[movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILERS

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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Irondrake » Sat Dec 26, 2015 3:36 am

Saunatonttu wrote:
Wow, I'm really bummed that this film was such a disappointment.
What is your favourite Kieslowski? Which Herzog is your favourite?

I'm sorry, but I don't understand what it is you are asking me.

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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by night_druid » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:43 pm

I went in with low expectations. Abrams lived up to my expectations of his movies sans lens flares.
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Havard » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:13 pm

agathokles wrote:I'm definitely a fan of the prequel trilogy -- it's obviously very different from the original trilogy, but that's good, because it deals with a different era. I'd have liked something similar for the sequel trilogy, rather than an attempt to redo the original trilogy.
Ah, we certainly have very different starting points going into this movie then. I am going to try to avoid bashing the prequels in this thread, but lets just say they left me very disappointed and I am very happy that the new movie did not resemble the prequels at all. I think that you are talking about the setting though. I had no problem with the prequel setting. Could the TFA setting have been more different from the originals? Perhaps, but what makes me happy with this movie is that it has a great story and characters I like and want to learn more about.
I certainly prefer Anakin to Kylo as a character. That said, it is difficult to compare the two, because Anakin is the Chosen, and the amount of pressure he gets in return is unparalleled. Also, he turns to the Dark Side for a good reason -- albeit with horribly bad results. In comparison, Kylo is merely a spoiled kid with superpowers...
I think what Kylo has got going for him is that he is portrayed by a great actor and that his dialogue is much better written than the Prequels. I love the story of Anakin on paper, but the way it was translated to the screen was greatly disappointing to me. Of course this is all subjective. I don't see Kylo Ren as a spoiled kid. I see him more as totally messed up. The main thing is that we don't really know how he has become plunged down the path of the Dark Side yet. His path is different from characters we have seen before. But I think it is very much connected to the lies told by Supreme Leader Snoke and the burden of being the grandson of Darth Vader.

Again, all things being subjective I can see how it is possible to not like Kylo as a villain and how this would change the overall experience of the movie quite a bit.


I don't mind it either way. I find the amount of friendship displayed in Episode VII by people who actually just met to be unlikely, and didn't miss it in the prequels.
Finn is a likable guy and he rescues Poe (or they rescue eachother), while Finn later nearly dies protecting Rey. I could easily believe in their chemistry on the screen. Same thing with Rey and Han, but here I think it is more about Rey having heard all the stories about Han and all of that, while Han might even be reminded of Luke in Rey. There is also the father-daughter emotions that I think draw both to one another.

To me, Star Wars was always a story about friendship. I am looking forward to seeing Poe, Rey and Fin team up again in Episode VIII :)

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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Havard » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:21 pm

Big Mac wrote:I found out a few days back that J. J. Abrams was responsible for LOST. Once I found that out, it made more sense. LOST was full of cool looking stuff that didn't make sense. I used to be pretty sure they put most of it in there, to get fans talking about things on the Internet. But I wonder if J. J. Abrams doesn't quite join-up-the-dots when making stories and that is just his "style".
Although JJ is not above criticism, I think this is a bit unfair. First of all, LOST was pretty good during its first season when JJ still had a hand in things. Also, with Star Wars JJ was not the only one in charge of this movie. There was also Kathleen Kennedy of Lucasarts and Lawrence Kasdan (who helped make Episodes V and VI).
And I know what you mean about this being the opposite thing to the Prequels. Watching this, I thought that I should have preferred this. But I think he has sucked out a bit too much of the George Lucas vibe from the story. It isn't so much that I need more details, but that I want the sort of details that George Lucas would have put into the movie.
Young George Lucas didn't explain all that much in Episode IV. Still over three movies we began to understand how that universe worked.
Old George Lucas explained what Boba Fett was like as a child and how Midichlorians run the Force. I prefer Young George Lucas. Give the new movies time to get through the trilogy I say :)

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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:57 pm

Saunatonttu wrote:
Big Mac wrote:But they need to say they are not using the EU plot otherwise they can't do anything.
Yeah, that's the big disagreement. The only way of doing this I would have accepted would been just making The Force Awakens as is, with no commentary whatsoever on "EU". The Force Awakesn = Star Wars. Original Marvel Comics run post-Return of the Jedi = Star Wars. The Dark Horse comics, the books that some people for some oddball reason want to call "EU" = Star Wars. The video games = Star Wars. etc. etc.

They "contradict"? Who gives a toss... And just disgreard any "fan" who starts talking about "canon" or "continuity" or other silly old things that come in the way of Fun :)
I'm not saying that Disney should say that the Extended Universe was rubbish (partly because it wasn't rubbish - although elements of it were suboptimal). I'm saying that it was not possible for them to make an EU-compatible movie.

