Tag Archives: Jedi

Master Windu, Welcome.

Today is an ultimate geek out day for me. 😀 I got my Star Wars Black Series Mace Windu Lightsaber!

For those whose geek credentials are lacking, ‘The Black Series’ is the elite level of officially licensed toys and memorabilia from Hasbro.

Ironic trivia here: Kenner (Hasbro’s chief rival) made all the Star Wars toys through the 80s and 90s.

Explanations taken care of, you all get to see the unboxing and get a review! Yes, I said unboxing

A real fan HAS to open the box!

The packaging is fairly nice, as the first two pics indicate. Here’s what you see when you open it up:

Yes, that’s a framed Yoda poster off to the side. Do or Do Not; There is No Try.

As you can see it’s well protected in the package, which is nice given that this puppy was kind of expensive. Not near as bad as an Ultrasaber like my other lightsaber, or one from SaberForge, but still expensive.

I really couldn’t resist this. I’ve been drooling over Mace’s saber since episode 2 was released. I didn’t lose my head over it the way Jango Fett did though, LOL. More importantly, I had the opportunity to get a working copy for 40% of what it would have cost via Ultrasabers.

Here’s our beauty unboxed and with the blade ignited:

Yes, that IS a damned odd stand too. I’ll be swapping it out for an aftermarket one and putting it back in the box at some point in the near future.

As you can see, the blade is bright enough to be visible in a bright room. I took it into the bathroom, closed to door and turned off the light to let it really shine though

The Review: How Does it Compare?

I know a couple of you are curious anyway. 😀 I wasn’t really sure what to expect here, but was pleasantly surprised. I knew the hilt was metal before ordering, not plastic like those $25 kid’s toys. The hilt turned out to be nicely polished and fairly thick also. Not quite as thick as the Ultrasaber, but thick enough to be pretty sturdy.

It’s certainly nicer than the Galaxy’s Edge sabers that Disney sell at their parks (and via Amazon) for far more money also:

Galaxy’s Edge collector sabers at Amazon Note the price on the Kylo Ren version too… ouch!

Here’s a few close ups of the hilt:

The Mace Windu saber is closer to the camera than the Cal Kestis one, so it looks bigger. The Windu hilt is a hair more than 11 inches (28 cm) long as compared to the Cal Kestis one being 16 inches (40.6 cm) long. You can see the chrome and electrum finishes are nicely done, and that parts of the hilt also have a rubberized inlay:

Overall, I’d say the hilt is very well done. The test will be how well the electrum trim finish stays in place, and if the rubberized faux leather starts to peel up. No signs that either will be an issue thus far.

The innards of the hilt aren’t accessible the same way an aftermarket saber’s are, but it seems to be made along similar lines, with a power switch, emitters, motion sensor / sound controller and the battery holder with integrated speaker at the bottom.

The sound is a tiny bit muffled, but that’s a common complaint on even the best aftermarket sabers. The motion sensor is a little weak also. Slow movements may not even get noticed and even light bumps might only register as a swing. Still, overall not TOO bad here.

The blade itself is where buyers seem to have issues. It’s made for light contact only, no dueling or even getting carried away whole playing. While it’s also very bright, it’s also not actually a purple blade. It’s more of a magenta as the earlier pictures show.

The BIG issue with the blades on Black Series sabers is that you can’t detach them like with something from Ultrasabers or Saberforge. So you have to display it with the polycarbonate (plastic?) tube on AND even though it comes with a covertec style belt clip, you cant attach it to your belt. Unless you want to drag the blade along the ground anyway.

The reason for this SEEMS to be that the blade has LEDs running all up the tube. The positive result of that is when you turn it on, you get the effect of the blade extending outward via powering up the LEDs one at a time. Same is true in reverse when powering it off. With the other brands, it’s just on or off, with the appropriate sound effects.

