Hyperspace Theories

In a Star Wars Battlefront II focused episode, Kay hosts a roundtable of gamers to break down the story mode. The panel includes Linda Hansen-Raj (FANgirl, StarWars.com), Kelly Knox (StarWars.com), and Bria LaVorgna (Tosche Station, White Hot Room).

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Direct download: HyperspaceTheories_BattlefrontII_w_Intro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47am EST

The Last Jedi provides no shortage of topics for discussion, and this month’s episode of Hyperspace Theories provides the first opportunity for Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester, and Kay to dig deep into the story told in the movie and the storytelling decisions behind it.

First, though, we kick off with a brief Spoilers Beware segment to share our first reactions to the mid-season trailer for Star Wars Rebels. The trailer previews the final seven episodes of the animated series, which concludes its four-season run with two episodes on Monday, February 19, two more on February 26, and a three-episode Rebels “movie” finale on March 6.

Our meta segment about how to speculate wisely often delves into topics such as the storytellers who are creating Star Wars and the sources that inspire them. This time, we have the opportunity to lift the veil after the fact and examine the creative process behind The Last Jedi after the fact. The lens for our discussion is the book The Art of The Last Jedi by Phil Szostak, published the same day as the movie’s release with a foreword by Rian Johnson. The book is filled with a wide variety of intriguing concept art from the film’s production, and its prose provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Johnson’s story came together.

The world-building segment considers the balance that every new Star Wars movie must strike in the new era of annual film releases: the balance between tapping into the power of fans’ nostalgia for the Star Wars stories already told and the need to tell a story that stands on its own within the franchise. Although conventional wisdom suggests that The Force Awakens leaned too heavily on nostalgia and the story structure of A New Hope while The Last Jedi took more risks and broke new ground, we use Episode VIII’s dramatic under-performing at the Chinese box office as an angle to discuss the ways The Last Jedi, and particularly its use of Luke Skywalker, may have relied too much on nostalgia and the expense of the new characters.

Our storytelling segment returns to another idea drawn from The Art of The Last Jedi. In the book, Rian Johnson explains that the character dynamics in the film are structured around three “triangles” of characters, with a principal hero (Rey, Finn, or Poe) at the apex of each. In this episode we discuss Finn’s triangle, in which his character development takes places between the contrasting influences of Rose and DJ in urging him to face and choose his destiny.


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Direct download: HT_36_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:59pm EST

The wait is over, and The Last Jedi has arrived! Even having seen the movie only a few times each, we already have so much to analyze and discuss from Episode VIII. Before we delve into any of that, though, we share our initial reactions to the movie. Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester, and Kay Serna are joined by Looking For Leia producer and director Annalise Ophelian to break down our rollercoasters of emotion from experiencing The Last Jedi.

Naturally, this episode carries a massive SPOILER WARNING, as we do not hesitate to get into the biggest and most surprising moments in the movie.

We begin by considering whether the talking points, trailers, and other promotion for The Last Jedi provided fans with accurate guidance on what the movie ultimately would unfold. We then talk about the themes and influences that first caught our attention in watching the film. From the big picture we transition to our reactions to the arcs for the principal characters, including Rey and Kylo Ren, Rose and Finn, Poe and Holdo, Leia, and Luke. We conclude by picking our favorite moments from The Last Jedi.

Needless to say, this movie will provide topics for discussion on the podcast for many months to come.


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Direct download: HT_35_The_Last_Jedi_Is_Here.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:20pm EST

This month’s episode of Hyperspace Theories marks our final show of speculation before the release of The Last Jedi, which no doubt will bring months of analysis – and future speculation – to the Star Wars fandom galaxy. Excitement and anticipation abounds!


Before turning to the imminent Episode VIII, though, Tricia, B.J., and Kay first consider the recent announcement that Lucasfilm has hired Rian Johnson to develop more Star Wars films. “In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga,” the press release said, “Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.” We share our thoughts on the possibilities offered by this new direction in Star Wars movies, as well as how they may relate to the other films in development at Lucasfilm. In addition, the announcement clarified Johnson’s role in the trilogy of films as “the first of which he is also set to write and direct.” We express our hope that the remaining two movies will provide opportunities for more diversity in the screenwriting and directing positions in the Star Wars franchise, especially in light of the commercial and critical success of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok.

Promotion for The Last Jedi has been in full swing, with more hints about the direction of the story and characters. We break down our thoughts on the international trailer, which takes a more story-driven approach than last month’s U.S. trailer, as well as additional footage seen in various television advertisements for the movie and the cover story on The Last Jedi in the Thanksgiving week issue of Entertainment Weekly. Tricia shares her insights from the media preview of the newest version of the Star Tours ride at Walt Disney World, which includes the battle sequence on Crait as well as several characters from the movie. While a variety of new glimpses from the film have emerged, we conclude that most of the story’s key developments and secrets remain hidden. Fortunately, it’s time for The Last Jedi speculation to end.

