Why Skywalker`s Students Should Have Been Afraid

The Stupendous Wave on YouTube said yesterday that John Boyega’s people have said that an official trailer for Rise of Skywalker will air at halftime during Monday Night Football, and go to YouTube at the same time.

I wanted to say something more about the character of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, played in 2017 again by Mark Hamill.

Luke Skywalker wanted there to be more Jedi Masters, heroes of the Light Side of the Force, who help police their galaxy.

The word disciple often refers to people dedicated to learning about The Bible from Jesus Christ, of course. The Last Jedi retells how Jesus could do only so much, as when Luke is unseated by Ben Solo, son of Han Solo, and Leia Organa. Ben Solo has betrayed Luke and murdered the other disciples, becoming Kylo Ren.

This is not that different than the Apostle Judas betraying Jesus to Pontius Pilate for thirty pieces of silver. Unlike Jesus Christ, crucified by the Romans, Luke has enjoyed the freedom to retreat to Ahch-To. He is done with enlisting potential Jedi, at least until Rey seeks him, and tells him what she knows is happening in the First Order, across the galaxy.

The difference between Ben Solo and the other Jedi disciples Luke was trying to train is that Ben is the son of Leia and Han. Luke had known when training Ben, that the young man could be trouble for the galaxy if the Dark Side of the Force continued to grow in him.

Some of the tragedy of The Last Jedi, tragic in the sense that the events of the story are irreversible, and of an ill-nature, is that what Luke could teach caused the apprentices’ demise. The Jedi dedication to the Light Side of the Force could not combat the darkness in Ben. Supreme Leader Snoke has corrupted young Ben Solo, as a transformation into Kylo Ren begins, not too different than the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader, in the prequel trilogy.

Snoke, a new character in The Force Awakens, has origins unclear, and likewise murky in The Last Jedi, but is an evil mentor to Kylo Ren, the opposite to how Luke was a mentor to young Ben Solo.

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Photographer: Luca Baggio

Not a big surprise, Luke Skywalker is my favorite character in The Last Jedi because of the reminders Mark Hamill creates of the original Star Wars trilogy. Luke`s powerful abilities with the Force, begun in Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977, and explored in the next two films, are what fans like about him. For Luke to be teaching the ways of a Jedi Master is great because Luke learned from Yoda, in The Empire Strikes Back, the ways of the Force.

“Pass on what you have learned,” Yoda finally tells Luke in Return of the Jedi.

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Photographer: Michal Jarmoluk

The Star Wars audience knows of events in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens because they have been told to Rey by Han Solo when the two are aboard the Millenium Falcon after Rey leaves home. If Luke`s other disciples had known of Snoke`s influence, on Luke, and his protégés, they would have become afraid. No one facing death would surrender life voluntarily when a pressing objective very much requires the opposite: the objective to become Jedi Masters and to protect the galaxy.

Luke`s remorse is evident. Mark Hamill displays the emotion perfectly.

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Photographer: Mateusz Dach

Recollections of the murders are present in The Last Jedi, but that movie would have been better if it were more clear what Luke searched for in his years of travel before the events of The Force Awakens. Luke is a Jedi Master who can deter the First Order if only he can teach Ben Solo the importance of the Light Side of the Force. That can`t be done, not even by Luke Skywalker.

How is it that Luke, with everything he understands about the Force, can make such a dangerous error? Luke has decided, I think, in The Last Jedi that to wield the Force, with as much ferocity as he has, is an act of hubris. If Luke had reached Ben Solo on any other level than of training the young man to become a Jedi, the sway of Snoke on Ben Solo might have been dispelled, with Ben never joining the First Order.

Although the conflict in Ben has made unrest in the galaxy that Luke, Leia, Poe, Fin, C-3P0, R2-D2, and Rose together combat in The Force Awakens, Ben`s path could have taken him elsewhere instead of to the very center of the battle against tyranny in the galaxy.

Appropriate fear is usually an emotion evoked by the Dark Side of the Force on one vulnerable. That same emotion could have prevented tragedy and kept both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker alive. Luke`s powers mostly fail him in The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader confronts him on Cloud City in Bespin, after Jedi Master Yoda has told Luke that he isn`t ready for such an encounter.

