Dec 20 2017

WIP Update – 20 Dec 17

I made some progress on Chapter 9 of CeleKing3. Will I use my upcoming transpacific voyage to get some extra writing done? Probably not, but you never know. Stay tuned.

Dec 19 2017

WIP Update – 19 Dec 17

I pretty much finished Chapter 8 of CeleKing3. I still have gaps to fill in and transcriptions to catch up on, but I guess I can get that taken care of during my all-nighter Thursday. Stay tuned.

Dec 18 2017

WIP Update – 18 Dec 17

I made a little progress in Chapter 8 of CeleKing3. I’ll have to do more if I want to meet quota, but the week is young yet. Stay tuned.

Dec 17 2017

WIP Update – 17 Dec 17

What with all the Star Wars madness going on, I haven’t done much story work, but I did spend some time on Chapter 5 of CeleKing3 trying to get it a little closer to being finished. I’m not too far off now. As you can see, I’ve already transitioned into CeleKing3 and the goal is to fill in the gaps and hopefully move forward some more. Stay tuned.

Dec 17 2017

Musings on The Last Jedi

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. You have been warned.

It’s with some amusement that I go back and look at my posts on Episode VII from two years ago. Some points I was pretty well on the money and others were completely off base. For my own amusement if nothing else, let’s look at how some of my predictions turned out.

The biggest one is perhaps Rey’s parentage. Assuming Kylo Ren was telling the truth (which may not be the case), Rey has no connection to anyone in the cast. The way I had it figured, there was a bout an 85% chance she was Luke’s daughter, a 10% chance she was Han and Leia’s, and a 5% chance she was the kid of literally anyone else in all the Galaxy. Guess you should bet on the long odds. I have a feeling if George was still at the helm, he couldn’t have resisted giving her an obvious connection to main characters, so in a way I kinda applaud the aversion. And, hey, by not making them blood relatives, Reylo is now a slightly less creepy ship. (Oh, it’s still plenty problematic, but I’ll admit that Episode VIII is tilting my shipping goggles in that direction.) Speaking of Reylo, I loved the bond that formed between Rey and Ben. Yes, it was all part of Snoke’s manipulation, playing on their mutual weaknesses, but dang was it effective. (Didn’t work out so well for Snoke either.) I almost was hoping for Rey to pull a Clarice Starling (book version) just because it would’ve been interesting to see her as something of a moderating influence on the newly crowned Supreme Leader. If Ren wasn’t so obsessed with destroying his past, he could’ve spared the remnants of the Resistance as a “wedding present” and forced Leia to the negotiating table. I don’t think she’d go for it, but most of the systems would opt for a political solution over outright war and if the First Order starting being savvy with its sticks and carrots, the Resistance would hardly have a leg to stand on.

I’m sure just about everyone was as surprised as Snoke was when he bought it. This wildly changes the landscape for Episode IX. Yes, Ren is now Supreme Leader, but at least the main fleet (who knows how many others the First Order has) has been decimated by Admiral Holdo’s hyperspace trick, and Ren himself is an unhinged psychopath who pretty much no one respects. He’s pretty well unstoppable and uncontestable within his proximity, but he’s not the kind of person who can hold the Galaxy in a firm grip. He’s got no head for strategy or politics and is too short-tempered to permit any savvy voices of dissent. Hux isn’t much better, but he’s more suited to the role of military dictator than Ren. It’d be interesting if Ren finds himself faced with widespread mutiny. There are limits to his Force powers and with his incomplete training and poor control, he’s bitten off a lot more than he can chew. (As a side note, the fact that both he and Rey are now masterless with incomplete training opens up some interesting possibilities for finding their own way.)

Two years ago I mused about Ren’s possible redemption arc. Even though I didn’t think it was likely, when he killed Snoke and teamed up with Rey to mope up the Praetorians, I thought there might be a chance, but now I really can’t imagine any going back unless the aforementioned mutiny puts Ren on the run and adorable Rey just can’t seem to give up on him. Her love will save him, people. (Probably only in the metaphysical sense, but there’s bound to be fanfic writers out there that go whole hog.)

Speaking of shipping, Finn/Rey is dead, long live Finn/Rose? I will admit I saw a bit of a spark when Poe introduced himself to Rey. (I know there are OT3 dreamers out there still. Maybe you could add Rose for an OT4 or even Ren for a very dysfunctional OT5. I need to stop. ^o^ ) I like to joke about shipping, but I’ve stated before that things remaining platonic is completely okay with me. (Or Episode IX could turn into a Ranma 1/2 space opera.)

Let’s address one of the elephants in the room. With the tragic passing of Carrie Fisher, what are they going to do with Leia? When the bridge of the Raddus was hit, I thought that was going to be used as a tidy way to write Leia out of the story, but I was proven wrong. You then get all this buildup for her character that’s going to lead nowhere. Now, even if they have to kill off the character offscreen, there’s at least some groundwork for passing the torch. You can see Leia’s been grooming Poe for a higher level of leadership. (By the way, I really love the almost maternal relationship she has with him.) If Admiral Holdo–obviously another pupil of Leia’s–had lived, she could’ve also helped bridge chasm that’s going to be left by Leia’s absence. It would be interesting if Leia just simply dies of natural causes, the stresses she’s been going through (to say nothing of having been spaced) and so on, sort of as a reminder that even in this fantastical universe, the most mundane things can end a hero’s story. We’ll see.

