New York Comic Con 2018 – Saturday, October 6

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First panel of the day was I’ll Take Dementors for $500, Obi-Wan: A Fan Game Show with Marc Thompson, Delilah S. Dawson, Sylvain Neuve, Ryan North, and Chuck Wendig.

Here is the gist: Do you know the whole DC universe by their legal names? ID a Star Wars villain from a single wicked line? Name every kind of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans? Test your knowledge, competing alongside bestselling authors in categories like The Dark Side, Bad@ss Chicks, Winter Is Coming and more, using clips from Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter audiobooks. Narrator Marc Thompson hosts in character as Obi-Wan Kenobi and will select a few lucky audience members to compete onstage.

While Marc was dressed as Obi-Wan, he didn’t do his voice the whole time. The game was played like Jeopardy! and the categories were The Dark Side; Expecto Patronum; Winter Is Coming; Fierce Females; I Can Be Your Hero, Baby; and Nerd-Tastic.

It was really fun to watch. My favorite categories were The Dark Side and Expecto Patronum. For some reason they weren’t picking Winter Is Coming until nearly the end. If none of the players knew the answer the audience would shout it out and the first one to buzz in got to answer it. In the end Delilah’s team won.

There was a short Q&A afterwards. The part that interested me most was when Marc Thompson was talking about the process of recording an audiobook. He’ll get the book and make notes, and also record some new voices on his phone to refer to. As he gets more into the recording process he will be so used to doing the new voices he won’t need to refer to his voice memo.

Marc doesn’t talk to the authors because he has a director and doesn’t want to go over the director’s head by saying, “Well, the author said this.”

He was complemented on how great he sounds but Marc gave the credit to the editors who piece it together when he makes mistakes, as well as the music and sound effects they add when it’s a Star Wars novel.

As for the voice of Thrawn, I guess he did a different voice for the anniversary edition of the Thrawn Trilogy, because that was before Rebels. I still have to listen to it. But for the two most recent books he really captured the his voice from the animated series.

I can’t remember this other question or full answer now, but Chuck said that Palpatine’s first name “Sheev” is like “Steve” in AGFFA. That made me laugh.

After the panel there was a signing with the authors right outside the room, which was super convenient. We didn’t have to run and push our way to another part of the Javits.

This time I brought From a Certain Point of View with me. I told each author how I plan to slowly collect every author’s signature until I am old.

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New York Comic Con 2018 – Thursday, Oct. 4 – Part 2

After the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child panel I went to the live stage to see Ashley Eckstein talk about Her Universe and The Clone Wars being saved.

I took video of the 10 minute interview, but I am having some trouble uploading right now and will edit this post with a link to the video sometime soon.

I liked the part when she said she had to keep the secret about the Clone Wars being saved since January when she got a call from her agent and she didn’t believe it so she had to call up Dave Filoni to confirm it.

After, I roamed the Exhibit Hall and picked up these giveaways.

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I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid from Simon & Schuster.
From the Penguin booths:
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Green Rider by Kristen Britain
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden -> I asked a few people at the booth if they had this ARC before someone found it in the back. I have all 3 now! More about this in Sunday’s post.

I also went to the Audible booth where they were having a special event all weekend for the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter. The line was so long – about a 45 minute wait on Thursday and one hour on Saturday. You pick a character’s bottle for the “Pensive” (really just a headphone station) to hear a scene of theirs from the audiobook.

What is funny is that since July 31 I have been listening to the audiobooks and am now up to Deathly Hallows.

There are six characters to choose from Harry, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore, Snape, and Voldemort. I would have liked to collect all 6, because you got to keep the bottle with their name, but I only got to do it twice. I picked Hermione first then Ron on Saturday. Hermione’s scene was when she slapped Malfoy. Ron… I think the machine malfunctioned, even though a repair man had just been there doing something to it, because the scene was when Bellatrix is torturing Hermione. And my sister went before me and she picked Harry and heard the exact same scene. So, yea, the machine was still busted, we think.

My sister went again on Sunday and picked Dumbledore. She heard the part when he tells Harry of the Prophecy and Voldemort’s need of it.