If they had not stated publicly, that this was a non EU-compatible movie, I would either have expected to go into Episode VII and to have seen Heir to the Empire (which would require new actors to play the original Star Wars characters, as it is set 9 years ABY) or I would expect to see a movie that has to somehow explain to the audience all the EU changes in the 30 years since the Battle of Yarvin.

The EU had some great stuff in it, which is why I bought a lot of the novels, but there was also some bad ideas. And because they thought that there was not going to be any movies in that era, they did whatever they wanted (including killing off Chewbacca).

So they needed to say that they were not going with the Extended Universe. However, I think they could probably have handed it slightly better.

They have said that they would dip into the Extended Universe for ideas. So I think it is too early to say that the Extended Universe is "gone".

I think it is more the case that the Extended Universe has entered a kind of Quantum Physics state, where Episodes VII-IX can overwrite any of it. If I was going to run a Force Awakened tabletop game (and I don't think I would, because I think the Classic Era of Star Wars is more interesting) I would be inclined to retain all the background elements of the Extended Universe, that don't contradict with what was in The Force Awakens.
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:24 pm

Havard wrote:Regarding the Timothy Zahn novels:
I think they were awesome mainly because they were well written and had a compelling story, but also because of the following:

1) They gave us Star Wars in a time when we didnt have any Star Wars movies, comics, video games or novels. The only Star Wars material available at that time was what came out from West End Games for the D6 RPG. Not only that, but the novels felt like Star Wars too.
I liked the Timothy Zahn novels. I don't think I liked them as much as I liked the Rogue Squadron novels.

And I was a bit disappointed that the Extended Universe PR machine steamrolled over some of the earlier Star Wars novels and comics, in the same way that some fans are complaining that the new movies are steamrollering over the EU. But that wasn't down to Timothy Zhan. That's just what marketing people do. They build up a ton of hype and say that the new thing is better than anything before it.

We now get to have an honest look at the Thrawn Trillogy and can see the good and bad in it. And in a few years, we will be able to look at this new Star Wars trilogy and look at it's good and bad points too.
Havard wrote:2) They brought back all of the characters we loved. Not just Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie and the Droids, but also Lando, Wedge, Mon Mothma and Admiral Ackbar. Telling us what our beloved friends had been up to since Jedi, but also giving us new adventures with these characters at the center.
That was great, but there was an element of fan service to that stuff. And some of the authors were not that great at writing stories that included the movie charactrs.
Havard wrote:3) They introduced new characters. Okay so Joruus C'Baoth might not be to everyone's liking, but how about Talon Karrde and Mara Jade? The Zahn novels also expanded the universe in a way that still felt like it was Star Wars.
My issue with Joruus C'Baoth has always been the stupid name, rather than how he is written.

Mara Jade is the best character of all. The numpties who were complining about Rey being some sort of feminist pandering, have clearly never seen Mara Jade. :roll:
Havard wrote:4) Those novels kicked off the Expanded Universe. Okay so not everyone like the idea of the EU, but what I am talking about here is kicking off the novels, comics, video games and all things Star Wars. Again, more Star Wars movies was not even on the horizon yet. Heir to the Empre came out in 1991 and back then at least to me it was great just having Star Wars again.
As someone who was buying all the novels before the EU came out, I didn't like the way that the EU properganda machine spoke as if there had not been any fiction until the Thrawn Trilogy.

There was some cooperation between the comics and the novels that made the EU stuff fit together a lot better than the earlier stuff. But they did kind of suggest that some of the earlier fiction was not valid. History repeats itself. At least, this time, I'm not bothered by it. :)
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by agathokles » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:30 pm

