George Lucas on Star Wars: A “Good” Villain?

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Palpatine, Darth Sidious, Star Wars Revenge of the Sith

The Scene: Palpatine is revealed as Darth Sidious. Moments after Mace Windu’s death, he instructs his new apprentice Darth Vader to kill all the Jedi in the Jedi Temple.

George Lucas Says (via the Revenge of the Sith commentary track): “One of the issues in all of this is the bad guys think they’re good, and Lord Sidious thinks he’s bringing peace to the galaxy because there’s so much corruption, confusion, and chaos going on. And that now he’s going to be able to straighten everything out. Which may be true. But the price that the galaxy is going to have to pay for it is way too much.”

I Say: I understand the notion that most evil people don’t believe they’re evil. But I don’t necessarily agree with George here. Especially given the way Ian McDiarmid plays Palpatine. The man is clearly reveling in his own wickedness. This isn’t some misguided soul who thinks he’s making hard choices for the good of the galaxy. Palpatine knows who and what he is. He wants all the power in the universe for himself, and there’s no length to which he won’t go to obtain it. He’ll even defy death itself…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part VI” Review

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi poster, Owen LarsSERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part VI”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Moses Ingram, Hayden Christensen, James Earl Jones (voice), Joel Edgerton
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Andrew Stanton, Stuart Beattie, Hossein Amini
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 22, 2011
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan must face Darth Vader once again.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

We got a lot of callbacks in this episode. We got some Empire Strikes Back with the ship being chased by a Star Destroyer, Vader on the bridge, and the musical callback to John Williams’ score. We got another later in the episode with Luke’s line, “I’m not afraid.”

We had some more more verbal callbacks with Ewan’s lines, “I will do what I must,” (Revenge of the Sith) and “Then my friend is truly dead” (Return of the Jedi). Palpatine (more on him in a bit) had one about Vader’s thoughts being “clear.” One can even make an argument for Reva’s hunting of Luke in the dark being a nod to Return of the Jedi.

All…interesting choices. I’m not sure I would have gone quite that heavy. But there it is.

Ha! After Obi-Wan says, “I will do what I must,” he does what I’ll call the “Obi-Wan pose” (shown below), with the lightsaber in one hand and his other extended outward. Great little touch.

The second fight between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader was about what it should have been. Obi-Wan had a little bit of his mojo back, but was still doing a lot of evading.

That broken Vader helmet thing was done on Rebels. So there is a certain cheapness to doing it again. But I’d argue this was more effective, by virtue of us having the involvement of both Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones, as well as Ewan McGregor.

This episode gave us what I thought was the show’s only major misstep: Obi-Wan knowingly leaving Vader alive. That’s an objectively stupid move. At least in Revenge of the Sith, he thought Anakin was dead when he left Mustafar. But here there’s no excuse. Obi-Wan has accepted the notion that the Anakin he knew is gone. He’s standing in front of Darth Vader, who has slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands of people. The right thing to do would have been to finish the job.

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi, Part VI, pose

What boggles my mind is that they could have easily had the Grand Inquisitor fly in with a squad of TIE Fighters and attack Obi-Wan, prompting a hasty retreat. Or something like that. But to just leave the evil dictator alive when you’ve got him right where you want him? Nope. Fail. So is Obi-Wan now culpable in every life Vader takes from here on out?

Reva’s redemption obviously opens the door to more stories with her. Supposedly she has her own series in the works. I can’t say I’m dying to see her story continue. But who am I kidding? I’d watch. If nothing else it would be poetic justice for all the racist crap Moses Ingram got.

Great to see a Palpatine cameo from Ian McDiarmid. He’s always great. Poor guy had to lie about it at Star Wars Celebration.

There’s been a lot of talk about Leia’s outfits in this show being reminiscent of stuff she wore in the original trilogy. But I’d argue her final outfit in this episode, and the series itself, was very similar to what Luke wears on Tatooine. That’s fitting, for obvious reasons.

So…Obi-Wan just stopped by Alderaan for a quick visit? That’s a little weird. They couldn’t have done that via the holo-communicator?

