Lucasfilm

By now you may have heard that Disney bought Lucasfilm. Incidentally that means they get Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Howard the Duck. It also means they get Lucasarts, the game studio that brought us Monkey Island, X-Wing, Day of the Tentacle and all the other wonderful games from your youth. Oh, and they’re making Star Wars Episode 7, due 2015.

Absorbing the initial brunt of the shock that Lucas would ever sell the darling cow he’s been milking for all these years, this may not all be bad. Sure, Disney’s track record for big franchises is spotty, recently with John Carter, but it may still be a good home for Lucasfilm. After all, the Star Wars movies went downhill by the middle of Episode 6 anyway, so by the time Episode 7 comes, no matter how bad it’ll be, there’s no telling if it would’ve been better off headed by George Lucas himself.

To me, what happens to Star Wars is not the thing I care about the most in todays news. I’ve always thought that what came out of Star Wars other than the movies, was more interesting. Perhaps you didn’t enjoy Episode 1, but it’s hard to fault the music. It’s also possible you cringed your feet in Episode 2, but there’s a good chance you played a Lucasarts Star Wars game and enjoyed it a fair bit. In fact, the stories in the expanded Star Wars universe have always fascinated me more than the movies themselves. How do you build a lightsaber again? Oh, and did I mention the wonderful Ralph McQuarrie and Doug Chiang art?

There’s also Indiana Jones, probably my favorite thing to come out of Lucasfilm. Heck, I even enjoyed the fourth one, and I was certainly looking forward to 5. Unfortunately, that may not be in the cards anymore:

While the Indiana Jones franchise wasn’t mentioned much, Disney did say that though it now owns the rights, there might not be any new films because of potential hurdles with Indiana Jones distributor Paramount.

Even worse news for Lucasarts fans:

Disney CEO Robert Iger briefly discussed Disney’s plans for game development using the intellectual properties acquired in the acquisition, saying, “We’re likely to focus more on social and mobile than we are on console. We’ll look opportunistically at console, most likely in licensing rather than publishing, but we think that given the nature of these characters and how well known they are, and the storytelling, that they lend themselves quite nicely, as they’ve already demonstrated to the other platforms.”

It’s impossible to tell whether George Lucas, had he kept the family business, would’ve seen the light and restored Lucasarts to its former glory, in fact it’s probably unlikely. But there were plans for Indy 5, which I would’ve very much loved to see. So if you’re fans of either of those, it seems todays news wasn’t a new hope.

Nitpicky Star Wars Nerds

The Star Wars Blurays are out. I’m not getting them. And not because Darth yells “Nooooooo” or because Greedo shoots first (or whatever). Simply, I’ve seen them enough times now. I’m done. No, not done in that smug, grown-up “Star Wars is for kids” kind of way, trust me I’m as juvenile as ever. I still love lightsabers, I giggle like a schoolgirl whenever someone says “titmouse”, and I listen to the Mega Man 2 soundtrack on repeat. I’m right down with you nerds. I’m just at a point where I’m thinking it’s perhaps time to throw my love on something else.

The amount of energy spent by the Star Wars fan community discussing the Bluray edits is astounding. One fan (or several, I wasn’t paying attention) is taking it upon himself to restore the “non special edition” of Star Wars in HD:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDMDfUB4Mco

Note how R2s hologram is actually white in the original version, vs. slightly bluish in the “enhanced” version. I totally cancelled my Bluray preorder when I saw this. George Lucas, you ruined my childhood!

That would be me if not for the fact that I discovered other sci-fi television. Turns out, if you have 400 hours to spare, instead of restoring the original version of Star Wars to HD, you could watch every episode of Star Trek ever made! Think about that for a moment.

Don’t get me wrong, Star Wars was good. Especially Empire. That whole Cloud City thing was way better than what they did in Star Trek. Here’s Cloud City:

Cloud_City

And this is Stratos from “The Cloud Minders”:

Kirk_and_Spock_view_Stratos_from_surface

Still, once you’ve seen Cloud City, you’ve seen Cloud City (that is to say, once you’ve seen Cloud City in all three four versions, you’ve seen Cloud City — but don’t worry if you haven’t, they’re pretty much the same save for a tibanna gas refinery). And say what you will about Star Trek, but that Kirk got down with the ladies, even green ones. And not one of them were his sister!

You could also get into Buck Rogers (just pretend season 2 never happened). Listen to them crunchy grooves:

But wait, there’s more. Here’s Erin Grey as Col. Wilma Deering:

erin_gray

… and let’s not forget Pamela Hensley as the evil Princess Ardala. Always trying to score with Buck. Silly girl, didn’t she know Buck preferred good girls? And damsels in distress? And Amazon Women? Occasionally bad girls. But not Ardala! Except of course when he was brainwashed, but that’s another story:

ardala

That may not be a metal bikini, but it sure deserves being restored in HD more than the original Star Wars does.

