Episode 58 – The Theoretical Space Pirate

[podcast src=”https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4994687/height/360/width/480/theme/standard/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/forward/” height=”360″ width=”480″]Welcome back! It was a weekend full of Star Wars fun for your truly, and it was all capped off with our latest episode. There’s just so much to talk about, including:

  • Lucasfilm releases a statement on Carrie Fisher’s cg likeness
  • Woody Harrelson is officially in Han Solo anthology movie!
  • Cassian Andor also in Han Solo movie?
  • Ashley Eckstein hinting at Ahsoka’s future?
  • Convorees in episode 8?
  • Reviewing Rebels’ latest episode “Warhead”
  • And a bunch of listener questions!
  • It was a ton of fun and we hope you enjoy it!

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our show in iTunes and be sure to leave us a review. It’s shocking how much they help! As always, send your questions and feedback to at kyle@tumbingsaber.com, or on your social media network of choice! Be sure to visit the Star Wars Commonwealth, and follow our friends Talk Star Wars, Generation X-WingRogue SquadronSkyhoppers podcast and the Nerd Room Podcast!

To get in touch with us:

@tumblingsaberFacebook | Instagram | email | iTunes | Star Wars Commonwealth

Our Teepublic store is open! Grab a cool tee, mug or whatever else we put up there! All money earned will go back in to the show to help us improve in all aspects!

TumblingSaber Podcast – Episode 28: The Completionists

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Hola! Happy Monday! We hope you had a great weekend and are itching for your next dose of Star Wars talk. In this 28th episode of the show, we take a pit stop in collector’s alley as I get made fun for how I represent myself as an aggregator of Star Wars collectibles! It was yet another thin week in terms of Star Wars news to speculate and freak out over, but we plow ahead in to the void with a 2-hour tour de force! Episode 28 is alive and well, and in this episode, James, Cory, and I talk about:

  • Episode VIII theories, including the potential of a legacy character finally embracing their power, and a bit about Luke and Rey’s relationship,
  • Insane Star Wars collectibles so authentic (and pricey) that we couldn’t help but fantasize about them.
  • Adam Driver’s absence in social media – keeping things frosty between audience and antagonist?
  • Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, a theory brought to us by our friends over at Talk Star Wars
  • Jedi / Sith power sets, and what we would change about them (Jedi super speed is stupid – there – I said it!),
  • Comic books, industry gimmicks and cheap tricks, like turning an iconic hero to evil,
  • Guilty pleasure movies. Cheesefest, or just plain hated? We have our say because we love them anyway!

We had a ton of fun recording this episode and it feels as much a chill conversation than any show we’ve done so we certainly hope you enjoy it, too.

If you liked what you heard on the show, then please subscribe in iTunes and be sure to leave us a review! As always, if you have questions for us (Star Wars related or not), please send an email to kyle@tumbingsaber.com, or drop a comment below and we’ll be sure to read it on the show!

TumblingSaber podcast - talking Star Wars collectibles in episode 28!

TumblingSaber Podcast – Episode 25

[podcast src=”https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4391520/height/360/width/480/theme/standard/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/forward/” height=”360″ width=”480″]Hey folks! Hope your week is off to a great start!

Episode 25 of the TumblingSaber podcast is up and ready to go! Jump in and listen to @choprulz and I talk about a couple of big news bombs for Rogue One and Episode 8. We also take a trip down memory lane in honor of the holy month of May and recount some of our more memorable Star Wars memories in the cinema. As usual, we round out the show with some random thoughts and musings!

If you liked what you heard on the show, then please subscribe in iTunes and be sure to leave us a review! Don’t forget about the contest we’re running to see the OVMF perform the music of The Force Awakens LIVE! It’s the last week to get in your iTunes reviews and email them to me, so don’t wait another minute!

Please support the musicians that provide us with the unique tunes that you won’t get anywhere else: Marcos Kaiser, and Carlos Candido!