I can already here the crybabies out there calling foul over Obi-Wan meeting Luke. But Luke did know who “Old Ben”was in A New Hope. There was nothing there to directly contradict him meeting Leia, and there’s even less to indicate that he hadn’t met Luke at least once. Maybe even two or three times. Cool your thrusters, fanboys…

Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi, Part VI

Aaaaaaand of course Liam Neeson made a cameo as Qui-Gon. I called it. They couldn’t not pay that off after Obi-Wan spoke to him multiple times over the course of the show. I’m happy Liam Neeson is back in the Star Wars fold. I enjoy the Qui-Gon Jinn character. Quite a bit, actually.

There was a time period where Star Wars really harped on hope. Especially in Rogue One and The Last Jedi. But in its own way, Obi-Wan Kenobi was about hope too. Specifically, Obi-Wan regaining the hope he lost so many years ago after Anakin’s fall. Thankfully, this series didn’t point at it the way those movies did.

Obi-Wan Kenobi went by fast, didn’t it? But the show, despite its critics, delivered. I’d still argue The Mandalorian is better. But not by much. Obi-Wan Kenobi has been, and perhaps should be, judged by very different standards. People came in with much higher expectations. But I honestly don’t see what more the show could have done to appeal to fans new and old. For that, I tip my hat to it.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part V” Review

SERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part V”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Hayden Christensen, Moses Ingram, Indira Varma
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Andrew Stanton
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 15, 2011
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan, Tala, and the Path must escape an Imperial attack.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m a little confused as to why people are questioning how “canon-friendly” Obi-Wan Kenobi is, because of this new connection we’re seeing between Obi-Wan and Leia. Granted, there’s nothing in A New Hope that suggests they knew each other. But there’s nothing that says they didn’t, either. The two character don’t even have any shared screen time in the movie. The closest they come to contact is when Leia presumably catches a glance of the fight between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader.

And yes, Leia is a little formal with Obi-Wan in the transmission that Artoo delivers. But it’s presumably been almost a decade since they’ve seen each other. A little decorum isn’t uncalled for. Thus far, Obi-Wan Kenobi fits into canon just fine. At least as far as I know.

Before our recap, we get a warning: “There are certain scenes in this fictional series that some viewers may find upsetting.” Given the temperament of a lot of the fans, it seems like that’s the kind of warning that should come before every Star Wars show…

These are the flashbacks I’ve been looking for! Granted, Hayden Christensen doesn’t look much like the teenager that Anakin is supposed to be. But it almost doesn’t matter. Even as someone who’s willing to be critical of the prequels and their shortcomings, it’s thrilling to see him in the role again.

Wait, I’m confused. In his transmission to Obi-Wan, Bail says: “If he’s found you, if he’s learned of the children…”

He’s talking about Darth Vader, right? That seems to imply that Obi-Wan tipped Bail off that Anakin had survived as Vader. But when did he do that? Why did he do that? That “If he’s found you…” line is frustrating in that it unintentionally raises nagging questions.

We learn here that Reva was a youngling that Anakin stabbed during Order 66, but survived. Her fixation on finding Obi-Wan was wrapped up in her hatred for Anakin, and that he couldn’t prevent Anakin’s fall and subsequent slaughter of those close to her.

This works fairly well as Reva’s motivation. I like that she’s after Vader more than she is Obi-Wan. It speaks to the idea that all these Sith secretly hate each other, and when the chips are down will turn on one another.

And so Tala dies a heroic death via thermal detonator. Yeah, that feels about right. You knew she wasn’t going to make it through the series. You just knew it…

Someone who evidently will make it through the series? The Grand Inquisitor, who returns at the end of the episode. Many speculated this might be the case. And his big line, Revenge does wonders for the will to live, don’t you think?” is awesome.

By the way, does the Grand Inquisitor have a name? We briefly see the rank of Grand Inquisitor bestowed upon Reva in this episode. So we know it’s a title, not a name. So what is Rupert Friend’s character’s actual name? Did Rebels ever cover that?

