Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Opinion: 7, 8, 9

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By: Dominic Jones

7, 8, 9. Seven, eight, nine. VII, VIII, IX. No matter how you put it, that is something I never thought we’d get to see on the big screen. Oh I wanted to believe. I hoped every time George Lucas was somewhere he’d announced these movies. Every Celebration, every interview, heck I even hoped TMZ might get it out of him, but nothing. And then it happened. There was no build up, there was no hype about a big announcement, it just happened. It’s one of those things I’ll always remember where I was when I saw those magical words: “STAR WARS: EPISODE 7 feature film targeted for release in 2015.” I have been on cloud 9 ever since. But, as with all good news there are many questions to be asked, and I intend to take a look at some of the major question marks surrounding Episode VII.

Wait, what?? I thought this was never going to happen!

That’s what we all thought. While there were signs, in the form of Kathleen Kennedy taking over Lucasfilm, as well as some cryptic comments from the like of Dave Filoni and Steve Sansweet during Star Wars Celebration VI. But no one dared to believe. And then it happened. Lucasfilm was sold to Disney and we are now on the cusp of more Star Wars then ever before with Disney planning to release a new film every 2-3 years beginning with Episode VII in 2015.

Why Disney?

Of all the corporations to be sold to Disney is by far the best choice. They are a group of people dedicated to allowing creative people to tell a story. And they’ve proven that they let these companies they buy do there own thing. Look at Marvel. When making The Avengers, who did director Joss Whedon answer to? Not Disney CEO Bob Iger or some other high up at Disney, he answered to Producer and President of Production at Marvel, Kevin Feige. And who did Feige answer to, well to the fans and the creative teams really, I mean when have we ever heard Feige mention that a higher up at Disney was giving him commands? I doubt the process will be any different with Lucasfilm. Whoever’s directing (more on that later) will answer to Kathleen Kennedy, the new head of Lucasfilm, and the only person likely to have any creative control above her is George Lucas, himself. Plus, Lucasfilm and Disney have had long relationship together through things such as Star Tours, and events such as Disney’s Star Wars Weekends and Disney has always done a magnificent job with Star Wars. On top of that, George Lucas himself is a fan of all things Disney. While there are legitimate concerns about one corporation owning so many entities (Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, Indiana Jones, all the original Disney works), Disney is the best choice for Star Wars.

Who to direct?

Right away several names jump to mind. Choices range from Joss Whedon to Steven Spielberg to Joe Johnston to just about anyone else. Spielberg is the natural choice to direct. As a close friend of Lucas’ he may have a better sense then most as to what makes a Star Wars film. Plus Lucas has wanted to him to direct a Star Wars film going back to Return of the Jedi, not to mention his close ties with Kathleen Kennedy. If it’s not going to be Spielberg, the next obvious choice, I believe anyways, is Joe Johnston. Johnston has a long history with Star Wars, going back to The Empire Strikes Back, (he even designed Boba Fett!) and was recently on record saying he wanted to direct a Boba Fett spin off film. Another reason Johnston is a prime candidate is his recent success directing Captain America: The First Avenger, a Marvel (meaning Disney) property. Other possible names include Chris Nolan, and J.J. Abrams, both of whom were heavily inspired by Star Wars. The only problem with Abrams is he is very involved in the new Star Trek films. While I doubt this will stop Lucasfilm from pursuing him, his schedule just may not allow it. Another name that is likely to be thrown around is that of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Supervising Director Dave Filoni, who has spent the last four years learning directly from Lucas. While there are few who understand Star Wars and its characters better, it seems unlikely that he will direct a live action film seeing as his back ground, and all his work, is in animation. Lastly, it is inevitable that there is going to be a push from the geek community to have Joss Whedon, who recently had much success with Marvel (Disney)’s The Avengers. Personally I have mixed feeling on Whedon. Some of his stuff is great (The Avengers, Dr. Horrible) while others, I could live without. However this situation would be similar to The Avengers in that Whedon would be on a short leash in terms of what he can do story wise. On the Avengers he had to get everything approved by Feige and co. and should he direct a Star Wars film he would have to get everything approved by Kennedy/Lucas and co. We likely won’t see a Whedon who is free to kill whoever he wants and do whatever he pleases. We’ve seen him thrive with his most successful project to date, while working under conditions similar to those he would face on a Star Wars film. Ultimately though, I feel Whedon is too tied up with Marvel projects (Avengers 2, S.H.I.E.L.D., and overseeing “Phase 2”) to go direct a Star Wars film. Although an exception can always be made…

Who to write?

As for writers, I can’t honestly think of anyone in particular I’d like to see write the film. Whoever is will be working from story treatments working by Lucas, so rest assured you feel Lucas’ hand in the story. But as for anyone specifically, who knows. We can jump to some big name writers right now such as David Goyer and Johnathan Nolan. Both would make an excellent script, I have no doubt, but are they the right choice? Again we can look at Joss Whedon, but ultimately I think an exception can only go so far and Whedon wouldn’t be able to write and direct a Star Wars film while keeping his commitment to Marvel. Another option I feel would be to go back to Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote Empire and wrote Jedi, as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark. Kasdan knows what it takes to work on a Star Wars film and has enough history with the franchise that it just might work.
 
