Why the Twilight Series Is Terrible: Horrible Picture of Love

I just recently had the misfortune of watching the Twilight movie series.  It took a lot of snack-eating and joke-cracking to survive through it, but I did.  To be honest, I can’t remember what my first thought was when I popped in the first Twilight film.  I can’t remember if I knew I was about to watch a monstrosity or if I was actually willing to be open-minded.  Regardless, I ended up hating all these films.  In order to keep this article short however, I’m just going to discuss the biggest problem about this series: the way romance/love is pictured.

Apart from the terrible acting (Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson makes Hayden Christensen seem like an award-winning actor), and the bad CGI (CGI baby?? Really???), and the poor storytelling, this movie paints a bad picture of romance.

The first film suffers from typical Hollywood crap where Bella and Edward Cullen fall in love with each other simply because of looks.  There is absolutely no good chemistry between them.  Even the relationship between Kili and Tauriel from Desolation of Smaug had more chemistry then this one does.  Edward admits to Bella that he watches her when she sleeps at night.  You’re kidding right?  And Bella doesn’t do the sensible thing and screams at Edward to get out and never talk to her again.  She actually becomes more attracted to him because ‘he cares so much for her protection’.  This comes to one of the biggest issues.  Edward is one of the creepiest boys known to mankind.  He lustfully stares at Bella when she sits next to him in class because he wants her blood.  He pops up in Bella’s bedroom because he wants to see her.  This isn’t good material for a soulmate.  This is just downright creepy.

In the second movie, New Moon, Bella attempts to commit suicide when Edward goes away.  In the third film, Eclipse, Bella continues to nag Edward to turn her into a vampire so that they can live together forever.  It’s all she cares about and it’s almost all she talks about.  And then to make matters worse, Bella keeps trying to get Edward to have sex with her.  So is this all that romance is about?  Finding a cute person that he/she thinks is cute and pursue sex with that person?  However, I do have to give the movie credit when Edward insists that he wants to wait to have sex until they’re married, which is exactly what happens.  This is something rarely found in Hollywood films, and I have to give the movie credit for that.  Unfortunately, this is dragged down once Bella and Edward are married.  Their honeymoon is one of the worst portrayals of romance I’ve ever seen.  Every night during their honeymoon, Bella seduces Edward, and during the day they just silently play chess.  Best.  Couple.  Ever.  I was being sarcastic of course, this is not a great picture of married love.  Edward and Bella never talk about anything that can allow their relationship to grow.  It’s all about sex and being together.  It’s a relationship that’s just about the two of them being sexually pleased.

So then I guess it comes down to the question: What do believe is the right picture of romance and marriage?  Love for another person grows through being friends first.  The two people have many things in common, they have a lot to talk about, and they spend a lot of quality time together.  My dad tells me that by marrying the one you love, you’re also marrying your best friend.  The one you marry should be your best friend.  The two people should have very similar beliefs, a lot in common, and similar goals.  For Christians reading this, you and the other person marry because you know that God has brought you two together.  For people reading this who are not Christians, though Christians should take this into account too, you marry the one you love because you are best friends who treat each other with respect and honor, you share so much in common, and you would be more than willing to live together with that person for the rest of your life.  And it’s about loving each other for the beauty within, not the outward appearance.

NOTE: Next week sometime, I’ll have a review of God’s Not Dead released, and have a review of Noah out the week after that.


The Trap of Loneliness Part 2


The idea of continuing on writing what I’ve written before is not exactly something I do often, but recent developments have compelled me to write more on the subject of loneliness.  I feel that I had only scratched the surface on the subject in my last post.

Almost two weeks ago, I was beginning to realize why my loneliness was not getting much better and possibly why I wasn’t finding new friends or new people around my age that I can relate to.  I drew a conclusion, and the following reasons are the most likely reasons why God doesn’t seem to be answering my prayers on my loneliness or wanting a new friend.

1) My relationship with God isn’t strong enough.  If I have a strong relationship with God, my relationships with other people will also grow stronger.  Fellowship and deep intimacy with God strengthens human relationships.  A couple days ago, I was thinking on the wrong idea that God only cared about me having a relationship with me and excluding all other relationships as irrelevant.  Obviously I was dead wrong and I know that.  God really wants us to have fellowship and relationships with each other, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.  It’s just that He wants our number-one priority, above all else, to be having a relationship with Him.  Devoting time to Him and having a strong relationship with Him will improve our relationships with other people.

