Star Wars: Episode 9. How it could go PART 2.

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Star Wars Episode 9

Jasper says

I feel like we need to fix a few things from Episode VIII starting with Luke wanting to murder his nephew after being the most naive and hopeful kid in the galaxy of dad issues. Now Luke’s inability to help those in need will fuel Ben’s path down the dark side, as it did… similar to Anakin’s fall. The whole beginning would probably be as long as the Jabba’s palace sequence.

This version of Episode IX leans on the events of VIII but also embraces a few changes a lot of people seem to agree on: Leia didn’t make it. Sorry. I’m curious to see how they will bring her back to life in IX… from what I’ve heard so far, they will cut together her unused footage plus CGI magic. Hmmmm. Well not in my version. Also Rose never happened. Not a fan. We already have so many characters that are in dire need of fleshing out. Maybe if she stays in the background and doesn’t get to much attention it might work out but currently things just seem kinda awkward. Feels like they wanted to hook up Finn with Rose and Rey with Poe. NOT IN MY VERSION!

Click here to read Jasper’s first 5 pages and thoughts on the rest of the movie.

jasper SW

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Jasper’s final thoughts.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for now. Never done this before, but it was a blast brainstorming on how I would shape the next installment of everybodies favorite space wizard samurai saga. Realistically I think Disney will (and kind of have to) pull a “Revenge of the Sith”. Disney are not stupid. For them a good movie is one that also made good money and that applies to any franchise. So now that they’ve noticed they’re not doing so well on that front after VIII and Solo, I’m sure they will discuss other… more effective ways of how to make a “good movie”. And maybe that’s all it’ll take. I just want Star Wars to be something we can all look forward to at Christmas. Let it continue and expand to grow as the happy place it has become for so many and not be the centre of social media debates over SJW and hate discussions. All this stuff has left quite the sour after taste in the mouth of many a fan including myself and I think we would all love to see these things be settled for the best. But I guess all we can truly do for now… is to trust the Force until we get to see it ourselves.

Star Wars: Episode 9. How it could go.

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Star Wars Episode 9

There’s a weird middle ground for Star Wars fandom. Many people like Star Wars, in that they enjoy going to the movies. Some people like Star Wars too much, to the point that they launch hate campaigns against George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson when the official movies differ from their own head canons.

I want to be in the middle ground. Star Wars occupies as much of my head space as any fictional world, it’s true. I’ve read some of the extended universe books and comics. I celebrate May 4th. But even when I’m not a big fan of the movies, I don’t hold anyone personally responsible. I don’t rage when my vision isn’t matched on the bigscreen.

My friend Jasper is exactly the same way. He knows way more about the extended universe than I do but both of us balance our Star Wars fandom with the rest of our lives.

So while talking about our predictions for Episode 9, we each decided to write out a little bit of how we would write the script. If he’s down with it, I’ll share his when it’s ready. In the meantime, here’s mine.

 

EXT SMALL GREEN PLANET

It’s rainy in the jungle. An Imperial Shuttle lands and General Hux, surrounded by First Order Stormtroopers, exits.

From out of the rain, a tree-looking alien emerges.

“Is it here?” Hux asks. He cannot keep the excitement out of his voice.

In response to, the tree-alien slips into the forest.

CUT TO

The tree-creature hands a heavy wooden box to Hux. It glows with strange energy and Hux staggers under the weight but he waves the Stormtroopers away. Breathing heavily, he opens the box.

Inside is a white mask, red bars going up from the eyes. Hux reaches slowly for the mask.

Offscreen, a spooky voice says “ANNIHILATE

Hux hesitates. He takes a breath. Then he slowly places the mask on his face.

FADE OUT

SCROLL:

The FIRST ORDER is divided. General Hux, armed with the power of an ancient artifact, wars against Kylo Ren.The scattered remnants of the RESISTANCE are further weakened by the death of Princess Leia. They take refuge on a distant planet even as Kylo Ren goes on the run. General Hux, now calling himself Lord Nihilus, hires the famed Bounty Hunter Copia Tranquil to track him down. Kylo Ren retreats to the far side of the galaxy and requests a meeting with Poe Dameron. If he joins the Resistance, they still might have a chance.

EXT RIVER – DAY

A dingy bar on a river boat. The river is deep green and strange creatures slither through it.