At the end of the episode, Reva discovers Bail’s recorded message to Obi-Wan, which reveals Luke’s location. I had a feeling things would come back around to Tatooine at the end. And I’ve got a theory about how things may go…

Years ago, in conjunction with the release of Revenge of the Sith, Dark Horse Comics put out an anthology miniseries called Star Wars Visionaries. In one of the stories, “Old Wounds,” a revived Darth Maul arrives at the Lars Homestead looking for Luke. (This was obviously published years before Maul was canonically revived on the Clone Wars animated show.) Obi-Wan arrives and a battle ensues. But ultimately, it’s Owen Lars who surprises Maul with a head shot, killing him instantly…

Could we be looking at a similar scenario with Reva in the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale? It would be consistent with the Owen Lars we saw in the first episode

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi “Part II” Review

SERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part II”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Moses Ingram, Rupert Friend, Kumail Nanjiani
WRITERS: 
Joby Harold, Hannah Friedman, Hossein Amini, Stuart Beattie
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
May 26, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan travels to Daiyu to rescue Princess Leia.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

When I first saw the publicity images of Obi-Wan on Daiyu, I thought we were looking at the underbelly of Coruscant. That would have been cool to see. But from a story perspective, it makes more sense to keep Obi-Wan away from Coruscant. He is, after all, a wanted man. And Coruscant is, after all, the center of the Empire.

Most of the best planets in Star Wars are simple in concept and easy to understand. Tatooine is the desert planet, Coruscant is the city planet, Kashyyyk is the wookie planet, etc. By those standards, it looks like Daiyu is the crime planet. A sort of low rent Coruscant where corruption reigns supreme. It serves its purpose fine here, so I’ve got no complaints.

Kumail Nanjiani’s character, Haja Estree, is a Jedi impersonator. I like that. A trickster who preys on people’s need for hope. Yet deep down, he secretly has a desire to legitimately do good. I have my doubts about whether we’ll see him again in this series. But I certainly wouldn’t mind it.

I appreciate that we see Obi-Wan using a blaster, and reluctant to use his lightsaber. When he uses the Force to save Leia in this episode, it’s a big moment because he presumably hasn’t done it in years. When he uses the lightsaber for the first time on this show, it should be a similar kind of moment.

Plus, we’re getting our lightsaber fix with the Inquisitors. Having Obi-Wan use one too, especially so soon, would be overkill.

The actress that plays the “I was someone’s daughter once too” girl is actually Ewan McGregor’s daughter, Esther Rose McGregor. Ironically, Obi-Wan tells that character he’s looking for his daughter.

Is that the Star Wars equivalent of a meth lab we see in this episode? I’m thinking it is. And I kind of love it.

I was angry, yet sadly not surprised to hear Moses Ingram, who plays Reva, has been getting racist messages from a small portion of the Obi-Wan Kenobi audience. There’s no place for that. Never has been. Never will be. And I was happy to see the official Star Wars social media accounts come to her defense.

I’m now convinced we’re getting a Qui-Gon Jinn Force ghost scene. We’ve seen Obi-Wan try and talk to Qui-Gon a couple of times now. You can’t not pay that off. Liam Neeson, who of course plays Qui-Gon, may have said he doesn’t do TV. But what else is he going to say? His appearance is, theoretically, meant to be a surprise. Andrew Garfield had to lie for months about not being in Spider-Man: No Way Home. I’d bet money it’s the same kind of situation with Liam Neeson and Star Wars.

Plus, we found out at Star Wars Celebration last week that Neeson is doing voiceover work on a Tales of the Jedi animated show. He’s coming back, folks. We just have to be patient.

I was more than happy to see Reva turn on the Grand Inquisitor, presumably killing him. As I said last time, I don’t love the idea of the Inquisitors, as I think they devalue Darth Vader. So the less of them that are around, the happier I am.

As it turns out, though, the Grand Inquisitor may not actually be dead. He’s obviously on Star Wars: Rebels, which takes place years after Obi-Wan Kenobi. So either he survived the stabbing, or there’s a cloning situation happening here, or some other wacky scenario brings him back. Remember, this is the Star Wars universe, where Darth Maul can survive being cut in half and dropped into a pit…

I’ve enjoyed Rupert Friend’s portrayal of the character, though. It looks like he was having a ball doing it. I got Ian McDiarmid/Revenge of the Sith vibes.

Obi-Wan’s reaction to learning Anakin is alive was very well acted by Ewan McGregor. The revelation does make me wonder, though…who did know Anakin was Darth Vader? Was it common knowledge within the upper ranks of the Empire? It must have been on some level, because the Inquisitors obviously know.

