Saturday, January 30, 2016

Guys, I figured it out

I've seen a lot of fan theories on here since Episode Seven, but after taking like five handfuls of opiates and watching Return of the Jedi seven times I've figured it out.

Rey is Kylo Ren's Sister.


Remember this asshole?

This is Leia, Rey and Kylo Ren's mother. But Han didn't fertilize that. His pull out game is way too strong. But I know what you're asking. "If Rey isn't the product of the sweaty loin grinding of a bikini-clad princess and marauding stallion of a loose-cannon smuggler, then who is the father?" Well prepare yourselves. Because it's...

Remember how he takes off his mask?

WELL GUESS WHAT. This is just another mask. Another beautiful, shovel-faced mask.


The Real Kylo Ren. When Episode 8 comes out, I won't say I told you so.

TR-8R Tax. Always b loyal
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Star Wars Prequel Love and TFA Love

The release of TFA has provided my wife and I a unique experience. After being together for 11 years and married for 4, I have finally gotten her to watch the Star Wars saga before going to see TFA. As a huge fan who has seen the saga quite literally dozens and dozens of times, I can't tell you how fun it was seeing the saga through the eyes of a newbie.

I was born after the release of the CT and was in middle school when TPM was released. I grew up with the CT and it was part of my knowledge and worldview from as far back as I could remember. For that reason alone I decided to start at Episode 1 and move in order. I wanted to feel that experience through her. Before I get to that, let me say that I used to be a PT hater. With the exception of ROTS, I spent the better part of the last decade hating on the PT.

But then something odd happened. After seeing ROTS in theaters about 5 times...I didn't watch a Star Wars movie for almost ten years. Unbelievable really. Until last year. I purchased the saga on blu-ray and started making my way through them and that's when the odd feeling began. I actually fell head over heels in love with the PT. At first I resisted it. At first I told myself I was being nostalgic and foolish. But I couldn't help it. Then it began to sink in that the movies hadn't gotten better, I had gotten better. I understood the visual storytelling and the mirrored imagery. I understood the moral ambiguity of the Jedi and their code, the uncertainty of Anakin's true parentage and the dubious nature of the prophecy, the intentional awkwardness of Anakin and Padme's love, Obi Wan's clear imperfections, and above all else, I finally felt the tragedy of Anakin.

So my wife watched the saga with me....and it was awesome. She had NO knowledge of what was coming. She had paid absolutely zero attention to Star Wars stuff since her birth. She knew the names Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, but she knew nothing about the story. She was also unbiased by any other opinions. I very intentionally told her nothing and said I wanted her to see them "with her own eyes" as a "virgince." Lol.

Here were some of her thoughts that really surprised me:

  • she really liked Jake Lloyd. She thought he was a cute little boy and truly felt for him. Now, she also thought the final space battle with him was stupid and cheesy. So in her unblemished and unbiased mind the kid was good, the story finished dumb.
  • she loved Obi Wan (of course) but more importantly, she really liked Anakin and was extremely bothered by his fall. She could not believe he was Darth Vader. Totally stunned. She did say on numerous occasions she thought he was whiny, but also thought it made sense. His life was "shit" she thought. I'm quoting her now..."of course he is whiny. He's a slave taken by Jedi and basically thrust into a difficult life. Everyone is afraid of him and hard on him, even his best friend Obi Wan. The only people that are nice to him are a hot girl who he is understandably awkward with since he's clearly a guy who has no experience with women, and the other is Palpatine. All of the Jedi treat him like shit. Makes sense he's whiny."

  • she really liked Padme. Nothing more to say.
  • she also loved the CT and thought "it was more fun, but less intricate."
  • she actually cried when Vader saved Luke and loved seeing Anakin's force ghost.

Anyway, it was a blast seeing the films through the eyes of someone who had never seen them before. She also enjoyed TFA and especially enjoyed Rey.

Watching ALL of the films again reinforced just how much I love every bit of this saga.

One last note... The use of the Starkiller base has been derided as Death Star 3 and a rehash. I disagree.

In ANH the Death Star was a completed mechanical terror like Vader. The two of them, Vader and the Death Star, are the embodiment of inhuman evil and the destructive power of mans creations. Luke destroys the Death Star just like he destroys Vader bringing Anakin back in the fold. In a similar vein, the second Death Star is under construction but is not yet complete. This is a reflection of Luke whose hand is mechanical but has not yet fully converted to the darkness. Like Luke who puts his faith in his friends and overcomes darkness to remain a Jedi, Luke's friends destroy the Death Star.

Starkiller Base is. Similar motif for Kylo Ren. It doesn't generate its own power, but takes it from a burning hot star just as Kylo draws of his grandfather Anakin's strength. Also like Kylo, Starkiller Base has life in it and on it. There are trees and signs of good. It's just frozen cold and in hiding.

Each Death Star / Starkiller mega weapon is nothing more than a motif of the Skywalker lineage. For that, I applaud TFA.
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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Lightsaber Buyer's Guide

There's a lot that goes into getting your first lightsaber. I've personally spent the past month looking into it, and here's what I've found:

"Eh, I don't really want to put a lot of time and money into getting a lightsaber. I just want something to swing around."

Alright, there are a couple options for you if that's the case. There's the classic fold-up lightsaber, which has always been a favorite of mine, but you could also go for something a little more fancy.

