Thursday, July 31, 2014

TJW Podcast - Summer Spectacular "Coffee Cast"


Hey there TJW Podcast Listeners! Dan and I are breaking the radio silence with our summer spectacular "coffee cast"! We went to our favorite Barnes & Nobles bookstore and had some great Star Wars chat over some coffees. So get yourself a tasty beverage and fire up the converters! Uh, er...I mean your Mp3 player and get ready for some Star Wars Expanded Universe chat!

Let us know your thoughts about this episode!


Travel safely on the wastes!

Mark
Co-Host - TJW Podcast

Thursday, May 8, 2014

TJW Podcast and the 501st on TV!

Hey there TJW Podcast listeners - The local Comcast channel in Massachusetts did a great story about the New England 501st Legion. And they included some coverage of the Traveling the Jundland Wastes Podcast live event with Zack Giallongo this past February at the New England Comics in Norwood.   You can watch it here!  Enjoy!

Let us know what you think! Email us at: jundlandwastespodcast@gmail.com .

Stay tuned for a new episode coming soon.
All the best.

Mark

Monday, May 5, 2014

May the Fourth and Revenge of the Fifth!

Hello TJW Podcast listeners! A belated Happy May the Fourth and a very happy Revenge of the Fifth! More than any other year, I think this years May the Fourth celebrations were more exuberant and plentiful than previous years. Don’t me wrong, it has always been a lot of fun and at times it has coincided with Free Comic Book Day weekend as well.  But I think this year was a little different.

Maybe it’s because I live in southern New England and the fact that we just came out of a pretty rough winter and are thrilled that we have finally hit spring. We can get out and go to these events without worrying about an icy,snowy and cold trip.  But I think it is also because we are in full throttle with Episode 7 especially after getting the official cast announcement last week as well as getting a peek at the trailer for Star Wars Rebels.  And did anyone else catch J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan’s May the Fourth You Tube greeting?  

My facebook and email were just jammed packed with enough Star Wars news to make any Star Trek fan cry.  And how about all the deals coming in from every “etailer” you can imagine? If you are a Star Wars fan and were unable to make a choice for a good May the Fourth purchase, I do not blame you!  Do I get a good deal on a Star Wars book or graphic novel? Is there an action figure or statue that is too good to turn down?

At first I thought about some some Star Wars art.  As a budding artist myself, I really do appreciate the time and effort that Star Wars artists put into a great print, a sketch card or a nice commission piece. But as I was surfing the web for a deal, I noticed that Official Pix had their annual May the Fourth metallix photo deal. Last year they had two great shots to choose from...a funny impromptu shot of the Millennium Falcon crew giving us their best “May the Fourth be with you!” wave and a gorgeous shot of Carrie Fisher sporting her slave outfit while taking a jump in the ocean.

This year only offered one shot but it is such a great scene from The Empire Strikes Back. A close up of Darth Vader with Boba Fett in the background during the reveal scene on Cloud City when Darth Vader greats Han and Leia with, “We would be honored if you would join us.”  This was the item I had to get in honor of May the Fourth. This metallix photo measures 10 inches by 20 inches and is just missing some great signatures from James Earl Jones, Jeremy Bulloch and Dave Prowse.  I cannot wait to get this in the mail!

This November I will hopefully be going to the Rhode Island Comic Con.  Dave Prowse aka Darth Vader will be in attendance and I cannot wait to shake his hand and get his signature on this great photo.

What did you get on May the Fourth? Getting anything for Revenge of the Fifth?

Let us know!  Email us at: jundlandwastespodcast@gmail.com

All the best and stay tuned for our next episode!
All the best,

Mark
Co-host TJW Podcast

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The First "Legends" Novels

Hello TJW Podcast listeners - It seems like we are in a period of time when daily news updates include something new about Star Wars. And today the news seems to be about the Expanded Universe.

We have just learned that the first set of Star Wars novels from our current Expanded Universe to have the Lucasfilm approved “Legends” banner are the Han Solo Adventures by the late Brian Daley and the Lando Calrissian Adventures by L. Neil Smith.  

Here are some of the details regarding these re-releases:

* Both set of “Adventures” will be the collected editions. The Han Solo collection will include Han Solo at Stars End, Han Solo’s Revenge and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy. The Lando Calrissian collection will include Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu, Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon and Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of Thonboka

* These new reprints have new cover art and the “Legends” banner on the top of the cover

* These will be paperbacks and it does not look like there will be a hardcover version

* Amazon.com is taking orders for these novels but I am unsure when these will be available

I think most of us were expecting the first “Legends” title to be Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire. As I mentioned in a previous post this week, this novel was the beginning of the modern Expanded Universe for many Star Wars enthusiasts.  But I think there is something very significant about Lucasfilm putting the Han Solo/Lando Calrissian Adventures novels out as their first “Legends” titles.

These novels can be called the original Expanded Universe stories in the Star Wars universe. These titles came out at a time when all we had were the movies and one Marvel comic book series. Daley and Smith (as well as Alan Dean Foster who penned Splinter of the Minds Eye) were authors who gave us approximately 200 page adventures per title.

