One of the true all time greats as far as comic book artists go is most definitely Bill Sienkiewicz! His style is like none other and as far as comic book covers go, he is one the BEST! Anytime you’d get a cover from Bill you knew you were in for something several notches above what was normally brought to the table. Here are 5 covers he did for the Marvel 1983 adaptation of Return of the Jedi, a bit different from his normal output in being they’re much more simplistic than what he’s normally known for. However his final painting for the trade paperback (the last image) showcases his epic classic style, this all brings me back to a time when Star Wars had limitless potential. Oh what could have been…..
Hello everyone out there, I hope you’re all doing your best during these unprecedented times, staying inside and staying SAFE! Being essentially trapped indoors leaves plenty of time to watch movies, well the other evening I’d found myself thinking about the colossal failure of the Disney Star Wars “Sequel Trilogy”. If only they’d have given us fans what they’d always dreamed of, a cohesive compelling story that gave us a truly unforgettable send off to the characters we’d been waiting 30 plus years to see again AND brand new fleshed out characters who we could continue to follow on cosmic adventures for years to come. In many hardcore fan’s opinions we got neither and I was thinking of how awesome it would have been to watch this “sequel trilogy” over and over if it’d had been done with care and not flat out wasted classic characters like Leia & Luke Skywalker.
Mark Hamill in particular really got the short end of the stick and many fans of arguably the most iconic pop culture character, Luke Skywalker left ‘Episode 8’ feeling incredibly underwhelmed. Well many fans might appreciate an alternative to ‘The Last Jedi’ in the form of a largely forgotten sequel to ‘The Watchers’ (the totally 80’s super fun Corey Haim Creature Feature), ‘Watchers Reborn’. The star of the whole show? You guessed it Mark Hamill! Technically the 4th film in The Watchers franchise, it’s the only sequel that’s really worth tracking down and technically more of a sequel to the first movie anyway. Keep in mind this one’s a fully b-level monster flick, it’s cheezy, it’s low budget but it’s got a lot more heart than The Last Jedi! You’ll get a great does of 90’s Hamill front and center in a pretty damn fun little horror thriller. Another plus is that it’s directed by John Carl Buechler (RIP), practical fx wizard behind New World Pictures, who’s done some stellar work right up until his death in 2019 (Hatchet, Nightmare on Elm St 4, Troll, Friday the 13th part 7) .
It’s been quite a wild one for Disney “Star Wars” over the past couple years, that’s for sure. It seems ‘The Last Jedi’ ignited some serious controversy that many people blame for ‘Solo’ underperforming massively at the box office. Me personally? I’d be a liar to say I wasn’t legitimately let down by The Last Jedi (and the Force Awakens to a certain degree) but then over the last couple years it became very clear: Disney Star Wars is really just high budget fan fiction, at least the sequel trilogy. It’s really no more legit than the ‘Expanded Universe’ stuff at this point, especially upon learning that Disney had the option to use George Lucas’ original treatment for Episodes 7-9. We all know now that they opted for a lesser original JJ Abrams & Rian Johnson helmed retelling of the original trilogy with ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’ which both follow the similar beats to the original trilogy. So in my eyes, not at least lightly following George’s treatment for the sequel trilogy is somewhat blasphemous and inauthentic. That all being said, I just don’t care as much knowing we’re not getting the creators true vision for the finale of the Skywalker saga.
