NITC Book Club: Star Wars Edition

wishing you a

I am embarking on a rather large undertaking. For those super fans out there, you know what I mean when I say Expanded Universe. And you also know that the entire library of books that you previously believed to be canon has been relegated to Star Wars Legends. Meaning, they no longer exist in the regular Star Wars Universe. To some most, this is a big, fat disappointment because that’s all we’ve known. Mara Jade, Jaina and Jacen, Ben, little Anakin, Grand Admiral Thrawn, the death of Chewie. These are all stories that we are aware of and believe to be apart of a grander universe that we know and love.

But fans, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I like to believe that the novels are some sort of alternate universe. Like they could still all be true somehow. Making them Legends doesn’t diminish the excellent quality of writing and story telling. It just allows for a whole new onslaught of tales to delve into.

So here’s my mission. Between now and December I am going to plow through as much of the Expanded Universe: Legends as I can, starting with Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy and hopefully making it all the way to the end which would be Crucible by Troy Denning. That’s 69 books in all. I’ve definitely got my work cut out for me. (Especially since I’m not the fastest reader.)

After December, I will be devouring every single new canon book, comic, etc as it becomes available. I invite you to join me with the hashtag #NITCBookClubSW Let me know what you’re reading, if you like it and how you feel about Legends vs new canon. We’re all in this together, Star Wars nerds.

Heir to the Empire

by Timothy Zahn

1430812432827

I read this book years and years ago. And I don’t know how this happened, but I forgot how amazing it is. Timothy Zahn was already an amazing sci-fi writer before he was unleashed on the Star Wars Universe. And he is made all the better by writing for these beloved characters in a galaxy far, far away!

All the characters that we love are back in this action packed story set in the time of the New Republic. Obviously Vader is the biggest and bestest of the bad, but if there is someone who is a decent predecessor to his pre-redemption evil intentions, it would be Grand Admiral Thrawn. The last of the Grand Admirals. Who takes it upon himself to rebuild the Empire and fight the New Republic that has been trying to rebuild since the Return of the Jedi.

Leia Organa Solo is pregnant with twins and still managing to go on diplomatic missions to expand the reach of the New Republic. Luke is being tracked by a mysterious woman who is hell bent on seeking revenge. Lando is back. Han is back. Chewie is back!! It’s everything you love about Star Wars. And Zahn’s voice fits in so perfectly with my predetermined ideas of the SWU.

A seriously great addition to the Star Wars Universe and an excellent place to start if you are thinking of joining my Nerd in the City Book Club Challenge. 69 books between now and December. Join me and together we can…. read a lot of books!

wpid-wp-1423716123200.gif

 May the Force be with you… always!

8 Months Till Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Yes, the waiting is getting harder and harder. Especially with the new trailer out this week. Which, if you haven’t seen yet, must mean you are living in a cave on a desert planet far, far away. For those of us who aren’t a crazy, old man, take another look:

Yeah, so patience isn’t exactly my strong suit. But I’m trying really hard to bask in the pre-Force Awakens world of Star Wars. There are so many wonderful stories to read and watch in the waiting. So while I’m working on my patience, I will be doing these things.

Star Wars Digital

The_Complete_Saga_RE_RENDERED_by_LifeJuiceSFF

Show of hands, who will be purchasing both Star Wars trilogies on a digital platform regardless of whether or not you own DVD versions of the films. Count me it. Not only is this the most everlasting version of Star Wars available to us, there are also brand new behind the seasons featurettes available. And if you are anything like me, you consume new Star Wars information like a ream of frozen Thin Mints.

Star Wars Expanded Universe: Legends

thrawn_trilogy

By now we all know that the entire Expanded Universe has been relegated to Star Wars Legends to make room for all the new stories as well as the story line of the new films, but that doesn’t diminish the amazing work of all the authors who penned the Legends. Like Timothy Zahn and James Luceno and Drew Karpyshyn and John Jackson Miller and many, many more. So in the ether of the waiting zone I will be diving head first into the Expanded Universe starting with Timothy Zahn’s epic Thrawn Trilogy! And hopefully getting through as many as I can. Because after December I will be focusing on…