2) My relationship with my family isn’t strong enough.  If I can’t have a good relationship with the people I see every single day, then how can I be trusted with having relationships with other people outside of my family?  The sad truth is that I would only push those people away, even if I’m not exactly trying to do that.  In conclusion, if you can’t be trusted with the people closest to you, then you can’t be trusted with new people.  I would hate to push new people away.

In truth, I’ve been feeling better lately as far as my loneliness goes.  I’m not even entirely sure why.  Maybe after walking around my church thinking about all the things I listed above, it allowed me to feel better because I knew what I had to do first if God was going to answer my prayers and I’ve been working on that.  God answers prayers if He believes we’re ready to handle the responsibilities that come with the requests.  If you’re feeling lonely and you wish for more company, I highly suggest you follow the steps I listed.  If your relationship with God isn’t as deep or as intimate as it can be, then it’s very likely that that’s why God isn’t answering your prayers to bless you with new friends.  He wants you to have a relationship with Him that’s deeper and stronger and more intimate than any relationship with a human can fulfill.

The Trap of Loneliness


In the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling with feelings of loneliness, and the more I think about how lonely I feel, the worse it gets.  By feeling really lonely in the past few weeks, I’ve also grown more anti-social, which is odd because if I want to meet new people and NOT be lonely, why would I make myself even MORE isolated?

The feeling of loneliness, especially when you allow it to grow more and more over time, is one of the worst experiences you can ever go through.  I did some research into the symptoms of loneliness today.  Loneliness can cause isolation, depression, the relationships you DO have with other people can falter and slip, and sometimes loneliness can even cause (cough) sexual fantasies.

Why do these things happen when we feel extremely lonely?  As humans, we constantly desire intimacy with other people, whether its social or physical touch.  We want other people to care about us and be there for us when we need or want them.  Think about the guy from Cast Away.  After being on that island for a really long time with nobody around, he goes crazy and starts talking to a volleyball.  Because of that constant desire for intimacy, when we don’t get it, we become lonely and depressed and it takes a toll on us.  Our mind runs wild and no matter what we try to do to make ourselves happy, whether it’s by constantly entertaining ourselves with materialism or going out and doing stupid things, it doesn’t work.

There are cures to loneliness, and even though they may not work like magic immediately after doing it, as long as you’re consistent, the loneliness will fade eventually over time.  If you’re extremely lonely for a long period of time, it usually means something.  As a Christian, it probably means your relationship with God isn’t as deep or intimate as it should be, or you’re not spending enough time with Him.  God has the power to satisfy your desire for intimacy, and that’s through the intimacy of His presence.  When you spend time with Him, talk to Him like He’s another person in the room talking to you.  The conversations may feel one-sided because God doesn’t talk to you like a regular person, but He will still communicate with you if you listen, and you’ll know when He’s speaking to you when He does.  You can even ask God to help you and ask Him if He can lead you to new friends.  After all, God says “ask and you shall receive”.

Extreme loneliness can happen because of a lack of friends or lack of people you know you can turn to and talk to.  If this is the problem, one of the best things to do is to go out more.  Seek out people at your church or another public place you visit often and try to strike up conversations with them and establish relationships.  It never hurts to try, even with people who don’t look promising to you at first.  As they say, there’s more to the person than meets the eye.  Whatever you do, make sure you choose your options wisely and move to do these things quickly, because the longer you dwell within your feelings of loneliness, the worse things will get from there.

One Reason I Love to be a Fanboy


As I write this article, I’m listening to geeky music from a web show. Just wanted to let you guys know.

This article isn’t just for fanboys and fangirls, anyone can read this because I have some interesting stuff to say about being a fanboy. Anyone who knows me personally knows pretty well that I’m a geek, fanboy, nerd, whatever. Geeks and fanboys/girls love stuff that other people outside that circle would think is a terrible waste of time and that those geeks should go outside and jog. I understand how they feel, but I think it’s time for me to explain why being a fanboy can actually be a good thing.