My excitement level for the next Star Wars film couldn’t be any lower honestly. I’ll still go and see it, but I’m not rushing out opening weekend anymore for them. Over the years I’ve come to realize that Star Wars (for me) isn’t the cinematic “event” it once was after stepping out of The Last Jedi. It’s become a level of Hollywood sequel on par with ‘The Predator’ franchise, recent ‘Alien’ movies or ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’. Just bloated big budget remakes disguised as modern day “sequels” to beloved nostalgic franchises. Movies that end up quickly forgotten after leaving the theater. The more I’ve read and seen of ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, the less excited I’ve become. One of the biggest problems facing the movie are the “Jedi Paxis” leaks, which dropped a couple months ago and now appear to be perfectly matching what’s been shown in trailers and tv spots for the movie. I checked the leaks out and I’ll admit, I’m not incredibly excited to see it all unfold on the big screen. In fact the inclusion of Palpatine furthers the fact that these sequels are not much more than disguised remakes of the OT. I’m fully open to the leaks being false and perhaps Disney has pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes with some new form of marketing, but it’s really starting to all look pretty legit. But the ‘Game of Thrones’ leaks ended up true, ‘The Predator’ leaks, ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ leaks ALL ended up true as well. This presents a pretty damn big problem for Star Wars and JJ’s “mystery boxes” he seems to love so much.
Now I’m sure Episode IX will make a billion dollars, but I’m not sure what effect this movie will have on the cinematic future of the franchise if it further divides fans. If it fails to provide a proper story for the beloved original trilogy characters then it’s truly failed the fans. So far my gut feeling is ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ might end up being more divisive than The Last Jedi. On a positive note, ‘The Mandalorian’ seems to have fans all on the same page somehow? I’ve loved the first 5 episodes and I really wish that THIS would have been the movie we got instead of the sequel trilogy. At this point I think they should’ve just left the old characters alone and let the story rest with Return of the Jedi. None of what we’ve been served up in my eyes has been compelling or innovative storytelling and if you’re unable to pass the torch in a way that’s truly rewarding for fans, then it probably should have all just been left as was.
So my guess here is that this last installment from JJ is going to problematic for Star Wars cinematically. I think the Disney+ platform is where Star Wars will rule for the next few years or so. I mean how exciting will it be to see ‘Baby Yoda’ grow up?! So it’s sad that so far the return of Star Wars wasn’t at all what I’d hoped for and I really don’t think it’d have been all that difficult to send the old characters on an incredible adventure along with a set of new ones who could carry the torch into their very own trilogy. As far as fan fiction goes I’ll stick with the expanded universe stuff for the moment, but also happy that these new movies don’t bother me anymore. I’m fine with accepting them for what they are, big budget fan fiction from JJ & Rian…..
Here’s something truly unique and inspiring on the Star Wars front, as everyone’s talking about ‘The Mandalorian’ Disney Plus series this week and how damn good it was. I mean do you really need another review of the show at this point? I didn’t think so! Well it’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Timothy Zahn Star Wars book trilogy from the early 90’s, one which many fans had considered the real episodes 7-9 for many years until recently. If you’re a fan of the original trilogy, were underwhelmed with the Disney sequel trilogy and never read those books I highly suggest checking them out to get the ultimate old school fix of Star Wars! In fact the best way to check them out is in the audio book form narrated by Marc Thompson, whose vocal impersonations of the original characters is mind blowing, as well as the music and sound fx that’ll make you feel like the movie has come to life. It’s really that good.
Well recently I discovered something pretty amazing on Youtube, it seems a fan named ‘DarthAngelus’ is attempting to animate the story of the first installment “Heir to the Empire” in a Clone Wars/Rebels style series. A truly ambitious project and a welcome one for the true OT fan. It’s the very first time we meet the iconic villain ‘Thrawn’ who really should have been utilized in the sequel trilogy as the big baddie in my opinion. I’ve really enjoyed what he’s done here and I’m looking forward to what comes next and how just the action sequences will unravel, which will be a big part of how well this epic story translates to this animation. So far it’s a real treat to see how much love a fan has for the series, if there was a way for them to put Marc Thompson’s (the audiobook’s narrator) voice into this it’d even more of a spectacle. In the meantime kudos to this fan, more people need to know about this as I think it’s something truly special in the works! Check it out:
Ok folks, in just under two months we’ll be getting the final installment of “The Skywalker Saga”. Yep, ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ is going to wrap up the whole damn story whether you like it or not. Many people (as I’m sure you know by now) have huge problems with the “Disney Star Wars” stuff, for quite a while I was pretty damn perturbed about it all too. Especially with The Last Jedi. Then I’d read about how Disney bought the rights to the franchise and also got the drafts for George Lucas’ version of Episodes 7-9. Instead of fulfilling the iconic creators vision for his saga they decided to go with a more familiar plot, JJ and Rian Johnson delivered movies that are essentially soft remakes of the ‘Original Trilogy’.
