Grievous Fandom

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I’m not a sports fan by any stretch. However, I understand how frustrating it must be for a fan to watch their favorite team fail. Especially if they started off with a good season, only to have it go downhill. The reason I understand this is because I’m a General Grievous fan.

Although intended as a villain character for Revenge of the Sith, General Grievous made his first appearance in the Clone Wars micro series. He appeared in the last episode of the first season cliffhanger and then in season two which ended with his pursuit and capture of Chancellor Palpatine leading into the opening of Revenge of the Sith. The Clone Wars microseries is almost a forgotten gem at this point and if you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to seek it out. Although it’s not quite canon anymore, there’s good stuff to be had there, especially for a Grievous fan. At least for what he could have been.

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The Clone Wars microseries presented Grievous as a truly frightening villain. He was a Jedi killer not out of trickery but of skill. Jedi feared him. After I watched the series I was more excited than ever to see this villain in Revenge of the Sith. I’m also a sucker for conceptual art for films and I was intrigued by the mystery surrounding this character. We’ve seen cyborgs before but he was a step beyond. Did he just have organic eyes? What’s this character’s story? I had high hopes for the general.

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Then I saw Revenge of the Sith and while Grievous served the story, he didn’t really rise above it. He was called things like “coward”. He’ll “run and hide”. These were not things I associated with the unstoppable cyborg I witnessed fearlessly plow through a group of Jedi in the microseries. In his battle with Obiwan, he was made relatively short work of in his duel with the Jedi Master. It was a fun battle but I felt this was a much weaker character than expected. High expectations crushed? I will call this the “Phasma Effect”.

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This weaker version of the character continued through The Clone Wars animated series where he was seen as a constant failure and a bit of a coward. His victories were few. Probably the best episode for a fan of the general was Lair of Grievous which gave him some minimal backstory where he chose the cybernetics as “improvements” to make him a better warrior. A previous comic book backstory had him severely injured in a shuttle crash. A deliberate “accident” so the Separatists could create a powerful slave to their cause. While The Clone Wars story is the canonical one, it is still far from complete. A true General Grievous origin story has yet to be told.

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Right now the prequel era is getting little love or attention. I’m fine with that as we’ve have plenty of media take place in that era over the last decade. However, I would love to read a novel or limited comic series that fleshes out the origin of Grievous. I want to know more because I really love this character. I at least love what he was for a brief moment, and what he could be again. It’s not easy being a General Grievous fan but I’ll keep cheering him on, hoping for that comeback season where he fearlessly crushes his enemies.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

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For a few years now we had the hype machine surrounding The Force Awakens. Then it was released on Blu-ray/DVD/digital and within days we were already being shown a trailer for Rogue One. It’s as if we were given a day to watch the film, a day to watch any extra content, and then were hit with the next thing we’ll all be spending money on this December. I heard a few fans use the term “barely had time to catch our breath”. I think that really sums it up.

Back when Disney first acquired Lucasfilm, someone from the house of mouse (I cannot remember who) said that they believed Star Wars had not been marketed to its full potential. That statement worried some fans. Star Wars is everywhere! Could this lead to having too much of a good thing?

I like superheroes. I don’t currently follow any superhero comics, but I grew up with superhero cartoons, live action TV, and movies. Movies and TV are where I consume all my superhero content today. Fans are really living in a golden age where we can enjoy all this content, much of which we never thought we’d ever, ever see in live action. However, I am beginning to feel fatigued by it all. I could see this coming over the last year as more and more superhero shows and movies were announced. I currently watch Agents of Shield, Arrow, Flash, and Gotham. I only have Hulu and Netflix, so I can’t get Supergirl, or I would be watching that as well. I just finished the first season of Jessica Jones right as a second season of Daredevil was released. Netflix has at least two more Marvel series slated, and other networks have at least two Marvel properties in the works. Batman V Superman just hit theaters a couple weeks ago and we have Captain America: Civil War, X-men Apocalypse, Suicide Squad, and Dr Strange still to go this year. I may be forgetting one or two, and with this much content, could you blame me?

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There’s only so much time and so you begin to pick and choose even if the content continues to be good. I dropped CW’s Legends of Tomorrow off my watch list. Suicide Squad I’m not even going to bother going to see, and maybe when other shows are on hiatus, I will finally have time to watch Daredevil season 2. I can’t even imagine if I was trying to follow the comics as well.