The Cast?

Star Wars has a history for casting unknowns in the lead roles and casting experienced, well known actors in supporting roles. Hopefully this tradition continues and we don’t see Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise starring in a Star Wars film anytime soon. Now as for Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, I feel they must return, but should not be asked to carry the film. They should be there, but in supporting roles possibly just cameos. At the very least, Mark Hamill must return, since we can assume that the films will feature a new Jedi Order and Luke Skywalker should be at the head. Hopefully we’ll see other classic actors such as Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels return as well.

The Story? 

Expect it to be like nothing you ever expected! Who ever thought, after seeing Star Wars for the first time, that Darth Vader was Luke’s father, that Luke and Leia were brother and sister? Whoever thought that Darth Vader started out as a kind hearted child, or that the clone wars were so political? Suffice to say, the story won’t be like anything we ever expected.

What about the EU?

Well, it’s been fun, and that’s all that matters right? I feel Dark Horse and Del Rey now have roughly three years to wrap up the post-Jedi EU, and prepare to move forward with the new continuity of the films. I’m sorry but, there is no way on Earth that Episode VII is going to be an adaptation of Heir to Empire, Dark Empire, The New Jedi Order, or any of the EU we’ve seen so far. I’m not saying those are bad stories or that we have to throw out the entire Expanded universe! We can even keep every thing that happens pre-Jedi, heck maybe even a little post-Jedi, things like Truce at Bakura which takes place almost immediately after the battle of Endor. But the majority of it will have to go. Ultimately the publishers and fans are just going to have to deal with it. So, fans, enjoy the stories and don’t let their canonicity colour your appreciation of them. And publishers, start pushing towards a natural stopping point (let there be a lasting peace, for once) because in 2015 it all changes and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The Music? The 20th Century Fox theme? A long time ago, in galaxy far, far away?

While there’s no official confirmation that A Long Time Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away will be included, imagine the uproar if it wasn’t there! As for the music, there is a strong chance that Williams, knowing Williams love for Star Wars and his history with the series, will return. However, the day will come when we will have to face a Star Wars film without John Williams as the composer, though his themes and influence will always be there. When it comes to the 20th Century Fox theme however, we just have to face the music. It most likely won’t be there. It’s sad to think, but it’s the truth. Either that, or Disney had better get their act together and purchase the rights to that music or 20th Century Fox in its entirety! They are Disney after all….
What does this all mean?
It means, we as fans are in for a fun three years of anticipation. It may seem like forever but 2015 will be here before you know it! Plus we have the 3D re-releases as well as The Clone Wars and Detours to keep us entertained. Plus who knows when the first footage might show up. Hopefully we’ll get our first look at Celebration Europe next July (or possibly even sooner at Disney Star Wars Weekends in May), then probably some more at D23 and then who knows when that trailer will hit and what movie we’ll all go see just to get our first glimpse at new Star Wars on the big screen. I think the one thing that’s safe to say is that we fans are in for one heck of a ride! 2015 here we come!




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The SWU Podcast Roundtable | Disney Acquires Lucasfilm

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In this special SWU Podcast roundtable, Chris, Trey, Dan, and Josh discuss breaking news concerting Disney acquiring Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise. » Right click here and select save link as to Download MP3.
» Read more about the story here.
 




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Disney Acquires Lucasfilm for $4 Billion

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By Chris Seekell

Earlier this year, George Lucas "retired" from the day to day business duties of Lucasfilm and Star Wars filmmaking and Hollywood producer Kathleen Kennedy took on the role of co-chair of Lucasfilm. It has now been announced that Lucas has taken the next step in moving Lucasfilm forward by selling the company to Walt Disney Pictures for a reported $4 billion. Kathleen Kennedy has been promoted to President of the company and Lucas will remain involved as a creative consultant.

We had been hearing from inside sources this summer that Kennedy has been planning to produce a new Star Wars film, and with this purchase, it has been announced that Disney plans to release a film by 2015.

You can listen to a conference call discussing the acquisition here.


Here is the full press release:

DISNEY TO ACQUIRE LUCASFILM LTD.
Global leader in high-quality family entertainment agrees to acquire world-renowned Lucasfilm Ltd, including legendary STAR WARS franchise.
Acquisition continues Disney's strategic focus on creating and monetizing the world's best branded content, innovative technology and global growth to drive long-term shareholder value.
Lucasfilm to join company's global portfolio of world class brands including Disney, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel and ABC.

STAR WARS: EPISODE 7 feature film targeted for release in 2015.

Burbank, CA and San Francisco, CA, October 30, 2012 – Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

"Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas," said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney's unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value."

"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney's reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products."
Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and "evergreen" Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney's global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.

Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm's legendary Star Wars franchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks. Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world's top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney's strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.