As always, if you have questions for us (Star Wars related or not), please send an email to kyle@tumbingsaber.com, or drop a comment below and we’ll be sure to read it on the show!

TumblingSaber Podcast – Episode 5

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Welcome back, folks!

Take a detour with us as we get a few sports-related rants off our chests before we delve in to a few of the meaty plot lines from The Force Awakens. We also tackle wither fandom having tunnel vision with regards to resolving everything within the episode 7-9 time frame. We also explore Luke’s future in Episode 8, stupid theories, Rey’s real name, how she got to Jakku, and a mention of Cindel Towani. Yes, the Battle for Endor lives!

Catch up with us via the facebook page, follow along on twitter, subscribe in iTunes (please, PLEASE leave a review!), Stitcher or wherever else you like to grab your podcasts from!

As always, if you have questions for us, please send an email to kyle@tumbingsaber.com, or drop a comment on the facebook page. We’re also on twitter @tumblingsaber.

Introducing Star Wars to the Younglings


What’s the “right” way to introduce children to Star Wars? Obviously the answer (if there is one) to this question depends on how old the child is, how mature they are, and what your values are as a parent.

I assume that most parents of young kids today were brought up on the original trilogy, and are bullish about ensuring the same magical experience for their kids as they had through those three films. But what about showing them the story in linear fashion, starting with The Phantom Menace, and ending with Return of the Jedi? If you’re crazy about them, then you might be more inclined to go down that path, but might be gun shy about the dark material of Attack of the Clones (mom dying in son’s arms), and Revenge of the Sith (choking pregnant woman, dismemberment, burning a body). Or do you do it through the Force Awakens as a new start, and a way for them to experience Star Wars as a member of their generation?

Of course, it’s 2015 and Star Wars has grown in to the biggest of hollywood properties so there are gateways to the galaxy far, far away though animated series, books, comics, video games, and toys. Each of those could also be a way in.

In my case, my daughter’s first exposure to Star Wars was as a four year old to the Clone Wars animated movie. I figured she’d love Ahsoka, and I was right. She’s her favorite character and she adores her. Since then she’s turned five years old, and has latched on to Rebels, seen and enjoyed The Phantom Menace, as well as A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. She’s enjoyed all of them, but still, Star Wars to her is Clone Wars and Rebels. She’s aware of The Force Awakens and wants to see it, but I’ll have to determine first if it’s fit for a five year old. Your mileage may vary.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or @tumblingsaber.

It’s all About to Change


Depending on your age, you’ve seen the cinematic Star Wars machine come to a halt twice; once in 1983 at the end of Return of the Jedi, and a decade ago when Revenge of the Sith ended. Each time fans were left wondering if they’d ever see their favorite characters on the big screen – or any screen, ever again. We were initially told “no”, which made the reaction to Lucas’ announcement that he would be filming a prequel trilogy all the more insane considering we knew where the story ultimately led. The white whale was always the “sequel trilogy” in the post-Return of the Jedi era, where the future of Luke, Han and Leia would unfold. There were whispers about it as far back as 1983, when George Lucas told Mark Hamill that he might one day bring Luke Skywalker back to the big screen in the Obi-Wan Kenobi mentor role. But that was all we got, and this was not the age of social media, where nobody forgets anything, so once the credits rolled for Revenge of the Sith, it was over forever. Then came Clone Wars, both and we got our dose of Star Wars there, temporarily anyway.

Then the 2012 sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, and we were reborn with a reaction similar to the announcement of the prequel trilogy, but amplified exponentially by the age of social media, clicks and pageviews. But first, another long, torturous wait. Would we have it any other way? What is the lead up to a Star Wars movie without a three year wait?

We’ve now seen two teasers, two trailers, 16 TV spots, and countless ads, interviews, and fan theories for The Force Awakens. Our imaginations have been running wild with each image or piece of news that trickles out and pandemonium for The Force Awakens is at a fever pitch.

