Friday, August 12, 2005

Isn't it about time we had some STAR WARS stuff?!


Sweet Vader Corn Maze
14WFIE has sponsored a fantastic new Star Wars themed corn maze.
For the past two years, we've partnered with Goebel Farms to bring you a challenging adventure that puts you 'in the corn.' What begins as a mere cornfield, is transormed into a an image to behold - and a maze.
Using a GPS system, and a handheld computer, an image is 'traced' into the crop with a lawnmower.
This year, the maze is five-and-one-half acres in size

The 2005 theme is "Star Wars" and the maze depicts Anakin Skywalker as he becomes Darth Vader.
The Maze was drawn from the poster and logo on the right in the picture below.
"See Sith Again" Winner - It's All About the Movie
August 09, 2005
Star Wars Movie Fan Byron Crystal Sees Revenge of the Sith Again...and Again...and Again
Before New Yorker Byron Crystal had a chance to read about the "See Episode III Again Sweepstakes" on, he had an Inbox full of emails from excited friends who were eager to tell him about the contest.

"You see," says Crystal, "while many fans have something that's their 'thing,' be it costuming, fan fiction, collecting, etc., my 'thing' is repeat viewing. And it has been more so with Revenge of the Sith being the last prequel."

When Crystal sent his email notice to Bantha Tracks to enter the contest on July 5, he had already seen Sith 58 times, and was headed out to view it for the 59th soon after he hit the "send" button.
During the contest period, which ran from June 10 through July 4, he saw the film 29 times. An avid collector of his ticket stubs since the Special Editions, Crystal chose to mail in charge slips, and also sent a photograph of the actual ticket stubs.

A fan since 1977, Crystal first saw Star Wars when he was 8 years old.
"I'd spend all my allowance on bargain matinees, and often see the movie twice or even three times a day during the summer," he recalls. "For me, clearly, Star Wars is all about the movies."
According to Crystal, his repeat viewings became a whole new sport with the prequels.
He committed to watching The Phantom Menace in the theater every day for the first month of its run. Some days near the beginning of the run he went multiple times each day.

"It's always been easy in the first weeks of the run to find friends who are seeing the movie more than once a day," says Crystal. "But by the end of the month, you're more or less on your own." EDITOR'S NOTE: YES.....I WOULD IMAGINE SO.... (SO MANY WAYS TO MAKE FUN HERE. I'M LIKE A DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS WITH QUIP-USS INTERUPTUS).

Crystal notes that he watched The Phantom Menace at theaters all over town, but with the release of Attack of the Clones in 2002 he decided that DLP (Digital Light Processing) projection would be the factor that determined where he saw the film. The Ziegfeld Theatre in New York was his favorite place, and he repeated his Episode I goal of watching the movie at least once a day for the first month.

"Everyone here loved the movie and there was lots of company right away for multiple viewings a day in the first few weeks," recalls Crystal. "But a group of us went far beyond that, seeing the movie a few times a week until July, when the run at the Zieg ended after seven weeks."

After that, the group chased the old-fashioned print showings all over town until the run "ended quietly on one little screen of a Times Square multiplex" in September. Crystal topped out at over 100 viewings and stopped counting. EDITOR'S NOTE: DID HE END UP DOING A SORT OF 'ROCKY HORROR' THING? SHOUTING OUT THE LINES BEFORE THEY ARE SAID ON THE SCREEN? (HE MUST HAVE GRIEVOUS NIGHTMARES?)

"Luckily the IMAX release was only a few weeks away," he laughs. EDITOR'S NOTE: BUT BUT BUT...WHEN DID HE HAVE TIME TO DATE?! (SNORT).

Crystal learned that Revenge of the Sith would only run five weeks at the Ziegfeld, and decided to extend his one month of daily viewing to all five weeks on the Zieg's impressive DLP setup.

"After all, this was the optimal way to see the movie," he says. "When you see it on such a huge screen in DLP with perfect sound, you see and hear things you can never isolate on a film print at a multiplex-sized screen. This was the last new Star Wars movie and I was going to gobble up all the Star Wars there was to see!" EDITOR'S NOTE: MY TV IS DLP, BY THE WAY. JUST THOUGHT I'D SHARE......

