Thu, 21 December 2017
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.
Thu, 23 November 2017
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.
Wed, 11 October 2017
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.
Sun, 1 October 2017
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.
Thu, 31 August 2017
Tricia Barr, BJ Priester and Kay discuss Entertainment Weekly's Fall Movie Preview cover article on The Last Jedi.
Sun, 16 July 2017
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.
Sat, 1 July 2017
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...
Wed, 31 May 2017
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.
Thu, 20 April 2017
Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester, and Kay had the pleasure of attending Star Wars Celebration in Orlando last week, so of course we couldn't pass up the opportunity to record this month's episode of Hyperspace Theories in person from the convention. What better topic for discussion, too, than the first teaser trailer for The Last Jedi, which was revealed on Friday morning by director Rian Johnson at the conclusion of the movie's panel.
In the episode we share our first reactions to the teaser trailer. We consider the imagery shown, the dialogue included, and the themes and connections to The Force Awakens and other Star Wars stories that resonated with us in the teaser.
At the time we recorded this episode, we had viewed the trailer twice at the panel and several more times on a laptop on YouTube. Upon closer review with better equipment, we had more success with determining the words spoken by the whispering in the background audio:
Celebration delivered much more content than The Last Jedi teaser, and we'll be breaking it all down in detail on upcoming episodes of Hyperspace Theories.
Sun, 26 February 2017
In this month’s episode of Hyperspace Theories, we discuss Star Wars storytelling from a range of mediums, including books, television, and movies. Kay, Tricia, and B.J. are joined by FANgirl contributor Linda for our discussion and conversation.
Before getting into storytelling analysis, we share our reactions to recent officially released Star Wars news. We talk about the toy box character images for The Last Jedi, the announcement of major panels at Celebration for The Last Jedi and the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars, and the beginning of principal photography for the young Han Solo standalone movie, which also included confirmation of several additional cast members.
For our meta segment, instead of examining our usual theme of speculating wisely we delve into the ongoing problem of unapproved spoiler leaks made by individuals with review copies of books. The situation garnered widespread attention this month in connection with Chuck Wendig’s new novel Aftermath: Empire’s End. While some amount of leaks on social media has been typical, this time major genre sites such as Mashable and io9 reported on an interlude in the book prior to the book’s release. Although screener episodes of television shows present a similar risk, Star Wars fandom has been fairly lucky in that regard compared to extensive leaks seen in The Walking Dead fandom. We discuss the obligations owed by reviewers to other fans, as well as potential reactions by Lucasfilm or other franchises to reduce the occurrence of these spoilers.
Star Wars Rebels aired a pair of episodes centered on Sabine Wren, “Trials of the Darksaber” and “Legacy of Mandalore,” that take the focus of our world-building segment. We examine Sabine’s story arc over the three seasons of the show, culminating in these episodes, especially the development of her interactions with Ezra and Kanan. We note in particular, too, the importance of “Legacy of Mandalore” as a mother-daughter story, which so far have been sparse in Star Wars. With their inclusion of the Darksaber legend and the political upheaval within the culture, these episodes also position Mandalorians as a powerful third faction in the galaxy along with the Jedi and Sith or the Rebellion and the Empire.
The storytelling segment this month revisits Rogue One to analyze the controversial use of computer-generated effects to create the faces of Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia in the film. While storytelling sometimes requires the inclusion of certain characters due to the context or themes of a tale, only the live-action cinema side of Star Wars raises the issue of casting those roles with actors. In Rogue One some characters were played by their original actors, others were recast, and CG was used for Tarkin and Leia. Guy Henry’s interviews with Business Insider and The Hollywood Reporter provide insight into the creative process of performing the role, but do not answer the question whether it was necessary to digitally substitute the late Peter Cushing’s face for Henry’s. With the Han Solo movie also recasting several iconic characters, we share our thought on whether Lucasfilm should ever repeat the digital-face technique after Rogue One.
Tue, 31 January 2017
This month’s episode of Hyperspace Theories continues our discussion of storytelling lessons to be learned from Rogue One. In addition, we look ahead to the next Star Wars film and share our thoughts on the legacy of Carrie Fisher.
We begin with our reactions to the newly revealed title of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. The title has connections to The Force Awakens, of course, as well as to familiar themes from other Star Wars stories and the Legends tales. We also ponder the potential implications of the red lettering used in the title announcement.
In our meta segment on speculating wisely, we evaluate the role of movie trailers in speculation on future Star Wars films. For both that film and The Force Awakens, Lucasfilm has released trailers which seek to convey the tone, themes, and feel of the story but which include scenes and dialogue that do not appear in the final film. We discuss the merits and risks of this approach, particularly if the franchise is trying to maintain a lockdown on spoilers. On the other hand, it is now clear that both The Force Awakens and Rogue One were undergoing major editing, reshoots and pickups, dialogue replacement, and others changes in the months, even final weeks, before the films’ releases. With Rogue One in particular, some of the seeming inconsistencies in the characterization of Jyn Erso in the early trailers compared to the later trailers and advertisements may have arisen from the changes made during Tony Gilroy’s significant reworking of the story. This raises a comparison to Star Wars Rebels, which, like The Clone Wars before it, has a consistent track record of trailers that include scenes and dialogue matching the final episodes to air. We wonder whether Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, which already is deep into editing and seems to have avoided the mad dash revising of the previous two films, will have trailers and marketing more comparable to Rebels than those movies.
Our segment on world-building also revisits the production process of Rogue One and its ramifications on the story and characters. Relying on the information revealed in The Art of Rogue One, as well as a number of recent interviews by the film’s editors, we discuss major shifts in the development process. The stage of development for the characters and story of Rogue One include the initial treatment and sizzle reel by John Knoll, creative development in 2014 led by Gareth Edwards and Gary Whitta culminating in a screenplay by Whitta, a script rewrite by Chris Weitz (including, among other things, the creation of Chirut and Baze), principal photography by Edwards in 2015, extensive script revisions and reshoots from Tony Gilroy in the summer of 2016, and then final editing of the film into its ultimate form. We discuss how these instances of significant rethinking, over a relatively short span of time, impacted the tone, feel, and internal consistency of the plot and characters.
This month’s storytelling segment is dedicated to Carrie Fisher. In addition to talking about her importance as Leia Organa, both within the story and to fandom and the real world, we also share our thoughts on Carrie Fisher as a storyteller herself. From her script doctoring to Postcards from the Edge and The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher could make us laugh and cry, and sometimes both at the same time.