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Messages - Nicklab

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1
The remaining TRU stores near me are now liquidating at a 60 - 80% off level.  That appears to be the final level before a store closes.

The store I went to today was pretty depressing.  Most of the store was roped off and they were trying to sell the fixtures.  The Star Wars stock was in various places, and pretty well picked over.  As much as I'd like to buy another First Order Snowspeeder, Resistance Ski Speeder or Y-wing Scout Bomber for 60% off?  I just wasn't interested enough to deal with a line that looked like it would take at least 20 minutes to get to the register.

Probably the most sad thing?  My kid mentioned to me during the week that she was sad that Toys R Us was closing.  And she was wondering if there was going to be a toy store that we could go to. 

2
Very cool, Muftak.  I foresee ordering some of your stuff some time soon.

3
The rumors that Collider published might be premature according to this ABC News piece. And given ABCís access to Disney and Lucasfilm itís undoubtedly been more thoroughly vetted.  The ABC piece states that the previously announced series of movies to be helmed by Rian Johnson as well as GoT showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are still a go.  And there are also additional movies in development that have yet to be formally announced.

MSW did some additional reporting that might have uncovered some details that led to the initial Collider report.  Notably, regarding Lucasfilm having stages on hold at Pinewood Studios in England, and that Lucasfilm released some of their reservations on that studio time & space at Pinewood.  But MSW also goes on to say that the project that may be on hold was loosely titled "Mos Eisley Spaceport", and that the long rumored Obi-Wan Kenobi and Boba Fett projects are still in some stage of development.

4
The singular vision the Darby mentioned really would help a lot. It has been mentioned before, but they really need someone like Marvel has with Kevin Fiege. Also, I think they are sort of trying to Marvel-ize the Star Wars universe, and I'm not sure that works. It just isn't the same. You can't necessarily do the Ha, movie, then Luke, then Leia, then Obi-Wan and then bring them together Avengers-style in A New Hope - it has already been done.

I've seen a lot of comparisons between Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  And I agree that it's just not the same. 

What I've taken away from that idea is the vast differences in stories and characters between Marvel and Star Wars.  There is an immense history of stories and character development for almost all of the Marvel characters.  In Captain America alone you're going back to the 1940's.  And someone like Kevin Feige is able to look back through that history and say "You know what?  We should try doing the Infinity War!"  It's in large part previously established material that is being ADAPTED into a movie.  Granted, Feige still has to find the right filmmakers for each project:  writers, producers, directors, talent, etc.  But there's already a basic framework that they will work within when they sign on to the project.

Star Wars stories all need to be built from the ground up.  While SW may have been inspired in large part by a mix of Flash Gordon, westerns, Kurosawa, 2001: A Space Odyssey and the writings of Joseph Campbell, it was still the work of George Lucas bringing all of those influences together in his own work.  The writer/director model may be the right way to go moving forward, provided the writer has a solid grasp of Star Wars lore.  So I think picking the right personnel is even more crucial than with the Marvel movies.  Feige was able to pull a fantastic director like Edgar Wright off of "Ant-Man" and they still wound up with a pretty good movie.  So is it the director?  The source material?  Or maybe the cast?

In this regard I'm actually quite optimistic about the Benioff/Weiss series of films.  Those guys were well steeped in classic literature well before they took on adapting Game of Thrones for HBO.  That reverence for lore that they have seems to have a bunch of people thinking that they could take on some of the ancient history of the Jedi.  I'd certainly like to see something like that, perhaps in the lead-up to where some Jedi broke away to become the Sith.

But the current situation?  I think we're looking at a confluence of events that led to SOLO disappointing at the box office:  the wrong director(s) in Lord & Miller along with the associated bad press after they got fired, the schedule, revisiting a beloved figure like Han Solo, toxic fandom, and possibly franchise fatigue.

5
I think there's the distinct possibility that Disney wants to get a sense of what's going on at Lucasfilm.  Granted, the movies that have been released during the Disney era have grossed some $4.78 billion.  Those grosses are close to paying back what Disney paid George Lucas for the franchise.  But I think that Disney is very conscious of maintaining the integrity of the Star Wars brand.  One movie not doing as well as the previous three at the box office is one thing.  But when Disney starts looking at the bigger picture?  They might start to question things.  For Disney to let Lucasfilm move forward and have a second movie that underperform?  That could be far more damaging to the Star Wars franchise, and I think they simply don't want to let that happen.

Granted, there are some significant factors to consider.  The whole release calendar has been a major point of concern for me.  Everyone here knew the previous Lucas era model for movie releases:  one movie every three years, and a broad-based marketing campaign that would begin a few months before the movie release.  It was the original big summer movie, with May releases.  And a whole trilogy would take some 9 years to produce.  The toy lines had time to develop, and they got increasingly interesting over time because of the depth and breadth of characters, etc.