In The Last Jedi, Leia has told Luke that she desires for him to teach the Light Side of the Force. If Luke could have drawn insight from what Yoda at the last had to say about teaching with wisdom the Force, long before Ben precipitated the murders of Luke’s apprentices, the drawback of overconfidence in Luke Skywalker could have meant a better outcome for all.

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The Skywalker Saga draws to a close this winter beginning December 20.

Why A Winter’s Night Will Change Your Life

The theatrical release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is two months away and today is Force Friday, a retail shopping day for Star Wars fans.

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Photographer: Matt Moloney

The Rise of Skywalker is one of the biggest film releases of 2019, as you probably know. Movie director J. J. Abrams has returned, who in 2015 helmed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Force Awakens resumes after the original trilogy in 1977, 1980, and 1983, and the Star Wars prequel trilogy, in 1999, 2002, and 2005.

While this is familiar film history, what’s striking is that the Disney company, which now owns the brand, is launching Disney+ in November, when Star Wars will again be newly available. Disney+ is an offering of classic animated features, as well as reboots and the Avengers franchise. Both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi were tremendous hits, but the box office failure of the expensive one-off Solo: A Star Wars Story diminished the profitability of the franchise for Disney, and the success of Disney+ would surely benefit from the continued success of Star Wars.

Disney+ will have much better chances of lasting if Star Wars is reinvigorated by another blockbuster film. There isn’t much question that Star Wars: The Last Jedi divided the fan base. Last Jedi director Rian Johnson dispelled some of the magic of Star Wars by reinventing Mark Hamill’s character of Luke as an old cynical hermit, rather than staying true to the bold Jedi warrior hero who defeats the Empire in Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars fans turned out for Mark Hamill’s reprise of Luke Skywalker after what happened in the original Star Wars trilogy, and instead, Luke in The Last Jedi nearly couldn’t be roused to continue the fight against the Dark Side of the Force.

YouTube’s Looper has tapped into a mega-spoiler: by their account, actor Harrison Ford has returned as Han Solo for a scene in The Rise of Skywalker. It’s understood that Ford had been reluctant to return to Star Wars without a movie script handling his character adequately, as the actor was absent from the cast of The Last Jedi.

There have been announcements about Star Wars that fans ate up. Prequels actor Ewan McGregor will be in the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, not for The Rise of Skywalker, but a Disney+ series picking up after the events of the prequels.

Disney has also announced that Kevin Feige will do a Star Wars film. Feige’s involvement is good news for people who believe in Star Wars, as the Avengers films largely speak for themselves in terms of popularity and quality. With the promise of a bang-on Star Wars film after the Skywalker Saga, there is more reason to believe that Star Wars will again succeed, and if it does, a future with Disney+ is all the more likely.

The other spoiler from Looper is that, contrary to expectations, at least expectations I had, the Force will redeem the character of Kylo Ren when he gives up his allegiance to the Dark Side. Based on the love-hate intensity of their relationship, I held the impression that in The Rise of Skywalker Rey will defeat Kylo Ren and destroy him. The trailer for The Rise of Skywalker seems clear that the final battle will be highly personal.

If instead Kylo Ren changes his allegiance, it will make for a different future in Star Wars. Although audiences believe that the Light Side of the Force triumphs in Return of the Jedi, this time, in 2019, it is possible to think, the Light Side will, at last, have victory.

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Photographer: Leeroy

If you have the opportunity to enjoy The Rise of Skywalker, I hope you have one of the best nights you have ever had in the company of Star Wars’ villains and heroes. It should be a wonderful occasion. I appreciate you very much thinking about it with me. Maybe I’ll see you again come wintertime as momentum for The Rise of Skywalker continues to build.

Summer Crowds for Disneyland’s Galaxy Edge Fail to Appear

All is not well with a galaxy far, far away. The people who are dismayed by what has happened following Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars, Youtubers collectively known as The Fandom Menace, observe it, and I thought I would point attention to some generalities that Star Wars fans have discussed about Star Wars Land at Disneyland this summer.

The Fandom Menace says that a pittance of folk turned up to experience the Star Wars universe at the Disneyland theme park this summer. You can believe this has hit Disney where it hurts, in the pocketbook. A lot is riding on November’s launch date for Disney+ streaming service to be a big success.