As of this Bantha Tracks edition Crystal is still going every day. He's not sure if he'll keep it up, or taper off his viewings, but he's waiting to decide. With tomorrow's trip to the theater on August 10, he will have watched Revenge of the Sith 100 times.

"One thing is sure," he concludes, "my thumbnail review that I give to people who tag along with me to the movie and wonder what it's like after so many viewings: 'Movie still good.'"EDITOR'S NOTE: SEE WHAT ALL THAT LISTENING TO UNCLE G DIALOGUE HAS DONE? HIM TALK FUNNY. (SORRY UNCLE G...SORRYSORRY)

Bantha Tracks: How do you rate Revenge of the Sith compared to the other Star Wars movies?

Byron Crystal: "It's always hard to rank favorites among the six episodes. The two trilogies are really such different animals for me. But Revenge of the Sith is certainly a keystone and my favorite of the prequel trilogy."

BT: What is the best seat in the Ziegfeld?

BC: "I decided to map my viewing, taking note of the seat numbers and writing on the backs of each of my stubs. M107 is the best seat in the house. It's the center of the orchestra. Row M is the best row, but K and L aren't too shabby either." EDITOR'S NOTE: I WAS JUST KIDDING EARLIER. NOW, I'M REALLY GETTING FRIGHTENED.

BT: Favorite scenes?

BC: "Anakin's turn in Palpatine's office was fantastic. We really got to see the relationship between Anakin and the Emperor form in Episode III. And I was so glad that we got to see how Darth Vader was Darth Vader independent of the suit and the helmet. My favorite single scene is the Jedi Purge. The ruin of the Jedi at the hands of Vader is something we've heard about since the beginning - I was really glad that we got to see it without any punches pulled. And with the clones turning on the Jedi throughout the galaxy, it was fantastic to watch Palpatine's trap snap shut."

BT: Any scenes during which you might duck out to the concession stand?

BC: "Well, as a rule, I never leave during any portion of the movie, even at non-Star Wars movies. But if I had to pick, I'd probably go during the hallway scene between Obi-Wan and Anakin in the Jedi Temple, right after Anakin's appointed to the Council. I really like the dialogue scenes and the exposition is all necessary. But after this many viewings, it's a scene I'd miss the least and stand a chance of getting back before getting that first glimpse of a Wookiee on the clone army's launch pad."

BT: Have you had time to read the novelization by Matt Stover, and if so, what did you think?BC: I actually have. The novelization is interesting, but I take it strictly as expanded universe. For me, the story of Star Wars is one told on film, first and foremost. That said, it is interesting to explore possible back stories and motivations in the book and to get a glimpse of things that didn't make it into the movie. My favorite of those is Yoda's conversation with Qui-Gon Jinn's Jedi ghost on Polis Massa. Guess we'll have to keep our fingers crossed to see if that makes the DVD!"EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS MIGHT BE ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE MONKEY TYPING SHAKESPEARE, BUT AMEN! AND FROM HIS MOUTH TO UNCLE G'S EARS!


Geeks, Get Out Your Light Sabers! Impostor Alert
Charles Ross, who admits that he does not possess half the "Star Wars" knowledge held by many of his audience members.
Published: July 31, 2005

"My Yoda sucks, absolutely sucks," said Charles Ross while sitting in the front row of the Lamb's Theater, where his solo show "One Man Star Wars Trilogy" will have its New York debut on Tuesday. "But, you know something? I don't care. If I'm going to sit there and mull over the fact that I can't do a certain voice, then what's the point of even trying?"

These are brave words, coming from a man who has performed for several Darth Vaders and Boba Fetts, and has had Storm Troopers usher for him. (These last were members of the 501st Legion, a worldwide club of zealots who proudly wear their own "Star Wars" costumes.) EDITOR'S NOTE: THE WORD 'ZEALOT' MAKES IT SOUND LIKE A BAD THING?

But, apparently, the legions of "Star Wars" geeks EDITOR'S NOTE: AHEM...DWEEBS.... who have lined up across Canada and the United States to see Mr. Ross enact every character, musical theme and sound effect found in Episodes IV through VI of the George Lucas sci-fi series have been very accepting.