Next time you get an irresistable urge to spend 400 hours on restoring Star Wars to the way it was meant to be, consider if maybe that time was better spent watching Star Trek or Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (season 1). You could also watch Space 1999. Or UFO. Or even the original Battlestar Galactica — heck, any Glen A. Larson show. You could even watch Patrick Duffy as The Man From Atlantis! Patrick Duffy! (It’s all in this pamphlet).

You must do what you feel is right, of course. But sometimes we must let go of our pride and do what is requested of us. It all starts with a choice. A choice to spend your credits not on more Star Wars. Instead, roll up your blinds and let in the light! Then roll them down again and put on Buck Rogers. Season 1.

Could Indy IV Have Been Star Wars VII?

While the source seems unreliable, the news is delicious. “The source” states that Harrison Ford, prior to accepting the role as Indiana Jones in Indy IV was offered to wear the black vest of Han Solo in a Star Wars spinoff:

George wanted Harrison to play Indy but cleverly sounded him out about playing Han Solo instead. Harrison was horrified. After that he was delighted to be playing Indy again. He told George he just couldn’t face being stuck in a spaceship with Chewbacca again.

What kind of project would this be? To me, ?20 million doesn’t smell like a Star Wars TV series cameo, but rather like the oft rumoured Star Wars VII project.

Wiki-Tiki-Tavi

Wikipedia is not the end-all, be-all wiki. Wikia specializes in hosting wikis (plural) and hosts two such star related ones;

Memory Alpha:

Welcome to Memory Alpha, a collaborative project to create the most definitive, accurate, and accessible encyclopedia and reference for everything related to Star Trek.

Wookiepedia:

Wookieepedia is a lavish and stunning homage to the Star Wars pop cultural phenomenon. Thanks to its professional appearance, the scope of its content, the quality of its writers and diligence of its administrators, Wookieepedia has become a valuable resource to fans both casual and obsessive, as well as to Star Wars authors.

Also look out for: Mega Man Wiki, Doom Wiki, Muppet Wiki, and Psychology Wiki.

Monday Greens

greenery

Some days are better than others. For me, this Monday was one of the better.

Despite not being able to sleep until 3 o’clock last night, it took only till some 9.30 o’clock this morning for things to turn from the Monday Blues to the Monday Greens.

  • I got Star Wars tickets
  • Three of them. Good seats in the digital cinema of Imperial, the day after the May 19th premiere.

  • 4 x Valerian
  • I managed to pick up no less than 4 Valerian albums. Valerian (or in danish: Linda & Valentin) is an excellent comic-book series which I have just started collecting. Among these 4 albums were the much sought-after #1, although in a not so excellent condition.

  • Noscope May is out of the door
  • Well, image 4 needs a little touching up, but still it means there’s almost a month till I have to start thinking again.

  • It’s spring!

Although it rained in Copenhagen today, it was the sort of rain & thunder that means winter is gone for good (or at least for half a year). Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain.

And so, to celebrate this turn of events, I present to you these three spring/summer/greenery-themed wallpapers:

  • Greenery
    Available in 1600×1200 & 1280×1024

Doug Chiang's Robota

robota_trailer_iv

Robota is the pet project of Star Wars prequel concept artist Doug Chiang. As it stands currently, Robota is an “illustrated film book that’s more like an art-book than a novel”. Plans are, as I understand, to make it a computer game, hopefully eventually even a feature film.

The story revolves around a human, animal and robot civilization on the planet Orpheus. From the prologue:

About 2.1 billion years ago, life on Orpheus came to a catastrophic end.

After avoiding catastrophe with the proto-Earth for billions of years, these two planets finally collided. Orpheus was completely obliterated and the Earth was shattered. Eventually the fragments of Orpheus coalesced to form Earth’s moon, which stabilized our planet’s erratic rotation and allowed life to germinate.

Life on Earth is the legacy of the planet Orpheus.

This is a story of life on Orpheus before the collision, and of the conflict between the animal life, and the intelligent machines that sought to dominate them.

There once was a place of machines…

Since I last wrote about Robota, no less than two new teaser trailers have appeared, both equally interesting.

Teaser III, entitled “Hunted”, follows two robots that could be bounty hunters, chasing a woman through an old forest. This gives us our very first glimpse at how humans will look in Robota. Since I saw the failure in Enki Bilal’s otherwise magnificent “Immortel“, I’ve been worried about the mix of great looking CG robots and plastic-looking CG people. Fortunately, closeups show real actors, leaving the CG to action scenes, just like most other Hollywood movies do.

Teaser IV follows three robots battling in an arena. Compared to the second and third teaser, this trailer seems much more like a “proof-of-concept” reel that shows how a fight could take place in a computer game. Still, it looks great, and I don’t mind it, especially if it’ll result in a feature film.

I’ve always thought the best thing about Star Wars, was the universe in which great spin-off games could be placed. I like the idea that Robota focuses more on having a saturated deep universe for myriads of stories to take place in, rather than have the universe be created around the story. I actually think that Robota – The Game, might become all that which Uru – Ages Beyond Myst tried to become, but failed in.

  • View Robota Teaser Trailer IV

From DougChiang.com

  • View Robota Teaser Trailers II and III (Faster mirrors)

Quicktime.com Mirror