May 4, 2022

PROTOTYPE! A Star Wars 'zine from 1995

The junked droids read a STAR WARS Newsletter Josh wrote when he was 10 years old.


The junked droids read a Star Wars Newsletter Josh wrote when he was 10 years old, in the days before the prequels, before the special editions -- even before the THX remastered box set of the original trilogy! A good laugh is had by all at the expense of this budding young entertainment journalist...

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Transcript

TRASHCOMPOD S01E01 Newsletter

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[00:00:00] Josh: Welcome to Trash Compactor. I'm Josh and joining me today is Bracey.

 

[00:00:04] Bracey: Hello.

 

[00:00:04] Josh: Frey.

 

[00:00:05] Frey: Hello. 

 

[00:00:06] Josh: & returning heel slash curmudgeon of the pod, Russ.

 

[00:00:10] Russ: Hi.

 

[00:00:11] Josh: Today, we're going to be doing something a little different. It's a bit of an experiment when I was 10 in 1995, I made a four-page Star Wars newsletter. I'm not entirely sure why I've joked in the past that this podcast is actually the sequel to this newsletter, but I didn't ever think I would actually be talking about or showing this.

 

[00:00:31] I thought it might be fun to go through my four-page Star Wars newsletter that 10 year old me wrote in 1995, which was a very specific moment in Star Wars. I don't know what you want to call it. Fandom the life of Star Wars, such as it was at the time. So we're going to read through it and already this is super embarrassing, I already regret having done this.

 

[00:00:56] Uh, but okay, here we are. I started this, I can't take it back. So [00:01:00] first of all, it's called the Star Wars newsletter. Not even "the," it just says "Star Wars newsletter" on the cover. It looks like it's got the Star Wars logo. What looks like a cutout from the cover of the hardcover edition of Darksaber.

 

[00:01:12] On the front of it, it says 20 years ago in a galaxy very, very near, a young filmmaker named George Lucas wanted to create a quote "modern space fairytale," unquote, that people, regardless of age or gender, could enjoy. I don't know where that part came from. I don't-remember him ever saying that. Anyway, the film, later to be named Star Wars, went through several make-overs.

 

[00:01:32] The end result was a script about the adventures of Luke Starkiller and his quest to become a Jedi Knight, a few changes in the script Starkiller to Skywalker and so on. And the rest is history. It is now a very exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. We are on the Eve of a new Star Wars era. Once again, children will be pretending to be Luke Skywalker, princess Leia, Han solo and Chewbacca.

 

[00:01:54] The purpose of this newsletter is to guide fans through the next few years as the prequel trilogy unfolds. So [00:02:00] kick back and enjoy the very first issue of THE STAR WARS NEWSLETTER, all caps, may the force be with you.

 

[00:02:06] And then there's a very cool--I can see why I chose this, 'cause I still think it's very cool--there's a promotional still from Return of the Jedi of the Millennium Falcon and a couple of X-Wings flying into the superstructure of the Death Star 2 from Return of the Jedi.

 

[00:02:22] Okay. I don't know why I felt the need to explain what Star Wars is to a--

 

[00:02:28] Bracey: To anybody who would read a Star Wars newsletter.

 

[00:02:30] Josh: --exactly. But once again, I was 10.

 

[00:02:33] Bracey: But it sounds like you, you approached this, like, all right, so somebody's going to be like walking down the street and they're going to find this newsletter and then start reading it and be like, Ooh, I wonder what Star Wars is.

 

[00:02:44] Frey: And you don't want them to be alarmed.

 

[00:02:46] Bracey: Yeah.

 

[00:02:47] Josh: Yeah, obviously they would be taken in by the very professional and polished layout and design of--

 

[00:02:53] Frey: This is actually like disturbingly well-written for a 10 year old. There's like a show is as it, even beyond this paragraph shows like a grasp of [00:03:00] like journalistic writing, but in a way, this

 

[00:03:02] Josh: Oh, I appreciate that. Um, I'm cringing a little bit. I don't really know what your writing level skill is supposed to be when you're 10 years old.

 

[00:03:12] Bracey: Definitely not this! Like, uh, oh, when I was 10 years old, I was still writing Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo--just how they would interact and talk to each other and just general Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtle banter.

 

[00:03:27] Josh: Are you saying that you wrote Turtle fan fiction?

 

[00:03:30] Bracey: Yeah, of course. Doesn't--didn't every kid who was like a fan of whatever cartoon that they were into write stuff? Yeah. That's what I was writing.

 

[00:03:38] Frey: I did From Dusk Till-Dawn fan fiction.

 

[00:03:43] Josh: What is the name of the bar in From Dusk Till-Dawn, the Titty Twister?

 

[00:03:46] Frey: Oh yeah.

 

[00:03:48] Josh: still works. still works.

 

[00:03:50] Russ: Ahh, I love it. 

 

[00:03:52] Josh: first of all, the thing that stuck out to me is that I said that people, regardless of age or gender could enjoy. I wonder where I got that from.[00:04:00] 

 

[00:04:00] Frey: I don't know. It's a really sweet thing to say, but I don't know why. Like--

 

[00:04:03] Josh: No--

 

[00:04:04] Bracey: Yeah. 10 years old. It's kind of impressive.

 

[00:04:07] Josh: Like, I must have heard somebody describe Star Wars that way or something, because it's just a weird thing to highlight when you're describing Star Wars. In the first sentence, I'm saying it's a modern space fairy tale that people, regardless of age or gender, could enjoy.

 

[00:04:20] Frey: Yeah. I don't know, like, what are you comparing it to? That really was--

 

[00:04:23] Josh: Yeah, I don't--

 

[00:04:23] Frey: Like the boys--

 

[00:04:24] Josh: I don't know.

 

[00:04:25] Frey: The boys or girls only version.

 

[00:04:26] Bracey: I wonder what you watched to inspire. The writing of that first paragraph. What do you think you, this, like, writing this was on the heels of that made you go, like, I got to give the context. Did you watch something? Was it like, it was the behind the scenes stuff?

 

[00:04:42] Josh: Well, probably behind the scene stuff. Obviously the behind the scenes stuff was very influential to me as a kid. Certainly. Which, Bracey, I know you can relate to because I don't know when in our friendship this was: one of us quoted a deleted scene from Back to the Future that was only shown in the making of [00:05:00] the Back to the Future VHS that was included in the box set.

 

[00:05:03] I was like, oh shit. Like this guy knows what I'm quoting. And it's from a deleted scene that was only, to my knowledge, shown on the bonus VHS in the box set. He must have watched that as many times as the movies, just like I did, to be able to know what I'm referencing.

 

[00:05:19] Bracey: That was a deep cut right there, that. "Suddenly the future's looking a whole lot better," I think was the line from Doc Brown.

 

[00:05:26] Josh: You have a moment like that with someone, and you're like, oh my God, this person is going to be in my life for the rest of my life.

 

[00:05:33] Bracey: For better or worse.

 

[00:05:34] Josh: Yeah, for better or worse. There were only so many people like this.

 

[00:05:37] Frey: I think the future is looking a whole lot like whatever this is.

 

[00:05:40] Bracey: Yeah.

 

[00:05:43] Josh: No, but honestly, I think there was a website, StarWarz.com with a Z. One of the things that had was the various drafts of the script for Star Wars. That-- 

 

[00:05:54] Russ: Still exists. 

 

[00:05:56] Josh: Yes it does. Yes, it does. I think unchanged from--more or [00:06:00] less--from what it was 30 years ago.

 

[00:06:01] Bracey: A forum. Wow. That's...

 

[00:06:03] Josh: Oh, here! Starkiller - The Jedi Bendu Script Site. That homepage that's exactly what it was in 1995. I recognize this exactly. And I read the summary of the rough drafts. 

 

[00:06:15] Did you know that when they started shooting the original Star Wars, the name was still Starkiller. So when they were shooting everything on Tatooine in Tunisia, the name was still Luke Starkiller, but they never said the name until they, until Luke rescues Leia on the Death Star.

 

[00:06:32] And he says, I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you. And between the location shoot in Tunisia and traveling to the UK to shoot in the studio, Lucas did some more script revisions, and he changed the name from Starkiller to Skywalker. So it's just weird to think about when you're watching the scenes of Luke on Tatooine that, in his mind, like I'm playing a character named Luke Starkiller.

 

[00:06:55] I dunno. Does that strike anyone else as weird?

 

[00:06:56] Frey: Yeah. And just the way he behaves, like in those opening [00:07:00] scenes of New Hope, it's weird to attribute Starkiller to that person.

 

[00:07:05] Bracey: I think just generally it's, it's a weird name because we haven't had the last 30, some odd years to--30, wow, 40 years for some of us--to-get-used to that name. But I feel like if it was part of it, we would have just grown up being like Starkiller stuff, Luke Skywalker. Oh, that just sounds so silly. He's just walking on the sky? Why? Why that?

 

[00:07:25] Josh: Imagine, like, Starkiller Ranch. 

 

[00:07:27] Russ: Can you imagine being an up-and-coming actor, driving to Starkiller Ranch, to meet with George Lucas and just being totally out of your league and be 

 

[00:07:35] Josh: It's-- 

 

[00:07:36] Russ: Just the thought: Starkiller?! 

 

[00:07:38] Bracey: But I WANT to be a star.

 

[00:07:41] Josh: Moving right along: Star Wars update. George Lucas is currently working on the scripts for the Star Wars prequels, Episodes One through Three. They are to deal with the young Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader, and how Emperor Palpatine rose to power. All three films are scheduled for release in 1998.

 

[00:07:57] I don't know if you recall, but that was actually the plan at [00:08:00] one point: to shoot them all back to back and release them.

 

[00:08:03] Russ: Like simultaneously, so you can watch all three at the same time in the theater? 

 

[00:08:06] Josh: Maybe I was misinterpreting that the first one was to be released in 1998.

 

[00:08:12] Frey: I was just wondering as far as, like, George Lucas', like, vision for the effects in the prequel trilogy, and all the digital sets - what was he thinking? As far as the technology as it was, like, pre-1997.

 

[00:08:22] Josh: I think it's pretty well documented that the thing that made him decide, okay, I'm going to make the Star Wars prequels was when he saw what ILM was doing with Jurassic Park. But actually the Young Indiana Jones series, his experience shooting that, and the production model, the digital effects that they experimented with on that, and the way of shooting it--when you saw where nonlinear editing was, and to see like how you could just very quickly make a crowd of 10 people into a crowd of a thousand ... and he was like, okay, I want to get my hands dirty again.

 

[00:08:54] So I think he was thinking, oh, like we could do this like Young Indiana Jones and it would be small and nimble [00:09:00] and we could just do it a lot faster and more intense.

 

[00:09:05] Bracey: I don't think he ever got to the "more intense" part. But I am curious, like, if he had shot all three of these movies at the same time, would that have been like the first major franchise to do that?

 

[00:09:16] Josh: No, they shot Superman 1 and 2 at the same time. And they also shot Back to the Future 2 and 3 back-to-back

 

[00:09:23] Bracey: But, but not three, I mean, 3, 3, 3 movies,

 

[00:09:29] Josh: Three? I don't think so?

 

[00:09:31] Bracey: Lord of the Rings. I thought that was like, why that was novel when that happened is because they had shot all three of those.

 

[00:09:36] Josh: Well, that is, I believe, the first time that it actually happened. I don't know if it was a rumor or if it was actually the plan at one point, but there was a lot of talk about how the prequels were to be shot back to back, or simultaneously, whatever. Which obviously ended up not happening.

 

[00:09:52] Anyway, continuing with the Star Wars update: ILM--in parentheses, Industrial Light and Magic--is redoing all of the special effects in the first [00:10:00] Star Wars film.

 

[00:10:00] They are also incorporating into it scenes that were originally cut from the film, such as the scene where Han Solo has a confrontation with Jabba the Hutt.

 

[00:10:08] However, there will be no Luke/Biggs footage. Does ILM have any similar plans for The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi? George Lucas isn't very enthusiastic about it. Star Wars Special Edition should open in theaters in 1997.

 

[00:10:22] Again, I wonder where I'm getting my information from. So clearly I had read something that was talking about the Special Edition, where George Lucas must have said that he's not planning to do it for the other two movies, which obviously didn't turn out to be the case.

 

[00:10:38] Frey: Or maybe you just didn't hear about it. And you were, like, just kind of extrapolating, like, what George Lucas was thinking about it at the time. Like, well, I'm hearing about it, so he's not enthusiastic.

 

[00:10:47] Josh: My code of ethics as the journalist that I'm LARPing as here, I don't think would have allowed for that sort of a characterization. Like, it doesn't seem like the kind of thing I would invent whole cloth.

 

[00:10:58] Frey: Ten-year-old you just got really offended that I [00:11:00] suggested that.

 

[00:11:04] Josh: Moving on: Recently, Fox video re-released the Star Wars movies on video cassette. They have been digitally remastered by THX, meaning better sound and picture quality. The movies have been packaged in new boxes and each includes a video interview with George Lucas and a special coupon booklet with discounts on Star Wars merchandise. I don't know why I included that detail.

 

[00:11:22] Bracey: You went straight from newsletter to super saver in one fell swoop.

 

[00:11:27] Josh: Yeah, exactly. The set of three goes for around $40, but you better hurry and buy your copy fast because the Star Wars movies in their original format will be taken off the market forever on January 31st, 1996. 

 

[00:11:39] Russ: No joke. 

 

[00:11:40] Josh: No joke. 

 

[00:11:42] Russ: No joke. You can't get them. 

 

[00:11:44] Josh: Available also is the THX remastered Star Wars, movies in "Letterbox" format. I don't know why I capitalized letterbox and I don't know why I abbreviated Star Wars to SW in that last sentence.