My Verdict: It’s great if you want a saber to toy around with or for cosplay if you don’t mind having to carry it in your hand everywhere. Even with the blade attached it still makes a fairly nice display piece also. The premium aftermarket ones make be better display pieces and duelers BUT they also cost $300 or so more; enough to buy this a second time and have cash left over. This also has the advantage of potentially going up in value as it’s an officially licensed product.

Any REAL Star Wars fan definitely would have taken it out of the box too, BUT I sure as heck did save the box, and the papers that came with it:

#8 in the series…

Butterfingered Padawan…

It’s time for me to start creative writing again, even if I did miss Thursday Writing by a day. 😛 This idea came to me while mindlessly searching Star Wars memes on the internet.  I came across the one below where creator mocked Luke for looking right down the emitter of his father’s lightsaber right after Obi-Wan gave it to him:

OK, funny, but Luke isn’t THAT big of a doofus.  This exact scene or moment never appeared in “A New Hope” either, so I can only conclude the picture is photoshopped.  Still funny.  Anyway, I finally did start thinking “what if” though…  Here’s my take:

THE STORY:

Luke momentarily turned away from his work reattaching Threepio’s arm, and chuckled slightly.  “My father didn’t fight in the wars, he was a navigator on a spice freighter.

“That’s what your uncle told you.  He didn’t hold with your father’s ideals… thought he should have stayed here and not gotten involved.” Kenobi replied with a slight scowl as he rubbed his beard. 

A look of quiet disbelief washed over Luke’s face.  “You fought in the clone wars?”

“Yes,” Kenobi replied, looking away.  His troubled expression didn’t escape Luke’s notice.  “I was once a Jedi Knight, the same as your father.”  He leaned back in his seat and rubbed his chin.

“I wish I’d known him.” Luke replied quietly.

“He was the best star pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior” Kenobi replied with a brief hint of a smile.  “I understand you’ve become quite a good pilot yourself.”

Luke smiled and half shrugged, returning his focus to finishing Threepio’s repairs.

Kenobi’s gaze drifted backwards in time and he allowed himself a brief smile again.  “He was a good friend…”  He glanced sideways and then stood up.  “Which reminds me…” Kenobi strolled across the small room to an old trunk.  “I have something here for you.”  He opened the chest rummaged through it.  “Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn’t allow it.  He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damned fool idealistic crusade like your father did.”  Kenobi found what he was looking for and stood up straight as he removed it from the trunk.

“Sir, if you’ll not be needing me, I’ll close down for a while.” Threepio interjected.

“Sure, go ahead.” Luke replied, taking a quick glance at Threepio before returning a fixed gaze to the thick metallic cylinder in Kenobi’s hands.  He stood up and met Kenobi half way across the room.  “What is it?” he asked.

“Your father’s lightsaber.” Kenobi said, holding it out to Luke.   “This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight.  Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster.”  Luke took the weapon from Kenobi and hit the power switch, the blue energy blade instantly springing to life.  “A more elegant weapon of a more civilized day.” Kenobi said as he returned to his earlier chair.

Artoo chirped excitedly as Luke moved the blade back and forth a few times.

“For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the old Republic.” Kenobi said, watching Luke continue to move the blade about as if in a trance.  Kenobi looked down and scowled.  “…Before the dark times, before the Empire.”

Luke switched off the lightsaber and sat down on the bench next to Kenobi.  “How did my father die?”  He sat down and stared sadly into the barrel of the lightsaber.

Kenobi looked away for a moment, regret showing on his face.  He turned back to Luke and started to speak.  “A young Jedi named Darth Vad…”

Before Kenobi could finish his sentence, an explosion rocked the small desert house, blowing a hole in the wall and toppling Artoo onto his face.  The force of the blast also staggered Luke and made him fumble the lightsaber.  His thumb hit the activation button, igniting the blade and sending it right through his skull.  Luke slumped over dead, as the still ignited lightsaber fell to the floor.