The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney's very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the company's unique ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multiplatform distribution on a truly global basis to create maximum value. Adding Lucasfilm to Disney's portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the company's ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the world's highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.

About The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, interactive media, and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 company with revenues of over $40 billion in its Fiscal Year 2011.

About Lucasfilm Ltd. Founded by George Lucas in 1971, Lucasfilm is a privately held, fully-integrated entertainment company. In addition to its motion-picture and television production operations, the company's global activities include Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, serving the digital needs of the entertainment industry for visual-effects and audio post-production; LucasArts, a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software worldwide; Lucas Licensing, which manages the global merchandising activities for Lucasfilm's entertainment properties; Lucasfilm Animation; and Lucas Online creates Internet-based content for Lucasfilm's entertainment properties and businesses. Additionally, Lucasfilm Singapore, produces digital animated content for film and television, as well as visual effects for feature films and multi-platform games. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in San Francisco, California.




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The beginning of the end? Or the end of the beginning?

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By: David Gremillion

Chewie with mouse ears? Tinkerbell with a lightsaber? Leia as the new Disney princess? The Millennium Falcon soaring through the Asteroid Field saying "KA-CHOW"?

Brace yourselves fans, Disney has bought Lucasfilm lock, stock and barrel for the bargain price of $4.05 billion. This decision should hardly surprise anyone at all. Disney and Lucasfilm have been incredibly close over the last few years. "The Maker" himself was at Disney in 2011. The Star Wars Weekend has always been a highlight of Walt Disney World. Pixar was originally a spawn of Industrial Light and Magic, a Lucasfilm child. I have no problem with Disney planting their mouse ears over Jabba.

Then someone dropped a thermal detonator in my lap. Disney wants to make Episodes VII, VIII, and IX? They had better keep wishing on a star. A series of sequels would be a wretched idea for several reasons. First, the circle is finally complete. We have two trilogies with two endings. Anakin became Vader, Vader redeemed himself, we had closure. A new trilogy would take away focus from the Skywalker family entirely.

Second, what story would Disney go with? The Thrawn series? Truce at Bakura? Jump ahead to the Yuuzhan Vong war? The possibilities are beyond endless. Worse still, anything they do will have fanboys (and girls) howling across cyberspace. "How can they do ______ and not do ______?" will be the new battle-cry.

Finally, Star Wars sequels would be difficult to do with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher at their current age. Unless...Pixar gets involved. Computer generated movies with them as voice actors might work, but would audiences buy it? Can we have six movies with our beloved trio only to have them replaced by figures that belong in The Incredibles?

The best way that 2015 might not be a Geek Apocalypse would be for Disney to bring us something we have never seen before. Disney could bring us a side of Star Wars we've whispered about, seen comic books about, and played video games about. The mighty Disney empire might bring us something truly unique. This can be the beginning of the end for Star Wars...or it might be the end of the beginning when Disney presents us with:

Star Wars: The Old Republic trilogy.

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization.



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Monday, October 29, 2012

The SWU Podcast Episode 57 | 10/29/2012

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In this episode of the SWU Podcast, Dominic, Chris, Jordan and Dan discuss the latest Clone Wars episode, Tipping Points, and read this week's Star Wars Headlines. Listen for lots of speculation about future arcs and a debate about clones.



» Right click here and select save link as to Download MP3.

» Dan's Youtube Channel





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George Shot First: Lucas Answers the Critics

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By: Chris Perry 

With Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D now in theaters, a collective uproar has once again been stirred up on the interwebs. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, George Lucas addressed a few of the grievances aired by disgruntled Star Wars fans. Personally, I think too much is made of minor issues, such as the age-old complaint, “Han shot first!” but it seems to be one of those silly qualms that won’t go away. With regard to that Lucas explains, “what I did was try to clean up the confusion but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.” 

When the Blu-ray versions of all six films were released late last year, another non-issue became internet fodder as fans decried the replacement of the Yoda puppet in The Phantom Menace with the CGI version. When asked about this George replied, “We tried to do Yoda in CGI in Episode I, but we just couldn’t get it done in time. We couldn’t get the technology to work, so we had to use the puppet, but the puppet really wasn’t as good as the CGI. So when we did the reissue, we had to put the CGI back in, which was what it was meant to be.” It escapes me how anyone could have a problem with this change, especially after watching the lightsaber duel between Yoda and Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones. The first thing I said to a friend after that experience was, “I hope George fixes Yoda in Episode I. That puppet looked like an under ripened fig.” 

I have said it before and I will say it again now – no matter what George Lucas does he cannot win. There are people in the world who will never be satisfied, even when the changes made to these films make them better. Lucas’ explanations for why he retroactively alters his work usually make perfect sense (I do have an issue with Hayden Christensen at the end of Jedi but will just leave it at that.) and, let’s face it; these movies are his babies, which wouldn’t exist without him, and he can do with them what he pleases. Don’t like what he does? Then don’t watch them. And how about using some of the energy it takes to bemoan good, ol’ George and directing it at the film studios that churn out one awful movie after another? Sounds like a plan to me. 

