Friday, May 7, 2021

Words Rooted in Truth: Stay Whelmed and Feel the Aster!

 When I was watching Young Justice on HBO Max back in March, there was a running gag throughout the show from the first episode.  Dick Grayson, aka Robin and then Nightwing, questions why we say we're "overwhelmed" or "underwhelmed," but no one ever just says they're whelmed.  And it's like that with a lot of words.  Another one they use in the show is "disaster."  No one ever uses the root word "aster" by itself, do they?  Another one from the 3rd season is "distraught." Have you ever been traught?

Other words we might use certain conjugations of the word but not the root word itself.  Like you call someone a "burglar" or you might say there was a "burglary" last night.  Sometimes they might even say a house was "burgled."  But no one would say, "Let's burgle that house."

Another instance is that you might get REvenge or Avenge something. You might be vengeFUL or act vengeFULLY but venge by itself is not a word we use.

Or you could INTERcept something. Or you might try your hand at INceptION. You might ACcept something.  Or EXcept something or make an EXceptION.  But cept isn't really a word on its own.

Or you may REquire something and you may ACquire something or even REACquire something but you don't quire anything, do you?

In a lot of cases it's probably that long, long ago people did use the root form for something, but over time it fell out of favor.  Instead of saying I'm "whelmed." people say they're "fine" or "OK" or something like that.  Hence it becomes less and less common until it all but disappears.  "Disappears" does not fall into that category because we do use "appears" still.  But "instead" is used probably a lot more than "stead" on its own.

I'm sure you can think of more words that fall into these categories.  Maybe I inadvertently (or not) used some in this post.  Like "inadvertently."  How often do you "vertently" do something? 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Young Justice is the Most Complete DC Universe On Screen to Date

 Back in March I watched all 3 seasons of DC's Young Justice on HBO Max.  I had heard of it, I think largely when it was announced a third season was being done for the failed DC Universe service.  For better or worse, as the title of the entry says, the show is the most complete DC Universe on a small or big screen.  Over the three years it really becomes more of an epic saga that isn't quite generational but does allow characters to grow and change and new characters to come in and develop.

The first season begins on July 4th with Robin (Dick Grayson), Aqualad (Atlantean Kaldur'ahm), Kid Flash (Wally West), and Speedy (Roy Harper) being allowed into the Justice League's main building.  But Speedy is dismayed to find they don't have full access because they're still viewed as sidekicks and not actual Justice League members, so he quits and goes off on his own.

After an emergency calls the Justice League away, the other three sidekicks go to the scene of Cadmus Labs where there's a fire.  But in investigating, they find that Cadmus has some weird experiments going on, including a teenage clone of Superman!  They rescue "Superboy" and bring the evil scientists there to justice.  As a reward, the League allows these young heroes to form their own team along with Martian Manhunter's "niece" M'gann (or Megan) and Green Arrow's latest protege Artemis.

Over the first season "The Team" becomes a covert ops division of the Justice League, sent on missions by Batman when the League is too busy or it's a place where actual League involvement is not wise.  There are conflicts about who should lead The Team, though Kaldur'ahm is picked because he's more mature and has more combat training.  There are also problems integrating Superboy because he has a lot of anger issues, especially because Superman repeatedly makes excuses not to be around his clone--or half-clone because "Conner" as he becomes known is only half-Kryptonian.  Like Jurassic Park they filled some gaps in the DNA with human DNA--from Lex Luthor.  Meanwhile M'gann develops feelings for Conner while also hides from the Team (and everyone else) that she's really a White Martian, not a green Martian like Martian Manhunter.  On Mars the White Martians are an oppressed minority and also a lot scarier-looking than the green ones.

The first season ends with the young heroes fighting a mind-controlled Justice League and saving the planet from "the Light," an alliance of evildoers including Luthor, Ra's al Guhl, Vandal Savage, and Klarion the Boy Witch.