Kenobi cursed and ignited his own saber as a Tusken Raider rushed through the hole in the wall.  With one clean swing, Kenobi cut the invader in half.  A second Raider appeared at the hole and tried to level its blaster rifle.  Kenobi force pushed the sandperson with all his might, sending him flying over the nearby cliff and to his death.

Kenobi rushed out the hole, a look of utter rage on his face.  “Do you realize what you filthy animals have cost us?  Cost the galaxy?” he screamed.  He flung his lightsaber, cutting down two more sandpeople.  “That damned boy was our last hope to kill the Emperor!”

Another sandperson leveled his rifle at Kenobi and started to pull the trigger.  Kenobi quickly used the Force to pull Luke’s lightsaber to him and deflect the shot right back at his attacker.  A half second later, Kenobi’s own saber arced back into his grasp.  Another two sandpeople charged Kenobi, swinging their gaffi sticks.  Kenobi cut one down and force pushed the other back into a third sandperson who was holding a thermal detonator.

Both tried to scramble away from the armed detonator, but Kenobi lifted them both into the air with the Force and flung them and the detonator over the cliff.  A moment later there was a blinding explosion and two screams cut short.

Obi-Wan moved to the cliff to see three more Tusken Raiders riding Banthas and retreating at full gallop.  He let out an enraged scream at them.

“Obi-Wan, control yourself!” a voice demanded from behind him.  “Do you want to end up like Anakin?”

Obi-Wan whipped around to see the Force apparition of his old master Qui-Gon Jinn.  “Everything we worked for, had hoped to bring to pass, it’s all gone!” he said angrily.  “Years and years watching the boy, masking his presence from detection by the dark side, all wasted…” he continued with a dejected sigh.  “There’s no one left that can stand up to Vader and the Emperor now.”

“So soon you forget…” said Yoda as his projected image appeared.  “Another, there is.” 

“Can the girl even be trained?” Kenobi asked, slowly regaining his center.

“Her immediate talent isn’t what the boy’s was.” Qui-Gon replied.  “Her connection to the living Force and ultimate potential may very well be even greater though.”

Yoda nodded slowly.  “Hmmm, find her you must.”

“How?” Kenobi asked.

“I believe the little droid in there will have the answers you seek.” Said Qui-Gon with a gesture towards the damaged house.

“Anakin’s old droid?” Kenobi asked rhetorically. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

To Be Continued?

Kenobi warned Luke those Sandpeople would be back, and in greater numbers. If I get any interest, I’ll continue my alternate reality Episode 4. 🙂

Time to Take Up Arms!!!

Well, that ought to scare the hell out of the people monitoring the internet, LOL.

Nothing sinister or violent planned here however. The shell for my first lightsaber finally arrived from Ultrasabers.com today.

Any good Star Wars geek should recognize this as Jaro Topal‘s lightsaber that was inherited by his apprentice Cal Kestis, protagonist of the game Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. Well, technically the restored version from about 2/3 of the way through the game. 🙂

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy For Ever” – John Keats

I only ordered the shell at this point because the things are pretty pricey if you buy a nice hilt and quality electronics. Anywhere from $500 to $1000. Hilt designs tend to sell out quick and then half the time the companies will just move on to different designs.

Long story short, I wanted this hilt while it was still around, AND I’m going to have to build mine piecemeal since money is limited.

I did, however, get the plug for the emitter array that you can use when you don’t have the polycarbonate “blade” installed. I got the belt clip as well.

This pic still shows the protective plastic covering over the stand (used for shipping)

So, now I need the L.E.D. emitter array, the polycarbonate blade, the sound board, power switch and battery pack. Also to find my soldering equipment to put them all together when the time comes.

For those of you who are curious, the thing is fairly beefy, as the second picture shows. It’s made of aircraft grade aluminum and is 1/8″ thick (or about 1/2 cm thick). What caught me more by surprise is the overall size. Granted, by lore, this thing was created and carried by a Lasat originally, but… The thing is 16 inches long and as thick as one of the old mag light flashlights carried by police that used D Cell batteries.

