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from Birmingham, AL

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    • The new Star Wars, why I hate it already, and what I would have done differently

      3 years ago


      A lot of people claim to be the biggest fans of something like it was nothing. When I was a child and young teenager, I was THE biggest fan of Star Wars probably in my whole state. There was NOTHING I didn't know about Star Wars.

      And yet, what was once something so important in my life is now completely off my radar. Now part of this, of course, was just me growing up and developing additional interest. But it's also true that Star Wars really had nothing new to offer when they started making those animated shows (the Clone Wars and Rebels shows), not including the 2D clone wars cartoon which at least was kind of cool.

      When I heard they were throwing out 40 fucking years of expanded universe from the franchise that had the most elaborate and expansive expanded universe of any fictional series in history, I already condemned it. But I at least acknowledged that the movie itself could be good.

      Now? It feels like people will only try to like this movie out of an obligation. We've seen this before.

      Nothing about this movie looks good, and most of it looks flat out wrong. You pointed out what looked wrong from a cinematography side. I have no comment on that since I don't understand it that well. But I do understand raping a franchise.

      When J.J. Abrams did the new Star Trek movies, they made it clear: the old stuff all happened. But this is a new timeline/universe. If they had just not called this movie Episode 7, and basically made it a similar deal, I would be more open to it.

      However, it's not just throwing out the EU: nothing about this movie looks cool or interesting. I think it made sense for them to not want to change things too much in terms of costumes and vehicles, for example, but the problem is the same one Halo 4 had: the changes exist JUST to be changes. Which is pretty much the worst thing you can do in a beloved franchise.

      Take the new stormtrooper armor: it seems they wanted to get the both of best worlds by making it new and improved, but still clearly having enough of a resemblance to the old to feel iconic. The problem is: all the changes make things WORSE, not cooler. When they revealed the new stormtroopers, I called them iTroopers, brought to you by Johnny Ive. Imagine my "told you so" face when the designer said he used Johnny Ive as inspiration. Why would you use fucking Apple as your new aesthetic? The Empire doesn't look like Apple products! They didn't feel like starwars, and they didn't look cool. You see, by today's standards, the old stormtrooper armor actually looks quite ridiculous. But because it was so cool when we saw it in the original movies, it forever made us love it. They through out that old love by changing it, but they didn't make enough change to improve it. It you wanted to improve it, it should have been bulkier, for one thing. It also shouldn't look like an Apple logo belongs on it. (I have lots of much better ideas on how they could have redesigned things while staying true to Star Wars AND improving the look)

      And those new T-65 X-wings? T-70's, I believe; the new design doesn't look cooler. At all. It's just like: let's make some random cuts so it looks different. Why? The new X-wing helmet don't look entirely awful, but they sure are not an improvement. And the pilot's uniforms appear to be largely unchanged. This is much better than a stupid redesign, but I would argue that would be one of the things that would be most logical to change. Still, not complaining since they are so iconic, after all.

      And the story? Well, let's look at the Empire: what has changed? Well, apparently nothing, which is stupid. Something should have changed: if the Empire is struggling to survive (most likely), they should have largely the same equipment, but look more beaten down and desperate. We should see their undying loyalty shattered, and morale low. They are trying to hold on.

      If it is new, their should be new goals. Maybe we get some more insight into the Empire's ideals. Nope. Based on the trailers, and what the writers have said, it's literally just: "hey guys: I have this CRAZY idea! What if- guise, guise listen- what if: the Empire WASN'T instantly destroyed? What if, they had unfinished business?!?" Which is such a default idea, that it seems not worth pursuing. In the original trilogy, the Empire was a pretty 2D enemy, and that was fine. But if we're going to bring them back for a whole new trilogy, you can't just say: it's the Empire 2: Electric Boogaloo. If they're back, there needs to be SOME kind of mission or something. Maybe they will give something stupid, simple explanation in the movie, but it's unlikely. So far, it's just: "I'm going to finish what you started!" But all they were doing in the original movies was trying to wipe out the rebellion to finally control the galaxy. So is this new plot and new characters going to have the EXACT same backdrop as the original trilogy? It can't work. You can't capture lightning in a bottle.