New Star Wars Expanded Universe

20140426-021001

All of the new novels that are now considered canon. Not to say I won’t return to the Legends, because, as I said, they are amazing stories that deserve to be read. But I want to fully immerse in what Lucasfilm and the Disney overlords are considering part of the official Star Wars Universe. There are many new titles coming out not only this year, but in the works in order to start making use of the word Expanded. Right now the timeline is a little thin, especially given how long the previous Legends timeline is. But if I start soon, then I won’t be as behind as I am with Legends. So there’s no time like the present. The only current canon novel I’ve read so far is A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller. Which leads me to…

Star Wars Rebels

star-wars-rebels

The explosive Disney XD cartoon that is not just for kids takes place in the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. It is a great way to stay connected to the Star Wars Universe in the space between big budget films and the story being told is very strong! If you don’t want to watch week to week, go ahead and start with…

Star Wars Clone Wars

Star-Wars-The-Clone-Wars

If you don’t like to wait for new episodes to come out, then Clone Wars is what you want. This is what I’m currently watching. And as sad as it is when a great show ends, I love being able to just power through and fully immerse in the experience of a show. And Clone Wars is truly a wonderful show. The Cartoon Network series takes place, obviously, during the Clone Wars in the space between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. It does an amazing job of bridging that gap, not only by giving us actual stories from the legendary Clone Wars, but also in Anakin’s decent and temptation towards the Dark Side of the Force. Something believed to be missing from Revenge of the Sith for avid Star Wars fans. Clone Wars boasts of strong villains like Asajj Ventress and Savage Opress, new heroes like the young padawan Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex as well as all the characters we love from the prequels, Obi-Wan, Anakin, C3PO, R2D2, Padme.

Star Wars Comics

Marvel

Star Wars comics are returning home to Marvel Entertainment. From 1977-1987, Marvel held the property. Dark Horse got a hold of them after Marvel and they have been responsible for all the modern Star Wars comics that we know and love. But this is the year that Star Wars returns to Marvel, where it always belonged (not to belittle the amazing work Dark Horse did for the comic universe.) With Disney owning both Marvel and Star Wars, it makes sense to keep it all in the family. Now, all the comics coming out of this Mavel/ Star Wars partnership are considered current canon so this blurb could technically belong in the New Expanded Universe column. But comic books are an entity in and of themselves. I love comic books, but have a hard time keeping up with weekly serials. I tend to gravitate towards books or graphic novels. But if comics are your thing or you want to expand your knowledge of the SWEU, then you should start with Lando #1 which hits the racks in July.

There you go. Plenty of Star Warsian things to do while we eagerly (and patiently) wait for December to roll around.

What will you be doing while you’re waiting?

Star Wars Episode VII: 1 Year To Go

star-wars-birthday-party-logo-

Today marks one year until Star Wars Episode VII hits the theaters. And if you’re a Star Wars nerd like me, then you have been waiting with baited breath for each and every scrap of news that’s come out. But we have to beware, everyone. There’s a lot of false prophecy out there that you must ignore. So to clear things up, here’s what we know to be true.

THE DIRECTOR

5d045ddaa62227dcb0527d540db13b50

A little over 2 years ago when the news first broke that Disney had purchased the Star Wars Empire and that three new movies were slated to join the epic saga, the first thing on everyone’s mind was who’s going to direct it? With George Lucas stepping away, we knew that The Maker wasn’t going to be in charge. And to all of us who lovingly endured the more painful moments of the prequels (there are plenty of redeeming qualities) we all knew this could be a really good thing.

Once that was established, the hunt was officially on. And the amazing thing to think about is how most of today’s directors have been directly influenced by Star Wars. For a while, everyone from Joss Whedon (Avengers) to Jon Favreau (Iron Man) to JJ Abrams (Star Trek) was being considered to take the helm. As we all now know, in the end it would be JJ, who got hired to direct. JJ’s a big fan of the Star Wars movies.  So we know that the Universe we know and love is in the hands of someone who knows and loves it as well.