It looks even larger in the picture since it’s sitting higher up than the tape measure in the picture. At any rate, it’s big enough to be the hilt for a Zweihänder. I was thinking of getting two of them, connecting them together and making a dual bladed lightsaber staff; something along the lines of my final lightsaber for Jedi: Fallen Order:

Between the handles and blades, I’d have a saber over 8 feet long if I did though, LOL. That gets just a little unwield-able. Clearly an alternative design will have to be found for such a staff.

Now, for those like Joanne (how can you not love somebody who names her blog ‘JediGirlBlog’? 😀 ) and Master Mandalorian who may be drooling over this goodie… Let me give you all a brief education.

Buying a Lightsaber:

There are three major companies that make these mock ups (as well as a few others who are really small and/or dying out). All three make models designed for rigorous dueling. There are hobby dueling leagues out there too! All three manufacturers have various blade color options, OR you can buy a multi-L.E.D. emitter that will let you change your blade color. Changing colors also takes one of the higher end sound boards, as those control the L.E.D. emitter also.

The three major companies are:

  1. Ultrasabers.com
  2. SaberForge.com
  3. VadersVault.com

In terms of durability, they all seem to be fairly comparable. There’s a lightsabers reddit where you’ll find fans of all three. The general consensus is that they rank in other details of quality in the reverse of the order I have them in.

Ultrasabers: makes good sabers overall, and their premium sound board may be the best on the market currently. They get knocked on reddit for being heavy and unwieldy by duelists, and occasional quality issues as well. They’re also the most affordable, particularly for their very plain style hilts.

Note here: If you might be interested in dueling for fun, weight and balance make a HUGE difference. I’ve taken traditional fencing classes myself and learned this first hand. The sabers that the school had for student use were very low end. When I bought my own from Leon Paul in England, it made a massive difference. I was suddenly much faster and more accurate. Angled handles on foils (like Count Dooku had on his lightsaber) help even more.

SaberForge: Makes sabers that are said to be a little lighter, thinner so as to be easier to grip, and better balanced. They cost on average about $100 more for something comparable from Ultrasabers.

Vader’s Vault: These are the Rolls Royce of lightsabers. Everything is top of the line with serious attention paid to every detail. You pay for it also. Some of the features they offer, like removable covers to display the lightsaber crystal chamber, just can’t be found anywhere else.

OK, well, Disney does THAT at Galaxy’s Edge, BUT those sabers are Toys R Us quality compared to what’s offered by any of these three companies.

Styles:

All three companies offer designs based on lightsabers seen in various parts of the Star Wars franchise. Everything from various movie lightsabers, and sabers from The Clone Wars and Rebels, to styles used in the game Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Kyle Katarn’s saber from the Dark Forces / Jedi Knight games. Some custom designs as well. You may have to shop around between the three to find exactly the style you like. Saberforge had the saber I bought, for example, but only the damaged hilt version used early in Jedi: Fallen Order.

Overall, after doing some pretty extensive research, I’d recommend SaberForge as a first choice. The way you can get leather wraps and powder coating as well as the slightly better balanced hilts just make them a slightly better option than UltraSabers. I like that if you want to build your own, that SaberForge has a wide array of individual hilt parts also. They are who I’ll be using to build a custom saber staff.

Of course, if money is no object, shop Vader’s Vault, lol.

As an added note, both SaberForge and Ultrasabers offer individual parts to kit bash your own unique blade together. I do *NOT* know how cross compatible their parts are however. Some of UltraSabers’ entry level models have hilts that won’t accommodate their own mix and match parts also.

One last thing: These companies all pretty much hand craft to order. Even my empty shell took 3 weeks to get. Patience is a virtue. I’ve heard of some orders taking months to be completed, with Saberforge and Ultrasabers both having iffy reputations for their customer service departments. Depending upon who you talk to, they either both stink or are amazing there. Forewarned is fore-armed.