It seems I may have overestimated the strength of the New Republic. I figured there would still be some decentralized power that could reform the government, but it seems like the loss of the Hosnian System pretty well did them in. There are unspecified allies of the Resistance in the Outer Rim, but none that were willing to throw what they had at the First Order on Crait. Now basically the Millennium Falcon is the Resistance. Do they even have the resources to pull any real firepower together? Of course, as I noted above, the First Order may not be in that great of shape either. I don’t know what their total strength is, but unless Ren can somehow hold things together, they may not be as great of a threat anymore. I’d really like to see a rival Imperial remnant emerge to mix things up. Before I considered an old-school remnant becoming allies of convenience with the Resistance, but now I don’t even now if such an alliance would even be necessary. More information is needed.

It was nice seeing Phasma back and given the opportunity to show her stuff, but it feels like a waste that she was (apparently) killed off with relative ease (though it did get a handy pre-mortem one-liner from Finn). I will say that if she somehow survives to Episode IX, that’d be hilarious. Ultimately, I think she’s going to be like Boba Fett, a character that inspires the imagination but doesn’t actually amount to much onscreen.

We’ll probably see Luke return as a Force Ghost, but what about Snoke? We’ve never heard of a Dark Side user becoming a Force Ghost, but this would be a fine time to start. However, I feel that becoming a Force Ghost comes from harmonizing yourself with the Force and I see the Dark Side users more as clashing with the Force and drawing their power from that conflict. Snoke did seem more mindful of the Force’s balance than any Sith Lord we’ve seen, but it could well be that he was simply to hubristic and doesn’t have a backup plan. But could you imagine if he was able to project his spirit into Ren for extra torment? That could be interesting.

Hey, let’s take a look at poor Rey and the Mary Sue accusations. I’d suggested before that her training would present the opportunity to show more of her flaws and round her out more as a character. Turns out I was right. We get to see her clumsy and reckless (and quite in the mold of her reluctant master), more than a little foolhardy and rather easy to manipulate. And these aren’t bad things. She still has a lot going for her, but those flaws give her character depth and they give her somewhere to go. I like how she was more emotionally vulnerable this time around and how that gelled with Ren’s own emotional instability. The fact that she so heedlessly veers into the Dark Side adds another layer of interest. (I love Luke’s absolute horror at how easily she plunged into the darkness, but to her credit, she comes back just as easily and perhaps this is what will lead her to a balance with the Force that will allow her to surpass the Jedi and the Sith.) Also, giving her a total garbage heritage deconstructs the illusion of perfection further. In total, Rey is a prodigy, sure, but she’s not a Sue and I think Episode VIII does a good job of driving that point home.

Where do we go from here? Apparently there’s been wrangling behind the scenes that have put JJ Abrams back in the director’s chair for Episode IX. Will he be quite as bold as Rian Johnson has been with Episode VIII? I doubt it, but you never know. A lot of how the story plays out will depend on what resources the First Order has at its disposal, how well Ren can hold on to the reins of power, and the allies the Resistance can pull together. We’re bound to have a final confrontation between Rey and Ren, but will the Knights of Ren finally make an appearance? (Honestly, I thought the Praetorians were the Knights of Ren, but now that I know that’s not true, I could see them as being the ones who help reinforce Ren’s control.) Poe looks like he’ll be the new head of the Resistance once Leia is gone, but might we see another hero from the days of the Rebellion, a certain Lando Calrissian? Following the Han Solo movie, it might be a savvy choice. (Also, we’re running low on the list of original cast members.) Once again we have an initial May release date pushed back to December, so I guess we’ll see what happens in two years. Until then.

Dec 16 2017

WIP Update – 15 Dec 17

More progress on Chapter 13 of TG. Not much else to say. (Well, I’ve got plenty to say, but it’s on a completely different subject. I’m sure you can guess the one.) More to come. Stay tuned.

Dec 15 2017

WIP Update – 14 Dec 17

I’m still reeling from my late-night adventures in a galaxy far, far away. I did make some respectable progress in Chapter 13 of TG. I had a bit of inspiration that kinda turned the direction of the chapter a bit. The destination is the same, but the road to get there is a little different. More to come. Stay tuned.

Dec 13 2017

WIP Update – 13 Dec 17

I made a little more progress in Chapter 13 of TG. I’ll admit that my pace slowed a bit because I was on the last page of my notepad and I was having trouble finding the spare. (I’ve since found it.) Given that I have two hours to wait between the time Episode VIII lets out and the first train to take me back home arrives, I imagine I’ll make a fair bit more progress coming up. Stay tuned.

Dec 12 2017

WIP Update – 12 Dec 17

I started in on Chapter 13 of TG. Chugging along nicely. I’ll admit to there still being a little haziness about the plotting, but sometimes such issues manage to work themselves out in the course of writing the story. We’ll see what happens. Stay tuned.

Dec 11 2017

WIP Update – 11 Dec 17

I managed to pretty well finish Chapter 12 of TG. It was something of a breather episode, so now we get back into the action. I’ve just about filled up my first notepad, so I’ll probably be moving on to the next one in a day or two. Stay tuned.