It seems clear that the nature of the Force, the light side and the dark side, and the role of the Jedi in the galaxy will be significant themes in The Last Jedi. With that in mind, our worldbuilding segment considers some of the recent lore and themes about the Force revealed in other materials, including Star Wars Rebels.

Finally, the storytelling segment evaluates a prominent trend in recent Star Wars publishing: the use of in-universe storytelling as a mechanism to tell fun Star Wars tales without pinning down specific facts or events as any form of objective truth. Delilah Dawson’s novel Phasma, for example, has a frame story with an unreliable narrator, leaving open the possibility that any part of the story could be incorrect or misunderstood by its participants. Similarly, The Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu uses a frame story – deckhands on a ship sharing the tall tales they have been told about Luke – as a mechanism to deliver some fantastical adventures for the Jedi Knight. At the same time, each tale in the book illustrates a core aspect of what makes Luke an heroic figure in the galaxy, showing that even the most outrageously improbable legends still have a grain of truth at their core. The anthology From A Certain Point of View also contains a number of short stories that likely don’t hold up as having actually happened, at least the way they’re told in the book, but nevertheless contain key themes and morals to the story that fit right in with the Star Wars galaxy.


Related Links

  • The Last Jedi international trailer (YouTube)
  • “Directing The Last Jedi” (YouTube)
  • The Last Jedi television ad: “Awake” (YouTube)
  • The Last Jedi television ad (15 seconds) (YouTube)
  • The Last Jedi television ad: “Heroes” (YouTube)
  • The Last Jedi television ad: “Kylo Failed You” (YouTube)
  • The Superweirdo Behind “Thor: Ragnarok” (New York Times feature on Taika Waititi)
  • The Rise of Rose: How A Badass Nerd Became The New “Star Wars” Lead (Buzzfeed)
  • The Last Jedi: Venture into the Star Wars galaxy with four new EW covers (Entertainment Weekly)
  • 14 new Star Wars: The Last Jedi images from a galaxy far, far away (Entertainment Weekly)
  • Kylo Ren vs. Rey: In The Last Jedi, the danger is becoming allies instead of enemies (Entertainment Weekly)

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Direct download: HyperspaceTheories_34_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:06pm EST

The theatrical trailer for The Last Jedi is here! The evening after its premiere, Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester, and Kay recorded a special episode of Hyperspace Theories with our reactions and analysis. We consider the visuals, dialogue, and music in the trailer, as well as connections to the previously released teaser and behind-the-scene reel. Although the trailer is strong at conveying tone and themes and light on story details, we also incorporate some (spoiler-free/rumor-free) informed speculation about what might happen in The Last Jedi.


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Direct download: The_Last_Jedi_Reaction_Final.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 10:03pm EST

Tricia Barr, BJ Priester and Kay from FANgirl Blog discuss changes in directors on Episode IX, Star Wars animation and Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray.

The Star Wars movie news keeps coming, and we delve into it on this month’s episode of Hyperspace Theories. We begin with one of the recent photos from the Untitled Han Solo movie shared on social media by director Ron Howard. Does the image and its caption – “Spicey?” – hint at the appearance of the long-notorious spice mines as well as the legendary Kessel Run in the film?

The big developments since our last episode, though, involved Episode IX: Colin Trevorrow is no longer involved in the movie as either writer or director, and J.J. Abrams is returning to Star Wars to direct and co-write the second sequel to The Force Awakens. Tricia, B.J., and Kay discuss our reactions to and analysis of the news, including the official announcements from Lucasfilm as well as the reports in the Hollywood industry trades. While the removal of Trevorrow from the project is a positive change, the sources of the conflict that led to his departure were very much predictable at the time he was hired; the upheaval in the production process at this point, about four months prior to the intended start of principal photography, was preventable if a sounder hire had been made in the first instance. Fortunately, after the box office and fandom success of The Force Awakens Abrams had enough influence and credibility with the Disney brass to insist on pushing back Episode IX’s release date to December 2019, giving him at least six additional months to work on the script. Abrams has essentially the same amount of time to work on Episode IX’s screenplay as for The Force Awakens – but this time with considerably less work needed on the world-building and character arcs compared to kicking off the trilogy. Overall, though, we’re certainly far more optimistic about Episode IX with Abrams at the helm than we were a few weeks ago.