What's confusing about the start of season 2 is the first season ended on New Year's Day and the second season starts on New Year's...but everything's different!  Robin has become an adult named Nightwing; Wally and Artemis are a couple and retired from heroing; Aqualad found out he's the son of Black Manta and joined him in evil; M'gann and Conner are broken up and she's dating L'gann, a sort of Creature From the Black Lagoon-looking dude; and there are all new young heroes like Beast Boy, Static Shock, Batgirl, Wonder Girl, and Blue Beetle.  The latter is the main focus of the season as an alien race called "The Reach" is working with "The Light" to try to take over the planet.  Blue Beetle's tech came from The Reach.  We also find out that Kaldur'ahm is just doing a Departed thing and going deep undercover to find out the Light's secrets, though only he, Nightwing, and Kid Flash know about it.  Artemis fakes her death and then, disguised as a mercenary called Tigress, joins Kaldur'ahm in Black Manta's crew.

It's a few episodes in before they reveal this second season is 5 years after the first season ended.  It was a really confusing jump.  I wondered if maybe the episodes on HBO Max were out of order (they weren't) or maybe there was a movie or something I missed--I don't think there is.  

At the end of the second season Wally West is killed while helping to save the planet from a Reach Doomsday weapon.  Then the third season (made about 6-7 years later) picks up two years later.  There aren't as many changes except Barbara Gordon is now paralyzed and become Oracle, M'gann is back with Conner and showing her White Martian heritage, and Beast Boy is a TV star in a Star Trek (or maybe Galaxy Quest is more appropriate) type show.  There are new characters introduced like GeoForce, the former prince of Markovia named Brion, and his sister Tara (or Terra) both of whom have earth-controlling powers; Halo, a Muslim girl who was killed but reanimated by a "Mother Box" and has different color auras to give her different powers like shielding, healing, or even a Boom Tube; and there's Forager, a bug from another planet that can roll into a ball to run things over.  Cyborg, aka Victor Stone, is also added though doesn't do a lot.  Most of the new characters form a team called "the Outsiders" that operates in public while Halo and Forager remain part of the covert team, aka "The Team."

The central issue of Season 3 is that Apokolips, the home of Darkseid, is kidnapping "meta humans" (sort of the DC version of mutants in the Marvel universe) to brainwash them and use them on other planets as living weapons.  (Though without the meta human part this was something the alien Taelons did in Earth Final Conflict back in the late 90s-early 2000s, where they abducted humans and programmed them to be foot soldiers on other planets.)

The other issue is the power struggle in Markovia and Tara being a mole in the team run by Deathstroke like in the classic Teen Titans Judas Contract story.  Brion and Tara's brother takes over after their parents are killed but in the last few episodes a traitorous uncle deposes their brother.  In the last episode Brion takes power while Tara decides not to betray her brother and the team.

Anyway, it is really neat how the young characters grow up so that by season 3 the original cast are a bunch of seasoned veterans bringing along new recruits.  Like I said it's not quite a "generational" saga because it's only over the course of 7 years but unlike really anything else DC has going (even for the most part in its comic books) it is a complete universe in that the characters grow up, get married, have kids, and even die.  Really it's a lot like the superhero series that I've written, especially the Tales of the Scarlet Knight series where Emma starts off as a naïve 19-year-old genius and by the end is almost 30 with a boyfriend, daughter, and adopted daughter in addition to being a superhero.  Most comic books and even animated movies are their own pocket universes where characters don't really get old or change all that much.  But the growth of these characters, and the universe they inhabit, is really great--I just wish it had been explained better between seasons.  It's the closest DC has to the MCU in terms of a coherent universe that uses bits from almost the entire DC pantheon.

The only problem with this structure is that in the end there wind up being a lot of characters, so as always happens some characters wind up getting less time.  It was like the old Transformers or GI Joe shows from the 80s where they'd add in a new batch of characters from the latest wave of toys and most of the ones before that would wind up in the background or only occasionally guest starring.  The most important characters like Optimus Prime or Megatron would stick around but a lot of the secondary ones like Prowl, Hound, or Bluestreak who got more screen time in season 1 would hardly appear in season 2.  In the same way, characters like Blue Beetle and Kid Flash (the second one) who were a big deal in season 2 barely show up in season 3.  Meanwhile, most of the regular Justice League characters are in space for the last two seasons to allow the younger heroes to carry the load in the stories.  That doesn't really make the show bad, but if you have a favorite from one season you might be disappointed when that character largely vanishes in the next season.