And even if you’re just buying a piece at a time like me, it looks excellent sitting at the Silk Cords command center:

Bruce Lee Was A Jedi! :D

Yes, it’s true, and I have the deep fake to prove it, fresh off of YouTube, LOL.

Master Ip apparently was Jedi Master Ip 😉 😀

We all need more of a break from the BS out there right now.

Review: Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

The game has been out for a few months, but I got it for Christmas. I’ve been working my way through it as stress relief in between packing and painting. Now that I beat it, I figure it’s time for me to put in my two cents. I promise only a few minor spoilers too. 🙂

STORY:

I assume most folks that have watched the trailer know the premise. A Jedi padawan narrowly escapes Order 66 and the destruction of the Jedi. He’s eventually discovered by Sith Inquisitors, but escapes with the help of some new friends. One of them is a former Jedi herself and wants to rebuild the Jedi Order to stop the Empire. They set off in search of a Holocron that contains the names of numerous Force sensitive children. Their plan is to recruit the children as new trainees once the Holocron is found.

There’s planet hopping among five different worlds after the starter planet. The Empire chases our heroes the entire way as well. There’s even an appearance by Darth Vader at the end of the game.

The time, if I recall the one line in the game that makes a specific reference, is five years after Episode 3. That would put it 8 years before the start of the Star Wars: Rebels animated series, and 13 years before “A New Hope”.

Overall, the story was very well done. I was particularly pleased that the game returned to a more “original trilogy” view of the Force and Jedi. For example, during a flashback by the main (player) character, his master tells him that “Jedi do not seek out conflict, but neither do we shy away from it if innocents need protecting”.

My main criticism is that the story wrapped up too quickly to me. After the final fight, there’s a brief escape, a minute or two of dialog and it’s done. It was particularly disappointing since the team added a new member right before the trip to the last world and battle. That meant there was almost NO time for any character development for the new recruit, whom I think had the most potential of the entire group as a fascinating character. Those points aside, it was classic Star Wars all the way and better than most of the Disney released movies.

GAMEPLAY:

Overall, also well done. There’s a very solid mix of top notch lightsaber combat, and the kind of platforming, climbing and exploration you’d expect from the old Jedi Knight game series, or a Tomb Raider game. Said climbing and exploration includes some jedi level Parkour moves too, such as short runs along rough sections of wall.

There are four difficulty levels with noticeable differences in each one. A pure novice would be fine on story mode, while “Jedi Grandmaster” mode will give even hardcore gamers a workout.

The game plays equally well with keyboard and mouse or a game pad (yes, I’m playing the PC version). No real bugs either, other than I had a few occasions where the game pad wouldn’t register a particular button at all, and I’d have to switch to the keyboard to jump or activate my lightsaber.

My few complaints would be:

  1. the game was fairly short all things considered. I beat it in 26 hours.
  2. No character creation; you’re stuck with Cal Kestis. The only way you can even customize him at all is by finding new outfit and poncho colors for him while exploring. It’s a small thing, but I’ve been spoiled by games with rich character creation and customization systems.
  3. The starter planet, which just runs you through the basics of movement, exploration, attacking and blocking… leaves you with no map and you’re left wondering at a few points where to go. That despite the path options being pretty limited. You get your map shortly after starting planet #2.
  4. None of the rest of your group is ever playable, and they’re only there to move the story along.
  5. While the game has some amazing lightsaber customizations, most aren’t available till fairly late in the game, including the ability to choose more than blue or green for your blade color.
  6. At probably a half dozen points in the game, a cutscene interrupts key moments of major fights or similar big events and forces a pre-determined outcome on you. This was the one that truly bothered me, as I hate having control of my character seized from me.

All but item #6 were pretty minor things to me. Interrupting a fight I was winning handily so that I can be helped by an NPC “or I wouldn’t have survived” was annoying though, and made the game feel more like a video novel at those points. Still, I’d give the game a 4 out of 5 overall on game play.