Another part of the Pensive experience was that you wave a wand in front of a camera, they add some smoke to the video and you send it to yourself to share on social media.

But the best part was the code they gave to redeem at Audible. I got a free credit and downloaded The Shining. Only allowed one code though, even though I went twice. My sister tried to add the second code and was told she already did it.

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Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn, narrated by Marc Thompson.

Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn, narrated by Marc Thompson. 13 hours 21 minutes.

Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Vader ally against a threat to the Empire in this new novel from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

“I have sensed a disturbance in the Force.”

Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more so when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root—its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fierce rivals for the emperor’s favor, and outspoken adversaries on Imperial affairs—including the Death Star project—the formidable pair seem unlikely partners for such a crucial mission. But the Emperor knows it’s not the first time Vader and Thrawn have joined forces. And there’s more behind his royal command than either man suspects.

In what seems like a lifetime ago, General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic, and Commander Mitth’raw’nuruodo, officer of the Chiss Ascendancy, crossed paths for the first time. One on a desperate personal quest, the other with motives unknown…and undisclosed. But facing a gauntlet of dangers on a far-flung world, they forged an uneasy alliance—neither remotely aware of what their futures held in store.

Now, thrust together once more, they find themselves bound again for the planet where they once fought side by side. There they will be doubly challenged—by a test of their allegiance to the Empire…and an enemy that threatens even their combined might.

 

My wish came true! I had mentioned in my review of the prequel that I wanted the story of when Thrawn met Anakin Skywalker and would he figure out that he became Darth Vader?

I don’t think one has to read Thrawn before reading this sequel, but it sure would help to know his background. That said I was reading some reviews on Goodreads and some people mentioned that they missed Eli Vanto. I honestly did not. Though knowing the outcome of Thrawn: Alliances I wouldn’t mind seeing what he is up to with the Chiss Ascendancy.

I listened to this story on audible and once again Marc Thompson is a fantastic narrator. I did laugh at his voice for Padmé, but what can you do? He’s not Natalie Portman, or Catherine Taber.

I also bought the Barnes and Noble exclusive edition, only because I wanted the poster of Padmé. (Side rant: why must they put that ugly sticker on the cover? It’s hiding Vader’s buttons. And it is already printed inside that it’s a B&N exclusive. I pealed it off but there will always be a sticky residue.)

Ok, so back to the review.

I like that we have a time frame. The past is set after Ahsoka has already left the Jedi Order. The present is set after the Battle of Atollon on Star Wars: Rebels. So between seasons 3 and 4.

I’ll start with some critiques and then end on the positive. This is going to get spoiler-y.

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Star Wars – From a Certain Point of View by 40 various authors

In celebration of Star Wars’ 40th anniversary, Del Rey is going to shine the spotlight on those unsung weirdos, heroes, and villains with a unique, new anthology. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, coming October 2017, will bring together more than 40 authors for 40 stories. Each will be told from the perspective of background characters of A New Hope — from X-wing pilots who helped Luke destroy the Death Star to the stormtroopers who never quite could find the droids they were looking for.

This was a New York Comic Con 2017 special edition cover

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Experience Star Wars: A New Hope from a whole new point of view.

On May 25, 1977, the world was introduced to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and a galaxy full of possibilities. In honor of the 40th anniversary, more than 40 contributors lend their vision to this retelling of Star Wars. Each of the 40 short stories reimagines a moment from the original film, but through the eyes of a supporting character. From a Certain Point of View features contributions by best-selling authors, trendsetting artists, and treasured voices from the literary history of Star Wars:

Gary Whitta bridges the gap from Rogue One to A New Hope through the eyes of Captain Antilles.
Aunt Beru finds her voice in an intimate character study by Meg Cabot.
Nnedi Okorofor brings dignity and depth to a most unlikely character: the monster in the trash compactor.
Pablo Hidalgo provides a chilling glimpse inside the mind of Grand Moff Tarkin.
Pierce Brown chronicles Biggs Darklighter’s final flight during the Rebellion’s harrowing attack on the Death Star.
Wil Wheaton spins a poignant tale of the rebels left behind on Yavin.
Plus 34 more hilarious, heartbreaking, and astonishing tales from Ben Acker, Renée Ahdieh, Tom Angleberger, Ben Blacker, Jeffrey Brown, Rae Carson, Adam Christopher, Zoraida Córdova, Delilah S. Dawson, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Paul Dini, Ian Doescher, Ashley Eckstein, Matt Fraction, Alexander Freed, Jason Fry, Kieron Gillen, Christie Golden, Claudia Gray, E. K. Johnston, Paul S. Kemp, Mur Lafferty, Ken Liu, Griffin McElroy, John Jackson Miller, Daniel José Older, Mallory Ortberg, Beth Revis, Madeleine Roux, Greg Rucka, Gary D. Schmidt, Cavan Scott, Charles Soule, Sabaa Tahir, Elizabeth Wein, Glen Weldon, Chuck Wendig

Narrated by a full cast, including:

Jonathan Davis
Ashley Eckstein
Janina Gavankar
Jon Hamm
Neil Patrick Harris
January LaVoy
Saskia Maarleveld
Carol Monda
Daniel José Older
Marc Thompson
All participating authors have generously forgone any compensation for their stories. Instead, their proceeds will be donated to First Book – a leading nonprofit that provides new books, learning materials, and other essentials to educators and organizations serving children in need. To further celebrate the launch of this book and both companies’ longstanding relationships with First Book, Penguin Random House has donated $100,000 to First Book, and Disney/Lucasfilm has donated 100,000 children’s books – valued at $1 million – to support First Book and their mission of providing equal access to quality education. Over the past 16 years, Disney and Penguin Random House combined have donated more than 88 million books to First Book.

I bought the NYCC edition and read most of it, but mostly I listened to the audiobook. Sometimes I followed along as I listened.

I’m trying to decide how to write up this review. I loved the stories, so this is not a negative review. It’s just I feel like I have to talk about all 40 stories.

Overall, I enjoyed every one of the stories. Mostly the stories are told in chronological order of the movie, though some jump back and forth to set up a character or setting. You can feel the authors’ different personalities and styles. You can also tell the authors didn’t communicate because events in the stories of the same setting (e.g. the Cantina) contradict one another. However, this is just for fun. A chance to see A New Hope from other characters’ eyes and it’s a beautiful way for fans to relive that feeling of experiencing ANH for the very first time again.

5 out of 5 Galaxies.

Now for my thoughts for each story. All 40 of them.

“A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away.”

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Movie review of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

This is going to be loooong! And filled with spoilers under the cut.

I’ll start by saying I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. When I walked out at the end I didn’t have that feeling like I did with the prequels (or the OT I had on VHS as a kid) that I want to watch it again immediately. It was more like “I have to think on this to analyze what I really liked and what I really can’t stand.”

So here are the ups and downs.

May the spoilers be with you:

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New York Comic Con 2017- Saturday, October 7

Saturday, October 7

I would have really liked to see this panel, even though it was $45 and a separate ticketed event. You didn’t have to have a NYCC badge to attend. However, I already had bought my photo op with Mark Hamill that morning.

From a Certain Point of View: A Star Wars 40th Anniversary Celebration
October 07, 2017, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Hudson Mercantile – 500 W 36th St

In 1977 a princess, a farm boy, a scoundrel, a Wookiee, two droids, an old wizard, and a man in black set us off on a galaxy full of adventure. Forty years later, join an all-star panel of authors to celebrate the legacy of Star Wars with a new anthology that retells the story of Star Wars through the eyes of the background characters and creatures that bring the galaxy to life.

Moderated by Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo, this unique panel promises fun new insights into the characters and scenes of the film that you think you know, and features a rotating cast of more than a dozen Star Wars authors and contributors, including but not limited to: Ben Acker, Pierce Brown, Adam Christopher, Zoraida Cordova, Delilah Dawson, Jason Fry, Kieron Gillen, Claudia Gray, EK Johnston, Mur Lafferty, John Jackson Miller, Daniel José Older, Mallory Ortberg, Beth Revis, Cavan Scott, Charles Soule, Marc Thompson, Elizabeth Wein, and Chuck Wendig.

A ticket to this not to be missed event includes a New York Comic Con exclusive edition of From a Certain Point of View: A Star Wars 40th Anniversary Celebration, pre-signed by over a dozen of the contributing authors. This edition is extremely limited with only 1,000 copies in print.

