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Messages - Nicklab

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The Force Awakens / Re: Where is Rey?
« on: January 21, 2016, 08:22 PM »
It's definitely a complicated issue.  For years I had accepted the business concept that female characters just didn't sell as well as male characters.  But I think it was when the Clone Wars animated series came out that this became a more clear issue.  Ahsoka was playing a very strong part in that series.  She developed into a character with some depth that was on almost equal footing with female leads like Padme and Leia. 

This is when the relative lack of product that represented these female characters started to become more obvious to me.  Notably, when I met voice actress Ashley Eckstein at New York Comic Con.  One thing that's been a part of my collection is having actors autograph figures.  Luckily I was able to get an Ahsoka figure for Ashley to sign, but it took some doing.  I shared that story with Ashley, and she told me that she was having similar difficulties finding Ahsoka figures...AND SHE PLAYED THE PART!!!!  She also relayed that other fans had told her similar stories.

Looking at the whole Clone Wars line, Ahsoka definitely did not get represented anywhere near as well as Anakin or Obi-Wan.  Coincidence?  Or by design?  More and more, I'm thinking the latter.  Which is unfortunate, because I think Ahsoka is a great character.  And the fact that she helped make Star Wars more accessible for female fans is a positive in my book. 

I think the lack of representation in the toy line became even more evident with the Rebels line.  Hera and Sabine are both strong characters.  But the figures for their characters are greatly outnumbered by those of Kanan and Ezra. 

I think my outlook has also changed because I have a daughter, too. She's still a little too young for Star Wars.  But eventually I would like to share the movies and tv shows with her.  Having a strong female lead like Rey is not insignificant.  But then I look at the Hasbro 3.75" and 6" figure lines. And I ran the numbers.  There are almost twice as many versions of both Finn and Poe as there are of Rey.  And when you look at the title of the film itself, The Force awakens in Rey.  This really is her story. And knowing that while taking into account this toy marketing plan leaves me feeling like Lucasfilm licensing and Hasbro aren't giving the audience enough credit to recognize whose story this movie really is. 

The Prequel Trilogy / Anakin Skywalker - The Role
« on: January 21, 2016, 09:34 AM »
There seems to be a lot of turmoil around the actors who portrayed Anakin Skywalker in the PT.  Jake Lloyd has led something of a tortured existance, having played the young version of Anakin in The Phantom Menace.  And last year things came to a head when Jake ran afoul of law enforcement in South Carolina.  I sincerely hope that he's able to turn things around for himself. 

Jake has had a tough time of things.  Especially since so many adult fans took to blaming him and his performance for not living up to their expectations for the Prequels.  It's that reaction to him that has really gotten me angry with fans who have been more than a bit overzealous.

Then there was Hayden Christensen in Episodes II and III.  He was a relative unknown, and had to step into a role that would be intensely scrutinized.  When it came to the physical aspects of the role he seemed up to the task.  But he was also in the unenviable position of having to play a character who was struggling with great power, trying to keep a romantic relationship under wraps, and speak in a way that was in line with the established pattern of dialogue of Darth Vader.

So how did Hayden deal with it?  He's performed in a handful of other movies, including the well regarded Shattered Glass.  But by and large Christensen seems to have distanced himself from Hollywood.  Check out this article about his semi-retirement from acting.  And once again, given the strong feelings of some overzealous Star Wars fans, I can't say that I blame him.

And then, there's what might have been.  Like?  Leonardo DiCaprio passing on the role of Anakin Skywalker.  In no way do I want to disparage the work of Hayden Christensen as Anakin.  I think that a lot of the trouble with that character was a product of the screenwriting of George Lucas.  But given how strong Leo's performances have been over the past decade plus?  It really makes me wonder what ATTACK OF THE CLONES and REVENGE OF THE SITH might have been like with Leo playing opposite Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor and Ian McDiarmid.

So, it begs the question:  was the role of Anakin Skywalker, to some degree, cursed?

Star Wars Rebels / Re: Star Wars Rebels Toy Rumors!
« on: January 21, 2016, 08:15 AM »
New pictures seem to indicate that the REBELS version of Rex is hitting retail now.  So, perhaps the Fifth Brother Inquisitor is going to hit in the next month or two.

The Force Awakens / Where is Rey?
« on: January 21, 2016, 06:38 AM »
There's been an ongoing discussion in social media and now the broader media about the relative lack of Rey merchandise at retail over the past month or so.  It came to a significant head when the discussion turned to the Star Wars Monopoly game, which didn't feature Rey as a playing piece in the game.  These licensed merchandise decisions also seem to go against the general narrative of THE FORCE AWAKENS, since Rey is the central character in the film.

