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Has the Jedi mysticism in Star Wars been lost over the years

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The years have not been kind to the Jedi, a once benevolent group of mystics who occasionally had to do battle with the forces of evil to create balance in the universe. Remember when Star Wars was just about Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Darth Vader? It’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to say those names and actually feel that same level of honor, one might feel, being inducted into a secret society.

This was another one of my random thoughts, I had while slinging hash at my job and thought “hey…maybe there’s others out there who feel the same way”…so I decided to expound on it.

Call me crazy, but when you watch Star Wars: A New Hope, didn’t you get the sense that the Jedi’s were still a bit aloof, even when they were accepted by the Republic. They still seemed nomadic in their ways and very hard to understand at times and like searching for a new Dalai Lama, a Jedi seemed to me to be very…very hard to come by even before the slaughter, but not anymore.

How many Jedi’s does this Star Wars really need?

For me, the answers simple, but for those hellbent on making JEDI-star-wars-jedi-23833947-1024-768money off this franchise, the answers “there can never be too many”. Now with the Star Wars :The Old Republic MMORPG, everyone and their uncle can be a  Jedi, as if in Ben’s time, they were just handing out lightsaber’s  like government cheese.

Perhaps it’s because I haven’t read any of the spin off novels and comic books, except Timothy Zahn’s “Heir To The Empire”, but hasn’t this always been about the movies and not the books?

Sure, I too envision a world of yet unheard of Jedi, all with new and fascinating force skills, and belonging to interesting new races, but one must draw a line between recklessness and tangibility…yes, even in fantasy, this is what makes fantasy great. Isn’t it?

I didn’t need to see the Jedi Council in “The Phantom Menace”. Why couldn’t it have been just another level of the myth, one that we all subscribed to, but didn’t literally have to see? I mean can anyone, outside of the hardcore, name the members of the council or the race they belonged too? I know I can’t.

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This wasn’t the only thing that bothered me, assuming the Jedi were the Templar’s of their time, there was nothing to suggest a monk lifestyle other than the robes they wore, which brings me back to Ben, in the first film. He was unlike any of the so-called Jedi we saw in Episodes I, II and III. He was like the “Oracle” in The Matrix. Simple, careful, always aware of his emotions and above all…humble. Certainly not the order we saw in the prequels with their spacious penthouse view of Coruscant. There’s nothing about the Jedi’s in the new movies that says ancient or mystic. In that way, I could see why something like the Sith would want to destroy them, but I highly doubt George was thinking about this when he embarked upon creating that reheated piece of fodder known as ‘the prequels”. He was just going for flash, forgoing any of the mysticism we became fond of in “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” and replacing it with smoke and mirrors. Now everyone has the force, Leia, Han Solo, their kids and all the while, the ones who’ve remained more benevolent, clandestine, and shrouded in secrecy is the Sith.

I will even go as far as saying that “the “Sith” is the last bit of true Star Wars left, ironically enough”.

They are the one’s Hollywood unknowingly have made an “anomaly” in all this mess. We got bit’s and pieces of who they are in every film, but no visit to their planet or meeting with the council or glimpses into what it takes to become one. Again, if you’ve read any of the Dark Horse comics you already know a lot about the Sith, but for the majority of moviegoers, there’s nothing. This is the model the Jedi’s/George Lucas, should’ve followed before he decided to blanket the screen with so many meaningless characters and colorful light sabers. This over saturation made the loss of their kind even more unceremonious than it already was. Not only were thousands of Jedi slain, we only knew the names of only a handful of them.

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What’s real important to understand is that when George Lucas wrote A New Hope, back in the seventies he, as a film student, was deeply into Akira Kurosawa films like “Rashomon”, “Seven Samurai” and “Ran”. He peppered “A New Hope” with all sorts of Japanese inspired aesthetics like Luke and Ben’s Hakama garb and even replaced Samurai katanas with light sabers. The colors white and black, used in the Tao symbol for balance, are also represented throughout the film, demonstrating duality and then there’s Yoda, who was essentially a small green version of Pat Morita from The Karate Kid. Course there’s the blatant Nazi symbolism embraced by the Empire, but I  want to get into that.

What I’m saying is it took Luke Skywalker three films to become a full fledged Jedi. He had to learn how to control his emotions and discipline himself, a fact that was done away with with the introduction of Medichlorian’s in the prequels. The images of Luke doing the handstand in the swamps with Yoda and him taking the shots from his impromptu blast-shield training on the Falcon, are still etched in my mind. Now, no longer is this rigorous training necessary when your born with this ability. Really? Could they have made the Jedi anymore elitists?

