Morning Ed: Rogue One {2016.01.24.T}

Adam Ozimek looks at how a grubby corporation saved Star Wars from a stubborn artist who was ruining his own story.

Sarah Bond looks at the history of weapons engineers.

A critical obituary of Leia Organa.

I’d never heard of this kind of insurance, but it sure makes a lot of sense. I understand that – contrary to rumors – they’re not immediately planning to digitize Carrie Fisher going forward, but I kind of hope they do.

The ethical dilemma of resurrecting Tarkin in Rogue One is pretty much null to me, especially given that they got the blessings of his estate. The CG for Tarkin almost works – I might not have noticed except that I knew to notice – though I think it might look more conspicuous in ten years.

For First Things, Marc Barnes looks at the theological bearings of Rogue One, and its abandonment.

Bryan Alexander looks at the retro of Rogue One.

Vox took a lot of crap for saying that Star Wars was the first movie of the franchise about war, but even as people were laughing I think everyone did kind of know it was true.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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49 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Rogue One {2016.01.24.T}

  1. The Star Wars universe keeps going back and forth on how monastic the Jedi are. The prequels suggest that the Jedi are supposed to be celibate but the franchise seems to go lightly on that at times. Mainly because sex sells better.

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    • They kept having to bring in Timothy Zahn to fix the EU.

      “Um, some of our authors have made Luke Skywalker into what’s basically a walking God and also he’s dating some 3000 year old spirit that used to live in a computer but now lives in the brain dead corpse of a hot girl he knew. Can you fix this?”

      “Jeez, AGAIN?”

      Michael Stackpole had to wade in with an entire book that was “WTF just happened. That dude blew up multiple stars and killed billions of people and we’re all ‘Oh hey, Dark Side is pretty bad but he’s cool now bro’? Screw that!”

      Seriously, the EU was a mess.

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        • On the other hand, Star Trek theoretically had more control over their novels, and they famously ended up with both a fairly graphic K/S slash fic and Shatner’s extended self-authored mid-life crisis.
          On the gripping hand, they also got Diane Duane’s Rihannsu and John M. Ford!s Klingons…

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          • Barbary Hambly also wrote what I think is the only piece of official cross-over fanfiction for Star Trek.

            “I, Ishmael” crossed over with multiple shows from the 70s, including Maverick. :)

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        • Except that, supposedly, Lucas did maintain iron clad control.

          Except he apparently didn’t — or rather, what control he had boiled down to “Certain characters must not die or change in certain ways” and ignored the ways things got massively inflated and altered around them.

          On the other hand, it brought us Commander Ketcch, of Wraith Squadron. Which meant Wedge Antilles had to fly combat while wearing an Ewok suit. “Yub, yub, Commander!”.

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      • I do have to say that Karen Traviss wrote a very interesting multi-book apologia for the Dark Side. She didn’t know she was doing it, of course, but you start out with some poor soldier boy and by the end he’s setting out to betray his adoptive father and the entire rest of his family to Darth Freakin’ Vader.

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      • For some reason my mind keeps wanting to read the EU as European Union rather than Expanded Universe. I’m imagining a science fiction author hired by the EU to work out the mess caused by Brexit.

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        • They’re gonna need a really good speculative fiction writer.

          Charles Stross has been cursing the mere existence of “near future” fiction because, last I checked, has had to totally rewrite one book and scrap another due to the rapidly changing political landscape.

          And that was before Trump.

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          • People who can’t be bothered to make decent predictions ought to stick with “here’s my idea and let me show it to you.”

            Of course, you can always look at John Titor, who was actually publishing real predictions from that time.

            50% chance of Trump not lasting his 4 years in office. And that from someone who’s likely to know enough of what lies under the rug on Trump’s head.

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  2. The critical Obit of Leia was real solid writing. It could have been yanked out of a fictional NYT page.

    Though I was exposed to its products from an early age, I’ve never loved or hated Disney myself with any strength. That said I don’t think it’d debatable that they’ve done some seriously incredible work with a lot of the creative properties they acquires whether it be Lucasworld, Pixar* or Marvel. I don’t know how much of that was merely providing the core teams with the freedom to make it work or direct hands on management but I don’t begrudge them the massive geysers of money they’ve been getting for it.

    *Though in my mind Pixar began to wane shortly before the Disney acquisition.

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    • We are roughly the same age and I think Disney was just making bad movies during the 1980s. I don’t really recall any until I was too into being a boy to go for the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, or Alladin and by the time Lion King came out, I was starting to get into stuff that made me more into artsy things.*

      I find it perplexing that for people slightly younger (say born around 1983-1984) and later, Disney has become this huge thing for on-line progressivism. And I admit that my non-caring about pop culture side makes me think petitions to make Leila a Disney Princess are a waste of time. Yet it seems very important to lots of people.

      *Here is a revealing story. When I was in elementary school, there was a guest speaker. My guess is that she wrote kids books but I don’t recall. She said that when she was in 4th grade, she read Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead. I asked my parents for a copy and they gave me one. I failed to read it but I think this shows where I wanted to go. There were also times in elementary school when we were given “Read what you want” assignments and my choices were vetoed. I hated that. I really resented it.

