I had a great time on Tuesday night chatting with Jason, Jimmy, and Billy on the ForceCast’s Clone Wars Roundtable about last week’s episode, “The General.” The recorded podcast is now available on iTunes and the ForceCast website. I hope you’ll give it a listen, and rate it on iTunes too if you’re inclined.
As anyone who’s done a client presentation, classroom lecture, or media interview knows, there are invariably a few things you realize after the fact that you wished you’d said at the time or explained better on the fly. The perfectionist in me, naturally, thought up a couple of those from the Roundtable:
- At one point, we talked about the dialogue in which Krell refers to Rex as CT (clone trooper) instead of CC (clone captain). From the perspective of a writer, that could be a deliberately included insult by Krell, or it might simply have been a goof in the script. But the TCW writers will probably never tell us which one it is, and the beautiful thing is, because there’s an explanation that makes sense for it to be intentional, they can just smile and look brilliant. Sometimes the Force is just with you when you write.
- We remarked on the great visual moment when Rex, rather than talk back to Krell, just clenches his fist and says nothing. In talking about Anakin’s bond with his men and their loyalty to him, I mentioned that the later Imperial 501st is called Vader’s Fist. Connecting those dots – is that moment in “The General” the scene where Vader’s Fist is truly formed?
- While it’s possible that Anakin could return to Umbara to save the day for the clones of the 501st, I think there’s more storytelling potential if it’s Obi-Wan who faces Krell to defend them, and I talked about several reasons on the Roundtable. One more thing to consider is that the TCW writers are being very careful about showing the gradual path of Anakin’s evolution toward the events of Episode III. Anakin is already on thin ice with the Council for some of his actions and decisions, and striking down another Jedi could very well get him expelled, even if he’s right. Obi-Wan, on the other hand, has a solid reputation with the Council and his judgment would no doubt be trusted almost without question.
- In discussing the invasion of Umbara, I noted the shift in the morality of the war. Instead of liberating a planet or defending it from enemy attackers, as we’ve seen previously, in this episode the Republic is trying to conquer a planet against its will. I commented that this was the first time we saw the clones fighting living beings instead of droids, but my phrasing on the fly wasn’t as precise as what I meant. The clones had fought the Geonosian bugs (and battle droids) in Season Two while fighting to destroy the weapons factories on the planet, and with their Mon Calamari allies they had fought the Quarren (and aqua droids) at the start of this season. In this arc, however, the clones and the Republic are at war with a near-human species, the Umbarans. What I’d meant to convey, precisely speaking, is that this is the first time we’ve seen the human clones fighting almost-human opponents. In a perfect GFFA this distinction might not matter, but the conceit of Star Wars has been to make the aliens into our human likeness – for instance, shark-like and squid-like creatures with legs. Pretty much everything is bipedal. The closer the alien species resembles humans the more intimately the viewer is going to relate to that species. It’s just human nature…
The Umbara arc of TCW has done a great job so far at showing that Rex fights for his brothers and his honor. I’m the proud daughter of a veteran, and I spent some of my life working as a civilian within the ranks of the American servicemen and servicewomen. A recent 60 Minutes report provides a poignant reminder of the human costs of war and why solders are willing to fill the ranks of our volunteer armed forces. For some real life soldiers the sacrifices they make – their legs, their sight, their lives – can be in service of abstract ideals as grand as the freedom to defile their names publicly, or more concrete objectives like bringing fresh water to isolated communities or building schools for people who have been oppressed. In the real world, tomorrow – November 11, 2011 – is Veteran’s Day. It is a day for all of us to honor the sacrifice of the soldiers, living and dead, who gave so much for all of us.
Thank you – and I love you, Dad.
At the end of the Roundtable, I had the opportunity to plug the blog, my Twitter feed, and talk a little bit about my upcoming novel. It’s a space opera that follows the heroic adventures of a young woman, Vespa Wynde, and is the first in a series of planned novels that will follow her life and the lives of the people she loves most. In the vein of the stories that have inspired my imagination, this story is mythic, tragic, uplifting, romantic, and epic. I refer tangentially to my novel as it relates to storytelling here at FANgirl Blog, but most of the detailed discussion I’ve branched off to my author website at TriciaBarr.com or in my message forums the Lomin Ale Cantina. I’ve reached about 80,000 words right now, and I expect the book to close out in the 135-140,000 word range.
As I told Jason, the novel has a title, but it’s yet to be announced. Although it was tempting to make the reveal last night, I think I owe my friends and readers here and in the Cantina to make the announcement at the blog as I’ve always intended. Some of my readers actually have seen the name because they helped in mulling out alternatives with me – but they don’t know which one I’ve picked.
I was brave enough though to announce my debut timeline – late April to early May – and barring any disasters I’m pretty good about sticking to deadlines. For a while I’ve had the book name reveal penciled into my calendar for November 24, and only recently did I realize that’s Thanksgiving Day. (Yeah, I’m just a little busy…) Then I thought to myself, why not?
If you’re interested in seeing what I have in store for the readers, you can check out the excerpts. Sometime in December I’ll begin posting one chapter at a time, with the expectation that eight or so chapters will be available for free to help people decide if the book is worth their time and money before the novel hits the virtual bookshelves.
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