Saturday, July 2, 2011
3681 BBY: Return
I think for my own sense of clarity I need to go over the dates of what we already know up to 3681 BBY. Starting with 5000 BBY, we know the surviving Sith on Korriban left the system after the Republic’s massacre of their people and destruction of their home world. The next time we hear about this particular group of Sith, it is 96 years later. It’s made clear to us by Master Gnost-Dural that any Sith during this 96 year gap threatening the Republic were “Fallen Jedi” and not “True Sith”. Also, it seems that Naga Sadow is now with this group of Sith, and no longer on Yavin 4. During this time the Sith were rebuilding on Drummond Kass and constructing their armada. We don’t know if Sadow has left Yavin 4 permanently at this point, or if he’s still using it as a base of operations. From there we move an additional 338 years into the future, and learn about the events of Eison Gynt and Master Baril Ovair. From the Republic’s perspective at this point, the Sith are still extinct, minus the “fallen Jedi” they are fighting. It is during this time the Sith empire infiltrates the Republic. It isn’t until the year 3681 that the Sith return in their full might. So, counting from their flight from Korriban to their return to Korriban a full 1319 have past. And all this time it has been, presumably, the same emperor leading them (tell me he’s not using essences transfer).
Now that I’ve cleared up that timeline for myself, I feel I can move on (and please, correct me if I’ve missed anything or have interpreted events incorrectly).
The cinematic Return brings to life the events of Master Gnost-Dural’s re-telling of the Sith Empire’s first onslaught on the Republic military (timeline #6). And what an onslaught!
Return is awesome. It’s beautiful, it’s visceral, and it crams so much story in the space of 6 minutes. I’m not sure what else to say about this piece of cinematic, except to ask the question so many TOR fans have asked already: why hasn’t Bioware and Blur made a feature length movie about The Old Republic? DigitalMaster, a poster at the swtor forums recently wrote an article over at Fragworld asking this very question. You can find his thoughts here. The three cinematic trailers released so far: Return, Hope, and Deceived, are by far the best Star Wars visual storytelling I’ve seen since the Prequels (The Clone Wars is a close second though). A feature length movie would be truly awesome.
I don’t know why Lucasfilm hasn’t decided to go completely CG for its movies. I believe the animated CG medium is the true home of Star Wars and where it should remain. I also don’t know why he’s trying to re-re-release all 6 movies in 3D. The speculation is he’s trying to raise funds through their re-re-release in order to begin production on his live-action TV series. Apparently for that endeavor he has 50 episodes ready to go, but I don’t know why he doesn’t simply make the series using all the CG infrastructure and talent he’s currently using for The Clone Wars and film it in The Clone Wars style of animation. Or, as was discussed by DigitalMaster, ponder why Lucasfilm is not turning to Blur studios and Bioware to make the new TV series. I really don’ think shooting it with live actors rather than voice actors and animation could be more profitable. What is more, it has to be prohibitively more expensive to shoot a live action series as opposed to an animation series. I know nothing of making films either live action or animated, so I may be wrong, but it seems to me the animated option is cheaper and less restrictive.
Personally, I’m really not that excited about the prospect of Star Wars being in 3D. I have nothing against the 3D technology; I thought Avatar was an awesome film, not only because of its visual effects, but also because of its story. Yes, Cameron simply transplanted Pocahontas into his movie, but there’s nothing wrong with that. The story of Pocahontas works. It has characters an audience is interested in and care about, and story and characters are THE MOST important thing when telling a story.
Like I said in my last post, A New Hope is simply the Hero’s Journey retold, and West Side Story is simply a re-telling of Romeo and Juliet, which itself is a re-telling of Pyramus and Thisbe. We love these films because we love that story. There is nothing wrong with re-telling the hero’s journey again and again and again. As a species we’ve been doing it for literally thousands of years. My point is this: why not make new Star Wars stories, outside of the saga of Anakin Skywalker, done in a CG format? Which CG format is still up for debate. If Lucas is going to reboot all six films I’d love to see them all done in The Clone Wars style of animation or in a manner like Beowulf ( which is the style Blur studios and Bioware most closely emulates), not in 3D. Ok, enough about me blathering on about how Star Wars should exclusively go to CG animation.
The medium of Return is fantastic, and so is the new and exciting Star Wars characters presented for fans to enjoy. The most notable of which is Darth Malgus, who is the focus of the upcoming novel I’ll be looking at shortly: Deceived. But he’s not alone, we meet for the first time (from a chronological perspective) Satele Shan and her Master (whose name I don’t know), Darth Malgus’ Master, an un-named smuggler, and a Republic Trooper. The smuggler’s duel-wielding pistol scene was awesome. Each class of character looks unique, cool, and iconic, and the fight scene between the four force users was visually stunning.
What excited me most about Return was Darth Malgus. Watching his cold blooded murder of his Master has got me looking forward to exploring this character’s progression through the narrative. I’m also interested in watching Satele Shan grow from a capable padawan in this film (I presume she’s a padawan, she may not be), to the Grand Master of the Jedi Order we find in Fatal Alliance.
For my next post I’m going to look at Bioware’s second cinematic titled Hope. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.