Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Thoughts on the EU and the Star Wars Saga.

Star Wars. Seems like only recently that was a vague term referring to a Galaxy far, far away. It wasn't mentioned much, and I only ever heard lightly of a Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2, and a Dark Vader; those terms never meant much to me, and I never fully understood them.
I recall being at a friend's house and hearing them talk about an Episode II, and how the worms crawled all over the queen. That was really it--until that day happened.

By brothers and me were at a friend's house, and their son asked if we'd seen Star Wars yet, and we answered no. That night we watched The Phantom Menace (TPM), and Attack of the Clones (AOTC).
Well, those two episodes explained a lot to me about the Star Wars universe, but I was thirsty for more. I recall finding the blue skinned Twe'lk people intriguing, and they stuck out to me the most among all the others; and they remain one of my favorite aliens.

Sometime later, still being in total suspense to find out how the last two episodes I'd seen would play out, we rented Revenge of the Sith (ROTS) from Blockbuster and watched it that night.
 I had know I idea what to expect, and I was blown away. Things quickly went from bad to worse as I rode the emotional rollercoster of ROTS. (The only other time I experienced such a rush of emotion was when I watched Weapons Factory for the first time on CN.)
After all that things started to click, I understood who Darth Vader was, and how Luke came to play in the story. Finally, I knew! Over time I was introduced to the Original Trilogy, and now I've seen them all.
Most recently I've seen the Clone Wars Movie, and every episode in the new Clone Wars series. For me, watching the Clone Wars Movie in theaters on opening day was my way of making up for not watching the films in theaters.

But it wasn't enough; I read the Star Wars guides to purge ignorance from my mind, it worked too. Little details, like the how thermal-detonators work, and the details of Dug society, I began to understand every aspect of the universe and its many technologies. After that I continued to grow, I spent a lot of time on once the Clone Wars movie and series kicked off.

Here I am know; a Star Wars fan and proud of it. My favorite Star Wars films are (The) Empire Strikes Back (ESB) and ROTS, with the others falling somewhere in-between. I don't view the Original Trilogy (OT) as being superior to the New Trilogy (also called the Prequel Trilogy) or vice versa: one cannot survive without the other.

I want to discuss the many differences the Expanded Universe (EU) and the Star Wars films, and TV series have, and how effective each is in getting its, message across.

But first of all: What is the EU?

The EU is a vast collection of short stories and comic-books, not written by Lucas. These span the entire Saga. Many of them fill in tiny holes in-between the films, and even expand beyond them.
I myself haven't read much of the EU; only a few books. There are instances, or anomalies, were two or more books contain contradicting information (the Jedi's lightsaber is blue in one book, but green in another). I don't know how often this occurs, but it seems to happen frequently enough to tick some fans off. And if a fan were to get his fan fiction published by Dark Horse, it would be considered part of the EU.

As a whole, the EU tends to tell its stories in trilogies and duologies, an example of this would be the Black Fleet Crisis. There are also stand-alone stories, like the Cestus Deception, it's one of my favorite books.
Novels are an excellent way to tell a story: one because it allows you to get inside the characters head and learn their inner secrets; something that is difficult to do in a film or series.

Because it has some many different authors EU canon (continuity) is often disputed and criticized. But one fact remains: We would have no EU if we didn't have the epic six films that are the Star Wars Saga.

The Star Wars Films and TV series:

Like the EU, proceeding series fill in the holes left by the films, but there has yet to be a series, or film, to go beyond ROTJ. And one of the earliest Star Wars series was the Ewok Series, followed by the Droid Series (I may have gotten the order wrong.) From what I gather contradictions are rarer here, but can still occur.
But above both the series and the EU is the films; these are the trunk of the whole franchise, and the rest would crumble if they didn't exist. All six films are Lucas's work, and a fine work they are. There's no argument, anything Lucas approves becomes canon.

TVs communicate their stories though images, this gives them an advantage over novels. In a novel it may that several paragraphs to describe a scene: as opposed to TVs, which can show the viewer the sequence in one or two scenes. The downfall is these scenes have a hefty price on them, and are expensive to produce. George Lucas knows this fact all to well. But CGI has revolutionized the movie making business. And while it is less expensive then its counterpart, it's not cheap, and very difficult to master correctly.


Star Wars is perhaps the best franchise on the planet, with many intricate stories, and plenty of compelling characters. But its vast expansion would not exist, and exist in such well chronicled order, if Lucas hadn't laid the foundation; that being the six Star Wars films.
A word picture I want to leave you with is this:
The six Star Wars films are a great citadel, and the EU is surrounding kingdoms allied with the citadel. And the new Clone Wars series is a new wind being added to the main castle.
George has given us permission to play in his sandbox, but ultimately he owns the beach.

