Jul 28, 2014

A review of the 'Tales of the Bounty Hunters' a collection of short stories about .... bounty hunters

Bounty hunter line up from Empire Strikes Back
Dengar, IG-88- Bobba Fett, Bosk, 4LOM, Zuckass
After that disaster of a read that was The Truce at Bakura I picked up Tales of the Bounty Hunters. I was quietly confident this would be a better read because it was edited by Kevin J Anderson who I had come across as having written a story for the Halo franchise. And as it happens the first of the five tales was written by him.

The casual Star Wars fan might wonder who these bounty hunters are and why have the Masters of the Star Wars universe determined they should have stories written about them. These bounty hunters are the 5 that Darth Vader summons to his ship the Executor to hunt for Han Solo and Princess Leia after they have escaped the planet Hoth.

The stories cleverly tie in with events in Empire and Jedi.  The 5 stories interact with the moment that Vader issues the bounty for Solo. They all give interesting insights into these hunters and show what makes them tick.

Here's some brief summary review marks:

Therefore I Am: The Tale of IG-88 by Kevin J. Anderson     

This is a stand out short story, regardless of it being from the Star Wars universe. A chilling tale of how a killer robot deigns to take over the universe. Well written by Anderson, as you read it one can actually feel the cold that comes from the heartless IG-88.

Payback: The Tale of Dengar by Dave Wolverton

What started off as a dull assassination story became a warm love story with a fine ending where Dengar fought for his life and new love admist the back drop of Jabba the Hutt’s crumbling empire. I understand that at the time it was canon, the story was the first official reference to Bobba Fett escaping the Sarlacc pit. I'm keen to learn more about Dengar!

The Prize Pelt: The Tale of Bossk by Kathy Tyers

Ah Kathy, that’s a two for two strike with me. This story was hard to follow in the sense it was full of convoluted plots to rescue Wookies from Imperials on another planet while molded around a story to take down Bossk. The thing that bugged me was that there was no way there was time to set up with contrived situation on hearing about the Bounty offer from Vader, as the rescue of the Wookies would have been a well planned exercise.

I also really hated that Bossk’s ship was full of soooo many sensors which allowed for a cat and mouse came on board – that part of the story was a dull and slow paced Tom and Jerry skit. The ending rounded off fairly well however.  When I realised the story was written by Kathy Dyers, it all made sense.

Of Possible Futures: The Tale of Zuckuss and 4-LOM by M. Shayne Bell

Two scum bounty hunters make good. A story of two tales really - crew of a wrecked Rebel ship struggle to survive whilst a robot comes to grips with his 'feelings'. An odd contrast but one that ties together quite nicely. Unlike the Prize Pelt, this story wasn't painted to broad in its scope making it crisp and concise as how short stories should be.

The Last One Standing: The Tale of Boba Fett by Daniel Keys Moran

Possibly a wasted chance to tell a really good Boba Fett story, it does give us an insight into an aged Fett who having survived the Sarlacc Pitt undertakes one last bounty to see him into retirement. An itchy Han Solo serves to prove a worthy foe once more.


I recommend these short stories for those who are keen to explore deeper into the Star Wars universe but bear in mind this stuff is no longer considered cannon.

Extra for experts

Were did Bossk's jump suit come from?
IG-88 was made from parts from the Cantina bar.

Jul 27, 2014

Where did the inspiration for the AT Walkers in Empire come from?

Kit bashed has suggested that the inspiration for the AT walkers that so famously attacked the Hoth Rebel base in Empire were inspired by the Martians that attacked planet Earth on H.G Well's War of the Worlds.

Here's how Wells described his tripod war machines:

"But instead of a milking stool imagine it a great body of machinery on a tripod stand... Seen nearer, the Thing was incredibly strange, for it was no mere insensate machine driving on its way. Machine it was, with a ringing metallic pace, and long, flexible, glittering tentacles (one of which gripped a young pine tree) swinging and rattling about its strange body.

It picked its road as it went striding along, and the brazen hood that surmounted it moved to and fro with the inevitable suggestion of a head looking about. Behind the main body was a huge mass of white metal like a gigantic fisherman's basket, and puffs of green smoke squirted out from the joints of the limbs as the monster swept by me."

Well, the AT had no tentacles...but what do you think?

If this got you wondering what else inspire Star Wars, check out what Gandalf did for the franchise and the other things that inspired George Lucas.

Jul 21, 2014

JJ reveals what the X-Wing looks like, mentions something about children in need.

JJ X Wing

The detail on this X Wing looks like the production team is employing the Peter Jackson / Guillermo del Toro mode of attention to detail that helped make them famous.

