Disney + announces the premiere date for ‘The Book of Boba Fett’

He’s just a simple man making his way in the galaxy. Like his father before him. 

And now, the galaxy’s greatest and most feared bounty hunter in the “Star Wars” galaxy is going to be making his way on the Disney+ streaming platform.

Coming out of the Sarlacc, Boba Fett, portrayed by Tamuera Morrison, will be the main focus on the Disney+ series “The Book of Boba Fett.” Disney + announced that the official release date for the series is Dec. 29. 2021. 

“The Book of Boba Fett” will take place right after the second season of “The Mandalorian”  and will be a continuation of the  story of the Mandalorian armor wearing bounty hunter.  

According to an article from Giant Freakin Robot, the series will have eight episodes with the first being titled “The Champion.” In addition, the article states that  “The Champion” will also be known as Chapter 17  which indicates that this is a direct continuation of “The Mandalorian” story.  The article also mentions the titles of the other seven episodes which include: “The Assassin,” “The Syndicate,” “The Battleground,” “The Homeworld,” “The Warlord,” “The Showdown,” and “The Hunter.”

Property of Lucasfilm and Disney

Judging from some of the episode’s titles, it seems that Boba is going to be a man on a personal mission. “The Battleground” could see Boba possibly returning to Geonosis to relive the memory of witnessing the death of his father Jango Fett at the hands of Jedi Master Mace Windu. And, “The Homeworld,” may be a reference to his homeworld of Kamino where he was born as a natural and unaltered clone of Jango. And since “The Homeworld” might focus on Kamino, it would be safe to assume that Boba knew that his home, along with Tipoca City and the cloning facilities, were destroyed by the Empire as seen on the 15th episode of the Disney + series, “The Bad Batch” titled “Return to Kamino.”  If the series goes this direction, It would be very interesting to see how Boba copes with the trauma he experienced in his past and how it made him a hardened and dangerous bounty hunter.

“The Showdown” could possibly be a reference to Boba finally confronting his enemy, the Corellian smuggler and Rebel Alliance hero, Han Solo who, in “Star Wars: Episode VI-Return of the Jedi” caused Boba to fall into the Sarlacc pit. Could we see Harrison Ford return as everyone’s favorite scruffy looking nerf herder like we saw Mark Hamill return as Luke Skywalker in the final episode of the second season of “The Mandalorian?” Or does “The Showdown” see Boba confront the man who previously wore his armor: the Marshall Cobb Vanth, portrayed by Timothy Olyphant (Justified)?  Perhaps, could we see Boba finally meeting his twin “sister,” the Bad Batch’s own Omega? 

Disney + has also released the promotional art for the series which has Boba Fett sitting on the throne he took from Fortuna while wearing his restored armor he reclaimed from the Mandalorian Din Djarrin. 

The title of the show was announced at the post-credit scene of the second season of “The Mandalorian.” In the scene, Fett is shown returning to Jabba’s Palace and killing Jabba the Hutt’s former right-hand man, the twi’lek Bib Fortuna to take his place as the new crime lord to his former employer’s empire. With him was fellow bounty hunter Fennec Shand, portrayed by Ming-Na Wen (Mulan, Marvel’s Agents of Shield). 

Are you excited about “The Book of Boba Fett?” And what are your theories on what will happen when the series unravels? Please share your comments below! 

Luke Skywalker and Starlight Squadron bring the fight to the Empire in ‘Star Wars no. 15′

Ever since leaving the Lars Homestead on Tatooine due to the tragic deaths of his beloved Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen, Luke Skywalker has had quite the hero’s journey. He would meet the wise Jedi Master Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi who would introduce him to the ways of the Jedi. Skywalker would also meet the smuggler Han Solo and his wookie partner Chewbacca which would baptise Luke on the perils of adventuring. He would then go from farmboy to Rebel Alliance hero almost in one night when he rescued Princess Leia and destroyed the Death Star. After having several adventures with Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2, he eventually would further connect with his Jedi heritage when traveling down to the swamp planet of Dagobah. 

Skywalker’s biggest trial would come when he went face to face with Darth Vader on Cloud City in the cloudy skies of Bespin. Vader would reveal himself to be Luke’s father much to the aspiring Jedi’s horror and disbelief. In addition, Luke would also lose his hand and his lightsaber that once belonged to Vader when he was still Anakin Skywalker. 

However, the latest “Star Wars” comics have shown Luke slowly maturing after his ordeal on Cloud City. He has begun to take his training seriously and has also realized that he should not dwell on his failures but to learn from them. In the process, he had to let go of finding his first blue-bladed lightsaber and in the process, he found a new yellow-bladed lightsaber. 

Now as Leia, Chewie, Threepio, and Lando Calrissian are on Jekara taking part in the mission to rescue Han, Luke joins Wedge Antilles and Starlight Squadron to rescue the Rebel Alliance 11th Fleet Division. But along the way, Skywalker has encountered something familiar and yet unfamiliar at the same time. 

Warning Spoilers Ahead 

Issue no.15 begins with Luke Skywalker volunteering to join Wedge Antilles and Starlight Squadron to rescue the 11th division. Although the Rebels have been successful in creating a new code thanks to the talky droid and having a few victories, not everyone is feeling hyped. A-Wing pilot L’ulo Lampar voices the condition of the scattered Rebel Fleet and the missing Shara Bey (Future mother of Poe Dameron). Luke tries to give his comrades hope by telling people that he, Leia, and the other heroes are planning on rescuing Han Solo from Crimson Dawn on Jekara. Wedge acknowledges this but tells the pilots that saving another fleet division would be more important. With that, Luke and Starlight Squadron blast off into hyperspace to find their fellow Rebels. 