I don't know if HBO Max is planning to do a season 4 but that would be cool to see what happens next.  The Light is still out there, as is Darkseid, so there's plenty of room to continue the story.  In the last episode they show someone wearing a Legion of Superheroes ring, so that would probably be something to add into the mix for a season 4.  Though like with some of the DC animated movies, it would be nice if they lightened up a bit.

Fun Facts:  In season 1 when Conner and Megan go to the local high school they meet Wendy and Marvin, who are updated versions of the kids from the first two seasons of Superfriends.  They were replaced in the later seasons by the Wonder Twins, who really would fit this series but don't appear for perhaps licensing reasons.

In one first season episode, Klarion the Boy Witch and some other evil witches cast a spell that splits the world into two universes, one populated by kids and one populated by everyone 18 and over.  The concept was a lot like an old sci-fi book I read only in that it was one universe where there were only men and one where there were only women.  I forget what it was called, though I know I mentioned it once.

Monday, May 3, 2021

The Unfortunate Timing of Titans

Now that the A to Z Challenge is over, it's back to the usual Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule that despite being predictable, no one will remember anyway. 😒

Back in March I finally got around to watching Titans on HBO Max.  And I pretty much hated it.  The biggest problem for me was the show, especially in the first season, was so dark.  It was basically like Teen Titans by way of Watchmen.  And yet strangely Zack Snyder wasn't involved.

I'm not really a big reader of Teen Titans comics or the later Titans comics where Dick Grayson, Starfire, and some of the other original Teen Titans became kind of the middle children between the Justice League and Teen Titans.  Anyway, even in my limited reading, I really don't think they nailed this at all.  I especially don't think they nailed Dick Grayson's character at all.  I mean in the comics I've read, Dick isn't Bruce Wayne Jr or Batman Jr.  He's usually a lot more well-adjusted and personable than Bruce.  In the Grant Morrison era of the late 2000s/early 2010s when Dick took over as Batman for a couple of years, one of the ways that Commissioner Gordon knew Dick wasn't the same Batman is that he would actually smile and make jokes.

Sadly that isn't the Dick Grayson we get in this show.  Instead we get a Robin who's more like Rorschach, hunting down criminals and then beating them bloody, breaking bones, and in one case basically ripping a dude's dick off with a grappling hook.  He notably says, "Fuck Batman" and yet really isn't all that different from Batman, at least the Frank Miller/Batfleck kind of Batman.

I don't think they really nailed Starfire either.  Not because they cast a black woman.  It's mostly because she spends pretty much the whole first season as some kind of alien Jason Bourne in that she can't remember who or what she is but then she starts killing people by shooting fire.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think that's how it worked for in the comics.  And it didn't help that pretty much that whole season she dresses like some kind of drag queen prostitute.  Ugh.

They did a better job with Raven and Gar, aka Beast Boy.  At least Raven v2.0 because the first Raven was more or less an adult and not a Goth kid like the later iterations.  Beast Boy is probably the one they got the most right, though it was lame that until the last episode of the first season he only turns into a tiger.  Even then the only other thing he does is turn into a snake.  Is the CGI morphing stuff really that expensive?

Though no one cared about my Doom Patrol blog entry (or this one either), my problem with that show was in the end most of the stuff that happens and most of the characters don't matter.  That winds up being the same problem with the first season of Titans too.  The whole thing for the season is protecting Raven from first some kind of secret organization that wants to capture and study her, if not kill her, and then later to save her from her father, the demon Trigon.  But in the end (which is really the first episode of season 2) the only one who really helps Raven is Gar.  Everyone else is corrupted by Trigon, starting with Dick in a largely pointless fake-out fantasy episode where he imagines killing Batman.  

