Thursday, April 7, 2016

Star Wars: Rogue One Teaser Trailer!

Coming this December to our Galaxy (specifically our movie theatres) is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!

Today the first teaser trailer was released and it's something spectacular!



Obviously it's just a tease of a few scenes from the movie and there's plenty more to come, but this trailer coming only a few months after The Force Awakens' release, the timeline and setting for Rogue One may be a little confusing.

Here's a few questions you may have after watching the trailer. If you have more questions feel free to share them in the comments below!

Is this the sequel to The Force Awakens? Where's Rey, Finn or BB-8?

No. This movie is set between Episodes 3 and 4, shortly before Episode 4. These are the rebels learning about the FIRST Death Star. Luke, Leia and Han haven't met yet and Rey an Finn are years away from being born. BB-8 has probably not yet been made.

Episode 8 (no title yet for The Force Awakens' sequel) is still filming and will come out December 2017.

Rogue One is actually very close to the same time that Star Wars: Rebels happens. It's certainly possible there will be some connections there.

Why am I wearing an Imperial uniform? Wait and see!
Who is the main woman?
After watching the trailer you know exactly as much as anyone else does. She's mysterious and tough and her name is Jyn Erso. She's played by actress Felicity Jones who typically performs in dramatic films (the ones grown-ups like) but you may have seen her in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Where's Darth Vader?
It hasn't been confirmed either way if Vader will be in Rogue One, but he could be. At this point in the overall Star Wars story, Darth Vader is alive and terrifying the galaxy. For that matter, we could also see Emperor Palpatine, Grand Moff Tarkin and more familiar baddies!

The Mysterious Figure aka Back in Black!
But isn't that Vader with the long, black cape?
Maybe. Or maybe it's the Emperor, or maybe it's someone we don't know yet. Oh no...maybe it's Snoke??

Who are all these other guys?
We really don't know at this point. We know they look tough and ready to fight. Hopefully they're good guys! Other than that it's all a mystery.

Is that the same lady from Return of the Jedi? The super-serious one?
Yep. Younger actress, but same character: Mon Mothma. She's a strong leader in the Rebellion and it's great to see her again after all these years!

Mon Mothma. Maybe she'll get to smile just once?
For an excellent breakdown of each scene, check out this article on EW.com

Obviously there are many more questions than answers at this point. It sure is fun to guess though, huh? 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Read, You Must: Star Wars Aliens Volume I



Why is Unkar Plutt so grouchy? Who are those two guys that Finn almost leaves with? Who’s that little guy waiting behind Rey in Niima Outpost? A new middle-grade book from Disney-Lucasfilm Press gives us a much closer look at many of the interesting-looking new alien characters from The Force Awakens.

Somehow this collection of short stories got the longest title of any book in recent memory. The full title is: Star Wars: Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away ALIENS Volume I (we’ll just call it ALIENS Vol. I for short here). The inclusion of “Volume I” is interesting and suggests more to come, hopefully soon! 

In 346 pages, author Landry Q. Walker gives us six stories focusing on six different alien characters. Each tale also has a great painting by Tyler Scarlet. Two of the stories are brand new while the other four have been available only as eBooks until this hardcover release.

One of the eBook editions

The stories vary in length, tone and genre. Walker really has fun jumping around from Unkar Plutt’s cyber-romance/heist thriller to a crime story/cooking show in Maz Kanata’s castle. Swashbuckling pirates and even mad scientists are all a part of the fun. Crime and criminals is the focus here in this collection of “scum and villainy”. There are a lot of “no-good, double-crossing swindlers” here, as Lando Calrissian might put it.

The stories are not connected at all so they can be enjoyed in any order. They seem to take place before the events of The Force Awakens as Niima Outpost and Maz Kananta’s castle are still intact.

The invisible Constable Zuvio
Unfortunately the first story is focused on Constable Zuvio, a character becoming infamous for – despite being made into several toys and featuring in other books – doesn’t seem to be in The Force Awakens at all unless you have an eagle-eye and can freeze your Blu-ray at exactly the right moment. It may be of little interest to read this adventure of a character essentially not in the movie. However Zuvio’s tale is an engaging detective story with a lot of western feel. Columbo in the wild west…in space.

Yo yo Bobbajo!
For A New Hope fans, the most intriguing story is Bobbajo’s All Creatures Great and Small – a “tall tale” of his imprisonment with his tiny creatures, on the first Death Star, coincidentally at the same time a certain famous Princess meets two men and a wookiee. The story even suggests that Bobbajo’s creatures played a vital part in the destruction of the Death Star, though Bobbajo is apparently known for stories that are often wildly exaggerated.

Also of interest to longtime Star Wars fans – and this appears to be the first time in the new “canon” (official Star Wars timeline) – is mention of the character of Gormaanda from the infamously bad 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special in the story A Recipe for Death.