Before we plunge in to the deep end with The Force Awakens, we should take one last chance over the next nine days to realize what is about to happen to the Star Wars franchise as a whole, and to Star Wars fandom.

The saga as we know it about to change, forever.

Let that sink in, because I think it’s getting lost in the excitement. Yes, we should be excited for the new addition to the Star Wars saga. We should be amped to see the story grow and unfold, but fans like comfort, and the Star Wars story as we know it is about to be reframed. Permanently. Officially. Forever. No longer will it be the neat, cozy, tidy six-film saga that gave us the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker. The events of The Force Awakens will no doubt give birth to an entirely new story, and we’ll be out of our comfort zone to a degree. Star Wars has always been a gargantuan monster on many levels, but it is about to take yet another step and become something else entirely.

With Disney in the driver’s seat, never again will we face the prospect of no more new Star Wars. We’re about to embark on ride that will most likely take us through the rest of our lives, however long they may be. I’m grateful for this. For all of it. For all that has been, for all that is, and all that will come. I’m grateful for the passion that it has instilled in me, and for the countless hours of happiness it has brought to my life. It was always there, like a favorite blanket. It was predictable, yet the same things that excited you as a kid held up in to adulthood.

As we move in to the next era of Star Wars, we’ll be welcoming a new generation of fans who don’t know who Han Solo is other than that he’s old. What’s a wookie? Certainly, a lot of these kids are more familiar with Kanan and Hera than Luke and Leia. They’ve got a Chopper Christmas tree ornament instead of R2-D2. As this new group of fans join fandom, they’ll shape the future of the franchise with their voices, and eventually, their wallets.

Star Wars is about to change and no matter when you entered fandom, no matter what your gateway was, some time should be set aside before the premiere of The Force Awakens to acknowledge and appreciate the ride we’ve been on for the last 38 years because apparently, the ride is just beginning.

Thoughts? Comments? Let me know below, or @tumblingsaber. If you liked what you read here, please consider signing up to receive blog posts by email.


The Phantom Menace vs The Force Awakens – Comparing Hype and Expectations


Much of how you view this post will depend on how old you were during the build-up to the Phantom Menace.

As an old-school fan that grew up on the original trilogy, you can bet that news of George Lucas going ahead with the prequels blew my mind like no other news in my life before it. I’m sure you feel the same way. The same applied to millions of fans who spent their childhood dreaming of what Obi-Wan and Princess Leia meant when they referred to the Clone Wars in A New Hope. Exactly how great a pilot, how cunning a warrior was Anakin Skywalker? While the framework of the story was limited, how it unfolded was a blank canvas and we were desperate to see this chapter of the Star Wars saga. With all of the excitement that comes with the litany of new characters, worlds, and themes, came boatloads of hype – on an unprecedented scale. It came slowly at first, since the first pieces of news broke before the internet became ubiquitous.

In 1994 the “Original trilogy, one last time” on VHS dropped. It was a litmus test that determined that the machine was not just alive, but alive and well. Then in 1995, the rebooting of the toy line. The fans that were children during the originals had no problem doubling-down on these new toys, weirdly muscular as they were. Then came the controversial Special Editions, both on the big screen and again, on home video soon after. For many, myself included, these revised special editions were the first chance to see Star Wars on the big screen, a chance to catch up with the generation just a few years older then me who were lucky enough to be a part of the original run in theaters. The constant undercurrent to all of these events during the mid-90’s was always “This is what’s happening now while George Lucas makes the NEW movies“. As oblivious as I was to such things back then, it was all connected. The VHS release, toy reboot, and special editions were not only about pulling together funding for the prequels, it was to re-introduce Star Wars to new audiences who knew more about Jurassic Park than the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

With all of those releases, promos, and events unfolding in exciting, effective manner, there was also blanket coverage in the media. But instead of tweets and YouTube clips, it was magazine or newspaper clippings, and segments on Access Hollywood that stoked the fires. You have to remember that this was before the age of social media, so engaging with other fans was far more challenging then than it is now, unless you were a member of a fan forum, newsgroup, or chatroom – the early forms of blogging and social media. Still, not all homes connected the way they are today, so each fan was likely to be in a silo than a somebody with their own communication platform.

