, maybe a Darth Bane series, and continuing into the future, allowing for a second “current day” series to run concurrently in a different part of the saga. I’m suggesting the second current series would flesh out other parts of the galaxy that aren’t dealing with the “core problems” of the main characters.

So… what do you think? Feedback is welcome.

Review of Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes

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I have been playing this game for some time now and I thought it was time to write a review… right at the cusp of something that just happened, which angers me immensely.

I am a free to play player. I do not purchase things that are… shall I say, micro purchases, so that means I don’t keep buying an item just because the game is funded primarily that way. You want to charge me for a game? Charge me for the game, but don’t nickel and dime me to death. Some people call that “freemium,” I call it “douchey.”

When I discovered this game, I was enticed by some gameplay video and thought I’d give it a shot. I like the way the game plays, I like the collectibility aspect to the game, and I wanted to play more. Since there were daily rewards for logging into the game DAILY, I logged into the game every day since getting it. I’ve been trucking along now for about 80 or so days straight now… probably more.

The core of the game is collecting characters from the Star Wars universe (including that segment of the saga that lots of people whine and cry about, yet is 100% canon: the prequels). You get these characters and you battle. Straight up, that’s it, you get into battles. There are battles that do gain you specific things, unlock certain things, provide endless rewards, but the basis is that you battle.

You can earn “crystals,” which are the game’s currency, that allow you to buy certain types of things. Add that to the “credits” you have to earn in order to buy other things, which you can buy with crystals. There are also “ally points,” “cantina tokens,” “arena cash,” and “galactic war bonds” to spend as well… as well as “shard credits” and I’m sure the 157 other types of ridiculous currencies they want to add to do a myriad of different things.

Keep in mind, I’m largely happy with this game. But, as you can guess, I have come to the part that has upset me… and just about 2 hours prior, in fact.

Since crystals are the primary means of currency in the game, there are often things you need to save up for in order to buy them (like data packs that unlock random stuff such as characters or gear) and even training droids, which is how to get your characters leveled up. For most of the last few weeks, there has been a specific sale of Tier 6 training droids going on (120 for 1800+ crystals) and I’ve been saving to buy this phenomenal deal (because 60 were a little over 1000 crystals). I was LITERALLY 50 crystals away when all of a sudden, poof, the tier 6 training droids are replaced with tier 4 (which I have but don’t provide the boost I need) and now I have crystals that aren’t really doing anything great for me except tempting me to spend them on refreshing things (which I have avoided to save them up).

One of the facets of the game are “challenges,” which if you are in the “droid” challenge you can win specific tiers of training droids. The level I normally fight at is level 5, which promises tier 5 and tier 6 training droids. Guess how many tier 6 training droids I’ve earned? Zero. I’ve never earned a single tier 6 training droid. This level, though, has given me HUNDREDS of tier 4, which aren’t supposed to be awarded at that level.

Overall, I have to give the game a positive rating. There are things that upset me, and upset me really big. Like how unbalanced certain characters are, or how paying hundreds of dollars allows you to advance to the umpteenth degree over anyone not spending entire paychecks to play the game. Other than that, though, I’ll give it a 4/5… because I enjoy the mechanics of the game, enough to where I want all games to be like it, but the drawbacks are just strong enough to keep this from reaching perfection.

Try it.