"You'd think these people would be in need of medication," he said. "But I guarantee you that a lot of them are extremely intelligent and well employed. No one's been crazy to my face. I did get one e-mail from a guy that said the fact that I do this show is evidence of the coming of the apocalypse. I didn't realize the end of the world would work out so well for me."

Mr. Ross, 31, looks like the last person you'd expect to create a 58-minute homage to Luke, Leia and Obi-Won Kenobi.

He's poised, with a deep voice and tall, blond good looks. And modest: he freely admits that he does not possess half the "Star Wars" knowledge held by many of his audience members. "I don't remember all the lines from 'Star Wars,' " he confessed.

What he does recall was soldered to his brain at the impressionable age of 8. At that time, his father had moved the family from Prince George, British Columbia, to an isolated 27-acre farm.
"We didn't have much in the way of TV," Mr. Ross said. "We had just two stations, and they were really dry, government-funded stations."
To relieve the boredom, he'd start every morning by popping in a video of "Stars Wars" he had taped off television. Before his parent realized it, he had watched the movie more than 400 times.

He was confident enough in his youthful memories that he felt no need to revisit the movies when years later, as a frustrated actor working the Canadian theater circuit, he came up with the idea of a condensed stage version of the first trilogy.

"I wasn't going to the film and pulling out lines," he said. "I'd watched the other two" - "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" - "maybe 50 times each throughout my childhood, enough so I could remember it. Sometimes, I'd talk to a friend of mine who knew 'Star Wars' well, and ask him, 'Did that guy say the line this way or that way?' And he'd say, 'He said it that way.' Little idiosyncrasies of movement can impart a sense of truth. This is basically one big, long caricature of these films. It isn't the films."

Mr. Ross first performed the kinetic digest in Toronto in 2000, and for the last three years he has done little else (aside from bookings of "One Man Lord of the Rings," his follow-up invention).

His appearances were frequent enough to attract the attention of mighty Lucasfilm, which chose not to sue Mr. Ross, but instead invited him to perform at Celebration III, the April 21-24 Indianapolis "Star Wars" convention that heralded the advent of the final film in the series, "Episode III - Revenge of the Sith."EDITOR'S NOTE: BECAUSE UNCLE GEORGE IS A BENEVOLENT RULER. HE LOVES US AND WANTS US TO BE HAPPY.

He has pitched to Lucasfilm the idea of compressing and staging the second trio of movies. But whether that happens or not, he doesn't expect to play members of the Skywalker clan all his life.
After Ian McKellen took in "One Man Lord of the Rings" one night, the two actors met for lunch and bandied about the virtues of solo vehicles.
"We talked about his one-man shows, like 'Acting Shakespeare,' " recalled Mr. Ross. "He said: 'They're in the bag. You can do them anytime.' Except that this show will definitely have a shelf life, because my body will have a shelf life. It is the most punishing show I've ever done. I don't want to be some 60-year-old guy coming out and. ..." With that, he began to hum the "Stars Wars" theme. EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS WOULD BE BAD HOW?

Review: 'Star Wars' Goes Low-Tech Onstage
By JUSTIN BERGMANAssociated Press Writer
NEW YORK -- When George Lucas released the first of his three "Star Wars" prequel movies six years ago, some fans grumbled that the special effects masked a lack of character development and plot that took away from the heart of his original intergalactic fairy tale from the 1970s.

"Star Wars" purists will truly appreciate Charles Ross.
The Canadian actor, starring in the "One-man Star Wars Trilogy" at the Lamb's Theatre off-Broadway, brings Lucas' three original films back to life in about as low-tech a way as possible.
Ross embodies all the characters himself and provides his own sound effects for the lightsabers, space ships and lasers -- cramming all three films into an hour's worth of high-energy, often immensely comical entertainment.