      However, I also recognize that, like the shitty prequels, this will surely be a smashing financial success with no heart. Just like Avatar.

      So, what would I have done differently:

      1. I wouldn't have thrown out the EU. This was a message to all of the most dedicated Star Wars fans out there: FUCK YOU. Well, message received.

      However, it's also true that from a business perspective, this was simply FAR easier to do. Now there are no expectations, now they can write whatever shitty story they want, and now they don't have to do fact checking. So, for the sake of this journal, all of my changes will be made under the assumption that I'm changing SOME of the EU, mainly that which occurs between Episode 6 and 7 (even though that's the best stuff).

      2. I would establish that this is just for a new movie. Essentially, we market it as a new timeline. Countless other franchises, such as Star Wars, DC, Marvel, etc. have done this, and it worked pretty well for them. The idea is: it doesn't shit on the EU, so we keep the real Star Wars community. You know, the thing that makes it such a profitable franchise. At the same time, IF it gets a very good reception, we can backtrack and make this new timeline the primary one. The EU still exists, but it's now the super nerdy part and not the main show. And the new show is welcomed by the Star Wars fandom, so it's okay to push it.

      3. I would utilize the fuck out of the old EU for my new movie. Any Star Wars fans knows that the best and most acclaimed EU plot line was the Thrawn trilogy, by Timothy Zahn. Started in 1991, this was what set a new bar for the EU, and made it respectable even to non-nerds. I could explain exactly WHAT was great about these novels, but that's for another journal.

      Now, this new movie takes place 20 years after the original trilogy. Due to the age of the original trilogy actors, this was about the shortest time period they could do. This means the Thrawn trilogy can't simply be copied and pasted, since it takes place only like 6 years afterwards. This is probably for the best anyway, since the story should probably be adapted to make it more suitable for movie trilogy form.

      So I would basically just heavily edit it. Take the best parts from it, while also adding stuff casual audiences will need to make it appeal more to them. The biggest things for me to emphasize from the Thrawn trilogy is: Admiral Thrawn, Captain Pellaeon, and galactic political situation.

      4. New themes: I would like to add themes that feel like real life, but don't feel non-Star Wars. This will be difficult, but I think it's fine for this new trilogy to be world building anyway, so I won't shy away from it. So, for the Empire, here's the major themes:

      The Empire is shattered. Without Palpatine's leadership, the Moffs begin civil wars akin to the Roman empire whenever their emperor died. So we have lots of warlords, all claiming to be the rightful heirs. This makes the Empire weak, and lots of systems are lost. People like Pelleaon, the good guys on the Imperial side, are heart broken. They see that their Empire really was just held together by the Sith Emperor, and that the mighty hope for law and order is dying and dying fast.

      But, when Admiral Thrawn, once kept out of Imperial politics due to being a Chiss, has no leash, he starts consolidating the various warlords' territories with a superior military intellect. His ability to win and unify the Empire in the same vision as the old (only cutting out the most useless stuff) and Pellaeon finally sees a new leader and new hope for the old Empire.

      The New Republic, on the other hand, is no longer enjoying the open arms of all the "liberated" systems once under the Empire. They find that, now that it has been almost two decades, the finicky masses (who dreamed of a utopia after the Empire fell) thought that with freedom would come more luxury, not less. The leaders of the Rebellion, who make up the majority of the New Republic's government, are now struggling to find support for a unified government. The enemy is no longer the Empire, but the people. They find themselves in a terrible position that challenges their own ideals. And with the Empire gone, organized crime makes a huge comeback. Basically, the great noble idealistic rebellion now has to see what it's like to be the Empire's shoes. Will they stick to their ideas, and see the universe fall into chaos, or become what they fought so hard against? (spoiler, in the end they arrive at somewhat of a compromise)

      5. Aesthetics: lets talk costumes and vehicles. Like I said before, don't make a change unless their is a reason to. So for the Empire, instead of seeing walking ipods, we see, well, kind of what the Wermacht looked like towards the end of the European theater in WWII. They no longer look so polished, pristine, and uniform. Stormtroopers will all be keeping the original helmets, since that's the single most important iconic part, but other details change. In the old days, they were outfitted to intimidate with looks, number, etc. That image of Imperial invicibility, however, has been shattered. Now that have to strike fear through superior ability and technology (which they are running out of, with major forgeworlds falling either the New Republic, Imperial separatist warlords, or independent rebellions). So the first thing we notice is that they general have more gear. Some have webbing, others have bandoleers, more pouches, etc. They are now geared for real war, not just policing.