There's also the BIG elephant in the room.  You don't have that ONE GUY who is writing everything and has the grand vision for EVERYTHING.  You don't have George.  Now, Lucasfilm tried to figure that out with the Star Wars Story Group.  But they seem more like custodians and trail guides rather than an entity that will provide a unified artistic vision for the entire Star Wars universe.  So you have individual directors and screenwriters coming up with the majority of things in a new film project rather than the previous unified vision.  Should Lucasfilm employ some sort of Chief Creative Officer to guide the franchise from a story perspective?  It's a question worth asking.

There's also the state of fandom to consider.  It's scary right now.  Social media has gotten much more ugly, especially following the polarized reactions to THE LAST JEDI.  And perhaps by making Star Wars SO available, SO OFTEN?  It may not seem quite as special to the fans.  But then you also have fans who essentially ran off George (including with a documentary), bashed a young kid like Jake Lloyd, led Hayden Christensen to quit acting, and trolled Kelly Marie Tran until she deleted her social media accounts.  And some people are actually PROUD of having done this.  To say that none of this helps the franchise is a massive understatement. 

I am not going to go on a tear over Kathleen Kennedy.  She's one of the most successful producers in the history of Hollywood.  And George personally selected her to lead the company following him stepping away.  She got people like JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson involved.  And I think they managed to breathe some life into the franchise while also respecting some of the legacy.  But there have also been some hiring missteps with writers and directors.  I think that Disney probably wants some time and room for the franchise to breathe and focus on Episode 9.  As for future projects?  I think they want to be REALLY sure about the people who are writing and directing new projects.  As much as seeking out new talent is in the independent spirit from which Star Wars was born, having a relatively new director manage a movie with a budget of around $200 million may not be the right fit.


6
Star Wars Anthology / Star Wars Story Films Reportedly On Hold
« on: June 20, 2018, 07:08 PM »
Collider.com has posted this article today:  Exclusive: Future ĎA Star Wars Storyí Spinoffs on Hold at Lucasfilm.  The article cites "sources at Lucasfilm", stating that the only film that will be in production in the near term will be Episode 9.  No press release has been made from Lucasfilm or Disney at this time that might confirm or deny this news.

Projects in the Disney era of the Star Wars franchise have run into their fair share of troubles.  There has been turmoil in hiring writers and directors for several projects, as well as extensive reshoots that led to significant reshaping of at least two films.  There has also been extensive discussion about the release date for SOLO which was within 6 months of the release of THE LAST JEDI.  And last, but certainly not least, the box office returns for SOLO were lower than almost any previously released Star Wars film.  That last detail no doubt got the attention of higher-ups at Disney.

The rumored projects that may have been put on hold include a film centered on Obi-Wan Kenobi, and another built around Boba Fett.  There were reports of director/writers attached to those two projects, but by some accounts development work on those films has ceased.

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Solo / Re: Solo 3.75" Class B Vehicle Assortment
« on: June 20, 2018, 06:31 PM »
Great photos, Jayson!  I wasn't sure what to expect from Hasbro with this particular vehicle, but it looks like Hasbro delivered.  Especially on the leg articulation!

8
Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Official Television Thread
« on: June 20, 2018, 11:05 AM »
It follows the reporters and editors of the NY Times through their process.  The Trump White House is a huge component of their work.  But they also cover significant stories outside of that:  the impact of policy shifts from the administration (both positive and negative) throughout the country, Americans' perception of Washington and the media, the sexual harassment claims against people like Bill O'Reilly and Harvey Weinstein, along with the violence in Charlottesville, VA. 

Additionally, it deals with some of the BUSINESS of the Times:  an earnings conference call, shifts from print to online content, the immediacy of deadlines, as well as a walkout of a tremendous number of newspaper guild members because of restructuring at the Times.  You also get a sense of the toll that the work takes on these journalists:  extremely long work hours, the toll it takes on their families, or their personal isolation because the work is so demanding.

Watching Times reporters asking questions of their sources and interview subjects, it becomes very clear that these journalists take the work incredibly seriously.  And they choose their words VERY carefully.  They ask questions VERY carefully.  It addressed how the Times works to keep their own house in order:  harassment charges, social media policy, etc.  It also shows how some political figures who routinely like to use the media as a punching bag are also incredibly chummy with reporters.  Watch Times political reporter Jeremy Peters interact with Steve Bannon and their interactions.  It's enlightening.

As for anything beyond that?  The audience is left to make that judgement for themselves.