I hope I have clarified some things for you. Until next time may the Force be with you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fountains of Insparation

Last Writer's Group my friend, and fellow unpublished author, gave me a guide to writing novels. It's been a great help to me, I spent most of today, and yesterday reading it, and it's awesome (if your an author).
I've got this awesome idea for a novel; I've got the basic plot down. It's gonna be great: it's about a  . . .  well this is the Internet, and I don't want any wannabe authors stealing my ideas, so for know I will not reveal anything about my story.

I realize the nature of this post strays from what your used to on this blog (fan fictions, episode/book reviews). I'll probably start throwing in these updates, if I feel they're worth posting.

Writing is my Passion, as you've seen, my fan fictions are a testament to this; and there's nothing I'd rather do then let a story flow from me. My best work flows from a place between sleep and awake. Unfortunately, as of late, I've been so obsessed with Facebook that I haven't given myself a chance to write anything.
I'm getting back into the habit.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Before the Storm"-- Review

An awesome book. Set some time after the Battle of Endor "Before the Storm" is a gripping story.
Certain arias felt a little like Star Trek, but that's just my opinion. This a great story, and actually follows several different plots at once.

I don't want to go into to much detail and spoil the story for all you soon-to-be readers; but I will say that, while being written from a third person narrative point of view, many of the perspectives are presented through Leia's perspective.

I can't wait to read the other books in this series, "Before the Storm" has set the stage for them quit well.

The cast (Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Ackbar, ech) were all portrayed flawlessly.
All in all this was an awesome book, and I highly recommend that anyone interested in Star Wars read it.

May the Force be with you.

-Joshua Yoder-

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Cestus Deception"-- Review

I really enjoyed reading this novel by Steven Barnes. His descriptions of the characters and places was very compelling and accurate.
The plot was very deep and intriguing. The Jedi Killers, deadly bio-droids, were an excellent plot device, much deadlier then the standard B1-battle droid.
For me, this story opened my eyes to the day-in day-out life of a standard clone trooper; in this case that trooper is Nate (CT-96/298, Jangotat) ; I thought he was very interesting.
Also, Kit Fisto was a wonderful addition to the story.

A Jedi Killer droid!!
Jangotat's sacrifice towards the end out the book is one of my favorite parts in this book. He wasn't a run-of the-mill trooper who obeyed orders; and his character develoment seemed to be focal point in the story.

This fits well into the continuity of the Star Wars universe, and I am very pleased with it.

A side note: Obi-Wan's lightsaber pictured on the front cover is his first one from TPM, which we all know he lost.

This is a great book and I recommend it as a must read for anyone interested in the Clone Wars era.

May the Force be with you.                            -Joshua Yoder-

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Forgotten Dream

His gaze fell on the empty void of deep space that lay beyond the ship's large view-screen, and he thought of all the uncharted star systems out there; he remembered his dream of wanting to visit them; all of them.
"My lord," Can the voice of a crewman next to him.
"We're prepared to jump to light-speed," And then he added;
"With your permission, sir." 
"Proceed." Darth Vader replied in his respiratory assisted baritone.
Vader left the ship's bridge with the words;
"I'll be in my quarters. Notify me when we've reached the Kessel System."

Encased in the solid black meditation chamber the Dark Lord had his sinister black mask removed, revealing his lava scarred face, he breathed the heavy gases that now filled his close chamber. He could not allow any of the crew to see him in such a weak state, it would defeat his image.
Seated, he closed his eyes, ignoring the pain the the movement caused. He let his mind drift back, back to the beginning.
He saw his mother's face, just as he had always remembered it. Why? Why did you have to die? He asked himself; and the answer was no clearer now, then it had been the day he had buried her in the harsh sands of Tattooine, his former home.
His soul still ached with the sorrow of her passing, it ached like the scars across his face.
Another face manifest itself to him, his former Master's, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The very thought of that name only surfaced images of betrayal on the fiery world of Mustafar.

That image slowly faded, and was replaced by dozens, if not thousands more. Younglings, Knights, Masters, all slain by his hand; the grief and sorrow flooded him, and he struggled for breath beneath its sudden surge.
His own Padawan's face appeared in his mind's eye. She was young, eager, book-smart, and ignorant when he'd first met her. And her soul was the only one he'd not freed from this Natural Realm; if she wasn't dead now then she would surely fall.

Why do you grieve, my love? Said the soft voice in his head, he knew it all to well.
"Padm`e," He whispered softly into the thick air. There was no response.
The image of his wife's face in death filled his mind, and banished all other images and tormenting voices.
My love for you extends even beyond death. He heard her say, his mind slowly began to calm as her voice whispered like a small breeze. For once the bitterness and hatred in his soul subsided.
Every second felt like a lifetime to him. He couldn't let this moment slip through his fingers.
Tears began to run down his cheek, their touch caused his skin to burn, but still he wept, wept for all those he'd killed.
He remembered that day when he'd brutally used the Force to choke her, the images relayed in his mind countless times, a testament to what he'd become.
I am a monster. He told himself, it seemed true enough.