Then came the trailer for The Phantom Menace. If you’re old enough to remember, this trailer dropped like an atomic bomb. Attached to stinker Meet Joe Black, the trailer brought bazillions of fans out of their mom’s basements and in to theaters, at least for a few minutes. I don’t know how much of Meet Joe Black’s box office haul is due to having the first Star Wars trailer in many years, but it has to be a sizeable chunk. The trailer making its way online was one of the first instances of something “breaking the internet” because it was so in demand, and not because the internet was relatively new and crappy. Fans watched it over and over – with good reason. The trailer was PERFECT. It seemed like it had everything that fans wanted. What it didn’t have was a lot of Jar-Jar, or Gungans in general – the guys for which most fan hatred is reserved. For a character that was so prominent, and a species so key in the movie’s final act, was leaving them out of the trailer intentional? Misleading? Maybe. Apologists would say they weren’t necessary. Your milage may vary.

Still, with May 19 1999 growing closer day by day, excitement grew to unfathomable proportions. Today it’s easy to visit YouTube no matter where you are, but back then Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight were appointment viewing. Meaning you needed to be at home if you wanted to take in this exclusive content. Nearly every night during the final few weeks before The Phantom Menace’s release, they’d give us a few seconds of footage, a behind-the-scenes look, or a snippet with the cast. I still have the cassette that I filled up. It’s my personal archive of Phantom Menace hype, and it was over-the-top. If you’re old enough, you remember it, too:

That summer, if I wasn’t in the movie theater, I was running to the local KFC, or Pizza Hut to pick up the newest kiddie toy in that flimsy cardboard box. There was no Taco Bell in Montreal at the time so I have no idea how I was able to complete the set, but I was obsessed, and so I completed the set. I also managed to find (and keep) all of the soda cans with Phantom Menace characters on them. I still have greasy bags of Lays chips with TPM characters on them. As a fan during this time, you HAD to get in on this stuff. It was going to be like owning all of the vintage, original-era stuff all over again. Except that it wasn’t. The tidal wave of merchandising leading up to The Phantom Menace is the one area that I think trumps that of The Force Awakens, and not necessarily in a good way. May 4th, 1999, just a couple weeks before the release of the movie saw all of the toys heaped on us. You had not experienced sensory overload as a Star Wars fan until you saw your local toy store stacked to the ceilings with NEW Star Wars toys. Sure the rebooted toy line had its share of shelf space, but this was on another level. In hindsight, stores were way off with their forecasts, with toys warming pegs and shelves for months and months after the film’s release. A byproduct of the eventual reception of the movie? Perhaps. Still, the massive wall of red-carded Star Wars toys was enough to make you go blind with joy and poor at the same time. Many fans gladly emptied their bank accounts for a chance to load up on what would surely be their retirement fund. Oops!

In the days prior to the release, fans lined up outside cinemas, spent day and night there and it was as if the only thing on everyone’s mind was this new movie. It was poised to be the biggest movie of all-time, bar none. The first reviews gave it a blah 3-stars, with some gusting up to 4-stars, but there was no parade of positive reviews. A bit of cold water was thrown on to the bonfire. Headlines like “The Force is Back!” gave many fans relief that the majority of reviews were just from reviewers looking to make a name for themselves in the burgeoning internet era. A box office haul of 431 million dollars says that a lot of people liked it (or that much fewer people went to see it many times; I saw it 21 times myself). As time wore on, debate about the quality of the film raged, and still does to this day. There was the camp that loved every minute and defended every aspect like a protective mother bear. Then there were the haters who thought their childhood had been stomped on. They believed that Jar-Jar killed everything good about Star Wars while Anakin was in no way representative of what Darth Vader ought to have been as a child.