      Second, their armor starts to change. Also like I said, original stormtrooper armor won't work quite as well with new audiences today, plus I want to show how the Empire is effectively fighting a losing war and have lost much of their might. Stormtrooper armor has parts missing, replaced with obsolete parts, or supplemented with civilian market equipment. This allows us to use better looking chest pieces (like the Snowtrooper armor breastplate, which actually would be more readily available for reasons I could explain but won't here), and bulkier armor from the Clone Wars days (they're pulling out all of their mothballed equipment since they can't replace all of the top of the line stuff they are losing). Maybe the legs like more like Scout Trooper legs. Looks cool, but also like they can't afford better stuff, which is appropriate.

      Stormtrooper armor is also now much more visibly scarred and battered, like what you would see on most non-imperial technology in the Star Wars universe. The Stormtroopers are now hard to replace, and through good initial training plus the fact that now they have all have front line combat experience for years, the Stormtroopers are finally the elite infantry they were always meant to be. Fewer in number, but much more effective and feared. Some unit commanders allow their troops to camouflage their armor as well, though we keep the default white to keep the image. Some troops on the front line will have some missmatched camo armor.

      Now, with the Stormtrooper corps becoming more like actual shock troops, and becoming fewer in number, we'll start to see Imperial Army Troopers. Yes, these exist. Or they did, anyway, in the EU. You see, the Stormtrooper corps was actually distinct division of the military separate from the Army, even though they worked closely together, with the Army providing most of their vehicle support. In a sense, the Stormtroopers were like the marine corps, but a more accurate comparison would be to say the Stormtroopers were like the legionaries in the Roman army. Though they were the best of best, they were essentially just one type of soldier: heavy infantry. Missile troops, light infantry, reserves, most of the cavalry, etc. was provided by auxiliaries. The Army performs a similar function though, just like with the Roman empire, they also start replacing the legionaries/stormtroopers in the field a lot. For this movie, the Army is the backbone, and the stormtroopers are the spearhead. So we now see lots of Army infantry.

      Unlike the stormtroopers, which retain the discipline and loyalty of the old Empire, the Army soldiers are more like conscripts. The Army in the old Empire was basically just a policing force to stop rebellions from ever even happening. Now they are on the front lines and have had to adjust. The veterans look like the stormtroopers in that they have mixedmatched equipment from years of fighting. They are still usually slightly better equipped and capable than the average New Republic soldier. But the morale is low, and loyalty is mostly just to their fellow soldiers rather than to the Empire as a whole. With the Empire getting desperate for numbers, we do see more female troops, though since the Empire is doing this for practical reasons rather than some social-political reason, women are generally assigned to specialist roles that they would be most suited for such as surgeons, snipers, pilots, etc. Recruits in the army don't have much equipment, though it is more standardized. No armor apart from a helmet, and all military issue stuff. Nothing picked off of the enemy or bought from civilians.

      Now, because the Army's loyalty seems wavering, even the old imperial officers are having trouble preventing desertion or defection. To help remind them of who is in charge, the imperials have introduced "morale officers", who are basically commissars. They are political officers, and their design stays in line with the standard imperial officer uniform (which remains unchanged), but is clearly meant to have more Nazi SS inspiration. They are usually accompanied by stormtrooper bodyguards that have "armbands" painted on their otherwise standard old school stormtrooper armor to make them have that Nazi secret police look. The morale officers and their guards have very polished and clean uniforms. Likewise, Stormtroopers assigned to certain roles such as VIP guards or ship marines still have the original armor completely intact.