Havard wrote: Young George Lucas didn't explain all that much in Episode IV. Still over three movies we began to understand how that universe worked.
I disagree. In the crawl of Ep. IV, we get the following information:
  • The galaxy is ruled by the evil Galactic Empire.
  • There is a rebellion ongoing. The rebels have a fleet and strike from a secret base.
  • The Empire is building a giant battleship, the Death Star, with which they plan to crush the rebellion.
  • The rebels have stolen plans of the Death Star, and Princess Leia is in charge of bringing them to the secret base.
Then, from Vader's conversation with Leia, we learn the following:
  • Vader is an important member of the Empire, and Leia is a member of the Senate.
  • The Imperial Senate is not entirely in line with Vader's actions -- there is clearly a conflict between factions within the Empire. Later, through the discussion between the Imperial officers on the Death Star, the political scenario is further clarified: the Rebellion is gaining support in the Senate. For this reason, the Emperor has dissolved it, replacing its role as an intermediary between the central government and the local systems with military control assigned to the regional governors.
From Obi-Wan's conversation with Luke, and from the recording played by Artoo, we get:
  • There was a war some times before (given the age of Luke, it can be safely placed 15 years ago), the Clone Wars.
  • Obi-Wan participated as a General, together with Leia's father and Luke's father, who was a Jedi Knight.
  • Jedi Knight were guardians of peace and justice for 10000 years before the foundation of the Empire, which hunted them down to extinction. They used lightsabers as their signature weapon.
  • The Force is an energy field created by living things, which gives powers to the Jedi. It has a "dark side".
  • Vader was Obi-Wan's apprentice. He killed Luke's father and the other Jedi Knights.
Of course, the latter element is partly false, as we later learn Luke's father and Vader are the same person. Yet, for the purpose of Ep. IV, this is sufficient to establish the background.

Later on, we of course learn more about smuggling and the Imperial customs from Han, and about the Force and its standing as a hokey religion from the conversation between Obi-Wan, Han and Luke, but also about its power from Obi-Wan (in RPG terms, Mind Trick, Use the Force for perceiving life forces, telekinetic powers, stealth, surviving death as a Light side spirit), Luke (Deflect), Vader (perception).

All in all, we get all the necessary information. In comparison, in Episode VII the relative roles of each faction is not as clear (is the First Order a government? how much of the galaxy is controlled by the New Republic? what is the Resistance exactly and what is its relation with the New Republic?)

But, more importantly, elements that are not explained or given a false explanation are not obvious as in Episode VII. We're not left wondering about Luke's father -- we're given an explanation, albeit a false one. The contrary happens with Episode VII, in which the disappearance of Rey's parents is touted as a key part of her, but then remains unexplained.

Another example is the origin of the Death Star data in Episode IV vs the map in Episode VII.
In Episode IV, the data are obtained off screen. We are informed that the Rebels have stolen it -- the details are not terribly important, given the urgency of the situation, and would have taken too much to tell, so they are (correctly) omitted. The reason why Leia has been given the data is explained by her in the first scene -- she has a reasonable cover as an Ambassador from the Senate to her planet, Alderaan, where the data must be delivered to her father.
In Episode VII, the data are obtained on screen. Since there is only a short scene for this event, it is necessarily a weak one. We don't get an explanation on why a village elder on a remote planet should have part of a map leading to Luke Skywalker, an event which is certainly fairly out of the ordinary. We don't even get an explanation on why Poe Dameron is sent on this mission -- it doesn't appear to require particularly piloting skills.

In the end, Episode IV is a self-contained movie. The same for Episode I. Episode VII, not at all. Too many threads are left unresolved, too much is unexplained. Considering that, contrary to IV, we already have a lot of background knowledge (e.g., we don't need an explanation about the Force or Jedi Knights), this isn't easily justified.

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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:40 pm

Saunatonttu wrote:Yeah. Not caring about things already published if the story called for it was one of the things Lucas did right. But - he still had that silly list of A level "canon" (movies), B level "canon" etc. Which led to this whole insistence that there is this thing called "EU" which is somehow separate from the "canon" of the movies. And that's what I've always opposed :) Scre canon! :D Not just on Star Wars, I mean in general. If continuity helps storytelling, use it - if it's in the way, discard it. Fans (not you folks, but in general) often get way too stuck on the whole continuity and forget to actually enjoy the story.

*jumps off soapbox*
Well said.

I can see how fans might want to come up with these sort of constructs (Star Trek has Memory Alpha and Memory Beta that each have a different policy on inclusion or exclusion).

My personal take on canon is to not judge one form of canon as being more or less valid than another type, but to instead flag up types of canon, so that readers can decide to do that for themselves. (That is the way I was going when I was working on Spelljammer Wiki. When I get around to moving the wiki away from Wikia, I will wikify everything and not exclude things like the Pirates of Realmspace computer game factoids (even if some of it is a bit wonky).

I think that a Star Wars fan, trying to run a tabletop game, needs to be able to access every Star Wars factoid and then trace that factoid back to the specific source, so that they can check the assumptions of the person who has written that factoid down and come to their own conclusions about how they want to use that factoid.
Saunatonttu wrote:Anyway, I might go and see Episode 7 a third time, after watching the orginal trilogy around holidays :)
I'm definitely going to watch Episode VII again, more than once. There are some things about it I don't like, but it is a Star Wars film and I'm looking forward to Episode VIII.
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:47 pm

agathokles wrote:I think what Lucas did for the prequel is quite different from the current policy. Sure, it was always the case that the EU had less precedence than the movies. But, there was a clear boundary for the EU -- i.e., no EU material covered the time between Episode I and Episode IV until Episode I was out. That space was reserved for building the prequel trilogy, and made it so that EU remained relatively consistent with the movies -- sure, there are individual conflicting items, but it was not necessary to drop entirely the EU for the prequel trilogy.
And that's exactly why Disney had to drop the EU.

