Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu

Recently I decided to read another classic SW-novel once again: 'Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu'.

Compared to the beloved 'Han Solo Adventures' of Brian Daley, the three novels by L. Neil Smith have received less of attention throughout the years. In fact, they have hardly received any attention at all. The only two characters that surpassed their presence in the novels are Vuffi Raa and Rokur Gepta. I took the time to read the book properly and to note any name or terminology that appeared in the novel for Yodapedia, the Flemish / Dutch SW Wikia.

I must admit I still remember the overall story of the book, but I had forgotten about details such as the Dinosaurs, Hall and how Lando was pulled into searching for the Mindharp. Basically 'Mindharp of Sharu' is a pretty good novel. It features a inexperienced Lando who's hardly capably of landing the Falcon, but who already can shape the turn of events during any Sabacc match.

'Mindharp' is even written in a smaller microcosmos that Daley's novels about Han and Chewie. Those took place in the Corporate Sector and the Tion Hegemony, but Lando's adventures all take place in The Centrality and in 'Mindharp', Lando only visits the Oseon and the Rafa System. In 'Stars' End' Han and Chewie visit six systems. But Smith manages to create a great microuniverse in the Rafa System and it doesn't bother one bit. Compared to the modern EU novels where planets are destroyed as often as it rains on the equator, that's a big difference and I do prefer the low profile books anytime!

Another particular funny and interesting issue is how many earthly animals are mentioned in the novel (albatross, sardine, dinosaur and elephant) and how many weird exclamations are used like 'By the Eternal' and 'Entropy'.

Like I mentioned before, there are hardly any additional sources about the Lando Adventures. A sourcebook by West End Games was intended to appear, but when WEG lost the licence, the plans went up into smoke. So what's left is 'The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons' where we get a profile on Rafa V , a few tiny bits (but some great illustrations) in 'The Essential Chronologies' (both original and 2nd edition) and 'The Essential Atlas' which as a great map of The Centrality and a short explanation of the most important systems.

The Atlas makes a great combination with the superb article 'A Campaign Guide to the Centrality' in 'Star Wars Gamer 5' by Michael Kogge. For an article, it does an amazing job and has almost everything, except a map of the region. So the Atlas and the article make one great team. The article is the closest thing to a Sourcebook we have about Lando's adventures and I fear we might never again dig into them once again, which is a shame considered the amount of attention new EU novels sometimes receive.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Snivvian Roster

Snivvians are one of my favourite species in the SW-saga. Here's a roster of all the Snivvians appearing in the movies and television spin-offs.

* Geezum: Is the Snivvian Scout that can be seen in Jabba's Palace and on the Khetanna. (pictured on the right)

* Katt Mol: Is the Snivvian (who wears the classic red jumpsuit) who was captured by Garnac and dropped on Wasskah. Mol was killed by Ratter.

* Rachalt Hyst: Is the female Snivvian that can be seen in 'The Holiday Special'. So she's the figure that was used as a model for the original (small) Snaggletooth figure of Kenner. Sounds like Ackmena used to call her 'Zutmore'.

* Sinrich: Was an infamous Bounty Hunter during the Clone Wars who invented the Holographic Disguise Matrix. Sinrich was killed in Moralo Eval's Box on Serenno.

* Takeel: Bounty Hunter simpleton and the brother of Zutton and has a hunchback. Takeel wears a red shirt. Can be seen in the Mos Eisley Cantina and in the streets of Mos Eisley.

* Wiorkettle: A male Snivvian that worked on Cloud City for Planet Dreams Inc. Often seen with his friend Treva Horme.

* Zutton: Brother of Takeel, owner of the Longest Winter. Zutton is the 'Blue Snaggletooth', but in fact he's wearing more of a greenish skirt in the Cantina. Has less hair than Takeel and also has a hunchback. Can be noticed in the Cantina.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Vintage Kenner Ugnaught

It's always difficult to choose a favourite among lots of favourites! I've been a fan of Vintage Kenner Star Wars ever since I got my first 4 figures in the eighties. I mostly played with Vintage Star Wars, Masters of the Universe and toy cyclists in my childhood. Though I totally loved Masters of the Universe (I still do), Star Wars ultimately triumphed and at the end of the eighties I looked for every item that carried the name 'Star Wars'.