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

When the Rebels jump out of hyperspace, they head to the orbit of Ab Dalis which should be familiar with fans or people who have read Charles Soule’s novel “Star Wars-The High Republic: Light of the Jedi.” Freyta Smyth, one of the Starlight Squadron pilots, makes a reference of the fragments from the doomed Legacy Run space freighter which is a part of the planet killing billions of inhabitants. Since the incident, which was about centuries before the Battle of Yavin, the planet had been abandoned. 

I feel that it was awesome that Soule’s writing bridges the High Republic era with the Skywalker Saga. From Luke’s new yellow-bladed lightsaber to the name of Starlight Squadron being named after Starlight Beacon (a space station created by the Jedi and the High Republic to unite the galaxy), it shows that the High Republic era was such a huge influence to the galaxy,  

Starlight Squadron picks up a transmission from the planet which is confirmed to be from the 11th Rebel Alliance Fleet Division. The 11th division is getting pinned down and overrun by Imperial forces which consists of a Star Destroyer Ultima II, tanks, AT-AT’s and an army of stormtroopers. The beleaguered Rebels and their Colonel, Chouch, receive news that among the six Rebel starfighters coming to rescue them are Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles. However, the Imperials aboard Star Destroyer Ultima II  are overconfident that they can crush the Rebels. The commander plans on reporting his success to the ruthless Commander Zhara and orders  TIE Fighters to intercept Starlight Squadron. 

While Luke, Wedge, and Starlight Squadron fight the TIEs, one of the Rebel soldiers comes up with a crazy but brilliant idea. The soldier tells Colonel Chouch that when she was a part of the geological survey team, she was examining the stability of the planet. Her plan is  to have one of the pilots fire their weapons at a small target on the surface  just above the Ultima II which will create a chain reaction.

While the Imperial commander on board Ultima IIis confident that he will be victorious, the pilots of Starlight Squadron are contemplating on whether they should go through the coordinates given to them by the rebel ground forces. Freta discovers that since the target is so small, this task looks like a job for Skywalker, who destroyed the Death Star which also had a small target in the form of the thermal exhaust port. Now, we see the inspiration behind the soldier’s plan and who better than Luke Skywalker to take the shot? 

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

As Luke goes in for the shot, he feels that he is in familiar territory. He’s back in the Battle of Yavin with his sights set on the thermal exhaust port with proton torpedoes ready to fire. However, as  Luke is cornered by Vader, he sees Han coming to his rescue with the Millennium Falcon. But to his horror, he also sees the Corellian YT-1300 freighter getting destroyed by Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced.  As Luke questions the  memory, he is in an unfamiliar situation. This is clearly not how things went during the Battle of Yavin. 

Luke sees Vader aboard his TIE advanced  telling him that he will fail to save Solo and that he belongs to him. Then Luke sees Vader blast the Falcon with his ship. This is when Luke realizes that this is a Force vision. Horrified by this nightmare, Luke freezes up but Wedge snaps him out of it and Luke fires his torpedoes but misses! However, as Luke plans on making another run, Wedge and the other pilots fire their torpedoes onto the targeted area which causes a chain reaction. Suddenly, the surface erupts in an volcanic explosion which destroys the Star Destroyer Ultima II

I feel that Soule adding a very familiar scene was the best part of this comic. This scene takes you back to that moment when Luke hops aboard Red Five for the first time and takes the fight to the Empire. The moment that made Luke Skywalker a hero and a legend. However, in this scene, Luke gets a little cocky as he thinks that the task as of him will be a piece of cake. However, the Force vision of the Millennium Falcon getting destroyed causes Luke to freeze up and miss the shot. This shows that Luke still has a lot to learn as a Jedi since he still has an arrogant streak about him which he inherited from Anakin. 

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

The Rebels are victorious but Luke is a little bummed that he missed the target. Wedge assures his Force sensitive comrade that everyone misses and that he should not beat himself up for it. Wedge thanks Luke for assisting Starlight and wishes him luck with the mission to Jekara. The Rebels are elated to more good news when they receive a transmission from Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma who is accompanied by Mon Calamari Admiral Ackbar. 

Meanwhile, as Luke heads to Jekara, he tries to contact Leia who, along with Lando and Chewie, is cornered by Boba Fett. Leia cuts off the transmission as Luke tries to tell her that he had experienced a Force vision warning him that Darth Vader is coming after Han (and if you have read “War of the Bounty Hunters no.2,”  “Doctor Aphra no. 12,” “Darth Vader no. 14,” along with the end of this issue, you would know Luke’s vision comes true.) 

The art done by Ramon Rosanas and the coloring by Rachelle Rosenberg made this issue vibrant as Soules’ writing. One of my favorite panels is of Luke reliving the memory of flying his X-Wing Fighter into that Death Star trench only to see an alternate version where Han gets shot down by Vader. My favorite splash is of the volcanic explosion on the Star Destroyer.  It symbolizes the Rebels’ tenacity to never give up despite insurmountable odds.  

Now that just about everyone and their mother has come to Jekara to bid for Han Solo, how will Luke react when he learns that his vision has come true. How will the young Jedi react when he discovers Boba Fett has Princess Leia and his friends cornered? And how will Luke react when he learns about Qi’ra’s history with Han? “War of the Bounty Hunters  no. 3” is, without a doubt, going to be another explosive issue but the next issue seems to be teasing a rematch against father and son before their fateful encounter on Death Star II!

Writer: Charles Soule

Artist: Ramon Rosanas 

Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles 

Publisher: Marvel 

Synopsis: “Friends and Enemies” Luke Skywalker embarks upon an epic mission with Wedge Antilles and the brave pilots of Starlight Squadron to rescue a lost division of the Rebel Fleet. Leia Organa, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian attempt to save Han Solo from the evil clutches of Boba Fett. But what hidden vision will the Force send to Luke about the troubles to come?

