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The Road To Episode VII: Final Trailer Arrives, Rebels S02E02 & Shattered Empire #4

On Monday evening, millions of people rejoiced as the full trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens made its world premiere. To say that fans lost their minds over this trailer would be an understatement.

I jumped online right after the trailer ended to purchase my tickets for the film since seeing it any other time than opening night just won’t do. Like many, my website of choice was moving slow and timed me out repeatedly during the purchasing process. My wife helped me with this endeavor and after an hour and change we ended up with two sets of tickets for back-to-back showings on opening night.

Besides the theatrical poster and movie trailer being released, there was a new episode of Rebels as well as the conclusion to the critically acclaimed Shattered Empire series.

Let’s put this baby into hyperdrive and continue our travels on The Road to Episode VII.

Poster & Trailer Review

Sometimes, J.J. Abrams’ “Mystery Box” approach to promoting a film can be frustrating.

This time, however, he is running on all cylinders as the trailer gave us a lot without spoiling much of anything. I still have no idea what this movie is about, but the footage that was revealed made my imagination run wild with possibilities.

Kylo Ren standing over the scorched Darth Vader helmet and vowing, “Nothing will stand in our way. I will finish, what you started.

Wow, just, wow. What does that even mean? Did Vader have a grand design that none of us are aware of? Does Kylo know that Vader turned good at the end of Return of the Jedi? We’ve had Sith lords that deal in absolutes, but never a dark side wielder that is clinically insane. What else do you call someone who keeps someone’s thirty-year-old head on a pedestal?

The possibilities with the new baddie on the block seem to be endless.

“It’s true. All of it.” Five words uttered by a grizzled veteran, which says so much about the state of the galaxy. Thirty years after the Battle of Endor, it appears that the Force is now beholden to myth, legend, and nothing more than a tale to either inspire or scare children. That concept is fascinating because it augments the meaning of the film’s title.
Daisy Ridley’s Rey is clearly the main protagonist as this mere scavenger is destined for greater things. She displayed a series of emotions with great facial reactions that said more than any amount of carefully crafted dialog could convey. That’s one of the main reasons why the prequels missed the mark on such a grand scale because almost nothing was able to speak for itself.

If the footage we saw is any indication of Ridley’s talents as an actor, the silver screen truly has something special on its hands.

Speaking of The Force Awakens, this is the perfect term to describe the theatrical poster. While it’s a very busy design, it looks like a Star Wars poster and it gives observers a lot to look at.

While die-hard fans scour the web for any morsel or information or images from the film, it’s not marketed towards us because they already have our money.

As crazy as this sounds, there are a fair amount of casual movie goers who probably won’t know there is a new Star Wars film on its way until they see the poster hanging up in the atrium en route to the concession stand. The imagery screams that an awakening is taking place and evokes a multitude of emotions while gazing upon the original cast filling out the picture as the new cast are positioned front and center.

The Death Star looking orb on the upper right hand side of the poster looks to be the heavily rumored Starkiller Base. The name is an homage to Luke’s proposed last name in George Lucas’ first draft of A New Hope. If the capabilities of this weapon are accurate, I have no idea how this thing can be beat in a way involving an exhaust port. Learning the history of such a creation will be interesting to discover.

While the trailer can be examined and explored all day, the unsung hero of this production is how it looks and sounds. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. Shots such as the camera panning as Poe Dameron and Finn bump into each other, the scope of Rey’s excavation inside the crashed Star Destroyer and the detail of the aired dog fights is unlike anything we’ve seen in the previous films.

While the music wasn’t composed by the legendary John Williams, the remix of the Force theme along with the voice over by Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata, evoked the majesty of this beloved space opera.

My expectations are in check, but December 18th can’t come soon enough!

Rebels Report: S02E02: Relics of the Old Republic

The Ghost crew along with Rex, Gregor and Wolfe are trapped between a rock and a hard place. The rock being a massive sand storm and the hard place being a squadron of AT-AT walkers. With no choice but to fight, a plan is devised to strategically vanquish their humongous foes.

The strength of this episode comes from the interaction between Rex and Kanan, who still has trust issues. Rex instructs Kanan and Ezra to use their Jedi powers to help everyone else maneuver in the eye of the storm. Ezra jumps at the chance to help out and flex his Force muscles.

Kanan is put off at the notion of being told what to do by a clone of all people, however, Rex’s orders are more along the lines of coaching that comes off with a steady conviction that can’t be argued. Kanan obliges and it works because his training was cut short at an early age while Rex fought side-by-side on the front lines with the Jedi.

In many ways, he knows what Kanan is capable of more than Kanan does.

The direction of Agent Kalus’s character might be taking an interesting turn. The ruthless Imperial was treated as a very expendable cog on the wheel. This could develop into a bigger plot point down the line, or perhaps, it was simply a message stating that anyone is disposable in Darth Vader’s pursuit of the Rebels. Kalus did provide a cool little call back to Return of the Jedi when ordering his AT-AT operators to “Intensify forward firepower!”

The first of two inquisitors, The Fifth Brother, made his series debut in a brief moment that established his character. The Inquisitor from last season had a surgical elegance to his brand of carnage while the Fifth Brother is a brooding colossus that will run through walls and ask questions later.

Overall, this was a good episode that firmly established the places our heroes are at this season while setting a dangerous tone for what lies ahead.

Star Wars: Shattered Empire #4 (of 4)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Andres Mossa
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price $3.99

The final installment of Shattered Empire, is set three months after the Battle of Endor.

The last command of Emperor Palpatine, Operation Cinder is causing destruction across the galaxy faster than the Rebellion can stop it. While laying down their arms in place of a normal life appeared to be a sure thing, the grim realization set in that the war is far from over.

I’m not sure how a feel about this. On one hand, the story it designed to build a bridge to The Force Awakens. On the other hand, it appears that the galaxy spoke too soon with their celebration at the end of Return of the Jedi.

Those of you who notice how conspicuous the absence of Luke Skywalker is from the TFA trailer and poster, fear not.

Greg Rucka gives us all we can handle. Luke embarks on a secret mission with the help of Shara Bey to retrieve a tree that Palpatine stole from the heart of the Jedi temple. This felt completely random and there was no explanation as to how Luke knew of their existence.

Seeing Luke in action post ROTJ was a treat to see unfold.

Marco Checchetto’s artwork made his new found expertise as a Jedi Knight shine on the page. Shey played second fiddle this time around as there was no room to develop her character any further with Luke in the lead role. It’s a shame that Greg Rucka couldn’t the right balance since Shey is a great addition to the new cannon.

The parents of Poe Dameron get their happy ending, but Shey takes on a permanent mission in her retirement that involves the tree Luke liberated. There was lot of visual emphasis not only on the tree, but its location, which looks like one of the planets shown in the trailer. If this all adds up, the implications could be huge.

While this issue is the weakest of the series, it still fulfills its promise and takes the reader on a journey to The Force Awakens.

I hope this isn’t the last time Greg Rucka works his magic in a galaxy far, far away because he truly gets Star Wars more than most.

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