In the end, I am ecstatic that Star Wars still has legs and can’t wait for the first three episodes (IV, V and VI) to be released in 3D. There is nothing like seeing these films on the big screen, which none of us get the opportunity to do very often. Will they cure all of our ills? Of course not, but they are a means of escape from everyday life and that is a valuable commodity. In the words of George Lucas, “Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie.” I would argue that Star Wars is more than that but you get the point…



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Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Clone Wars Season 5 Episode Order Shuffled Again

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By: Dominic Jones
 
The air dates for episodes season 5 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars have already changed once, with the episode Revival being moved up to be the season premiere, pushing back the start of the Onderon Rebels arc by one week. Now it seems there has been another change. In a preview of the next issue of Star Wars Insider on the Star Wars Blog, Pablo Hidalgo revealed that the arc that follows Onderon (which wraps up this weekend with Tipping Points) will be the Young Jedi arc, and not the return of Rush Clovis arc (which, along with all subsequent episodes, has been pushed back four weeks to make room for Young Jedi).

The episodes in the Young Jedi arc are The Gathering, A Test of Strength, Bound for Rescue and A Necessary Bond and will feature Master Yoda and Ahsoka Tano leading a group of Jedi Younglings on a mission.

Check out our first look at The Gathering here.




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Monday, October 22, 2012

The SWU Podcast Episode 56 | 10/22/2012

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In this episode of the SWU Podcast, Dominic, Chris, and Mike discuss the latest Clone Wars episode, The Soft War, and read this week's Star Wars Headlines. You might want to take a "bite" out of this one.



» Right click here and select save link as to Download MP3.

» Mike's Youtube Channel





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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Your Guide to SWTOR: Choosing a Server

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By Trey Atwood

With free-to-play coming soon to The Old Republic, a lot of people are interested in playing, but don’t know where to start. This article is part one of a series on introducing new players to the galaxy of The Old Republic.

The first thing you’ll choose when you log in is which server to play on. With new higher-population consolidated servers, the amount of play servers has gone from dozens to just eight in North America: one of each of the four different server types for the EST and PST time zones. This was one of the steps taken by Bioware to simplify things for free-to-play; it’ll be a lot easier to find your friends now that there are fewer servers in the list. Depending on your style of playing, how familiar you are with MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games), as well as the type of player environment you want to be in, it’s something you should consider before double clicking.

PVE Servers

This server type means “Player versus Environment,” for most players this will generally be the default that beginners want to try out if they’re interested in more game-centered play, rather than having complete focus on either player combat or the storytelling aspect. PVE servers put emphasis on the community against the world and the cooperative play between players to take down AI enemies and obstacles and even then it’s still a completely viable option to go through the vast majority of the game by yourself if that’s your preference.

PVP Servers

For people new to MMOs: PVP means “Player versus player.” A lot of people new to online gaming get intimidated by the thought of facing other players, but by the time you actually see enemy players you should be prepared for it (in most cases you’ll be level 20 before you even see a player from the other faction). However people should be aware that PVP servers house the most competitive players you’ll find in the game, which can lead to an unfriendly atmosphere.

What are the playing differences on a PVP server? Being on a PVP server means that players on your enemy’s faction will be able to fight you on sight in contested areas regardless of: your level (whether higher or lower), your awareness of them, your character type (healers should use the buddy system), or how well your character is geared. There is also a type of RP server for PVPers for those interested in the hybrid of player storytelling and combat.

Just to alleviate some possible fears about jumping into a PVP server though: you lose nothing significant by dying because of other players, the only bad thing that will happen when you die is that you’ll have to repair your armor and items when you become conscious again (this can be done at any of the game’s vendors by clicking the repair button in their shop menu). Your standing in the game is unaffected by being beaten and you lose no items, experience, or stats. The only thing that should be hurting after a loss in open world PVP is your pride.

RP-PVE Servers

Personally, this is my favorite kind of server. RP stands for “roleplay,” but by no means is that a requirement; people talk normally (out of character) in the game’s main chat and are generally a more serious type of player. RP server players are usually more focused on the storylines of the game as well as the stories of their custom characters as opposed to game mechanics, so newer players as well as people who just want a low-pressure environment may find themselves most suited to an RP server.

If you’re interested in roleplaying characters it’d be a good idea to look for an RP guild, which will usually have a more organized way to start as well as a central plot, for more short term encounters most people just begin by introducing themselves in cantinas. The lack of emphasis on PVP also cuts down on the competitive atmosphere if you’re worried about it; if you think of the PVP servers as the major leagues, this is the server type where at the end of the match you can usually get a “GG” from the other team and kudos for at least trying.

Ultimately you'll play the same game no matter which server type you choose, but the experience can differ vastly between the types. Whichever your preference, there's sure to be a server type for you in The Old Republic.