Review: Star Wars #9-Operation Starlight: The Ancient Relic

Writer: Charles Soule

Artist: Jan Bazaldua

Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Publisher: Marvel

Synopsis: The heroic Rebel Alliance is scattered and on the run from the evil Galactic Empire after losing the Battle of Hoth.

But the Empire’s cunning Commander Zahra has broken Rebel security codes and will stop at nothing to crush the Rebellion once and for all.

Princess Leia attempts to rally her friends before all hope is lost….

Warning Spoilers Below:

Star Wars #9 continues after the events from the battle in last issue where although the Rebel Alliance sent the ruthless Commander Zahra and the Empire packing, they are not out of the woods yet. Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and the Rebels start commencing Operation Starlight which is the mission to unite all the remaining Rebel cells. However, the Imperials have cracked the Rebellion’s secret encryption codes which leaves them vulnerable if they decide to communicate the other surviving cells.  Luckily for the Rebels, everyone’s favorite golden protocol droid C-3PO comes up with an idea to solve their dilemma. Threepio tells the Rebels of an ancient droid that can speak a forgotten language called Trawak which could help replace the previous codes. However, the protocol droid tells the Rebels that the droid is located in a museum in the heart of the Empire: Coruscant.  Leia tasks Des Dameron (Poe Dameron’s father) and his Pathfinders to fly to Coruscant, with the help of a reluctant Lando Calrissian and his friend/droid Lobot, and steal the droid. And who better to help pull off a heist than the former Baron Administrator of Cloud City?

Courtesy of Marvel and Lucasfilm

When I read this issue, I felt that it was an issue that placed the focus on Lando, Lobot, Des, and the Pathfinders. And since this issue is the commencement of Operation Starlight, Soule decided to place a heist as the first mission for the ragtag rebels.  When I read this issue, I wondered how the Millennium Falcon was able to slip through Coruscant. Sure, even though the Falcon is indeed a smuggler ship, isn’t Darth Vader still in search of that ship? And if so, wouldn’t that put the Pathfinders in some danger? After all, Vader is still searching for Luke, especially after revealing that he is his father.

I was surprised by the pace of this issue in which the Pathfinders were able to easily steal the ancient droid from the Imperial Museum. Lando and the Panthfinders are able to infiltrate the Imperial Museum and break into the curator’s office without getting spotted. However, the curator sentences one of the Panthfinders, Needle, a Quermian to death for protesting a work of art native to his species. Needle’s protest was used to distract the curator and his guards while Dameron and fellow Pathfinde Frell sneak into the curator’s office to steal the droid.  However, the issue is thrown a swerve that shows while the mission was completed, the ancient droid has malfunctioned due to a corrupted memory bank. Des questions Threepio on what they are going to do but droid responds that he does not know.

Courtesy of Marvel and Lucasfilm

One of the things that I enjoyed about the comic was that it shifted the focus on other characters. Des Dameron and his Pathfinders were portrayed as brave and capable soldiers of the Rebellion. We also see more of Lando Calrissian and his slow road to becoming an eventual official member of the Rebellion though he does not know that yet.  

The curator was a filler character that was flamboyant. The unnamed curator sat on a chair with legs which I felt was a call back to the prequel trilogy in which Palpatine’s hologram projector walked on legs. He also had a monocle and a Victorian Era moustache that I feel symbolizes the Empire’s wealth, power, and rather growing complacency which probably explains why the Rebels were able to slip past a world that the Empire was supposed to have on lockdown.

The one thing I wanted to see is the psychological effect that Zahra had on Leai after their scuffle. In the last issue, Zahra has taken residence in Leia’s mind after almost killing her. However, in this issue, Leia seemed unfazed, probably due to focusing on gathering the remaining Rebel cells. We will see Leai questioning her confidence in the next issue? And will the Imperial firebrand Zahra be thorn at her side as Operation Starlight continues?

Courtesy of Marvel and Lucasfilm

Speaking of Imperials, I liked that this story took place on Coruscant which was another call back to the prequels and a reminder that the planet is the center of galactic power in Star Wars. But the Rebels sneaking in the giant city-wide with very little effort made the setting of the Republic-turned Imperial world appear weak.  Like Frell, I was expecting this to be more of a challenge with the Imperials, granted the guards were not stormtroopers and they were guarding a museum. And I have to remember that Needle sacrificed himself to help his comrades steal a droid that was malfunctioning. But it would have also been cool to see how the Millennium Falcon slipped through Coruscant with Vader knowing about the YT-1300 freighter.

Overall, I am enjoying Soules run on Star Wars and I am excited to see what the Operation Starlight arc brings.

Star Wars #9 is out now and can be purchased at your local comic book store.

Review-Star Wars #8-The Will of Tarkin: Prey

Writer: Charles Soule

Artist: Ramon Rosanas

Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Warning Spoilers Ahead:

Star Wars #8 continues the Will of Tarkin arc that began on issue #7. Imperial Commander Zahra is on a mission to kill Princess Leia and crush the Rebel Alliance which is still reeling from the defeat at Hoth. We learn from the last issue that Zahra had a mentor-like relationship with the ruthless Grand Moff Tarkin. We also learn that Zahra is taking part in this mission to avenge Tarkin and to get back at the Rebels for taking away her opportunity to redeem herself to her mentor.

Courtesy of Marvel and Disney

At the beginning of the comic, we are taken to several flashback panels where Darth Vader, via hologram, tasks Zahra with hunting down the Rebels. The former Anakin Skywalker refused to take part in the mission as ordered by Emperor Palptine since he is still fixated on his personal mission to find his son Luke Skywalker after the duel on Cloud City.

We are taken to the present where the Fourth and Seventh Rebel Fleets have the Imperials trapped in a pincer maneuver. However, Zahra plans on boarding the battleship ship Leia is on and kill the princess. Zahra is able to successfully board Leia’s ship and easily kill the Rebel Troopers try to contain her. Zahra hacks into the comm systems and threatens to destroy the ship from within unless she confronts Leia.