The prequel stuff that the EU era material did was long long long ago in the past stories that were legends. Stuff like that had no impact on the Prequel Trilogy so the Prequel Trilogy didn't write over it.

But all that stuff with the EU era material was written with the assumption (by fans) that the Thrawn Trilogy was standing in for Episode VII-Episode IX and that we would never ever get those movies from George Lucas.

And we didn't get those movies from George Lucas. Instead he sold a Star Wars IP that had an extension built onto the back that was in the place where Disney wanted to build a new wing onto the property.

They have said that they may well use elements from the Extended Universe. Given that they sneaked R2KT into The Force Awakens, I can see them sneaking in other things. I think it would have been nice if they had given Timothy Zhan a cameo role.
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by agathokles » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:52 pm

Havard wrote: Ah, we certainly have very different starting points going into this movie then. I am going to try to avoid bashing the prequels in this thread, but lets just say they left me very disappointed and I am very happy that the new movie did not resemble the prequels at all. I think that you are talking about the setting though. I had no problem with the prequel setting. Could the TFA setting have been more different from the originals? Perhaps, but what makes me happy with this movie is that it has a great story and characters I like and want to learn more about.
I'm also talking about the plot... although the setting aspect is indeed a problem, Episode VII is weak as a movie.
I think what Kylo has got going for him is that he is portrayed by a great actor and that his dialogue is much better written than the Prequels. I love the story of Anakin on paper, but the way it was translated to the screen was greatly disappointing to me. Of course this is all subjective. I don't see Kylo Ren as a spoiled kid. I see him more as totally messed up. The main thing is that we don't really know how he has become plunged down the path of the Dark Side yet. His path is different from characters we have seen before. But I think it is very much connected to the lies told by Supreme Leader Snoke and the burden of being the grandson of Darth Vader.
That's a bit of a problem. I judge the movie on its own, not as part of a (as yet non-existent) trilogy. So, Kylo gets judged from what is told in the movie... which, really, portrays him as an idiot who kills his father because it is the right thing to do to be as evil as his grandfather...
The actor, I don't know. He might be better than Hayden Christensen, but he's not the next Harrison Ford either. All three main actors seem rather average (Boyega is likely the best of the three, Riley the weakest). The prequel trilogy had definitely a stronger cast, and the original had Peter Cushing and Alec Guiness...
Again, all things being subjective I can see how it is possible to not like Kylo as a villain and how this would change the overall experience of the movie quite a bit.
Indeed, although the movie would be weak even had Kylo been better.
Finn is a likable guy and he rescues Poe (or they rescue eachother), while Finn later nearly dies protecting Rey. I could easily believe in their chemistry on the screen. Same thing with Rey and Han, but here I think it is more about Rey having heard all the stories about Han and all of that, while Han might even be reminded of Luke in Rey. There is also the father-daughter emotions that I think draw both to one another.
Rey and Han makes more sense -- in the end, Han offers her a job because she's good, which is a bit different from almost dying to save her, and she turns it down (and why? because she wants to go back to a desert where she must daily take huge risks to earn subsistence pay... very credible). Finn and Rey, not so much.
That said, Finn is definitely one of the few redeeming aspects of Ep. VII -- although his penchant for lying seems at odds with a lifelong Stormtrooper training.

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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:53 pm

Irondrake wrote:Just got back from seeing Episode VII, and was sorely disappointed in it. Everything agathokles had to say is spot on, and I echo his thoughts on the film. These are exactly the same points I discussed with my wife as we ate lunch after seeing it.

Wow, I'm really bummed that this film was such a disappointment.
I've got the same sort of feelings too.

I'm still really deciding if I liked it or not, because some things disappointed me, but others were better than the original films.