When I’d heard this news something just clicked and I suddenly wasn’t upset with these new Disney Star Wars films. I realized they’re all essentially just high budget fan fiction films and that I’ll always have the real movies to watch. These new Star Wars flicks actually aren’t any different than the (much more superior in many ways IMO) Star Wars EU (Expanded Universe) material, or what they’re referred to as now, ‘Star Wars Legends’. Essentially all the non movie fiction stuff. I realized whatever Disney comes up with next really doesn’t matter much at least to me, in any real way anymore. Star Wars IS George Lucas, at the very least the sequel trilogy, 100% should have utilized his story for the final installment of The Skywalker Saga. Otherwise it really is just fan fiction with some big bucks behind it.
That all being said, I’ve still been wondering for a while just what this last installment has in store for Luke Skywalker, if anything at all. I then remembered JJ Abrams, a fan of Star Wars was co-writing the movie and it got me thinking, is he really going to sideline Luke? He’s got the chance to play with Luke Skywalker in his sandbox, one of the most iconic characters in pop culture. One last real chance to utilize the original actor as the character, c’mon is he really going to just have him show up as force ghost in a cameo?! Even though people swear up and down Luke is dead I really cannot fathom Abrams not giving Luke the excting moments, likely he himself and the rest of the OT fan base had been waiting for 30 plus years to witness on the big screen. How could a guy like JJ resist?
This is one of the best things I’ve seen in a while, George Lucas reacting to the latest Star Wars: Episode IX trailer! It’s clearly a fake reaction video but I’ll be damned if this wasn’t what he was thinking while viewing it for the first time-Check this out!
To say that ‘The Last Jedi’ was a divisive film amongst Star Wars Fans would be an understatement. The franchise will likely never be quite the same because of it, to some it’s a good thing, but to most the movie was seen as a huge disappointment. A lot now rides on the shoulders of JJ’s upcoming Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker and many think the damage to the franchise simply just can’t be repaired. The treatment of beloved classic characters like Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Leia & Admiral Ackbar disappointed longtime fans & the basic disjointed storytelling paired with jarring attempts at comedy sunk Episode 8 to new depths most haven’t seen since the days of the prequels.
Luckily someone has stepped up to the plate to entirely re-edit the movie, Ivan Ortega (who edits movies for a living), whom I’ve been following since the start of his Youtube channel ‘Film Fix’ has been working hard on this full movie re-edit for the better part of 2018. Well today is the day, Ivan’s finally released a new edit of the movie which adds many surprising changes that drastically alter the movie’s main narrative in many ways. If you felt let down by Rian Johnson’s Episode 8 then I suggest you give THIS version of the movie a watch!! It’s pretty amazing what this guy did & it’s truly a love letter to all of the fans old and new alike, who felt let down, check out the new full movie version of The Last Jedi right here!!
Or Get the Link from Ivan here on his youtube channel!!
Ok so by now everyone has probably seen the new ‘Star Wars Episode IX’ trailer, but I’ve yet to hear anyone talking about the possible return of one of the missing legacy characters from the original trilogy….WICKET and the Ewoks!!
So in the trailer it’s highly theorized that Rey & Co are returning to the forest moon of Endor, where we’re shown the old decayed wreckage of the second Death Star had likely crashed down upon. As a HUGE fan of ‘Return of the Jedi’ and an unashamed fan of the damn Ewoks I’ll admit my mind immediately went to the possibility of their return when I saw the debut trailer for ‘The Rise of Skywalker’. Who in 2019 can’t admit that the Ewoks were actually kinda bad asses? Come on now folks, people have shown a new love for the prequels lately, so I assume by this point in time we can admit that the Ewoks weren’t that bad and just maybe that in reality they were actually pretty awesome! Some things age really well with time and Ewoks are definitely one of em’ in my opinion. I’ll go on record here to state that the two ‘Ewok Adventure’ movies 1985’s Caravan of Courage & 1984’s ‘The Battle for Endor’ are two movies that I personally enjoy more than the prequels AND this Disney Star Wars stuff.
