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Nostalgia Photo

Back to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Yesterday, Sarah and I visited Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge again after first visiting a few months ago. This time, we were able to visit Oga’s Cantina a few times, and finally sample most of the drinks. It’s only been a few months sure, but it doesn’t look worn down at all, in fact it looks no different, probably due to the clever choice of basing it on an already worn down location.

If you stop by Oga’s Cantina, you’re going to want to try the Jet Juice and Dagobah Slug Slinger for sure. Earlier, I mentioned that Galaxy’s Edge has some of the best food in Disneyland, by far, but I forgot to leave some recommendations. Make sure that you stop by Ronto Roasters for a Ronto Wrap, and Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo for a Roasted Endorian Tip-Yip Salad.

Here are some photos from our return trip:

A quick note, some of these were touched up in Pixelmator Pro, which is on sale half-off until October 29!

For more photos and recommendations, see my first post on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

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Nostalgia Photo Video

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the newest themed land inside Disneyland Park. Sarah and I visited a few days ago with a few friends, and for a Star Wars fan, the experience is simply breathtaking. Imagineers have truly outdone themselves here, as Galaxy’s Edge has a look that does not match any other land in the park, it’s hard to describe, but it doesn’t look fake. It really feels like you’re walking through Black Spire Outpost.

The first things you’ll probably notice as you enter Galaxy’s Edge are that the buildings are suitably weathered and most are unmarked (you’ll need the Disneyland Mobile App to get around, or just try every automatic door), most products in the outdoor market area have a very handmade look to them (like they were built by the folks who run the shops), ships are docked throughout, Stormtroopers are often patrolling the area, and the official playlist really ties it all together.

In particular, the Stormtroopers actually interact and improvise with the crowd, which is not something I’ve seen in any other part of Disneyland, outside of scheduled (and mostly scripted) events. This video isn’t mine, but it’s adorable:

If you’re planning to visit Galaxy’s Edge soon, here are my recommendations:

  • Get to Disneyland when it opens, and visit Galaxy’s Edge first. You’ll want to experience walking through it while attendance is low.
  • If you want to even see the inside of Oga’s Cantina, book your reservation in the app as soon as you enter the park. We weren’t interested in drinking (yes, they serve themed cocktails, beer, and wine) at 8 AM, so we made the mistake of waiting. Every time we checked until close, reservations were booked 4 hours out, so we had to skip this one.
  • If the wait for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is under 90 minutes, get in line! It’s worth it, there’s no FastPass yet, and the line can get up to 3 hours.
  • Eat in Galaxy’s Edge. The themed food is a bit unusual compared to the rest of Disneyland, but it’s the best food in the park by far.
  • You’ll want to build your own Lightsaber (why else did you come?), so book your reservation for Savi’s Workshop in the app as soon as you enter the park. Reservations are not as competitive as the Cantina (due to the $200 cover charge, I assume), but you won’t want to miss this. Contrary to rumors spread by people who obviously haven’t even been to Galaxy’s Edge, the parts are metal and the final product has a very solid weight. If you don’t believe me, find any video of the experience, and you’ll inevitably hear someone drop a part.

Photos don’t do Galaxy’s Edge justice, especially mine, but here’s a small gallery:

If you live in California, or you’re planning to visit soon, visit Disneyland and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. You won’t be disappointed!

Update: For more photos and recommendations, see our return trip to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

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Comics Review

Star Wars: Thrawn

Chiss do not make idle boasts or promises. Once they set their minds to something, they succeed, or die in the attempt.

When Disney removed decades of Star Wars Expanded Universe content from canon, fan-favorite Grand Admiral Thrawn was on of the few characters who managed to stay onboard. He is the only non-human officer in the Galactic Empire, rising from nothing all the way to their highest rank, and considering how racist the Empire is generally portrayed as, that’s saying a lot already.

Thrawn fist appeared in the Star Wars universe in 1991’s Heir to the Empire, and to the relief of many fans, they took the opportunity of the canon reset to give Thrawn a far more fleshed out origin story in 2017’s Thrawn. A year later, it was adapted by Marvel Comics as Star Wars: Thrawn. I usually don’t review adaptations, but as anyone would, I’ll make and except for the Grand Admiral.

The story opens with an Imperial patrol finding the Chiss exiled on a barren planet. He claims to have vital information of the horrors that await the Empire in the Unknown Regions. He is quickly escorted back for an audience with the Emperor, who quickly takes a linking to Thrawn and has him put through the Imperial Academy.