9
Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Official Television Thread
« on: June 20, 2018, 09:38 AM »
I've been checking out this docu-series on Showtime called The 4th Estate.  It's about the New York Times and their coverage of the first year of the Trump administration.  And it's a remarkable look at how top tier newspapers are functioning in the country today.

10
The Black Series 6" Figures / Re: 6" Black Series Rumors
« on: June 19, 2018, 10:00 AM »
Nice to see this Yakface rumor report about an Imperial Mudtrooper.  The design of these guys is pretty cool.

11
Star Wars Anthology / Re: Solo (SPOILERS)
« on: June 17, 2018, 07:56 PM »
I like the idea of Rey's parents being no one, at least thematically (I'd still have made them Han/Leia myself) but I agree, Kylo is almost certainly lying. He's deliberately manipulating her worst fear, and tearing down her defenses, simply to capitalize on their very tenuous relationship. I don't know what the out would be for Rey, in terms of parentage; Luke is off the table. At least I think that would be too much last minute revisionism (I suppose I bought Luke/Leia being siblings just fine...). Han and Leia make the most sense, but while Kylo may be lying, we would have to again do enormous heavy lifting now to retcon this. Bringing it back to the Solo movie - Qi'ra - maybe, but this will be a Darth Maul level HUH? for the general audience in IX. So not sure.


I also get the concept of Rey's parents not being connected to the whole Skywalker lineage.  The running theme from Lucasfilm has been about making the universe BIGGER, rather than trying to draw things together neatly.  But I keep going back to those scenes between Rey and Han in TFA, and the exchange between Maz and Han in her castle.  It seemed like such a clear case of foreshadowing.  But the one question mark in that theory is when Maz said to Rey "Whoever it is you were waiting for, they're not coming back".


I just realized one significant additional detail:  TFA and SOLO shared a screenwriter - Lawrence Kasdan. 

12
Solo / Re: Solo 3.75" Class C Vehicle - TIE Fighter Coming Soon?
« on: June 16, 2018, 06:25 PM »
The TIE RB would be totally welcome in my book.  It's a cool concept, and the stockier wings actually make it more practical for the Class C vehicle line.  Because you know we aren't getting those large wing TIE's again any time soon!

13
Solo / Re: Solo 3.75" Class B Vehicle Assortment
« on: June 16, 2018, 10:53 AM »
I like it!  Granted, you couldn't see these walkers too well in SOLO given the frenetic pace of the action in the scenes on Mimban.  And you were just barely able to see how the AT Haulers were air-dropping these onto the battlefield.

But from a design standpoint this walker seems like an interim step between the Republic AV-7 Mobile Cannon and the OT AT-ST.  That kind of connective tissue between eras is cool to see.

I'm also happy to see this being offered in the Class B vehicle line, rather than the more expensive Class C line.  I'm not crazy about this vehicle assortment selling for $29.99.  It seemed like vehicles in this range sold for $20 for a long time!  But it's definitely better than it selling for $39.99.

14
Star Wars Anthology / Re: Solo (SPOILERS)
« on: June 15, 2018, 09:17 AM »
I like the idea of Rey's parents being no one, at least thematically (I'd still have made them Han/Leia myself) but I agree, Kylo is almost certainly lying. He's deliberately manipulating her worst fear, and tearing down her defenses, simply to capitalize on their very tenuous relationship. I don't know what the out would be for Rey, in terms of parentage; Luke is off the table. At least I think that would be too much last minute revisionism (I suppose I bought Luke/Leia being siblings just fine...). Han and Leia make the most sense, but while Kylo may be lying, we would have to again do enormous heavy lifting now to retcon this. Bringing it back to the Solo movie - Qi'ra - maybe, but this will be a Darth Maul level HUH? for the general audience in IX. So not sure.


I also get the concept of Rey's parents not being connected to the whole Skywalker lineage.  The running theme from Lucasfilm has been about making the universe BIGGER, rather than trying to draw things together neatly.  But I keep going back to those scenes between Rey and Han in TFA, and the exchange between Maz and Han in her castle.  It seemed like such a clear case of foreshadowing.  But the one question mark in that theory is when Maz said to Rey "Whoever it is you were waiting for, they're not coming back".

15
The Last Jedi / Re: TLJ 3.75" Class A Creature/Droid Assortment
« on: June 15, 2018, 09:12 AM »
Probots I bought scads of for $5 and plan to do some varying decos with most of them.  They were used on the battlefield in EU so I'm sorta figuring they maybe came in various camo flavors if that's the case.

I have a couple extras from the TLJ blowout too and I'm tempted to try to turn one into a Solo Viper Droid from the Conveyex heist...



I would personally hold off on the customizing.  Simply because the SOLO version of the Viper droid screams "Shut up and take my money!"  They were one of the coolest droid designs we've seen since K-2SO in Rogue One.

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