We also share areas of concern with Abrams’ leadership of Episode IX. On The Force Awakens, Abrams often worked in seclusion at Bad Robot in Santa Monica, in contrast to Rian Johnson’s work in residence at Lucasfilm while writing and completing The Last Jedi. With the Story Group and other members of the creative brain trust at Lucasfilm having accomplished some great successes in interconnectivity and long-term payoffs over the course of stories released since 2015, it would be a shame if Abrams’ return also meant a recurrence of the lack of communication that led to key creative executives at Lucasfilm being unaware of major storytelling decisions made while finalizing The Force Awakens until the film’s release. Similarly, Abram’s co-writer on The Force Awakens was the esteemed Lawrence Kasdan; his writing partner on Episode IX is Chris Terrio, who won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Argo but also wrote the screenplays for Batman v Superman and Justice League, which like Rogue One ended up undergoing substantial revision, if not re-envisioning, during reshoots. Finally, while Abrams is certainly a known quantity and trusted creator to Lucasfilm, it is disappointing to see yet again that two middle-aged white men have been handed the keys a Star Wars film – and this time, one that has to provide satisfying, empowering, and worthy conclusions to the Sequel Trilogy character arcs of Rey and Leia.

For all the upheaval in the production processes on the Star Wars films over the last few years, though, lots of great Star Wars stories are being told outside the movies. In this month’s episode we discuss the second season of LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, the first eight Force of Destiny animated shorts, and the young-adult novel Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray. We have high praise for each of them, although as longtime Star Wars books fandom participants, each of us was particularly excited to finally see the kind of official young Leia book we’ve always thought the character deserved. As part of the Journey to The Last Jedi publishing program, Gray’s novel also contains some intriguing hints for Episode VIII, including some that are overt and others that left us wondering – and speculating.

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Direct download: HT_33_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:28am EST

Tricia Barr, BJ Priester and Kay discuss Entertainment Weekly's Fall Movie Preview cover article on The Last Jedi.

Direct download: Hyperspace_Theories_August.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:57pm EST

On this month’s episode of Hyperspace Theories, Tricia, B.J., and Kay delve into the Star Wars news revealed at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim. We begin with our reactions to the Behind the Scenes reel for The Last Jedi shown during the Star Wars segment of the Live Action Movies panel, then break down our highlights and favorite moments from the video. As usual, we also speculate about what the reel might reveal about the film, its story, and the character arcs.

Next we turn to the teaser posters revealed online shortly after the panel presentation ended. The color red is certainly a noticeable theme in the art, along with the obscured faces.

After talking about The Last Jedi, we talk about the other big Star Wars news from D23: the Disney Parks announcements of the official name for “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” at Disneyland and Hollywood Studios, as well as a luxury resort hotel in Florida. Star Wars entertainment will be part of our real world sooner than we think. The Battlefront II videogame and Star Wars fiction publishing also were included in the D23 presentations.

Finally, since our last episode the new director for the untitled Han Solo movie, Ron Howard, was officially announced by Lucasfilm. We share our thoughts on Howard as a director and his role in bringing the movie to its culmination.

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Direct download: HT_31_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:14pm EST

The team from FANgirl Blog planned on discussing a director's role in Star Wars after Colin Trevorrow's The Book of Henry release, and then things started breaking on Han Solo...

Direct download: HT_30_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:57am EST

In this month’s episode of Hyperspace Theories, Tricia, B.J., and Kay look ahead to the next Star Wars movie and consider how the books have supplemented the previous one.

We begin with a brief Spoilers Beware segment sharing our reactions to several items about The Last Jedi in the news recently, including John Boyega showing Finn’s blaster, Oscar Isaac discussing filming a physical interaction with Carrie Fisher, and Rian Johnson’s storytelling tweak to the ending of The Force Awakens.

Our meta segment on speculating wisely delves in detail into the Vanity Fair features on The Last Jedi from the magazine’s June issue. We talk about our favorite images from the Annie Liebowitz photo spread, as well as some intriguing nuggets of information revealed in the text of the cover story and supplemental online content. These include Rian Johnson’s approach to the characters and world-building during his writing process, the role of the Story Group in Star Wars storytelling, and Kathleen Kennedy’s latest remarks about the future of General Organa in Episode IX.

In the storytelling segment we discuss three books released in connection with Rogue One: Alexander Freed’s novelization of the movie, Beth Revis’ Rebel Rising, and Greg Rucka’s Guardians of the Whills. We emphasize how the books add layers to the characterization and motivations of the key characters in the film, especially Jyn but also Chirrut and Baze, Cassian, and Mon Mothma.


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Direct download: HT_29_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32pm EST