Courtesy of Marvel and Disney

Leia and Zahra come face to face as the ship’s interior is darkened. The Imperial Commander relates to Leia as she mentions that they are both orphans. Zahra mentions how her parents were killed by rebel terrorist and she joined the Empire to save little girls from the same experience she went through. She also mentions that Tarkin mentored and made her who she is. While talking with Leia, Zahra swiftly injures the princess with a sword that resembles a kitana. Then the Imperial commander blames Leia for orchestrating the attack on the Death Star which led to Tarkin dying “thinking that she was a failure” and that the Rebels took away her opportunity to redeem herself.  Zahra concludes that the only thing she can do is avenge her mentor but Luke, with the new yellow-bladed lightsaber he acquired from the previous issue comes in the nick of time to save the day. The Imperial escapes along with the retreating Imperial fleet.

During a Rebel briefing and while recovering from her wounds, Leia tells Luke that she saw something in Zahra’s eyes that told her that the Imperial wanted to hurt her and feel her pain. Leia concludes that Zahra was expressing darkness and hated.  

The comic ends with Zahra, in pure ruthless Tarkin fashion, boasting how Leia bleeding from her sword was a good day for her. She tells her lieutenant that she won’t stop going after Leia and vows to use her blade to finally kill her. She also boasts that she planted seeds of fear in Leia’s head so that she would be unable to galvanize the Rebel Alliance.

Courtesy of Marvel and Disney

Charles Soule’s writing continues to remind me that he knows how to write Star Wars. His notable work on Darth Vader in 2017, which explored Vader’s early days in the Empire and running the Inquistorious, was an enjoyable run.

The art done by Ramon Rosanas and Rachelle Rosenberg in this issue was also reeked of Star Wars. There were some favorite panels in the comic which included Vader recruiting Zahra to hunt down the Rebel Fleet, the Splash that showed Wedge Antilles leading a squadron of Rebel Star Fighters, and Leia’s showdown with Zahra.  The meeting between Vader and Zahra reminded me a lot of the prequel films in which the holograms were used frequently. Even in holographic form, Vader looks intimidating. The starfighter scene was just a reminder that the Rebel Alliance is always ready to fight even against seemingly insurmountable odds. The scene between Leia and Zahra parallels Luke and Vader’s duel in the carbon freezing chamber with the light vs dark themes and shadows being used.

However, the one thing I scratched my head on was why Soule added Luke into the scene between Leia and Zahra. I felt that this was Leia and Zahra’s fight, even though Luke too was responsible for blowing up the Death Star and killing Tarkin. I guess Luke was added probably to make this scene a teaser to the real fight between Leia and Zahra. In my opinion, however, Princess Leia is capable of taking care of herself and probably would have put up fight against the passionate Imperial. Luke probably would have come after Leia and Zahra exchanging blows against each other with the latter surviving but not without having injuries. It would have further planted more seeds of doubt in Leia and to start changing her perspective on her tactics against the Empire.

Overall, I am enjoying the Will of Tarkin arc as well as Soule’s run. I am looking forward to see how Zarha takes residence in Leia’s head rent free. Will Luke help her regain her confidence like he had regained his? And what is in store for the unbroken Rebel Fleet?

Star Wars #8 is out and can be purchase it at your local comicbook shop.

My thoughts on George Lucas Feeling ‘Betrayed’, Disney, and Star Wars

If you follow Star Wars, you’ve probably have read or heard the news of Disney CEO Bob Iger admitting that creator George Lucas felt betrayed when the creative direction of the new trilogy was unraveled.

Given how the films in the new trilogy were received by some in the fanbase, I cannot say that I’m surprised.

The old movies were poetic at best. There was a story there. It was a story about a young man growing up on a remote desert planet and eventually becoming a freedom fighter. That young man not only had to free the galaxy from the grip of a intergalactic tyrannical government but, he also had to free his father who was once a hero turned puppet of a dictator. Along the way, he found two droids on the run, learned of his heritage from an old hermit, made friends with a scoundrel and his furry co-pilot, learned more of his heritage from a wise creature, and discovered that a princess was his own flesh and blood.

To this day, that story, told in three films, still resonates with people. Several people have dissected it from college students working long hours on their dissertations to fans giving their own views on the films.  Fans like myself.

When I was 10-years old, I became a fan of Star Wars. My first Star Wars action figures were a Han Solo with Jabba the Hutt. An elementary school friend and I pretended to be Jedi Knights fighting the Empire. Me and my friends in my neighborhood would talk about Star Wars almost constantly. In terms of favorite characters, Luke Skywalker was cool but, Han Solo was (and still is) my favorite and Princess Leia was my childhood crush. R2-D2 and C-3PO were the droids that I wanted to have. I believed in having the Force. And yes, I did own a toy lightsaber I bought from Tomorrowland in Disneyland (this was before Disney acquired Star Wars).

As I got older, I collected Star Wars books (the Han Solo Trilogy written by A.C. Crispin, the Young Jedi Knights series written by Kevin J. Anderson, and the X-Wing series by Michael A. Stackpole were my favorite novels). I also played the video games like the Dark Forces series which centered around stormtrooper turned Jedi Knight Kyle Katarn and Shadows of the Empire that centered around Dash Rendar. Both the books and the games introduced me to the Expanded Universe and I was introduced to new characters like Grand Admiral Thrawn(An Imperial Admiral) , Corran Horn (X-Wing pilot turned Jedi), the Solo children. (Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin Solo who were originally Han and Leia’s children), and (another favorite character and Emperor’s Hand turned Jedi and later wife to Luke Skywalker) Mara Jade. The Expanded Universe also fleshed out more stories of characters like Lando Calrissian, Wedge Antilles, Chewbacca, and many more.  Star Wars was more than just a movie or a story about standing up to evil, it was a phenomenon. It was a part of my life and almost like a second religion.