THE CAST

884f1329cacf0bc31abb79c2008adad2

After the director was hired, the next thought on people’s minds was “Who’s gonna be in it?” We all hoped and dreamed that the original trio would jump back into costume, but the years had passed and who knows if that was where the “powers that be” saw the story going. There’s was so much expanded universe (before the de-canonization) to work with. What direction would they go? But then came the news that they were back in the cockpit along with other classic favorites. And a list of new players that were seemingly perfect for this movie!! The cast list stands as follows according to IMDB:

-Mark Hamill

-Carrie Fisher

-Harrison Ford

-Domhnall Gleeson

-Andy Serkis

-Gwendoline Christie

-Adam Driver

-Oscar Isaac

-Lupita Nyong’o

-Warwick Davis

-Peter Mayhew

-Max von Sidow

-Kenny Baker

-Anthony Daniels

-John Boyega

-Maisie Richardson-Sellers

-Daisy Ridley

-Pip Andersen

-Dixie Arnold

-Crystal Clarke

This list looks especially good with so many female names upon it. There are officially 6 women cast in Episode VII which is a vast improvement on the 3 that were cast in the entire original trilogy!! And that’s including useless Aunt Beru… come on!! When the casting announcement first came out there were less women on the list and this sparked a national conversation about women in film as well as the online community known as the Legion of Leia helmed by Jenna Busch. Perhaps they were always going to cast more women, or perhaps they sensed that their offering just wouldn’t appease the countless female fans of the Star Wars universe. As it stands, there could always be more women in the Star Wars Universe, but this isn’t a discouraging list by any means. And who knows who may join in future additions to the saga. Methinks Disney knows the power of the female. And if they don’t they need only to head over to Legion of Leia to see how much we ladies truly love anything and everything SW!!!

THE TITLE

c6ab1715a66c57c7e4b4e20682382620

Next up.. what will it be called? There were mixed reactions to the names when it was released. But personally I think it’s a great title and can’t wait for The Force Awakens. And when you see it lined up with the existing film titles then it makes it sound even better!!! Take a look:

The Phantom Menace

Attack of the Clones

Revenge of the Sith

A New Hope

The Empire Strikes Back

Return of the Jedi

The Force Awakens

I think it sounds pretty cool when mixed in with the other titles. What do you think?

THE PLOT

No_Spoilers

We actually don’t have much information beyond what we’ve seen in the trailer and mere speculation about what the plot of the film is. Right now the description on IMDB reads:

“A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi(1983).”

But false spoilers have been released almost weekly at this point with tid-bits of potential plot information. And while any hard core Star Wars fan knows the stories of Jaina, Jacen, Anakin and Ben, descendants of Han and Leia and Luke and Mara Jade, the council of Star Wars big wigs at Lucasfilm and Disney decided that the best course of action regarding the expanded universe would be to start fresh, thus giving themselves complete control over the stories released. And so everything that already existed in the EU would be relegated to Star Wars Legends and Disney would be able to keep the reins tight.

This was obviously disappointing news to avid Star Wars EU readers who greatly enjoyed the tales told by authors like Alan Dean Forester (who wrote the very first EU novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye), Timothy Zahn (Thrawn trilogy), L. Neil Smith (The Lando Calrissian Adventures), Michael A. Stackpole (X-Wing series) and many more. But at the end of the day, Disney has shown that it knows it’s properties well and if their handling of Marvel is any indication, they know exactly what to do with them. So this reader remains hopeful that whatever comes out of the Disney juggernaut will not only be faithful to the Star Wars we know and love, but it will also be exciting and action packed.

THE MUSIC

John Williams is doing the music!! And this isn’t so much news as it is confirmation of awesomeness. When a Star Wars movie gets made, it better have Williams on board or else it just wouldn’t be right. So when it was announced that he would be returning to create the score for the new film, Star Wars fans, the world over, drew a sign of anticipated relief.

THE TRAILER

If you still haven’t seen the trailer for the new movie then I can only assume that you have just crawled out from an underground bomb shelter built in the 50’s and have emerged into our culture with no knowledge of what’s going on in our world. That’s simply the only explanation I can think of that makes any sense. But if it’s true and you haven’t make sure to catch it now…

With an entire year to go until this movie comes out, it’s going to be a long, hard wait. But Nerd in the City will continue to bring you monthly updates with only confirmed news until we get a little closer to the big day.

If I had to choose one thing to be nerdy for in the entire world, it’d be Star Wars. It was the first thing I ever geeked out about. So you can rest assured, gentle reader, that if you love Star Wars as much as I do that you are in exactly the right place!!!

2014-09-13 18.17.06

Make sure to check back on the 18th of every month for monthly Star Wars news!! And to make sure you don’t miss a minute… don’t forget to subscribe to Nerd in the City.