"I want a high-quality, solid lightsaber, but I don't want to have to do any work."

This is a pretty common category, and you have a lot of options here. The only really high quality mass-produced lightsabers I've found are the Hasbro Black Series lightsabers. If those aren't your style, you can go to the custom lightsaber makers like Ultrasabers, or Saberforge. I'd be a little wary of these sites, however, as they get a fair amount of negative feedback. Ultrasabers has been said to have low build quality (e.g. gluing instead of soldering connections), and Saberforge lightsabers take a massive amount of time to fabricate and ship. Personally, I'm a big fan of saberforge, but their sabers can get awfully pricey and take a long time. EDIT: Supposedly, there have also been reports of the owner of saberforge not taking criticism well and getting mad at customers, so take that as you will.

"Money be damned. I want a work of art."

Well, lucky you. I'd look in the direction of Vader's Vault and Genesis Custom Sabers, as they both do commissions and make really high quality stuff.

"A lightsaber's not worth anything if you don't build it yourself, right?"

Good point! Making your own lightsaber can be a really exciting and fulfilling experience. You're going to want to start with the Custom Saber Shop. This place is really fantastic for so many reasons. They have a wide variety of different hilt pieces, so that you can design your lightsaber to fit your exact needs. They even have a lightsaber building tool that allows you to see what your lightsaber will look like before you buy the parts. There's also a varying selection of soundcards and LEDs, so that the sabers can fit both to your vision and your budget. Unfortunately building your own lightsaber is gonna require learning some basic knowledge of electronics, but it shouldn't be very difficult to learn.

Hope this helped!

EDIT: Just some more information on the electronics that have to go into making a lightsaber. The electronics a hilt needs are the following: An LED, a battery pack of some kind, a switch, speakers, and a soundboard. The soundboard is going to be the most expensive component. For a starting saber I'd reccommend the Nano Biscotte Sound Module V2. You can find all these parts at the Custom Saber Shop. They're out of stock with a lot of these things a lot of the time though, so you'll have to be patient. I alsohighly reccommend visiting their forums and watching their tutorials before buying anything so you know what you're doing. Don't just blindly buy the stuff I put in the links -- they're really just to give a sense of what you're looking for.
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kylo Ren's emotional outbursts aren't a sign of immaturity; they are a manifestation of mental trauma

People seem to attribute Kylo Ren's emotional issues to inexperience and youth and assume that in the future films he'll be more composed and in control. Actually, I think it's quite possible the opposite will happen and he'll just get more and more unhinged. Why? Because the reason he's emotional isn't because he's immature. He's emotional because his mental health is an absolute mess.

And why is he so messed up? Well, remember the talk Leia had with Han on how Snoke manipulated Kylo Ren into joining the dark side. I think most people took it as Snoke taking advantage of Kylo Ren's emotional issues, that perhaps he wasn't talented enough and he buckled under the pressure of expectations, which led to a thirst for power. But I think it's actually the other way around. Kylo's emotional turmoil is actually the product of Snoke's manipulation.

In the novelization of TFA, Leia tells Han that Snoke was manipulating him for a very long time, far longer than even she realized.

From the novel:
He had trouble believing what he was hearing. “So Snoke was watching our son.”
“Always,” she told him. “From the shadows, in the beginning, even before I realized what was happening, he was manipulating everything, pulling our son toward the dark side.”
This seems to suggest Snoke was present in Kylo's life from a very young age. It's very possible that he was a constant presence in young Ben's life, warping the mind of a kid who otherwise would have grown up normally. He was sent to Luke once Leia realized this, but by that time Snoke already had his grip on the kid.

Essentially he's less the kid who fell into the wrong crowd but rather more like a schizophrenic patient who has a voice in their head coaxing the individual to distrust people, except the voice was a real being manipulating a child. Kylo Ren is a disturbed individual who's been brainwashed since childhood, who's frantically trying to believe that what he's been taught and have done is correct despite the constant nagging feeling that something is wrong. Just like Finn, who still held on to his sense of conscience despite a lifetime of indoctrination, Kylo Ren has an inherent "light side" that he can't get rid of no matter how much he tries. This creates feelings of guilt and inadequacy deep inside that constantly eat away at him and drive him crazy. Years of this kind of emotional turmoil has taken a toll on the guy, making him more and more unstable.

People want him to grow in to the next charismatic, cucumber-cool baddie, but I think it's quite possible that he'll just get more unstable and crazy with time. Honestly despite all the emo teen jokes about the guy, if he was an actual high school teen, he's much more likely to be the kid who stabs someone with a pencil than the one writing poetry while wearing mascara.The root of Kylo Ren's issues is mental trauma. Not because he hasn't grown up yet.

TL:DR: Kylo Ren is a victim of life-long manipulation, which has led to an unstable individual with mental issues.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A few interesting things I picked up on from the TFA script

This may have already been determined, but if not, the person holding kiddie Rey on Jakku during her vision is indeed Unkar Plutt.

Kylo immediately thinks about Luke when talking about Rey. INTERESTING.

So, Han hasn't seen Kylo since he was in his teens (or thereabouts)?

Han touching Kylo's face apparently wasn't in the final script. Nice improv Harrison?

I wonder if Kylo's blade was originally intended to have more of a yellow-ish hue, then...

A mother's embrace, eh?
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