So like with Doom Patrol we get introduced to all these characters and their problems, especially Hawk and Dove, who have a whole flashback episode to introduce their problems, and they don't really factor into the end.  They could have not been in it at all and the outcome would still be the same.  You can at least make the case that Starfire and Dick helped to get Raven and Gar to the end, though still if everyone except Raven and Gar had not been in it at all, the same result could still have happened.  That's just lousy storytelling to me.  Though the most useless character was Dick's partner on the Detroit PD.  She's introduced, she talks to him a couple of times, talks to the coroner, and then she's dead and no one, especially not Dick, seems to give a shit about it.  What was the point of her even being in the show?  Dick being a police detective was pretty unbelievable too and the only reason they did it was so he would have a reason to meet Raven, and flashing a badge opened a few doors later on.  He could have met her another way and done without the detective thing and useless partner.

The second episode of season 2 is almost like a soft reboot.  Dick moves Raven, Gar, and Jason Todd's Robin to the old Titans Tower in San Francisco, which unlike the comics and animated shows/movies is not shaped like a big T.  But wait, there was an old Titans team?  They hadn't really mentioned anything about that in the first season, just that Dick and Donna Troy (aka Wonder Girl) knew each other and Dick also knew Hawk & Dove.  Meanwhile, Starfire apparently remembers everything about her alien life now so that when some royal guardsman comes back to take her home, she even remembers sleeping with him once before.  And while in the first season we never see Batman or Bruce Wayne (maybe because they were hoping for a Ben Affleck cameo) suddenly Dick is meeting with some middle-aged balding guy who is apparently Bruce Wayne.  Um...ok then.

After Trigon is dealt with, the main bad guys in the second season are Deathstroke and Cadmus.  Deathstroke famously went against the Titans in The Judas Contract back in the early 80s comics--which was made into a 2017 animated film.  In that he used a new recruit named Terra as a mole (appropriate since she had earth moving powers) to get inside the Titans and then capture them.  In a half-assed way they sort of do something similar only instead of Terra, it's Deathstroke's daughter Rose who becomes the mole.  Dick "rescues" her and invites her to stay and she helps stoke the flames of division in the group.

Just seeing Deathstroke has the rest of the old Titans (Hawk, Dove, and Donna Troy) shitting their pants.  In flashbacks over a few episodes we find out that Deathstroke killed Aqualad, the sidekick of Aquaman.  To try to flush Deathstroke out, Dick and company find Deathstroke's son Jericho, who is mute after some bad guys cut his throat, but has the power where he can jump into anyone he makes eye contact with.  Anyway, the half-assed plan to use Jericho to find Deathstroke leads to Donna getting her ass kicked, then Dick getting his ass kicked, and Jericho seemingly killed by Deathstroke.  After that the original Titans broke up.  And after Dick tells that story to the new Titans, they break up too because he didn't tell them the truth.

Meanwhile, at the end of season 1 there was a cookie scene showing Conner Kent escaping Cadmus Laboratories with Krypto, who was Superman's dog in one of those goofy old stories.  It's not until midway of season 2 when they get back to this and show Conner escaping and taking Krypto with him.  Conner makes his way to Kansas and the home of Lex Luthor's father, who I guess in this universe was a farmer who lived down the road from the Kents.  Conner has memories of both Lex and Clark Kent (aka Superman) because he was cloned with DNA of both of them.  With the help of the scientist who made him, Conner ends up in San Francisco in time to save a falling Jason Todd.  But then Conner is shot with a Kryptonite bullet and is saved by Starfire giving him a burst of solar radiation, but he's still in a coma.

With everyone else going their separate ways, Gar stays to watch Conner.  When Conner wakes up, Gar starts teaching him about the world, but when Conner inadvertently beats up some cops he thinks are hurting someone, he goes on the run until he and Gar are captured and brainwashed by Cadmus.

Meanwhile Dick decides to do penance by beating up a couple of TSA people in an airport and going to prison.  Despite that to prosecute someone and send him to jail would take weeks if not months, it seems like overnight that he's sent to a Nevada prison.  Meanwhile Donna keeps trying to call him on his cell phone, because I guess his story didn't make the news and she never bothered to Google him or anything.  And she didn't bother asking Wonder Woman or Batman or anyone in the Justice League to help find him.

