Monday, December 19, 2016

Greg and Danny's Top 10 Star Wars Everything Episode IV

It should be no surprise to anyone who knows us that our nerdiness doesn’t end at Satan, vikings, Tolkien, Cthulhu, and the hard rockin’ odes to all the above. There’s also a soft spot in both of our hearts for the goings on of a certain galaxy far ,far way. Since Rogue One just came out, what better time than now to share our list of the top 10 Star Wars everything? The rules are simple: movies count individually, while game, book, and TV series count as one entry.

Danny's 10: The Star Wars Holiday Special

The Star Wars Holiday Special is one of the most infamous so-bad-it’s-not-even-good movies/TV specials in the history of moving pictures. The Holiday Special was released at the beginning of 1978, a mere few months after the initial release of Star Wars intended to capitalize on the overwhelming and unexpected success of the movie, and advertise the Star Wars toys/action figures that are probably now worth a shit-ton of money for some reason. The special itself it a total garbage fire of Chewbacca’s family belching at one another (without subtitles, mind you) and mindlessly boring, unfunny skits that are 100% unrelated to Star Wars as we know it. So why does it make my top 10 list? Because I love making people suffer through it! The Holiday Special is one of those things you should never watch alone. Or sober. But god damn it, it is a lot of fun to watch with a group of equally masochistic friends.

Greg's 10: Battlefront Series
Star Wars is an experience best when shared with friends. Games like Episode 1 Racer and Republic Commando were close contenders for the top ten, but nothing puts you right in the middle of the action quite like Battlefront. It’s a simple but endlessly replayable formula: choose your side, pick a class, and relive the iconic battles. It doesn’t matter whether you have 15 minutes or an afternoon to kill, the Battlefront games have virtually no learning curve yet you could spend your whole life getting better and never feel like you played the same battle twice.

Danny's 9: Backstroke of the West
I'm sure that many of you are wondering “what the hell is Backstroke of the West? That doesn’t sound like any Star Wars I’ve ever heard of!” Well, you are in for a treat. Backstroke of the West is what happens when you give Revenge of the Sith a Chinese dub, and automatically translate the dub into English subtitles. I’m serious. This actually exists, and it’s fucking amazing. To see some of the highlights, check out the blog post of the magnificent bastard who discovered it, and you can even watch it on YouTube. This is some of the most fun you’ll have as a Star Wars fan. I recommend watching it with friends.

Greg's 9: Rebels
I suspect that Rebels will find its way higher on this list in time, because it’s only been getting better with every season. It’s lighter in tone than The Clone Wars but far from shy about exploring some dark material. The focused narrative and adventure of the week format infuse a sense of urgency and fun into the series. Fans of both the prequels and the original trilogy will find plenty of nods to both, and the attention to detail puts them on a level beyond mere fan service.

Danny's 8: A New Hope
It’s cheesy, it’s fun, it’s the film that started one of the most recognizable brands in all of nerdom. Space battles and laser swords and a band of misfits rescuing the princess (who is, in fact, in this castle space station) make this a rather entertaining flick. The reason it has any staying power, though, is because of the characters and the world that Lucas introduced us to. It’s only hinted at, but you really get the impression that this is a much bigger galaxy that what we’ve been shown. And then there’s Darth Vader. This dude is one of the great cinematic villains for a reason. You’re introduced to him early on and he’s already terrifying and so obviously evil as fuck. Also, blowing up planets is bad, so you can’t help but hate the Empire and want our heroes to succeed.

Greg's 8: The Force Awakens
Episode VII wasn’t a perfect movie, but it’s possibly the most important step forward in the future of Star Wars. Following the prequels and a 30+ year gap since the original trilogy, The Force Awakens succeeded with flying colors as proof of concept that a new generation of movies could feel like classic Star Wars again. It’s a mix of familiar and new that retains the humor and chemistry of the original trilogy and updates the action for a new generation. The new cast is likable, the original cast feel like far more than cameos (especially Chewie, who finally gets his chance to shine) and the story stands on its own while hinting at an intriguing past and bigger things to come.

Danny's 7: Darth Bane Trilogy
For more awesomeness out of the Old Republic era, we turn to Karpyshyn’s take on one of the original big baddies of the Star Wars universe: Darth Bane. Even after the big reset that preceded The Force Awakens, Darth Bane remains canon through his appearance in The Clone Wars TV show. While his backstory as told by the eventual lead writer of the Mass Effect games may not be canon, it’s still a great story of how the Rule of Two (always two there are, no more, no less) came to be. Admittedly, some parts are rather corny, particularly towards the end, but Karp gives you a very entertaining read and a very interesting backstory to one of the more initially puzzling traditions of the Sith.

Greg's 7: The Clone Wars
While the original collection of action shorts was also great, I’m talking about the second show to bear the name. It’s no secret that The Clone Wars got off to a rocky start, but after a couple of uneven seasons it became a powerful look into what the prequels could have been. This series explored explored every facet of the conflict, following Anakin and Obi-Wan, the soldiers at the front lines of every battle, and a varied and memorable cast of characters. The countless great fights alone would have earned The Clone Wars a spot on the list, but it goes beyond just action to getting to share in every tragic and triumphant moment of Star Wars history.

Danny's 6: Rogue One 
I don’t want to say too much about this movie yet as it just came out, but hot damn, this is why I go to the theater to see something that has “Star Wars” in the name.

Greg's 6: Darth Bane Trilogy
Confession time: I haven’t finished the Thrawn trilogy yet. I know, it’s the one gaping blind spot in my knowledge of all things Star Wars, but at least you know why it’s not on this list. But out of all the books I have read, there’s one entry that stands out above all the rest. Darth Bane is the epitome of all things Sith, and this trilogy gives readers a look into the brutally efficient mastermind behind the rule of two. After seeing the Sith as villains in so many books, movies, and games, it was refreshing to see the Star Wars universe from their twisted but fascinating perspective. Darth Bane is equal parts action, suspense, and character study, and I guarantee that the pages will feel like they’re turning themselves

Thanks for reading this far. Click here back soon for the thrilling conclusion in Episode V:

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