(This is pretty much the same way I feel about Return of the Jedi, where the opening section, in Jabba's palace is the best Star Wars action ever, but the ewok combat scenes are fairly annoying and spoil my enjoyment of the end of the Original Trilogy. Even Chewbacca does a Tarzan impression in that Endor battle. :roll: )
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:01 am

night_druid wrote:I went in with low expectations. Abrams lived up to my expectations of his movies sans lens flares.
You mean you missed the epic lens-flare weapon that blows up planets? :P

This YouTube user counted the lens flares in the trailer.
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:04 am

Havard wrote:
agathokles wrote:I'm definitely a fan of the prequel trilogy -- it's obviously very different from the original trilogy, but that's good, because it deals with a different era. I'd have liked something similar for the sequel trilogy, rather than an attempt to redo the original trilogy.
Ah, we certainly have very different starting points going into this movie then. I am going to try to avoid bashing the prequels in this thread, but lets just say they left me very disappointed and I am very happy that the new movie did not resemble the prequels at all. I think that you are talking about the setting though. I had no problem with the prequel setting. Could the TFA setting have been more different from the originals? Perhaps, but what makes me happy with this movie is that it has a great story and characters I like and want to learn more about.
I have to say that an Episode I-III roleplaying sourcebook and an Episode VII-IX roleplaying sourcebook are both going to be very useful things.

I'm not sure how much infodumping we will see in Episode VII-IX vs the Prequel Trilogy or the Original Trilogy, but if someone wants to run a tabletop game in a specific era, the amount of information they have to start with is not going to make them want to give up and play a different game.
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by agathokles » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:07 am

Big Mac wrote: And that's exactly why Disney had to drop the EU.
Well, no one pointed a gun to Disney's collective head and forced them to make a new trilogy set 30 years ABY. There were plenty of options for doing things differently.
They could have set the new movies in the Legacy Era (40+ y. ABY), for one. After the last novels series, IIRC, there's only the Legacy comics (the Cade Skywalker series), which is set very far in the future.
Or, they could have dropped the EU after the Battle of Yavin, but not the EU before it. Knights of the Old Republic, or The Force Unleashed, or the Clone Wars series are not per se incompatible with anything that has been shown in Episode VII, and are unlikely to be incompatible with anything in Episode VIII or IX.
Note that these are merely two possibilities, but there could have been many others -- e.g., they could have set the sequels in the far future, with Luke (and Leia, if desired) as Light Side spirits (as in the Legacy comics).

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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:13 am

Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I found out a few days back that J. J. Abrams was responsible for LOST. Once I found that out, it made more sense. LOST was full of cool looking stuff that didn't make sense. I used to be pretty sure they put most of it in there, to get fans talking about things on the Internet. But I wonder if J. J. Abrams doesn't quite join-up-the-dots when making stories and that is just his "style".
Although JJ is not above criticism, I think this is a bit unfair. First of all, LOST was pretty good during its first season when JJ still had a hand in things. Also, with Star Wars JJ was not the only one in charge of this movie. There was also Kathleen Kennedy of Lucasarts and Lawrence Kasdan (who helped make Episodes V and VI).
I'm not so much saying J.J. Abrams is bad here, so I'm not sure that "criticism" is the right word for you to say about my comment.

What, I am saying is: this is how the dude works. Disney knew that when they hired him. You don't hire J.J. Abrams and then complain that he makes a J.J. Abrams film.

What I meant was, that I understand better why Episode VII was the way it was (and why Star Trek was the way it was) now that I know that the LOST man made them both.

(If I had bought Star Wars from George Lucas, I'd have got Peter Jackson to make Episode VII, VIII and IX. And Paul Westermeyer would be complaining about the new Star Wars movies right now! :P )
Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:And I know what you mean about this being the opposite thing to the Prequels. Watching this, I thought that I should have preferred this. But I think he has sucked out a bit too much of the George Lucas vibe from the story. It isn't so much that I need more details, but that I want the sort of details that George Lucas would have put into the movie.
Young George Lucas didn't explain all that much in Episode IV. Still over three movies we began to understand how that universe worked.
Old George Lucas explained what Boba Fett was like as a child and how Midichlorians run the Force. I prefer Young George Lucas. Give the new movies time to get through the trilogy I say :)
...so the logical extension of that thought is that Disney sacked George Lucas and got J.J. Abrams to do an impersonation of Young George Lucas, because they thought he was more like George Lucas than the real George Lucas. ;)
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by agathokles » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:13 am

Big Mac wrote: They have said that they may well use elements from the Extended Universe. Given that they sneaked R2K2 into The Force Awakens, I can see them sneaking in other things. I think it would have been nice if they had given Timothy Zhan a cameo role.
You mean R2-KT?

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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by agathokles » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:23 am

Big Mac wrote: I have to say that an Episode I-III roleplaying sourcebook and an Episode VII-IX roleplaying sourcebook are both going to be very useful things.
That's very subjective... I was discussing the movie with the other people in my group earlier today, and none of us really liked it in the end. Moreover, a new sourcebook would use the FFG rules-set, which, as far as I understand, is quite different from Saga (which is basically mid-way between D20 and D&D 4e). So, in the end I wouldn't get much out of such as supplement. I do have The Clone Wars Campaign Guide, which is as near as you get to an Episode I-III guide (it focuses really more on II and III, of course, since there are 10 years between I and II-III), and I obviously get a lot more out of it than I would from an Episode VII-IX book.