And there's some whole dumb subplot about Starfire's sister going all Cersei on Game of Thrones and killing everyone on their home planet to take over as undisputed ruler.  And while Starfire wanted to stay on Earth when her bodyguard tracked her down, all the sudden she doesn't want to stay on Earth anymore.  And Raven is struggling to control her powers.  And Hawk and Dove break up and he starts doing cage fights sort of like Wolverine in the start of X-Men back in 2000 to get money for blow.  And Jason Todd and Rose go back to Gotham to fight crime and then play house in some busted drug dealer's mansion.  Blah, blah, blah who gives a shit?

The last episode does slightly better at getting more people involved.  Cadmus unleashes Gar on a carnival in San Francisco and then sends Conner to fight him to demonstrate his capabilities.  Starfire, Raven, Donna, and Dove decide to go stop the fight but Deathstroke stops him.  Then Dick shows up to fight him and Rose shows up to help--while the others just sit in the car.  It's kind of creepy that Jericho, whose spirit had been living in his dad when he died, jumps into the body of his half-sister.  And then supposedly Deathstroke is dead.

Then they go to the carnival and Raven brings Gar back and then she, Dick, and Donna manage to un-brainwash Conner.  He beats the shit out of the Cadmus goons in the area--who apparently don't have Kryptonite bullets handy--and everything seems fine now.  But this fucking show is so pathological about avoiding anything that might be construed as fun or positive that they have to engineer Donna's death in a really fucking stupid way.  Dove's big contribution is to grab a kid's doll and while she's giving it to the kid, a big metal tower that was part of a ride or something is going to fall on her.  Even though there is literally a clone of Superman with super-speed and super-strength right there, Donna grabs the tower thing and gets fried.  Like Iron Man and Captain America in Endgame I wonder if this was more about the actress wanting out than any real reason because it was so unnecessary and dumb.

Donna's strength--or lack thereof--doesn't really make much sense to me.  In a flashback Deathstroke beats the hell out of her and breaks some of her bones.  But then at the carnival she takes a punch from Conner with little damage.  But then she gets electrocuted to death?  She can take a punch from a Kryptonian clone but Deathstroke breaks her arm and electricity kills her?  It's not really consistent.

And still while they did a little better to involve more of the characters, in the end Hawk and Starfire were useless, Dove was worse than useless, and Jason Todd was absent.  I don't know why for this and Doom Patrol they suck so much at getting characters involved.  In the end there's so much stuff that winds up wasted.  I think they do a better job on the ones that end up on the CW.  And the animated ones.

The only cookie scene at the end teases that Starfire's sister is back on Earth.  Big whoop.  Are we supposed to believe Deathstroke is really dead?  And what about Dick Grayson?  He broke out of prison, so isn't he a fugitive from justice?  Or is Bruce Wayne going to make those charges go away?  Next season I guess they're supposed to have Tim Drake as a third Robin and Barbara Gordon as Oracle/Batgirl, but I'm sure they'll fuck those characters up too.

The biggest problem for this show is that it was still a product of the Snyder era.  Though Zack Snyder wasn't involved, it was made like Watchmen or BvS, the kind of grim and gritty "superhero" universe where the heroes are really not much better than the villains.  The first season aired in 2018 but it was made in 2017, before the failure of Justice League really put the kibosh on the whole "Snyderverse" thing.  If they had started production after that, they might have decided on a lighter tone, which really would have made the show more enjoyable.  It's not like I wanted something as goofy as Teen Titans Go, but more like the animated movies or the animated Young Justice series, which like with most DC properties do a lot better job with the material than the live action versions.

I suppose the thinking with some of the characters was sort of like with the Henry Cavill Superman where they were trying to have the characters start out gloomy and pissed off and then work towards making them more fun as they worked through their issues.  Especially with Dick Grayson that's what they seemed to be trying to do, but it seems kind of ass-backwards to me; you're really hoping that the audience is going to stick around through that whole change and I'm not sure you can really count on that, especially when you start so dark.  Character development is nice, but they didn't need to make most of them so fucked up.

Fun Fact:  The first two episodes were directed by Brad Anderson, who is one of my favorite underrated directors of movies like The Machinist (with former Batman Christian Bale), Transsiberian, and Session 9.  It was nice to see him getting some work even if I didn't really like the show.

Friday, April 30, 2021

A to Z Challenge: Zs

 Sometimes Z is hard to find something for, but with Star Wars figures there are actually 3 Z figures!