GRAPHICS:

OMG, this is where the game TRULY shines, especially if you have a strong system. Seeing the game maxed out on my new system almost made it worth having my old desktop self destruct.

The characters are nearly photo realistic, to the point I’m assuming the game uses a similar process as some of the Mortal Kombat games did; facial mapping and digitizing actors to create truly lifelike looking characters:

Hair and clothing articles move with very natural physics effects. Only Cal’s running animation looks very awkward.

The planets were all very well done also, if you couldn’t tell by the first picture. 🙂 Kashyyyk, (the Wookie homeworld), and Dathomir were particularly well done. Kashyyyk was solidly fleshed out from previous games like Knights of the Old Republic and it’s brief appearance in Episode 3. Dathomir, (home of the infamous Night Sisters) was well done and had a flavor similar to Korriban (the Sith homeworld), only more primitive:

Last but not least, there was that beautiful lightsaber customization I mentioned. Ultimately there are 7 blade colors, roughly 20 materials (housing colors) and several design style choices for the sleeve, hilt, emitter and switch. Here’s how mine turned out:

Yes, I got a dualsaber, and it’s a worthy upgrade that greatly enhances your ability to battle multiple opponents. I seriously went Darth Maul all over the Empire at that point, lol. It’s a shame such a major option isn’t available until half way through the game.

FINAL VERDICT:

Given EA’s recent history of cash grabs and bugs, I was nervous about buying this one. While it does have a few shortcomings however, it’s a worthy successor to the Jedi Knight series. Graphics are great even on lower settings. Lightsaber combat is gorgeous and on par with the movies. Cal does make rookie swordsmanship mistake of WIDE (cinematic) swings and leaving himself open on some basic moves – the joys of being trained to see these kind of things, LOL.

Between the moments where you have an obvious lack of control over the plot, the inability to skip the numerous splash screens at start up, and the game being fairly short, I would recommend waiting until it comes down in price (at least a little) before jumping on it. I’m cheap though, and got it on a VERY brief Steam sale where I saved $10. If you’re a super die hard Star Wars fan like Master Mandalorian over at the Sandcrawler Blog, you’ll find it worth it even at full price.

Replay value is solidly above average. I’d say 7 on a 1 to 10 scale, if nothing else because the combat is so much fun. Also true if you like trying a game a second time on higher difficulty. That replay value offsets some of my frustration with the game being relatively short.

Overall, I’d give the game an 8 out of 10.

No word yet on any expansion content for the game, or if there’s a sequel in the works. I’d say the story quality alone merits a sequel though.

The Great Star Wars Conspiracy

Want to know the rarely discussed conspiracy theory around one of the greatest movie franchises in history? The one only a few old time fans discuss? No, it’s not that Jar Jar Binks was secretly a Sith Lord and helped Palpatine engineer the clone wars (that IS on YouTube). LOL

It’s that George Lucas didn’t actually write Star Wars at all!

The theory or story is that George Lucas was approached by an unknown third party with the manuscripts for (at least) the original trilogy. Lucas liked what he saw, bought the story outright from this mystery author, and went on to make a fortune from the manuscripts while leaving our poor unknown author to fade away in obscurity.

I’m going to take a rational look at this theory and it’s evidence here.

First, there’s the original 1976 copies of the books for Star Wars (A New Hope). All the early printings had a note on them that said either “Based on the Adventures of Luke Skywalker” OR “From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker”.


I owned a copy similar to this one LONG ago.

What IS known and admitted to is that Alan Dean Foster ghost wrote the novels for the original trilogy for Lucas. Part of his reward for that was being able to author “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye”, which was the only other Star Wars novel for ages.

Great book also.

The naming inconsistency between the New Hope film and novel is something that points towards Lucas and Foster working with an outside manuscript. Even in 1976, the movie was “Episode 4: A New Hope”, but the book (which actually was released shortly before the film) was not. Lucas otherwise kept VERY tight creative control and branding over the franchise for decades, but couldn’t keep his branding consistent at the start?