Ross is a self-described "Star Wars" geek EDITOR'S NOTE: ........ who has acknowledged seeing the first film in the series some 400 times (it seems likely it was even more).
His impersonations, therefore, are dead-on, particularly his chirpy, robotic C-3PO, his whistling R2-D2 and his very James Earl Jonesian Darth Vader.
Even casual fans of the movies will recognize some of the more obscure references, such as his take on the long-legged AT-AT Walkers that attack the Rebels on the planet of Hoth in "The Empire Strikes Back."
However, for those who haven't seen the movies, beware. You will be lost. EDITOR'S NOTE: BUT THEN, THE FACT THAT YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THESE MOVIES MEANS YOU WERE LOST ALREADY.
Ross provides little in the way of narration to accompany his lightning-paced re-creations of the movies, so plot lines sometimes blur and characters seem to morph into one another.
Also, in his zeal to make the action scenes lifelike, he occasionally comes off as a tiresome, "look-at-me-watch-me-now!" child, with exploding bombs and whizzing lasers combining to create an awful cacophony.
This is really a minor complaint, though.
For all the screeching and diving on the floor, there are equal measures of cutting satire that only a self-professed "Star Wars" geek could write.
Ross is especially brutal in his impersonation of Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker, turning him into an overly earnest, slightly prissy anti-hero. Princess Leia is a clueless shrew. And Han Solo is clearly oversexed, grabbing his crotch and saying "Schwing!" (one of Mike Myers' famous lines from "Wayne's World") when he kisses the princess. EDITOR'S NOTE: OH HEAVENS. SOUNDS SOPHOMORIC AND DERISIVE, DOESN'T IT? SHAME.
Ross plays up the sometimes corny dialogue from the movies. He throws in his own lines at times, including the observation Luke makes when Darth Vader (whose voice was provided by black actor James Earl Jones in the films) finally takes off his helmet and reveals himself to his son: "I thought you were black," Luke says deadpan.
Were it not for moments such as these, the "One-man Star Wars Trilogy" would probably have difficulty rising beyond being a novelty piece.
If anything, a retrospective look at such a pop culture phenomenon almost demands more satire to maintain its interest. After all, it reinforces that film characters that have reached iconic status are also fallible -- sometimes badly written and overacted. EDITOR'S NOTE: OH BITE ME. (SATIRE WITH LOVE, OR GO AWAY).

Lucasfilm taps marketerKatz to head all global marketing initiatives
Lucasfilm has hired Joshua Katz, an exec with experience in numerous cable network rebranding campaigns, as head of marketing.

Katz, who'll relocate from St. Louis to San Francisco, will carry the title of vice president and report to senior VP Jim Ward.

He will head all global marketing initiatives, including games and the still-anticipated "Indiana Jones IV," and the 30th anniversaries of ILM and "Star Wars" in 2007. EDITOR'S NOTE: OOO...YEAH. I FORGOT ABOUT #30 COMING UP. I BET THERE'LL BE SOME GOOD DARNED DWEEBING IN 2007! WHOHOO!!! SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR!!
But Katz confirmed that his appointment is part of the company's ongoing shift toward TV production (Daily Variety, Aug. 2).

Katz said that while he expects there will still be Lucasfilm features, including "Indy IV" and Lucas' future projects, "We have to stop being just a movie studio and have to move to being a television and movie studio."

Lucas has said there are two "Star Wars" skeins in development, one live action and one 3-D animation.

"Star Wars" is "at the heart of this company, and I can't envision a time when it isn't the central rod that keeps us going," said Katz.

He said his challenge, though, will be to establish that Lucasfilm is more than "a two-trick pony" with "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones."

"I don't think Lucasfilm has worried about a corporate identity. I think we have to think about that and an identity that stands separate from 'Star Wars.' "

Since 1998, Katz has run a consulting practice, the Halo Effect, which helped reshape the Court TV and BBC America nets.