We all know that the world is full of pain, suffering, tragedy, and even hate. It’s a world broken because of man’s sin shortly after the beginning. But even in this world, love, light, and hope exists.  No fanboy or fangirl I’ve known or heard about has been obsessed with predicting the end of the world or have tried scaring other people with predictions of terror and hopelessness.  Some Christians, unfortunately, do this despite everything the Bible says about God having plans for us that will give us a hope and a future.

So, one of the biggest reasons why I love to be a fanboy is because of that feeling of joy and positivity that being a fanboy brings. I get excited about geek-related stuff and it makes me happy if I’m feeling rather down. I already wrote an article about the fan community (you can read it here), and even though fans have their own varying opinions, there’s always something that they agree on.  Even if two Star Wars fans have different opinions on what they like about Star Wars, it doesn’t change the fact they both love Star Wars, so they’ll always find something in common.  Things like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who have brought many people together at conventions and Comic-Con which leads to new friends, sometimes even marriage!  I think that’s a great thing about geek-related stuff.  I find comfort in communicating with other geeks and fans because we love to talk about fun, positive things, not gloomy, scary things.  We also anticipate exciting things to come within the fan community too.  Sure stuff like Star Wars and Marvel are not very important things in our lives, but they are great ways to get our minds off of the negative aspects of our lives to make us feel relaxed and happy.

One other thing I should probably add is that fans and geeks highly anticipate stuff and get excited over it because they will be treated to new stories featuring heroes that they root for, and the villains that they love to hate.  It’s better to get excited over the next Star Wars film (something we’ll be getting in 2015) than it is to fret over when the end of the world comes, which nobody but God knows anyway, and feel hopeless about life.  Stuff like Star Wars is an excellent form of escapism.  Many fanboys and fangirls are inspired to write stories of their own because of the things they love.  Yes, it normally starts with fanfiction, but I’ve seen fans who eventually start writing their own original material because they’re inspired, through the stuff they love, to create their own worlds, heroes, and villains, and tell a good story.

In conclusion, I say to the people who are NOT fans or geeks, don’t ridicule geeks for the things they love.  Instead, be happy for them that they have things that they love and that they make them happy.  It’s better for them to love that stuff than it is to feel depressed or worried all the time.  After all, Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

On the Subject of Moms

This isn’t exactly the kind of blog articles I write, but today I felt compelled to write this. Soooooo, here we go.

As a young child, you constantly rely on your mom. You trust her with all of your heart, and you count on her to fulfill all of your needs. You trust her completely because you’ve been with her all of your life, and she’s technically one of the first people, besides your dad, that you know. I think the dad is considered a fun “playmate” to the child while the mother is the caretaker. I have no proof of that, it’s just my own speculation. The dad is at work most of the day while the mother stays home and takes care of the child, so that’s just the concept I drew upon.

Anyway, once the child grows into a teenager, an odd feeling of stubbornness and selfishness seems to grow along with him and he and the mom tend to have moments of trouble between each other. It’s perplexing that a teen would take his anger out on his mom. What was once a very stable, peaceful relationship becomes kind of heated and unstable, and the most intriguing thing is is that the mom normally isn’t the one who did anything wrong. The teen takes his anger out on her because she loves him unconditionally and seems to have bigger heaps of mercy for him than the dad, because a teen won’t talk to his dad the way that he talks to his mom. I know from personal experience that if I talked to my dad the way I talked to my mom out of anger, well, that would mean I’m screwed.

Let me tell you a little bit about my own mom. My own mom was there for me through all of my school years, and though I finished high school, there’s so much that I have to thank my mom for because she bent over backwards to make sure that I succeeded. The saddest thing is that I don’t feel like I recognized how vastly important mom’s role was in me finishing high school. When I wanted someone to talk to, she was always there willing to listen and still is. She would drive me to youth group every week and made sure that I got there in time, she made sure I had everything I needed to complete school and everything I needed to simply live well. I remember when there were times I would give my mom a hard time or act ungrateful and she would tell me I have it “pretty well” where I’m at. I feel that the phrase “pretty well” is an understatement. My parents have worked hard to make sure that I live in the best household possible. Honestly, it’s like when Jesus died on the cross for everybody, I can’t find the right words or comprehend just how much I really owe Jesus and my parents for everything they’ve done. God uses parents to raise the next generation, so it’s the parents’ responsibility to raise their children in the best way possible, and I know that my own parents have worked so hard to do just that. It’s truly one of the greatest examples of love that the world can display.