First there's Zeb (aka Garazeb Orrelios) from Star Wars Rebels.  Zeb was the big tough alien whose people seemed to be almost extinct.  At the end he's able to help find a new home for those who are left.

Then there's Zorii Bliss from Rise of Skywalker.  She was Poe's friend who was sort of a bounty hunter or Spice runner or something.  She was played by Keri Russell of Felicity and The Americans fame.

And then there's Zuckuss, who was one of the bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back...apparently.  He's one of those where you shake your head and wonder why he has a figure and other characters don't.  How do they decide this shit?  His mask makes me think of one of those tardigrade things.

So there you go, that's the last Z.  And the end of the "Challenge" which I largely half-assed.  Thanks to everyone who commented--most of whom I'll never hear from again.

Until next year...?  I really don't know or care.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

A to Z Challenge: Yoda

 Yoda first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back as the cute old green Muppet who talks backwards and teaches Luke about the Force.  Then he had a small part in the next movie before disappearing after his death.  He appeared afterwards as a Force ghost with Obi-Wan and Anakin.

Then the prequel trilogy made him a part of the Jedi Council along with Mace Windu and others.  The first prequel movie he looked kind of weird in CGI.  In the second movie he actually has a lightsaber and fights Count Dooku.  Then in the third movie he fights Trade Federation droids on Kashyyk before fighting the Emperor and going into exile.

He frequently showed up on the Clone Wars series; the first episode actually features him and some clone troopers.

He also appeared in The Last Jedi as a Force ghost who helps Luke stop being such a dumbass. 

And of course there have been figures made of him, including one where he's partially translucent like a ghost.  The latest one is a 40th anniversary one.  As I've said before, I'm not keen on paying full price for half-sized figures, so I haven't bought one.  The snake on him looks weird too.  For whatever reason they don't seem to have a prequel one yet.

In the end I'm not sure if there will be more figures of Yoda or "Baby Yoda."

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A to Z Challenge: X-Wing Pilots

 The last entry I talked about Wedge Antilles, a Rebel X-Wing pilot.  Along with Wedge, Luke, and Poe Dameron the only other X-Wing pilot they've made a figure of in the six-inch size is Asty, who is...I have no idea.  I think he was in the sequel movies.

As I've said before it's weird they haven't made Biggs, Luke's friend who was supposed to have a bigger role in the first movie, or the other Death Star attack pilots like Porkins or Gold Leader--"Stay on Target."  They haven't even made the Blue Squadron ones from Rogue One.  Or Snap Wexley and the other Black Squadron pilots from the sequel trilogy.  Or the A-Wing or B-Wing pilots in the second Death Star attack.

It seems like a huge untapped market.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

A to Z Challenge: Wedge Antilles

Wedge Antilles was one of the pilots with Luke Skywalker during the attack on the first Death Star.  He was "Red Two" whose X-Wing gets a damaged engine.  Because of that he leaves the battle instead of getting blown up by "covering" Luke like Biggs.

After that Wedge was in a Snowspeeder on Hoth and was the first one to take down an AT-AT with his tow cable.

In Return of the Jedi Wedge's X-wing takes down the north cooling tower of the second Death Star.  He escapes along with Lando and the Millennium Falcon.  He was at the celebration in the Ewok village then with the other main characters.

So along with all the main characters:  Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, C3PO, and R2D2, Wedge was the only one who appeared in and survived all three movies.  

After that he became the commander of Rogue Squadron in the books.  He was eventually promoted to General and used in various ways in some of the lame books.  None of that is canon anymore.  There's supposed to be a Rogue Squadron movie that's probably not based on the books and video games at all.

The actor who plays Wedge didn't want to appear in the sequels, but he does have a very brief cameo at the end of Rise of Skywalker as a gunner on the Millennium Falcon.

A young Wedge appears in a couple of episodes of Rebels before he went off to join the main Rebel cell.

Anyway, he finally got a Black Series figure made of him:

I'm sure my brother wouldn't mind if they made a prequel movie focusing on Wedge or if he showed up on The Mandalorian or something since Wedge is his favorite supporting character for...reasons.