Kylo Ren enters. He is haggard, wearing tattered clothes and his hair is cut short. He now wears a mask around his mouth, to better disguise himself from bounty hunters.

He sits down across from Poe Dameron. Their speech shows that Poe doesn’t trust him. It further reveals how powerful Hux has become. Kylo is afraid of him, and doesn’t bother to hide it.

“Why join us?” Poe asks. “We’re finished. We lost Luke, we lost Leia. Finn’s gone.”

“What choice do I have?” Kylo says. “I am hunted. Every Bounty Hunter in the galaxy seeks me.”

“Like your father,” Poe says.

Kylo frowns and says nothing.

“How do I know we can trust you?” Poe asks.

“You don’t know,” Kylo says. “But I know where you are. I already instructed the Knights of Ren to join you. They can protect Rey, for a little while. It would be best if we join them.”

“Join them? Where do you think the Resistance is?”

“Jakku,” Kylo Ren says. “You’re on Jakku.”

Poe’s silence is answer enough.

EXT JAKKU – DAY

Rey is going through her force exercises while Rose broods.

Rose says “I miss him.”

“Think about it. He was a Stormtrooper his entire life. He met Poe and started killing his lifelong friends. He latched on to me, then latched on to you. Finn is a man who needs something big in his life. Something or someone to live for,” Rey said.

“But why couldn’t I be that someone? Why does everyone leave me?” Rose asked.

Rey sighs. “You did electrocute him for no reason.”

“He was trying to escape! He had no honor!” Rose asked.

“Perhaps if you starting caring about people more than you care about honor, you might find life a lot more enjoyable,” Rey said.

(beat)

“When my sister and I joined, the world was a different place. Where did we go wrong?” Rose asked.

Rey was grim as she thought about it. “A different place.” She thought about it. “How did he do it?’

 

 

That’s all sloppy first draft stuff, not even formatted in any right way. But here are the arcs that I would pursue.

  • I think Rey has the poise and knowledge that Luke had in Return of the Jedi. She will join Kylo, uneasily, as they must ally against Hux. I don’t think she ends up dating Kylo, but they will end up as allies.
  • Kylo wears a mask again, but one to survive. As such, he starts to understand Vader better. He begins to accept both his grandfather, and his father. As the champion of the Resistance, he comes to terms with his light side and his dark side.
  • Poe is finally learning to be a leader. There will be a moment where he chooses to be hated, chooses against pursuing glory, in pursuit of keeping others alive.
  • Finn is the most interesting of all. In pursuit of self-knowledge, he re-enlists as a Stormtrooper. Not as a spy but because that is his core self. By the end, he will have a very difficult choice to make.

 

What do you think? Would this narrative be interesting to you?

 

 

Top 10 Books of 2018

I keep trying to return to the heyday of reading 100 books a year, which wasn’t that long ago, but I keep failing. This year I managed a paltry 39! I spend some time writing and publishing books, it’s true, but have to admit I spend too much time on youtube and playing video games. Ah well. I still had time to read a lot of great works.

As always, these are books that I read this year not necessarily that were published this year. I read much more nonfiction this year, and I enjoyed it, but as the order of this list shows, I’ll pretty much always prefer good fiction to good nonfiction. I think it takes more craftsmanship, perhaps much more, to create great fiction. That’s a matter for another day, though.

10. Rebel Without a Crew

Robert Rodriguez

rebel

This isn’t great writing, of course. But it’s a compelling story of a work-a-holic genius who rose to success in the early 90’s. That era is long over, and few randos with a camcorder can approach the skill of Robert Rodriguez, but this is fascinating look at the time and all that Rodriguez was willing to do to pursue his passion.

Quote: “He said that I had creative talent, but what I really needed to do
if I wanted to be successful was to become technical. He said that just about
anyone can become technical, but not everyone can be creative. And there are
a lot of creative people who never get anywhere because they don’t have
technical skills. Part of what makes a person creative is his lack of emphasis
on things technical. My boss said that if you are someone who is already
creative, and then you become technical, then you are unstoppable.


9. Ravenswood

Tom Juravich & Kate Bronfenbrenner

ravenswood

Nonfiction at its most grand in this amazing real life account that ultimately pits striking workers in Pennsylvania against a literal BOND VILLAIN.  It’s not an always an easy book to read, and a lot of people and names and organizations blend together. But it’s worth sticking to for the highlights.