Even without speaking about prequels and sequels, Era books have markedly different usefulness, as shown by the difference in sales between, say, the KotOR era guide (sold out immediately, very costly to get) and the Legacy era guide (still relatively easy to find at or near MRSP).
Clearly, people didn't think they'd be equally useful... ;-)

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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:24 am

agathokles wrote:In the end, Episode IV is a self-contained movie. The same for Episode I. Episode VII, not at all. Too many threads are left unresolved, too much is unexplained. Considering that, contrary to IV, we already have a lot of background knowledge (e.g., we don't need an explanation about the Force or Jedi Knights), this isn't easily justified.
Most series of movies start off with a standalone movie then end up with a bunch of movies that beg the audience to come back for the next chapter until the storyline gets so thin that the franchise collapses.

The fact that Star Wars has this structure makes it fairly unique:
  • A New Hope,
  • The Empire Strikes Back + Return of the Jedi
  • The Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones + Revenge of the Sith
It is interesting that you are saying that Episode VII is not self-contained (like Episode IV was) when other people are suggesting that it is too much like Episode IV.

Perhaps we are going to get Episode VII + Episode VIII as one story and Episode IX as a follow up story that stands on its own.

I certainly found the thing with Luke Skywalker very interesting. Firstly he was in a lot of the early PR. Then they pulled him out of the later trailers and cut him out of the poster. They spoke about him, as a plot aim in the movie. But he hardly had any screentime. Clearly Episode VIII is going to be the "Why did Luke Skywalker run away?" movie.
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:25 am

agathokles wrote:
Big Mac wrote: They have said that they may well use elements from the Extended Universe. Given that they sneaked R2K2 into The Force Awakens, I can see them sneaking in other things. I think it would have been nice if they had given Timothy Zhan a cameo role.
You mean R2-KT?
Yes I did. I thought I typed that. I must have had sausage fingers. I'll go edit my post.
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:36 am

agathokles wrote:
Big Mac wrote:And that's exactly why Disney had to drop the EU.
Well, no one pointed a gun to Disney's collective head and forced them to make a new trilogy set 30 years ABY. There were plenty of options for doing things differently.
I disagree here.

I believe that Disney wanted to make sequels to the Original Star Wars movies.

The Prequel Trilogy was another story in the Star Wars universe. We had Obi-Wan Kenobi, but he wasn't quite the same. We had Anakin Skywalker and he certainly was not the same. Aside from the droids, the only character that had an similarity to the Original Trilogy was Palpatine.

And the reason why Palpatine worked so well was that it was the same actor.

Disney clearly wanted to make a trilogy that used Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. They could have done something else, but then those actors would have aged even more and this sort of project would still have required treading on the same territory that the EU fiction staked out for itself.
agathokles wrote:They could have set the new movies in the Legacy Era (40+ y. ABY), for one. After the last novels series, IIRC, there's only the Legacy comics (the Cade Skywalker series), which is set very far in the future.
Or, they could have dropped the EU after the Battle of Yavin, but not the EU before it. Knights of the Old Republic, or The Force Unleashed, or the Clone Wars series are not per se incompatible with anything that has been shown in Episode VII, and are unlikely to be incompatible with anything in Episode VIII or IX.
Note that these are merely two possibilities, but there could have been many others -- e.g., they could have set the sequels in the far future, with Luke (and Leia, if desired) as Light Side spirits (as in the Legacy comics).
The best thing about Disney doing what they did, instead of doing a J.J. Abrams reboot of the Original Trilogy or some sort of project that tried to maintain continuity with EU stuff, is that they can still go back and do a Knights of the Old Republic trilogy of movies or a Clone Wars TV series any time.

I wanted a film with the actors that were in the 1977 movie. I even liked the fact that they included some of the other characters from Return of the Jedi (although I think that Admiral Ackbar looked wrong for some reason).