He was previously a senior VP of marketing at VH1, where he led a rebranding effort for the net. He was also part of the launch team for Cartoon Network.
Lucasfilm Changed Media Plan for ROTS
We found an article that sounded interesting on Broadcasting Cable. It talks about how Lucasfilm agreed to change its media plan for Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, keeping ads for the movie out of TV shows whose primary audience is age 2-11. The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Better Business Bureau was involved at one point and it sounds like a wise decision was made to make sure a movie that restricted the audience should have commercials that follow the same ideal.
This press release was issued last month:
The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the children's advertising industry's self-regulatory forum, is pleased to announce that in response to CARU’s concerns, Lucasfilm, Inc. has committed that future advertising for films rated PG-13 will not run during programming that CARU considers to be child-targeted.
A television commercial for the film Star Wars Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), came to CARU’s attention through its routine monitoring. The referenced advertisement was shown during Cartoon Network programs “Ed, Ed and Eddy, “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” and “Teen Titans” which all, according to Nielsen ratings, have audiences composed of over 50% children ages 2-11
The MPAA ratings provide guidance for responsible parents who want to make informed choices regarding their children’s viewing habits.
CARU found that the placement of the referenced advertisement during children’s time was in violation of its Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children’s Advertising which provide, “Products and content inappropriate for use by children should not be advertised or promoted directly to children”.
The advertiser stated, “While Lucasfilm disagrees with CARU's findings, it respects the self regulatory process and will follow CARU's suggestions in media plans for the theatrical release of Star Wars Episode III- Revenge of the Sith.”
CARU's inquiry was conducted under NAD/NARB/CARU Procedures for Voluntary Self-Regulation of National Advertising.Details of the inquiry, CARU's decision and the advertiser's response will be included in the next NAD/CARU Case Report. Members of the press who wish to see a copy of the decision should email EDITOR'S NOTE: CONSIDERING MY 8-YEAR-OLD NIECE WANTS TO BE DARTH VADER SINCE SEEING ROTS, I'M THINKIN THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT. NOT TO WORRY CARU.
With the successful release of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, filmmaker George Lucas says that he hopes this extensive backstory of Anakin Skywalker's transformation to the iconic figure of Darth Vader will influence fans' future viewings of the original trilogy.

"When I finished with Return of the Jedi I thought that was the end of it," Lucas confesses. "I thought I was going to go and raise my kids, then I'll come back and direct little artsy movies that I always wanted to do. So by the time my kids were old enough where I could go back and direct, I realized that I could tell the story the way I wanted to. And I thought it might be interesting to tell a story that changes and influences the way the first three films are viewed because it really is about Darth Vader, and not about Luke and Leia. And that would be more apparent when you see what the backstory really was." EDITOR'S NOTE: SO WHAT GOT HIM HOT TO GO ON THE PREQUELS WAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO MESS WITH OUR MINDS! (OH YOU NAUGHTY THING, UNCLE G!)

However, in telling the backstory the way he felt was best, Lucas had to take what he regards as risks with the prequels.

"The first trilogy -- Book One -- is about the father, while the second trilogy -- Book Two -- is about the children," Lucas says. "When you combine them together they become one big piece. When I told people that Episode I was about a ten-year-old boy, people panicked, and they said it wasn't going to work because everyone wanted to see Darth Vader going around and killing people. But I really wanted to be thorough about telling the story about where Darth Vader came from. When I did the second film, people were mortified that it was going to be a love story. But we got through both of those films, and people were excited for Episode III to see the rest of the story."

One of the larger issues that surfaced in the telling of Anakin's fall to the dark side and his rise to becoming a corrupt figure was that of the fall of democracy at the hands of the very people who initially fought oppression.

"You have the personal issue of Anakin and his turn to the dark side, but then the children later bring him back to being a human being," Lucas says. "But the larger issue is that you've given up your democracy, and that the bad guys never took it -- it was handed to them. That theme was there 30 years ago which came out of the Vietnam War and Nixon wanting to change the rules so he could get a third term."
"I'm a big history buff and I was really into Caesar at the time," Lucas recalls. "
I always wanted to know why the Roman Senate gave Caesar's nephew a dictatorship after they had gotten rid of Caesar. Why after the revolution in France did they create an Emperor? Why did the Germans after they had a Democracy after World War I, turn it into a dictatorship? Those were my initial questions 30 years ago." EDITOR'S NOTE: BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE....NO OFFENSE TO MY BELOVED LAMBIES....SHEEP.

Prepare to Take Evasive Action
From October 2004 through June 2005, Hyperspace members were able to get a daily fix of pre-Episode III story-telling through the Reversal of Fortune webstrip written by Paul Ens and illustrated by Tom Hodges. Those adventures continue into the post-Episode III era in Evasive Action: Recruitment.