If you the reader are still living with your parents and you’re having a difficult time getting along with them, think about everything they had, have, and will do for you. It’s incredible mercy and love that pushes your parents to do everything they can for you, so with that in mind, all they want is for you to respect them and be grateful for them in return. They want to know that they didn’t fail as parents. Even if your parents are doing everything they can, and if they haven’t been treating you right, continue to treat them with respect. The Bible doesn’t say “honor your father and mother if they’re treating you right”, it very simply says “honor your father and mother”.

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 1 Episode 12 ‘Seeds’ Review


Hello all! I decided after a long while of not writing reviews for TV shows (I reviewed all the episodes of the third season of Star Wars The Clone Wars) it would be cool to come back and do it again, this time with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This week, I saw Episode 12 “Seeds”, which was about our fellow team of agents investigating strange happenings at a SHIELD academy. It was really interesting to see an academy where new recruits for SHIELD are being trained. In this episode, we are introduced to Donnie Gill, who will inevitably become Blizzard later on. This was an interesting move considering that this show hasn’t been very heavy on real Marvel characters from the comic books or other media. We see a foreshadowing of Graviton way back in Episode 3, but other than that, that’s pretty much been it. Graviton and Blizzard are probably not Marvel villains that the fans would go crazy for, but it’s nice to see the show care to pay attention to that stuff anyway since those characters still have connections with the Marvel universe.
At this point in this show, I’ve come to accept the characters given to us and not complain that we haven’t even had a CAMEO of an Avenger. This show is about a team of agents within S.H.I.E.L.D, not the Avengers, and I’ve come to accept that. We get to see the Avengers in a much cooler way anyway: awesome MOVIES. Fitz and Simmons are a real delight to watch, particularly in this episode, and Coulson is always a great presence onscreen. The pacing of this episode was great, and the storyline was entertaining, but any Marvel comic book fans among the audience would know right away that the person behind the strange ice incidents in the academy is Donnie Gill, since he is, after all, Blizzard.
It was really cool to learn more about Skye’s backstory, and it makes us really wonder what kind of mysterious powers she has, or what exactly she is. I’m looking forward to learning more about her, which is surprising considering the fact that she’s my least favorite character on this show, LITERALLY THE WORST. I’m also excited to see more of Ian Quinn’s involvement with the Clairvoyant and Centipede, which is very obviously at this point a lurking shadow within this show. It’s a recurring foe that we actually know very little about right now. So far we’ve got the Clairvoyant, Blizzard, Graviton, Ian, and possibly a brainwashed Mike Peterson. Do I see a supervillain team on the rise?
In conclusion, this was a really fun episode. I can’t wait for Stan Lee to step in next time. That should be really interesting. If the show continues to produce more episodes like this, we may get to see a redemption for this series. Here’s to a bright future!

**** (4 being the highest rating)

RWBY Volume One Review

rwby volume 1

Hi everybody! I was going to do this review in the form of a video, but I’m much better at doing reviews in written form. One of the best gifts I got for Christmas was RWBY Volume 1, an American anime about four girls and their time at Beacon Academy, which is a school that trains people to become hunters and huntresses to fight the creatures of Grimm that plagues the world of Remnant. The main character is Ruby, who resembles Red Riding Hood. In fact, most of the characters in this series is based off of a fairy tale character or Disney character in one form or another. This allows the series to feel very creative, and somewhat original. The resemblances of the characters does not take away from the story in the least. The characters are still quite original, and have their own character arcs that allows them to develop over time.

The animation for this show used is a program called Poser Pro, and though it’s certainly not top-notch, it’s still very nice to look at. The show is created by the famous online company Rooster Teeth, and is obviously created on an extremely small budget. This is evident by the many small mistakes in the animation you will see throughout the volume, but the mistakes are small enough that for the most part, they are forgivable and sometimes not even noticeable. One interesting thing I noticed was that on the DVD, some of those problems are fixed, but others are not, and surprisingly enough, there are actually new mistakes noticed. Despite all this, the animation is still beautiful to look at, and a real feast for the eyes. To me, the real beauty of the show is its characters.