When I played with the vintage toys my favourite figures were Han Solo Trench Coat, Lando Calrissian General Pilot, Biker Scout, Bossk and Boba Fett. Since just a few playsets were released in Belgium, I started to construct playsets out of carton for my figures. I created Jabba's Palace, a Freezing Chamber, Endor playground and even Cloud City.

Many years have gone by and I must admit that throughout the years my perspective on the figures changed. When I was a kid I really wanted my figures to be soldiers or guards. I almost never used figures like 'Imperial Dignitary' (Sim Aloo), the Power Droid or Max Rebo. All they  did was stand or sit somewhere. I didn't really understand why Kenner made these characters and while other figures (such as the Rebel Fleet Trooper) were never made. While some choices still sound a bit weird weird to me, I have come to understand that Kenner was really courageous to create figures as the 'Death Star Droid' or Anakin Skywalker. My favourite Vintage figure is one of these figures that couldn't didn't fight in the movies.

The Ugnaught has become my favourite Vintage figure during the last couple of years. He's visually very interesting. It's a small(er) porcine alien, with a grey jumpsuit, white/grey hair and two tusks. He comes with two unique accessoires: a white toolcase and with an apron. So he's one of the few Vintage figures that came with two accessoires instead of one. His white toolcase certainly is a strange accessoire for a figure, but it appears in the movie!

What's also interesting about the Ugnaught is the variation of colors of the apron. Basically you have a purple and blue colored apron, but I've seen many variations of colors between the two main variations. The Ugnaught I owned as a kid had a purple apron, but I've come to understand that the one with the blue one is the more common variation.

The Ugnaught was released in 1981 in the second large wave of TESB figures (along with Dengar, Lobot etcetera). I guess Hasbro made him because he's one of the few alien characters in TESB. And there was no limit on the amount of Ugnaughts you could have, just like you could buy more than one Jawa. I doubt if many kids had more than one Ugnaught though. He also came with the cardboard Cloud City playset of Sears and was also released at Sears Canada on that weird looking black card (http://theswca.com/index.php?action=disp_item&item_id=42007). The Ugnaught on the Sears card is extremely rare and there might just be only a couple of them still attached to their cards.

I try to collect Vintage Ugnaughts whenever I get the chance, preferably complete with toolcase and apron. I have an Ugnaught on TESB, RotJ and TriLogo card. My Ugnaught tribe will probably continue to grow :)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Did Maul use a Sith-variant of the 'Jedi Ghost'-skill to stay alive?

I've always been interested in Jedi Spirits and in the skill that was needed to accomplish this special feat. It was already mentioned on the 'Behind the Magic' cd-rom that Obi-Wan used a special skill that he learned from Yoda to preserve his spirit after his physical death.

In the prequels we learned that Qui-Gon Jinn was the first of the modern Jedi to accomplish this, at least partially. Qui-Gon didn't have enough time to learn the skill to appear as a spirit, but he was able to keep his conciousness in order to communicate with Yoda and with Obi-Wan. This is what Qui-Gon said about this skill in the script of 'Episode III': "The ability to defy oblivion can be achieved, but only for oneself. It was accomplished by a Shaman of the Whills. It is a state acquired through compassion, not greed."

Because of this, it seems to me like it's impossible for a Sith to use this very same skill, since a Sith will always act out of greed and self preservation. Darth Plagueis was able to extend life, but he certainly didn't use this particular skill, since he was able to influence Midi-chlorians. I believe that Darth Maul may have used a Sith version of the 'Jedi Ghost' to stay alive after his 'death' on Naboo.