But then along came the news Disney’s acquisition of the franchise.

As I write this, I think back when Disney purchased Star Wars for $4 million. I remembered reading an article that said that Disney was going to do away with the Expanded Universe. Okay, I thought. It can’t be too bad. At least Chewbacca will live again after getting killed at the beginning of the New Jedi Order. But when I saw what Disney was planning, it left a bad taste in my mouth. The Expanded Universe was not only no longer canon but the Disney brass was going to be making new stories and characters. Some from the characters or elements from the Expanded Universe may appear, others might not see the light of day. All those years of building an universe that was born from a man who grew up in Modesto, California was going to be warped.

No wonder George Lucas felt betrayed when he was told that his story was going to go a different direction. I can only tell you how I was feeling when I was heard that the House of Mouse was going to do away with a part of my childhood.

But one may wonder if Lucas saw this coming. After all, he did agree to sell the three stories he had ready for the new trilogy and he was made aware that Disney might not go through with his vision. And it wasn’t his first run in with studios wanting to claim his creation. Ever since the inception of  A New Hope, he wanted to own Star Wars as his own and he was successful. That was why he was able to have Star Wars on several platforms including 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. And it was with that that the more mediums were made including books, comic books, and video games.  When he decided to sell Star Wars, maybe Lucas thought that Disney would overlook the possibility of going the other direction honor his wishes.

But when Bob Iger, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, and film director J.J. Abrams revealed their plans for the new trilogy, Lucas probably felt the same way Obi-Wan Kenobi did when he found out that Anakin Skywalker betrayed the Jedi Order and became Darth Vader: Betrayed.

And this is not a new story. A matter of fact, this story has repeated itself in different incarnations. This story started in 1938. Two young boys from Ohio created a comic book about a young man who, like Luke Skywalker, was a farmboy who had to leave his simple life to grow up to be a hero and develop an archaic sense of justice. That hero would become Superman. Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster hadn’t the slightest clue about how much Superman would make. They sold the character to National Comics which would later become DC Comics for $150. However, they were not given the rights. Shuster and Siegel must have felt betrayed as Lucas did. However, DC eventually relented and decided to pay royalties to the families and heirs of Shuster and Seigel.

Another comic book creator by the name of Bill Finger went through a similar thing. In 1939,, a comic artist by the name of Bob Kane wanted to piggy back off the success of Superman so he decided to make a superhero name the Batman who was a blonde haired man that wore a red shirt and had black wings. That’s when Bill Finger came in. Finger helped Kane flesh out the Batman and also created an ensemble of flamboyant characters including Robin, Catwoman, Joker, Penguin and many others. Batman became a success but Bob Kane took all the credit while Bill Finger became destitute.  Years later, in a recording to a writer, Bob Kane (like Bob Iger) admitted that Bill Finger should have gotten credit for creating Batman. In addition, it took the efforts of Marc Tyler Nobleman and Bill Finger’s granddaughter to finally have DC Comics credit Finger for the creation of Batman.

At the very least, Lucas got $4 millon dollars when he sold Star Wars. That was more than what Shuster and Seigel got for Superman and definitely more money than Bill Finger was given. But just by his reaction, as recalled by Iger in his memoir The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Lucas could have given a damn about the money. Then again, that could be refuted by the late Carrie Fisher in this article.

But one thing everyone could agree to was that Lucas was just a man who wanted to make movies. Period. In a documentary, when asked why he makes movie, Lucas responded with a shrug:

“I make movies because I have to.”

With how Disney decided to market Star Wars, it is true what is said in the 1 Timothy 6:!0 in the Holy Bible: “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

Dave Ramsey once said that “money is amoral. It doesn’t have any guiding principles of its own. Having money or not having it doesn’t change who you already are. When you earn more money, it just makes you more of who you are.”

It can be argued that some studios or corporations crave money from someone’s idea. And in addition to that, they just allured to the idea of having more and more. They never take into account of the hours and sacrifices that creator made. Creators, the real ones, don’t care about the money. I mean, they should be given what they are deserved but its not about the money. Its about exercising what they were brought on this Earth to do.

I can only speak for myself. If all I ever wanted to do was make a crap load of money, well I might as well be a conartist and just hoard money. And that’s why I switched majors from Biological Sciences to Creative Writing. I originally wanted to be a doctor but only because it made a lot of money but I flunked out of Chemistry. Writing is my true passion. Being a creative weirdo is my true passion. I could care less how much I made as long as I was able to manage it and live while doing what I love.

I’m a Capitalist at heart. I am all for making a wage for the work done but only in the name of the spirit of Capitalism. Adam Smith argued that real wealth came from not hoarding gold but liberating people’s gifts. Smith believed that wealth came from people, not gold. George Lucas saw Star Wars as his work of art. Disney saw Star Wars as a cash cow. Lucas wanted to make more movies. Disney wanted to make money.

The backlash against Disney Star Wars has gotten so bad that even the prequel trilogy is getting some love. I enjoyed the prequel trilogy. It was not just a story about Anakin Skywalker and his path to eventually become Darth Vader. It was a story about corruption and how it can poison a government which can also poison the very people it was sworn to serve. It was about a war which both sides, Republic and Seperatists, had strings pulled by Darth Sidious who was also Chancellor (and later Emperor) Palpatine.  It was also a story that put to question the rigidness of the Jedi Order. If the old trilogy was about the fight against tyranny, the new trilogy was about the morality of political and religious institutions.