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"Star Wars Storyboards - The Prequels" Announced

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By: Dominic Jones

Star Wars author Jonathan Rinzler announced on the Star Wars Blog that he will be writing a new book titled Star Wars Storyboards - The Prequels. As the title suggest the book will be centered around the work that went into story-boarding the Star Wars prequels, despite the fact that a majority of the pre-production work on the prequels was done through animatics. The book will be in a similar vain to Rinzler's previous "The Making Of" books and will feature a foreword by prequel concept artist Ian McCaig. The book is slated for a release in Spring 2013. You can read all about how Rinzler came up with the concept of the book in his latest post on the Star Wars Blog.




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First Look at "Young Jedi" Arc

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By: Dominic Jones

If you attended Celebration VI and had your own youngling with you, then maybe you got to see the special presentation of the Young Jedi arc of episodes from this season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Now, the Cartoon Network blog is giving us our first look at the first episode from the arc The Gathering. The episode will feature Yoda and Ahsoka leading a group of Jedi younglings (one Wookiee, one Ithorian, one Nautolan and one Rodian) on a mission to the planet Ilum where they construct their lightsabers. There are rumors that spun out of the screening at CVI, that these episodes could act as a back door pilot to a new younger skewing series (so don't expect these episodes to be as "dark" as episodes such as Revenge or Revival). Check out the preview images from the episode below:






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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Opinion: All Good Things...

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By: David Gremillion
 
How Might it All End?

There is a topic that is lying just under the surface of the internet. Something lurking just beneath the posts and tweets. Something in the "underworld" of all our minds. Let's have a little chat about the Clone Wars, shall we?

Now I do not work for Lucasfilm, Lucasarts, or Lucasbooks (although I am always open to offers!). I do not have Dave Filoni's number on speed-dial, although I did see him without his famous hat. All I have is my experience, my wits, and my trusty magic 8-ball. Hey, it told me that Anakin was going to turn to the dark side, who saw that coming?

For any television series to reach one hundred episodes is a significant milestone. It is considered a true benchmark of success. The Clone Wars will hit the century mark in this season with an episode called "Point Of No Return".

What else happens with one hundred episodes? People start wondering when (and how) the series will end. If I dare quote Spock from Star Trek: "It is a reminder to me, that all things end." Everything comes to an end, but how and when?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, West Wing, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, they all lasted exactly seven seasons. Harry Potter ended up with seven books. The magic number for the Clone Wars just might be "seven". They were able to inject some life into the series by bringing back Darth Maul, but how much farther can the writers go?

Assuming this series doesn't assume a South Park (16 seasons) or Simpsons (23 seasons) type of run, I can see the Clone Wars lasting only seven seasons. The final episode airs, a record three million fans tune in...only to see no resolution at all. Dave Filoni ends the series on a giant cliffhanger.
What's next? How might it all end? Imagine, the announcement comes at a Star Wars Celebration that the Fantastic Filoni will unleash The Clone Wars Movie II. This movie will wrap up the series, throw a lovely bow on it, and (most importantly) allow the fans to shell out more money.

The first movie scored a box office hit of over $68 million. After years of the series attracting fans, it is not unrealistic to expect a second movie to fetch over $100 million. Then, of course, comes the DVD and Blu-Ray sales, which would add to the legacy. The movie might answer a large number of questions including the fate of Ventress and Ahsoka Tano. The two movies would be a "book-end" for the series that will probably sit on our shelves someday.

How might it all end? My magic-8 ball might be on the fritz (again), but admit it, we would all want to see another Clone Wars movie. One that redeems the first movie and doesn't leave a sour taste in our mouths.

One that makes us beg for more.

Check out Dave's Facebook page at: Facebook.com/DaveGremillion

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization.



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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rare 'Empire' Making Of Documentary Surfaces

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By: Benjamin Hart

Simply watching the films is merely the tip of the Ice berg when it comes to enjoying the Star Wars Saga. One of my favorites is delving into what goes on behind the scenes of these beloved films through various documentaries and clips. Rarely do I find something that I haven't seen already, especially from the Original Trilogy.. Until today. So as the story goes, during the production of The Empire Strikes Back, Michel Parbot was tasked with filming a documentary about the making of the film. But it was never officially finished and another documentary took it's place for subsequent releases. Some of Parbot's film ended up being aired on Dutch TV where it was recorded and then uploaded to YouTube in 2008. There they sat 4 years with less than 1,000 views a piece. Yesterday, Open Culture brought it to the forefront and it's been going viral ever since. The videos feature interviews with Irvin Kershner, Gary Kurtz, Stewart Freeborn and others. Unfortunately the footage is blurry and grainy at times, and the first 50 seconds are in dutch, but it's well worth watching.

Check it out below!
Part 1
 
Part 2
 
Update: Jamie Benning, creator of the Star Wars Begins & Building Empire "Filmumentaries", contacted us via Twitter with another version of the film he acquired from StarWarsArchives.Com. This one features even more footage, including interviews with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford & Carre Fisher (in costume I might add) all in great quality:

Michel Parbot "Lost" Documentary - The Making of The Empire Strikes Back - Incomplete from Jamie Benning on Vimeo.