Evasive Action is the new masthead title for the on-going adventures of Jedi Padawans Drake Lo'gaan, Zonder and Ekria -- three young survivors of Order 66 on Felucia.

The galaxy is no longer a friendly place for a Jedi, fully trained or not. The teenagers are faced with not only fugitive status, but also decisions about what to do with their lives now that everything they've been trained for is gone.

Darth Vader, still relatively new to the suit, is also finding his way leading "his new Empire" in Recruitment.

"I found it interesting during the writing process that the internal playback in my head kept switching back and forth between the voices of actors Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones for the Vader dialog," says Ens. "The prequel trilogy has clearly been successful in driving that connection into my subconscious." EDITOR'S NOTE: YES. ROTS CHANGED EVERYTHING.

"Reversal of Fortune was a challenge and a thrill to craft because not only was it a tale setting up memorable on-screen action, but I also deliberately intertwined it as tightly as possible with the Labyrinth of Evil novel, the Clone Wars cartoon and the first half of Revenge of the Sith," recalls Ens. "Conversations and action would pick up or overlap by two seconds here and there with the other sources. It was greatly inspired by tales like Back to the Future II and 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead'."

Beyond the upcoming novel Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, the timeline immediately following Episode III has not yet been firmly solidified in the Star Wars expanded universe, so the creative team is also looking to other sources for a regular stream of the kind of inside "Easter eggs" that intrigued the fans of Reversal of Fortune.

"Obviously there are assumptions and extrapolations from the fall-out of the end of the Clone Wars and creation of a new Empire," Ens explains, "but Recruitment will touch upon threads from all over the EU map including Attack of the Clones, Dark Empire, bounty hunter comics, video games and solid nods to some of the earlier roleplaying game material."

Hodges has also adapted his distinctive style to match the darker tone of Recruitment. "I am working a little differently on this strip," says Hodges. "Instead of using standard Bristol Board Paper, I'm using Cold Press Illustration Board and I won't be adding the gray tones in PhotoShop, but by hand. I think it gives more emotion to it. It also helps bring the story into the darker, used universe that Episode III introduced and was continued into the Original Trilogy. Vader is still a young man, but early on, you'll see why he's so feared throughout the galaxy."

"Also don't expect Ekria, Drake and Zonder to look the same. I've 'steamlined' Zonder to look more along what I originally intended on Reversal, Ekria is starting to become a young woman and Drake is, well, a teenage boy who thinks he's invincible."

Hyperspace members should look for Evasive Action: Recruitment to begin August 1 joining three other on-going daily strips. EDITOR'S NOTE: OK. I'M A HYPERSPACE MEMBER (TOUCH ME). BUT I DON'T REMEMBER SEEING A LINK FOR ANY OF THESE STRIPS. HAS ANYONE READ THEM? (THEY SOUND GREAT. I MUST SEARCH THEM OUT).

Troy Denning Builds a Dark Nest
August 09, 2005

Last month, the latest Star Wars novel moved beyond the epic events of The New Jedi Order with the paperback release of Dark Nest I: The Joiner King by Troy Denning.

In this brief essay, Denning discusses the challenges of building a new trilogy in the shadow of the epic events that shook up the galaxy. EDITOR'S NOTE: WAIT A MINUTE....LAST MONTH?I'M BEHIND?! EEK. I WAS SO HOT TO GET HP6, I'VE MISSED A STAR WARS BOOK?!!! (I AM NOT WORTHY, I AM NOT WORTHY.....)

It is a perilous time for the Galactic Alliance. The war against the brutal Yuuzhan Vong has been won, but trillions of beings -- including the mighty Chewbacca and young Anakin Solo -- have perished. Countless worlds have been destroyed EDITOR'S NOTE: ITHOR, WE HARDLY KNEW YE...SNIFFLE..., and the galaxy is teeming with homeless refugees whom the fledgling government cannot afford to feed....

When Del Rey asked me to write a trilogy of Star Wars novels featuring the classic heroes -- Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker -- I knew I had a tough act to follow.

The New Jedi Order had just ended a tremendous run, introducing a sense of danger and gritty realism into the Star Wars universe that put the fate of even major characters into play. If Chewbacca could die (in R.A. Salvatore's Vector Prime), and Anakin Solo could die (in my own Star by Star), then anyone could die.