As for the new trilogy as created by Disney? It is not about any of that. Its just about a young woman who all the sudden knows how to wield a lightsaber and beats up an enraged young man who wants to be like his grandfather. Now don’t get me wrong, I like some of the characters in The Force Awakens. Rey is a very interesting character, almost like an enigma. Poe Dameron is like a Han Solo who already has morality and a sense of justice. Finn develops a sense of justice and becomes grows to be more heroic. Kylo Ren, is a guy who has a badass lightsaber and is a lot like Vader with all his limbs. But the story and the themes do not align. It’s not Star Wars.

But here are the things that are Star Wars.

Luke growing up and having to learn how to not only be a Jedi but a man. That’s Star Wars. Han Solo having to push aside his selfishness and pursue the things that really mattered in his life. That’s Star Wars. Princess Leia taking the fight to the Empire after it blew up her home and discovering the Luke was her brother and Vader her father. That’s Star Wars.

In my opinion, the only films that captured the essence of George Lucas’ story were Rogue One and Solo. Rogue One was good because it took place right before A New Hope and it told the story of how the Rebel Alliance came across the plans to destroy the Death Star thanks to Jyn Erso who wanted to fight the Empire for hurting her family. Solo was great because it told a story of a young Han Solo who wanted to leave the mean streets of Corellia with his girlfriend O’ira and be a pilot. That is Star Wars.

But, what did Rey want? Maybe she wanted to find out about her origins but they should have showed that in the beginning. In A New Hope, Luke had a thirst for adventure and wanted to know more about his father but Uncle Owen torpedoed those ideas. It would have been cool to see Rey trying to make sense of how she has these odd powers or why she is an enigma. Almost like: “Who am I? Am I meant somebody or just some other scavenger trying too survive?” We do see some of that in The Last Jedi but they would have planted those seeds in the first film. Keep in mind, that its just my opinion.

Going back to George Lucas and the controversy surrounded Bob Iger’s admission, I often told my sister that Kathleen Kennedy should have not had a hand on the creative side behind Star Wars. At best, she should have just done her job with running the operations or the day-to-day and let the directors and producers do their job. Maybe we’d have a different Star Wars with the same characters but better story telling. It would have been a Star Wars that was Star Wars. A story of discovery, learning, struggle, growing, and prevailing. Maybe that was what George Lucas wanted. At least that’s how I see it. But then again, I know that Disney sees this story differently from a their own galaxy that is far, far away.

 

 

 

 

 

Fun at Phoenix Fan Fusion

I hope that all of you are had an awesome Memorial Day weekend. I am grateful for all the sacrifices the brave men and women made to preserve our freedoms. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here and I can say that I probably would not be doing what I am doing right now: writing this blog.

Speaking of Memorial Day, the week before Memorial Day is always a favorite time for me because every year, I attend Phoenix Fan Fusion in Phoenix, AZ. Fan Fusion is Phoenix’s very own comic book and pop culture event and this year it was from May 23th to 26th. Like the San Diego Comic Con and like any convention, it has its vendors, panels, and guests. Two years straight, I only went to the event every Sunday however, I decided to go all four days and I have to say that it was uber fun.

On the very first day, I went to a writer’s workshop which involved science fiction. The workshop delved into how science fiction was not really far off from our reality. Certain topics discussed involved the physics behind Iron Man or the multiverse.

Next, I went to a panel called “So You Want To Know Comics?” This was a very interesting panel since it was hosted by two owners of Cab Comics in Flagstaff, AZ. In the panel, they talked about finding the hidden gems when reading various comic books. I have also learned about how some comics can be ordered trough the store using an app called Comicshub (might use it someday since there are several back issues I would like to order). We also talked about the revamped origin stories of superheroes as well as character development in comics. The biggest takeaway from that panel was the passion that comes with reading comics.

Day two of Fan Fusion got even more amazing and it took me back to my childhood. While standing in line to get an autograph from Amy Jo Johnson, Kimberly, the original Pink Power Ranger, I was once again six or seven years old and I realized that I had forgotten how much of a crush I had on her. She was and still is pretty to this day.  Amy Jo Johnson was really sweet and friendly especially when I told her that she was the one and the only Pink Power Ranger. Throughout that whole time, I was nervous but I pulled through and got the autograph.

Before that, I went to an awesome writer’s workshop that was hosted by Bryan Young, a freelance writer from Utah. Young has written for starwars.com and the Star Wars Insider magazine. This was a really awesome  panel for me because as an aspiring freelance writer, I had gotten a lot of awesome advice. Young had encouraged me to keep at my writing by hustling and forming relationships with editors, audiences, and fellow writers. I had also learned how to pitch ideas to editors in a professional manner.

On the third day of the event, it was just as amazing but it also was a day that really struck a cord. I say this because it was another day that took me back to my childhood since it involved Ray Park, the guy who played Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (I will write an additional article on this awesome experience). To cut the long story short, I went to go get his autograph and when I was next, we just had a conversation about Star Wars and the Solo movie. But then it somehow got to exercising. He told me that he had hit a slump after getting injured but decided to get back in shape and that ever since, it has helped him. I told him that I had some trouble accepting the fact that I’m thin and that people at my work made comments about my body. Park looked at me and told me that what people said about my body did not matter and that I looked like I was in good shape. Even a fellow fan commented that I looked great and not to take what people said about my body personally. That moment, I felt my self esteem and confidence skyrocket. Here was Darth Maul giving me a pep talk like Mikey Goldmill to Rocky Balboa. Park also gave me advice on how to exercise and that it was not about being buff. That was a really cool experience and one that I hope to tell my children and grandchildren about. 

On that same day, I purchased a hardcover copy of Batman vs Deathstoke graphic novel which was written by Christopher Priest. Priest was also at the event and had a little chat with him. He was hilariously talked about how he came about writing the story that involved a custody battle between Batman and Deathstroke over Damian Wayne. Priest was awesome to talk to and autographed my copy.