 

[00:11:56] Frey: Yeah, I think you'd do it for here on out. You do that.

 

[00:11:59] Josh: [00:12:00] Once I set a precedent for something, I continue with-it. 

 

[00:12:02] Frey: Yeah, you have a style guide.

 

[00:12:04] Josh: Yeah. I have a little style guide. You guys remember the famous "faces" release, as they call them.

 

[00:12:09] I know our viewers-- or our listeners--you can't see, but there's a little thumbnail of the boxes up. 

 

[00:12:15] Russ: It's the only legitimate version of Star Wars. Yeah. Yeah. I remember. 

 

[00:12:19] Josh: The "only legitimate version of Star Wars."

 

[00:12:21] Bracey: As deemed by whom, Russ? As deemed by whom?

 

[00:12:26] Russ: ME. It's been approved by me. 

 

[00:12:27] Josh: At some point, we are going to do a Special Edition episode, but I don't want to wade too deeply into that right here.

 

[00:12:33] 20th century Fox recently launched their "web site" on the "Internet." Website is two words and the I in internet is capitalized.

 

[00:12:40] Frey: I remember learning that, that we had to do that. Yeah. I think in the nineties it was like, that was, it had to be like, that was proper to, like, capitalize it.

 

[00:12:47] Josh: For sure. Like the New York Times style guide, the internet and the worldwide web, like, all had to be capitalized.

 

[00:12:51] And then I list the URL: www.tcfhe.com. That's a fucking god-awful URL. Isn't it?

 

[00:12:59] Frey: Yeah, [00:13:00] it just doesn't look right.

 

[00:13:01] Josh: Was there, like, a domain squatter on 20thcenturyfox.com?

 

[00:13:05] Bracey: I think they were going with the logic, like, you gotta make it as small as possible. Like it's just, it doesn't matter what it is.

 

[00:13:11] Josh: Yeah. But when I look at that URL, I have no idea what the fuck that is. Nowhere in my mind, am I going, oh, that's obviously 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.com. 

 

[00:13:22] Russ: The site can't be reached. 

 

[00:13:23] Josh: If we Wayback Machine'd it, we could find it. And then I note they have a very large Star Wars area. 

 

[00:13:28] Russ: The play area for adults. 

 

[00:13:29] Josh: I assume we all owned this particular VHS.

 

[00:13:32] Bracey: Actually I didn't rebuy it. I still have the set before this one, and, and it came with From Star Wars to Jedi.

 

[00:13:40] Josh: Star Wars to Jedi. Yeah.

 

[00:13:42] Bracey: And, and that was the set I, I stuck with.

 

[00:13:44] Russ: They did make changes. 

 

[00:13:47] Josh: I don't think they made changes. It was just the transfer was a cleaner transfer. 

 

[00:13:51] Russ: Okay. Was there any audio adjustments? Like, I thought there might've been audio changes. 

 

[00:13:56] Josh: I don't think there were adjustments to the film itself. [00:14:00] I just think it was the source for the transfer and the process of the transfer from whatever the print they used to VHS. And it is interesting because I believe--and I might be getting this completely backwards--but for VHS, they preferred very low contrast prints, I believe.

 

[00:14:17] And there was something about the reds that I was reading. Somebody on Twitter had a whole thread about how, if you look at the cinematography of movies in the nineties, how they were basically like shooting for VHS, the way that VHS handles colors in particular, the color red. Red was a notoriously troublesome when reproduced on VHS.

 

[00:14:39] Bracey: I remember certain colors actually made this like static thing happened on my VHS, on my TV, actually on just my TV in general. Maybe that wasn't a VHS thing, maybe I just had an old shitty TV that I needed to fix. Those were the times.

 

[00:14:57] Josh: When was the first time you guys saw Star Wars [00:15:00] in widescreen?

 

[00:15:00] Bracey: Probably in the theater. When, during the rerelease. Oh, Nope. At my friend PJ's house. I think they had a, what were the gold discs, laser discs? Wasn't that, I think that was--

 

[00:15:11] Josh: That is cool.

 

[00:15:12] Bracey: Yeah. I think that was the first place. I didn't see them all. I think I will this all one of them.

 

[00:15:16] but. 

 

[00:15:16] Josh: For me, the Sci-Fi Channel, when they launched with--the first thing they ever showed was the original Star Wars trilogy in widescreen in 199--I don't know, 4 or 5. 

 

[00:15:28] Russ: I recall that. 

 

[00:15:29] Josh: USA and the Sci-Fi channel were a part of the same company. So they used to have a Thanksgiving marathons and they would show--I think on Sci-Fi, they showed it in widescreen.

 

[00:15:38] I don't know if they showed it in widescreen on USA, but I guess that they figured that anyone watching Sci-Fi was nerd enough to care about that sort of thing.

 

[00:15:45] Bracey: I remember when the Sci-Fi Channel was coming and they used Star Wars all throughout their advertising. And I was just so amped and then I never saw Star Wars on Sci-Fi. I mean, I guess I just didn't align [00:16:00] with whatever the schedule was, but I never saw it. 

 

[00:16:02] Russ: The ultimate bait and switch. 

 

[00:16:04] Bracey: Yeah, that's what it felt like.

 

[00:16:05] Josh: I just remember like reruns of The Incredible Hulk from the seventies, The Bionic Woman and the $6 Million Man, and In Search of with Leonard Nimoy. I remember those were, like, on repeat all the time. So if you think about it, it started off as like TV Land for Sci-Fi. It was like, whatever was cheap to license and Star Wars, at that moment in time,

 

[00:16:28] wasn't the super hot commodity that it is now. Obviously the licensing, I'm sure, wasn't cheap, but if you think about it, that's sort of in line with the rest of Sci-Fi channel's programming. Like they probably had the license to show it for, like, a year.

 

[00:16:42] Frey: Yeah. That's like perfect for a new cable channel. And also, I remember they had, I don't know if it was right away, but they had Mystery Science Theater, 3000. That was like an early--

 

[00:16:49] Bracey: Oh yeah.

 

[00:16:50] Josh: Comedy Central canceled Mystery Science Theater 3000. And then the last couple of seasons were actually on Sci-Fi.

 

[00:16:55] Frey: Starting in '96 or something like that.

 

[00:16:57] Josh: Yeah. '96 or '97. Yeah. Okay, anyway, [00:17:00] moving on: Star Wars book review. Star Wars: Darksaber is a new Star Wars novel by Kevin J. Anderson. It involves the coming together of Admiral Daala and the promoted Vice Admiral Pelaeon.

 

[00:17:11] I never actually knew how to say his name--is it, is it Pelaeon?

 

[00:17:16] Frey: That sounds--

 

[00:17:17] Josh: Paella? Anyway-- 

 

[00:17:22] Russ: Yeah. 

 

[00:17:23] Josh: Together they construct a massive battle fleet and attempt to destroy the New Republic. Meanwhile, in the Hoth asteroid belt, a Hutt named Durga uses original Death Star designer Bevel Limelisk to design a new Death Star, to be named the Darksaber.

 

[00:17:38] Will Daala and Paella succeed in their quest to destroy the Republic? That sounds delicious. Will this new Death Star be as fearsome as the first? What about the second? I'm skipping over the second entirely. Find out in the fabulous action-packed Star Wars novel Darksaber. And then I say: new Star Wars book, the Star Wars Illustrated Universe, and coming soon - Star Wars: Tales of Jabba the Hutt and Star [00:18:00] Wars: Tales of the Bounty Hunters.

 

[00:18:02] Russ: Uh, the good, good. That's the good stuff. 

 

[00:18:04] Josh: This was really quite a time. I have to reread that. 

 

[00:18:06] Russ: Star Wars. 

 

[00:18:07] Josh: Did any of you guys ever read the Kevin J. Anderson novels in the nineties?

 

[00:18:11] Russ: Yeah, they were the first ones I read, actually. 

 

[00:18:14] Josh: me 

 

[00:18:14] Russ: air the 

 

[00:18:15] Josh: The first one I read--no, so did I, the first one--so this must mean, because you and I both had the same experience, so that they, like, broadened their marketing strategy because the Jedi Academy trilogy or the Jedi Search trilogy was the second trilogy to follow up the Thrawn trilogy.

 

[00:18:31] And I remember very clearly I was grocery shopping with my dad and in the magazine section, I saw Jedi Search and I was like, what? New StarWars?

 

[00:18:42] Russ: There were Star Wars. books in, like, little kind of basket racks and the supermarket. I definitely bought the second book in that Kevin J. Anderson trilogy in the supermarket. I also bought the Courtship of Princess Leia in the A&P. So yeah. I bought Star Wars books at supermarkets. 

 

[00:18:57] Josh: The Courtship of Princess Leia is [00:19:00] only notable to me for--that's where the Witches of Dathomir originate. I believe they show up again in Clone Wars. And George Lucas's daughter, his second daughter, whose name is escaping me right now. She really loved the Witches of Dathomir. And she was in the writer's room for clone wars and she was responsible for the whole return of the Witches of Dathomir in the Clone Wars show.

 

[00:19:25] Frey: I think they, one of them also shows up in Ewoks: Battle for Endor. Like one of the characters is 

 

[00:19:32] Russ: I know the guest on that episode of the podcast. 

 

[00:19:35] Bracey: I remember nothing of that one.

 

[00:19:37] Russ: The Battle of Endor? I mean, I think Frey's just going to cover all the Ewok movies.

 

[00:19:41] Josh: I think that came out in what, like 1985 or 1986. And I remember I had no idea they existed. I think I saw that they were showing it like on the Disney Channel or something, and I was like, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God--I can't believe there's like a Star Wars thing that I've never seen. [00:20:00] And I remember I started to watch it--like I sat down to watch it, probably with a fresh VHS in the old video cassette recorder, and I remember instantly being crushingly disappointed.

 

[00:20:11] Frey: Yeah.

 

[00:20:12] Josh: Because I was like this, why are the Ewoks speaking English and who is this little kid? And what the fuck is this garbage? This isn't more Star Wars. This is for babies, or whatever. I was really pissed. 

 

[00:20:23] Russ: They were TV movies. And I think that's the reason why, uh, they didn't really have as much of a cultural impact. Maybe not having a theatrical release? 

 

[00:20:31] Josh: They really are an artifact of that fallow Lucasfilm period in the mid to late eighties, the aesthetics and the props. It's right after Return of the Jedi, it's all a carryover. And I believe--the first one, at least--was directed by, oh God, his name is escaping me, but a friend of George Lucas who directed--something Korby. Maybe he directed--

 

[00:20:51] Bracey: He was like, yo, we got all these teddy bear costumes in the backlot, what do you wanna do with them? Ah, let's make a movie.

 

[00:20:56] Josh: Basically. Yeah, 

 

[00:20:57] Russ: John Korty.

 

[00:20:58] Josh: Yes. Did he [00:21:00] direct--?

 

[00:21:00] Russ: The second one? No, it was Jim wheat and Ken Wheat. I assume brothers. 

 

[00:21:03] Frey: I know that Wilford Brimley didn't get along with them. So Joe Johnston was the production designer on that one and he had to direct all the scenes with Wilford Brimley.

 

[00:21:11] Josh: That's amazing.

 

[00:21:12] Bracey: Holy shit. How do you guys know that?

 

[00:21:15] Russ: Oh, Frey knows. Frey knows things. Yeah. It's--I don't even know. He just, things happen in that head of his.

 

[00:21:21] Josh: It is that anecdote that now makes me want to do the episode on these two movies. 100% seriously. We are going to do them now.

 

[00:21:30] Russ: The Battle for Endor poster, by the way, rocks. That's a cool looking poster. Like, that's cool.

 

[00:21:36] Frey: I'm not sure who the guy is on that.

 

[00:21:38] Josh: That looks like a foreign poster, if you're looking at IMDb. 

 

[00:21:40] Russ: Yeah. The Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure--not as cool looking. But classic. 

 

[00:21:45] Josh: Okay, this is obviously a German poster. It's called Kampf um Endor.

 

[00:21:50] Russ: It's awesome. This is the best poster I think I've ever seen. Cindel is in both of these films, by the way. We're getting way off topic. 

 

[00:21:57] Frey: It's--what's crazy is that her, the rest of her [00:22:00] family's, like, the main characters in the first one and they all--spoiler alert--they all die, like, at the beginning of the second one.

 

[00:22:05] Josh: It's very dark, that first one. But what else did John Korty direct? Because he's a filmmaker of some note. 

 

[00:22:13] Russ: He's probably most well-known for, according to IMDb, Farewell to Manzanar? Miracle in a Box? I don't know what any of this is.

 

[00:22:21] Josh: Yeah, you're right, his IMDb is weird. But he and George Lucas, I believe were like college roommates at USC, something like that. So this was definitely a case of, we have all these Ewok costumes lying around, hey buddy, would you do me a solid and direct this shit for me? So Darksaber, one of the many expanded universe attempts to recreate what the Star Wars formula became, where like you have to have a super weapon that's on par with the Death Star--that I would argue started with Return of the Jedi. The Return of the Jedi was the first one to pull that. And it was [00:23:00] just barely acceptable that first time. Some may argue it wasn't even then, but--

 

[00:23:05] Bracey: I'll argue that. Now. It was my favorite back in the day, but like growing up it's, oh, I see what you did there. All right. 

 

[00:23:14] Russ: I'm just going to hold. I'm going to hold all of my-- 

 

[00:23:16] Bracey: Teddy bears!

 

[00:23:17] Russ: Stop it! Stop it!

 

[00:23:19] Josh: That's a topic for another episode. That's a topic for another episode.