Just about all of the characters have SOMETHING you can like, even if those characters aren’t your favorites. Ruby is one favorite of mine (SHOULD be, since she’s the main character). She’s an innocent, nice girl, but also extremely shy and has a hard time making friends. A lot of the characters are given a really nice introduction, and some of them learn quite a bit. This isn’t a mindless action series. It has something that’s pretty lacking in real TV shows these days: CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, or at least PROPER development.

There IS action in this series, and boy is it great! Monty Oum, the director and lead animator of this series, probably makes the best choreographed fight scenes I’ve ever seen. Movies like The Avengers and Red have made me yawn because they’re trying too hard, but for Monty, creating good fight scenes is just something he’s naturally great at. Though there are not really a TON of fight scenes in this volume, it’s very much worth the wait when the next one comes up.

All of this being said, one thing I feel needs to happen in Volume 2 is more world-building. What they’ve done so far is great, but the problem is that they haven’t done enough just yet. I’m sure we’re going to learn more stuff down the line, but it would’ve been nice to learn a little extra considering that this is their first volume, and they’ve released it on DVD. The first volume needs to be responsible for more build-up, but with the exception of a few plot threads mainly concerning some of the characters, sadly we learn pretty little about the world of Remnant itself, and are only left with questions that should’ve been answered early on.

The bonus features on this DVD make it worth the purchase, and I think it’s a lot of fun to get to watch this volume in the form of a movie. I wouldn’t recommend this DVD for kids though, because despite RWBY being a pretty tame show, the two audio commentaries and the fan art bonus feature contains some strong language. If your kids watch this show, they’re better off just watching it online. Overall, my rating for this DVD is a 9/10.

My Interview With Nathan P. Butler

I recently had the honor of interviewing Nathan P. Butler, the creator of the Star Wars Timeline Gold (explained in the interview by Nathan), author of the novel Greater Good, the novella Echoes and a couple other novellas and short stories. He is also a host on the podcast Star Wars Beyond the Films with Mark Hurliman. I got to interview Nathan on his writing history and his thoughts and opinions on Star Wars’ past and future and his involvement in that galaxy far, far away. Enjoy!

How did you decide that writing was your passion, and how did you come to the point where you’re writing books today?

I feel as though I’ve always enjoyed storytelling, even in my “regular” profession, since that plays a large role in teaching history and related subjects. When I would write, though, I often either never finished or never considered it as something I could do professionally.

In 2004, though, I was approached by Jeremy Barlow, who was then the Associate Editor at Dark Horse Comics for the Star Wars line. He had been given the chance to extend the life of the anthology-style Star Wars Tales, and because it was a place for short stories and unusual creative teams, he was able to do what often is impossible in Star Wars – invite someone to write who wasn’t previously published. Based on my Star Wars Timeline Gold chronology knowledge, passion he said could be seen in my podcast at the time (ChronoRadio, 2002 – 2007), and my storytelling ability, he offered me the chance to write a fourteen-page story in Star Wars Tales #21.

That gave me the confidence that people might actually give something I wrote a try, so I then moved into self-publishing two books, the novella Echoes and my time travel novel, Greater Good.

It was those two self-published works and my Tales work that got the attention of Grail Quest Books’ Josh Radke, who then offered me the chance to write two official WARS: The Battle of Phobos novellas in the universe first fleshed-out by Michael Stackpole and others. That then opened the door to revising and updating Greater Good for professional publication through GQB.

So, I suppose the “short” answer (and how I hate that acronym) is “I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.”

What is your favorite piece of writing (besides the Star Wars Timeline Gold) that you’ve created so far and why?

Definitely Greater Good. The story is a time travel tale involving a totalitarian state, telepaths and telekinetics, modern and future settings, and a lot of historical themes and moral dilemmas. That’s the one I’d most like to see be read by more people in hopes that perhaps it could develop more from there. I penned it as a standlone story, though, so a sequel is very unlikely.

greater good

What advice can you give to people who want to write science fiction and fantasy (like me) being that you write those things yourself?

Well, if we are talking about simply wanting to write at all, then the best advice I can give is not to give up on a story you are passionate about. If that means taking a long break (in my case, it was sometimes months between chapters of Greater Good being written), then do it. If that means writing chapters out of order to hit major scenes before fleshing out the connective tissue between them, do it. The biggest challenge I tend to see with new writers is a lack of follow-through.