Go ahead, re-watch those movies and tell me they aren’t a ton of cheezy fun, filled with awesome creatures and even a little bit of that classic vibe of the originals. Whether you like it or not Wicket is a bonafide legacy character, that if you think about it got more screen time within The Return of the Jedi and the two feature length ‘Ewok Adventure’ movies than most of our favorite OG classic trilogy characters. Let’s not forget too that BOTH of the Ewok movies were written by Star Wars creator George Lucas and if we can give a god damn Porg real screen time in these new Star Wars movies then we certainly should be able to see the return of at the very least, Warwick Davis as Wicket.
I’ve got my fingers crossed that if Rey & Co. are indeed on the moon of Endor they’ll be escorted through the dangers of the forest to the wreckage of the Death Star by the Ewoks. I’m at this point not yet overly excited by ‘Episode IX’ even after the first trailer. That being said, I do admit that my level of interest has certainly been raised and I’m pretty open to whatever’s gonna happen next as I’ve got no real expectations for this last installment. ‘The Last Jedi’ all but sunk my Star Wars ship and I’ve no real investment in what ultimately comes to be for the new characters. So for me seeing the Ewoks return would be at least a ton of fun (as long as they can resist the urge to kill off Wicket). I think this time around they could even improve upon their look and maybe even make them a bit more badass (have you seen them in the Star Wars Battlefront II: Ewok Hunt?).
No matter what you think about the furry little devils you’ve at least gotta admit they’re a big part of Star Wars history and unlike the Porgs they were real characters that helped defeat the Empire in an epic battle. If we’re not going to get any more real action from Luke or Han at this point why the hell not revisit our furry friends from the moon of Endor. They must still be out there and likely are gigantic legends in the lore that today inspires Rey, Finn & Poe. Like it or NOT!!
Hey! Here we are with part two of my hopes and predictions for Star Wars Episode IX, this next installment is quite a deal breaker for the franchise’s future. The Last Jedi was a polarizing film and JJ really needs to rope all the fans back into the arena and get everyone to stop bickering and name calling. How’s he going to accomplish this? Well the last installment I focused on Luke, Rey & Kylo and what I hope to see from them in the next movie, I also included what I think though will actually end up being the case for the characters. One things clear, there’s a lot of fans who’re lacking the enthusiasm they once had for Star Wars, so let’s take a look at some of the remaining characters and figure out just what’d be the winning recipe for Episode IX that just might bring back the disgruntled customers to the franchise!
I loved Finn in The Force Awakens, his character was totally likable and his back story was actually pretty unique as well. Sadly in The Last Jedi he was given a pretty uninspiring side quest that went nowhere not fast enough. I continue to think of all the other more compelling scenarios that could’ve been thought up instead of the whole casino thing and that whole being arrested for parking his ship illegally on the beach and thrown into jail thing. Uggh…such bad writing in my opinion. I hope in Episode IX Finn gets a little more respect and is given a more interesting story arc. I also hope he’s given another chance to wield a lightsaber, he’s got serious potential and needs one of his own for sure. In my opinion also he’d be the best love interest for Rey, him and Rose had absolutely zero chemistry.
Finn’s going to be given serious redemption and JJ’s gonna for sure have a rewarding adventure for him to embark on as well this time around. I’m predicting he’ll use a lightsaber again as well at some point in the movie. He’ll also spend a lot more time with Rey as the two of them had sweet chemistry together in The Force Awakens, I’m also predicting they’ll have some sort of love connection, it makes a lot more sense than the whole “Reylo” theory. I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually saves Rey from Kylo in the first lightsaber duel in the next movie. Whatever the case he’s gonna be utilized in a much more compelling way this time around. I’m guessing that his “relationship” with Rose will be headed into the “friend zone” in the next film.