 

[00:23:21] Bracey: It's true. Just saying it's 

 

[00:23:22] true

 

[00:23:22] Russ: They're warrior bears. Warrior bears. How dare you.

 

[00:23:26] Bracey: Wookies 

 

[00:23:27] Russ: Paploo is amazing. How dare you. Take it back. 

 

[00:23:30] Josh: Chief Chirpa is actually pretty scary-looking, if you look at him. 

 

[00:23:33] Russ: He's intense. 

 

[00:23:34] Josh: I wish that they had gone more in the Chief Chirpa direction and less in the Wicket direction.

 

[00:23:39] Frey: If they'd behave differently than it would be actually terrifying. Like they're not inherently cute 

 

[00:23:44] Russ: Show their teeth! 

 

[00:23:46] Josh: Yeah. 

 

[00:23:47] Russ: Real scary. 

 

[00:23:49] Josh: Okay. Anyway--

 

[00:23:49] Bracey: Show they don't have a dental plan. Things are like going in all directions. If you get bit, it's totally gangrene.

 

[00:23:57] Russ: And also, like, there were Care Bears out at the time so show [00:24:00] these ones are like carnivore bears, eating raw meat and pulling fish out of the river. I don't know.

 

[00:24:05] Josh: I would have watched that cartoon. Okay. Star Wars comics backslash cards. I don't know why I went with the backslash there. Have you heard of Star Wars Widevision cards for those who have not?

 

[00:24:15] Well, Russ, for those who have not, the Star Wars Widevision cards are cards with scenes from the Star Wars movies.

 

[00:24:22] Russ: They were still frames. They were just like frames. 

 

[00:24:25] Frey: You're being very clear.

 

[00:24:27] Josh: However, these cards are about double the size of a standard-size card. The Star Wars Widevision packs are no longer sold at stores, but can be purchased from catalogs. Most stores are now selling packs of The Empire Strikes Back Widevision cards. In the Star Wars set, there are 120 cards to collect. In Empire, there are 144. Each series also has a certain number of special foil cards. Coming soon: Return of the Jedi Widevision, Star Wars the Customizable Card Game, and Star Wars Galaxy 3, which, I think Star Wars Galaxy was a magazine.

 

[00:24:56] Russ: That was the magazine that both you and I had a subscription [00:25:00] to.

 

[00:25:00] Josh: The Star Wars Customizable Card Game. That, for me, was what made me a regular at my local comic shop, where I grew up--that was pretty crazy. There is an everlasting array of Star Wars comics. The legacy of Star Wars comics began with the adaptation of the first film by Marvel. After that they continue to produce original comics based on the movie.

 

[00:25:16] They also adapted the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Then Marvel stopped producing Star Wars comics and went on to other projects. A few years ago, Dark Horse Comics began to produce Star Wars comics with Dark Empire. Since then, Dark Horse has produced more Star Wars comics like Tales of the Jedi, reprints of the original movie adaptations, Ewoks, Droids, Star Wars: The Early Adventures--in parentheses, Star Wars comic strips from newspapers, Dark Empire 2, Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett, and X-Wing Rogue Squadron. Coming soon: X-Wing Rogue Squadron #4. Russ, could you speak to, a little bit, how important the Dark Horse label was at this time? 

 

[00:25:48] Russ: Yeah. I mean, basically I'll recap this more in the Dark Empire podcast episode, but I believe that 1991 was the first time the Star Wars comics came back. Star Wars comics actually premiered before the [00:26:00] 1977 film came out. So it was a month before Star Wars actually premiered. So you can actually have a Star Wars comic in your hand before we even saw the movie.

 

[00:26:07] So the comics that played like a huge part for a lot of, like, fans--like their first kind of visual, like, storytelling dip into Star Wars. And then, yeah, Dark Horse. I guess the license had lapsed or no one wanted to make comics, thinking that Star Wars didn't really have the weight to sell books. I don't know.

 

[00:26:25] I don't know what the reason was. I guess Marvel had it and no one else pursued it. 

 

[00:26:28] Josh: Yeah, I think the license lapsed and nobody wanted it. The same thing with the Kenner action figures. Crazy how fast the market demand for Star Wars, like, completely fell right off a cliff like circa 1985, 1986. Which makes sense. Like, without another movie to look forward to, the Ewoks: Battle for Endor wasn't cutting it.

 

[00:26:46] Bracey: No, they needed something new.

 

[00:26:48] Josh: Russ, correct me if I'm wrong, but Dark Horse as a comic imprint, they were doing some really interesting stuff. 

 

[00:26:55] Russ: Yeah, they had a mix. It was their own owned properties, as well as licensed [00:27:00] properties. They had the Alien, Predator properties, and I'm pretty sure they had Terminator as well. They were the first to do that--have license mix of properties overall. Dark Empire, like, I was reading that they had started planning for that roughly, I think, in 1986--or 1988 is when they started planning to release it, I think.

 

[00:27:16] And it came out in 1991, the first issue. So it had been in the works for a long time, parallel to the Timothy Zahn trilogy.

 

[00:27:25] Josh: Did Dark Horse go to Lucasfilm wanting to do this, or no? 

 

[00:27:30] Russ: a good question. I think they might have. I actually, I don't know. No, I have to look into that. 

 

[00:27:36] Josh: Both of those are subjects we are going to return to for sure. Next section: Star Wars merchandise, otherwise known as Star Wars. We are on the eve of a new Star Wars era. So naturally "their," oh God, I used the wrong "their" there. That's really fucking awful--

 

[00:27:49] Bracey: Dude, you were 10! Give past Bernhard a break.

 

[00:27:53] Josh: Yeah. He deserves a break.

 

[00:27:55] Frey: He is out here busting his ass!

 

[00:27:57] Josh: Yeah, so, this I pretty much [00:28:00] must have just read a catalog and went through what it was advertising, because I don't think my heart was really in this section. I seem to recall that. It's very telling, though, that I didn't feel like I could make a Star Wars newsletter without having a section about merchandise that was coming out.

 

[00:28:15] Here's some of the upcoming merchandise: the Star Wars Customizable Card Game by Decipher. A 3D Millennium Falcon puzzle by Milton Bradley. Exciting collector sets by Galoob. Maquettes of Admiral Ackbar, Boba Fett, and Jabba the Hutt by Elusive Concepts. The 1996 Star Wars Calendar by Hallmark. Original film cels from the movies by Willits Design. C3PO and R2D2 electronic banks by Thinkway. PVC figures and other collectables by Applause. Chromium art and lobby cards with the new Star Wars video cover images by Zanart. Posters of the new video covers by Western Graphics. Star Wars hats by Freshcaps to go along with Star Wars t-shirts by Changes--that's a weird company name. And Kenner has already released play sets and new action figures. I feel like that should have been the headline there because that was a big deal.

 

[00:28:57] Russ: Yeah, the Power of the Force. 

 

[00:28:58] Frey: But it already happened. [00:29:00] So you weren't excited to break that news.

 

[00:29:02] Josh: I'm sure it is why it's just a footnote at the end--because it's not new. However, we have barely scratched the surface of the new Star Wars merchandise. Expect more merchandise as we get closer to the release of the Star Wars Special Edition. Wow--every time I say "we are on the Eve of a new Star Wars era," like, I don't even think I knew the extent of what that phrase would portend there. "I'm sure there will be more new merchandise as we get closer to it." Yeah. You fucking think? Like, Jesus Christ, our planet will be dead and gone and there will still be landfills filled with Star Wars merchandise that are visible from light years away.

 

[00:29:42] Bracey: I would love to just watch 10 year old you be brought to right now. Just, just brought to right now and see, just go into, I don't know, Target--go into any general superstore and just--

 

[00:29:55] Josh: Any general store.

 

[00:29:57] Bracey: general supermarket store. [00:30:00] Cause you'll see it on everything! Like, going from a, like a drought where it was, like, so hyper specialized back in the day to, like, you can't--you can walk down any store in the supermarket and any aisle in a supermarket and sometimes, usually find a Star Wars thing somewhere. It's, like, lip balm. It's disposable plates. Star Wars.

 

[00:30:23] Josh: This was before even the Special Edition. So like the idea that you could sit down and see a new Star Wars TV show about Boba Fett, like, in your house, I would just be ... it's, like, it's also one of those things where I think ten-year-old me would take a long time, like, wrapping his mind around the size of the television that he was at. He would be like, "you have a movie theater in your house."

 

[00:30:44] Bracey: Yeah. At the time you were writing this, I was still playing Rebel Assault on Sega CD. And I was happy. I-- 

 

[00:30:51] was, 

 

[00:30:52] Josh: CD version! Wow.

 

[00:30:54] Bracey: I was happy. That game sucked, and I was happy. I looked just like, yeah, no, I loved it [00:31:00] too. But it was because there was nothing else that was anywhere near that.

 

[00:31:04] Josh: Don't get me wrong, it doesn't hold a candle to TIE Fighter, or even, frankly, theSuper Star Wars games for Super Nintendo. The big deal about that was seeing that live action Star Wars on your computer screen and being able to interact with it. That was a groundbreaking game.

 

[00:31:18] Russ: Beggar's Canyon in the skyhopper was fun. The A-wing in the asteroid field. I had a great time Rebel Assault. I played a lot of it on my first computer. Yeah. We got a joystick for it ,and it wasn't a good joystick. It was like the joystick you get with your, like, Dell-ish computer pack. Yeah. 

 

[00:31:35] Josh: At Comp USA or a Circuit City.

 

[00:31:37] Russ: They also gave us Maniac Mansion. They gave us like a LucasArts bundle with the computer and it was pretty sweet. Day of the Tentacle? Yeah, LucasArts was-awesome. 

 

[00:31:47] Josh: We have to do a LucasArts episode at some point. Okay. Here, um, the final section of this, I have to admit, this is the only section of the newsletter that I personally did not write. I had a friend--I've actually had a bunch [00:32:00] of these, like, mayfly friends. We would be really good friends for, like, a couple of years.

 

[00:32:04] And the thing that we had in common was a love of Star Wars at a time when that was an uncommon thing to love. So the point is I had a friend at this point in 1995, who I was like trying to get to do this newsletter with me. And this was his contribution was Star Wars: Jabba's Deceit. This is an original Star Wars story for you to finish as Jabba the Hutt hires bounty hunters left and right to capture the mercenary Han Solo.

 

[00:32:29] He is unaware that someone is watching him. Jabba finally had hired just about every bounty hunter in the entire Tatooine system. He relaxed and waited for results. Then he knew something was terribly wrong--dot, dot, dot. Late one night in Jabba's palace, a stranger silently made his way past the guards and walked in. The stranger wore armor collected from several different areas.

 

[00:32:51] He wore a Stormtrooper chestplate and boots while he had green arm and leg armor. I think there's supposed to be--

 

[00:32:57] Bracey: No man. No, no.

 

[00:32:59] Josh: Nah, [00:33:00] man, go with it. He had a few vibroknives tied to his arms and legs, two laser pistols--one on his belt and the other in his boot. He carried a heavy laser rifle on his shoulder.

 

[00:33:08] The stranger continued to Jabba's main audience chamber--dot, dot, dot. The rest is for you to decide! And remember: be creative.

 

[00:33:15] Bracey: I just love how you've immortalized, this kid story.

 

[00:33:21] Frey: Yeah.

 

[00:33:21] Bracey: Like, You know, like really, this kid had no idea. If he was told back in the day, like, "hey, one day you're going to be on a podcast. Your story is going to be digitized and spread to billions of possible people that might not link click on this." 

 

[00:33:36] Russ: Potential listeners. 

 

[00:33:38] Bracey: Okay. Yes, exactly.

 

[00:33:41] Josh: He would be like, "what's a podcast?"

 

[00:33:43] Bracey: Yeah. What's the internet? Oh no, no. 

 

[00:33:46] Josh: What fuck is the internet?!

 

[00:33:49] Frey: So angry now!

 

[00:33:51] Russ: If I've learned anything, I'm just frightened of time traveling Star Wars children into the future. Like, that sounds like a fan film that I would actually want to watch [00:34:00] because--just watching someone break down? "So the devil guy with horns has a double lightsaber? He's Sith??" 

 

[00:34:06] Josh: Sidebar. I actually want to do this. Okay. But. Okay, but moving on--and this was my friend's other contribution: Star Wars contest. "Bring me the head of Luke Skywalker," says Darth Vader in a, what do you call it? A dialogue bubble, a speech bubble? What do you call that?

 

[00:34:24] Russ: Yeah. Word balloon. Yeah. 

 

[00:34:26] Josh: A word balloon. 

 

[00:34:27] Russ: Yeah. 

 

[00:34:28] Josh: That's right. Lord of the Sith Darth Vader wants drawings of his son, Luke Skywalker. He will accept drawings done in pen or pencil, and that are fully colored. Oh, they need to be fully colored. Oh, wow. Okay. Okay. This is--he will choose the three he likes best and they will be published in our next issue. So put your ship on autopilot and start drawing.

 

[00:34:48] Drop off your entries at any comic shop or you see a Star Wars newsletter box. You must include your name and address. Good luck, and may the force be with you. And then in--what [00:35:00] is that, size 14 Times New Roman at the bottom? Size 16? Watch for our next issue--with two exclamation points. That's a choice.

 

[00:35:06] Bracey: But where am I watching? Where were you putting this for somebody to stumble on?

 

[00:35:11] Josh: No, Mrs. Gross from Mint Condition, my childhood comic shop--she agreed to let me have a few of these on the counter. I don't know if I actually followed through with that. I never made a second issue. This is the second issue. We're doing it right now. This is issue two. 

 

[00:35:28] Russ: Should we tell Star Wars news for what's going to happen? 

 

[00:35:31] Josh: And do we know any? Obi-Wan Kenobi from Disney Plus is coming out on May 25th. 