Well, check out THIS ARTICLE.  Specifically, these paragraphs about how Rey was not going to be the central focus of licensed merchandise marketing efforts dating back to meetings in January of 2015:

In January 2015, a number of toy and merchandise vendors descended on Lucasfilm’s Letterman Center in San Francisco. In a series of confidential meetings, the vendors presented their product ideas to tie in with the highly-anticipated new Star Wars film. Representatives presented, pitched, discussed, and agreed upon prototype products. The seeds of the controversies Lucasfilm is facing regarding the marketing and merchandising of The Force Awakens were sown in those meetings, according to the industry insider.

The insider, who was at those meetings, described how initial versions of many of the products presented to Lucasfilm featured Rey prominently. At first, discussions were positive, but as the meetings wore on, one or more individuals raised concerns about the presence of female characters in the Star Wars products. Eventually, the product vendors were specifically directed to exclude the Rey character from all Star Wars-related merchandise, said the insider.

“We know what sells,” the industry insider was told. “No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.”

Lucasfilm did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

The industry insider went on to describe how excluding female action characters has been a common yet frustrating trend over the past few years. “Diminishing of girl characters is common in the industry. Power Rangers asked us to do it. Paw Patrol, too.” (Update: we’ve learned that Paw Patrol is currently working on a new line of toys for girls.)

If this is indeed true, it gives some insight into the institutional thinking about the marketing of female characters VS male characters.  The fact that nobody would openly go on record is telling as well.  Because it seems more and more like this general discussion about how female characters are represented in licensed merchandise is getting some legs.  This general issue started getting more traction with the REBELS toy line and the relatively light representation for Sabine and Hera.  But now with THE FORCE AWAKENS, where Rey is the focal point?  This is a much bigger deal now.

The Sequel Trilogy / Re: Star Wars Episode VIII
« on: January 20, 2016, 03:15 PM »
If it helps them deliver a better movie, I'm all for a later release.  And it also looks like Disney wants to own the summer with Marvel and Christmas time with Star Wars. 

The Force Awakens / Re: Recents Finds and/or Purchases
« on: January 19, 2016, 04:14 PM »
Found the Hassk thug today at an area Walmart.  Must have missed Resistance Rey and Han Solo though. 

TV-9D9 / Re: Star Wars Rebels - Season 2 (Spoilers)
« on: January 19, 2016, 09:35 AM »
More tidbits about the second half of the season have leaked out.  Episode descriptions seem to have leaked at Making Star Wars, along with the name of one planet featured in this season:  Malachor.  If you played KOTOR2, you know that name!

Amazon has the book on sale for about the same.  The book signing was really the only good reason to pay full price for this book. 

I got to meet author Jason Fry at his signing in New Jersey today.  He's a very cool guy, and happy to meet Star Wars fans.  I was really happy to see how much time he was spending with the kids on line.  And the Empire City garrison of the 501st was there, too, taking photos with the kids as well as the staff who seemed really pleased to have a good turnout for this book signing.  This wasn't the first time I've met Jason, having met him back in 2007 at SDCC when he was just releasing his first Star Wars book.  And now we're almost 10 years into his Star Wars writing career. 

I'm really looking forward to digging in to the new book and getting more insight into the particulars of the new vehicles. 

TV-9D9 / Re: Cool Indie Star Wars Film: Rebel Scum
« on: January 15, 2016, 09:46 AM »
Pretty cool.  The location looked amazing.  And the costumes were excellent.  The story was concise, but it needed to be for a short film like this.  The only thing that I would say needed work was the animation.  The AT-AT in particular looked a bit too herky-jerky. 

Walmart is in the news today.  CNBC is reporting that Walmart is set to close over 250 stores globally, and over 160 of those stores are in the US.  This move is meant to consolidate stores that are close to other Walmart locations, and trim some stores that are underperforming.

Star Wars Anthology / Re: Star Wars Spin-Off #2 - Han Solo!
« on: January 14, 2016, 09:28 AM »
I saw Scott Eastwood in that Brad Pitt movie about the WWII Sherman Tank crew, Fury.  He really wasn't a central part of the story, but I think there's a resemblance to a younger Harrison Ford

The Sequel Trilogy / Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (SPOILER FREE)
« on: January 14, 2016, 09:06 AM »
The Oscar nominations are out, and Star Wars - The Force Awakens has been nominated in the following categories:

-Best Original Score - John Williams
-Best Film Editing
-Best Visual Effects
-Best Sound Mixing
-Best Sound Editing

I am really, really hoping that John Williams wins!

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