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Monday, October 15, 2012

The SWU Podcast Episode 55 | 10/15/2012

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In this episode of the SWU Podcast, we interview actress Bonnie Piesse who played young Beru, read this week's news, and discuss the latest Clone Wars episode, Front Runners, with Josh and Gina from SWAG77.



» Right click here and select save link as to Download MP3.

» Bonnie's Website

» Bonnie's Facebook Page

» SWAG77





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Friday, October 12, 2012

NYCC: Del Rey Announcements

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By: Dominic Jones
 
It's New York Comic Con time and as usual the Star Wars Expanded Universe has a huge presence there. Del Rey Books, who published the Star Wars EU novels hosted a panel this afternoon where the announced several new projects. First it was announced that the third novel in the stand alone series called "Rebels" will feature Han Solo and will be written by James S. A. Corey. The first two novels in this series were announced at Celebration VI in august and will feature Leia and Luke respectively and will be written by Martha Wells and Kevin Hearns respectively. The other major announcement was that John Jackson Miller, author of the Lost Tribe of the Sith ebooks and Knight Errant novel (as well as numerous Star Wars comics including Knights of the Old Republic and Knight Errant) will be writing a new novel tentatively titled Kenobi, which will be set after the events of Episode III. No word on the Matt Stover/Republic Commando rumor.

In other Del Rey Star Wars news, the official Star Wars Books Facebook page posted the updated cover art to Troy Denning's upcoming, post-Fate of the Jedi, novel Star Wars: Crucible. Check it out below:

Photos courtesy of Star Wars Books Facebook page



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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Clone Wars Review: Episode 5.02 “A War on Two Fronts”

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By Chris Seekell 

This review is different than my previous ones. Usually I write them after only seeing the episode once, and before I discuss it in detail with other people and read other reviews. That way it is purely my own thoughts and initial reaction. However this weekend I didn’t get to writing right away, and I have seen the episode a few times, read some reviews, and even been on a couple podcasts discussing the episode before writing this. So this review is not only my thoughts on “A War on Two Fronts”, but my response to things I have heard other people say as well.

After watching the episode a few times, the highlight for me is the animation. Onderon was animated masterfully. I really enjoyed the initial sequence of the Jedi and Rex landing on the planet and walking through the jungle. The detailed vegetation sitting in a moderate fog beneath a starry sky was a fantastic environment. The ruins that the Rebels inhabited was also animated well, and the capital city Iziz was impressive. It was great to see full-flowing robes on the Jedi characters.

Getting to the plot of “A War on Two Fronts”, there was a lot of confusion surrounding the politics of the situation. A question that many people including myself had, was if Onderon has just succeeded to the CIS, why was it represented in the Separatist Senate a few seasons ago by Mina Bonteri? After paying close attention to the information in the episode, I believe this is not an issue. It was stated that the “King” of Onderon decided to align the planet with the CIS at the outbreak of the war. So this planet has been under Separatist control for at least two years. Because Onderon politically aligned with the CIS, instead of being conquered by the droid army, it was given representation in the Senate. 

As a senator, Mina Bonteri attempted to negotiate peacefully with the Republic, however her attempts at brokering a treaty with the help of Padme Amidala were thwarted by a terror attack on Coruscant that made the Republic Senate unwilling to cooperate. This clearly illustrates that while the Separatist Senate may have administrative jurisdiction over their member planets, the military is controlled by Count Dooku, who has complete power to authorize attacks without notifying his Senate. 

This is the climate that existed when Lux Bonteri enters the story. After his mother was killed by what we can assume to be Separatist agents masquerading as Republic forces, to silence any further attempts at peaceful negotiation, he spun out of control and joined the Death Watch. However after witnessing the group destroy a peaceful village, he fled back to his homeworld of Onderon. This is where a change happens in his character that is difficult to understand. Why didn’t Lux follow in his mother’s footsteps and enter the political scene? 

For some reason he decided that Onderon should not be part of the CIS, and joined a group of rebels. When he told them that Ahsoka was the reason why he was there, did he merely mean that she had saved him from Death Watch, or did that have a deeper meaning? Perhaps she has shown him that there are good people on both sides caught up in this conflict, and he doesn’t want to support either side’s attempts to bring harm to the other. 

Additionally there is also the subtext that the current King of Onderon isn’t the “true king”. While living on Raxus, Lux could have become oblivious to the state of his people back home. Upon returning following his soul searching excursion to Death Watch, he could have discovered that the planet was in rough shape under current leadership, and made the decision to join the resistance. It will be very interesting to see how all of this plays out in future episodes. “A War On Two Fronts” did nothing but establish the current position of the characters and raise questions about the plot. Hopefully there will be more development soon and these questions will be answered. 