Yay for youtube though. The panel is up and it is so funny.

My photo with Mark Hamill came out really nice. My sister’s photo is so cute. Mark is touching her chin, like he’s lifting it up with the tip of his fingers. She was so giddy about it.

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Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, Marc Thompson (Narrator)

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In this definitive novel, readers will follow Thrawn’s rise to power—uncovering the events that created one of the most iconic villains in Star Wars history.

One of the most cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is also one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe, from his introduction in bestselling author Timothy Zahn’s classic Heir to the Empire through his continuing adventures in Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, and beyond. But Thrawn’s origins and the story of his rise in the Imperial ranks have remained mysterious. Now, in Star Wars: Thrawn, Timothy Zahn chronicles the fateful events that launched the blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power—and infamy.

After Thrawn is rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, his deadly ingenuity and keen tactical abilities swiftly capture the attention of Emperor Palpatine. And just as quickly, Thrawn proves to be as indispensable to the Empire as he is ambitious; as devoted as its most loyal servant, Darth Vader; and a brilliant warrior never to be underestimated. On missions to rout smugglers, snare spies, and defeat pirates, he triumphs time and again—even as his renegade methods infuriate superiors while inspiring ever greater admiration from the Empire. As one promotion follows another in his rapid ascension to greater power, he schools his trusted aide, Ensign Eli Vanto, in the arts of combat and leadership, and the secrets of claiming victory. But even though Thrawn dominates the battlefield, he has much to learn in the arena of politics, where ruthless administrator Arihnda Pryce holds the power to be a potent ally or a brutal enemy.

All these lessons will be put to the ultimate test when Thrawn rises to admiral and must pit all the knowledge, instincts, and battle forces at his command against an insurgent uprising that threatens not only innocent lives but also the Empire’s grip on the galaxy—and his own carefully laid plans for future ascendancy.

I really enjoyed this book and one of the many reasons why is because Thrawn is part of the new Disney canon! I was so happy to see him on Star Wars: Rebels. Not much was changed about him. Still the same species, still a tactical genius and a savant at studying artwork to know his enemy. I squeed when he gets his Star Destroyer, Chimaera. I now want to go back and listen to the audiobooks of The Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command).

It feels funny rooting for him because he works for the Empire, but he is just so good at what he does. Of course he has faults. He’s not very good at politics and he does face prejudices for being an alien from the Unknown Territories.

I really enjoyed Thrawn’s insight into people. There would be an aside of his observations of them and their reactions. Like studying art, it’s how he would anticipate their actions.

I also loved how every chapter started out with his how-to-be a genius at strategy. It was like the Star Wars version of “The Art of War by Grand Admiral Thrawn.”

A few critiques:
1. Some parts I thought were slow and my mind would wander off. Mostly it was the parts with Arihnda Pryce, but there is a point to her subplot. Her political manipulations balance with Thrawn’s military tactics. Some of the missions Thrawn and Eli were on were slow, but they all come together in the end and add up to a final conclusion.
2. Sometimes Thrawn’s voice was so soothing I would drift off to sleep and would have to go back and listen again. (Thrawn says “Perhaps” a lot. A LOT.)
3. Thrawn’s aide, Eli Vanto, got on my nerves sometimes. He was taking too long to get up to speed with Thrawn’s plans.

Marc Thompson is an excellent narrator. I know I said Thrawn’s voice was so soothing I would drift off to sleep, but it was so perfect. Matched the voice on Star Wars: Rebels. He was also excellent at performing the voices for the Emperor and Tarkin.
My favorite voice though was Arihnda Pryce’s friend. I think her name was Jewett? I can’t find her on Wookieepedia. It is really annoying when their articles and character lists are incomplete. I wonder if the printed edition has a Dramatis Personae…
Anyway, her voice was so funny. It was like the Star Wars version of a valley girl and I could not be more amused by the way Marc Thompson performed her voice.

From now on I want to listen to Star Wars on audiobooks. It’s like a radio drama with the sound effects and the music.

4 out of 5 Glowing Red Eyes.

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Spoilers Below.

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