Celebrity Chef Gormaanda
ALIENS Vol. I ends with the longest and most exciting tale: The Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku, an adventure of piracy and plundering that escalates to a bigger and bigger clash between rival pirate gangs. The story also has some wonderful connections to the Clone Wars TV series.

Confident young readers will enjoy the variety of stories here and insights into characters only briefly seen on screen. Older Star Wars fans can certainly enjoy these tales too as they are not specifically “children’s” stories – no more than the rest of Star Wars. One story, The Face of Evil, may be a little scary for very young readers.

With so many other background characters and interesting aliens in The Force Awakens to learn about, this book will leave you looking forward to Aliens Vol. II!
 
Publisher's Recommendation: Ages 8+
 
For more short stories set around The Force Awakens characters read Before the Awakening.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Read, You Must: Rey's Story



Thanks to a fantastic performance by actress Daisy Ridley in The Force Awakens, Rey has quickly become a favourite new character to many fans. It’s easy to see why: she’s awesome!

Now Rey fans can enjoy reading Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey’s Story, a new middle-grade chapter book from author Elizabeth Schaefer, available in paperback from Disney-Lucasfilm Press. It’s a brisk, 140-page take on The Force Awakens and a fun, exciting way to relive many of the main scenes of the film. The book is literally only Rey’s story from the film. 

The narrator follows Rey along on her adventure from scavenging the desert of Jakku to meeting BB-8, Finn, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Maz Kanata and then Kylo Ren and eventually even a very famous Jedi in hiding...

That means, however, that there’s barely any mention of Poe Dameron, General Hux, Captain Phasma or Supreme Leader Snoke. I didn’t realize that Rey never or barely encounters so many key characters in the movie until reading this book!

The story unfolds as though the author is there side-by-side watching Rey’s journey, but no more privy to her deeper thoughts than the other characters. Most likely there were many restrictions placed on the author because Rey is a character with such a secretive past, hopefully to be revealed in future Star Wars movies.

Then again, even Kylo Ren couldn’t get inside her mind either!

Elizabeth Schaefer’s writing is never needlessly complicated but offers vocabulary appropriately challenging to confident young readers. The book also contains many terrific Brian Rood illustrations, as does the cover.

Put aside any expectations that this will answer all the big questions about Rey from the movie and just enjoy a well-written, fast-paced version of Rey’s Story from The Force Awakens.

Publisher’s Recommendation: Ages 8-12

Also check out: Before the Awakening, a middle-grade collection of three short stories, one of which focuses entirely on Rey. Read our review here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Read, You Must: Star Wars Original Trilogy Graphic Novel!



Most Star Wars books are great so it’s hard to review so many of them without being repetitive. I love books and I love Star Wars, so putting them together usually results in something special. Sometimes the books are even fantastic. Occasionally though, a book comes out that really should be on EVERY Star Wars fans’ wish-list. A “must-have”.

Star Wars: The Original Trilogy – A Graphic Novel is a must-have book! It is wonderful.

Star Wars: The Original Trilogy – A Graphic Novel from Disney-Lucasfilm Press is a faithful adaptation of Episodes 4, 5 & 6 (aka The Original Trilogy) into comic form bound in one amazing 208 pg. hardcover collection. It is as suitable for younger Star Wars fans as the movies themselves but offers plenty to enjoy any age. There have been many books that retell the story of the films “for a new generation” but this one really stands out.

Past comic and novel adaptations of the films have usually been released around the same time as their corresponding movie, so to get them out on time they have been created based on early versions of the scripts. This usually results in scenes not in the movie, key moments missing and overall minor differences in the dialogue throughout. This kind of thing really bothered me as kid; “That’s not what Luke said!” “That’s not in the movie!” I’d say.

In this case thankfully the creators felt no need to change the script as we know it from the classic movies. I could easily hear the characters and famous lines in my mind as I read along. A few minor scenes were left out of these books but what is here is Star Wars greatness!

The new treat here the amazing artwork. This graphic novel is very modern in its style, presenting Star Wars in a way that would be very appealing to kids who read the popular Bone or Amulet series’ or enjoy shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender. Some of the panels look like they’re from a Star Wars 2-D animated show or movie, which would be amazing to see! There hasn’t been much Star Wars 2-D animation since the original Star Wars: Clone Wars “micro-series” from 2003-2005. This book makes me wish there was much more!


Words like beautiful, exciting, and absolutely cool are the words that best describe the artwork, created by a very talented team. If you know the story (if you’re reading this you likely do) then you already know how awesome THAT is!

Still not convinced? At a very reasonable price of $19.99 or less, this retelling of Episodes 4 -6 belongs in EVERY Star Wars fan collection

Even better – the final page promises more of these graphic novels coming for Episodes 1 – 3, The Force Awakens and beyond. Yes, please!

(Publisher's Recommendation: Ages 8+ )

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