24 February 2017

What I am Reading:

I’m almost always reading (at least) two books at once and working on comic books in between. Should you be reading what I am reading? I don’t know, but here is what I am reading currently or have recently finished. If it is finished, each listing will say so and offer a rating ??/10.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert
$10.87 at Amazon
This is a book about one of the bigger environmental problems facing humanity today, mass extinction. The problem is intertwined with Climate Change, but climate isn’t the only problem. So far its fascinating if somewhat depressing reading.

Mind Over Muscle: Writings of the Founder of Judo
by Jigoro Kano
$14.60 at Amazon
What did Kano intend for Judo? Well read this book and find out. Kano was an innovator but also something of social activist, and he thought Judo could be a force for good, not just for self-defense and sport minded individuals, but for societies as a whole. 

Comic books:

Patsy Walker, AKA HELLCAT: Hooked on a Feline Vol. 1
by Kate Leth and Brittany Williams
$11.40 at Amazon
Finished 8/10

This I just finished and its a hoot. Not too serious and not silly, It hits all the right notes. Its the story of the former Defender Patsy Walker whose life has been fairly hard knock, but who manages to make the best out of bad situations by having great friends (and being one!).

Dragonball 3 in 1 edtion, Vol 1.
by Akira Toriyama
Finished 10/10

$12.28 at Amazon
I’m an extraordinarily late comer to the adventures of Son Goku, his band of adventurers and their quest to find the seven Dragonballs. Having finished the first volume of the 3-in1edition by VizMedia I can say better late than never. Its interesting having enjoyed some anime and manga that came after,  to see how far reaching Toriyama’s influence has been.

Thinking about the Star Wars Cinematic Universe: The New Canon on the Big Screen?

In the 1970s George Lucas, and his gifted team of writers, actors and other filmmakers introduced us to a galaxy far, far away and full of adventures that took place a long time ago. Since then the Star Wars universe has greatly expanded. To be honest it expanded once in a series of books, then contracted back to the original films (once the shape of Episode 7-The Force Awakens- coelesced), and what we now know to be the prequels (Episodes 1, 2 and 3 if you must ask). Now a new canon is emerging, with new books, movies, TV series and comic books (the comics are some of the best Marvel have produced in any genre) joining the back bone of the Star Wars Galaxy. I know many fans of the original expanded Universe, now published under the heading Legends, have been disappointed that that EU has been largely scrapped. But having read content from both, I have to say that the scrapping is for the best. Many fans won’t admit it, but the original EU produced moderately okay fiction generally, bad fiction often, but maybe only rarely (I think never) great Star Wars content. Not even Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy holds up particularly well. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t entertaining. It didn’t live up, I don’t think, to the promise of Star Wars.

Enter the animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars, (here after SWCW) and Star Wars: Rebels. The first series is a much richer exploration of causes, and players of the prequels, and actually gives sense making context the jumbled, mixed bag of Star Wars: Episode 2 Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars: Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith. SWCW gives us the Anakin that Obi Wan spoke of to Luke on Tatooine all those years ago. Great pilot? Check. Cunning warrior? Check. And most crucially of all, good friend? Big check. Clone Wars the animated series gave us the Anakin the prequels never did.

This blog isn’t really about the glory that is STCW, except to say that if you are a fan of the Star War universe and its ability to produce quality family entertainment that is both, fun and serious you should check it out. I will say it is often realistically violent (within the scope of its space opera rules). It takes war and its cost more seriously than most popular fiction. It constantly addresses the morals of using clones to fight a war, and creates deep characters of them.  So go watch it if you have not.

The deep question of this blog is mostly for fans of Star Wars: Rebels (hereafter SWR). For those who don’t know the show well (you should!) here is a brief fairly spoiler free synopsis. SWR is the saga of one tiny piece of the movement that would become the Galactic Rebellion. It tells the story of close knit group of friendly people trying to do the moral thing in a galaxy governed by gross immorality.  There is the ship’s captain, Hera Syndulla, a rebellion sympathizer, Kanan Jarrus, a former pad wan,  survivor of dread order 66, Ezra Bridger, a force sensitive kid, who has taken up the way of the Jedi under Kanan, even if Kanan insists he isn’t really a Jedi, Zeb a refugee, Wren Sabine, not exactly a refugee, but a Mandolorian outcast. Oh and the delightfully idiosyncratic astromech Chooper. Should any of the characters be featured in the new live action films of Disney? Keep in mind they have been hinted at. We know that the Ghost was at the Battle of Scarif in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We also know that Mon Mothma asked to see a certain General Syndulla. Many fans, myself among them believe this to be Hera Syndulla formerly captain of the Ghost.
the Ghost is in the bottom center left. 
Photo courtesy of Nerdist and Disney Films.

I think the crew of the Ghost and their story belong on the big screen. What do you think and who should play the stalwart heroes of SWR? I think the Rebels do belong on the big screen, but I confess, I don’t have any clue who ought to play them. Here is what I got (all this could change depending on when producers want to give us a big screen Rebels tale. I would suggest any SWR film should take place between the Rogue One and The Force Awakens.
Hera Syndulla: Tessa Thompson, though an older Hera could be excellent, as the gang at moviepilot.com suggest,  to see Rosario Dawson in the role.
Kanan Jarrus: Tom Hiddleston
Ezra Bridger: Tom Holland
Sabine Wren: Rila Fukushima
Zeb: Moviepilot.com suggested Hugh Jackman, and now that I’ve heard it, its hard to get it out of my head. But I also like Woody Harrelson, Andy Serkis, or if it is completely CGI, for voice quality, I really like the idea of John Goodman. Goodman could even do the MO-CAP.
Chopper: totally keep who ever is doing the voice for Chopper, but make Chopper, as much as possible a practical effect.
Rex:Temuera Morrison..obvs.

Ahsoka Tano: I like Rosario Dawson for this role too, probably more than for Hera. Mila Kunas would be great too. 

Agent Callus: Ralph Feines
Hondo Ohnaka: Wes Studi

Maul: Ray Park for the body, voice give to Sam Witwer, or  just give the whole thing to Witwer.