A Gamer Geek's Cogitations, Conjectures and other Cortical Experiences

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Disney and Galaxy’s Edge [Cont.]

There is nothing else more to say about Magic Kingdom or Epcot, other than masks it was very similar to my last visit. The one difference between then and now is the absence of Fast Pass. Let’s be honest though, you don’t want me to talk about those other parks. As an avid Star Wars fan, you want me to talk about Galaxy’s Edge.

It’s taken me over a month to write this post and its primarily because I don’t know what to say about Galaxy’s Edge. There is so much about it that I loved I just don’t know where to start.

The Rides

There are two rides, Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. Rise of the Resistance is unlike any ride I’ve ever been on, when it’s operating. Apparently this ride breaks down a lot so I imagine there are often several disgruntled guests. It’s like they took Star Tours and made it more immersive. It’s probably one of the most popular rides at Hollywood Studios so getting on the ride is a challenge.

Falcon Cockpit (Pilot 2)
Falcon Cockpit – Pilot 2 – Lightspeed Controls

Smuggler’s Run also went beyond my expectations. It’s going to be better for anyone that knows The Clone Wars, otherwise the appearance of Hondo Ohnaka isn’t as exciting. This ride is like Star Tours but more engaging. There are 6 “places” for “riders” and you are IN THE FREAKING COCKPIT of the Millennium Falcon. There are spots for 2 pilots, 2 gunners and 2 engineers. My suggestion, be the pilot on the right; that person gets to make the jump to lightspeed!

It’s Really Immersive!

Disney Imagineers are amazing and they pulled out all the stops when designing Galaxy’s Edge. To put this place into context of the Star Wars universe, it’s a spaceport called Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu. Before the Empire and the invention of hyperspace travel, this spaceport was a popular place for travelers heading to Wild Space. Now it’s desolate and often forgotten. It’s kind of a Radiator Springs of the Galaxy’s Outer Rim Territories.

Door control in Galaxy’s Edge

To give the illusion that you are in a spaceport, Disney has speakers discretely positioned all around. These speakers are constantly playing ambient noises of a bustling spaceport. Everything from the manhole covers to the light fixtures and door switches are all styled to look like you’re on a planet from Star Wars. The cast members are trained to use esoteric vocabulary such as “credits” instead of “dollars”. Cast members that are in costume are also supposed to engage with guests to create a more immersive experience. Unfortunately, due to the covid restrictions, they could only stand and wave from afar.

This place felt so immersive that I could have sat at an outdoor cantina all day. I would feel perfectly happy just sitting there and watching the people, listening to the sound effects and drinking blue milk (which is delicious!). Of all the parks we visited, I took the most pictures at Galaxy’s Edge. I am working on a gallery where I will eventually post all the pictures.

Of course I built a lightsaber (with my daughter). It’s so fun and an amazing experience. It’s also a bit expensive which is why we did not create a droid during this visit.

I could go on but this post grows most verbose. If you haven’t been to a Galaxy’s Edge park yet, I highly recommend it. Especially if you are an avid Star Wars fan.

/MTFBWY

The Force. It calls to you. Just let it in.

 

HMDYK About Slave 1

Normally these posts are about actors in the films but recent events has me inclined to do something different. A new Lego set is causing minor ripples on the Internet. Disney approached Lego and specifically asked them not to use the name “Slave 1” on the newest Lego set of Boba Fett’s ship. I will go into an unbiased discussion of this topic later. In the meantime, how much do you know about Slave 1?

Slave 1 is a Firespray-31 class patrol and attack craft manufactured on Kuat. The ship was commandeered (stolen) from the prison moon of Oovo IV during a job. There were only six of this model, all of which were patrol vessels at Oovo IV. Slave 1 is the last of its kind. There is a long history of this ship over the course of subsequent films, books and television series. Its unique design and ominous role in the franchise makes it a fan favorite. I’ll never forget seeing it pop up in The Mandalorian. I think all the fans were squealing with excitement.

Seismic Charges – The Greatest Sound Effect Ever!