I am hoping this doesn’t happen to Star Wars. While I feel it has a long way to go before it would, my point is that it IS POSSIBLE. Never would I have thought I’d get superhero fatigue, but I have. One difference is more companies are delivering the content and its spread wider. Several TV shows and movies a year. Star Wars doesn’t have that…. at least not yet. We are however getting a movie each year when we’ve been accustomed to one movie every three years for a trilogy. We have an ongoing animated show and comics, and of course the constant rumor of a live action series. That is rather paltry when compared to the superhero genre. However, Star Wars is a product owned by a business who wants to make money. The Force Awakens has proven the monetary worth of Star Wars is still incredible after all these years. While George Lucas tried to make good business decisions for Lucasfilm, he could afford to have their projects be about “the art”. The Clone Wars was incredibly expensive to produce and Lucas was willing to take a hit on the profitability to get his art on the screen. The new powers that be aren’t going to make those sacrifices. They are going to work furiously milking the cash cow for all its worth. It may not be over-saturation for casual fans, or fans whom only enjoy certain kinds of content, but might leave hardcore fans “picking and choosing”.

Star Wars is unlike any other franchise. No other film property has been more studied, scrutinized, and speculated on. In short; Star Wars can’t be chugged like a beer. It needs to be sipped and savored like a fine wine where we can take in every nuance of its flavor. So while we are enjoying all this new content, hopefully Disney will remember that sometimes, less really is more.

 

Eric J Berry: A Star Wars Story

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I just recently turned 40 and I’ve grown up with Star Wars. I am just old enough to have experienced most of it first hand and I began to think about how differently each generation will see and understand Star Wars as a whole. To someone of my generation, the reveal of Darth Vader being Luke’s father was a surprise. To younger fans, it’s always been common knowledge. Different generations have been and will continue to be introduced to Star Wars in different ways. Continue reading

Humans, Aliens, and Wookiees, oh my!

This article can take its origins back to a thought I often had about everyone’s favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca. Specifically how often in the books, comics, and films, he was told to “stay with the ship”. Poor Chewbacca was constantly staying behind while the other characters, mostly humans, went about their adventures. I think much of this can be traced back to George Lucas’s inspiration for Chewy which was his dog, who would ride along with him in the passenger seat of his car. So Chewy became that trusty dog-like companion. Guard the ship and protect his master.

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My Collecting Story

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The Start of it All

I’ve been collecting Star Wars my entire life. I was born in 1976 and my introduction to Star Wars collecting was the original Kenner action figures and vehicles. By the time I was in my teens, I had collected a majority of the figures that were made except for a few, mostly the Power of the Force line that came out after the figures for Return of the Jedi as well as variations which at the time, no one was even thinking about. I sold off a majority of my vehicles as they took up too much room and despite being a kid who always took good care of my toys, some of them were in rough shape. At that point Star Wars died off for some time. There were still some things being made such as model kits and trading cards and I bought many of those. Continue reading

The Episode Seven That Once Was

Back in 1991, Star Wars was essentially dead. It had been 8 years since the release of Return of the Jedi and the only real content since then had been the Droids and Ewoks cartoons. So I was surprised when I walked into a Waldenbooks that year and saw a new Star Wars hardcover called Heir to the Empire displayed at the front of the store. This was the beginnings of Star Wars’ return.

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Up to this point there had only been seven Star Wars novels to be published that were considered “expanded universe” (or EU) material. Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, a trilogy of Han Solo adventures, and a trilogy of Lando adventures. All of which took place before or directly after A New Hope. Heir to the Empire’s story took place 5 years after the events of Return of the Jedi and until December of 2015, this book was our Episode 7. Continue reading

Favorite Moments from The Force Awakens

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(spoiler warning) How do you pick a favorite scene in this film? There was so much to love. I think what makes it difficult for me as well is that many of my favorite parts weren’t full out scenes but just moments. Continue reading

Looking Behind, Looking Ahead

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While Disney has had ownership of Lucasfilm for a few years now, I’m left feeling like The Force Awakens is truly the beginning of the new era. Sure, we’ve had new novels, the comic book license was moved to Marvel, and we’ve seen a season or two of the Rebels animated series. However, nothing can quite compare to the launch of a new trilogy of live action films. This is now the point at which Star Wars truly becomes Disney’s baby…. without George Lucas. Continue reading