Species of the week: Rakata

Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Rakata Prime (Lehon)

Notable members: Skal’nas, Tul’kar

Fandom: Star Wars [Legends]

Appearances: Knights of the Old Republic, Dawn of the Jedi

The Rakata were a species that dominated the known galaxy before the Old Republic was formed. They harnessed the dark side of the force to power technology that let them navigate hyperspace, build energy weapons and construct the StarForge which converted stellar material into ships and weapons at incredible rates. They formed an Infinite Empire, coming into conflict with many other powers, including the early Jedi Order. A plague stripped them of their power and they were overthrown and cast into obscurity.

I really like how Dawn of the Jedi let us have a look at the Rakata in their prime. Don’t forget their homeworld is canon now so we may see them pop up in future stories

Sluggish Reaction: Marvel’s Runaways

So I recently finished the third and final season of Runaways and, as always, don’t sleep on Marvel TV. With a fraction of the budget they deliver a superhero adventure that is just as compelling and spectacular as any other entry in the MCU

I’m going to keep this review spoiler free as I can

So, what’s it all about?

Runaways is about a group of teens who reunite only to find a terrible truth about their parents that forces them to go on the run to survive.

As they learn more about their past they unlock superhuman abilities that have a link to their parents. One thing I liked about this group is their powers are very different and have different origins i.e. they weren’t all exposed to the same mystery substance.

Another aspect which is quite clever us that we also follow the story from the point of view if the parents and we see that, while they are definitely into some shady stuff, it’s not all black and white either.

Worth watching?

Yes, definitely. It has a great cast and builds up the discovery of secrets and new abilities and pays off with satisfying reveals and showdowns.

Connections?

Like most pre-Disney+ shows most of the connections to the MCU come down to the occasional name drop. But, particularly in season 3 some significant connections to other series came out.

The crossover with Cloak and Dagger was fairly well publicised so I don’t feel like that’s a spoiler. All I’ll say is it was great, it fit really well with their powers. My only regret is that they didn’t stick around longer

As the series gets into more mystical territory there’s a small but significant connection with Agents of SHIELD and a strong Dr Strange vibe

Where can I see it?

Seasons 1-2 are available on Disney+ and I expect season 3 will be soon

Species of the week: Dyplotid

Designation: Sentient

Notable members: Tarubo Bunzo

Fandom: Star Wars

Appearances: Solo, The Mandalorian

Dyplotids are a sentient species with influence in technology and other fields. They are humanoid but are distinctive by having a second pair of eyes which allow them to see in the ultraviolet and infrared ranges of light

I’ve been rewatching the Mandalorian and it’s been cool seeing background species and characters from SOLO and other movies show up

Everything we’ve learned about the High Republic

IGN recently gave us a surprisingly detailed except from Light of the Jedi the novel by Charles Soule that will kick off the High Republic era of publishing, set 200 years before The Phantom Menace.

I’m reading through the chapter and commenting as I go but I’m keen to share as many observations as I can about this time period.

The Republic and the Galaxy

The Republic is led by Chancellor Lima So, a visionary who plans to bring the frontier worlds into the protection and civilization of the Republic.

The Capital of the Republic is Coruscant, same as in the Prequel era

The territory of the Republic has established the Core, the Colonies and the Inner and Mid Rim, but the Outer Rim is largely unexplored space beyond Republic control. Only the Jedi can maintain order along it’s borders

Mallastare and Sullust established a joint task force, protecting their area of space. This suggests the Republic had a decentralised military at this time

There is a reference to Hutt Armadas, making the Hutts a greater military threat in this era

Ships and Technology

Starlight beacon is part of an ambitious outreach program to connect the Outer Rim with the Core Worlds.

One starfighter class of the High Republic is the Incom Z-24 Buzzbug. It’s a single seat fighter and clearly a predecessor to the Clone Wars era Z-95 Headhunter (pictured). Another starfighter class mentioned is a Longbeam – I’m hoping we get to see both these classes visualised in the comic

The Legacy Run is a Kaniff Yards Class-A Modular freight transport. Essentially a triangular prism connected to a bridge module, it was capable of hauling up to 140 cargo modules. It was used by the Byrne Guild

Droids are commonly used in this era. Functions referenced are sanitation and navigation so it would seem they are a part of every day life in this time.