I know you can hear this gif

Once the ship was in possession by the Fett’s, the weapons system was upgraded. In the original trilogy we never saw Slave 1 in a dog fight. It wasn’t until Attack of the Clones when we got to see one of the coolest weapons in its arsenal; the Seismic_charge (click the link to hear the satisfying audio). It is still one of my favorite sound effects from the franchise.

Here is another interesting, behind-the-scenes, fact about the seismic charge. Ben Burtt is the genius behind the Star Wars sound effects. He’s usually very forthcoming about how he came up with all the different sound effects, but he won’t talk about this one. In fact, to this day he still hasn’t told us the secret of its origin.

What’s In A Name?

This ship is one of the most beloved ships among Star Wars fans, aside from the Millennium Falcon. What makes this ship unique is that the actual name is only ever spoken once in an episode of Clone Wars (Season 2, episode 21 Aurra Sing says “Bossk! Fire up Slave 1“). It stands to reason that there might be a reaction when Disney is trying to skirt around the name. As I said before, I’m going to try to remain unbiased. I’m only writing to inform and not to persuade.

There have been a couple of Lego sets for the Slave 1, all of which are now retired. These previous sets are branded with the “Slave 1” name on the box. However, it’s not uncommon for Lego to leave the formal name of a ship off the box. An example is the Night Buzzard a transport ship used by the Knights of Ren; the Lego set simply calls it “Knights of Ren Transport Ship”. Perhaps there is a marketing metric that indicates sales are often better using less esoteric branding.

One more point and then I’ll let sleeping dogs lie. While Disney’s request is to rebrand the name on the box, they are not canonically changing the name. In fact “Slave 1” is still the name of the ship on the Wookiepedia page and in the databank on the official Star Wars web site. Whether they ultimately change it or not, the fact of the matter is you can’t rewrite the past by simply rebranding. All the fans will still remember it, and refer to it, as “Slave 1”.

/MTFBWY

I’ll do it, on one condition – if I die, you have to build a statue in my honor. An Expensive one.

Dave Filoni’s “New” Job

Dave Filoni's New JobThe latest news that has Star Wars fans rejoicing is the announcement of Dave Filoni’s promotion to executive creative director of Lucasfilm. Let’s talk about Dave Filoni’s new job. “New”. While I think this is great news, it’s clear he’s been in creative control for a while. The success of The Clone Wars, The Mandalorian and (so far) The Bad Batch means that Filoni has already been fulfilling his duties as executive creative director for quite some time.

In large corporations, sometimes the paperwork, compensation adjustments, hierarchical changes, announcements etc, are generally the last step. Case in point, my boss. His promotion was announced long after he was already fulfilling the responsibilities of his new role.

My Thoughts On Dave Filoni’s New Job

I think its very exciting and something he has genuinely earned. My personal opinion is that he is the next George Lucas. His creativity, his ambition and his love for Star Wars makes him the perfect candidate to rightfully succeed George. A small part of me is curious about Jon Favreau; after all, his work in the Star Wars universe has been equally as amazing. I hope there isn’t any animosity between these two (obvious) friends. Perhaps Filoni is the right pick for Star Wars because Favreau is doing amazing work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I hope these two guys will have more opportunities to continue to collaborate on future projects. Perhaps even crossing franchise lines to help one another. The work these two produce is amazing and to keep them apart is a travesty.

Will Filoni Rewrite the Sequel Trilogy?

The word “ret con” is a despicable term. It’s most often used by upset fans who are disappointed that a movie or TV show went a direction that doesn’t coincide with their fan fiction. No, Dave Filoni is not going to rewrite the sequel trilogy. What an absurd idea. Clearly the looney ramblings of butthurt sequel haters. If he was going to rewrite the sequel trilogy, he would have already started doing it. In fact, not only is he NOT rewriting the sequel trilogy, he’s actually reinforcing it’s canon. There are concepts and terms in The Mandalorian that we see (or read about) all the way into Rise of Skywalker. I’ll be writing more on that at a later date.

It seems to me that everything that has happened or is happening, from the series to the movies, has all been approved by Dave Filoni. Yes, he is the man we’ve been wanting to run Star Wars since George Lucas retired. The fact that he’s been running it all along should be a comfort to all of us (that aren’t crying about the sequels).

Keep up the good work, Dave!

/MTFBWY

Confronting fear is the destiny of the Jedi.