And I'm sad that Lando was not there. That was just wrong. Get your chequebook out Disney.
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by agathokles » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:38 am

Big Mac wrote: It is interesting that you are saying that Episode VII is not self-contained (like Episode IV was) when other people are suggesting that it is too much like Episode IV.
I don't see this as contradictory. The fact that Episode VII is not self-contained has nothing to do with the main plot (which is almost exactly that of Episode IV, except that the final battle is straight out of Episode VI), it refers to the fact that information about the setting and characters is never provided. If possible, it is a problem that actually derives from being too much like Episode IV -- as I've said before, a problem of Episode VII is that it tries to redo Episode IV and VI, but with more action, thus cutting down opportunities for "infodumping", as you said in a past post.
I certainly found the thing with Luke Skywalker very interesting. Firstly he was in a lot of the early PR. Then they pulled him out of the later trailers and cut him out of the poster. They spoke about him, as a plot aim in the movie. But he hardly had any screentime. Clearly Episode VIII is going to be the "Why did Luke Skywalker run away?" movie.
It might have had to do with negotiations with the other actors. Possibly, at the time Harrison Ford had not yet agreed to be in, or his role had not been confined to a single movie.

While we are on original series actors/characters, I'd have used Lando as the owner of the seedy cantina :-)

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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Havard » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:40 am

Big Mac wrote:And I'm sad that Lando was not there. That was just wrong. Get your chequebook out Disney.
I am pretty sure Billy Dee Williams will be in Ep VIII. I think they left him out because they didnt want to cram too many original trilogy actors in. Also, he first appeared in Empire so it fits that he is reintroduced in the second movie of this trilogy.

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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by agathokles » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:45 am

Big Mac wrote:
agathokles wrote:
Big Mac wrote:And that's exactly why Disney had to drop the EU.
Well, no one pointed a gun to Disney's collective head and forced them to make a new trilogy set 30 years ABY. There were plenty of options for doing things differently.
I disagree here.

I believe that Disney wanted to make sequels to the Original Star Wars movies.
So, you don't really disagree ;-)
"Disney wanted" is different from "Disney had to".
The best thing about Disney doing what they did, instead of doing a J.J. Abrams reboot of the Original Trilogy or some sort of project that tried to maintain continuity with EU stuff, is that they can still go back and do a Knights of the Old Republic trilogy of movies or a Clone Wars TV series any time.
I don't see why they could not, had they maintained the EU continuity. I think they will not, but either way, continuity with BBY EU doesn't really matter in this sense.
I wanted a film with the actors that were in the 1977 movie. I even liked the fact that they included some of the other characters from Return of the Jedi (although I think that Admiral Ackbar looked wrong for some reason).
As I said, they could have done it without touching the EU, merely by setting it in 40 ABY or so instead of 30 ABY. Considering that the movies are almost 40 years old, it would not have been much of a stretch.

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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:56 am

agathokles wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I have to say that an Episode I-III roleplaying sourcebook and an Episode VII-IX roleplaying sourcebook are both going to be very useful things.
That's very subjective...
It certainly is which is why one man's fish is another man's poisson. ;)

We will have to wait until all three of the Disney Star Wars movies come out and even then the fact that people like different things will mean that we can only judge what our own personal preferences are.
agathokles wrote:I was discussing the movie with the other people in my group earlier today, and none of us really liked it in the end. Moreover, a new sourcebook would use the FFG rules-set, which, as far as I understand, is quite different from Saga (which is basically mid-way between D20 and D&D 4e). So, in the end I wouldn't get much out of such as supplement. I do have The Clone Wars Campaign Guide, which is as near as you get to an Episode I-III guide (it focuses really more on II and III, of course, since there are 10 years between I and II-III), and I obviously get a lot more out of it than I would from an Episode VII-IX book.
This is the eternal problem caused by the Edition Treadmill.

The treadmill turns and some old material does not get converted, but all the new material does not get retro-converted.

I prefer to play D&D over other games, but I'm having more and more respect for the rules systems that have more evolution and less revolution. They make gaming a lot less problematic.

If you think about it, nobody from Disney stood outside the cinema banning people from watching the movie if they had read EU novels. As someone watching and reading Star Wars, you can take it all in. It is only when you get into gaming territory that you get told that you either can or can not do things a certain way.

That goes for the computer games, as much as the tabletop games. A designer has a remit and you can only do what you do within that remit.

Given that the Star Wars gaming licence has moved on from West End Games a long time ago, I think we need to make allowances for that and ask how WEG (or WotC) would have supported this movie, rather than tie in FFG vs WEG baggage when discussing how useful a sourcebook might be.

The reason I think that an Episode VII sourcebook would be as useful as an Episode I sourcebook, is that, if a good RPG designer writes it, and they have blank areas, they will simply write between the lines. So even if J.J. Abrams didn't give us all the details, we would learn something from the RPG book. ;)
agathokles wrote:Even without speaking about prequels and sequels, Era books have markedly different usefulness, as shown by the difference in sales between, say, the KotOR era guide (sold out immediately, very costly to get) and the Legacy era guide (still relatively easy to find at or near MRSP).
Clearly, people didn't think they'd be equally useful... ;-)
I remember, late in the 4th Edition Era of D&D, talking about what D&D books I would be able to pick up dirt cheap after 4e got dumped. I had people telling me that it would be impossible to buy any 4e books cheap, but I got some cheap anyway. (And I'll go look for some more cheap 4e books at some point.)