The next two days were devoted to going to more panels and going on a shopping haul. I bought eight funko pops, one of them being a Daryl Dixon (from Walking Dead) on his motorcycle bike. I also purchased a Walking Dead statue of Negan which I was surprised no one snagged.  I also bought a Star Wars Black Series action figure of Boba Fett and a Pikachu phone charged. Furthermore, I purchased the entire Marvel Zombies vs Army of Darkness comic series and Frank Millers Dark Knight Part Two.

I also connected with a comic shop in Glendale Az, called Drawn to Comics which has a cool podcast. I told them about the Podcast from Earth-2 which me and a group of friend collaborate on and they said that they would give it a listen. I hope to work with Drawn to Comics in the future or do something awesome involving our podcasts.

This year’s Phoenix Fan Fusion was really fun and I am looking forward to attending next year. Who knows how might come to the event or what panels would be scheduled. All I know is that I am looking forward to having another awesome experience like I did this year.

Are there any special or awesome moments you had at any of the comic or pop culture conventions you went to? Please feel free to leave a comment and don’t forget to hit the like button and subscribe if you like this article.  🙂

Review: Age of Rebellion: Han Solo – Running from the Rebellion

Writer: Greg Pak

Artist: Chris Sprouse

Inks: Karl Story

Color: Tamra Bonvillain

Han Solo has been my favorite Star Wars character since I was 10 years old. My first Star Wars action figure was a Han Solo with a Jabba the Hutt figure that my dad bought me. Right now, I have a Han Solo action figure  in Hoth gear sitting on my shelf at my office.  Years ago, my mom and sister bought me several Han Solo books for Christmas and I bought a Han Solo comic. And a year ago, I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story which I thought was a really cool film (unpopular opinion to some fans). Han Solo is basically in my Mount Rushmore of favorite superheroes next to Batman, Superman, Captain America, and Robin (Damian Wayne).  So, it is no surprise to myself that I bought the Han Solo Age of Rebellion comic. Because I am a fan and I wanted to see the Star Wars Universe through the eyes of our favorite smuggler once more. And in this issue of Age of Rebellion, we get just that.

The story starts of almost immediately after the Battle of Yavin where Han and Chewbacca are counting the money the 17,000 credits they have earned. Han tells Chewie that they could pay off Jabba and make much needed repairs to the Millennium Falcon.

Before any plans could be made, Han and Chewie’s plans are cut short when the farmboy turned Rebel Alliance hero Luke Skywalker asks Han for a favor to smuggle goods to a planet that the Rebel Alliance is using as an outpost. Han, as always, is reluctant but eventually goes along with the request after much convincing from Chewie.

During this time, Solo runs into a group of old smuggling friends after breaking up a fight between them and a group of Rebel soldiers. The smugglers poke fun at Solo for being a Rebel much to his ire.

However, Akko, Han’s old friend, offers to do a smuggling job to get some money on another planet. Han accepts but things go south when one of the smugglers inadvertently gets the attention of an Imperial patrol.

Fortunately, Han saves his friends from the Imperials by emptying his ship of everything including the supplies and money. Han and Akko’s group part on good terms and Han returns to the place where he dropped the Rebel supplies. Han thanks the planet’s locals for looking out for the supplies but they want Han’s credits in return which the smuggler reluctantly relinquishes. It is here we find out why Han was not able to pay back his debt to Jabba the Hutt. Han Solo AOR

At the end of the comic, Han delivers the supplies to the Rebels on the outpost planet. The Rebels thank Han and call him a hero. Despite Han reminding the Rebels that he is not one of them, they ask the Corellian yet for another favor. And as a result, Han takes on another job while verbally declaring that it would be the last time he does any favors for the Rebel Alliance.

Greg Pak does an awesome job of writing Han Solo as this reluctant member of the Rebel Alliance to Restore the Republic. I think a better term for Han Solo in this comic would be a Rebel-by-accident. After all, he was pulled into a fight against an evil Empire by a certain old hermit and a blonde haired farmboy. I also liked how Pak brilliantly writes Han hilariously denying that he is a Rebel to Rebels and smugglers alike. I feel that Pak took shades of both the Harrison Ford and Alden Eherenreich versions of Han Solo as he wrote this issue. We see the far more cynical Han Solo portrayed by Harrison Ford when he argues with Chewie and denies his Rebel affiliation. But we also see Alden Ehrenreich’s Solo when Han retrieves the Rebel supplies and willingly delivers them to the Rebels. The scene where Solo meets the Rebels on Calumdarian, the outpost planet, reminded me of the scene where young Han gives the coaxium to Enfys Nest. In both scenes, Han is seen as having a heart despite his gruff and cynical exterior.

I also thought the art and coloring done by Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, and Tamra Bonvillain was great. They drew Han Solo exactly like he was in A New Hope along with the rest of the characters. The colors done by Sprouse gave this story a Western feel with almost all the scenes having a sunset or dusk setting. The shade tells me that something shrewd is about to go down and knowing Han Solo, he is all about being shrewd. We even see this in the ending scene with the relieved Rebels. Han just goes back to what he has always been doing: smuggling while being a reluctant Rebel as he flies the Falcon though the crimson and dusky skies of Calumdarian.

Having said all of this, the only thing I would have liked to see in this comic was Han’s interaction with Princess Leia. Whenever Han and Leia argue, there is always bound to be fireworks or at least shots fired. Leia was only referenced by Han as asking him for a favor for a job. I felt that Leia would have been likely the one to grab Han’s ear to get him to do a job for the Rebellion rather than just Luke alone because, even if Han didn’t want to admit it, Leia was one of the reasons why he stayed with the Rebellion. Luke was a reason but it was that princess from Alderaan that slowly made Han forget about paying Jabba for the moment and help the Rebels anyway he could.

Or another suggestion would have been to have almost all the characters from Leia to C-3PO or General Jan Dodonna asking Han for favors much to the annoyance of our friendly neighborhood smuggler. That would have made this comic even more awesome and would have exposed Han’s true character through his gruff exterior.

