Enter Admiral Thrawn?

Thrawn – a kinder, more reasonable Imperial despot…

Fans of the extended “Star Wars” universe will get the titular reference, but for the uninitiated Grand Admiral Thrawn is a pivotal bad guy in Timothy Zahn’s follow-up trilogy of “Star Wars” novels which follow on from the climax of “Return of the Jedi”.

Thrawn is a popular villain in the great canon of despicable galactic ne’er-do-wells – Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, Jabba The Hutt – as in Zahn’s novels he manages to embody the all-conquering, militaristic might of the Empire whilst being drawn in shades of moralistic grey quite at odds with much of the established “Wars” canon.

Rather than immediately smote a lower-ranking officer for suggesting that his strategies are at odds with the overwhelming evidence of reality in front of them, Thrawn’s the kind of guy who knows when to pack up the fleet and head for hyperspace and save the fight for another day.


All of which preamble obscures the main, non-news of the last twenty-four hours – Benedict Cumberbatch is the latest name linked to J.J. Abrams and Disney’s 2015-bound “Star Wars – Episode Seven”.

Yep, a chip off the old Skywalker block alright...
Yep, a chip off the old Skywalker block alright…

It’s hardly surprising, really – if you throw a dart at a casting director’s wish list, the British actor’s name is probably near the top, near Tom Hiddleston’s – and this rumour seems to have as much basis in fact as last week’s feverish speculation over Rachel Hurd-Wood and Alex Pettyfer auditioning for the apparently pivotal roles of Skywalker offspring.

Until Abrams and Disney let some, you know, actual information loose and tell us something, any actor with a half-competent agent is probably angling to get their client linked to a role in what should be the all-conquering movie franchise for the next decade (the potential for lucrative spin-off movies, merchandise and theme-park tie-ins must have Disney’s board thinking that the $4 Billion cost of buying Lucasfilm is but so much chump change…).

I’d actually like to see Cumberbatch play a more heroic role, if only to offset the expectations of villainy which come with his being cast in a Hollywood movie.  The old ‘Posh Brit Actor = Dastardly Evil’ equation is getting rather wearing, wouldn’t you say?

Whilst a well-drawn villain is often more attractive to actors than the prospect of playing a Peter Perfect white hat with no moral grey areas to draw upon, I’d like to see Michael Arndt and the “Star Wars” writing team draw from the expanded universe and let these new “Star Wars” heroes and villains embody different shades of the character spectrum.

A geek can dream, I guess…


Jedi Walkabout

Further to my recently rediscovered love of all things “Star Wars”, here’s the trailer for an Australian fan film ten years in the making;

Now that’s a product which proves that despite a lack of funds, an abundance of creativity and enthusiasm can bring about something quite remarkable.

I’m really keen to see the end result – and to celebrate what motivated fans can do to show their love for the pop culture which has had a lasting effect on them.

Pwn’d by Clones – a “Star Wars” fan reborn

Junior Jedi Ahsoka Tano and her old mucker, Master Anakin Skywalker
Junior Jedi Ahsoka Tano and her old mucker, Master Anakin Skywalker

How did you fall out of love with “Star Wars”?  For many people – we’ll call them ‘normals’ – the transition from childhood to adult responsibility somehow comes with a jettisoning of any love that they had for George Lucas‘ sci-fantasy adventures.

For others, the prequel trilogy squashed their fandom out of them – by the time that “Episode III” rocked up in 2005 and did a generally decent job of relating Anakin’s final descent towards the Dark Side of the Force, a lot of fans had given up the proverbial Jedi ghost and found other things to entertain them.

I’ve always kept an eye on “Star Wars”, even though my relationship with the series is somewhat love-hate.  Karen Traviss’ Republic Commando novels found their way across my reading desk thanks to a recommendation from Penny Arcade, and I picked up the movie-which-wasn’t-really-a-movie, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”.  Didn’t watch it, being rather underwhelmed by the animation style and kid-skewing tone of the piece, but I still bought it.

I knew that something was up when I didn’t rush out to buy the prequel and classic trilogy Blu-Rays in 2011 – on the face of it, that particular addition to my HD film library was a no-brainer, so why wasn’t I more excited by it?  Why indeed?

It took something to reel me back into the fold and, wouldn’t you know it, that thing was those aforementioned “Clone Wars”.

I’ve begun watching the show in the UK on the CN Too channel and have been gorging my way through seasons for the past few weeks.  It’s every thing that I wanted from the “Star Wars” prequels, in bite-sized, 22 minute long chunks of Sith versus Republic goodness.

J.J. has a lot to live up to with the next three movies, let me tell you…



Metallic Faith Malarkey


When I’m not learning how to write my name in Elvish, I’m being utterly perplexed by my fellow citizens.

In data extrapolated from the 2011 UK census results, it would appear that 6,242 of Britons declared  Heavy Metal as their religion (for the record, that’s more respondents than self-identified as a Scientologist, Druid or Shaman).

To which one can only remark “Huh?”

I love a bit of Maiden as much as the next middle-aged, dog-walking vegetarian but can’t quite get behind the notion of aligning my musical genre of choice with organised faith – the goals of one seem quite at odds with the professed beliefs of the other, surely?

Obviously this result should probably be taken in the spirit of the kind of lightly subversive, nose-thumbing surrealism that I suspect it to be (note the high ranking of ‘Jedi Knight‘ as a faith of choice in the UK census, even after the quality of the “Star Wars” prequels should have killed aligning oneself to Uncle George’s franchise outright).

So, if I’m reading all of this correctly, the proper conclusion to draw from this census is that agencies of social control (which we normally oppose with all-consuming fervour) are a very bad idea until they provide you with the opportunity to make a snarky response to a survey.


Season’s Geekings

Give the gift of Carbonite Smuggler this Christmas...

Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or another holiday entirely, I hope that your celebration, whatever form it takes, is peaceful, happy and gives you time to reflect on the year gone and the year to come.

Thank you for reading this blog throughout 2012 – I’ll be flinging uniquely stunning and revelatory content at your eye channels throughout the rest of the holidays (at least some of which won’t be reviews of nineties action flicks and terrible metal bands new albums), so check back and see what’s going on.