Look, for every short coming the Star Wars franchise has faced in the last decade, there are a million more yet to come, but can we at least agree that the franchise has lost that bit (I use that term lightly) of magic that made the original great? No artist, I know, has ever finished a song, painting or script without stepping back several times to look at what he or she has done and asking themselves “It this still me?”, “Is this still inspired?” These are questions, I’m afraid, George never asked himself, instead, as if he had no idea what he’d created two decades ago, he proceeded to go more west with the storyline than east, like he originally intended.

I won’t even ask you if whether approaching Star Wars from A New Hope point of view, is even worth it anymore, but it would be nice if the reigning science fiction/fantasy mutilator J.J. Abrams, would take this into consideration as he begins work on Star Wars Episode VII, but given his track record with Star Trek, I ‘d say don’t count on it and with that I leave you with the immortal words of C3PO…”We’re doomed.”

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Some highlights from the Phoenix Comic Con 2013

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The annual pop culture event of the southwest, The Phoenix Comic Con, just wrapped up over memorial day weekend and man was it filled with a shit ton of craziness. Let’s begin with my day one. The showroom floor was set up slightly different than last year, but the exhibitors were in the same hall. Artists, comic book vendors and fanboy/girl merchants abounded.

There was ,however, one booth that caught my eye the moment I walked in. It was the Anomaly booth. Anomaly is an augmented reality graphic novel about greedy corporations and our role as interstellar ambassadors, none of which are doing too well when the story starts. The intense art is only half the fun with this book. The book is equipped with augmented reality technology. You download an app and point your ipad or smart phone at the pages and voila, the Anomaly world pops out at you in 3D. We are currently working on the full review of this amazing novel…stay tuned!!

EARTH 2717: THE 3RD GOLDEN AGE BUILDING A BETTER TOMORROW TODAYThe planet we call home slowly dies beneath us.Most humans now live in teeming surface “Terrarium Cities”, off world colonies or orbiting space stations. All of earth’s resources have been depleted.All corporations, nations and technologies have merged into THE CONGLOMERATE whose Enforcer Battalions now conquer whole planets to feed Earthlings insatiable appetites.THE CONGLOMERATE which began with the spirit of the best mankind had to offer, saved humanity from itself by taking us to the stars has become the most ruthless profit machine to ever exist.

ANOMALY OFFICIAL WEBSITE

While there I also got a chance to checkout a few panel discussions with some amazing people like Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) from the original Star Trek series. Timothy Zahn author of Heir to the Empire and Dark Force Rising and J. Micheal Straczynski, screenwriter for Babylon 5 and the soon to be released, Wachowski television series, Sense 8. The discussions were surprisingly well organized and highly informative.  On the down side, some panels promised exclusive images from upcoming films that they weren’t able to deliver on, instead giving us footage from previous Blu-Ray releases that had special behind the scenes footage.  Most of which, the guest in attendance had already owned and had watched.

There were also a number of very talented artist and writers in attendance such as Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Eric Esquivel (The Blackest Terror), Radi Lewis (Tech Watch) and uber artist Geof Darrow (The Shaolin Cowboy) and they were all gracious enough to spend time talking to their fans and taking pictures, evidenced by some of the ones I took of them below.

The event went off without any hitches and we were able to make a few contacts and take pictures of some amazing cosplayers. The event seems to be gaining steam and having spoken to a few writers/artists, they seem to be all in agreement that a more toned down con that focuses more on the craft is in order and the PHX CC is among one of the best in that capacity. Can’t wait til next year!

COPLAYERS of the Phoenix Comic Con 2013

 

Disney announces they will release a Star Wars film every summer starting in 2015

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This is crazy Go NUTS! Disney announced today at Cinema Con- The National convention for theater owners in Las Vegas, that starting in 2015 they will release a Star Wars film every summer.

According to Collider.com

The studio will alternate every other year with an “Episode” film and a standalone film.

I really can’t speculate as to what films or character arcs they plan to focus on, but this news is huge, especially for us that are heavily into the Timothy Zahn stories.  We may get to see Heir To The Empire. As reported by Collider.com earlier this year…

plot details on the new trilogy are mum, Disney confirmed that it was developing standalone Star Wars films back in February.  Though the studio has yet to reveal which characters those films would focus on, previous reports claim that films focusing on Yoda, Boba Fett, and a young Han Solo are in the works.

So while Star Wars Episode VII directed by J.J. Abrams is in the works, rest assured they are also working on these side stories and scouting for potential actors to play the parts. In addition to this news we’ve also learned that the writers for Star Wars VII Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class) are slated to begin work on the stand alone films as well. From a franchising stand point it don’t get any better than news like this. No more searching for your obscure characters on Ebay, no sir…with this many films, your unsung heroes may get to see the light of day.

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By the way author, Timothy Zahn (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising) will be in attendance at this years Phoenix Comic Con which runs May 23-26 2013 and yes, you can believe MITNG will be talking to him to get the scoop on these latest developments.

 

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