 

[00:35:36] Russ: Is it?

 

[00:35:38] Josh: Yeah. 

 

[00:35:39] Frey: By the way. That was my favorite sentence. "That's right. Lord of the Sith Darth Vader wants drawings of his son, Luke Skywalker."

 

[00:35:46] Russ: Spoilers! It's very casual. Like, oh yeah, his son. No big deal. Yeah, Very casual about it.

 

[00:35:51] Josh: Yeah, you can imagine he's just all, "I need to find Luke, I'm going to have people draw and send in pictures. They need to be fully colored." And then he has them like scotch taped on the inside of his [00:36:00] meditation chamber. And he's just, like, staring at all drawings.

 

[00:36:03] Russ: I gotta be honest. I'm a little perturbed by the full color request. It's like, what, you don't like pen and ink, kid? Come on, get outta here.

 

[00:36:10] Josh: I don't think I was responsible for this entire last page. I'm only responsible for about three quarters of this. 

 

[00:36:16] Russ: Were you the publisher at the time? 

 

[00:36:18] Frey: Editor-in-chief?

 

[00:36:20] Josh: I was indeed. Yes. 

 

[00:36:22] Russ: Take responsibility for this, please. 

 

[00:36:23] Josh: No, you're right. No, you're right. One thing I do find interesting in both of these: they are set--now stick with me here--so Jabba, in that story, he's trying to send bounty hunters after Han Solo. So it's before Return of the Jedi and probably before The Empire Strikes Back. And in that contest, Vader knows Lucas is his son.

 

[00:36:44] Frey: And he's still alive.

 

[00:36:46] Josh: Yeah, and he's still alive. But it is interesting because, if you think about it at that time, the only thing we had was these original movies. So to play around in Star Wars, like you just, automatically, it was within the confines of, from A New Hope to [00:37:00] the end of Return of the Jedi. And within that framework was where you could play. I just thought that was interesting. 

 

[00:37:06] Russ: Yeah, I guess I didn't read--it's something about the expanded universe, and I didn't read the book until, I guess, the mid nineties. I think I read The Hobbit before I read, like, the expanded universe Star Wars books. I don't know why that came to mind, but those are like the dueling franchises that were around, just floating around in the nineties, nothing done to them.

 

[00:37:22] Josh: I never cared for Lord of the Rings. I was never into fantasy 

 

[00:37:26] Russ: Star Wars is a fantasy, Josh. 

 

[00:37:28] Bracey: Yeah. Yeah. What are you talking about?

 

[00:37:30] Josh: Yeah. Except it looks like-- 

 

[00:37:32] Russ: Thank you, Bracey. 

 

[00:37:33] Josh: Yeah .. you guys.

 

[00:37:37] Russ: Pile on. Get him!

 

[00:37:38] Bracey: In space.

 

[00:37:41] Russ: Especially, like, watching Return of the Jedi the other day for the whatever time, and just watching the Emperor just sizzle fireworks out of his fingers? Like, That's wizard. That's wizard shit right there. That's just darkwizard. All wizard.

 

[00:37:52] Josh: Oh, no for sure. 

 

[00:37:53] Russ: You know 

 

[00:37:54] Josh: I know an Ob-Wan--obviously an inspiration for Ob-Wan was Gandalf, for sure. He even, [00:38:00] he dies in the first one.

 

[00:38:03] Frey: Right.

 

[00:38:04] Josh: comes back.

 

[00:38:05] Frey: As the White.

 

[00:38:07] Josh: Right. Yeah. So that is issue one of the Star Wars newsletter, my friends. Anything you want to comment on? 

 

[00:38:12] Russ: Top of the page, it says prototype with three exclamation points and an underline. And I love it. It has tape over the top. 

 

[00:38:19] Josh: And I also left room for the Y and the P in the underlining.

 

[00:38:26] Bracey: So much room that it looks like it's proto-ty dot P.E.

 

[00:38:29] Frey: It does.

 

[00:38:30] Russ: That's exactly what I was thinking. It looks like dot P.

 

[00:38:34] Frey: Reminded me of some of the scrolls. Like, WAR! THE DEAD SPEAK! PROTOTYPE!

 

[00:38:41] Josh: And I don't know about you guys, but I really enjoyed that. I thought that was a lot of fun to go through and reminisce.

 

[00:38:47] Frey: That was amazing.

 

[00:38:48] Bracey: This is a whole new side to you. I just, I think I already knew, but I just didn't realize it was so ingrained so long ago.

 

[00:38:58] Josh: No dude, I'm fucking nerd. I've always been [00:39:00] fucking nerd.

 

[00:39:00] Bracey: Yeah, no, I, 

 

[00:39:03] Russ: Uh, 

 

[00:39:04] Josh: Um,

 

[00:39:05] Bracey: True colors. 

 

[00:39:07] Josh: I really do wonder what it is. Like what was the impetus to even do this again? I think one of you asked, but it's like, who did I think I was talking to? Why did I want to do 

 

[00:39:14] Bracey: I love it. I love the initiative, but I do think, bring me the head of Luke Skywalker in full color. It's kinda tops of this whole thing. Like you did some great work, but that kind of combination you're at this it's pretty magical.

 

[00:39:28] Josh: Got it. That's my nightmare for me to create something and then have the thing that people love the most about it not be my part of it. Uh, you're really cutting pretty

 

[00:39:35] Bracey: I'm not, and I'm kidding.

 

[00:39:37] Josh: No, you're cutting deep. You're cutting deep and fry two. Before we started recording, he's like, there's one line that I want to say.

 

[00:39:42] It was my favorite line in the whole thing. I also didn't write it. I was too busy. I'm sorry. I was too busy. I was boning up on my journalistic standards and ethics. I was pounding the pavement and, uh, cutting out all the magazines in books. I photocopied this it's a Z. This is a Xen is what this is. And like the layout or [00:40:00] whatever.

 

[00:40:00] I typed this up and I printed it on like an inkjet. And then I taped her. I glued the cutouts from the magazines and books and stuff. My mom drove me to Kinko's to photocopy this and they wouldn't photocopy it because they thought I was violating.

 

[00:40:16] Frey: Wow. 

 

[00:40:17] Ha 

 

[00:40:17] Russ: this journalistic. 

 

[00:40:18] Frey: How many photocopies where you're trying to base?

 

[00:40:22] Josh: Uh, I can't remember if I actually made more than this one. Copy. I think I did, but anyway, yeah, I don't

 

[00:40:28] Frey: And this is pre Disney.

 

[00:40:30] Josh: closing thoughts. Anything

 

[00:40:31] Frey: No, I

 

[00:40:32] Josh: want to highlight?

 

[00:40:33] Frey: I love that this was my first trash compactor episode. This is like perfect for me.

 

[00:40:39] Bracey: It's amazing just to see just the clippings that you made and just bringing my attention to the books that I remember buying and never reading, because it said Star Wars, uh, seeing that and remembering, oh yeah, micro machines was all over stores back then. And like all these things, it's like, oh, geez. I completely forgot about that whole period of my life [00:41:00] that it formed my identity.

 

[00:41:02] And now it's, and now it's gone. It's overtaken by this new Star Wars stuff. It's, it's overtaken all my memories. All the exists. It's crazy. 

 

[00:41:09] Russ: I don't know, fight. Keep your memories, keep them intact inside in a protective shell in your skull. 

 

[00:41:15] Bracey: no change grow. It's good. It's healthier.

 

[00:41:18] Russ: Oh yeah, that's true. Can confer. 

 

[00:41:24] Josh: want our listeners to know that the last 20 seconds of exchange between Russ embracing perfectly sums up the differences between them. And anyway on that note, would anyone like to plug anything or say where they can be founded? 

 

[00:41:41] Russ: Russ the lush on all social media talking mostly about wine and spirits, but eventually I'll probably have some nerdier endeavors mixed in there. What is Java drinking in that chalice? I don't know. We should talk about.

 

[00:41:54] Josh: I like that fright. What about you? You have any socials, anything you want to

 

[00:41:59] Frey: Um, yeah.

 

[00:41:59] Josh: [00:42:00] people can.

 

[00:42:00] Frey: On Twitter, I'm motor thistle, like motor is an engine like fissile as in like plan. And also it's my S my site where I think a lot of creative projects going to live with Jonathan fried.site. That site is a new extension, or I don't know if it's new, but.

 

[00:42:14] Russ: That's all. 

 

[00:42:14] Josh: And Bracey. Where could you be found on the old inner webs?

 

[00:42:17] Bracey: Uh, I can't, I don't exist. I'm just, I'm a ghost who's ever listening. Just leave me alone.

 

[00:42:23] Josh: No, that's fair enough. If I were smart, I would heed that advice instead of doing what I'm doing right now.

 

[00:42:30] And on that note, join us next time. When we throw more Star Wars opinions out into the ether that I'm sure will be in no way, controversial, whatsoever, and no one will have any thoughts about on the internet.

 

[00:42:41] I'm Josh and I still don't have a sign off for this podcast.

 

[00:42:44] Bracey: That's the whole sign off right there.

 

[00:42:45] Frey: Yeah.

 

[00:42:45] Josh: Did it in one.

TRASHCOMPOD S01E01 Newsletter
===

[00:00:00] Josh: Welcome to Trash Compactor. I'm Josh and joining me today is Bracey.

[00:00:04] Bracey: Hello.

[00:00:04] Josh: Frey.

[00:00:05] Frey: Hello. 

[00:00:06] Josh: & returning heel slash curmudgeon of the pod, Russ.

[00:00:10] Russ: Hi.

[00:00:11] Josh: Today, we're going to be doing something a little different. It's a bit of an experiment when I was 10 in 1995, I made a four-page Star Wars newsletter. I'm not entirely sure why I've joked in the past that this podcast is actually the sequel to this newsletter, but I didn't ever think I would actually be talking about or showing this.

[00:00:31] I thought it might be fun to go through my four-page Star Wars newsletter that 10 year old me wrote in 1995, which was a very specific moment in Star Wars. I don't know what you want to call it. Fandom the life of Star Wars, such as it was at the time. So we're going to read through it and already this is super embarrassing, I already regret having done this.

[00:00:56] Uh, but okay, here we are. I started this, I can't take it back. So [00:01:00] first of all, it's called the Star Wars newsletter. Not even "the," it just says "Star Wars newsletter" on the cover. It looks like it's got the Star Wars logo. What looks like a cutout from the cover of the hardcover edition of Darksaber.

[00:01:12] On the front of it, it says 20 years ago in a galaxy very, very near, a young filmmaker named George Lucas wanted to create a quote "modern space fairytale," unquote, that people, regardless of age or gender, could enjoy. I don't know where that part came from. I don't-remember him ever saying that. Anyway, the film, later to be named Star Wars, went through several make-overs.

[00:01:32] The end result was a script about the adventures of Luke Starkiller and his quest to become a Jedi Knight, a few changes in the script Starkiller to Skywalker and so on. And the rest is history. It is now a very exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. We are on the Eve of a new Star Wars era. Once again, children will be pretending to be Luke Skywalker, princess Leia, Han solo and Chewbacca.

[00:01:54] The purpose of this newsletter is to guide fans through the next few years as the prequel trilogy unfolds. So [00:02:00] kick back and enjoy the very first issue of THE STAR WARS NEWSLETTER, all caps, may the force be with you.

[00:02:06] And then there's a very cool--I can see why I chose this, 'cause I still think it's very cool--there's a promotional still from Return of the Jedi of the Millennium Falcon and a couple of X-Wings flying into the superstructure of the Death Star 2 from Return of the Jedi.

[00:02:22] Okay. I don't know why I felt the need to explain what Star Wars is to a--

[00:02:28] Bracey: To anybody who would read a Star Wars newsletter.

[00:02:30] Josh: --exactly. But once again, I was 10.

[00:02:33] Bracey: But it sounds like you, you approached this, like, all right, so somebody's going to be like walking down the street and they're going to find this newsletter and then start reading it and be like, Ooh, I wonder what Star Wars is.

[00:02:44] Frey: And you don't want them to be alarmed.

[00:02:46] Bracey: Yeah.

[00:02:47] Josh: Yeah, obviously they would be taken in by the very professional and polished layout and design of--

[00:02:53] Frey: This is actually like disturbingly well-written for a 10 year old. There's like a show is as it, even beyond this paragraph shows like a grasp of [00:03:00] like journalistic writing, but in a way, this

[00:03:02] Josh: Oh, I appreciate that. Um, I'm cringing a little bit. I don't really know what your writing level skill is supposed to be when you're 10 years old.

[00:03:12] Bracey: Definitely not this! Like, uh, oh, when I was 10 years old, I was still writing Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo--just how they would interact and talk to each other and just general Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtle banter.

[00:03:27] Josh: Are you saying that you wrote Turtle fan fiction?

[00:03:30] Bracey: Yeah, of course. Doesn't--didn't every kid who was like a fan of whatever cartoon that they were into write stuff? Yeah. That's what I was writing.

[00:03:38] Frey: I did From Dusk Till-Dawn fan fiction.

[00:03:43] Josh: What is the name of the bar in From Dusk Till-Dawn, the Titty Twister?

[00:03:46] Frey: Oh yeah.

[00:03:48] Josh: still works. still works.

[00:03:50] Russ: Ahh, I love it. 

[00:03:52] Josh: first of all, the thing that stuck out to me is that I said that people, regardless of age or gender could enjoy. I wonder where I got that from.[00:04:00] 

[00:04:00] Frey: I don't know. It's a really sweet thing to say, but I don't know why. Like--

[00:04:03] Josh: No--

[00:04:04] Bracey: Yeah. 10 years old. It's kind of impressive.