An interesting subplot to this episode was the romantic tension between Lux and Ahsoka. From the very beginning, eye contact indicated there was something going on. Personally I would rather not see anything develop between Lux and Ahsoka, because I don’t respect Lux and know things will very likely not end well. However there is an opportunity to add to Ahsoka’s character here, and hopefully this situation will pay off by moving her to an intriguing place. 

While initially Lux seemed like the one who was “into” Ahsoka in previous seasons, clearly now Ahsoka is the one doing the crushing. Perhaps the introduction of the character Steela Gerrera had something to do with this change. Seeing Lux interact in a familiar way with another woman may have been enough to bring subconscious feelings to the surface, and those feelings were so obvious that even Anakin noticed it. Meanwhile, Steela herself also seemed to be wary of Ahsoka’s relationship with Lux. This love triangle will certainly be entertaining to follow in future episodes. 

Trying to understand the plot in this episode was really the only thing that held my attention however. The main storyline of the Jedi and Rex training the rebels was lackluster and slow at points. There was just not enough emotional resonance for me to care for characters like Saw and Steela. We have no idea what their motivations are for opposing the CIS. We are led to believe they are heroes because they are fighting alongside the Jedi, but they have not been shown doing anything heroic at all. In fact they don’t even know how to fight adequately. Both Saw and Steela are headstrong and emotionally unbalanced, illustrated by their contentions with Lux and Ahsoka. 

The plot of them showing mild frustration, then overcoming the droids easily was very weak. It would have been much more emotionally gripping if they had sustained heavy losses in that battle, and then regrouped and successfully pushed forward. That would have made their victory mean a lot more. The fact that Lux over eagerly jumped up on top of a tank’s cannon and then fell on Saw in training, and then completed the maneuver in actual battle just doesn’t make sense. Nothing changed in either of their characters between these events. 

The progression of Steela’s character also had no logic. Earlier in the episode she was shown frustrated at being unable to roll a grenade under a destroyer droid, then to Ahsoka’s chagrin sniped a floating droid head out of the air. In the battle, instead of overcoming her frustration, Steela merely used her blaster skills to free a herd of domestic animals who trampled droids. Again there was no change in her character. 

While Ahsoka and Lux had odd yet interesting subplots, and Steela and Saw didn’t make any sense, Anakin Skywalker probably was the most well done character in this episode. At the beginning his dialog with the council about using rebels as a weapon against the CIS was very interesting, and ironic considering his impending future of crushing rebellions. It was also great to hear him use the line, “Impressive, most impressive.” Anakin may be a dark horse in this arc. While Ahsoka and the Onderonians seem to be the more obvious players, the fact that Anakin is witnessing two main plots of his life play out before him, rebellion and Jedi romance, might have an interesting effect on him. 

The action and music in this episode were subpar. There was also absolutely no wit or flow to the dialog. By itself, this episode was very weak, however all of the questions and scenarios it brought up indicate more engaging episodes in this arc to come. But ultimately if this arc is going to be good, it needs stronger character performance and development, and a plot that is more relevant to the overall stories of the main characters and the Clone Wars. I am optimistic that we will see improvements in these areas as things intensify.



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Angry Birds: Star Wars Coming November 8th!

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By: Benjamin Hart

Rovio, the company behind the extremely popular mobile game Angry Birds, along with LucasFilm have officially announced their newest project: Angry Birds: Star Wars! Check out the teaser trailer for it here:

  

Characters such as Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca & Darth Vader will be featured prominently in their respective Bird and Pig forms. Specifically, Red Bird will become Luke Skywalker in X-Wing pilot gear. Hoth, Tatooine, and other iconic Planets will be included and John williams' classic Star Wars score will be reflected as well. A massive merchandise campaign will accompany the game, including action figures, clothes & toys. A series of animated shorts, possibly in the vain of the recent Lego Star Wars specials, is also planned. Angry Birds Birds: Star Wars is set to be released on November 8th iOS, Android, Mac, PC, Windows Phone, Windows 8 & Amazon Kindle Fire.



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The SWU Podcast Episode 54 | 10/8/2012

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In this episode of the SWU Podcast, High Adventure comes on the show to talk about their Star Wars music and to perform their new song, Chris, Ben, Jordan, and Oisin talk A War On Two Fronts, and we read this week's news and play a few voicemails about the latest TCW episode.



» Right click here and select save link as to Download MP3.

» High Adventure's Website

» High Adventure on Facebook





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Monday, October 8, 2012

Opinion: What We Learned From "Revival"

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By: David Gremillion

Now I'll admit, I'm relatively new to The Clone Wars story. True, I have the 2003 series on DVD plus I work out with the Nintendo Wii Clone Wars lightsaber game. Seriously, you work up a sweat on the harder levels. However, what I saw on a sunshine-filled Saturday morning hooked me. I am now ready to admit it...

I'm a Clone Wars junkie. 
But why? What did someone who was only seeing their fourth episode of the show see to convince him to get up on a Saturday morning and spend time watching a cartoon? Let's discuss that, shall we?

