Welcome to The Cantina, I’m your bartender Kyle Malone and I only keep one thing on tap here… Star Wars. I am not your average fan though. No, I am the dedicated, well versed in the EU, experienced gamer, and open-minded fan this world needs. I see the flaws in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but also the great moments too. I know the importance of The Empire Strikes Back but see how strong Return of the Jedi is. I see that the prequels… well… we’ll get there. I love Star Wars and I want more! More books, comics, games, and movies that take place in a galaxy far, far away. So down your shot of Whyrens Reserve, and let’s get to it!
What a way to start this column. The past two weeks have been a bit slow on Star Wars news. LRM Online covered a few stories though. One regarding a more gruesome Order 66, a mockumentary on The Last Jedi, and the fact that Rian Johnson is still getting a trilogy.
Do you remember that scene in your favorite Prequel movie, Revenge of the Sith, where they alluded to the newly christened Darth Vader slaughtering a bunch of young Jedi? Well, that was supposed to be a lot more gruesome. At a recent convention the Emperor himself, Ian McDiarmid, stated that little orphan Ani was supposed to be seen slicing and dicing some younglings. This would have definitely fit the Vader character we see in Rogue One, A New Hope, and throughout the EU but would not have been good for the MPAA rating. I can see where chopping down a bunch of young kids can hurt the family film appeal, but we could have seen Darth Vader cutting down some of the older Jedi Knights. This could have added to the weight of his transformation and possibly made up for the infamous “Nooooo” at the end of the movie.
Next up is a fun video that splices clips of The Last Jedi with audience reactions to The Exorcist. It plays on the idea that The Last Jedi is so bad that it causes fainting and vomiting. It does make for a fun video though, regardless of how you feel about Episode 8.
Despite the hyperbole, on both sides of the rift, The Last Jedi does have some redeeming factors. There are a lot of moments with Luke that feel inspired by my beloved EU. Being in exile, failing his first group of Jedi students, and fighting through a force projection all happened in the books. I also really enjoyed Kylo Ren becoming the main villian through the death of Snoke. No, your whiskey isn’t too strong, I actually said I am okay with Snoke’s death. There are also things I don’t like such as everything on Canto Bight, the space chase, and tactical decisions being made. Those wouldn’t make me vomit or faint though, I just yell at the screen.
Speaking of The Last Jedi, we have Rian Johnson’s proposed Star Wars trilogy. There is almost no information on this other than the fact it is still happening. I think Johnson has a great cinematic eye and can deliver an entertaining experience in theaters. I would be very interested in his take on ancient Star Wars history. If he is not hampered by the expectations of the core Saga films he can really stretch his legs as a filmmaker. I would love to see a version of the Great Hyperspace War or the Sith Wars on screen.
Well, that covers the news. Not exactly exciting I know, but that’s why I have a second part to this thing. You see the Cantina isn’t just for news and rumors, it’s also a place for the die-hard fans. You can expect a rotating group of topics ranging from book and movie reviews to discussions of dream projects and ideas to fix things I felt could be done better. However, I wanted to take a moment this first go around to share my personal story with the Star Wars universe.
My Personal History With Star Wars
I saw A New Hope for the first time on a VHS tape my family had. I think it was recorded from HBO. I can remember watching all three films this way for many years. As a young kid, I knew I enjoyed the movies, but it wasn’t until 1996 and a book titled Jedi Search that I learned how much I really loved Star Wars.
I was in middle school then and I had a book report that had to be done and my mother bought me Jedi Search to suit that need. I was hooked from the first page. Looking back I can see that book wasn’t the best Expanded Universe novel, but it will always be special to me. Over the next few years, I read a dozen more EU books, saw the Special Edition of the Original Trilogy in theaters, and caught The Phantom Menace at its midnight preview. I got to skip school the next day. When I went back to school a teacher, who had seen me at the movie, questioned why I was absent. I told her I didn’t feel well after the movie. In reality, my mother told me she would call me out as sick before we bought the ticket. Thanks, Mom!
I actually got to see all three Prequel films with my father, who served in the Army, and I am thankful for that. He wasn’t the fan I am but he enjoys all of the movies he’s seen. I had wanted to see all of the Sequel Trilogy films with my own son, but he was barely two when The Force Awakens was released. He’s seen Episodes 4 through 8 on home video and saw Rogue One and Solo in theaters. I can’t bring myself to expose him to the horrors of the Prequels though… they still haunt me. Maybe I’ll show him a fan edit one day.
I also loved the video games. From Super Star Wars to The Force Unleashed I played almost all of them. Two of my favorites were Star Wars: Rebellion and X-Wing: Alliance. I can’t tell you how many hours were spent ruling the galaxy with an iron fist and taking down TIEs.
There is no denying the impact George Lucas has had on the world. His creation has transcended generations, inspired millions, and provided lifelong friendships. He brought the genre of science fiction from the campy to the mainstream. There are ups and downs with the movies and the books, but no one can deny the importance of the franchise.
That’s it! We’re done here. Besides, those bounty hunters in the corner have been eyeing you all night.
This column will be weekly, and I look forward to your input on how to improve it. Join me next Thursday when I give an in-depth review of the first book in the X-Wing series, Rogue Squadron.
What are your thoughts on last week’s articles? What are your feelings on Star Wars in general? Do you have any suggestions of things to cover? Let me know in the comments below!