      If we REALLY want to push things to show how desperate the Empire is, we'll see them resort to employing alien races in their military. Maybe an Alien Auxiliary Corps, kind of like the Army Corps of Engineers, where they are technically civilians but under the military's jurisdiction. So we'll have Duros, Quarians, etc. serving as engineers, surveyors, specialist surgeons, merchant marines, etc.

      Finally, the Empire's vehicles. The ground support vehicles will mostly remain the same, though look like they've been patched up, and maybe we even start to see some illegal custom artwork painted on a few vehicles as discipline breaks down. We'll see a few more types of ground and air vehicles that were common in the EU, but nothing major.

      In space, Imperial-I and Imperial-II class star destroyers, once the ever present reminder of just how powerful the Empire was, are now becoming far more precious and are treated like battleships. Supplementing them, we see Victory, Vindicator, Immobilizer, and Interdictor class star destroyers (some Immobilizer and Interdictor class ships have been retrofitted as cruisers), along with the EU favorite Dreadnaught-class cruisers, Carrack-class light cruiser, and Lancer class frigates. Maybe even some Nebulon-B frigates. TIE/LNs (Tie-fighter) and TIE/IN (Tie-interceptors) are still the norm, though Tie-interceptors are phasing out the originals, so it's about half and half. We may also see a few Tie-defenders or something, but they would be rare.

      I really wanted to do concept art for all of this, but I'm not really able to right now. Perhaps in the future. I also have ideas for the look of the New Republic military, but I'll get into that later.

    • 4 years ago

    • The greatest tumblr page I have ever seen

      4 years ago



      >that part about helicopter noise suppression



      If anyone is actually offended by this, feel free to express that. I will likely try to explain the point of it, and how I think you won't be offended if you understand the whole story, but in any case it's your right to be offended if you want to.

    • Satire is meant to be over-the-top

      4 years ago


      When real life becomes EXACTLY like a over-the-top satire comedy sketch, you know something has gone wrong.



    • Jet-packs (now with actual jets!)

      4 years ago


      Did you know they had actual JETpacks now?


      I want to hear the excuse for why we haven't seen these used in filming a sci-fi film yet. Sky-marines when?

    • Remember when I said the terrible Stormtrooper design looked like iTroopers?

      4 years ago




      I even made that shitty joke about an ad where "Johnny Ive presents: iTroopers!"

      Told yall it was shit.

      Yes, I'm being a complete dick about this. It's not often that I complain about something that other people like and I get vindicated.

      EDIT: I'm just realizing, I think the super long journal where I originally said all that stuff was the one that got deleted. Damn. Maybe I'll try to rewrite it from memory sometime.

    • Sometimes I hate this site

      4 years ago


      Just typed out a massive, though-out journal. All of it was lost because of how buggy the interface was. You'd think I'd eventually learn my lesson.

    • /k/ - a magical place #1

      4 years ago


      I'm just going to post a few screen caps from and images commonly posted on /k/. /k/ is a forum board on the website 4chan (perhaps the most notorious, awful, and wonderful website in existence which was originally supposed to just be an anime fan site). There are different boards (named with letters between slashes) for different broad topics that go well beyond anime. Some, such as /b/, are so obscene that the average tumblr user might die from a single visit. /k/ is the board about weapons (though it has grown to discuss related topics such as the military, tactics, doctrine, and weapon related humor). It has developed a very distinct board culture, even for 4chan.
      This episode's theme is the enigma of a man named IVAN CHESNOKOV. For those who don't know, Ivan was a poster on /k/ that may or may not have been a die hard Russian nationalist whose greatest love in the entire world is Russian weapons. He is sort of a parody of /k/omrades who love "slavshit" (I'll define some /k/ terms later on, but this basically refers to Russian or Soviet weapons), but at the same time actually does a decent job of criticizing the annoying /k/ommandos that have a fascination with "tacticool" (the obsession with making your weapons/gear appear more "tactical", which usually involves western equipment). Anyway, here's Ivan:


      And now for a random /k/ gif:


      So that's that. I may make this a thing for my journal. The real problem is that I will never be able to adequately explain things and the humor of these things to people who have never experienced /k/. Even still, I think I can find things that will be funny for everyone. Anyway, that's episode 1 of my /k/ image dump.


    • 5 years ago

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