What about Yoda? Did he sense Anakin was alive? Can Obi-Wan contact Yoda, the same way Bail Organa contacted him, and ask?

Oh, the pressing questions…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part I” Review

SERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part I”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Rupert Friend, Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Jimmy Smits
WRITERS:
Stuart Beattie, Hossein Amini, Joby Harold 
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
May 26, 2022
SYNOPSIS: 
Inquisitors arrive on Tatooine looking for Jedi. Meanwhile, Princess Leia is kidnapped.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Let’s kick this off on the right note: With gratitude. Ewan McGregor didn’t have to come back to play Obi-Wan Kenobi again. I’m sure his experience making the prequels was a mixed bag. And that’s to say nothing of how audiences reacted to the movies. (Much of the criticism was justified. But much wasn’t.) I actually spotted an recent interview he did with Rotten Tomatoes where he references the difficulties of making the prequels. So to have him come back nearly two decades after the fact is a major blessing for Star Wars fans.

And of course, that also goes for Hayden Christensen, Jimmy Smits, Joel Edgerton, and Bonnie Piesse returning as Darth Vader, Bail Organa, Owen Lars, and Beru Lars respectively. This may all be more than we deserve, quite frankly.

Age/timeline check: Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place 10 years after Revenge of the Sith. Which is to say, nine years before the events of A New Hope. So naturally, the young Luke and Leia we see in this episode are about 10. And, as I’ve always read Obi-Wan was 25 in The Phantom Menace, that would make him about 47 here.

Our director for this episode, and the series at large, is Deborah Chow. She’s widely known for The High Cost of Living and The Possibilities of Fireflies. But Star Wars fans will know her as the director of two episodes of The Mandalorian: “Chapter 3: The Sin” and “Chapter 7: The Reckoning.” This is the first time one of these live action Star Wars shows has had one universal director. It’s a tall task. But Chow also has a lot to work with here in terms of story, the talent involved (not to mention her own talent), and the experience she now has working in the Star Wars universe. I’ve got high hopes.

One of the downsides of having Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett come out back to back? That’s a lot of desert stuff. I can’t say I’m looking forward to Andor as much as some people are (mostly because I hated Rogue One). But one of the upsides, at least judging by the trailer that just came out, is that we don’t see any desert scenes.

The episode, and the series at large, kick off with a quick five-minute recap of the prequels. To some, that’s probably the best way to watch the prequels. They might be right, actually. The contrast between the all the CGI backgrounds in the prequels and the actual places and sets in Kenobi is a stark one.

I must confess, having not seen all of Star Wars: Rebels, my familiarity with the Inquisitors is limited. But as I understand it, most or all of them are former Jedi Knights who’ve turned to the dark side and joined the Empire to hunt for Jedi in hiding.

At face value I don’t like that. Never have.

Much like having a planet full of Mandalorians devalues Boba and Jango Fett, having a big group of Sith inquisitors decreases the novelty of Darth Vader and his turn to the dark side. It also devalues Order 66. How effective could the big Jedi purge have been if enough survived that they needed to bring in Inquisitors to hunt them down?

Of course, that’s to take nothing away from the performances of Rupert Friend as the Grand Inquisitors or Moses Ingram as Reva.

Having Leia play such a pivotal role in the series is a big surprise. Coming in, I think we knew Jimmy Smits was going to be involved as Bail Organa. So a Leia cameo wouldn’t have been out of the blue. But this? This is beyond what I think anyone would have expected.

Vivien Lyra Blair, who plays Leia, does a fine job by child actor standards. The character is, thus far, written fairly well. I like that she’s characterized as, no pun intended, rebellious. Blair and Smits were able to create a father/daughter chemistry that felt very natural.

I appreciate that Obi-Wan has a job while in seclusion on Tatooine. That might be an odd thing to appreciate. But it’s one of those things that you (or at least I) never thought about when it came to the original movie. The guy had to make ends meet somehow, right? It makes me wonder if he had a job at the beginning of A New Hope.

I liked cynical Obi-Wan, i.e. the guy who refused to help his fellow Jedi in need. It speaks to him having spent a decade being beaten down by the desert. It’s a different character than we’re used to seeing.