[00:04:07] Josh: Like, I must have heard somebody describe Star Wars that way or something, because it's just a weird thing to highlight when you're describing Star Wars. In the first sentence, I'm saying it's a modern space fairy tale that people, regardless of age or gender, could enjoy.

[00:04:20] Frey: Yeah. I don't know, like, what are you comparing it to? That really was--

[00:04:23] Josh: Yeah, I don't--

[00:04:23] Frey: Like the boys--

[00:04:24] Josh: I don't know.

[00:04:25] Frey: The boys or girls only version.

[00:04:26] Bracey: I wonder what you watched to inspire. The writing of that first paragraph. What do you think you, this, like, writing this was on the heels of that made you go, like, I got to give the context. Did you watch something? Was it like, it was the behind the scenes stuff?

[00:04:42] Josh: Well, probably behind the scene stuff. Obviously the behind the scenes stuff was very influential to me as a kid. Certainly. Which, Bracey, I know you can relate to because I don't know when in our friendship this was: one of us quoted a deleted scene from Back to the Future that was only shown in the making of [00:05:00] the Back to the Future VHS that was included in the box set.

[00:05:03] I was like, oh shit. Like this guy knows what I'm quoting. And it's from a deleted scene that was only, to my knowledge, shown on the bonus VHS in the box set. He must have watched that as many times as the movies, just like I did, to be able to know what I'm referencing.

[00:05:19] Bracey: That was a deep cut right there, that. "Suddenly the future's looking a whole lot better," I think was the line from Doc Brown.

[00:05:26] Josh: You have a moment like that with someone, and you're like, oh my God, this person is going to be in my life for the rest of my life.

[00:05:33] Bracey: For better or worse.

[00:05:34] Josh: Yeah, for better or worse. There were only so many people like this.

[00:05:37] Frey: I think the future is looking a whole lot like whatever this is.

[00:05:40] Bracey: Yeah.

[00:05:43] Josh: No, but honestly, I think there was a website, StarWarz.com with a Z. One of the things that had was the various drafts of the script for Star Wars. That-- 

[00:05:54] Russ: Still exists. 

[00:05:56] Josh: Yes it does. Yes, it does. I think unchanged from--more or [00:06:00] less--from what it was 30 years ago.

[00:06:01] Bracey: A forum. Wow. That's...

[00:06:03] Josh: Oh, here! Starkiller - The Jedi Bendu Script Site. That homepage that's exactly what it was in 1995. I recognize this exactly. And I read the summary of the rough drafts. 

[00:06:15] Did you know that when they started shooting the original Star Wars, the name was still Starkiller. So when they were shooting everything on Tatooine in Tunisia, the name was still Luke Starkiller, but they never said the name until they, until Luke rescues Leia on the Death Star.

[00:06:32] And he says, I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you. And between the location shoot in Tunisia and traveling to the UK to shoot in the studio, Lucas did some more script revisions, and he changed the name from Starkiller to Skywalker. So it's just weird to think about when you're watching the scenes of Luke on Tatooine that, in his mind, like I'm playing a character named Luke Starkiller.

[00:06:55] I dunno. Does that strike anyone else as weird?

[00:06:56] Frey: Yeah. And just the way he behaves, like in those opening [00:07:00] scenes of New Hope, it's weird to attribute Starkiller to that person.

[00:07:05] Bracey: I think just generally it's, it's a weird name because we haven't had the last 30, some odd years to--30, wow, 40 years for some of us--to-get-used to that name. But I feel like if it was part of it, we would have just grown up being like Starkiller stuff, Luke Skywalker. Oh, that just sounds so silly. He's just walking on the sky? Why? Why that?

[00:07:25] Josh: Imagine, like, Starkiller Ranch. 

[00:07:27] Russ: Can you imagine being an up-and-coming actor, driving to Starkiller Ranch, to meet with George Lucas and just being totally out of your league and be 

[00:07:35] Josh: It's-- 

[00:07:36] Russ: Just the thought: Starkiller?! 

[00:07:38] Bracey: But I WANT to be a star.

[00:07:41] Josh: Moving right along: Star Wars update. George Lucas is currently working on the scripts for the Star Wars prequels, Episodes One through Three. They are to deal with the young Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader, and how Emperor Palpatine rose to power. All three films are scheduled for release in 1998.

[00:07:57] I don't know if you recall, but that was actually the plan at [00:08:00] one point: to shoot them all back to back and release them.

[00:08:03] Russ: Like simultaneously, so you can watch all three at the same time in the theater? 

[00:08:06] Josh: Maybe I was misinterpreting that the first one was to be released in 1998.

[00:08:12] Frey: I was just wondering as far as, like, George Lucas', like, vision for the effects in the prequel trilogy, and all the digital sets - what was he thinking? As far as the technology as it was, like, pre-1997.

[00:08:22] Josh: I think it's pretty well documented that the thing that made him decide, okay, I'm going to make the Star Wars prequels was when he saw what ILM was doing with Jurassic Park. But actually the Young Indiana Jones series, his experience shooting that, and the production model, the digital effects that they experimented with on that, and the way of shooting it--when you saw where nonlinear editing was, and to see like how you could just very quickly make a crowd of 10 people into a crowd of a thousand ... and he was like, okay, I want to get my hands dirty again.

[00:08:54] So I think he was thinking, oh, like we could do this like Young Indiana Jones and it would be small and nimble [00:09:00] and we could just do it a lot faster and more intense.

[00:09:05] Bracey: I don't think he ever got to the "more intense" part. But I am curious, like, if he had shot all three of these movies at the same time, would that have been like the first major franchise to do that?

[00:09:16] Josh: No, they shot Superman 1 and 2 at the same time. And they also shot Back to the Future 2 and 3 back-to-back

[00:09:23] Bracey: But, but not three, I mean, 3, 3, 3 movies,

[00:09:29] Josh: Three? I don't think so?

[00:09:31] Bracey: Lord of the Rings. I thought that was like, why that was novel when that happened is because they had shot all three of those.

[00:09:36] Josh: Well, that is, I believe, the first time that it actually happened. I don't know if it was a rumor or if it was actually the plan at one point, but there was a lot of talk about how the prequels were to be shot back to back, or simultaneously, whatever. Which obviously ended up not happening.

[00:09:52] Anyway, continuing with the Star Wars update: ILM--in parentheses, Industrial Light and Magic--is redoing all of the special effects in the first [00:10:00] Star Wars film.

[00:10:00] They are also incorporating into it scenes that were originally cut from the film, such as the scene where Han Solo has a confrontation with Jabba the Hutt.

[00:10:08] However, there will be no Luke/Biggs footage. Does ILM have any similar plans for The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi? George Lucas isn't very enthusiastic about it. Star Wars Special Edition should open in theaters in 1997.

[00:10:22] Again, I wonder where I'm getting my information from. So clearly I had read something that was talking about the Special Edition, where George Lucas must have said that he's not planning to do it for the other two movies, which obviously didn't turn out to be the case.

[00:10:38] Frey: Or maybe you just didn't hear about it. And you were, like, just kind of extrapolating, like, what George Lucas was thinking about it at the time. Like, well, I'm hearing about it, so he's not enthusiastic.

[00:10:47] Josh: My code of ethics as the journalist that I'm LARPing as here, I don't think would have allowed for that sort of a characterization. Like, it doesn't seem like the kind of thing I would invent whole cloth.

[00:10:58] Frey: Ten-year-old you just got really offended that I [00:11:00] suggested that.

[00:11:04] Josh: Moving on: Recently, Fox video re-released the Star Wars movies on video cassette. They have been digitally remastered by THX, meaning better sound and picture quality. The movies have been packaged in new boxes and each includes a video interview with George Lucas and a special coupon booklet with discounts on Star Wars merchandise. I don't know why I included that detail.

[00:11:22] Bracey: You went straight from newsletter to super saver in one fell swoop.

[00:11:27] Josh: Yeah, exactly. The set of three goes for around $40, but you better hurry and buy your copy fast because the Star Wars movies in their original format will be taken off the market forever on January 31st, 1996. 

[00:11:39] Russ: No joke. 

[00:11:40] Josh: No joke. 

[00:11:42] Russ: No joke. You can't get them. 

[00:11:44] Josh: Available also is the THX remastered Star Wars, movies in "Letterbox" format. I don't know why I capitalized letterbox and I don't know why I abbreviated Star Wars to SW in that last sentence.

[00:11:56] Frey: Yeah, I think you'd do it for here on out. You do that.

[00:11:59] Josh: [00:12:00] Once I set a precedent for something, I continue with-it. 

[00:12:02] Frey: Yeah, you have a style guide.

[00:12:04] Josh: Yeah. I have a little style guide. You guys remember the famous "faces" release, as they call them.

[00:12:09] I know our viewers-- or our listeners--you can't see, but there's a little thumbnail of the boxes up. 

[00:12:15] Russ: It's the only legitimate version of Star Wars. Yeah. Yeah. I remember. 

[00:12:19] Josh: The "only legitimate version of Star Wars."

[00:12:21] Bracey: As deemed by whom, Russ? As deemed by whom?

[00:12:26] Russ: ME. It's been approved by me. 

[00:12:27] Josh: At some point, we are going to do a Special Edition episode, but I don't want to wade too deeply into that right here.

[00:12:33] 20th century Fox recently launched their "web site" on the "Internet." Website is two words and the I in internet is capitalized.

[00:12:40] Frey: I remember learning that, that we had to do that. Yeah. I think in the nineties it was like, that was, it had to be like, that was proper to, like, capitalize it.

[00:12:47] Josh: For sure. Like the New York Times style guide, the internet and the worldwide web, like, all had to be capitalized.

[00:12:51] And then I list the URL: www.tcfhe.com. That's a fucking god-awful URL. Isn't it?

[00:12:59] Frey: Yeah, [00:13:00] it just doesn't look right.

[00:13:01] Josh: Was there, like, a domain squatter on 20thcenturyfox.com?

[00:13:05] Bracey: I think they were going with the logic, like, you gotta make it as small as possible. Like it's just, it doesn't matter what it is.

[00:13:11] Josh: Yeah. But when I look at that URL, I have no idea what the fuck that is. Nowhere in my mind, am I going, oh, that's obviously 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.com. 

[00:13:22] Russ: The site can't be reached. 

[00:13:23] Josh: If we Wayback Machine'd it, we could find it. And then I note they have a very large Star Wars area. 

[00:13:28] Russ: The play area for adults. 

[00:13:29] Josh: I assume we all owned this particular VHS.

[00:13:32] Bracey: Actually I didn't rebuy it. I still have the set before this one, and, and it came with From Star Wars to Jedi.

[00:13:40] Josh: Star Wars to Jedi. Yeah.

[00:13:42] Bracey: And, and that was the set I, I stuck with.

[00:13:44] Russ: They did make changes. 

[00:13:47] Josh: I don't think they made changes. It was just the transfer was a cleaner transfer. 

[00:13:51] Russ: Okay. Was there any audio adjustments? Like, I thought there might've been audio changes. 

[00:13:56] Josh: I don't think there were adjustments to the film itself. [00:14:00] I just think it was the source for the transfer and the process of the transfer from whatever the print they used to VHS. And it is interesting because I believe--and I might be getting this completely backwards--but for VHS, they preferred very low contrast prints, I believe.

[00:14:17] And there was something about the reds that I was reading. Somebody on Twitter had a whole thread about how, if you look at the cinematography of movies in the nineties, how they were basically like shooting for VHS, the way that VHS handles colors in particular, the color red. Red was a notoriously troublesome when reproduced on VHS.

[00:14:39] Bracey: I remember certain colors actually made this like static thing happened on my VHS, on my TV, actually on just my TV in general. Maybe that wasn't a VHS thing, maybe I just had an old shitty TV that I needed to fix. Those were the times.

[00:14:57] Josh: When was the first time you guys saw Star Wars [00:15:00] in widescreen?

[00:15:00] Bracey: Probably in the theater. When, during the rerelease. Oh, Nope. At my friend PJ's house. I think they had a, what were the gold discs, laser discs? Wasn't that, I think that was--

[00:15:11] Josh: That is cool.

[00:15:12] Bracey: Yeah. I think that was the first place. I didn't see them all. I think I will this all one of them.

[00:15:16] but. 

[00:15:16] Josh: For me, the Sci-Fi Channel, when they launched with--the first thing they ever showed was the original Star Wars trilogy in widescreen in 199--I don't know, 4 or 5. 

[00:15:28] Russ: I recall that. 

[00:15:29] Josh: USA and the Sci-Fi channel were a part of the same company. So they used to have a Thanksgiving marathons and they would show--I think on Sci-Fi, they showed it in widescreen.

[00:15:38] I don't know if they showed it in widescreen on USA, but I guess that they figured that anyone watching Sci-Fi was nerd enough to care about that sort of thing.

[00:15:45] Bracey: I remember when the Sci-Fi Channel was coming and they used Star Wars all throughout their advertising. And I was just so amped and then I never saw Star Wars on Sci-Fi. I mean, I guess I just didn't align [00:16:00] with whatever the schedule was, but I never saw it. 

[00:16:02] Russ: The ultimate bait and switch. 

[00:16:04] Bracey: Yeah, that's what it felt like.

[00:16:05] Josh: I just remember like reruns of The Incredible Hulk from the seventies, The Bionic Woman and the $6 Million Man, and In Search of with Leonard Nimoy. I remember those were, like, on repeat all the time. So if you think about it, it started off as like TV Land for Sci-Fi. It was like, whatever was cheap to license and Star Wars, at that moment in time,

[00:16:28] wasn't the super hot commodity that it is now. Obviously the licensing, I'm sure, wasn't cheap, but if you think about it, that's sort of in line with the rest of Sci-Fi channel's programming. Like they probably had the license to show it for, like, a year.