Lucas not writing the original manuscripts would also explain some of the inconsistencies with canon between the original films and the prequels. The biggest of which is how “the Force” is defined. In the original trilogy, the Force is described in terms that are nearly identical to the concept of chi / qi / ki / prana in Eastern cultures; “…an energy force created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us and binds the galaxy together.” Jedi seem to be equal parts Zen Buddhist warrior and Taoist chi wizard.

The other big indicator of a different author’s mindset is the infamous “Han shot first” drama over Lucas adding in an attempted shot by Greedo before Han kills him in the Mos Eisley cantina. That’s a BIG change in mindset by an author OR it never was Lucas’s belief system to begin with. The original author understood that when a known killer is holding a gun on you and says he’s marching you out of the building to kill you, it’s a reasonable use of lethal force in self defense to shoot them before they can shoot you.

Lucas gets typical West Coast far, far left wishy-washy on self defense and adds Greedo shooting first. Worse, he turns the Jedi into monastic unfeeling robots. The teaching of every Eastern philosophy that the Jedi were remotely based on is NOT that emotions are to be completely eliminated, it’s that they’re to be controlled. Unlike Catholic monks, the monks of most Eastern religions and philosophies are permitted to marry also. Part of my dislike of the prequels is in fact that Lucas’s ideas of the Jedi come across as the badly bastardized and distorted idea of Buddhism that exists among the new agey white folks on the West Coast looking only to virtue signal and pretend to be more enlightened than those around them.

The force… Reduced to a virus, or more accurately some microscopic symbiotic parasite. That from a energy source created by and surrounding all living things. The former is as unspiritual and illogical as you can get while the other reflects at least a casual understanding of martial arts or Eastern philosophy. It’s just FAR too big a change in view to make it likely that they both came from the same author.

We can also look at some of the things that were leaked EARLY on also. For example, it was known / leaked shortly after “The Empire Strikes Back” and Vader was first seen without his helmet that he needed his armor because he was disfigured in a duel with Obi-Wan at a volcanic site. Yet it took almost 30 years to see this come to life on the big screen. Either Lucas was planning far, far, far in advance OR he had a manuscript he was working from.

The tipping point for me came when a friend of mine actually talked to Alan Dean Foster. My friend said that Foster was cagey about outright confirming that Lucas was working with somebody else’s earlier work. He did confirm some of what’s known elsewhere though, such as Luke’s original last name was going to be Starkiller (hence the tribute name of the character in the game “The Force Unleashed”). Foster also said that (quoting my friend here) “alot of Lucas’s visions were borrowed”.

MY conclusions from all of this: Lucas VERY likely did buy the manuscripts from a third party. Lucas and Foster probably spent a great deal of time fine tuning the manuscript into a workable trilogy. A New Hope probably got the least amount of modification from the original as Lucas worked on getting it to the big screen. The other two likely got a little more.

So, do we go out and burn Lucas at the stake for profiteering off of somebody else’s work? Nope. We have no way of knowing exactly how close the movies are to a theoretical original manuscript. As somebody who has followed the franchise since it’s inception, I can also say unequivocally that the movies wouldn’t have succeeded without all the other work that Lucas put into it. Just about EVERY special effects technique used in film for 30 years following the original trilogy has it’s roots in Star Wars. Blue screen (later green screen) being one of the biggest example. It also takes connections and resources to bring a book or books all the way to a blockbuster film franchise. This alleged other writer doubtless didn’t have them and Lucas did. For all we know, this mystery author (maybe Foster himself) is also getting quiet royalty checks to this day from Lucas.

As an author and fan however, I *do* wish Lucas would have been more true to the original vision of the franchise.

Star Wars History and Story Ideas…

My mind tends to wander a mile a minute when I’m doing mindless labor like packing and painting. Now despite the fact I should be working on my Witchfire series and the other writing that I’ve mentioned in the past, I find my thoughts drifting towards a few Star Wars ideas I mentioned far ago.