Jedi Ghost / Spirit:
- Act out of compassion and sacrifice their lives
- Spirit has been kept 
- Physical body is 'destroyed' and cannot be used anymore ("If you choose to face Vader, you must do it alone. I cannot interfere" Obi-Wan Kenobi)
- Based upon the power of the spirit

- Act out of greed to stay alive
- Spirit is completely broken (= mad) 
- Physical body can still be used, even if it has received the most horrible injuries
- Based upon the power of the physical body

The skill Maul could have used was based on his control of pain. Maul could sustain a massive amount of pain. Maul wanted to stay alive, no matter what the consequences would be. So in order to keep his body functioning, he gave up his spirit and totally lost his mind and memory while doing so.

The skill Yoda and Obi-Wan used (as did the Father on Mortis) was based on a conscious decision. They all chose to die (Yoda could have died earlier, but he waited for Luke) and they didn't die out of greed. They were able to keep their mind, but lost their physical body in the process.

So the Jedi skill was based on serenity of the spirit, while the Sith skill was based on the raw prowess of the physical pain (body).

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Klatooinian roster from the movies and television

Klatooinians were a mammalian species created for 'Return of the Jedi'. Their background was expanded for the first time in 'Galaxy Guide 12: Aliens - Enemies and Allies' by West End Games. The best known member from the movies and television is Barada, who was named (like many other Klatooinians) after Barada M'beg, the Klatooinian who settled the legendary agreement with the Hutts. Most Klatooinians from the movies are considered background characters. A lot of them appear in 'Attack of the Clones', but few have been given a proper name. The Klatooinians have been used as well in 'The Clone Wars'. 

* BARADA: One of Jabba's Skiff Guards who was responsible for the maintenance of the Repulsorlifts. Got killed by Luke during the Battle of Carkoon. Sometimes mistaken for Kithaba. Barada wears a white vest and an orange bandana. He can be seen on the 2nd Skiff.

* CASTAS: One of the Bounty Hunters who sided with Boba Fett during the Clone Wars. When Castas began to doubt their actions, he got himself killed on Florrum by Aurra Sing.

* CHOKK: One of Jabba's bodyguards during the Boonta Eve Classic in 32 BBY. The days before the race, he was seen around Mos Espa.

* GAMAL WIRONICC: Was created by Decipher on a CCG card, but he looks 100% like Umpass-stay. Therefor, this character can not be considered to be a different Klatooinian. Maybe his name can be used for a retcon in the future.

* KITHABA: An assassin (and musician) who served as a Skiff Guard during the Battle of Carkoon. He was eaten by the Sarlacc. Kithaba cannot be mistaken for Barada. He wears a yellow vest and a red bandana. He can be seen on the first Skiff.

* TARADOS GON: A Jedi who died at the Battle of Geonosis, despite the fact that he was one of the last Jedi to survive the battle in the Petranaki Arena.

* UMPASS-STAY: A bodyguard of Jabba the Hutt and a drummer in Jabba's Palace.

For more about the Klatooinians, check Yodapedia

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Luke's Blaster during the Yavin 4 Ceremony

First created on Dec 07, 2006

Hasbro got it all wrong when they gave the most recent (2007) Luke Yavin IV Ceremony a DL-44 Blaster Pistol. Luke wasn't wearing a DL-44 at all during the ceremony at Yavin 4. Luke was wearing a Drearian Defender Sporting Blaster, just like the one Princess Leia used aboard Tantive IV.

Evidence 1: 
Here are some promotional pictures of Luke using a Drearian Defender. Don't recognise the outfit? That's because Luke doesn't wear his yellow ceremonial jacket:
Luke aiming
Luke & the Drearian Defender 

Evidence 2
The movie, of course. Let's have a look at some screenshots. You can detect the Drearian because of its extended barrel.
Luke 1 
Luke 2

This could confirm the Drearian Defender's status as a weapon of status and sometimes used as a ceremonial weapon.
I hope you enjoyed this short blog entry and maybe you even learned something you never noticed before.