The galaxy had changed forever.

But The New Jedi Order was also the longest, most intense series of Star Wars novels ever written, and the readers -- as well as the heroes -- needed a break.

My story had to be something less than a galaxy-wide war, something on a smaller, less cataclysmic scale.

So my first decision was to make a clean break from the NJO. The story would start five years later, EDITOR'S NOTE: OH DEAR. DWEEBISH TREPIDATION. I HATE TIME GAPS. I WANT TO LIVE EVERY BLOOMIN MINUTE OF THEIR LIVES, DARNIT! with the Galactic Alliance well into its recovery. And that meant I had to develop a backstory for those five years, and decide how the galaxy had changed after the war.

The big questions were:
How was the recovery progressing? Given the gritty tone of the NJO, recovery couldn't be quick or easy. The Galactic Alliance had to be struggling to pull itself together. At the same time, the war had to mean something -- it had to have changed something fundamental about galactic civilization.

I decided that the Galactic Alliance would be blessed by a time of unprecedented peace, but plagued by a plethora of internal problems.

A secret cabal of Bothans would still be pursuing their species' genocidal ar'krai against the Yuuzhan Vong. EDITOR'S NOTE: OH THOSE WACKY BOTHANS!Pirates would abound, taking a grievous toll on Reconstruction Authority supplies, and dozens of criminal syndicates would be vying for control of the smuggling trade.

Most dangerous of all, corrupt megacorporations would be greasing palms in the Galactic Senate, using their wealth to steal entire worlds while billions of refugees languished in decrepit orbital cities. EDITOR'S NOTE: HMM....THAT SOUNDS SOMEWHAT FAMILIAR. WHERE HAVE WE HEARD ABOUT THIS BEFORE? OH. YEAH. 2005 AMERICA. (DUH)

How were the characters changed by the war? The Yuuzhan Vong invasion was unprecedented in its savagery, and its toll on the heroes was staggering both physically and emotionally. Clearly, the characters of the trilogy would need to be sadder and harder than before the war, less trusting and far more wary.

This would be especially true of Han and Leia, who lost both Chewbacca and their son Anakin to the enemy. It's often said that personal tragedy either draws a couple together or drives them apart, and breaking up the Solos is not an option. (Even after the NJO, some ideas remain off-limits.) So they would have to emerge from the war closer than ever, realizing that they have the strength to face anything -- as long as they are together. EDITOR'S NOTE: THANK HEAVENS. THOSE FEW BOOKS WHEN LEIA AND HAN WERE HAVING TROUBLES (AFTER CHEWBACCA DIED) WERE REALLY SAD.

How were the Jedi changed by the war? At the end of The New Jedi Order, Luke Skywalker voiced his dream of seeing the Jedi renounce mundane concerns to pursue a longer view of the Force. That's a great ending for a series, but it makes for a pretty dull space opera. So I knew the Jedi would be dragged back into the mundane, forced by the necessities of the moment to devote themselves to preserving the Galactic Alliance.

And it seemed very clear to me that they would be effective. The Jedi's battles against the Yuuzhan Vong had instilled in them an iron will to win, and the new view of the Force taught by Vergere -- the mysterious Knight from the Old Republic -- had made them more powerful than they ever dreamed possible.

But (at least from a storyteller's viewpoint) powerful characters are only interesting when they have big flaws. Fortunately, the NJO had provided a nice opening for me. The war had turned many Jedi cold and ruthless, and for others it had blurred the boundaries between right and wrong. It would not be a stretch to suggest that many Knights had started to care more about the success of a mission than whether it was justified... and that, of course, is the recipe for moral conflict. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND THIS DICHOTOMY IS EVEN CLEARER NOW SINCE WE'VE EXPERIENCED THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO AND THRU ROTS. HOW MUCH EASIER WAS IT TO BRING DOWN THE JEDI IN ROTS BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT ONLY DISTRACTED, BUT ALSO CORRUPTED BY THE CLONE WARS?

Once those questions had been answered, I had the central conflict for my trilogy (and -- as it turned out later -- also the foundation for the upcoming Legacy of the Force series -- but I can't talk about that now). EDITOR'S NOTE: OH YOU BIG TEASE!