[00:16:42] Frey: Yeah. That's like perfect for a new cable channel. And also, I remember they had, I don't know if it was right away, but they had Mystery Science Theater, 3000. That was like an early--

[00:16:49] Bracey: Oh yeah.

[00:16:50] Josh: Comedy Central canceled Mystery Science Theater 3000. And then the last couple of seasons were actually on Sci-Fi.

[00:16:55] Frey: Starting in '96 or something like that.

[00:16:57] Josh: Yeah. '96 or '97. Yeah. Okay, anyway, [00:17:00] moving on: Star Wars book review. Star Wars: Darksaber is a new Star Wars novel by Kevin J. Anderson. It involves the coming together of Admiral Daala and the promoted Vice Admiral Pelaeon.

[00:17:11] I never actually knew how to say his name--is it, is it Pelaeon?

[00:17:16] Frey: That sounds--

[00:17:17] Josh: Paella? Anyway-- 

[00:17:22] Russ: Yeah. 

[00:17:23] Josh: Together they construct a massive battle fleet and attempt to destroy the New Republic. Meanwhile, in the Hoth asteroid belt, a Hutt named Durga uses original Death Star designer Bevel Limelisk to design a new Death Star, to be named the Darksaber.

[00:17:38] Will Daala and Paella succeed in their quest to destroy the Republic? That sounds delicious. Will this new Death Star be as fearsome as the first? What about the second? I'm skipping over the second entirely. Find out in the fabulous action-packed Star Wars novel Darksaber. And then I say: new Star Wars book, the Star Wars Illustrated Universe, and coming soon - Star Wars: Tales of Jabba the Hutt and Star [00:18:00] Wars: Tales of the Bounty Hunters.

[00:18:02] Russ: Uh, the good, good. That's the good stuff. 

[00:18:04] Josh: This was really quite a time. I have to reread that. 

[00:18:06] Russ: Star Wars. 

[00:18:07] Josh: Did any of you guys ever read the Kevin J. Anderson novels in the nineties?

[00:18:11] Russ: Yeah, they were the first ones I read, actually. 

[00:18:14] Josh: me 

[00:18:14] Russ: air the 

[00:18:15] Josh: The first one I read--no, so did I, the first one--so this must mean, because you and I both had the same experience, so that they, like, broadened their marketing strategy because the Jedi Academy trilogy or the Jedi Search trilogy was the second trilogy to follow up the Thrawn trilogy.

[00:18:31] And I remember very clearly I was grocery shopping with my dad and in the magazine section, I saw Jedi Search and I was like, what? New StarWars?

[00:18:42] Russ: There were Star Wars. books in, like, little kind of basket racks and the supermarket. I definitely bought the second book in that Kevin J. Anderson trilogy in the supermarket. I also bought the Courtship of Princess Leia in the A&P. So yeah. I bought Star Wars books at supermarkets. 

[00:18:57] Josh: The Courtship of Princess Leia is [00:19:00] only notable to me for--that's where the Witches of Dathomir originate. I believe they show up again in Clone Wars. And George Lucas's daughter, his second daughter, whose name is escaping me right now. She really loved the Witches of Dathomir. And she was in the writer's room for clone wars and she was responsible for the whole return of the Witches of Dathomir in the Clone Wars show.

[00:19:25] Frey: I think they, one of them also shows up in Ewoks: Battle for Endor. Like one of the characters is 

[00:19:32] Russ: I know the guest on that episode of the podcast. 

[00:19:35] Bracey: I remember nothing of that one.

[00:19:37] Russ: The Battle of Endor? I mean, I think Frey's just going to cover all the Ewok movies.

[00:19:41] Josh: I think that came out in what, like 1985 or 1986. And I remember I had no idea they existed. I think I saw that they were showing it like on the Disney Channel or something, and I was like, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God--I can't believe there's like a Star Wars thing that I've never seen. [00:20:00] And I remember I started to watch it--like I sat down to watch it, probably with a fresh VHS in the old video cassette recorder, and I remember instantly being crushingly disappointed.

[00:20:11] Frey: Yeah.

[00:20:12] Josh: Because I was like this, why are the Ewoks speaking English and who is this little kid? And what the fuck is this garbage? This isn't more Star Wars. This is for babies, or whatever. I was really pissed. 

[00:20:23] Russ: They were TV movies. And I think that's the reason why, uh, they didn't really have as much of a cultural impact. Maybe not having a theatrical release? 

[00:20:31] Josh: They really are an artifact of that fallow Lucasfilm period in the mid to late eighties, the aesthetics and the props. It's right after Return of the Jedi, it's all a carryover. And I believe--the first one, at least--was directed by, oh God, his name is escaping me, but a friend of George Lucas who directed--something Korby. Maybe he directed--

[00:20:51] Bracey: He was like, yo, we got all these teddy bear costumes in the backlot, what do you wanna do with them? Ah, let's make a movie.

[00:20:56] Josh: Basically. Yeah, 

[00:20:57] Russ: John Korty.

[00:20:58] Josh: Yes. Did he [00:21:00] direct--?

[00:21:00] Russ: The second one? No, it was Jim wheat and Ken Wheat. I assume brothers. 

[00:21:03] Frey: I know that Wilford Brimley didn't get along with them. So Joe Johnston was the production designer on that one and he had to direct all the scenes with Wilford Brimley.

[00:21:11] Josh: That's amazing.

[00:21:12] Bracey: Holy shit. How do you guys know that?

[00:21:15] Russ: Oh, Frey knows. Frey knows things. Yeah. It's--I don't even know. He just, things happen in that head of his.

[00:21:21] Josh: It is that anecdote that now makes me want to do the episode on these two movies. 100% seriously. We are going to do them now.

[00:21:30] Russ: The Battle for Endor poster, by the way, rocks. That's a cool looking poster. Like, that's cool.

[00:21:36] Frey: I'm not sure who the guy is on that.

[00:21:38] Josh: That looks like a foreign poster, if you're looking at IMDb. 

[00:21:40] Russ: Yeah. The Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure--not as cool looking. But classic. 

[00:21:45] Josh: Okay, this is obviously a German poster. It's called Kampf um Endor.

[00:21:50] Russ: It's awesome. This is the best poster I think I've ever seen. Cindel is in both of these films, by the way. We're getting way off topic. 

[00:21:57] Frey: It's--what's crazy is that her, the rest of her [00:22:00] family's, like, the main characters in the first one and they all--spoiler alert--they all die, like, at the beginning of the second one.

[00:22:05] Josh: It's very dark, that first one. But what else did John Korty direct? Because he's a filmmaker of some note. 

[00:22:13] Russ: He's probably most well-known for, according to IMDb, Farewell to Manzanar? Miracle in a Box? I don't know what any of this is.

[00:22:21] Josh: Yeah, you're right, his IMDb is weird. But he and George Lucas, I believe were like college roommates at USC, something like that. So this was definitely a case of, we have all these Ewok costumes lying around, hey buddy, would you do me a solid and direct this shit for me? So Darksaber, one of the many expanded universe attempts to recreate what the Star Wars formula became, where like you have to have a super weapon that's on par with the Death Star--that I would argue started with Return of the Jedi. The Return of the Jedi was the first one to pull that. And it was [00:23:00] just barely acceptable that first time. Some may argue it wasn't even then, but--

[00:23:05] Bracey: I'll argue that. Now. It was my favorite back in the day, but like growing up it's, oh, I see what you did there. All right. 

[00:23:14] Russ: I'm just going to hold. I'm going to hold all of my-- 

[00:23:16] Bracey: Teddy bears!

[00:23:17] Russ: Stop it! Stop it!

[00:23:19] Josh: That's a topic for another episode. That's a topic for another episode.

[00:23:21] Bracey: It's true. Just saying it's 

[00:23:22] true

[00:23:22] Russ: They're warrior bears. Warrior bears. How dare you.

[00:23:26] Bracey: Wookies 

[00:23:27] Russ: Paploo is amazing. How dare you. Take it back. 

[00:23:30] Josh: Chief Chirpa is actually pretty scary-looking, if you look at him. 

[00:23:33] Russ: He's intense. 

[00:23:34] Josh: I wish that they had gone more in the Chief Chirpa direction and less in the Wicket direction.

[00:23:39] Frey: If they'd behave differently than it would be actually terrifying. Like they're not inherently cute 

[00:23:44] Russ: Show their teeth! 

[00:23:46] Josh: Yeah. 

[00:23:47] Russ: Real scary. 

[00:23:49] Josh: Okay. Anyway--

[00:23:49] Bracey: Show they don't have a dental plan. Things are like going in all directions. If you get bit, it's totally gangrene.

[00:23:57] Russ: And also, like, there were Care Bears out at the time so show [00:24:00] these ones are like carnivore bears, eating raw meat and pulling fish out of the river. I don't know.

[00:24:05] Josh: I would have watched that cartoon. Okay. Star Wars comics backslash cards. I don't know why I went with the backslash there. Have you heard of Star Wars Widevision cards for those who have not?

[00:24:15] Well, Russ, for those who have not, the Star Wars Widevision cards are cards with scenes from the Star Wars movies.

[00:24:22] Russ: They were still frames. They were just like frames. 

[00:24:25] Frey: You're being very clear.

[00:24:27] Josh: However, these cards are about double the size of a standard-size card. The Star Wars Widevision packs are no longer sold at stores, but can be purchased from catalogs. Most stores are now selling packs of The Empire Strikes Back Widevision cards. In the Star Wars set, there are 120 cards to collect. In Empire, there are 144. Each series also has a certain number of special foil cards. Coming soon: Return of the Jedi Widevision, Star Wars the Customizable Card Game, and Star Wars Galaxy 3, which, I think Star Wars Galaxy was a magazine.

[00:24:56] Russ: That was the magazine that both you and I had a subscription [00:25:00] to.

[00:25:00] Josh: The Star Wars Customizable Card Game. That, for me, was what made me a regular at my local comic shop, where I grew up--that was pretty crazy. There is an everlasting array of Star Wars comics. The legacy of Star Wars comics began with the adaptation of the first film by Marvel. After that they continue to produce original comics based on the movie.

[00:25:16] They also adapted the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Then Marvel stopped producing Star Wars comics and went on to other projects. A few years ago, Dark Horse Comics began to produce Star Wars comics with Dark Empire. Since then, Dark Horse has produced more Star Wars comics like Tales of the Jedi, reprints of the original movie adaptations, Ewoks, Droids, Star Wars: The Early Adventures--in parentheses, Star Wars comic strips from newspapers, Dark Empire 2, Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett, and X-Wing Rogue Squadron. Coming soon: X-Wing Rogue Squadron #4. Russ, could you speak to, a little bit, how important the Dark Horse label was at this time? 

[00:25:48] Russ: Yeah. I mean, basically I'll recap this more in the Dark Empire podcast episode, but I believe that 1991 was the first time the Star Wars comics came back. Star Wars comics actually premiered before the [00:26:00] 1977 film came out. So it was a month before Star Wars actually premiered. So you can actually have a Star Wars comic in your hand before we even saw the movie.

[00:26:07] So the comics that played like a huge part for a lot of, like, fans--like their first kind of visual, like, storytelling dip into Star Wars. And then, yeah, Dark Horse. I guess the license had lapsed or no one wanted to make comics, thinking that Star Wars didn't really have the weight to sell books. I don't know.

[00:26:25] I don't know what the reason was. I guess Marvel had it and no one else pursued it. 

[00:26:28] Josh: Yeah, I think the license lapsed and nobody wanted it. The same thing with the Kenner action figures. Crazy how fast the market demand for Star Wars, like, completely fell right off a cliff like circa 1985, 1986. Which makes sense. Like, without another movie to look forward to, the Ewoks: Battle for Endor wasn't cutting it.

[00:26:46] Bracey: No, they needed something new.

[00:26:48] Josh: Russ, correct me if I'm wrong, but Dark Horse as a comic imprint, they were doing some really interesting stuff. 

[00:26:55] Russ: Yeah, they had a mix. It was their own owned properties, as well as licensed [00:27:00] properties. They had the Alien, Predator properties, and I'm pretty sure they had Terminator as well. They were the first to do that--have license mix of properties overall. Dark Empire, like, I was reading that they had started planning for that roughly, I think, in 1986--or 1988 is when they started planning to release it, I think.

[00:27:16] And it came out in 1991, the first issue. So it had been in the works for a long time, parallel to the Timothy Zahn trilogy.

[00:27:25] Josh: Did Dark Horse go to Lucasfilm wanting to do this, or no? 

[00:27:30] Russ: a good question. I think they might have. I actually, I don't know. No, I have to look into that. 

[00:27:36] Josh: Both of those are subjects we are going to return to for sure. Next section: Star Wars merchandise, otherwise known as Star Wars. We are on the eve of a new Star Wars era. So naturally "their," oh God, I used the wrong "their" there. That's really fucking awful--

[00:27:49] Bracey: Dude, you were 10! Give past Bernhard a break.

[00:27:53] Josh: Yeah. He deserves a break.

[00:27:55] Frey: He is out here busting his ass!

[00:27:57] Josh: Yeah, so, this I pretty much [00:28:00] must have just read a catalog and went through what it was advertising, because I don't think my heart was really in this section. I seem to recall that. It's very telling, though, that I didn't feel like I could make a Star Wars newsletter without having a section about merchandise that was coming out.

