Routine Maintenance

This week we've had an unprecedented lull in Star Wars film and collectibles news. It's probably the last one we'll have for a while, so I've been using that time to carry out some routine maintenance of this blog.

A number of older posts are suffering from broken links and missing images, and the tag system is in need of a few modifications to make entries easier to locate. If you've spotted something that doesn't seem to be working right, I'd be grateful if you could let me know by sending me an email at!

A Recap of Everything Star Wars at SDCC 2015

Yesterday, Comic-Con International: San Diego wrapped up for another year. The convention brought with it a flood of pop culture trailers, panels, and merchandise announcements. It can all be a little overwhelming - so in this post you'll find a recap of the most important Star Wars news to come out of SDCC, accompanied by a few of my own thoughts along the way.

The highly anticipated The Force Awakens panel was, without a doubt, the biggest Star Wars event at SDCC. is yet to release an official video of the panel, but Flicks and the City has generously provided us with an unofficial recording. The panel featured producer Kathleen Kennedy, director and co-writer J.J. Abrams, co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, and cast members Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, and Dohmnall Gleeson. There was no new footage or trailer on show, but we arguably got something just as good - an exquisite behind-the-scenes video:

Like most fans, I got pretty darn emotional during the first two teaser trailers for The Force Awakens. But this video hits me in a whole different way. It reaffirms the crew's commitment to building a tangible, lived-in universe just like the one we all fell in love with decades ago. Of course, this doesn't guarantee a spectacular movie - Abrams himself noted that simply directing a scene on the Millennium Falcon "doesn't make the scene good". But if we add Abrams and Kasdan's demonstrated gift for storytelling into the mix (not to mention the cast's obvious enthusiasm for this project) then we can see why there's still every reason to have hope in Episode VII.

There are a few new details about The Force Awakens that eagle-eyed fans will be able to glean from this video. We get our first glimpses of both Princess Leia and C-3PO - the latter of whom is sporting a new red arm. We find out that a TIE fighter crashes on Jakku, that Poe Dameron is taken prisoner by a First Order stormtrooper (though this scene may not be all that it appears to be), and that at some point Rey finds herself flying the Falcon solo (pun entirely intended). The panel also announced that Gleeson will be playing a First Order commander by the name of "General Hux", and that the new antagonists will be operating out of "Starkiller Base" - an affectionate reference to Luke Skywalker's original name in George Lucas's early scripts of Star Wars.

Elsewhere in canon news, the Del Rey panel gave us more details on the first run of publications that will come under the "Journey to the Force Awakens" banner. As well as a handful of reference and activity books, Del Rey will be releasing five novels. Two of these - The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Friday and Smuggler's Run by Greg Rucka - will be set between A New Hope and the Empire Strikes Back and tell standalone stories of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo respectively. A third - Moving Target by Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry - will be set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and follow Princess Leia. Lost Stars by Claudia Gray will feature a pair of entirely new characters who find themselves in love and on opposite sides of the war between the Empire and the Rebellion. These books will accompany the previously announced Aftermath - the first novel to be set after Return of the Jedi in the new canon. Written by Chuck Wendig, Aftermath will be the first book in a new trilogy. You can see more details about these publications (including brief synopses) over at

Special thanks goes to HelloGreedo for this incredibly helpful Journey to the Force Awakens timeline.
Of course it wouldn't be Comic-Con without some sort of focus on merchandise as well. Hasbro gave us a first look at their new die-cast line - though, to my eye, these look to simply be recasts of the same old Titanium Series line. An assortment of new Black Series 6" figures was also unveiled including realistic sculpts of both Kanan Jarrus and Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: Rebels. The 6" First Order Stormtrooper recently previewed by Entertainment Weekly was in hot demand, but other than that there was only one other piece of The Force Awakens memorabilia on display - the upcoming Black Series 6" TIE Fighter.

Hasbro's upcoming Black Series 6" The Force Awakens TIE Fighter
The above shot is interesting for more than just toy collectors, as it gives us our first proper look at a vehicle that may play a very important role in the upcoming film. This is no ordinary TIE fighter - featuring a custom paint job, added weaponry, and distinctive bracing around the wing mounts. It looks to be the very same TIE that we see attacking a First Order hangar in the second teaser trailer, and crash-landed on Jakku in the behind-the-scenes video above.

My one disappointment about SDCC was the complete lack of news (bar a couple of new Rebels figures) for 3 3/4" fans. It's less than two months until "Force Friday" when the influx of new The Force Awakens merchandise begins hitting stores, and I honestly thought Hasbro would have more to show us by now.

What were your highlights of this year's SDCC? Be sure to email them to me at or send a tweet to @Archon_Revuge!

Jedi Knight - Dark Forces II

I've always found secondhand stores to be a great source of Star Wars bargains, and a couple of weeks ago I came across a particularly unique find at my local Mary Potter Hospice Store - a mint condition copy of Jedi Knight - Dark Forces II.

While it was Jedi Outcast that I obsessed over for the better part of 2002, Dark Forces II still holds a lot of fond memories for me. I'm yet to find out if it'll run on Window 7 - but here's hoping it does!

The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels and The Empire Strikes Back Storybook

A couple of weeks ago I headed along to the 2015 Wellington Toy Collectors' Fair. I picked up a handful of great Power of the Force figures, but it wasn't only toys that were on offer. I also came away two very awesome Star Wars publications - The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels and The Empire Strikes Back Storybook for $10.00 and $3.00 respectively.