Owen Lars refusing to give up Obi-Wan’s location was a wonderful character moment for him. For so long he’s been seen strictly as an antagonist for Luke. And maybe he is. But it’s always been in the spirit of wanting to do what’s best for his nephew and surrogate son.

It must be said that the chase scene between Leia and the bounty hunters did not come off very well. I’m not sure whether it was the actors, or the direction, or the editing, something else, or a combination of all of it. I understand and accept the notion that Leia knew the terrain better than they did, and was also smaller and harder to catch. But the impression I got was that Leia was moving very slowly, and that the hunters could have caught her quite easily if they’d simply picked up their pace a little bit.

We see that Obi-Wan buried he and Anakin’s lightsabers in the desert, presumably years ago when he first arrived. This is a nitpick, but how is he able to find that box again so quickly? Especially after 10 years. Did he pick that specific a spot? It just looked like a bunch of sand to me…

Overall, a good first episode. I can’t say I was blown away, but I definitely enjoyed it. Judging by premiere episodes alone, I’d say Obi-Wan Kenobi isn’t quite as strong as The Mandalorian, but better than The Book of Boba Fett.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

The Essential Clone Wars: “Landing at Point Rain”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S2:E5 – “Landing at Point Rain”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Matt Lanter, Brian George, Dee Bradley Baker, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor
WRITER:
Brian Larsen
DIRECTOR:
Brian Kalin O’Connell
PREMIERE DATE:
November 4, 2009
SYNOPSIS:
The Jedi lead an attack on the Separatist droid factory on Geonosis.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I initially wrinkled my nose at Anakin and Ahsoka gloating about their respective kill counts. But then it occurred to me: The Separatists use robots. So they weren’t actually “killing” anyone.

Our big bad guy at the droid factory is named Poggle the Lesser. We also saw him in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. But question: Does his name mean anything? I mean…lesser what? What does that word mean in this context? That one’s a head-scratcher for me.

Here’s an odd complaint to have about a war show: This episode felt really loud to me. Lots of explosions and spaceship sounds and pew pew pews. I guess that’s how you know I’m not a young fanboy anymore…

There’s a moment in this episode where a Clone Trooper gets blasted into the air and takes a hard landing on the ground. Another clone then shouts, “Man down!” That was funny to me. When you go down like that, “Man down!” is pretty much adding insult to injury, isn’t it?

This episode really didn’t do much for me. This, despite it being on various “Best of” lists as it relates to The Clone Wars. It’s a great example of how well the show can do the big Star Wars battle sequences. And it’s got a cute little moment between Anakin, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan, and Ki-Adi Mundi at the end. But other than that…

My guess? Because it’s part of a multi-part story arc, “Landing at Point Rain” simply isn’t intended to stand on its own as much as a typical episode. I can only assume it’s meant to set the table for better things to come.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

The Essential Clone Wars: “Ambush”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S1:E1 – “Ambush”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Brian George, Corey Burton, Nika Futterman
WRITER:
Steven Melching
DIRECTOR:
Dave Bullock
PREMIERE DATE:
October 3, 2008
SYNOPSIS:
Yoda is lured into a trap by Count Dooku and Asajj Ventress.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

My research for this episode was my first exposure to how wonky the Clone Wars episode chronology can be. I invite you to check out Lucasfilm’s chronological episode order to see what I mean. But apparently, if one were to watch all the episodes in chronological order, “Ambush” would be the show’s fifth episode, rather than the first.

If nothing else, I guess it’s consistent with the Star Wars brand. This is, after all, the movie franchise that started with Episode IV.

Chronological issues notwithstanding, this was a good episode to start with. Everybody knows Yoda, so that was a nice hook for viewers who weren’t as familiar with Star Wars. It also establishes some of the main villains, who the good guy and bad guy troops are, the nature of the war itself, etc.

I’ve never like when the battle droids are overly jokey. That started in Revenge of the Sith, and continued here. It was the only thing in the episode that grated on me.

For whatever reason the Toydarians, King Katuunko in particular, don’t look as richly detailed as the other characters. First episode stumbles, maybe?

