Three Trailers

It has been … a day, and I find that I’m not in the chattiest mood tonight. So let’s talk about some stuff that’s coming out.

The Eternals

This trailer is the first thing I’ve seen from this movie that gave me even the vaguest interest in seeing it. I’m still not going near a theater– this and Shang-Chi are going to have to wait until they’re available on Disney+ for me to watch them– but this actually made me think for a few seconds that I might have some interest in seeing it. There was never any chance that I was actually going to skip the thing, and I still don’t know a damn thing about any of the characters, but at least it’s on my radar as a mild positive and not a thing that I have to put up with.

Star Wars: Visions

Given my lifelong disdain of anime and my utter inability to get into any of the Star Wars animated projects no matter how hard I’ve tried, you would think that this show would have no appeal for me, and I am as surprised as you are to announce that you would be completely wrong in thinking that. I am all in. I don’t know if this is in canon or not– I feel like lightsaber umbrella might be a concept best left out of the official SW universe– but I’m genuinely excited about this, for the novelty if nothing else.

Speaking of novelty …

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

I’m including this out of sheer schadenfreude. I liked the Kevin Smith Netflix thing well enough, although it didn’t change my life and I’m not chewing my nails over the second half of the season. But He-Man nerds got all bent out of shape about that, and then the next thing Netflix throws at us is this? As I’ve said many times, I have no real skin in this game, but even I was looking at this by the end and thinking maybe they’d gone a bit too far. Seriously make Battle Cat a dog who turns into a wolf and say it’s inspired by He-Man. Call him Boy-Dude or something.

I am seriously looking forward to the fanboy tears, though.

Hey, Disney, let’s make this happen

Saw Gerrera needs a Disney+ TV series.

That’s it, that’s the post.

I mean, I can elaborate a little bit, mostly by riffing on the idea that Gerrera is enough of an anti-Empire extremist that he’s considered a terrorist by the people who blew up the Death Star, and I find that to be endlessly fascinating, and I also could watch Forest Whitaker read a phone book. That said, Gerrera is old by the time Rogue One happens, and if they wanted to cast someone else in the role and set it in between the Clone Wars and A New Hope that would be fine too.

I am spoiled by Marvel; they’re giving shows to everybody they can think of and a lot of them sound great. My favorite characters are showing up all over the place. Star Wars is … not so much, just yet. I’ve given up on ever getting official confirmation that Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus were a couple even if I’m willing to die on the hill that says they were, but … just give Saw a damn show.

The end.

#Review: LIGHT OF THE JEDI, by Charles Soule

Or Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi, but these headlines can only be so long.

Here’s the thing: I’m pretty definitively in they keep pulling me back in mode with Star Wars. I actively despise the fandom as a group, and while there were definitely some things I really liked in the sequel trilogy (I continue to love The Last Jedi, and after a couple of rewatches The Rise of Skywalker has settled in at “dumb, but fun”) I still don’t like the broader decisions that those movies made. Or, to rephrase it in a way might not be helpful, I don’t mind the way they told the story they told, but I wish they’d told a different story.

And with the single exception of Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars and Timothy Zahn’s new Thrawn books, I haven’t really liked any of the books that have come out since Disney took over. The comic books have been uniformly pretty superb, but they’ve stuck within the confines of the OT and haven’t really roamed the timeline in either direction. And yet I’m still buying them. I could have dipped out with The High Republic, or at least shifted to waiting for paperbacks, and … well, you see how that worked out. It was a perfect excuse; set 200 years before the events of any of the movies, it would involve all new characters and had little risk of reinventing anything that I’d grown to love over the years.

But, damn it, the list of authors they’d gotten to work on this thing was something else. All of them great. And while authors I love have failed at Star Wars books before– one of my favorite authors, a guy who has written a number of books I’ve reviewed here and a few that have made it onto my end-of-year lists, wrote a Star Wars book that was so bad I couldn’t finish it— it was still all encouraging as hell.

So, yeah, fuck it, let’s read The High Republic. And while I’m not going to go so far as to recommend that anyone who wasn’t already thinking about it pick this up, this is good Star Wars. Charles Soule has written Star Wars comics in the past– and, again, the comics have been uniformly good-to-great, even after Disney took over– but to the best of my knowledge this is his first SW novel, and the high quality continues. One interesting thing that hit me at about the 50% mark of the book was that because they’re starting over with a clean slate (a couple of the longer-lived Jedi are still around, of course; Yoda gets namedropped several times but isn’t actually a character in the book, and there are a few other members of the Jedi Council who showed up in the prequels) he can really get away with doing whatever he wants to his characters. It doesn’t matter how dangerous the situation in the book is, you know Leia is going to be fine, right? You only ever had to worry when the books were pushing “now” forward, so they could kill Chewbacca off at the beginning of the Yuuzhan Vong war, but anything set before that, all of the major characters were going to end up intact at the end of the book.

Well, High Republic doesn’t have any “main characters” yet. If anything, that’s a weakness of the book– it never really settles on a main protagonist, and there’s a lot going on and a lot of characters, so the characterization is a little on the thin side. But the plus side of that is that Soule is free to kill off whoever the hell he wants and nobody is wearing plot armor. You don’t ever get to the level of holy shit did that just happen that, say, A Game of Thrones managed, but this isn’t a 600-page book, either. This is a good setup for whatever they have coming; the central struggle starts off feeling like a natural disaster and becomes more sinister as things roll on, the villains started off really giving off cut-rate Yuuzhan Vong vibes and became something more distinct and unique by the end, and the actual mastermind of the whole thing really comes into his own at the end of the book. Again, if you’re not already a Star Wars person you probably don’t need to join the club for this, but if you were kind of teetering on the edge like I was, this is worth the buy.