The latter of these dates all the way back to 1980. I already own the storybooks for A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, so it was great to be able to complete the trilogy. While not as old, The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels was a hit of pure nostalgia for me. Published in 1996, this book provides detailed schematics for every ship that had appeared in the Star Wars films and Expanded Universe up until that point. Some of the more notable additions are concept vehicles that would later go on to receive film treatment in the prequel trilogy - like the Juggernaut.

There's nothing like finding great secondhand Star Wars bargains - and these two books are exactly what I'm always on the hunt for. They'll make excellent additions to my Star Wars library!

Han Solo Anthology Film Announced has just posted an announcement that the next Star Wars anthology film will be a Han Solo origin tale. The movie will be directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (The LEGO Movie) and written by Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the JediThe Force Awakens) and his son Jon Kasdan (Dawson's Creek and Freaks and Geeks).

Of all the possible anthology films, this is the one I had been hoping for most. Han is by far my favourite character of the whole damn saga - and I can't wait to see his backstory play out on the big screen.

What are your thoughts on this announcement? Be sure to email them to or send me a tweet at @Archon_Revuge!

Your Guide to Star Wars at SDCC 2015

This weekend Comic-Con International: San Diego rolls around again, bringing with it a variety of Star Wars-related panels and presentations. Last year I posted a guide to these events, including converted dates and times for those of us here in New Zealand. This time around, MattG over at the SWNZ Message Boards has taken care of this for us - and you can see the full program of SDCC Star Wars events here.

(Image courtesy of

Of particular interest will be The Force Awakens panel. Unfortunately, Entertainment Weekly has just announced that - contrary to popular rumour - no new Episode VII footage will be shown at SDCC. We're yet to hear this through official Lucasfilm or Disney channels, but EW have been fairly reliable with their Star Wars reporting in the past. This doesn't, of course, rule out the possibility of new images or other tidbits relating to the film. Maybe we'll get our first look at the official poster for The Force Awakens?

As a collector, I'm also incredibly excited for the Hasbro Star Wars panel. The SDCC site claims that this panel will have "...a few surprises, including a special product reveal", and there's little doubt that this will be related to Hasbro's upcoming product line for the new film. I, for one, can't wait to see what'll be on offer and start working on my wishlist!

What are you most looking forward to at SDCC 2015? Be sure to let me know by emailing, or sending a tweet to @Archon_Revuge!

The Black Series 3 3/4" Wave 7 and 8 Figures

In an unlikely turn of events, waves 7 and 8 of The Black Series 3 3/4" line began turning up at a number of Farmers stores in New Zealand weekend. Even more fortuitously, this release coincided with the start of their 'Monster Toy Sale' which saw figures reduced by 40% to $11.99 each. I took this excellent opportunity to pick up #09 Captain Rex, #10 Jon "Dutch" Vander, #11 Chewbacca, #13 Commander Doom, #15 Commander Thorn, and #19 Han Solo.

These six figures (like much of The Black Series) represent the ultimate in Star Wars action figures - characters presented in the traditional 3 3/4" scale and featuring the very best in articulation and design.

The three clone commanders are fairly similar in construction, with minor variations in design. Each boasts fourteen points of articulation, and comes with two DC-17 pistols and a pair of working holsters.

Rex is perhaps the most recognisable of this trio, being one of the central characters in The Clone Wars television series. The deco on his figure is exquisite - right down to the weld marks on his custom-made helmet, and the kill counts etched along his arms and legs. Doom and Thorn are a little more obscure, each appearing in only a single episode of The Clone Wars: The Lost Missions (episodes 1 and 7 respectively). Despite being relatively unknown, the pair each have a striking design that'll look great among the rest of my Clone Troopers (currently in storage, but pictured below).

A short while ago, I realised that I hadn't yet added an "ultimate" super-articulated Chewbacca to my collection. This latest release was a great way to fill that gap. Chewie comes with fifteen points of articulation, as well as his trademark bandolier and bowcaster. The weapon takes a little cajoling to fit into his hands - but once it's there, it fits snugly and affords the figure a dynamic and natural pose. The detailing and paint application is near-perfect, making this figure one of the best 3 3/4" versions of Chewie to date.

Han comes with the same articulation, and provides us with with yet another fantastic figure (though I suppose that should be "figures", since it contains Han both pre- and post- carbon freezing chamber). Pre-freeze Han isn't anything too exciting, but does provide an authentic representation of the character and costume from the film. No weapons are included, but he does come with arm restraints and a pair of handcuffs faithful to those seen on-screen. Perhaps the best part of this figure is the actual carbonite block. Prior to this, the only version of post-freeze Han I had was the one that came with the 1996 Power of the Force figure. This was a single piece of coloured plastic with decals for detailing and a completely hollow back side. This latest version is a vast improvement, featuring an exquisite paintjob - right down to the dials on the control panels. The block is also fully enclosed, maximising display possibilities.

Dutch is perhaps the least exciting of this trio - simply being the familiar Rebel pilot's body with a new head sculpt and helmet deco. Nevertheless, he'll make a great addition to the collection of pilots I've been building over the last few years (currently in storage, but pictured below).

Dutch comes with a removable helmet and a blaster pistol. Unfortunately, like his pilot predecessors, he has a lot of trouble keeping hold of his weapon. Some careful placement is needed to make the blaster stay in his hands, and even then it's prone to be dropped at the slightest nudge.

This latest release of Black Series figures is perhaps the best we've seen since the line began, and it's very lucky that many of us were - thanks to Farmers - able to snatch them up for nearly half of their usual retail price. I've got a hunch that this is the last drop of new stock we'll see until merchandise for The Force Awakens begins to hit stores in September. At the very least, that gives us a couple of months to replenish our collecting budgets!