Aside: Nowadays it is strange to see a novel that is not somewhere between 300 and 500 pages long. But back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, there was still a concept of having a full novel in under 200 pages. I wish that novelists would return to this concept.

The fun of these novels was seeing how each author remained true to the character of Han and Lando yet at the same time did not feel the need to obey the rules of timelines, possible future storyline repercussions and the fear that ideas would be rejected for not falling into the universe set up in the movies. Don’t get me wrong....these are Star Wars novels and they do have a lot of “anchors” throughout the stories that remind us of the universe we are in.  But there is a freshness and sense of freedom I always get when I open up one of these very early Expanded Universe novels.  I am hoping that Lucasfilm will follow suit by re-releasing Splinter of Minds Eye as well under the “Legends” banner.

And perhaps Lucasfilm is giving us a small indication of how Episode 7 and the upcoming new Expanded Universe is going to play out. Perhaps by releasing these classic novels first as “Legends”, they are telling us that Star Wars is going to return to the style that made the movies and these early novels so much fun.  The combination of strong characters, high adventure and a limitless universe of ideas will be what takes us into this new and exciting Star Wars era.

Let us know what you think about these re-released novels. Write us at: jundlandwastespodcast@gmail.com

All the best,
Mark
Co-host TJW Podcast  

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Support Chris Parsons as 4-LOM in Episode 7!

Hey there Jundland Wastes Travelers! Yes, we are excited about the Episode 7 cast announcement but we still want to show our support for one of the nicest guys in the Star Wars universe, Chris Parsons who played 4-LOM in The Empire Strikes Back!  We want to see him reprise that role in Episode 7 and we need your “likes” on our 4-LOM For Seven Campaign page.  

Like the page and then listen to our podcast we did this past February about Chris Parsons and our interview with him.  Support Chris Parsons! Support the campaign! Support the podcast!

Stay safe on the Jundland Wastes!
All the best,

Mark
Co-host TJW Podcast
    

Reaction to the Episode 7 Cast Announcement

Hello Jundland Wastes Travelers! So did anyone hear any Star Wars news yesterday? HAHAH  I think it’s going to be one of those days that “will be long remembered.”  Where were you when you heard the official cast announcement for Star Wars Episode 7?  For most people, I think we were at work, in an office, in school, on the road or responding to the unyielding pings, buzzes, beeps and rings with text messages saying “Star Wars 7 Cast Announcement”.

I was going to post a response to the blog almost immediately but then I considered giving myself the night to let the news sink in. And yes, I along with countless other Star Wars fans had a difficult time concentrating on anything else besides this announcement for the rest of yesterday afternoon and evening.  

But it’s now official. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are indeed reprising the roles of Luke, Leia and Han in Episode 7. Joining them will be Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2).  We are all still investigating the new cast that is joining them. But early rumors are that these actors have been carefully chosen and will have the unique honor of continuing the greatest saga of all time next to the Original Trilogy cast who made it happen in 1977.

I am not even going to attempt to imagine right now what the actual story will be for Episode 7.  How can anyone outside of the cast and crew possibly imagine what we are going to see story-wise? But here are some thoughts and imaginative ideas that I am wondering about regarding Episode 7:

* Does anyone remember that John Williams is going to do the musical score for Episode 7? On my way home from work I was going through Star Wars soundtracks. What an amazing library of music! All six soundtracks are incredible on their own and you are able to tell the story of the saga by listening to these musical gems. Leia’s theme, the Battle of Hoth, the arrival of Darth Vader on the 2nd Death Star, the droids on the Jundland Wastes (funny how I really like that one), and the duel of Anakin and Obi Wan on Mustafar are just a couple clips that stand out in my mind. I do not think any Star Wars fan can separate the music from the movies. And as an Expanded Universe fan, there are times when I am fully entrenched into a comic or book and I can imagine hearing the Star Wars soundtrack playing through certain pages or panels of a book.  I have no doubt that the Episode 7 soundtrack will have the same lasting effect

* As a amateur artist, I am really looking forward to seeing the art, sketches and representations of this new Star Wars era. We know that Star Wars Celebration will be in Anaheim, CA next spring and with it will also be those fantastic artists print that come with the show. Episode 7 will undoubtedly be the theme for these prints. And I am just imagining how artists will represent the original cast as opposed to the new cast? Will there be flashback images interspersed with current images? And what about the usual “Art of Star Wars” books that have come out with each episode?  And the graphic novels...what will we see?  

* Get ready for the collector bug to hit as magazine covers, stories, toys and general Star Wars swag begins to hit the shelves with an Episode 7 banner! While I certainly cannot collect it all, I am looking forward to seeing a cover shot of our original crew in their Star Wars fatigues, gowns and robes on the cover of Star Wars Insider or Entertainment Weekly.  While we might not know the story-line for Episode 7, I think we can imagine how an older Jedi Luke might look walking on the sands of Tatooine. Or perhaps how a Jedi Leia might appear?  And will Han still be wearing his black scoundrel vest?