Obviously, the highlight of this episode is Yoda having the clones take their helmets off and then addressing them as individuals. The best line in his little speech? “Deceive you, eyes can. In the Force, very different each one of you are.” That’s a great Yoda line. 

On the subject of Yoda, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Tom Kane to voice that character. At this point, he’d already played the character for the Star Wars: Clone Wars shorts that aired between 2003 and 2005. But this was obviously of a much larger scale. The character was, and still is, so closely identified with Frank Oz. But to his credit, Kane managed to make the character his own. He’s not as vocally flamboyant with Yoda as Oz was. But I might argue Kane gives the character a little more grit, which isn’t uncalled for in a show like The Clone Wars.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Weekly Comic 100s: Iron Man #1, Star Wars, and More!

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Iron Man #1
AUTHOR: Christopher Cantwell
ARTISTS: Cafu, Frank D’Armata (Colorist), Joe Caramagna (Letterer). Cover by Alex Ross
RELEASED: September 16, 2020

The premise of this book is that Tony Stark is going back to basics. Good ol’ fashioned super-heroing. He does this in his classic costume, which is pretty cool. Cafu and D’Armata give us an amazing page of him “suiting up.”

Cantwell’s dialogue, particularly between Iron Man and Hellcat, is pretty funny. It may get to be grating as the issues go on. But for now I dig it.

Cool use of sign language in this issue. It’s only one panel. But it’s memorable.

TITLE: Seven Secrets #2
AUTHOR: Tom Taylor
ARTISTS: Daniele Di Nicuolo, Walter Baiamonte & Katia Ranalli (Colorists), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer)
RELEASED: September 16, 2020

This second issue is basically a big exposition dump. But there’s some interesting stuff in here. Especially what basically amounts to a ninja school for youngsters. Then the emotional stakes raise when we start to see our main character, Caspar, interact with his parents.

In a perfect world, we could have spent the entire first arc of the book on the content in this issue. Whether the speed-through was worth it or not depends on the quality of the story they end up telling.

Meanwhile, Daniele Di Nicuolo remains at home in a story about youngsters doing martial arts.

TITLE: Star Wars #6
AUTHOR: Charles Soule
ARTISTS: Jesus Saiz, Arif Prianto (Co-Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer). Cover by R.B. Silva and Guru-eFX
RELEASED: September 16, 2020

Six issues in, this book finally starts to get interesting here. We finally finish the ridiculous business of finding Luke an intermediate lightsaber, and then we jump right into something cool at an old Jedi temple.

Story notwithstanding, I certainly can’t complain about Jesus Saiz and Arif Prianto’s art. Saiz captures the likenesses of the actors very well. This issue in particular has a wonderful closing splash page.

TITLE: Giant-Size X-Men: Storm
AUTHOR: Jonathan Hickman
ARTISTS: Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson (Colorist), Ariana Maher (Letterer)
RELEASED: September 16, 2020

Emma Frost steals this issue within the first few pages. Storm laments the fact that she might be dying, and Emma lays into her for being dramatic. “After all, we’re just going to resurrect you, dear.”

I love when even the characters themselves know how death works in comics.

Actually, we wind up returning to the “Why not just die and come back?” question later. It’s the most interesting part of the story, but we don’t dive into it to any sort of satisfaction. By and large this book, like the other Giant-Size X-Men books, is very missable.

TITLE: Darth Vader #5
AUTHOR: Greg Pak
ARTISTS: Raffaele Ienco, Neeraj Menon (Colorist), Joe Caramagna (Letter). Cover by InHyuk Lee.
RELEASED: September 16, 2020

Some of the art in this book is really awkward. Case in point, a flashback panel where we see Obi-Wan cut Anakin’s limbs off in Revenge of the Sith. The figure rendering itself is fine. But some of the posing is just weird.

Thankfully, they do not in fact exhume Padme’s corpse in this issue. That’s where it looks like it’s going for a few pages…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

George Lucas on Star Wars: Chewbacca and the Ewoks

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Ewoks, Chewbacca, Return of the Jedi

The Scene: To aid in their final defeat of the Empire, the Rebel Alliance finds unlikely help on Endor in the form of the diminutive, fuzzy, primitive ewoks.

