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Showing posts from April, 2019

Talking About 'Star Wars': Why does Leia not mention her family and friends, as well as her home, have been destroyed in the films?

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One of the most annoying trends that I've noticed while perusing social media sites such as Facebook and Quora, particularly the latter, is that franchise fans want to be spoon-fed every detail of a character arc instead of using their imaginations, as we dinosaurs from the prehistoric days before the Internet did when we watched a film. I don't know if it's because they don't understand the limitations of the medium, or if it's because the "I want every detail explained to me" crowd wants to find "plot holes" and inconsistencies. 

Yesterday, for instance, I saw this question on Quora:

Why does Leia not mention her family and friends, as well as her home, have been destroyed in the films?

I wasn't going to write an answer, but I found myself so annoyed by the question that I ended up spending a good hour or so coming up with a rebuttal. Here is what I said:


Why should Leia be constantly talking about the destruction of Alderaan and the deaths o…

Talking About 'Star Wars': Prior to Star Wars: Episode III was there ever a canonical explanation for the appearance of Darth Vader?

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On Quora, someone asks:

Prior to Star Wars: Episode III was there ever a canonical explanation for the appearance of Darth Vader?

My reply:



As early as late 1977, George Lucas allowed Lucasfilm, through the official Star Wars Poster Monthly magazine, to reveal tantalizing bits of the Dark Lord of the Sith’s backstory. In an article titled Darth Vader Lives, (Issue #2. November 1977) author John May based his work on some of the information that had been already published about Vader in publicity materials (movie lobby cards, collectors’ movie programs, and the photo inserts in the Star Wars novelization), plus a Rolling Stone magazine interview with George Lucas. Readers were told that Vader had trained as a Jedi Knight under Obi-Wan Kenobi’s tutelage but had turned to the dark side of the Force, betrayed his master, and killed Luke’s father (who was at this point a separate character from Darth Vader and did not have a name).


The article also had a short and carefully worded explanation…

Talking About Stephen King: Why was the film version of Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower’ not based on the first novel in the series, ‘The Gunslinger’?

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I haven’t seen The Dark Tower, but from what I have heard of it, I think the four screenwriters (Nikolaj Arcel, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, and Ander Thomas Jensen) and the film’s director (Arcel) may have been forced by certain considerations to adapt the Dark Tower series the way they did. First, as  Quora's Matt Reda points out in his answer, Stephen King’s series is made up by eight novels; seven of them are the main series, while The Wind Through The Keyhole (which King says is Book 4.5, and fits between Wizard and Glass and The Wolves of the Calla) is a side jaunt written after the series ended with Book VII: The Dark Tower. This is a huge story, as big, say, as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and almost as big as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth mythology, which would include The Hobbit, The Lord of the Ring, and The Silmarillion. That’s a lot of story to tell! Ideally, what the four companies involved in adapting this truly massive epic story (MRC, Imagine Entertainment,…

Talking About 'Star Wars': Why would Disney trust Kathleen Kennedy after the way the recent Star Wars movies were received?

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Someone on Quora asks:

Why would Disney trust Kathleen Kennedy after the way the recent Star Wars movies were received?

My reply:

Well, it would be most ungracious if Bob Iger and Alan Horn fire Kathleen Kennedy after producing three of four financially successful films in a series that its creator, George Lucas, had once declared would consist only of the six “Tragedy of Darth Vader” Episodes (and, later, those six films plus the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series). As of this writing, the first two installments of the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy (Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi) have earned $$3.4 billion worldwide. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, earned $1.056 billion. The only underperformer in the new post-George Lucas “era of Disney” Lucasfilm slate of movies in the Star Wars franchise is Solo: A Star Wars Story, which made “only” $392 million. Solo’s box office flop was a given, at least in hindsight, considering that it followed the release of The Last Jedi by …

Replying to Insincere Questions: Do you believe Democrats will ever accept that Hillary Clinton lost fair and square to President Donald J. Trump and actually give our President an honest chance to show how governing works when we all work together as a cohesive unit?

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This question showed up on my Quora feed yesterday: Do you believe Democrats will ever accept that Hillary Clinton lost fair and square to President Donald J. Trump and actually give our President an honest chance to show how governing works when we all work together as a cohesive unit?
I, of course, replied:
I can’t speak for all Democratic Party voters. Nor can I claim to speak for most Democratic Party voters. Hell, I can’t even speak for all the 56-year-old male Democratic Party members that live in my metro area, much less my neighborhood. I can only answer on my behalf. First of all, let me congratulate you on writing a prime example of a loaded question. It sounds polite enough, but (a) it’s based on the question writer’s belief that the 2016 Presidential election was fair and honest, and (b) it’s fawning almost to the point that I can hear my eyeballs click as they roll in their sockets. Second, this Democratic voter from the great state of Florida accepts that Mrs. Clinton lo…

Talking About Military History: Was World War II a continuation of World War I?

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Someone on Quora asks: Was World War II a continuation of World War I? In many ways, yes. In fact, I’ve read (in Antony Beevor’s 2012 one-volume history, The Second World War, I believe it was) that some historians consider the European war of 1939–1945 to be the conclusion of a single European conflict that began in August of 1914 and, after a two-decade intermission in which both sides rearmed and reconsidered their strategies, resumed in September of 1939, ending only with the destruction of Germany and the old European world order and the rise of the Soviet Union and the United States as the dominant superpowers. There are even convincing theses floating out there that suggest that if you add the Cold War to the mix, you can connect most of the chaos and misery of the 20th Century to the yin-and-yang struggle between the Left and the Right that began with the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and continues to this day.  The reason why World War II is often considered to be a continuati…

Nine Years After: Reflections

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As much as I enjoy having a Facebook account, and even taking into account that for the time being it is my main link to my friends and family, sometimes I get emotional curveballs tossed at me via its Memories feature.