[00:28:15] Here's some of the upcoming merchandise: the Star Wars Customizable Card Game by Decipher. A 3D Millennium Falcon puzzle by Milton Bradley. Exciting collector sets by Galoob. Maquettes of Admiral Ackbar, Boba Fett, and Jabba the Hutt by Elusive Concepts. The 1996 Star Wars Calendar by Hallmark. Original film cels from the movies by Willits Design. C3PO and R2D2 electronic banks by Thinkway. PVC figures and other collectables by Applause. Chromium art and lobby cards with the new Star Wars video cover images by Zanart. Posters of the new video covers by Western Graphics. Star Wars hats by Freshcaps to go along with Star Wars t-shirts by Changes--that's a weird company name. And Kenner has already released play sets and new action figures. I feel like that should have been the headline there because that was a big deal.

[00:28:57] Russ: Yeah, the Power of the Force. 

[00:28:58] Frey: But it already happened. [00:29:00] So you weren't excited to break that news.

[00:29:02] Josh: I'm sure it is why it's just a footnote at the end--because it's not new. However, we have barely scratched the surface of the new Star Wars merchandise. Expect more merchandise as we get closer to the release of the Star Wars Special Edition. Wow--every time I say "we are on the Eve of a new Star Wars era," like, I don't even think I knew the extent of what that phrase would portend there. "I'm sure there will be more new merchandise as we get closer to it." Yeah. You fucking think? Like, Jesus Christ, our planet will be dead and gone and there will still be landfills filled with Star Wars merchandise that are visible from light years away.

[00:29:42] Bracey: I would love to just watch 10 year old you be brought to right now. Just, just brought to right now and see, just go into, I don't know, Target--go into any general superstore and just--

[00:29:55] Josh: Any general store.

[00:29:57] Bracey: general supermarket store. [00:30:00] Cause you'll see it on everything! Like, going from a, like a drought where it was, like, so hyper specialized back in the day to, like, you can't--you can walk down any store in the supermarket and any aisle in a supermarket and sometimes, usually find a Star Wars thing somewhere. It's, like, lip balm. It's disposable plates. Star Wars.

[00:30:23] Josh: This was before even the Special Edition. So like the idea that you could sit down and see a new Star Wars TV show about Boba Fett, like, in your house, I would just be ... it's, like, it's also one of those things where I think ten-year-old me would take a long time, like, wrapping his mind around the size of the television that he was at. He would be like, "you have a movie theater in your house."

[00:30:44] Bracey: Yeah. At the time you were writing this, I was still playing Rebel Assault on Sega CD. And I was happy. I-- 

[00:30:51] was, 

[00:30:52] Josh: CD version! Wow.

[00:30:54] Bracey: I was happy. That game sucked, and I was happy. I looked just like, yeah, no, I loved it [00:31:00] too. But it was because there was nothing else that was anywhere near that.

[00:31:04] Josh: Don't get me wrong, it doesn't hold a candle to TIE Fighter, or even, frankly, theSuper Star Wars games for Super Nintendo. The big deal about that was seeing that live action Star Wars on your computer screen and being able to interact with it. That was a groundbreaking game.

[00:31:18] Russ: Beggar's Canyon in the skyhopper was fun. The A-wing in the asteroid field. I had a great time Rebel Assault. I played a lot of it on my first computer. Yeah. We got a joystick for it ,and it wasn't a good joystick. It was like the joystick you get with your, like, Dell-ish computer pack. Yeah. 

[00:31:35] Josh: At Comp USA or a Circuit City.

[00:31:37] Russ: They also gave us Maniac Mansion. They gave us like a LucasArts bundle with the computer and it was pretty sweet. Day of the Tentacle? Yeah, LucasArts was-awesome. 

[00:31:47] Josh: We have to do a LucasArts episode at some point. Okay. Here, um, the final section of this, I have to admit, this is the only section of the newsletter that I personally did not write. I had a friend--I've actually had a bunch [00:32:00] of these, like, mayfly friends. We would be really good friends for, like, a couple of years.

[00:32:04] And the thing that we had in common was a love of Star Wars at a time when that was an uncommon thing to love. So the point is I had a friend at this point in 1995, who I was like trying to get to do this newsletter with me. And this was his contribution was Star Wars: Jabba's Deceit. This is an original Star Wars story for you to finish as Jabba the Hutt hires bounty hunters left and right to capture the mercenary Han Solo.

[00:32:29] He is unaware that someone is watching him. Jabba finally had hired just about every bounty hunter in the entire Tatooine system. He relaxed and waited for results. Then he knew something was terribly wrong--dot, dot, dot. Late one night in Jabba's palace, a stranger silently made his way past the guards and walked in. The stranger wore armor collected from several different areas.

[00:32:51] He wore a Stormtrooper chestplate and boots while he had green arm and leg armor. I think there's supposed to be--

[00:32:57] Bracey: No man. No, no.

[00:32:59] Josh: Nah, [00:33:00] man, go with it. He had a few vibroknives tied to his arms and legs, two laser pistols--one on his belt and the other in his boot. He carried a heavy laser rifle on his shoulder.

[00:33:08] The stranger continued to Jabba's main audience chamber--dot, dot, dot. The rest is for you to decide! And remember: be creative.

[00:33:15] Bracey: I just love how you've immortalized, this kid story.

[00:33:21] Frey: Yeah.

[00:33:21] Bracey: Like, You know, like really, this kid had no idea. If he was told back in the day, like, "hey, one day you're going to be on a podcast. Your story is going to be digitized and spread to billions of possible people that might not link click on this." 

[00:33:36] Russ: Potential listeners. 

[00:33:38] Bracey: Okay. Yes, exactly.

[00:33:41] Josh: He would be like, "what's a podcast?"

[00:33:43] Bracey: Yeah. What's the internet? Oh no, no. 

[00:33:46] Josh: What fuck is the internet?!

[00:33:49] Frey: So angry now!

[00:33:51] Russ: If I've learned anything, I'm just frightened of time traveling Star Wars children into the future. Like, that sounds like a fan film that I would actually want to watch [00:34:00] because--just watching someone break down? "So the devil guy with horns has a double lightsaber? He's Sith??" 

[00:34:06] Josh: Sidebar. I actually want to do this. Okay. But. Okay, but moving on--and this was my friend's other contribution: Star Wars contest. "Bring me the head of Luke Skywalker," says Darth Vader in a, what do you call it? A dialogue bubble, a speech bubble? What do you call that?

[00:34:24] Russ: Yeah. Word balloon. Yeah. 

[00:34:26] Josh: A word balloon. 

[00:34:27] Russ: Yeah. 

[00:34:28] Josh: That's right. Lord of the Sith Darth Vader wants drawings of his son, Luke Skywalker. He will accept drawings done in pen or pencil, and that are fully colored. Oh, they need to be fully colored. Oh, wow. Okay. Okay. This is--he will choose the three he likes best and they will be published in our next issue. So put your ship on autopilot and start drawing.

[00:34:48] Drop off your entries at any comic shop or you see a Star Wars newsletter box. You must include your name and address. Good luck, and may the force be with you. And then in--what [00:35:00] is that, size 14 Times New Roman at the bottom? Size 16? Watch for our next issue--with two exclamation points. That's a choice.

[00:35:06] Bracey: But where am I watching? Where were you putting this for somebody to stumble on?

[00:35:11] Josh: No, Mrs. Gross from Mint Condition, my childhood comic shop--she agreed to let me have a few of these on the counter. I don't know if I actually followed through with that. I never made a second issue. This is the second issue. We're doing it right now. This is issue two. 

[00:35:28] Russ: Should we tell Star Wars news for what's going to happen? 

[00:35:31] Josh: And do we know any? Obi-Wan Kenobi from Disney Plus is coming out on May 25th. 

[00:35:36] Russ: Is it?

[00:35:38] Josh: Yeah. 

[00:35:39] Frey: By the way. That was my favorite sentence. "That's right. Lord of the Sith Darth Vader wants drawings of his son, Luke Skywalker."

[00:35:46] Russ: Spoilers! It's very casual. Like, oh yeah, his son. No big deal. Yeah, Very casual about it.

[00:35:51] Josh: Yeah, you can imagine he's just all, "I need to find Luke, I'm going to have people draw and send in pictures. They need to be fully colored." And then he has them like scotch taped on the inside of his [00:36:00] meditation chamber. And he's just, like, staring at all drawings.

[00:36:03] Russ: I gotta be honest. I'm a little perturbed by the full color request. It's like, what, you don't like pen and ink, kid? Come on, get outta here.

[00:36:10] Josh: I don't think I was responsible for this entire last page. I'm only responsible for about three quarters of this. 

[00:36:16] Russ: Were you the publisher at the time? 

[00:36:18] Frey: Editor-in-chief?

[00:36:20] Josh: I was indeed. Yes. 

[00:36:22] Russ: Take responsibility for this, please. 

[00:36:23] Josh: No, you're right. No, you're right. One thing I do find interesting in both of these: they are set--now stick with me here--so Jabba, in that story, he's trying to send bounty hunters after Han Solo. So it's before Return of the Jedi and probably before The Empire Strikes Back. And in that contest, Vader knows Lucas is his son.

[00:36:44] Frey: And he's still alive.

[00:36:46] Josh: Yeah, and he's still alive. But it is interesting because, if you think about it at that time, the only thing we had was these original movies. So to play around in Star Wars, like you just, automatically, it was within the confines of, from A New Hope to [00:37:00] the end of Return of the Jedi. And within that framework was where you could play. I just thought that was interesting. 

[00:37:06] Russ: Yeah, I guess I didn't read--it's something about the expanded universe, and I didn't read the book until, I guess, the mid nineties. I think I read The Hobbit before I read, like, the expanded universe Star Wars books. I don't know why that came to mind, but those are like the dueling franchises that were around, just floating around in the nineties, nothing done to them.

[00:37:22] Josh: I never cared for Lord of the Rings. I was never into fantasy 

[00:37:26] Russ: Star Wars is a fantasy, Josh. 

[00:37:28] Bracey: Yeah. Yeah. What are you talking about?

[00:37:30] Josh: Yeah. Except it looks like-- 

[00:37:32] Russ: Thank you, Bracey. 

[00:37:33] Josh: Yeah .. you guys.

[00:37:37] Russ: Pile on. Get him!

[00:37:38] Bracey: In space.

[00:37:41] Russ: Especially, like, watching Return of the Jedi the other day for the whatever time, and just watching the Emperor just sizzle fireworks out of his fingers? Like, That's wizard. That's wizard shit right there. That's just darkwizard. All wizard.

[00:37:52] Josh: Oh, no for sure. 

[00:37:53] Russ: You know 

[00:37:54] Josh: I know an Ob-Wan--obviously an inspiration for Ob-Wan was Gandalf, for sure. He even, [00:38:00] he dies in the first one.

[00:38:03] Frey: Right.

[00:38:04] Josh: comes back.

[00:38:05] Frey: As the White.

[00:38:07] Josh: Right. Yeah. So that is issue one of the Star Wars newsletter, my friends. Anything you want to comment on? 

[00:38:12] Russ: Top of the page, it says prototype with three exclamation points and an underline. And I love it. It has tape over the top. 

[00:38:19] Josh: And I also left room for the Y and the P in the underlining.

[00:38:26] Bracey: So much room that it looks like it's proto-ty dot P.E.

[00:38:29] Frey: It does.

[00:38:30] Russ: That's exactly what I was thinking. It looks like dot P.

[00:38:34] Frey: Reminded me of some of the scrolls. Like, WAR! THE DEAD SPEAK! PROTOTYPE!

[00:38:41] Josh: And I don't know about you guys, but I really enjoyed that. I thought that was a lot of fun to go through and reminisce.

[00:38:47] Frey: That was amazing.

[00:38:48] Bracey: This is a whole new side to you. I just, I think I already knew, but I just didn't realize it was so ingrained so long ago.

[00:38:58] Josh: No dude, I'm fucking nerd. I've always been [00:39:00] fucking nerd.

[00:39:00] Bracey: Yeah, no, I, 

[00:39:03] Russ: Uh, 

[00:39:04] Josh: Um,

[00:39:05] Bracey: True colors. 

[00:39:07] Josh: I really do wonder what it is. Like what was the impetus to even do this again? I think one of you asked, but it's like, who did I think I was talking to? Why did I want to do 

[00:39:14] Bracey: I love it. I love the initiative, but I do think, bring me the head of Luke Skywalker in full color. It's kinda tops of this whole thing. Like you did some great work, but that kind of combination you're at this it's pretty magical.

[00:39:28] Josh: Got it. That's my nightmare for me to create something and then have the thing that people love the most about it not be my part of it. Uh, you're really cutting pretty

[00:39:35] Bracey: I'm not, and I'm kidding.

[00:39:37] Josh: No, you're cutting deep. You're cutting deep and fry two. Before we started recording, he's like, there's one line that I want to say.

[00:39:42] It was my favorite line in the whole thing. I also didn't write it. I was too busy. I'm sorry. I was too busy. I was boning up on my journalistic standards and ethics. I was pounding the pavement and, uh, cutting out all the magazines in books. I photocopied this it's a Z. This is a Xen is what this is. And like the layout or [00:40:00] whatever.

[00:40:00] I typed this up and I printed it on like an inkjet. And then I taped her. I glued the cutouts from the magazines and books and stuff. My mom drove me to Kinko's to photocopy this and they wouldn't photocopy it because they thought I was violating.

[00:40:16] Frey: Wow. 

[00:40:17] Ha 

[00:40:17] Russ: this journalistic. 

[00:40:18] Frey: How many photocopies where you're trying to base?

[00:40:22] Josh: Uh, I can't remember if I actually made more than this one. Copy. I think I did, but anyway, yeah, I don't

[00:40:28] Frey: And this is pre Disney.

[00:40:30] Josh: closing thoughts. Anything

[00:40:31] Frey: No, I

[00:40:32] Josh: want to highlight?