Happy Empire Day?

Happy Empire DayI don’t think I’ve ever talked about Empire Day in past Star Wars posts. If you’re a pretty devout fan then you should be fairly familiar with Empire Day. It has a pretty interesting history and an unusual link to the United Kingdom. In Star Wars canon, Empire Day is known as the day Sheev Palpatine becomes the Emperor and creates the “first galactic Empire”. It is also the day Ezra Bridger is born. A corresponding Earth calendar date doesn’t exist. So you may be wondering why I am talking about it today? Should we be wishing each other a Happy Empire Day?

An Interesting, Historical Coincidence

As I was saying, Empire Day has an unusual and interesting coincidence with the United Kingdom. The British used to celebrate Empire Day, however it wasn’t (initially) because of Star Wars. When Queen Victoria died in 1901 the first “Empire Day” was celebrated on her birthday, May 24th, in 1902. It wasn’t recognized as an official annual event until 1916, at which point it became a major event. This lasted until 1958 when the day was “rebranded” as Commonwealth Day and the date was changed to the second Monday in March.

Empire Day experienced a bit of a revival when it landed on May 20th which, coincidentally, is also the date that The Empire Strikes Back was released in the UK, thus why I am talking about it today. This is what Bob Ross might refer to as a “happy accident”. I admit it’s a little convoluted and a bit of a stretch at a “Star Wars holiday” which may be why it’s not as broadly acknowledged among all the other “Star Wars days” this month. Be that as it “May” (see what I did there) it’s still gives me the opportunity to talk about it.

Will Empire Day ever get it’s own calendar date? Who knows? I think May 20th is probably as close to any date as you’re going to get. I’m curious if folks in the UK celebrate today by watching Empire Strikes Back on, what would be, it’s 41st anniversary.

Happy Empire Day!

You don’t know the power of the dark side.

HMDYK About Peter Mayhew

Today would have been Peter Mayhew’s 77th birthday. We lost Peter two years ago, mere days after the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago. I was fortunate enough to be there and to snap a picture of him. My daughter was with me and she alleges that he turned and smiled at her. We miss you Peter. In honor of his birthday I ask, how much do you know about Peter Mayhew?

Peter was born in London, England. His towering height was actually a genetic condition called Marfan syndrome. People with this condition are typically tall and thin with long appendages. There are often pulmonary, visual and skeletal complications with Marfan syndrome but the cardiovascular issues are the more serious complications. Peter passed away after suffering a heart attack in 2019; it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a complication of Marfan.

Once Chewbacca, Always Chewbacca

Peter was working as an orderly for King’s College Hospital when he was offered a role in Star Wars. Just like his co-star, David Prowse, he was given the choice between Darth Vader or Chewbacca. He chose Chewbacca because he wanted to play the hero; just as David Prowse chose Darth Vader because he wanted to play the villain. How fortuitous for the both of them.

Peter has 26 credits on IMDB and for more than half of them he is Chewbacca. His Twitter tag is @TheWookieRoars (which is now the Peter Mayhew Foundation and maintained by his family). To say Peter loved being Chewbacca is an understatement. In fact, under Personal Details on IMDB, it lists “Chewbacca” as his Alternate Name.

His other credits, though few, include a recurring role in Dark Towers (1981) and some bit roles in shows or movies I’ve never heard of. In the movie Killer Ink from 2016, his character is Uncle Clyde and that would be his last credited character role.

He trained Joonas Suotamo to carry on the mantle of Chewbacca and it’s an amazing job. I hope Disney has some plans to bring Chewie back to the screen once again, big screen or the small screen. The Rise of Skywalker is dedicated to Peter’s memory.

Once again, RIP Peter Mayhew and thank you.

/MTFBWY

Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out.

Happy Birthday George Lucas

The 14th day of Star Wars month is George Lucas’ birthday. This is the man that built the universe that has brought us all together from all over the world. Regardless of how you feel about him, he accomplished something no politician could ever do. Despite our lots in life, our creeds, our religions, our lifestyles, we are all united under one common theme. Our love for Star Wars and all its characters.

The happiest of birthday’s to the legendary George Lucas.

Thank you and May the Force Be with You!

Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out.

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