Remember this X Wing leak? Looks like the same kind of model.

Oh, and the mouse robot.....

Why do Obi Wan and Vader fight so slowly in A New Hope than compared to Revenge of the Sith?

obi wan fights vader on the Death Star

Why do Obi Wan and Vader fight so slowly in A New Hope than compared to how they do in Revenge of the Sith?

Well, it's not because they are old!

This are two ways to answer this question. The first relates to the effort of movie making. The second is about the story telling.

In terms of movie making, Star Wars was produced in 1976 and featured an elderly Alec Guiness clashing swords with a muscle man in a big heavy black suit. No one expected the energetic acrobatics of Errol Flynn.

This was a sword fight using 'light swords' and on screen special effects that never ever been done before. No one ever knew Star Wars was going to become the biggest film in history. No one knew it was going to be one of the most examined and discussed films in history. If George Lucas had, he would have made it better. But he didn't and indeed, he swapped some points with Steven Spielberg!

There was simply no way that the sword fight between Darth and Kenobi was going to be as epic as what was eventually realised in Revenge of the Sith.

But in terms of story telling, this is where things get interesting. What you witnessed was not a sword battle between a Sith Lord and a famous Jedi Knight, it was a conversation (watch it here).

Forget about Revenge of the Sith for a moment, what we were presented with was two foes that had fought some 20 years earlier where one left the other for dead. And now, Vader is one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy. He could have killed Kenobi in an instant but he chose to play it out a bit, maybe so he could figure out what Obi Wan was up to (he already had a plan though to let the Millennium Falcon escape).

One could argue that Obi Wan toys with Vader somewhat as well. He certainly insults him with his sneering use of the word Darth. This repartee fine for Kenobi, he was trying to give Luke a chance to escape the Death Star. He also knew that his death would be a significant event.

The telling point is not this rope-a-dope of sorts, but Kenobi's line "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." that was important. We didn't know how it was important but we were given enough to know that with this knowledge, Kenobi was not afraid to die.

He knew he was able to help Luke in another, more important way - and that came to be when Luke was doing the trench run on the Death Star and was able to give guidance. It was a noble sacrifice and it set the path for Luke to become a Jedi and bring down the Emperor (Obi Wan had no idea Vader was still to actually fulfill The Prophecy).

vader kenobi battle
From my point of view the Jedi are evil...
By the time Revenge of the Sith came along, moving making had come a long long way.

Blockbusters were now giant spectacles filled with epic action and featured vast amounts of CGI animation. George Lucas was able to take the current state of CGI and use it to make his duel between two heroes one of the fastest flowing there had ever been. He needed to as well for it was the climax of the prequel trilogy and the moment every one had wanted to see since it was learned that Vader fell to the dark side. It had to be epic, anything less would have been a failure.

Extra for experts: Check out this theory about light sabers being used in the Star Wars movies.

Jul 18, 2014

Did Bobba Fett survive his inglorious fall into the Sarlacc Pitt?

Johnathan Rinzler has basically confirmed what every Bobba Fett fan has wished for - that Bobba did not die in the Sarlacc Pitt in Jedi. Many fans have felt that the character didn't deserve to die in such an ignomius way.

The trouble of course is no one really knew Bobba was going to become considered such a 'cool' Star Wars character. This author think's he's over rated for one.....

Any ways Rinzler did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit and this is the answer he gave about Bobba Fett's survival:

"Yes, he does. I have been in meetings with George where he confirms that Fett survived. If it comes from George then it’s true!"

And if you don't believe the man who is one of the team in charge of recording the history of the Star Wars films, I have documented proof Bobba lives:

It aint easy being green, especially if you're a slave dancer on Tatooine

oola jedi coslay green twilek

It aint easy being green, especially if you're a green Twilek named Oola that happens to dance for a giant slug. This cosplayer totally nails the Oola from Jedi, don't you think? Twilek are actually pretty popular as cosplay targets, as if you didn't know...

Jul 17, 2014

IG-88 was built from the beverage dispenser from the Cantina from A New Hope

Did you know that the bounty hunter droid IG-88 who was briefly scene in The Empire Strikes Backwas built with recycled shooting accessories from A New Hope?

ig88 cantina head

IG-88's head was created from one of the beverage dispensers that can be seen in the cantina of Star War's A New Hope! 

While IG-88 was only briefly seen in Empire, it was enough for him to feature in a short story written by Kevin J. Anderson called Therefore I am: The Tale of IG-88. It's a very clever yarn that's woven around the events of Empire and Jedi. Get a copy from Amazon here!