* Enjoy the time leading up to the movie by re-watching the original six movies.  Now that we know the story continues after Return of the Jedi, we can take the time to re-explore the events leading up to the redemption of Anakin Skywalker.  In fact, last night I was re-watching the fantastic documentary Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Original Trilogy (this was on the bonus disc from the DVD set that came out in 2003). What a great history of the making of the Original Trilogy and so much fun to watch. Make sure you make time to re-watch this documentary especially because the “big 5”(how can we really leave out Anthony, Peter and Kenny?) are interviewed as well.

Star Wars Episode 7 is on the way and I cannot think of a better time to be a Star Wars fan.  Let us know your thoughts by emailing us at: jundlandwastespodcast@gmail.com.

Travel safely on the Jundland Wastes friends!

All the best,
Mark
Co-host TJW Podcast

    

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thoughts About the Future Star Wars Expanded Universe

As we all know by now, the future of the Star Wars Expanded Universe is very much alive and well according to last weeks press release from Lucasfilm. The sticking point for a lot of Star Wars Expanded Universe fans is the fact that previous stories will fall into a category outside of what is considered Lucasfilm canon.  For some, that is a breath of fresh air as we prepare ourselves for a new era of Star Wars movies, television series, books, comics and video games. For others, there is sense of melancholy with the realization that stories, characters and ideas that we have embraced during the past 20 plus years will fall off the Star Wars radar.

But is there a way that we can appreciate and enjoy our current Expanded Universe while looking forward to what is now going to be Star Wars stories canonized by Lucasfilm?

I admit it...I’m a huge fan of the Star Wars Expanded Universe as it currently stands. And I think for most fans, the real era of Expanded Universe stories began with the Zahn Trilogy. There was a significant period of time between the release of Return of the Jedi and the release of these novels that almost seemed like the heralding in of a new era in Star Wars...and it was. Granted, there were certainly some great novels that came out during the years the Original Trilogy was in full “force” such as the Han Solo novels by Brian Daley, Splinter of the Minds Eye by Alan Dean Foster and the Lando Calrissian novels. But for the most part these were very much stand alone novels in the greater Star Wars timeline and even the most dedicated Expanded Universe fan accepts these as great stories that do not necessarily have a significant impact on the events of the movies or beyond.    

Del Rey Books gave us such a plethora of stories spanning the New Republic era, the New Jedi Order, Legacy of the Jedi, Fate of the Jedi, Old Republic era and even stand alone novels set in the Original Trilogy era.  Dark Horse Comics did such an incredible job giving us gorgeous and exciting art work along with amazing stories that filled in many eras of the Star Wars timeline.  Who can forget classics story arcs as Dark Empire, the Crimson Empire, Knights of the Old Republic, Legacy and more recently the collection of Darth Vader stories.  

Lucasarts was also a player in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Their most well known contribution has to be the Knights of the Old Republic series. Not only is this a tremendously enjoyable gaming experience but it is one of the first times that a Star Wars video game contained such an enormous historical account of the Old Republic era from such varied angles. And while some may disagree with me, The Force Unleashed was also a very significant event in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. While this storyline will probably be written out of canon, I believe this story pulls together those gray areas of the story between Episode 3 and Episode 4 in a very strong and plausible manner.

And how can anyone forget such events in the Star Wars Expanded Universe such as the deaths of Chewbacca, Anakin Solo, Jacen Solo and Mara Jade Skywalker? What about the revelation that Darth Krayt is A’sherad Hett? Or how about seeing Luke as a force ghost in Legacy? Even some over-the-top-out-of-this-world infinity stories such as the time Indiana Jones comes face-to-face with Han Solo?

So in a nutshell, I am a huge fan of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. But does that mean that I am not going to enjoy the future Star Wars titles that are on the horizon?  I highly doubt that.

I was very pleased to see that John Jackson Miller, who has been bringing us Star Wars Expanded Universe stories for so many years, is going to have the honor of authoring the first book in the new Expanded Universe called A New Dawn. This is going to be a backstory to the upcoming Star Wars Rebels animated series starting in the fall.  And who would not want to hear about this era of the Star Wars timeline especially after the powerful conclusion we have all seen in season 6 of the Clone Wars?  New characters and new adventures await us all in books, comics and video games about the new Expanded Universe.

But even with all this excitement on this fresh new era of books, comics and video games, it is never going to take away the pleasure I have and will always have for the stories and characters from our current Expanded Universe. No one will ever be able to tell me that a character like Mara Jade did not have impact on the Star Wars universe. No one will be able to take away my enjoyment of the Old Republic and the history of Darth Revan, Darth Malak and Bastila Shan. No one will ever be able to keep me from flipping through my collection of Crimson Empire and iconic images of the red helmeted royal guards battling it out!

As an Star Wars Expanded Universe fan,  I am more than happy to “expand” my mind a little bit more to embrace the new stories that are on the way as well looking back at the legendary tales that are forever part of my Star Wars imagination and memory.

Let me know what you think about the state of the Expanded Universe.  Write us at: jundlandwastespodcast@gmail.com

Keep on traveling the Jundland Wastes!

Mark
Co-Host TJW Podcast