As the first book opens, Luke Skywalker is unhappy with the Jedi order's role in propping up the Galactic Alliance, and he's growing increasingly worried as he watches many of his Knights start down a dark path from which they might never return. His fears mount when seven Knights -- all survivors of the ill-fated Myrkr operation -- answer a mysterious call for help and disappear into the Unknown Regions. Before long, their actions have embroiled the entire Jedi order in a precarious standoff -- one that might well plunge the galaxy back into war.

You'll find the rest in the pages of Dark Nest I: The Joiner King. I hope you enjoy the story!
Troy Denning
July 2005


Inside The New Essential Chronology


Finally, the missing pieces from Star Wars history are in place. EDITOR'S NOTE: SIGH. SNIFFLE....

Episode III completes the cinematic Star Wars saga, the details of the Clone Wars are known, and the events of the The New Jedi Order epic have reached their dramatic conclusion.

Now readers can finally view the entirety of Star Wars lore, and the forthcoming Star Wars: The New Essential Chronolgy makes it all possible.

Written by Star Wars authority Daniel Wallace, with Kevin J. AndersonEDITOR'S NOTE: HACK., this newly expanded, full-color Chronology spans thousands of years of events, from the darkest days of the earliest Sith empires EDITOR'S NOTE: LOKIE LOOKIE GAMEMASTER DAVE! to the final moments of the Yuuzhan Vong crisis.

Many holes have since been filled since the publication of the first edition years ago, and this updated Chronology represents the perfect starting point for someone wanting to explore the full, rich history of Star Wars galaxy. It's also essential for avid readers who want to witness how the events connect and affect one another, and to find out what transpired between the books, comics, and videogames they already know.

This is not just an update.

It's a completely new book, now presented in full color with stunning new illustrations by Mark Chiarello, John Van Fleet, and Tommy Lee Edwards.

For the first time, this Essential Guide will be available as a hardcover, as well as trade paperback, for those who want to preserve this key moment in Star Wars history.

And the new Chronology will set the stage for the future of the Star Wars universe. Before the new Legacy era begins to chronicle the events yet to come, or the Dark Times fill in the moments of the past, immerse yourself in The New Essential Chronology and emerge fully versed in ever-growing, ever-intricate tapestry that is the expanded universe. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND WE DO SO LOVE OUR 'EVER-GROWING, EVER-INTRICATE TAPESTRY'. AHHHHH.....

Star Wars: The New Essential Chronology is due out on October 25 from Del Rey Books.


Exclusive Star Wars Astromech Droid Action Figure Set

Entertainment Earth Hasbro Star Wars Exclusive!
This set of 2 individually packaged Astromech Droid Action Figure 5-Packs (that's 10 figures total) includes (subject to change):
Set #1: R3-T6, R3-T2, R2-C4, R4-A22, R2-Q2.
Set #2: R3-Y2, R2-M5, R2-A6, R4-E1, R2-X2.
You've never seen Droids like this before!
Never before made as toys, these new figures incorporate some of the finest Droid designs out of Hasbro and the engineers of Industrial Automaton.
Each droid has several points of articulation, with articulated "feet," moving domes, retractable third legs, and all sorts of light-up eyes, clear domes, and other features that bring these unique droids to life!
From the sands of Tatooine to the cool chrome ships of Naboo, these Droids populate the Star Wars Universe and make the saga happen. They calculate hyperspace jumps, maintain important equipment, beep, and provide the services people needed to survive the final days of the Galactic Republic and the entire duration of the Galactic Civil War-- and now they can help with your needs as an action figure collector!

Estimated ArrivalDecember 2005 Price: $74.99

Alter Ego Takes Pre-Orders for Anakin Skywalker Figure

Alter Ego Comics is taking pre-orders for the upcoming Kotobukiya Anakin Skywalker - REVENGE OF THE SITH vinyl model kit. The figure will ship in December 2005 and is priced at $84.99.



EDITOR'S NOTE: Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) watches as the gunship carrying Mace Windu and his team of Jedi departs to arrest Chancellor Palpatine.








Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you!!!

1:34 PM  

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