Star Wars Wednesday - The Force Awakens...Some Announcements

You would think that the week new Star Wars The Force Awakens teaser released that it would be enough material for one or more weeks of posts. While true, it is also a fact that Star Wars RPG announcements and previews also appeared abruptly after the holiday. Not at all coincidentally around the time people got back to work, I'm sure. On top of this, Rebels also finished off its mid-season episode.

So, The Force Awakens trailer arrived with much fanfare and excitement in theaters and online. I found out pretty much within minutes of it hitting itunes. We were getting ready to go out of town, about to walk out the door, when I told my wife it was up. Somehow forgetting who she was talking to, she said something about seeing it later. That obviously wasn't going to happen. We fired it up on my computer, exposing how lacking the speakers were, but whatever. I knew I'd watch it many more times with the right atmosphere, sound system, etc. And I did.

First impressions? Um..spoiler alert? As if anyone reading this hasn't seen it by now. If not, or to review, here it is:

I liked the trailer a lot. Engaging from the first scene. It gave everyone a lot to talk about without actually revealing the plot whatsoever. The voiceover suffered greatly on my first viewing, but worked much better with better speakers. There were a few flashes of new gear and vehicles, along with some familiar ones. I'll admit the ball droid threw me the first time, but grew to like the concept. The R2 head on it seemed an odd choice, but worked better when I saw it on a bigger screen. Someone noted that Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarries' original R2 idea mentions a ball shaped droid, which I then recalled. I also liked the detailing on the R2 head. Recognizable but with its own industrial design styling.

It turns out, you can already buy a ball shaped droid of sorts. Seems like a great marketing opportunity for Sphero. I wonder if they'll get a nice boost in holiday sales anyway.

I thought the new lightsaber looked cool, with a ragged blade as if homemade by someone who didn't have access traditional designs or refined materials. The hilt's cross blades looked great, though I'll be interested to see how they're actually used in combat. As others have noted, seems like it would be dangerous for the user, but theoretically I would expect a Force user trained to used the blade shouldn't have any difficulty. Instead of me digressing into too much detail brought about by the occupational hazard of writing Star Wars material, here's Stephen Colbert's amusing breakdown:

Actually, pretty much everyone online seems to have a breakdown of the trailer in vast detail. I've just glanced over a few. I've avoided spoilers and rumors, to a point. Anyway, no need for another breakdown. 

I told my wife the the fantastic twisting Millennium Falcon scene was totally a JJ Abrams style starship scene. Reminded me of elements of the Star Trek movie, which I previously told her it was very like a Star Wars movie. All that was missing were blinding lens flares. Fortunately, the internet provided this:

There are other parodies already out there, including a Lego version and a "George Lucas Special Edition" version, but the lens flare one was the most entertaining for me. 

All in all, a great start to this new Star Wars era, no matter internet negativity about ball droids, lightsaber crossguards, and...a black stormtrooper? Really? Did not see that complaint coming. I was surprised John Boyega appeared in stormtrooper armor because I never really considered any of the main characters/actors would be stormtroopers at all. Of course he could just be in disguise, but all in all, I didn't expect the first teaser to include any known actor in stormtrooper armor (let alone the first scene). I'm looking forward to more surprises. 

Back to the previous era, sort of, the Rebels TV show ended its mid-season finale (?) with a good two part episode.  I'm really enjoying the show and look forward to seeing how it develops. I need to catch up on the behind the scenes videos on, but here's the one for the last episode, which has a nice RPG reference in it, as well as a preview of the next episode. 

Rebels Recon: Inside "Gathering Forces" on Disney Video

On top of all that, Fantasy Flight Games posted previews of two of my books, due out relatively soon. The first was a preview of Stay on Target (Aces sourcebook). 

The second features the Lords of Nal Hutta (Hutt Space sourcebook), including my comments about the Hutt kajidics, having had the great opportunity to create two major ones. More on all that when the book comes out. I had a great time writing about the Hutts and diving into their rich and challenging history and culture. GMs and players who like scheming political/action adventures will find a lot to use in this book.

The final Force and Destiny Beta update is out.

Somewhere in the last month of inconsistent posting, I think I overlooked the Armada game preview. I think this is the sort of fleet combat I've been hoping to see for a long time.

A preview of Imperial Assault also released this week. 

It's been quite a week, and this post probably makes up for several weeks I missed, but here's one final item:

The coolest Star Wars X-Wing table I've ever seen.