Otherwise, I enjoyed this story. Even if you’re not a Han Solo fan, you cannot help but see how Han starts to grow from cynical smuggler to hero of the Rebel Alliance. Any you know…it’s Han Solo.

 

Rating: 4.3/5

Life Is Like the Kessel Run

solo-chewbacca-lando-beckett-qira-han-falcon-cockpit
Photo Credit: Disney & Lucasfilm Ltd.

As I sit down and write this, I began looking back at the good times and the bad times in my almost 32-years of existence. I have come to realize that I am not perfect nor invincible. I am neither almighty or immortal. I’m an proud idiot who loves comic books and science fiction, and pro-wrestling. I enjoy writing, blogging or podcasting about those genres. And you know what? I’m damn proud of it. You read that right. And it if wasn’t for my admiration for those things, I don’t think I would piece together how the the world works.

When it comes to my life and all of what I just mentioned above, I think of the Kessel Run. I write this because when I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story, I was once again that 10-year old boy who wanted to be Han Solo. I didn’t want to be Luke Skywalker. I wanted to be Han Solo. I wanted to have the Millennium Falcon as my own ship. I wanted Princess Leia to be my girlfriend. I wanted to be a general of the Rebel Alliance. Hell, I wanted to be frozen in carbonite. I wanted to tell people at the right damn moment to ‘never to me the odds.’ Say what you want but, that movie brought those desires back.

When I saw that scene of Han flying the Falcon right into the an uncharted path in the Kessel Run with TIE Fighters chasing him. There was debris that could have gotten Han and his friends killed. Or even worse. The Falcon could have been blown up in a giant ball of Coaxium. But with faith in himself and his pilot abilities, Solo beat the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. It wasn’t like the Corellian woke up one morning with a huge smile on his face and walked up to Chewbacca and said: “Ya know Chewie, I’m going to beat the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.” No, this was just the icing on the cake. Han wanted he and his friends to survive and live.

The point I’m making is that in my life, I have had to go in sometimes through an uncharted path even if I had a guide (Han had Lando’s droid L3 , albeit, she hated his guts). My Kessel Run like the one in Solo has been full of debris. One of them finding out about my diagnosis of Aspergers at age 17 and Von Hippel Lindau Syndrome nine years later at age 25. Such debris had bruise and battered me just like the debris in the Kessel Run nearly wrecked the Falcon. And yes, such debris probably would have killed me.

But even though I was terrified, I got through it. I knew Han was terrified despite knowing he was an amazing and phenomenal pilot. He didn’t want to die but he knew that he didn’t get out, the Imperial were going to blow him and his friends sky high.

I feel that we all have to run our own Kessel Run. I do it everyday when I go to work. The debris could come in the form of a customer yelling at me or a write up from a supervisor. I go through the Kessel Run when it comes doing my podcasts. The debris could come from a trolling listener who always has something to say. I go through the Kessel Run when I am dealing with VHL. A debris could come in the form of a surgery (granted my surgeon at Mayo Clinic sometimes reminds me of Wedge Antilles). I go through the Kessel Run when freelance writing. The debris could be in the form of a reader pointing out that I misquoted someone or said an unsubstantiated fact. The Kessel Run is everyday. It is in all of us.

Now as I write this, I think of WWE Superstar Joe “Roman Reigns” Anoa’i. He definitely had to fly through his Kessel Run and a debris came in the form of Leukemia. When I heard the news that his Leukemia had returned…I felt shocked and sadness. How could this bigger than life wrestler go through such a thing? Well…I don’t know the answer to that question. All I do know is that he is human. And this guy has been through so much debris in his Kessel Run. The fans booed him out of the building despite him being the good guy and going out to the WWE ring with a smile on his face. And he prevailed. But he is not finished with his run yet.

I even think of Alden Ehrenreich when many of the fans trashed him for being in Solo. He had to go through his Kessel Run when he ran into debris in the form of the many fans giving him flak and the rumors said that he needed an acting coach. For what it was worth, he did a damn good job as Han Solo and was his very own Han Solo. Even Harrison Ford said that he should be his own Han Solo. And he did it with a smile on his face and Solo actually was liked by some fans. It was a true Star Wars movie and most certainly better than The Last Jedi.

I could name a couple more examples of many people (real and fictional) who went/are going through the Kessel Runs of their lives: My grandparents, my parents, my siblings, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my nephews, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, AJ Styles, Becky Lynch, Rick Grimes, George Washington, Dave Ramsey, Rachel Cruz, Daryl Dixon, Maggie Rhee, Glenn Rhee, Michonne, Joseph Pulitzer, Chris Jericho, Harriet Tubman, John F. Kennedy, Jackie Robinson, Clark “Superman” Kent, Steve “Captain America” Rogers, Bruce “Batman” Wayne, Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon, Barry “The Flash” Allen, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson…I can name many. We all are going through a Kessel Run. Rich or poor. Man or woman. Republican or Democrat. Black, white, yellow, brown, green, red, blue. The Kessel Run does not discriminate. You will go through it just like Han did, I promise you but, it will be fun and worth it as long as you have faith in yourself. And it would be scary but it would be fun.

In conclusion…I just wanted to thank Han Solo (Harrison Ford and Alden Ehrenreich) for helping me make sense of my life. If it wasn’t for Han Solo, I feel like I wouldn’t get some part of my life. In some sense…I feel like Han Solo an influence on my life much like Zorro was to Batman.

Superman made me believe that a man could fly. Batman made me believe that a man could fight through tragedy. Han Solo made me believe that a man can overcome the odds as long as he told the doubters to: “Never tell me the odds!”

My final message to you people: never let anyone tell you the odds, no matter the debris in your life called the Kessel Run.