Quote: “When the Ravenswood Aluminum Company locked out 1,700 workers on Oct. 31, 1990, it hardly looked like a big opportunity for labor.”


8. Hidden Life of Trees

Peter Wohlleben

hiddentrees

My mom recommended this book to me and it blew my mind. It redefined how I saw forests and how I saw trees. It’s worth a read for anyone who ever strolled through a woodland glade, or is ever likely to.

Quote: “When trees grow together, nutrients and water can be optimally divided among them all so that each tree can grow into the best tree it can be. If you ‘help’ individual trees by getting rid of their supposed competition, the remaining trees are bereft. They send messages out to their neighbors in vain, because nothing remains but stumps. Every tree now muddles along on its own, giving rise to great differences in productivity. Some individuals photosynthesize like mad until sugar positively bubbles along their trunk. As a result, they are fit and grow better, but they aren’t particularly long-lived. This is because a tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it.”


7. Last of the Giants

Jeff Campbell

lastofthegiants

Campbell is deceptively good at writing compelling stories and this is pop-science at its most engaging.

Quote: [On The Elephant Bird] “Arab merchants, who called Madagascar the Island of the Moon, began trading with the Malagasy around the ninth century. Eventually, they brought back gargantuan eggs, too big to believe, along with frightening tales of the terrible bird who laid them. In the thirteenth century, Marco Polo heard these stories while traveling through Arabia and concocted his own version of the infamous Roc.” 


6. Subversives

Seth Rosenfeld

subversives

A life’s work of effort went into this shattering expose of neo-liberal tyranny. It doesn’t matter how cynical you are, how little you believe in the government, how invasive you imagine the US government is, this book will shock you.

Example: “The FBI’s files on Mario Savio, the brilliant philosophy student who was the spokesman for the Free Speech Movement, were especially detailed. Savio had a debilitating stutter when speaking to people in small groups, but when standing before a crowd and condemning his administration’s latest injustice he spoke with divine fire….. Hoover ordered his agents to gather intelligence they could use to ruin his reputation or otherwise ‘neutralize’ him, impatiently ordering them to expedite their efforts.”


5. The Dark North

Martin Dunelind

dark north

Dark fantasy short stories illustrated by a bevy of Scandinavia’s finest artists.

Quote 

Reading the words without the art wouldn’t do it justice. See below.

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4. Fire & Blood

George R.R. Martin

fireandblood

It kind of blows my mind though that Martin uses 732 pages and gets fewer than 157 years into the 283 year span of Targ rule. But he totally nails it, exploring historiography and creating compelling stories and characters as few other writers can do. It’s his Silmarillion only it’s actually fun to read.

Quote: This is a night for song and sin and drink, for come the morrow, the virtuous and the vile burn together.


3. Monstress

Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

monstress

It’s amazing. The characters, the world-building, especially the art, and especially especially the dialogue are all incredible. It’s sort of like Moorcock, but via Studio Ghibli or Tank Girl.

Quote: “There’s more hunger in the world than love.”

 


2. Jade City

Fonda Lee

jade city

This went on to win the 2018 World Fantasy award and rarely, in my opinion, has  book been more deserving. Jade City engages with great world-building; it’s the rare spec-fic book with a setting that actually feels like a well-thought out secondary world. Sure, it’s fantasy 70’s Hong Kong but the little details all create a very satisfying feeling of verisimilitude.

Although the structure includes multiple POVS, it’s really Hilo and Shae’s story-their arcs of being consumed by familial duties that carry this story.  Lee understands that virtue and flaw are two sides of the same coin, and it’s fascinating to see the applications of this.

Quote: “’Any old horse will run when it’s whipped, but only fast enough to avoid the whipping,’ Hilo said. ‘Racehorses, though, they run because they look at the horse on their left, they look at the one on their right, and they think, No way am I second to these fuckers.’”


1. The Ritual

Adam Nevill

theritual

 

One of those books that you have to recommend to your friends the second you finish reading it. It feels like a mishmash of other books, sure, and the second half is kind of a wasted opportunity, sure. Doesn’t even matter. For those interesting in either hiking or horror, this is a must-read.

Quote: “Everyone is fucked up, Luke. Damaged. We’re all messed up, underneath. Doesn’t matter what kind of house you live in.”