A red notification light blinked on the arm of his chair. He pushed a button and he heard the helmsman's voice saying;
"We've arrived at the Kessel System, standing by."
Swallowing his grief and dispare he pressed a series of keys, and his great black mask was lowered over his face to once more confine it.
The sealed meditation chamber opened into two halves and the Dark Lord stepped out once more.
As he entered the ship's bridge he felt a strong Force presence on the planet hovering below.

                                                     --THE END--

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Moment in Time

A thousand thoughts flourished in her mind, was this really happening? Was she really here, now? The twelve members of the Jedi Council surrounded her in a wide circle in the Hall of Knighthood, their faces solom.
Behind her stood her oldest known friend; Plo Koon, the Kel Dor's face was unreadable beneath his breath-mask and goggles.
The chamber was dark, but the Force told her she was among good company, a sliver of fear and excitement shot through her like lightning. She looked to Master Yoda, who stood before her, his aged features seemed youthful in the dim light.

One-by-one each Jedi Master on the Council ignited their emerald or blue blades, their song became a choir of perfect harmony.
No one spoke, she knelt on one knee before the humble Grand Master Yoda, her eyes closed in respect. I did it, I'm finally here. She thought.
She listened with alert ears as Yoda recited the ancient passages for the ceremony; then she jumped a little as the little man's Shoto severed the two shell Padawan-Braids from atop her sprouting head-tails. Her emotions spiked as they fell to the floor.

She slowly rose and looked to the braids that now laid at her feet; she felt bitter sweet seeing them there. She'd anticipated this day for as long as she could comprehend, and know it was complete.
She gathered the braids and exited the chamber in total silence.

She stirred, something within her told her it was morning. She sat up and worked the stiffness out of her limbs, as did she felt her head-tails, the Padawan-Braids still there, as they had always been. She gave a disappointed sigh, her Knighting Ceremony had gone with the night.
I will be a Jedi Knight some day, I know I will. She told herself as she gathered her lightsaber and Shoto and clipped them to her belt. The door to her small cubical hissed open and she left to face the many challenges of being a Padawan . . .

                                                                  THE END

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Final Request

Setting: In the wake of the events on Wasskah.


Reality was slowly slipping away from her. She gasped for air, and couldn't find enough of it.
She looked into her friend's face, that looked back at hers', the worry there evident. With the last of her failing strength she slipped a token to her comrade with the words;
"Take it,". In the short time the two had known each other, their friendship had blossomed, despite the crushing circumstances.
She lowered her head, and her spirit became on with the binding Force.

Ahsoka followed her Master into the hanger, as she walked she felt the Wookiee's gaze behind her.
"It's good to have you back, Ahsoka." Anakin said, she knew what he meant, a smile crossed her lips.
A delicate looking feminine Jedi arouched the pair from ahead.
"Kalifa, have you seen her? Is she safe?" She asked, the concern painted her features.
The pair stood silent for several minutes; finally Ahsoka said;
"She's gone. She was killed on Wasskah before the Wookiees rescued us."
The other Jedi's gaze fell, and silence overtook them. Ahsoka broke the quiet with;
"She . . . She gave me this before she died." The Togruta Padawan held out her palm, in it a small charm, carved from some exotic wood; and on it, carved with a rought knife, was the name Nava.
The token fell into the Jedi's hand,
"Thank you," She said, their eyes met for a brief moment, Anakin injected;
"C'mon Snips, let's get you cleaned up." and they walked on. A song of emotion welled in Ahsoka's chest as she watched Kalifa's Master embrace the last bit of her fallen Padawan . . .

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ghosts in the Night

A week after the events on Mortis

Silence filled the still air around her face. The only sounds, the sounds in her mind. She tossed on her side. The great Jedi Temple was as still as a tomb, its thick walls blocked the noise of the bustling city world outside.
Her thoughts these last few days had been a little chaotic, why, she didn't know.
You think I am gone? Came a sinister voice from the air next to her face, followed by what felt like warm rancor breath.
Ahsoka turned on her other side, the voice came again. I am still here. It said; the voice sounded like her own, only with a deranged ring in the tone.
Ahsoka shot up and looked around her small sparsely furnished cubical, nothing out of place was to be seen. She slowly laid back down, her heart racing; maybe it was just nerves.

She closed her eyes and slipped out of reality. When the fog in her mind cleared she saw her Master, Anakin. The same voice as before came again, this time it was in her head and all around her; it said; I may not have your body anymore, but I still have your mind.
A sense of dread creeped up on her; like a nexu stalking its prey. What was happening? Was she going insane? She pounded on the mental barriers, trying to escape back to reality, where she was safe. No use.

"Now, you are mine." Came the voice  followed by hot breath. She turned to see a corrupted and evil version of herself, with malice yellow eyes, and a vein covered face. The sight sent chills down her spine.
The thing attacked her like a frantic beast.

She shot up and looked around for a second time, as she did she breathed a heavy sigh, It was just a dream, she told herself, and laid back down.

                                                                      THE END