As far as getting your stories out there, these days you can use something like Lulu.com or Amazon Createspace to self-publish your works and make them available in both print and ebook formats. The bad news there is that a lot of people are doing that, so it is tough to get noticed. In that case, social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, are your best bets to get that self-published work recognized by potential readers.

When it comes to hooking up with a publisher to write professionally, my case was a matter of circumstances falling into place. I can definitely say, though, that it is easier to find smaller publishers looking for talented writers than the big publishers, if only because your competition to get your foot in the door could be significantly lighter.

In one episode of SW Beyond the Films you and Mark Hurliman did an analysis on the female role in the Star Wars EU. You had very interesting opinions on that, and seeing that when it comes to female protagonists, you want to see strong ones that have the ability or eventually gets the ability to protect themselves. There’s been conflicting talk of the female role in 2013’s big video game hit The Last Of Us, what is YOUR opinion on the female role in The Last Of Us seeing where Ellie’s journey leads her?

I enjoyed the game, though its intensity didn’t hit me quite as much as it might have, given that I had just recently finished the largely unappreciated but highly enjoyable ZombiU. What made the game was the characterizations, and, yes, Ellie was one of the strongest female characters in games lately. Then again, they did not have a chance to foul her up by making her over-sexualized or the typical “damsel in distress” because they introduced her in a role that was not really a “woman” but a “girl,” relating to Joel like his late daughter might, rather than as an adult, despite her profanity-laden vocabulary. I would like to think that her being a strong, solid character is a step forward in how video games portray women, but her age just gives me pause. We could be looking at an industry patting itself on the back for what turns out to be a “false positive” – a step forward that turns out to instead be meaningless.

What was your first experience with Star Wars? What’s your favorite Star Wars movie and why?

I honestly don’t remember my very first Star Wars experience, but one of my earliest memories was of seeing Return of the Jedi in theaters in 1983 with my mother, who took me to see it multiple times.

A movie pecking order is always going to be nitpicked, but I personally find Revenge of the Sith to be my favorite of the films. I find the tragedy in the film rather interesting, and I feel as though it has a lot of depth. Of course, the problem is that the “depth” isn’t always in the movie, per se. I definitely gained a lot by reading Matthew Stover’s novelization of the film prior to seeing it. That “Stover Effect,” as I call it, let me see the film and infuse scenes with more depth than was probably shown on-screen at any given moment. A close second would be Return of the Jedi. (Yes, that makes The Empire Strikes Back my third favorite, near the middle. Such blasphemy.)

How and when did you fall in love with the Expanded Universe? What made you decide to make it a hobby to keep track of the Star Wars timeline and do podcasts discussing the EU, and what is your relationship with it like now that Disney is involved with Star Wars?

I started reading Star Wars comics when I was little, mostly the Marvel Comics of the era just after Return of the Jedi. For the modern Expanded Universe, though, I actually missed the boat on that by about a year. My first exposure to the modern EU was through Dark Force Rising, which I saw at a bookstore in 1992. That prompted me to also pick up Heir to the Empire and Star Wars comics that were popping up in specialty stores, beginning with some second printing copies of Dark Empire’s earliest issues.

My Star Wars Timeline Gold (or Star Wars Timeline Project back then) emerged out of necessity. I needed a means of keeping track of the various stories that were part of the Official Continuity at the time, so I created a list for myself that I then shared with a few friends. Over time, the demand grew, as did the document, which is now the most comprehensive Star Wars chronology available anywhere. I didn’t set out to make a name for myself in fandom, just to keep track of things for myself.

My podcasting “career” actually began before that term and the idea of releasing podcasts for automatic downloads (actual “podcasting”), back in 2002. I had toyed with audio files with thoughts on particular topics earlier than that, putting up a few to go with the timeline document. After becoming a fan of (and guest on) Digital Llama Radio (a Star Wars fan film podcast), I decided to try my hand at a show. The result was ChronoRadio, which was well received enough that I began some new podcasts. It was a rather busy time in that regard. Now, I guess you could say I’m in my golden years of podcasting, as I’ve ended all of the podcasts that I hosted and mixed, so that now I’m a host on Star Wars Beyond the Films and among the team of Republic Forces Radio Network, and I’ll soon be a host for an effort that merges those two teams into Rebels Roundtable. The trick to that activity, though, is that I generally no longer mix podcasts. My partners in those cases do the mixing, so I am able to focus on content and still churn out weekly episodes without the time-sink of my teaching profession making it impossible.

