Sunday, July 3, 2011

Circa 3660 BBY - 3655 BBY: Hope

In my last post on Return, I talked about how I’d love to see Star Wars movies and television shows shift almost exclusively to the animated medium. I began thinking about when Star Wars first became animated, and surprisingly I had to remember all the way back to 1978 and the Star Wars Holiday Special. Without a doubt the best part of the Holiday Special was the introduction of Boba Fett into the Star Wars Mythos. Eight years later came the Ewoks and Droids cartoon series, which in 1986 appeared for an hour on Saturday afternoons. The largest gap in Star Wars animation happens between this series and the next: The first Clone Wars series produced in 2003 came 17 years later. After this of course was the second series of Clone Wars cartoons which premiered with a movie in 2008, and Star Wars animation has not stopped since.

Bioware and Blur’s video game cinematics for the Star Wars Old Republic MMO are a continuation of the Star Wars animated legacy started way back in ’78, and it’s a continuation I think should become the dominant manner in which Star Wars stories should be told. Animation is where Star Wars belongs, and it’s here that Star Wars can grow with almost no limitations.

Hope, the second video game cinematic released by Bioware last year, exemplifies the best of what Star Wars animation can be (along with the other two cinematics: Return and Deceived). There is more Star Wars in these three cemimatics than all of Episode 1 and 2 combined. Seeing what these two companies have done with the Star Wars title excites me to the possibilities of the future. Star Wars doesn’t need expensive wooden sets and highly paid flesh and blood actors upon a screen; it can do very well for itself if it explores the animated medium to its fullest.

If Lucas wants to do something new with his Star Wars making, why not make a 3D movie using Blur studios’ animation set in the time of The Old Republic, or The Tales of the Jedi, or far ahead into the Legacy Era, or whenever? I can only speak for myself, but as a fan this is what I’d pay money to see. I’d even pay money to see both trilogies rebooted into The Clone Wars style of animation; that would be awesome.

But getting back to the topic at hand: the cinematic Hope. Taking place sometime between ten or twenty-eight years after Return, the developers at Bioware have yet to elucidate when exactly this events occurred. We know that the Battle of Bothuwi occurred at 3671 BBY because Master Gnost-Dural called this the Republic’s first victory over the Sith Empire before the Treaty of Coruscant. Lugija further narrows down the date between 3660 BBY and 3653 BBY (Treaty of Coruscant) and states: “During that time the Empire got itself near the Core worlds, but had taken almost every territory it could, and its attacks were more desperate than before and ended up to be stalemates. Alderaan is a coreworld, and would have been one of the last of these targets.” If I were to hazard a guess I’d place the date of Hope at about 3655 BBY, two years before the Treaty of Coruscant.

Now that we’ve somewhat nailed down the date, we can look at the implications of time’s passage on the two main characters involved: Darth Malgus and Satele Shan. No longer fresh-faced youths, in the cinematic Hope, Malgus’ face is older and ravaged by the darkside, while Satele Shan is dramatically more confidant in her own abilities. If 26 years have indeed pasted, it appears as though Darth Malgus has spent his time becoming more powerful, and so has Shan. In a confrontation of Epic proportions, these two titans of the Force face off in a duel to the death.

My first favorite moments in this cinematic is when Malgus attempts to plunge his saber into Shan, whereby she absorbs his saber in her hand, and Malgus is rewarded with a grenade to the face courtesy of the Republic Trooper from the Return trailer. My second favorite moment is when Shan, mustering all her strength in the Force, attempts to bury the Sith juggernaut into a mountain, and pulls off a maneuver worthy of Ken and Ryu from street fighter and hiyukans the Sith Lord, subduing the evil monster of the Force. Thankfully, this is not the last we see of the Sith titan. The trailer ends with the Republic military falling from hyperspace and converging on Alderaan, sending the Empire into retreat.

For my next post I’m going to look at Paul Kemp’s short story, The Third Lesson, which picks up just after the events of Hope. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

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