The Remaining Original Trilogy Characters: Leia, Chewy, Lando, R2D2 & C3P0
Oh how I’d love these characters to get their chance to really shine one more time. It’s a shame how they’ve been shoved to the background especially in the last movie. I’m hoping Chewy gets a ton more screen time and is included this time around as a real supporting character. He was barely in The Last Jedi and when he was he was simply utilized for quick “porg humor”. This time I hope he’s actually in on the action, teaming up and sharing the screen with Lando in the Falcon.
Speaking of Lando I’m hoping he get’s more than a quick cameo, give him a substantial role and perhaps pair him up with the remaining classic cast members. I think it’d be interesting if Lando was so angered by Han’s death that he was fueled to want revenge against Kylo. That’s a scenario we could really feel for his character. Also let’s get C3P0 and R2D2 in this damn movie more, am I the ONLY one who thinks these two need more screen time?! These droids are truly iconic & what’d be amazing would be if Luke didn’t die and could be teamed with the droids and Chewy once again. That however for some reason seems like wishful thinking at this point.
Lastly Leia, sadly there’s not much they can really do with her at this point, they’ve got some footage they can splice etc but since she was pushed to the background in The Last Jedi sadly we’re left with whatever JJ’s got in the vaults. I’d have loved to have seen her use the Force in a different way, I think it would have been amazing if it had been revealed that Luke had indeed trained her as a Jedi (like in the Legends/EU material) and she’d pulled out a lightsaber in The Last Jedi rather than oddly flying through space. But hey that’s just my opinion. All in all I hope they showcase the classic characters more this time around-people still LOVE them!! Continue reading
Ok folks, so obviously we don’t need to discuss ‘The Last Jedi’ anymore, it’s been debated to death! I’ll just say one last time, I thought it was a HUGE disappointment and with each viewing it’s gotten even worse for me personally. That being said, if you think it’s the next best thing since sliced bread I’m not gonna argue with you, it just really a matter of taste. However whatever you think of ‘Episode 8’ one thing is clear, the movie has divided fans & put the Disney Star Wars franchise into serious turmoil. Episode IX is really a make or break film with a lot riding on it’s shoulders. Another major blunder on the last episode of the ‘Skywalker saga’ could seriously tank the whole operation or at least put it under ice for a while if it under performs at the box office. The last thing they need is more bickering, name calling and heated debate within the fan base. So as a reasonable fan of the franchise, who felt that the last installment was the most disappointing sequel in movie history, I’d like to list a few of my hopes and predictions for this controversial movie, Episode IX!
To say I was disappointed with Luke in The Last Jedi is an understatement! Many of us have waited 34 years to see Luke again, one of the most iconic movie heroes in pop culture, as I understand things change sometimes in that amount of time, I think the chance of utilizing Mark Hamill as Luke one last time was fully and carelessly wasted by Rian Johnson. So in Episode IX, I really only have one true hope, that somehow Luke did not actually die. Imagine the excitement in the theater among fans, if someone stepped from the shadows in a pivotal moment, pulled back his hood & revealed he was Luke Skywalker alive in the flesh?! It’d be one of the best twists in the saga and probably movie history. Imagine him igniting his lightsaber to be a real part of the action-fans would go nuts.
Let’s face it, one thing we’ve learned from this third trilogy is that fans wanted more of the original characters, why not utilize them one LAST time instead of hiding them. Rian Johnson kept Leia in a damn coma for most of The Last Jedi, bad move dude! Give us Hamill as the iconic character one last time, let him use his damn lightsaber, stop worrying about him stealing the thunder of the new characters. listen to the fan base like Marvel does. The easiest character to bring back in the next movie is indeed Luke, it makes the most sense, he simply vanished (ahem…with his robotic hand), perhaps he utilized a never before seen force power? Whatever the case, living Luke will be the biggest step in repairing the damage, and who the hell wouldn’t love on last adventure with Luke Skywalker?! This seems like a no-brainer….