So my story ideas circle around a character of mine from the game Star Wars: The Old Republic. I realize most of you won’t be familiar with the game, so a quick bit of background. It’s a game set in the Star Wars Universe, but about a thousand years before the movies.

Side Note: At the time the game was released in 2011, it’s content was at least more or less canon. Since Disney has taken over an turned things on it’s head, I have NO idea if that’s still true. Their pattern SEEMS to be if they license it, it’s canon. If not, or it’s before their time, it isn’t. Bioware still has license, soooo…

The technology level is about the same as the movies. Apparently technology can only advance so far when you’ve hit that level. The Empire and the Republic both exist side by side and in conflict with each other. The Empire has many more Sith dark side force users than the movie however.

There’s some background to that also. Sometime between the game and the movies, the Sith got into a massive internal struggle and they all but obliterated themselves. The strongest survivor (by far) was a Sith named Darth Bane who created the “Law of Two” which says there’s only ever two Sith Lords; a master and an apprentice. Bane deemed legions of Sith to be a threat to themselves even more than the universe. But at the time of the game, there are still several Sith, all jockeying for power within the Empire.

Enter my character; Adoxia:

As a quick note, the bone color looking things on her face are actually jewelry.

She’s a pureblood Sith. What’s that you ask? The Sith were originally a red skinned humanoid race that were strong with the dark side of the force. They were largely untrained though and quickly conquered by the first fallen Jedi. From the combined teachings of the Pureblood Sith, and the fallen Jedi, the Sith Order arose. The pureblood SIth were quickly becoming an endangered species at the time the game was set. Interbreeding with human SIth and steady warfare had greatly reduced their numbers.

Adoxia goes through all the standard Sith trials and then fights her way through all the traps and politics of the Empire to become a Sith Lord. She tires of all the bloodshed though and also realizes as her adventures progress that the humans on the dark council are going out of their way to feed the Purebloods to the wolves and solidify their own power. Not too hard a task either since the Purebloods were the elites of the Empire for centuries and have the hubris to show for it.

Adoxia defects to the Republic and tries to train as a Jedi. While extremely capable, she has has an extremely hard time going from the passionate philosophy of the Sith to the emotionally dead ideology of the Jedi. This was 2011, so the revamped ideas of the Jedi as suppressing all emotion and connections that the prequel movies put out was already in full force canon-wise. Yes that was a deliberate pun also.

Philosophical discussions with a few other players who were dissatisfied with that new canon, AND the mean spirited power gaming on the Empire side and the lackluster play on the Republic side led to me (or rather Adoxia) creating the Order of the Grey.

Yes, God help me *I* may be partially responsible for the wishy washy grey, morally ambiguous force users that Disney is now trying to push on us.

MY Order of the Grey was a spin on the existing Revanite philosophy in the game though, and more accurately based on a true interpretation of Buddhism’s teachings regarding emotion. The original Jedi concept, as I mentioned, was based loosely on Buddhist teachings. Proof Lucas didn’t actually write the original trilogy, but that’s another post.

So, the Order of the Grey taught that emotions were part of life and not to be blocked out. They were to be kept in check and balanced by reason and logic. Properly focused positive emotions were particularly good so long as they didn’t reach the level of unhealthy attachment. There’s also a right and wrong to the universe, and Order of the Grey members were encouraged to pursue morally correct action along the lines of the Jedi. There was enough of a Sith influence to allow for a bit more extreme options than a Jedi might like though. Jedi were always supposed to try to find peaceful options, and take prisoners alive for example. The Grey might just put down a mad dog attacker.

Long explanations aside; my story ideas (kinky and not) were for stories continuing Adoxia’s adventures. Perhaps in her time, perhaps in the time of the movies. One previous Star Wars book has already established that a hyperdrive malfunction can result in time travel…

Would Adoxia be good, would she be bad? Still undecided there. I can see all kinds of scenarios though.