      So perhaps I have always been contra my generation and wanting to be adult while they choose the warm glow of childhood nostalgia.

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      • I’m far from a Disney expert but I have friends who are obsessives so I pick up on some of this by osmosis. The 80’s were a pretty bleak run for Disney in terms of feature films. The Fox and The Hound was schmaltz, I loved Black Cauldron because Lloyd Alexander is Jesus and can do no wrong but I admit I was probably the only one and the movie sure didn’t hold a candle to the books. The Great Mouse detective was.. ish… and Oliver and Company was double ish…then you come to Little Mermaid which was a huge hit and basically was book ending the 80’s and often gets more lumped into the 2nd Golden age of Disney which runs from Beauty and the Beast to Tarzan in the 90’s which were generally all critical darlings, smash hits and made fountains of money. Then along with Bush Minor we get Emperors New Groove which was funny as heck but kind of deranged then the aughts slumped into another more mixed quality slump.

        But yeah let’s be real.. you’re not, by inclination, the person to go to for opining on mass popular tent pole movies. That’s more a good thing than a bad.

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        • The Disney company seems to have been really unsettled by the death of Walt Disney and it took them a better part of the 1970s and 1980s to get back into the swing of things. The full feature animation department seemed especially unsettled until the Little Mermaid came out.

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          • Walt knew what he wanted, even though he couldn’t create it himself, and he would settle for nothing less. He could be a real jerk to his employees if they weren’t giving him what he wanted. In the early days, Disney wasn’t very profitable, because he wouldn’t release a film until he was satisfied with it, and the time and cost overruns resulting from that could be brutal. When Walt passed away, the bean-counters took over, and the product descended into mediocrity.

            In other words, Walt had a lot in common with Steve Jobs. Not that Apple’s in trouble since Jobs died, but look at what happened to them when Scully was CEO.

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  3. I like the descriptions of Rogue One as “Star Wars fanfic: The Movie”. Because it really does feel like one; the kind of fanfic that shores up all the weaknesses in the original’s storytelling, closing plot holes, giving characters more screen time so that their narrative stature matches how the original portrayed them, having fanservice (X-Wings versus AT-ATs! Rebel Commandoes! Darth Vader goin’ ham!)

    And that’s not to say this is a bad thing. It’s just that it’s so easy, for someone who’s been watching and experiencing fandom for years, to see what this is.

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  4. Forbes article:

    “It’s not just that Disney’s movies are better, it’s that they are more respectful of the actual story than its creator.”

    I think what’s interesting about this is that it’s true, but not in the way that the writer thinks. The people who wrote Rogue One and TFA were not, actually, respectful of the Star Wars story that George Lucas wanted to tell. They were respectful of the Star Wars story that they wanted to tell, the one that was first told not just by Lucas but by Ralph McQuarrie and John Williams and Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan and everyone else involved in making the films.

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  5. The Bryan Alexander article kind of misses the point of Rogue One. Of course it’s retro! IT IS SPECIFICALLY REFERENCING THE WORLD ESTABLISHED IN EPISODE IV.

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      • I don’t think you need much of “take” to explain why fans who built an entire mythology around the implied backstory of one movie would be excited to see something that was directly pulling stuff from that movie. If he wanted to get deeper into the take on why people reacted to it, he’d have to go back to the source material (A New Hope).

        In other words, no shit they don’t have cell phones, Star Wars doesn’t have cell phones. If anything I was a little disappointed that they didn’t hook up tractor-trailer brake lines to anybody.

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          • Cellphones are plotkillers. That’s why Gortimer Gibbons doesn’t use them.

            It’s true, and my left brain can understand that

            But my right brain gets infuriated when I see TV shows in which everything would be solved if character A called (or texted) character B. I cant suspend disbelief enough to accept that someone would be so stupid not to grab his/her phone right then.

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            • J_A,
              Gortimer Gibbons is deliberately set in a timeperiod of the late 1990’s (where one person in town has a laptop). It’s deliberate nostalgia.

              What i hate are comic misunderstandings where people are trying to do nice things for each other but if they’d just Talk To Each Other they’d figure out that their nice things are conflicting. It’s a common soapplot, and I just turn it off.

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      • Of course, it ignores that large organizations are going to have old technologies, especially for storage and archiving, that is retro for legacy purposes. Our nuclear weapons still run on floppies. IBM does brisk business in tape backups for some of the largest and most sophisticated organizations in the world. If Earth becomes the center of a galactic empire, we’ll still use tap because the galactic CIO won’t want to pay Accenture a king’s ransom to move everything from tape over to holographic storage and do a wholesale overhaul of processes to fit the new technology because it still works.

        tl;dr: A giant government bureaucracy still using obsolete archival storage technology was the most believable part of Rogue 1.

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  6. Adam Ozimek looks at how a grubby corporation saved Star Wars from a stubborn artist who was ruining his own story.

    WTF?

    Oh, I see, he’s calling George Lucas an artist. So, once again

    WTF?

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