The Disney buyout of Lucasfilm is something that makes for interesting discussion and food for thought, but I find myself somewhat wary of what is coming next. Will the Expanded Universe change dramatically? Will there be a new timeline developed altogether? All of that factors into the hobby for me, especially since the Star Wars Timeline Gold chronicles the saga in its current continuity, which might be supplanted by something entirely different within the next couple of years.

One of the latest changes since Disney stepped in was that Disney’s Lucasfilm and Marvel Entertainment have now “joined forces” to create new Star Wars comics together which we’ll see in motion by 2015. What’s your opinion on this, and what do you want to see from these new comics? Do you think it was time for Dark Horse, the company that normally produced Star Wars comics, to step down anyway?

With Marvel, I think this is a mixed bag. On the one hand, they have managed to provide interesting twists on old ideas with lines like the Ultimate comics. In that sense, I have hope for something great with Star Wars at Marvel. Having read all of Marvel’s older Star Wars works (1977 – 1988), I can’t say that I was too impressed compared to Dark Horse’s materials, but I would imagine that is more a matter of when Marvel first had the license, rather than anything from a creative potential standpoint. It was a vastly different era for Star Wars and comic publishing in general.
My worry is that when the new films begin to hit theaters and Marvel launches their Star Wars line, they won’t make it a clean break with older, pre-2015 continuity. If they try to just let the films and new comics slam their way into the continuity, dumping books and comics left and right to accommodate for events in newer stories, that would create a rather large mess (The Clone Wars trampling the original Clone Wars tales, anyone?). I’m hopeful for a clean break with some fresh new ideas.

As for whether it was time for Dark Horse to lose the license, it was probably time, or close to it. Dark Horse set a rather high standard a few years ago with comics like Knights of the Old Republic and Legacy, but things feel as though that greatness has passed. It feels like Dark Horse has been on a downward slope recently, and that impression is only compounded by errors now creeping into the comics again (especially chronological references when they try to use the credits page to pin down the year the story takes place) and new series that don’t stack up to their predecessors (Legacy, Vol. 2 as compared to Legacy, Vol. 1, for example).

More recently, though, it is Brian Wood’s Star Wars, Vol. 2 that makes me feel that it is probably time for a change. That series consistently tosses thermal detonators into continuity of previous decades of storytelling, seemingly on a whim. Between Wood’s series smashing through the Classic Trilogy era and The Clone Wars blasting away the previous version of the Clone Wars that saw print starting in 2002, it feels as though continuity is mattering less and less in Star Wars. I am grateful to Dark Horse for giving me my first professional writing gig and for their decades of Star Wars entertainment, but with the likelihood of either an entirely new continuity or at last a major shakeup in continuity when the new films arrive, now is as good a time as any for a fresh start. That seems more likely to happen if the license shifts away from Dark Horse, if only so that the saga is being approached with new eyes.

With Dark Horse stepping down from Star Wars, what can you say was your favorite and your absolute least favorite Star Wars comic book series from them and why?

My favorites, hands down, are Legacy (the original series by Ostrander and Duursema) and Tales of the Jedi (Veitch and Anderson). There are some others that are pretty close, though, like Knights of the Old Republic and Dawn of the Jedi. I enjoy seeing new eras explored with familiar concepts in different context and practice.

As for the worst . . Comic-wise, it would have to be Tales form Mos Eisley (not to be confused with Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, the prose anthology). Bad art, bad storytelling, pointless tales, and a slapped-together feel make that one something I’d like to forget existed.

I have to admit, even though Disney has done things such as (presumably) bring an end to The Clone Wars animated TV series, shut down LucasArts, and change the management behind Star Wars comics, they’ve actually been promising us things that fans have wanted for a while now such as a TV series that takes place during the Dark Times (between Episodes III and IV), a new Star Wars Battlefront game, and of course new movies that will give the newer generation a chance to see Star Wars in theaters. Many fans have decided to judge these things in a negative light without even waiting to see what happens. What’s YOUR opinion on this, being a major Star Wars/EU fan yourself?