George Lucas Says (Via From Star Wars to Jedi): “In the original screenplay [the ewoks were] a society of wookiees who had this giant ground battle with the Empire at the end of the film. And also a space battle. They were trained to fly ships, and they were able to take over the Empire. Well, in the evolution of the script I realized I couldn’t do this giant battle. When I came to the third film and the battle was back in again … I couldn’t use wookiees, because I’d established Chewbacca as being a relatively sophisticated creature. … He [wasn’t] the primitive that he was in the original screenplay. So I had to develop a new kind of wookiee or a new kind of creature that was primitive … [what I decided to do was] instead of making them incredibly tall the way wookiees are, I’d make them incredibly short. And at the same time to make them look different from the wookiees I’d give them short fur instead of long fur. That’s really where the ewok evolved.”

George Lucas Also Says (Via the Return of the Jedi Commentary Track): “It was a wookiee planet. Since I had fallen in love with the wookiees so much when I made Episode IV, I decided to make [Han Solo’s] co-pilot a wookiee, which meant that he was technologically advanced. And the whole concept originally was that the people that overthrew the Empire were not technological. So I had to reinvent a half-sized wookiee.”

I Say: “Before Jar Jar and the gungans became as despised as they are, we had Wicket and the ewoks in Return of the Jedi. I don’t hate either group the way a lot of fans do. I actually enjoy the ewoks quite a bit. But I do reject the notion that a society of wookiees couldn’t have worked in Jedi. I’m fairly certain that even back then, Chewbacca’s backstory was that of a slave, freed and taken in by Han Solo. Given enough time, you can teach technology to a primitive. Chewie could have been unique among his people, and thus been that much more distinct.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Rob Watches Star Trek – Putting the “Captain” in Captain Kirk

***What happens when I, a 30-something-year-old fanboy, decide to look at the Star Trek franchise for the first time with an open heart? You get “Rob Watches Star Trek.”***

SERIES: Star Trek
EPISODE:
S1:E14. “Balance of Terror”
STARRING: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei
GUEST-STARRING: Mark Lenard, Paul Comi, Lawrence Montaigne
WRITER: Paul Schneider
DIRECTORS: Vincent McEveety
ORIGINAL AIR DATES: December 15, 1966
SYNOPSIS: A century after the Earth-Romulan war, the Romulans threaten to ignite another war by luring the Enterprise into a precious Neutral Zone.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’ve been waiting on an episode like this. A “heavy is the head that wears the crown” sort of episode about Kirk. I won’t say he’s been under-served in the episodes I’ve seen so far. But for yours truly, this is the episode that puts the “captain” in Captain Kirk.

What it all comes down to is Kirk being responsible for people’s lives. The decisions he makes impact those around him, both on a larger scale and a smaller one.

Obviously, this notion applies to the Enterprise at large. But it’s exemplified more poignantly in our would-be married couple. We open the episode with what’s supposed to be their wedding, and we end the episode with the revelation that the husband-to-be was killed in the fight against the Romulans. These are the things that happen, and these are the things a captain has to live with.

MEANWHILE, IN DECEMBER 1966: On December 15, Walt Disney dies of lung cancer at the age of 65. Flags on all government buildings in Los Angeles County are lowered in his honor.

So I was listening to the commentary track for Revenge of the Sith recently (because of course I was). At one point, the filmmakers started talking about the big space battle at the beginning, and how they wanted to show us how big ships like Star Destroyers get into fights. It’s more or less a pirate ship like scenario, where they just get up next to one another and start shooting.

It seems like space battles in the Star Trek universe are similar. Very 17th century in nature. The fight between the Enterprise and the Romulans is very slow by modern standards. That’s a shame. Not to say one style is better than another by nature, but fans who were raised on the fast-paced action of Star Wars would inevitably be turned off by something like this.

It seems like it wouldn’t be a Star Trek episode without Spock being disrespected. Apparently Romulans are genetically related to the Vulcans. So naturally, we have a racist asshole on board who says some crap to Spock.

It feels weird to be talking about racism in this forum, given everything we’re seeing on TV right now. George Floyd, etc. But suffice to say, Spock saves this guy’s ass during the episode. Just like he’s saved the whole damn ship time and again. And yet the poor bastard can’t get an ounce of respect from some people…

Even in the ’60s, human beings were not smart. Some things never change.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.