About Had Abbadon, Sicemon & Ton-mummd: Drafting the planets

In this entry I've mentioned names of planets and locations that have appeared in drafts for all the Star Wars Movies. Most of them are - at this moment - no part of the Star Wars Lore. But some of them have found their way into the established Star Wars lore (Dac, Chatos and Utapau being the prime example). I have added new names, with the exception of Utapau because it had been used twice in a draft but never actually been used until 'RotS'. 

I used sources as the Annotated Screenplays & the Insider's Guide cd-rom to complete this blog.

- Academy of Chatos: Leia was to study in this academy - IV (!)
- Aquillae: Neva Kee was supposed to hail from this planet - I (!!)
- Aquillae: Was once the home of Kane Starkiller. Eventually became Tatooine - IV 
- Besspin-Kaaleita: A possible Rebel Base at the end of the movie being a garden world with 2 stars - V 
- Bestpenkoleta: Idem
- Bestpenkoluta: Idem
- Chuba: Dud Cullindaros was supposed to hail from this planet - I (!)
- Core Caves: This was the core of Utapau - I 
- Corell: Another name for Corellia - IV
- Corelli: Another name for the planet Corellia - IV
- Dac: This was the original name of Calamari - VI (!) 
- Fresnel: Mygeeto city - III 
- Geonasis: A draft name for Geonosis - II
- Granicus: This planet became Alderaan, then capital of the Empire - IV 
- Granita Cluster: Hoth was located in this area - V 
- Great Rift: The outer edges of the galaxy - IV 
- Green Moon: Small moon orbiting Had Abbadon. Also known as Moon Base 1 - VI 
- Had Abbadon: Was the capital of the Empire. Turned out to be Coruscant - VI (!)
- Hutt Spaceport: The Falcon was stationed here after Han en Chewie escaped from Jabba - VI 
- Jus-Endor: Another name from Green Moon - VI 
- Kazzook: A name for Kashyyyk - HS 
- Ketbrae: Gas Giant that changed into Bespin - V 
- Kettlebrae: Idem
- Kuroland: A desert on Townowi - IV
- Mazta: Another name for Polis Massa - III 
- Moon Base 1: Code name for the Green Moon - VI 
- Mustafa: An early name for Mustafar - III 
- Naboo City: This was the capital of Utapau - I 
- Nocturne: This was the place where the Opee Sea Killer lived on Utapau - I 
- Ogana Major: This planet became Alderaan & Ogana changed into the name Organa - IV 
- Ogana System: Contained Ogana Major - IV 
- Ophichi: Backwater planet where Han Solo fled - IV 
- Ophuchi: Rebel friendly planet - IV 
- Ophuchi: Mars Guo was supposed to hail from this planet - I 
- Ord Padrove: Boles Roor was supposed to hail from this planet - I 
- Outlands: A group of worlds at the edge of the Empire. The worlds were known as the Dark Planets - IV 
- Oxon: This was the capital of Utapau - I (!) 
- Polis Mazta: An early name for Polis Massa - III
- Sicemon: This was a grassworld where the Alliance gathered before the final battle - VI 
- Sise System: Contained Sisemon. Did this name influence the name Sise Fromm? - VI
- Siseman: This was a grassworld where the Alliance gathered before the final battle - VI 
- Sloth Pit: An early name for the Pit of Carkoon - VI 
- Sullest: This was a planet where laser swords were created. Changed into Sullust for 'RotJ' - IV 
- Ton-mummd: Was a possible Rebel Base at the end of the movie. Another grassworld - V 
- Townowi: Became Aquillae. Could this have influenced the name Towani? - IV 
- Townowi System: Contained Townowi - IV 
- Ttaz: Was a rocky desert world. It possibly became Geonosis in 'AotC' - V
- Utapau: Eventually became Naboo - I (!)
- Utapau: This was Tatooine in the drafts - IV (!) 
- Valker: In this area on Utapau, the Gungan army fought against the TF Army - I 

(!) Has later been retconned into Source / SW Lore
(!!) Aquilae with one 'l' is Source