Thrawn is not alone on his journey. Eli Vanto serves as his translator and quickly becomes his protégé, and Arihnda Pryce helps Thrawn navigate the Empire’s treacherous politics. Thrawn’s prowess and unique approach to strategy, illuminated by a fascination in his enemy’s culture and art, propels him through the ranks, shocking naysayers, and leading him towards his first appearance in TV’s Star Wars Rebels.

As with many adaptations, the art is no Kingdom Come. It can be flat at times, but the shadows really come through when it matters. The real highlight is Timothy Zahn’s story, which has far more layers than most comics on the market today.

The adaptation preserves almost the entirety of the Zahn’s story, and you’ll strongly feel all of Thawn’s frustrations and victories, arriving at perhaps the most satisfying understanding of a main villain you’ve ever had. Though, is Thrawn truly a villain in service of the Empire, or does he have an anterior motive? Time will tell. 

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Nostalgia Video

Vader’s Story

Say what you will about the Star Wars prequels, I’ve already written about why I didn’t like Attack of the Clones, but above all I have been a life-long fan of Star Wars. In the original trilogy, Darth Vader only appears on screen for a total of 34 minutes, yet he’s one of the most iconic villains in film history. For the majority of the original trilogy, Darth Vader is largely a one-note villain until the very end when he (spoiler alert) saves his son’s life. This redemption story is so important to the character that it even survives alternate universe takes on the series.

The prequel trilogy threw that one-note approach on its head by focussing on Anakin Skywalker, the man who would become Darth Vader. Suddenly, a one-note villain became the Star Wars character with the most depth, further expanded by additional TV shows, books, and comics. You see an ambitious boy grow into a hero, that hero begin to question things to the point that he falters from his path and becomes the villain, and you see that villain realize at the end how far he’s fallen. You may not believe me, and that’s fair, but this short video should put all of that into context:

The next time you watch Star Wars in its entirety, I recommend following this order, and keep in mind the journey of Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader and back to Anakin Skywalker.

Categories
Comics Review

Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi

After so long in hibernation, and with damage to the carbonite unit, there’s little hope that Captain Solo will ever regain his sight.

Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi is an adventurous and thought-provoking “What if?” tale by writer Adam Gallardo and artists Ryan Benjamin, Dan Norton, and Juvaun Kirby. It begins in tandem with the original Return of the Jedi script, but when a rescue mission goes terribly wrong, history is forever altered.

The stage is lit, the curtain rises, and the battle for the galaxy begins as we are all too familiar with. But, what is familiar can become unfamiliar in the the blink of an eye. You see, the future is made possible through a series of events, like a chain whose links are defined by the laws of action and reaction. Alter a single link, and the overall position of the chain is altered. Like the position of the chain, the future can be altered by simply altering one of the events that led to it.

On the desert planet of Tatooine, Princess Leia Organa, on a secret rescue mission to free Han Solo in the guise of Boushh the bounty hunter, barters with Jabba the Hutt for the bounty on Chewbacca’s head. When Leia demands “Fifty-thousand, no less,” Jabba angrily lashes out at C-3P0, knocking him to the ground with such force that his head detaches. Without a protocol droid to translate her attempt a Boushh’s native language, Leia is forced to remove her mask and reveal her thermal detonator.

Lando Calrissian, disguised as one of of Jabba’s guards, tries to stop Boba Fett from firing at Leia. He fails, and Fett’s blast hits Leia’s shoulder, accidentally activating the thermal detonator and sending it to the ground.

Events begin to spin wildly out of control as Boba Fett flees with the frozen Han Solo and Leia, Lando, and Chewbacca are forced to flee the palace without Han.

The delay of Han Solo’s rescue will result in the death of Yoda before Luke’s final visit to Dagobah, the capture of both Luke and Leia by Imperial forces, a desperate battle with Boba Fett over the fate of Han Solo, the loss of Han’s eyesight, and a final confrontation between a father and his children.

Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi will introduce you to a Star Wars that you never knew and never thought possible. George Lucas’s script only lasts for one page before Adam Gallardo slightly alters one seemingly insignificant event and ignites a radical domino effect, forever altering history as we know it.

The “What if?” concept has been explored by almost every comic series to date. It gives us a way to experience familiar characters and familiar settings in an unfamiliar way. Will the Empire be defeated? Can the mission to disable the Death Star’s shield succeed without Han Solo’s leadership? Will Darth Vader redeem himself, or will he sacrifice his own children at the will of his master? The possibilities are endless.

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This review was previously published on Splash Panel on September 30, 2006.