I think that sometimes a book will be published in low volume, because the buyers don't trust it, and then will get snapped up, when supply problems make the eBay bandits grab stock. And I think that sometimes a book will be published in high volume, because it is following something that sold well, and people will get turned off of it by some poor reviews.

I've picked up some dirt cheap books that had awful reviews, after reading between the lines and realising that the reason why reviewers were giving low marks had no bearing on my purchasing decision.

The good thing about KotOR vs Legacy, is that KotOR is the past. And you can use the past in any era that follows it. But, if I was a Star Wars gamer, I'd be setting myself a "buy price" for the Legacy book (based on a percentage that I thought I could use) and looking for a copy that dropped that much. The same would apply to any Episode VII books, if I wanted to buy them and use them with WEG.

One thing I would love to see is a group of Star Wars fans that convert the new stuff to WEG stats. That way, any new books would be as useful to WEG players as they are to FFG players.
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Re: [movie] Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens SPOILER

Post by Big Mac » Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:16 am

agathokles wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
agathokles wrote:
Big Mac wrote:And that's exactly why Disney had to drop the EU.
Well, no one pointed a gun to Disney's collective head and forced them to make a new trilogy set 30 years ABY. There were plenty of options for doing things differently.
I disagree here.

I believe that Disney wanted to make sequels to the Original Star Wars movies.
So, you don't really disagree ;-)
"Disney wanted" is different from "Disney had to".
Well nobody (including George Lucas) ever "had to" ever make Star Wars movies.

But, starting with the premise that Disney bought the rights to make Star Wars movies, while being a company that runs it's business making movies, their shareholder's would want them to get a return on their investment by making Star Wars movies.

So from that point of view, they did "have to" make Star Wars movies.

The critics have been bashing the Disney purchase of Star Wars since it was first announced, so the first Star Wars movie they made had to be something that would win over critics. Including the actual actors that were in the most popular Star Wars movies that George Lucas made is a no-brainer decision.

That's why I think they didn't really have a choice. But they will have a choice in the future, because they will have "done this" then.
agathokles wrote:
Big Mac wrote:The best thing about Disney doing what they did, instead of doing a J.J. Abrams reboot of the Original Trilogy or some sort of project that tried to maintain continuity with EU stuff, is that they can still go back and do a Knights of the Old Republic trilogy of movies or a Clone Wars TV series any time.
I don't see why they could not, had they maintained the EU continuity. I think they will not, but either way, continuity with BBY EU doesn't really matter in this sense.
Even if they went and did one of those projects based on the Extended Universe products, I still think they would have needed to publicly state that they were dropping the previous canon from the EU version of the products they were adapting.

And the perfect reason for that is the Game of Thrones TV show. You have this really popular show based on Song of Fire and Ice books that are already out there and they have an issue avoiding spoilers.

I got a ton of spoiler stress avoiding spoilers for The Force Awakens before seeing it (largely down to the number of fans who seemed to think that waiting four days and then blabbing about the plot was enough of a delay for the "real fans" to go see it.

Just imagine if they made the Thrawn Trilogy into movies and kept the plot the same. I just don't think it would work. It might work with other stories, but Star Wars films morph during the filming process. That is part of what makes them what they are.
agathokles wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I wanted a film with the actors that were in the 1977 movie. I even liked the fact that they included some of the other characters from Return of the Jedi (although I think that Admiral Ackbar looked wrong for some reason).
As I said, they could have done it without touching the EU, merely by setting it in 40 ABY or so instead of 30 ABY. Considering that the movies are almost 40 years old, it would not have been much of a stretch.
They could have done that, but then they would have had to hire researchers to trawl through Wookiepedia and work out the implications of all the EU material they were trying to work around. Plus they would have had to hire researchers to read anything that was missing from Wookiepedia and work around that.

And if they missed anything and create a continuity error, the fans would have complained about it. Given the fuss that a few numpties made about Finn being black, imagine the fuss we would have had if they had cast an Indian lady to play Mara Jade or made Admiral Thrawn into a woman. Instead, they have had total freedom when casting the new characters of The Force Awakens.

And that freedom has given us characters like Captain Phasma, who apparently started off as a male character and then got cast as a woman without the role being sexed up.
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