Hyperspace Theories

Thanks to Darth Real Life, it’s been a while since our last episode. Hyperspace Theories returns with a conversation about the exciting new developments in Star Wars television.

First, though, we briefly discuss some of the other recent Star Wars news. Episode IX has begun filming, and several new cast members were announced. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy’s contract has been extended through 2021, though Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed a slowdown in the pace of Star Wars movie production following Episode IX. There may be fewer films in the works for the moment, but Star Wars television is surging ahead.

Our meta segment considers the announcement of The Mandalorian, a live-action series for the upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service from Disney. The show’s creator, executive producer, and writer is Jon Favreau, whose extensive body of work includes Iron Man and Iron Man 2 for Marvel, the live-action Jungle Book and The Lion King for Disney, his own project Chef, and directing episodes of Revolution and The Orville for television. He also has a history with Star Wars, voicing Mandalorian Death Watch leader Pre Viszla on The Clone Wars. Another figure from that series, Dave Filoni, has a prominent part in The Mandalorian: he is an executive producer and will direct its first episode. We speculate about the influences Favreau and Filoni will bring to the live-action show, and how its release on the streaming service might affect the tone and content of its episodes. We also share our thoughts on the other episodic directors announced for the project: Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), Bryce Dallas Howard (Solemates), and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok).

Like Lucasfilm, our storytelling segment revisits The Clone Wars after the news from the summer that twelve more episodes are in production. We speculate about which remaining untold story arcs might appears in these new episodes, based on information previously revealed at Star Wars Celebration panels and some arcs already produced in other formats, such as Dark Disciple and Son of Dathomir. Based on the trailer, the long-awaited “Siege of Mandalore” story appears to be included, which will create connections with existing arcs of The Clone Wars, Revenge of the Sith, the Ahsoka novel, and Star Wars Rebels. We also share in the fandom’s excitement to see more stories from The Clone Wars and the return of the fan-favorite voice cast.

For our world-building segment we analyze the premiere episodes of Star Wars Resistance, the new animated series airing on the Disney Channel. We start with the galaxy-level world-building in the series, including the New Republic, the Resistance, and the First Order at a point in time six months before The Force Awakens. We then turn to the Colossus, the fuel depot and its residents that serve as the location for the first season, and discuss how the characters and their story arcs are constructed with that environment in mind. (Note: if you have not yet seen the show, this part of our discussion includes major spoilers for the opening episode, “The Recruit,” and some references to the following episodes, “The Triple Dark” and “Fuel for the Fire,” which are available for early viewing through DisneyNOW, Hulu, and other providers.)

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Direct download: HT_41_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:37pm EST

There’s much to discuss on this month’s episode of Hyperspace Theories. Tricia, B.J., and Kay begin with a quick look at the recent Star Wars news since our last episode, including reports of Keri Russell and Billy Dee Williams joining the cast of Episode IX, updates to the Lucasfilm corporate website, and the delay of Indiana Jones 5.

For the meta segment, we revisit a foundational topic in Star Wars – the Force – from the perspective of the third storytelling trio in The Last Jedi: Rey, Luke, and Kylo Ren. In addition to those characters, the movie and other recent Star Wars tales reveal more insight into the nature of the light side and dark side, and the role of the Jedi Order as an institution in serving, sometimes unsuccessfully, the principle of balance in the Force. We also share our thoughts on some points raised in discussions among online Star Wars fandom on these topics.

The storytelling segment centers on the Hero’s Journey for Han in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Unlike the other films of the Disney era, Solo draws upon the classical monomyth framework described by Joseph Campbell, rather than the modern cinematic model developed by Christopher Vogler. This has interesting implications for the structure of the story as well as the portrayals of the main characters.

Our world-building segment focuses on an article from Tom & Lorenzo analyzing Rey’s costumes in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Their insights include the symbolism of the colors and clothing styles, as well as interconnections with costumes in previous Star Wars movies for Luke, Han, and Leia.


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Direct download: HT_40_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53am EST

Last month Solo: A Story Wars Story hit theaters, and the newest episode of Hyperspace Theories features Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester, and Kay sharing our reactions and analysis. Needless to say, the episode is chock full of spoilers for Solo. You have been warned!

Direct download: HT_39_Complete.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41pm EST

With the home-video release already reaching our personal screens, Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester, and Kay Serna continue our analysis of The Last Jedi. First, though, we make a brief detour for a “Spoilers Beware” segment to share our reactions to the series finale episodes of Star Wars Rebels and the teaser trailer for Solo: A Star War Story, both of which aired since the three of us recorded together.

We begin our discussion on The Last Jedi with the “Expanded Edition” story contained in the novelization of the film by Jason Fry. We consider how the novelization adds to the story of the movie, including new scenes and character points-of-view. We also examine the ways in which the book avoids elaborating or clarifying on story points where the film is best left to speak for itself, or where fan speculation and opinion is better kept unrestricted.

For the world-building segment we discuss the impact of Snoke’s death on the First Order and the progress of the story going forward into Episode IX. Both Kylo Ren and Hux are portrayed as characters with significant disadvantages in leading such a large entity, including their inexperience and personal traits. This is potentially a weakness the Resistance could exploit, but the instability in the First Order also could make its leaders very dangerous.

In our storytelling segment, we analyze another character triangle envisioned by Rian Johnson in writing the script, as noted on page 111 of The Art of The Last Jedi by Phil Szostak. This month we consider the triangle centered on Poe Dameron, and how his interactions with General Leia Organa and Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo shape his path from hotshot flyboy to Resistance leader.


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Direct download: Hyperspace_Theories_37_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:34pm EST

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