Monday, April 26, 2021

A to Z Challenge: Veers & Ventress

 General Veers was an Imperial commander who led the invasion of the Rebel base on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.  My favorite part is when he's in the lead AT-AT about to take out the Rebel's shield generator.  He says, "Target, maximum firepower!"  And then a laser blast from the AT-AT takes out some random Rebel soldier on the ground before the AT-AT blows up the generator.  Like they were calibrating the weapons by targeting Bob the Rebel Soldier or something.  

I don't think Veers ever shows up in any of the other movies but he's probably in some books and shit.  He was one of the guys you could get in the old Rebellion video game to command your ground troops or maybe to help research new ground troops.  They had a lot of other Imperial commanders from the movies in that like Grand Admiral Thrawn, Admiral Piett, Admiral Ozzel (the dude Vader strangles before promoting Piett), and Captain Needa, who was also strangled after his ship lost the Millennium Falcon.  

Thrawn and Piett also have "action" figures made of them as well as Grand Moff Tarkin.  Not that any of them did a lot of action, but I guess they were more important than cantina bar patrons or dudes who were standing around Jabba's palace.

A recent addition to the lineup is Asajj Ventress, a villainess who was introduced in the Clone Wars animated movie as a protégé to Count Dooku.  Over the course of the series she fell out with him, went back to her homeworld with the "Night Sisters" and barely survived their slaughter to become a bounty hunter.

I don't remember if she survived into Rebels or if she could appear on The Mandalorian or anything.  After Ahsoka Tano she was the next most interesting original character to come out of that show.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

A to Z Challenge: Ugnaughts

 It's good U fell on Saturday because I don't have much.  There are Ugnaughts, the little piggish dudes who worked in the bowels of Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back.  One of them later appeared on The Mandalorian and was voiced by Nick Nolte.  His name is Kuiil and fortunately they put out a figure of him recently or I really had nothing.

A Fun Fact is that Nick Nolte is frequently lampooned during Rifftrax whenever there's a homeless guy or some rundown place.  The adventures of that Nick Nolte would make for a really exciting movie.  I was sad when Kuiil died in The Mandalorian; they probably should have kept him and killed off Gina Carano given what happened.

Friday, April 23, 2021

A to Z Challenge: Thrawn

 Grand Admiral Thrawn was first introduced in the early 90s as part of Timothy Zahn's original trilogy of books that at the time were an officially licensed continuation of the Star Wars saga.  Taking place 5 years after the second Death Star was destroyed, Grand Admiral Thrawn has been gathering the remnants of the Imperial forces together.  His strategy to rebuild the Empire is largely dependent on finding a secret storehouse where the Emperor stored technology he didn't want anyone else to know about.  In this storehouse is cloning technology--and the crazy clone of a former Jedi Master.  Thrawn uses the Jedi Master to help build an army of clones.  Then he finds a fleet of Old Republic dreadnoughts that had disappeared a long time ago.  Thrawn is on the brink of dealing the New Republic a crippling blow when he's assassinated by his own bodyguard, Rukh.

In the late 90s, Thrawn was one of the Expanded Universe characters who was made into a figure, along with Mara Jade and some others.  I have both of those figures.

After Disney bought the rights to Star Wars, they declared Zahn's books (and the others) to be non-canon, but they threw fans a bone by adding Grand Admiral Thrawn to the third season of Rebels as a recurring villain.  To go along with this, Zahn also wrote a new trilogy that detailed Thrawn's rise through the Imperial ranks to his attempts to get the elite TIE Defender into mass service. 

Along with the other Rebels characters, they also made a Grand Admiral Thrawn figure that my brother gave me for Christmas a few years ago.  The figure is a good likeness and it's cool to have even if it only came with a pistol.

I think along with the characters from Rebels they recently reissued the Thrawn figure.  It's pretty much the same, only in different packaging.

At the present Timothy Zahn is writing another Thrawn trilogy, this time going back to when he was part of the Chiss Ascendency, the alien empire he originally came from.  I haven't read any of those yet, but maybe someday.  And with a Thrawn mention on The Mandalorian, there's the chance he might get a live action version that could lead to another figure.


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