Those who got on the prequel bashing wagon didn’t bother to get off for Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith. With their minds made up that Star Wars was ruined, that George Lucas had lost his touch, many saw their love for the saga squelched, leading them to now ignore the prequels almost entirely except for its main story beats. In 2005, we said goodbye to Star Wars films forever, or so we thought.

Enter 2012. The announcement that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm, and would immediately begin production of a sequel trilogy – episodes 7, 8, and 9. The original big three of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher were along for the ride. It was like finding out that a relative believed to be dead was actually alive and thriving. Fandom was reinvigorated, as if being given steroids made for a thoroughbred. Sure, the Clone Wars animated film and series kept the fires alive, but every fan felt it was a saga on life support as far as new content was concerned. Backed by the beast that is Disney, it was clear that Star Wars was back in a way we never thought possible.

With the age of social media in full swing, fan interaction has never been simpler and more widespread. Consuming, sharing and discussing content has never been easier. Add in the blogs, podcasts and video shows that amplify the hype, and we’ve got another era in Star Wars that is redefining what the word ‘hype’ really means. Where in the prequel era, fans more or less knew what was coming as far as story goes, this time around we don’t know what the story holds for us. The happy diehards are now re-joined by the jilted prequel haters; one group happy to add to the saga, the other group desperate to have the Star Wars name restored to its former glory. Same goal, different approaches.

The roll-out of The Force Awakens has been painfully slow but wholly engrossing. The first teaser dropped over a year ago, and fans went insane. The look was right, the tone was right, the feel was right. Everything was right. It was followed by a second teaser earlier this year, which concluded with our first look at Han Solo in 32 years. Fandom lost its shit. The summer was relatively quiet with spoilers leaking out here and there, but you have to go out of your way for those.

Then came Force Friday, September 4th, which was pretty underwhelming, depending on where you were. Maybe it was because fans haven’t come around as much as we think, or because retailers are still gun shy due to scars left by the prequel era, but complaints about this year’s ForceFriday are everywhere, and I can attest to them. In my area, promotion was virtually non-existent, fans were scarce, and stores seemed totally unaware that this was something big. Nearly 3 months later, and some places have still not received more than just the initial wave of figures, vehicles and other playthings.

One of my local WalMarts on ForceFriday this year. No, the shelves were not picked clean - they were not even loaded yet!

One of my local WalMarts on ForceFriday this year. No, the shelves were not picked clean – they were not even loaded yet!

Suddenly in October, the avalanche began in earnest with the first full trailer on Monday Night Football. Moments later, the trailer appeared online and the internet was again broken. Since then we’ve been fed a steady diet of international trailers and TV spots, leading some fans to cry “enough!” in an effort to remain as spoiler-free as possible. The anticipation is at least as high for The Force Awakens as it was for The Phantom Menace in that all possible avenues of discussion are crammed with Star Wars talk. But what about expectations? In 1999 everyone was expecting the greatest movie ever made. They didn’t get it. In 2015, we’re expecting this to topple all box office records and many fans are expecting the best Star Wars movie of them all. Frankly, it feels like those asking may just get it. You have to dig deep to find someone who looks at the available content for The Force Awakens negatively. It seems painfully clear that every stone has been turned over in an attempt to get this movie right in all aspects. What has also been very obvious is Lucasfilm’s tendency to stay as far away from anything related to the prequels at all, repeating the “real sets, practical effects” mantra at every opportunity. Knowing that these films are polarizing, they’ve put their eggs in the original trilogy basket, to the outrage of just about nobody.