The Great Disaster

We get our first hint at the events of the great disaster as the Legacy Run encounters a massive object blocking their hyperlane.

And that’s everything I picked up. Let me know if I’ve missed something. This chapter has certainly whetted my appetite for January!!

Species of the week: Talid

Talid

Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Ando Prime

Notable members: Lha-Mi, Ten-Abu Donba

Fandom: Star Wars [Legends]

Appearances: Dawn of the Jedi

 

The Talid are a mammalian species native to the snowy planet of Ando Prime. They have four arms and two legs and had thick hides to help them survive the harsh climate over their homeworld. The Order of Dai Bendu gathered on Ando Prime, so much so that over the centuries the species was sometimes known as Dai Bendu. The Talid monks gethered around a Tho Yor on their planet until called to Tython where their philosophy influenced the creation of the Je’Daii Order. Talids were among the Je’Daii and one of them became the first ever Temple Master

I’ve enjoyed making a video on the Dai Bendu for my YouTube channel (please check my previous post for a link to that) and also seeing this species as I read through Dawn of the Jedi.

Species of the week: Fairy

Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Earth

Notable members: Holly Short, Commander Root

Fandom: Artemis Fowl

Appearances: Artemis Fowl

Fairies are a technologically advanced race who dwell in a underground civilization alongside other species which humans believe to be the stuff of legend. Similar to humans in appearance they are smaller in stature but have a significantly longer lifespan. Fairies have winged flight packs for travel and use mind-wipe and time-freeze technology to keep their existence secret. Fairies are bound by a strict code of conduct which forbids them from entering the home of another without invitation.

I’ve already done a review on Artemis Fowl so scroll down if you’re interested in my thoughts on the movie. I did like this take on the idea of fairies though.

Star Wars Squadrons looks AMAZING!

star-wars-squadrons-key-art-12758

I honestly didn’t think this would happen again!! Some of my earliest (and fondest) memories of being a Star Wars Fan are of playing X-Wing and Rogue Squadron. I was terrible at both games (it took me forever to get past that ridiculous training mission where you fly an A-Wing through a crystal canyon, and I never got close to completing the Trench Run!) but I loved them and spent many a happy hour in a starfighter cockpit waiting for the pixelated smudge in my screen to become a pixelated TIE Fighter!

Lucasarts hadn’t brought out a fighter game in years so when I heard the rumours about ‘project Maverick’ I took them with a pinch of salt and even when this game was announced I preapred myself to believe it was a mobile game so I wouldn’t be disappointed.

I am not disappointed. We are getting a full-on starfighter game with a story campaign that lets you play as the New Republic and the Imperial Remnant and multiplayer modes that sound like a lot of fun. I’m going to dig into the trailer now and give a few reactions.

engine speed

I’m not gonna lie, seeing the X-Wing Pilot divert power to the engines made me seriously geek out. This was one of the features of the old X-Wing games which let you divert power between engines, shields and weapons depending on whether you needed to get out quick, soak up some damage as you approached a capital ship or take out an enemy fighter with rapid fire. I’m glad to see that flexibility make a return.

shattered moon

The opening dogfight opening into a space battle was so cool. My guess is the asteroid field it takes place in is the shattered moon of Galitan, a location mentioned on the website

hangar

I’m wondering if returning to the hangars is a gameplay feature. If your fighter takes too much damage you have to return to the hangar and wait for repairs or hop into a new fighter.

starhawk

And the nerds go wild!! We see a Starhawk capital ship (previously mentioned in the Aftermath trilogy and first visually depicted in the tebletop game Armada) holding it’s own against a Star Destroyer. Also around the table are Hera Syndulla of Rebels fame, who has had indirect cameos in Rogue One and The Rise of Skywalker but it’s nice to see her face in new media. But this is the moment that assured me this game has a deep lore-driven story.

something new

This shot got me excited too as it features a design that’s brand new, well to me at least! I can’t tell if they are ships or orbital installations, but they’re weird and cool and I love it!

wedge

Wedge!!!!