I think it comes down to intellectual honesty. Anyone who is playing it straight should be able to recognize that the saga is changing. Episode VII will shatter post-ROTJ continuity like The Clone Wars did to its era. There’s nothing stopping this, it would seem. Thus, we basically have to just look at the reality of the situation, decide whether we want to remain fans or active in the fan community, and go from there. Some people will give up on Star Wars Expanded Universe publications if they see old beloved tales being dumped from the saga. The question is whether they will be able to “get over it” and enjoy the new tales. Every major shift in Star Wars has tended to bring out a lot of naysaying, and I’ve certainly added my voice into that mix from time to time, but when something is inevitable, fighting against it or allowing yourself to get unduly stressed out about something that is beyond our control and supposed to be just a hobby just seems to be a waste of time and energy. Like I tend to say, if fandom is causing you the kind of stress you’d get from a life crisis, then you are most definitely “doing it wrong.”

There’s lots of talk that the EU will probably officially die out by 2015 because of the new comics, the new Rebels TV series, and of course Episode VII. What is one thing that you can say was the best thing about the EU to you?

It gave me a fandom occupation! What am I supposed to do now???

Honestly, I think the best thing it did was give us a fleshed out universe that was able to both survive and thrive in the gaps between films and between trilogies. Few franchises could claim such a long period of growth, mostly within a single, unified continuity. It showed that it can be done; not flawlessly, but it can be done.

What are your hopes for the future of Star Wars, and will any future changes on Star Wars affect how Beyond the Films runs and how you manage the Star Wars Timeline Gold?

My hope would be that these new films recapture the feel and spirit of the original films and, along with Rebels, help usher in a new Renaissance of the saga. And I mean that literally; “renaissance” refers to a “rebirth,” not a continuation. Let’s see Star Wars get the kind of reinvigoration and fresh perspectives that Star Trek received in 2009. (Just don’t let J.J. Abrams turn Lando white or something; I’m still retconning some Star Trek Into Darkness stuff in my head…)

How this all affects the projects I’m involved with will depend on how the saga changes. Rebels Roundtable will owe its existence to Rebels, so as long as that series is developing, that podcast will move right along. Star Wars Beyond the Films will continue to address Star Wars stories and concepts outside of just the films, but we may have to start drawing the line in discussions between what is “old” continuity and “new” continuity. The same goes for my From the Star Wars Library videos on YouTube. I have a good 22 years or so of material still to get through before reaching 2014, so I’ll be amid the “old” continuity for a while still.

The Star Wars Timeline Gold is the big question mark here. On the one hand, the idea that the current Expanded Universe continuity could simply come to a halt means that the continuity timeline that I have been chronicling for going on 17 years would no longer be growing, which would be the perfect time to fill in the last remaining gaps of really obscure items and make it an even more definitive resource than it already is today.

On the other hand, it begs the question of how to deal with any new continuity that might arise. I will probably just add another (fifth) document into the SWT-G’s annual releases, focusing entirely on that new continuity. That is, if there is a clean break for a new continuity. If Lucasfilm ends up claiming that there is still just one continuity and simply starts throwing out stories that no longer fit due to Episode VII and such, I will just have to improvise and figure out a new approach. If nothing else, we might see the post-ROTJ era split into two separate timelines within the SWT-G documents, the same way I’ve had to basically keep The Clone Wars events and the previous version of the Clone Wars as separate timelines in their own document for now, as we await a reconciliation of the two into a single order of events that will likely never come.

Either way, I’m going to try to keep the SWT-G going. I mean, when I turn 36 in October 2015, right before the premiere of Episode VII, I will have been working on the SWT-G for literally half of my life. Why stop now?

How can people find you, and, being that you have helped me before with this, how can people get a link to their Star Wars podcast posted on your website starwarsfanworks.com?

My published works can be found via nathanpbutler.com, and the Star Wars podcast I’m currently involved with can be found on starwarsreport.com. The Star Wars Timeline Gold can be found at starwarsfanworks.com/timeline. My starwarsfanworks.com is also still around to provide a directory of where fans can find other Star Wars podcasts, and those interested in having their Star Wars podcast listed can email me directly at nathan@starwarsfanworks.com.