The Disney company desires to capture a giant share of the streaming market, and if Star Wars has gone from being a runaway success with Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015, to having a “Star Wars fatigue” problem where franchise toys don’t sell, toy consumer disinterest will repel a correlating interest in manufacturing toy tie-ins.

“It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar Erik Bauersfeld dead: Voice of Admiral Ackbar in Star Wars dies at 93

Oliver Gettell 

Combined with the reluctance of Star Wars fans to embrace Disneyland’s Galaxy Edge exhibit in Star Wars Land, if Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker isn’t another wild hit, there could be a problem marketing the film universe dreamed decades ago by film director George Lucas.

As Disney+ will include the existing nine Star Wars films, two directed by Lucas, seven by other hands, the TV series The Mandalorian should be a draw for many Star Wars viewers, and the future series Obi-Wan should be something fans will be looking forward to. If the franchise pales, it could be more of a hindrance for Disney rather than a gold mine. Never mind Annual Passholder blackouts.

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Photographer: Park Troopers

Story elements for Star Wars fans in terms of possibilities we could see in The Rise of Skywalker in December are beginning to dangle, as Disney’s optimism for success continues. Soon to come, I’ll repeat a couple of rumors for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that could help change the discontentment with Star Wars back into the same passion that other films in the incredible franchise have generated.

How Halloween Resolutions are Making the World a Better Place

In What Ways Might We Find a Little Magic in Affirming Halloween?

Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night and Firework Night, is a yearly remembrance on 5 November, in the United Kingdom. I was there twenty years ago, in 1999, and the festivities I saw that fifth of November delighted me. I drifted among village people carrying an effigy of the infamous Guy Fawkes in procession and then setting him ablaze, burned.

He had been a traitor. Here, back in Canada, on Halloween, 31 October, of course, I get a little remorseful that I have let some fine moments pass by since, without being in the same kind of high spirit that night in the English village I was visiting.

Years later, I continue to enjoy seeing the leaves change colour, and I like seeing candy on store shelves, and spooky house decorations. I always think I could get myself a few costume elements–maybe this year will be the year I make good on my promise. I experience occasional brief pangs of regret for having spent years with less beauty and sensation as I would have liked, in my youth.

Even with as much opportunity as we have in the West, fiscal and personal and soul-satisfying, too, the calendar pages keep turning. There could be so much in the world that invigorates. I can think of one example in particular.

On the off chance that you’re visiting Iceland in winter, you are most likely wanting to see the Northern Lights, or the aurora borealis. The Northern Lights can be seen from pre-winter to spring, with the most obvious opportunity being during the nighttimes of the winter months.

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Photographer: Hunter Bryant

I think of a kind of magic there could be, viewing a sky like that. If I think of seeing that, but never, I can start to feel sad. If you have the calling, you may need to go somewhere like that, to feel as though you have lived properly.

Where I live, we enjoy Halloween candy and costumes. Halloween is not officially celebrated in Iceland, so it can be thought of a blessing that in this culture, in Canada, we celebrate Halloween, Americanized Halloween. In the United Kingdom, individuals hold Halloween parties where they take on the appearance of phantoms, skeletons or other frightening figure. In that respect, Canada’s the same as there.

I tweet occasional content that I think could be valuable for the right reader, lots of it trending and about my life and yours. If you want to share in these riches, click me up at https://twitter.com/findingenvirons

Happy autumn!

SciFi Fandom Pride: Where’d You Go? “He tends to say whatever comes into his circuits.” – Cassian Andor, Rogue One

The Force Awakens

To think about pride, like for me familiarity with popular science fiction, it is true that in 2015, enthusiasm for the Star Wars films, Star Wars fandom, soared nearly beyond measure when Lucasfilm presented the Star Wars film The Force Awakens.

The realization was great that appreciation for the popular trilogy of films of the nineteen seventies and eighties was “striking back,” an achievement again like the success of Star Wars in the spring of 1977.  George Lucas nearly didn’t get his 1977 film made, according to accounts of what happened, and even though it is true that most film projects whether original in scope or not fail to get made, it is an endearing success story that Lucas made the movie.  The phrase “success story” lacks the weight behind what Star Wars actually did to Hollywood cinema, which was as expansive as what became of the Star Wars galaxy a long time ago and far away.


Photographer:
One Idea LLC

The fervor for Star Wars returning in 2015, helmed by J. J. Abrams, was awe-inspiring.  In fact, Star Wars’ ability to create awe is what gives it such a punch.  For The Force Awakens, original cast members from 1977 joined a new cast for a continuation of Return of the Jedi.