Screenshot_2020-06-15 Star Wars Squadrons Officially Revealed, Out in October - IGN

So, it looks like the squadron roster for the New Republic is X-Wing, Y-Wing, A-Wing and U-Wing which is a nice mix of roles and abilities

TIEs

And on the Imperial side we have TIE Fighter, Bomber, Interceptor and Reaper which are clearly counterbalances to the New Republic options. I’m particularly excited about flying a TIE Reaper, which is an awesome design!!

 

There’s more to be revealed on Thursday so I’ll leave it there for now!!

 

 

So…I watched Artemis Fowl

…and, yeah, it wasn’t great. I can’t say it didn’t live up to expectations because I hadn’t read the book or watched the trailer. I suppose it was mostly intrigue at a movie premiering on a streaming service that drew me to it

So while it wasn’t exactly disappointing it still wasn’t what I had hoped for. it had elements of a really cool Sci-Fi/Fantasy story and some really good potential but the pieces just didn’t quite line up in the end

Plot

I appreciate this film is new so I will try and keep as spoiler-free as possible. The plot centres around Artemis Fowl; a young genius who is drawn into a world of fairies, trolls and dwarves when his father is kidnapped. He crosses paths with a fairy name Holly Short who is on a quest to clear her father’s name and the two of them uncover a secret that involves the fate of both human and fairy kind

Cool Stuff

The design work on this movie was top-notch and I really loved the designs for the vehicles and technology of the fairy world. It that futuristic sci-fi edge but also a kind of strange quality that made it look not like some advanced human technology but something from a world of magic. So from that the side of things I really can’t fault the film at all I really love the the use of this kind of quirky unique technology that made the fairy civilisation distinct.

The design of the different species of the fairy wilderness also really well done each were quite visually distinct and easy to tell apart and also we got a bit of a hint of how they interacted in their underground world. That’s something I would have liked to have seen explored a little bit more

So what went wrong?

I don’t know much about film process but I’m going to blame something my guess would be editing. It just felt like there was a whole chunk missing from this film which perhaps explains it’s surprisingly short run time

Two examples would be the premise of Artemis Fowl’s father being an art thief but yet we never get any confirmation of whether he actually stole anything or if there’s a connection to the magical world. Then there’s Juliet, who was introduced as another young genius and a skilled martial artists and went on to do absolutely nothing.

Sequel?

Surprisingly perhaps I would like to see a sequel to this film. Like I said I found the world fascinating, though perhaps that is more a testament to the book, and I feel that a well done sequel could remedy the faults of the first feature.

Regardless of whether they do a sequel I am really interested in reading the book and that’s not a bad thing at all.

Final verdict

This film definitely has it’s faults but it sets up an exciting world and has some fun moments and wasn’t awkward or cringy – just…not quite right.

It depends on your expectations. If you’re expecting the next big hit teen fantasy blockbuster you’ll be disappointed. If you’re looking for a fun way to pass an hour and a half on a streaming service you probably have anyway then it’ll do that no problem

Species of the week: Xartan

Xartan

Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Xarta

Notable members: Xavin

Fandom: Marvel [MCU]

Appearances: Runaways

 

Xartans are a race of beings who are capable of altering their form very rapidly to take on the properties of other races they have seen. Their true form differs significantly from humans, including the lack of a mouth. At some point in their history they came to believe in a prophecy that a being from another world would bring them hope. One member, Xavin came into conflict with a group of Gibborim and was stranded on their ship when it crashed to Earth. She fulfilled the prophecy and returned to her world with a half-gibborim child

I’m enjoying Runaways and finally digging into the alien races. Xavin was a fun character, her expressions were always amusing and she really proved herself in the end after being mostly a nuisance at the beginning.