While the beginning of the episode was a little slow with some questionable dialogue (Crime Lords, really?), once we met Hondo, things started to pick up. 

Hondo is what Jar-Jar should have been. Arrogant, but not obnoxious. Funny, but with words, not with slapstick actions. When he spoke, everything he said had meaning. I learned his history, his motivations, and what makes this pirate tick in ten minutes. I still don't know what Darth Maul meant when he said "At last we will have revenge" in The Phantom Menace. Revenge for what? What did the Jedi do to him? Hondo doesn't spout petty banter, he means everything he says. 

A refreshing change of pace from Ahsoka making fun of "General Grumpus". 

What else did we learn? How about that Palpatine is the smartest guy in the room? Yoda is concerned about Maul, Mace is concerned about Maul, and Obi-Wan is bordering obsession about Maul. Yet it is Papa Palpatine who brings in a much-needed reality check. Maul and Savage are two Sith versus thousands of Jedi. Maul has no army, no fleet of warships, nothing to threaten the Republic with. Why are they Jedi chasing him around when Grievous and Dooku are waging full-on war? The Jedi almost seemed shamed into agreeing that they've really taken their eye off the ball. It is Palpatine, the Sith of all Sith, the single-most villainous character in the entire franchise, has more common sense than the "learned" Jedi Council.

But above all else, we learned that lightsabers are flashy tools, but don't win duels. Savage wields a lightsaber quarterstaff, Darth Maul is a formidable warrior with his own blade. The crowd at Celebration VI went wild when Obi-Wan dueled with two lightsabers. But how did Adi Gallia die? Savage used the Force to push her against a starship's hull, which disarmed her, and then stabbed her. How did Obi-Wan nearly lose his duel? When Darth Maul picked him up and flung him against the wall using the Force. When Obi-Wan was closing in for the kill, with Savage missing an arm, how did the two "Crime Lords" escape? The Force was used yet again to fling Obi-Wan away like a ragdoll. 

We learned that the Force trumps all in a duel. 

Now the episode was far from perfect. But above all, I learned that I'm setting my alarm back a little earlier on Saturday mornings and it isn't to catch the beginning of "College Gameday" on ESPN.

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization.



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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Clone Wars Bloopers: Ep. 5.01 "Revival"

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The Clone Wars is back with another fantastic episode! And that means more Clone Wars Bloopers! This episode featured several crazy mistakes... You'll see what I mean!

First off, Maul picks up and crushes the Yellow Droid and holds him in the air while Savage rushes into the room and destroys the Droid standing between the table and the door.
He then uses the Force to pick up and slam the other two into the the opposite wall.
But afterwards things change, there are now two droids where Savage was just standing.
And the two Droids that were slammed against the wall do not appear to be where they're supposed to.

Now this is probably the weirdest blooper I've ever encountered. Bear with me...
Just after Adi Gallia is killed, Obi-Wan uses the Force to grab her Lightsaber and retreat into Hondo's compound. As he is walking backwards into the building, fending off the attacking Pirates, he is not carrying the Lightsaber, nor is it on his belt... Or is it? In several frames it looks as though the Lightsaber isn't there.
But as Obi-Wan moves a strange outline appears and disappears.
I believe that it could be a result of the shadowing for the Lightsaber hilt being applied but the Lightsaber itself did not make the final cut. But that's just my theory, what do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Next, when the ramp of the Cargo ship first drops and the characters walk down it, the ramp does not extend at all.
But when Maul & Savage reach the bottom it is now extended... A little.
Notice the yellow & black strip.

Also in the same scene, Savage is missing his Lightsaber for a moment;
He's not holding it here...
But he is in the next shot.

Afterwards, During the chase scene, Maul & Savage are out in front chasing Obi-Wan & Hondo. 
But when they round the corner two of the Pirates are in front of Maul.

Here we go again with the Lightsabers!
Look closely as Obi-Wan is running out of the compound chasing Maul, you can see that Obi-Wan is not carrying Adi Gallia's Lightsaber, in his hand or on his belt.

Later, when Maul & Savage are escaping, the Pirate carrying the rocket launcher is, at first, wearing a white hat and a red Bandanna over his mouth. 
Moments later, when he fires the weapon, he is only wearing a green hat.

If you enjoyed this edition of CWB feel please click the Share buttons below, it helps out a lot! If I made a faux pas of my own, or perhaps I missed something, please let me know in the comments below.

Mini Review
This was a great episode! Season five is the first to premiere with only one episode and it still ended up being one of the best season openers to date. I've been quite interested in Maul & Savage's story and it was really amped up this time. Seeing Obi-Wan turn the tables on his foe and leave them wounded and on the run was a delight. No doubt this will make Maul want "Revenge" even more on old Obi now. But the best part? Hondo! His brilliant dialogue, coupled with Jim Cummings' excellent voice work makes Hondo Ohnaka one of my favorite Star Wars characters. He needs his own spin off series, seriously!

Until next time, MTFBWY! -B-




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