The Force Awakens was a giant success and seemed to bring with it the promise that Star Wars would be once more returning with aplomb and dedication.  Despite unravelling the plot of the original Star Wars films by undoing the Rebel Alliance’s success destroying Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, and failing to bring Harrison Ford, the late Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill together in The Force Awakens, it was implied that untied ends and more importantly the reunion between the actors from the original movies would appear in Star Wars Episode VIII in 2017, directed by Rian Johnson.

Discouragingly, Johnson’s film about Star Wars horrified and divided the Star Wars fandom, by dismantling thoughtlessly a trove of Star Wars lore, failing to shoot what would have been an extremely important reunion of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo, and, also front and centre, bringing identity politics into the movie.

There has always been a deep-felt pride in Star Wars and while I’m a Canadian, I felt pride when Star Wars returned loud and strong in 2015 with The Force Awakens.  Then I felt that pride evaporate when I realized that The Last Jedi is potentially ruining Star Wars, which sounds catastrophic and yet is indeed a possibility.  There is every chance that the best science fiction, at least science fiction on film, the best of the entire twentieth century, will be undone if Episode IX fails at the box office.

The rest of Star Wars will be history.

There are voices on the Internet, the fandom, divided by The Last Jedi, that organized and presented a call to Disney to save the glory of Star Wars by insisting CEO Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy do the work to successfully market Episode IX, for which we have not yet heard a title or seen a trailer.  Star Wars Celebration is in a few days, helping Star Wars on its way.  Youtuber and filmmaker Star Wars Theory has promised to upload video he’ll shoot at Celebration.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8CbFnDTYkiVweaz8y9wd_Q

In the event that Episode IX is good, the Star Wars fandom will unite, and pride will spread throughout.

If the film flops, Star Wars will go to that great “clearance bin” in the sky.  I hope very much for pride but chances are it is through.

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Why Do People Think Pathfinder Version Two is a Good Idea?

Ten years ago the gaming company Paizo introduced the first season of the tabletop RPG Pathfinder to the public.  In the nine years since each year there’s been an additional season until now we are Season 10.  Each season brought with it new ideas for players of the role-playing game.

In 2016 the Humble Bundle website again made Pathfinder available in exchange for its usual “pay-what-you-like” model.  Humble Bundle accepts funds for charity in exchange for what are usually digital materials for gaming.  It was season six when I saw the opportunity on Humble Bundle to make a charitable donation in exchange for a lovely gaming bundle of digital materials for Pathfinder.

My twitter handle is @findingenvirons and my blog is found at https://findingenvirons1.blog …so that’s why I wanted to learn some of the rules of Pathfinder.  Pathfinder is a fantasy environment to explore and combat.  Characters representing players of the game are customized to keep many choices open when players put together a class, ancestry, and background.

Looking from Louth United Church in St. Catharines for a glimpse of Maple Lawn Cemetery

Looking into what’s happening with Pathfinder, I went to Pathfinder publisher Paizo’s blog.  I saw that Wednesday, February 13, 2019 Paizo announced that they are preparing version two of Pathfinder to improve upon the existing game.  Playtest is over, so what’s the plan? https://paizo.com/community/blog

At this time Humble Bundle has brought back its offer of accepting funds for charity in exchange for more digital materials of the game, now in Season 10.

For $8 (about CA$10.58) Pathfinder game supplements Shattered Star 1 and 2 of 6 are included, along with several digital gamebooks for Pathfinder. For $15 (about CA$19.84) Shattered Star 3 and 4 of 6 become available along with many others.  For $18 (about CA$23.80), all of Shattered Star unlocks, along with many, many others.

If you’re interested in pursuing this, you will have to act soon.  https://www.humblebundle.com/books/pathfinder-10th-anniversary-books

Version Two will be streamlined, but consistent, with the original design of Pathfinder.  Tactical play will remain similar.  Likewise, magical items will be similar to how they were in the first version.


Photographer:
Skitter Photo

On August 2nd Paizo started playtesting to ensure that Pathfinder version two will be as fun and as effective to play as the original version.  Paizo made the reveal at Gen Con 2018.