Star Wars and stuff

This post is going to be kind of grab-baggy, so be prepared for that, and there will probably be various and sundry spoilers for various and sundry things, so be prepared to potentially be spoiled somehow on basically anything I mention.

The Mandalorian continues to be … a thing, that I watch. The show annoys me as often as it entertains me, to be honest, and reintroducing Boba fucking Fett back into continuity got directly on my damn nerves no matter how much of a badass Temuera Morrison is in the role. The show’s structure is kind of aggravating, too; I’ve talked before about how video games seem to be imposing their structure on serial storytelling, and this show is really big on episodes that feel exactly like side quests in video games. Plus, for a bounty hunter, Din Djarin sure doesn’t hunt a whole lot of bounties. Baby Yoda (Grogu, whatever; I’m actually fine with the name) has basically eaten the show. That said, I thought the show’s most recent episode did some really interesting narrative stuff, including shortcutting past what I thought was going to be an entire episode about breaking a character out of prison ended up dispensing with the entire “breakout” by basically having one character pull some strings and dealing with it in two minutes.

The show’s budget is also completely out of control, in a good way. It looks gorgeous, and it doesn’t skimp on … really, anything at all. But I feel like I spend at least half of each episode sighing.

While I’m talking about Star Wars, I may as well point out that I’m working my way through The Clone Wars, and … well, that’s a thing I watch too. I’m mostly interested in filling in my knowledge of Ahsoka Tano’s backstory, so sooner or later I’ll move on to Rebels. I’m not loving the show, though, so it’ll probably take a minute. Also, the more time I spend watching Stormtroopers shoot at people and miss or droids shoot at people and miss, the more it starts to actually get on my nerves. Turns out there’s a limit for this stuff after all.

Then again, this has happened:

… and, damn, I am so back in. I didn’t know how much I needed a Patty Jenkins Rogue Squadron movie until seeing this teaser, which blew my damn mind. I spent the whole thing thinking she was either talking about Captain Marvel 2 or, for some reason, Green Lantern, which seems kind of an unlikely announcement for a Disney production. So when she pulls that X-Wing pilot helmet out … damn.

Let’s see, what else? There was a teaser for Ms. Marvel, too:

I have kind of checked out of the MCU since Endgame and especially Far from Home, which is easy for me to say when the global pandemic has seriously curtailed any actual chance I might have to watch any new programming. But this? This is what I want, and Iman Vellani seems like the perfect actress for this role. I also continue to be hugely psyched about WandaVision, mostly because of Monica Rambeau’s presence in the program.

I have reread R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic in the last couple of weeks, and I finally, finally got to start reading The Burning God, book III of that trilogy, today. It was the right call to reread the first two books again, which 1) reminded me of just how phenomenally good the first book was, and 2) made me realize that the second really is just as good as the first one. This series really isn’t for everyone, I still stand by that, but my God is it an amazing piece of work. I can’t wait to see how Kuang wraps up the trilogy with this final book. The rest of my unread shelf can wait.

In which Sturr Wurrs

I did manage to pick up the new TV yesterday– while it was clear at 1:00 that I was going to be there at least an hour if I intended to have anyone bring me my purchase, when I went back at 7 I had a blueshirt knocking politely on my car window before I’d even managed to open the email with the magic yellow “I’m here” button on it, and dude had my TV in my car and me on my way within three minutes of pulling into the spot, which was pretty sweet.

And then I got home and needed to watch a movie to see some 4K goodness, and thought hell, I haven’t seen Rise of Skywalker since it was in theaters. You may remember my review, which was 10,000 words long. I am happy to announce that this is the first Star Wars movie in a long time that I felt was better on a second view, because a few of the things that didn’t make sense to me on the first viewing were cleared up on the second, and oh also I missed the most powerful moment in the entire damn movie.

I somehow missed it when Ben Solo tries to say “I love you” to his father during their scene together on not-Endor, and he’s not able to say it, and Han’s response is “I know.”

And in a trilogy that is absolutely infested with callbacks to the original trilogy, that is how the fuck you do a callback, and it knocked me flat on my ass rewatching it, because how the hell did I miss that? Did I die during the movie or something? What the shit happened?

Also, I am more convinced than ever that the reason Leia waits until Ben’s death to disappear is that it is actually her life force keeping him alive after the lightsaber battle on not-Endor, and when he finally dies, having spent what energy they both have left to bring Rey back, she finally goes as well, and Rey has both of them living on in her, and that’s fucking beautiful too.

So, yeah. The most annoying thing about the movie remains its utter lack of concern about distance and time, particularly for anyone who is offscreen, but that’s really only one thing, and you can either roll with it or you can’t, and I’ve decided to roll with it. Lando and Jannah’s scene on Base Planet is still creepy, too.

We also watched the latest episode of The Mandalorian yesterday, a show that probably deserves another entire full piece devoted to it, and while I’m not going to really jump into it because spoilers, and you deserve to see this episode without interference, I will say this: I am not angry about anything that happens in this episode, and in fact I’m quite a bit more excited about future developments on the show than I was before watching it.

I even rewatched the first half of Solo today. Apparently it’s Star Wars season around here right now.