Though the idea to bring back Luke in the flesh seems like the obvious thing to do, it’s also what fans at this point are least expecting to happen. What I think’ll likely be the case is that Luke will indeed be a Force Ghost, coming and going throughout the movie to speak to Rey and Kylo. I think JJ will try and excite fans by showing flashbacks of Luke in the past, Hamill de-aged digitally, using his lightsaber and dealing with Kylo when he was in training. He might also throw in Luke’s force ghost in the end to do some sort of force lightning or something snazzy to help out Rey when she’s in a pinch. Though the flashbacks would be interesting and surely enhance the plot, they should have done something like this in ‘The Last Jedi’ to make the Luke / Kylo dynamic hold some weight and emotion. The idea of a force ghost Luke just doesn’t do it for me, bring him back for real one last time for the fans.
So we all know Kylo and Rey will have a rematch but seriously Kylo has already lost at every evil thing he’s attempted, except for killing his dad. So far he seems like a pretty inept villain. I’d at this point like to see the emo man baby actually pull off some sinister shit for once. I’m actually kinda rooting for him, I’m hoping that this next installment can make him into a truly fierce & imposing villain because as it stands right now he’s just a failing bad guy who throws ridiculous temper tantrums. I also hope he stays bad to the bone and is unable to be redeemed, at least then it’d explain why Luke for some reason wanted to murder him in his sleep.
I’d also like to see Kylo with a damn mask again, at least when going into public or battle to protect himself, now that Snoke is gone he can wear that shit like he wanted to from the start without his boss ripping on him all the time. Even better would be if Kylo’s appearance was being affected by the dark side of the force and his face was beginning to look more messed up like Emperor Palpatine. That would add a truly frightening side to the character as someone who was truly evil and past the point of no return. They’ve gotta do something with him to make him a convincing villain now that Snoke is cut in two. I’d like to see Kylo either bite the dust at the end or actually win!
I think JJ will indeed be making some changes to Ren to make him a more fearsome villain, I assume as well he’s got to pull off some truly epically evil stuff as well as beating Rey in a lightsaber battle near the middle of the movie. I mean Rey has got to be defeated at some point to bring some sort suspense to the plot right? So I think Ren will indeed get his moment to win early on, however I think he’ll also get his redemption near the end. I think there’s going to be some other larger threat that will force Ren to become ‘Ben Solo’ again. My guess is he’s going to sacrifice himself at the end for the greater good.
I’d like to see Rey finally have some real struggle, maybe too little too late for anyone to care but in order for me to personally get invested in her character at this point I’m going to have to believe that she’s in some sort of real danger and can actually be defeated. So far she’s been able to pretty much do anything she wants with little to no effort, whether beating Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel the first time, picking up huge boulders to save everyone, being an ace piloting the Falcon the first time etc.
I’m hoping for some real turmoil for her character. At this point I’m not really concerned about who her parents are but it’d be nice for them to explain why she’s been able to kick so much ass without the experience needed to do so. I’m not too invested in her character after TLJ, though I did though really enjoy her arc in ‘The Force Awakens’, but in my opinion she hasn’t had much of a struggle in the first two movies. Everything has come a bit too easy thus far at least.
Rey will indeed do some “failing” finally in the last installment, if not the character will continue to be ridiculed and be called a “Mary Sue” by triggered fans. The movies so far have gotten too much negativity about her character being unstoppable & I don’t think they can just keep having her win at everything. I also think JJ will indeed give us a reason why she seems so naturally powerful, one that I believe he had in mind from the start. I also think Ren was simply lying to her about being a nobody. There will indeed be a big reveal about her past that will explain why she became a bad ass without any sort of training. Yes in the end I believe she will turn Kylo from the dark side and the two will team up against a “new threat” at the end of the movie.
Ok Stay tuned for part 2 cuz there’s lots more to chat about! Let me know what you think & if you are excited for Episode IX!