Although I’ve never, strictly speaking, been part of playing Pathfinder, being familiar with how of the game works is of interest to me.  It reminds me of playing Dungeons & Dragons, which is where the game Pathfinder began (creators of Pathfinder at first intended it to be a refinement of D&D’s “3.5”).  I may pursue Season 10 for my own reasons, to get additional insight into Pathfinder, so that I better relate to players of the tabletop RPG.

It is exciting to think that this new edition is becoming available after ten years of popularity already.

To get a more accurate picture of what’s happening with Pathfinder, I turned to Quora for information.  Although perhaps odd, I put my question to Quora this way:  How would you recommend I proceed in anticipating the Pathfinder RPG version two?

Monday I received four answers.

Todd Gardiner, from Hieroglyph Photography, said this:

“If you anticipate an upcoming product, I would recommend you buy it.

“Not really sure what other advice you are seeking here. ‘How do I anticipate something?’ isn’t really a question most people ask.”

Given his constructive criticism, I see the value of his advice.

Ryan Marshall, the author of Gishes & Goblins, answered this way:

“Try not to worry about it, until it’s actually published. The beta test of the rules was a wide departure from the first edition, but it was also poorly received, so there’s no way to anticipate the scope of the changes they might implement.”

This was a problematic answer because Marshall is saying that the beta test possibly won’t stand the test of a comparison to the first version of Pathfinder.  This is a very different point of view than the other three answers I received.

Steffen Häuser, playing Pen&Paper Games for 30 years, had this to say:

“Just play them. Me and my friends who before played 5e got ourselves some copies of the printed beta rules (available on amazon) and just started playing. Imho 2nd edition pf is hugely better than both dnd 5e and Pathfinder 1st editiob” (sp).

In contrast to Marshall’s answer, Steffen here is offering the point of view that the new version is superior to the first.  A complete opposite of Marshall’s opinion!

Nelson Cunnington, a player since the 70s, said this:

“You need a plan to anticipate something? I can only suggest the usual eager looking-forward, interspersed with impatience that it isn’t coming quicker and depression that it hasn’t happened yet.”

I think Cunnington is looking at the situation with humor.

I did get one more answer a few days later.  This is what one “Richard Bachman” had to say:

“I would avoid major purchases of Pathfinder 1 books until you see how things shake out in your area. If I enjoyed Pathfinder 1 (which I do), I would personally feel no need to change editions unless all my friends insisted on doing so and I could no longer find Pathfinder 1 games.”

Another fine response.

I hope the publisher Paizo continues to be successful, and also earns many charitable donations.  Humble Bundle facilitates charitable giving in exchange for the enormous value of digital materials for play.

If you enjoyed this post, you’re welcome to “like,” follow me and/or comment.  If you play Pathfinder, I am particularly interested!

Paizo Announces Pathfinder Second Edition for Summer 2018

Posted by Rob Wieland on March 7, 2018

https://geekandsundry.com/paizo-announces-pathfinder-second-edition-for-summer-2018/

Photo Inspired by Numbers 32:13-15

Bus stop

This is again Lent, and I was pleased three years ago to try photographing shopping carts, at the side of a street. In the photo, few people, even no one, are on hand who need them. The shopping carts speak to an absence.

The Bible in Numbers 32 details how the Israelites were lost, for so long, that they were reduced an entire generation.

Reminders that The Lord is a vengeful deity are important. In Numbers 32:13-15 The Lord feels burning anger at Israel. It is important that we remain optimistic, but pragmatic, about future generations prospering.

In the photo I took, shopping carts have been abandoned by the shoppers. Likewise in Numbers 32:13-15, Israel lost an entire generation by resisting the influence upon them, of The Lord.

The passing sight of lined-up shopping carts reminds an onlooker that there was a human presence, but it has dispersed.  Whoever was responsible for the decision to make a spectacle of wayward shopping carts is gone now. Perhaps this is common in every community, but something is incorrect about the moment.

I found these verses from the Book of Numbers to suggest what I am showing.

For what reason was Israel reviled with forty years to meander?

13 The LORD’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.

14 “And here you are, a brood of sinners, standing in the place of your fathers and making the LORD even more angry with Israel. 15 If you turn away from following him, he will again leave all this people in the desert, and you will be the cause of their destruction.”

Numbers 32:13-15

Despite all this, Lent remains for me in middle age a challenge to observe.

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