While George Lucas told a story with these movies, he also used them as a chance experiment with different technologies. He’s always been a tinkerer, a pioneer of film making who did things his way. While criticism of his methods eventually chased him away, as he mentioned in last week’s interview with Charlie Rose, George Lucas doesn’t work under regular norms and conventions. Lucasfilm has decided to take the formula that made Star Wars popular and apply to The Force Awakens, and probably episodes 8 and 9 as well. This is not an opportunity to pioneer or tinker. Each movie is a guaranteed grand-slam if they stick to what made the originals so great. So while we don’t yet know what we’re going to get, all signs point to us being giddy over the final product. Then again, where we are now in the lead-up to The Force Awakens is pretty much the same place we were at during the lead-up to The Phantom Menace.  If you’re a fan irked by the prequels, is your faith restored by what you see? If you love the prequels, are you just as excited about these movies as you were from 1999-2005?

It’s nearly impossible to measure if there’s more hype today than there was in 1999. I think we can say that the cultural awareness was cranked to 11 in both eras, with the main difference being that today’s content is far more distributed as opposed to a more narrow focus in 1999.

Please let me know your thoughts below, or contact me @tumblingsaber.

Thanks for reading!



How Much Loss Can Leia Endure?


Possible The Force Awakens spoilers below. Proceed at your own risk!

When you’re asked to name 5 characters from Star Wars lore, you’d be hard pressed not to include Leia in that list. As a legacy character who’s life on screen spans nearly 60 years, Leia has been through a lot. Maybe too much. Consider that from the very first moments of her life, she began experiencing loss:

  • In Revenge of the Sith, the death of her mother, Padmé.
  • In A New Hope, she loses many soldiers on the Tantive IV who were presumably aboard the ship to protect her. (Chalk those lives up to the cost of war, but it still).
  • Then the Death Star vaporizes her home world of Alderaan.
  • Later on in The Empire Strikes Back, she loses Han (even if she gets him back in RotJ).
  • In Return of the Jedi, she finds out that Darth Vader, the scourge of the galaxy is her father. Talk about a loss (at the very least a questioning) of self, even for a self-assured leader like Leia.
  • Fast forward 32 years to The Force Awakens, and it seems to be a commonly held belief that Leia will lose Han Solo for good at the hands of her crazy son, Kylo Ren. #parentingfail
  • If we think ahead to Episodes 8 and 9, it’s hard to imagine that she won’t lose Luke as well.

That’s a lot for one person to take and it makes you wonder about Leia’s resolve, and about her destiny. Is she here to fight until the bitter end, having to endure one devastating personal loss after another while the struggle for freedom goes on and on without a light at the end of the tunnel? If that comes to pass, Leia will have lost virtually everyone that has ever mattered to her. How brutal is that? Of course, she will have close friends and allies that we will come to know under the new canon (including books, comics, films, etc), but everyone that we, and Leia have come to know will have been taken away. It goes without saying that Leia has always been a stoic leader, and brave solider when called upon and totally confident even when totally disempowered.

If Leia is the last of the “big three” standing from the original trilogy then she becomes the human avatar for the audience through which we view these movies. I know that role has traditionally been assigned to the droids, but if Han and Luke are both gone, then Leia is the next closest link that long-time fans will have. Her losses become our losses.

Is there a point at which Leia becomes too tragic a figure? Or does the amount of loss she suffers only add to the heroism and bravery of her character?

In the wider scheme of things, are we fans prepared to lose favorites that we’ve come to love over four decades? Amidst the excitement leading up to The Force Awakens, everything is puppy dogs and ice cream. We’re all in love with Star Wars all over again, and the thought of more epic adventures filled with fist-pumping moments are dancing in our heads like sugar plums. Frankly, I don’t know how prepared fans are to deal with the losses of long-time favorites. There is an awful lot of denial out there, and sure as rumors of every shape cropped up claiming someone’s demise, there were legions of fans screaming that it had better not be true. Is that a fear of loss, or a misalignment of the movie they want versus the reality? Sure, we’ll gain new favorite characters along the way as the new trilogy and Anthology movies unfold, but I doubt they will become a part of original generation fan DNA like the classic characters have.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments or @tumblingsaber.