If you don't have a Facebook account (and I can think of at least one individual who does not have one), all you need to know is that every day, the social network re-publishes posts one created on the same date x years ago.

The Memories posts are, of course, highly dependent on the content you create daily on Facebook. If, for instance, I share a post from this blog on my timeline today, the Memories feature will repost it on my timeline on April 25, 2020 (unless, of course, I turn off the feature).

Over the past few days (not today, mercifully), I have seen a couple of re-posts that have made me relive the beginning of the darkest period of my life: the decline and eventual death of my mother, Beatriz Diaz-Granados.

It was in the spring of 2010 that my mom began …

Talking About 'Star Wars': Why doesn't Disney consider 'Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic' canon?

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Someone on Quora asks:

Why doesn't Disney consider 'Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic' canon?

Lucasfilm (not its parent, The Walt Disney Company) did not make Bioware/LucasArts’ 2003 video game Knights of the Old Republic or any of its sequels canon for the same reason the company never made X-Wing, TIE Fighter, or Star Wars: The Arcade Game canon: as far as canon is concerned, the movies and directly-derived materials (novelizations, comic book adaptations, and for a long time, the Radio Dramas) were the only materials accepted by franchise creator George Lucas as the “official story.” Period. This was true in 2005, when it seemed as though no more Star Wars films would ever be made, although Lucas later amended his position on canon to include Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a television series he created and assigned Catherine Winder and Dave Filoni to develop for Time-Warner owned Cartoon Network. No video games set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” were cano…

Talking About Social Media 'Influencers' and 'Star Trek': Midnight's Edge's Fake News on Star Trek Canon

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On Quora, someone who watches too many YouTube videos by "social media influencers" asks:

How do you feel knowing that the Star Trek prime timeline is not canon? This includes Discovery and Kelvin. I feel that individuals who get their knowledge about canonicity in any franchise, be it Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, the MCU, the DCEU, or James Bond, from an opinionated YouTube video creator need to stop depending on YouTube as a reliable source. The Star Trek Prime timeline - a construct made necessary when Paramount Pictures greenlit Star Trek (2009) a decade ago - was never de-canonized. Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Enterprise, and Star Trek: Discovery comprise the Prime Star Trek universe as far as CBS, the current owners of the TV franchise, are concerned. It matters not, from a consumer’s standpoint, that Paramount Pictures and CBS have to share the Sta…

Talking About 'Star Trek': In 'Star Trek III: The Search for Spock', why didn't Kirstie Alley reprise her role as Lt. Saavik?

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In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, why didn't Kirstie Alley reprise her role as Lt. Saavik? During the pre-production phase of the making of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, producer Harve Bennett and director Leonard Nimoy intended to ask Kirstie Alley to reprise her role of the Vulcan officer, Lt. Saavik, from the previous film, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Bennett, Nimoy, and many of Star Trek II’s fans liked Alley’s performance, which had been her film debut, and they wanted her to come back for The Search for Spock and, perhaps, other sequels as well.
The problem was that when Alley signed the contract with Paramount for Star Trek II, the document had no provisions for sequels or spin-offs. Whether this was an oversight on the part of Paramount’s legal division or a reflection of the studio’s prevailing notion that Star Trek II was going to be the last movie of the franchise, I can’t say. For whatever reason, the “sequels availability” clause was not there when A…

Talking About 'Star Trek': Why do the Klingons in Star Trek TOS look different than the Klingons in Star Trek TNG and the rest of Star Trek series?

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Why do the Klingons in Star Trek TOS look different than the Klingons in Star Trek TNG and the rest of Star Trek series?


When Gene L. Coon and Gene Roddenberry created the Klingons as the 23rd Century avatars for the Soviet Union to serve as foils for America’s avatar, the United Federation of Planets in 1967, the new aliens were depicted as swarthy-looking humanoids with extra-bushy eyebrows and, in the case of Kor (John Colicos), a villainous-looking Fu Manchu mustache-and-goatee.

Sometimes, though, the Klingons would have pigment variations and on occasion, such as in The Trouble with Tribbles, we’d see fair-haired Klingons alongside the basic Klingon-with-swarthy-makeup.

Remember, in 1966–1969, Star Trek was a one-off TV series on the NBC television network, not a massive franchise with several feature films and TV sequels/prequels under its belt. It was produced for a modest amount of money (about $300,000 per episode), and because the suits at 30 Rockefeller Plaza didn’t think scie…

Talking About 'Star Trek': In Star Trek: The Animated Series, why was Chekov replaced by an officer with three arms as the ship's navigator?

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Someone on Quora asked this question:

In Star Trek: The Animated Series, why was Chekov replaced by an officer with three arms as the ship's navigator?

In 1973, when Filmation got the contract from NBC and Paramount Television (the entity that inherited the Star Trek intellectual property after Paramount Pictures purchased Desilu in 1967) to produce Star Trek: The Animated Series, it faced one of the main issues that dogged creator/producer Gene Roddenberry when he was making the live action show: budget limitations.

Television networks are nothing but penurious when it comes to paying for production costs under most circumstances. They are, after all, a business entity and not a charity ward for actors, writers, producers, and directors, and they’re only willing to shell out top dollar for proven genres and well-known talent because, in the suits’ estimation, that’s what gets the audience to park its collective behind in front of the television to watch prime time shows.

During …