[00:40:33] Frey: I love that this was my first trash compactor episode. This is like perfect for me.

[00:40:39] Bracey: It's amazing just to see just the clippings that you made and just bringing my attention to the books that I remember buying and never reading, because it said Star Wars, uh, seeing that and remembering, oh yeah, micro machines was all over stores back then. And like all these things, it's like, oh, geez. I completely forgot about that whole period of my life [00:41:00] that it formed my identity.

[00:41:02] And now it's, and now it's gone. It's overtaken by this new Star Wars stuff. It's, it's overtaken all my memories. All the exists. It's crazy. 

[00:41:09] Russ: I don't know, fight. Keep your memories, keep them intact inside in a protective shell in your skull. 

[00:41:15] Bracey: no change grow. It's good. It's healthier.

[00:41:18] Russ: Oh yeah, that's true. Can confer. 

[00:41:24] Josh: want our listeners to know that the last 20 seconds of exchange between Russ embracing perfectly sums up the differences between them. And anyway on that note, would anyone like to plug anything or say where they can be founded? 

[00:41:41] Russ: Russ the lush on all social media talking mostly about wine and spirits, but eventually I'll probably have some nerdier endeavors mixed in there. What is Java drinking in that chalice? I don't know. We should talk about.

[00:41:54] Josh: I like that fright. What about you? You have any socials, anything you want to

[00:41:59] Frey: Um, yeah.

[00:41:59] Josh: [00:42:00] people can.

[00:42:00] Frey: On Twitter, I'm motor thistle, like motor is an engine like fissile as in like plan. And also it's my S my site where I think a lot of creative projects going to live with Jonathan fried.site. That site is a new extension, or I don't know if it's new, but.

[00:42:14] Russ: That's all. 

[00:42:14] Josh: And Bracey. Where could you be found on the old inner webs?

[00:42:17] Bracey: Uh, I can't, I don't exist. I'm just, I'm a ghost who's ever listening. Just leave me alone.

[00:42:23] Josh: No, that's fair enough. If I were smart, I would heed that advice instead of doing what I'm doing right now.

[00:42:30] And on that note, join us next time. When we throw more Star Wars opinions out into the ether that I'm sure will be in no way, controversial, whatsoever, and no one will have any thoughts about on the internet.

[00:42:41] I'm Josh and I still don't have a sign off for this podcast.

[00:42:44] Bracey: That's the whole sign off right there.

[00:42:45] Frey: Yeah.

[00:42:45] Josh: Did it in one.

TRASHCOMPOD S01E01 Newsletter
===

[00:00:00] Josh: Welcome to Trash Compactor. I'm Josh and joining me today is Bracey.

[00:00:04] Bracey: Hello.

[00:00:04] Josh: Frey.

[00:00:05] Frey: Hello. 

[00:00:06] Josh: & returning heel slash curmudgeon of the pod, Russ.

[00:00:10] Russ: Hi.

[00:00:11] Josh: Today, we're going to be doing something a little different. It's a bit of an experiment when I was 10 in 1995, I made a four-page Star Wars newsletter. I'm not entirely sure why I've joked in the past that this podcast is actually the sequel to this newsletter, but I didn't ever think I would actually be talking about or showing this.

[00:00:31] I thought it might be fun to go through my four-page Star Wars newsletter that 10 year old me wrote in 1995, which was a very specific moment in Star Wars. I don't know what you want to call it. Fandom the life of Star Wars, such as it was at the time. So we're going to read through it and already this is super embarrassing, I already regret having done this.

[00:00:56] Uh, but okay, here we are. I started this, I can't take it back. So [00:01:00] first of all, it's called the Star Wars newsletter. Not even "the," it just says "Star Wars newsletter" on the cover. It looks like it's got the Star Wars logo. What looks like a cutout from the cover of the hardcover edition of Darksaber.

[00:01:12] On the front of it, it says 20 years ago in a galaxy very, very near, a young filmmaker named George Lucas wanted to create a quote "modern space fairytale," unquote, that people, regardless of age or gender, could enjoy. I don't know where that part came from. I don't-remember him ever saying that. Anyway, the film, later to be named Star Wars, went through several make-overs.

[00:01:32] The end result was a script about the adventures of Luke Starkiller and his quest to become a Jedi Knight, a few changes in the script Starkiller to Skywalker and so on. And the rest is history. It is now a very exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. We are on the Eve of a new Star Wars era. Once again, children will be pretending to be Luke Skywalker, princess Leia, Han solo and Chewbacca.

[00:01:54] The purpose of this newsletter is to guide fans through the next few years as the prequel trilogy unfolds. So [00:02:00] kick back and enjoy the very first issue of THE STAR WARS NEWSLETTER, all caps, may the force be with you.

[00:02:06] And then there's a very cool--I can see why I chose this, 'cause I still think it's very cool--there's a promotional still from Return of the Jedi of the Millennium Falcon and a couple of X-Wings flying into the superstructure of the Death Star 2 from Return of the Jedi.

[00:02:22] Okay. I don't know why I felt the need to explain what Star Wars is to a--

[00:02:28] Bracey: To anybody who would read a Star Wars newsletter.

[00:02:30] Josh: --exactly. But once again, I was 10.

[00:02:33] Bracey: But it sounds like you, you approached this, like, all right, so somebody's going to be like walking down the street and they're going to find this newsletter and then start reading it and be like, Ooh, I wonder what Star Wars is.

[00:02:44] Frey: And you don't want them to be alarmed.

[00:02:46] Bracey: Yeah.

[00:02:47] Josh: Yeah, obviously they would be taken in by the very professional and polished layout and design of--

[00:02:53] Frey: This is actually like disturbingly well-written for a 10 year old. There's like a show is as it, even beyond this paragraph shows like a grasp of [00:03:00] like journalistic writing, but in a way, this

[00:03:02] Josh: Oh, I appreciate that. Um, I'm cringing a little bit. I don't really know what your writing level skill is supposed to be when you're 10 years old.

[00:03:12] Bracey: Definitely not this! Like, uh, oh, when I was 10 years old, I was still writing Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo--just how they would interact and talk to each other and just general Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtle banter.

[00:03:27] Josh: Are you saying that you wrote Turtle fan fiction?

[00:03:30] Bracey: Yeah, of course. Doesn't--didn't every kid who was like a fan of whatever cartoon that they were into write stuff? Yeah. That's what I was writing.

[00:03:38] Frey: I did From Dusk Till-Dawn fan fiction.

[00:03:43] Josh: What is the name of the bar in From Dusk Till-Dawn, the Titty Twister?

[00:03:46] Frey: Oh yeah.

[00:03:48] Josh: still works. still works.

[00:03:50] Russ: Ahh, I love it. 

[00:03:52] Josh: first of all, the thing that stuck out to me is that I said that people, regardless of age or gender could enjoy. I wonder where I got that from.[00:04:00] 

[00:04:00] Frey: I don't know. It's a really sweet thing to say, but I don't know why. Like--

[00:04:03] Josh: No--

[00:04:04] Bracey: Yeah. 10 years old. It's kind of impressive.

[00:04:07] Josh: Like, I must have heard somebody describe Star Wars that way or something, because it's just a weird thing to highlight when you're describing Star Wars. In the first sentence, I'm saying it's a modern space fairy tale that people, regardless of age or gender, could enjoy.

[00:04:20] Frey: Yeah. I don't know, like, what are you comparing it to? That really was--

[00:04:23] Josh: Yeah, I don't--

[00:04:23] Frey: Like the boys--

[00:04:24] Josh: I don't know.

[00:04:25] Frey: The boys or girls only version.

[00:04:26] Bracey: I wonder what you watched to inspire. The writing of that first paragraph. What do you think you, this, like, writing this was on the heels of that made you go, like, I got to give the context. Did you watch something? Was it like, it was the behind the scenes stuff?

[00:04:42] Josh: Well, probably behind the scene stuff. Obviously the behind the scenes stuff was very influential to me as a kid. Certainly. Which, Bracey, I know you can relate to because I don't know when in our friendship this was: one of us quoted a deleted scene from Back to the Future that was only shown in the making of [00:05:00] the Back to the Future VHS that was included in the box set.

[00:05:03] I was like, oh shit. Like this guy knows what I'm quoting. And it's from a deleted scene that was only, to my knowledge, shown on the bonus VHS in the box set. He must have watched that as many times as the movies, just like I did, to be able to know what I'm referencing.

[00:05:19] Bracey: That was a deep cut right there, that. "Suddenly the future's looking a whole lot better," I think was the line from Doc Brown.

[00:05:26] Josh: You have a moment like that with someone, and you're like, oh my God, this person is going to be in my life for the rest of my life.

[00:05:33] Bracey: For better or worse.

[00:05:34] Josh: Yeah, for better or worse. There were only so many people like this.

[00:05:37] Frey: I think the future is looking a whole lot like whatever this is.

[00:05:40] Bracey: Yeah.

[00:05:43] Josh: No, but honestly, I think there was a website, StarWarz.com with a Z. One of the things that had was the various drafts of the script for Star Wars. That-- 

[00:05:54] Russ: Still exists. 

[00:05:56] Josh: Yes it does. Yes, it does. I think unchanged from--more or [00:06:00] less--from what it was 30 years ago.

[00:06:01] Bracey: A forum. Wow. That's...

[00:06:03] Josh: Oh, here! Starkiller - The Jedi Bendu Script Site. That homepage that's exactly what it was in 1995. I recognize this exactly. And I read the summary of the rough drafts. 

[00:06:15] Did you know that when they started shooting the original Star Wars, the name was still Starkiller. So when they were shooting everything on Tatooine in Tunisia, the name was still Luke Starkiller, but they never said the name until they, until Luke rescues Leia on the Death Star.

[00:06:32] And he says, I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you. And between the location shoot in Tunisia and traveling to the UK to shoot in the studio, Lucas did some more script revisions, and he changed the name from Starkiller to Skywalker. So it's just weird to think about when you're watching the scenes of Luke on Tatooine that, in his mind, like I'm playing a character named Luke Starkiller.

[00:06:55] I dunno. Does that strike anyone else as weird?

[00:06:56] Frey: Yeah. And just the way he behaves, like in those opening [00:07:00] scenes of New Hope, it's weird to attribute Starkiller to that person.

[00:07:05] Bracey: I think just generally it's, it's a weird name because we haven't had the last 30, some odd years to--30, wow, 40 years for some of us--to-get-used to that name. But I feel like if it was part of it, we would have just grown up being like Starkiller stuff, Luke Skywalker. Oh, that just sounds so silly. He's just walking on the sky? Why? Why that?

[00:07:25] Josh: Imagine, like, Starkiller Ranch. 

[00:07:27] Russ: Can you imagine being an up-and-coming actor, driving to Starkiller Ranch, to meet with George Lucas and just being totally out of your league and be 

[00:07:35] Josh: It's-- 

[00:07:36] Russ: Just the thought: Starkiller?! 

[00:07:38] Bracey: But I WANT to be a star.

[00:07:41] Josh: Moving right along: Star Wars update. George Lucas is currently working on the scripts for the Star Wars prequels, Episodes One through Three. They are to deal with the young Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader, and how Emperor Palpatine rose to power. All three films are scheduled for release in 1998.

[00:07:57] I don't know if you recall, but that was actually the plan at [00:08:00] one point: to shoot them all back to back and release them.

[00:08:03] Russ: Like simultaneously, so you can watch all three at the same time in the theater? 

[00:08:06] Josh: Maybe I was misinterpreting that the first one was to be released in 1998.

[00:08:12] Frey: I was just wondering as far as, like, George Lucas', like, vision for the effects in the prequel trilogy, and all the digital sets - what was he thinking? As far as the technology as it was, like, pre-1997.

[00:08:22] Josh: I think it's pretty well documented that the thing that made him decide, okay, I'm going to make the Star Wars prequels was when he saw what ILM was doing with Jurassic Park. But actually the Young Indiana Jones series, his experience shooting that, and the production model, the digital effects that they experimented with on that, and the way of shooting it--when you saw where nonlinear editing was, and to see like how you could just very quickly make a crowd of 10 people into a crowd of a thousand ... and he was like, okay, I want to get my hands dirty again.

[00:08:54] So I think he was thinking, oh, like we could do this like Young Indiana Jones and it would be small and nimble [00:09:00] and we could just do it a lot faster and more intense.

[00:09:05] Bracey: I don't think he ever got to the "more intense" part. But I am curious, like, if he had shot all three of these movies at the same time, would that have been like the first major franchise to do that?

[00:09:16] Josh: No, they shot Superman 1 and 2 at the same time. And they also shot Back to the Future 2 and 3 back-to-back

[00:09:23] Bracey: But, but not three, I mean, 3, 3, 3 movies,

[00:09:29] Josh: Three? I don't think so?

[00:09:31] Bracey: Lord of the Rings. I thought that was like, why that was novel when that happened is because they had shot all three of those.

[00:09:36] Josh: Well, that is, I believe, the first time that it actually happened. I don't know if it was a rumor or if it was actually the plan at one point, but there was a lot of talk about how the prequels were to be shot back to back, or simultaneously, whatever. Which obviously ended up not happening.

[00:09:52] Anyway, continuing with the Star Wars update: ILM--in parentheses, Industrial Light and Magic--is redoing all of the special effects in the first [00:10:00] Star Wars film.

[00:10:00] They are also incorporating into it scenes that were originally cut from the film, such as the scene where Han Solo has a confrontation with Jabba the Hutt.

[00:10:08] However, there will be no Luke/Biggs footage. Does ILM have any similar plans for The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi? George Lucas isn't very enthusiastic about it. Star Wars Special Edition should open in theaters in 1997.

[00:10:22] Again, I wonder where I'm getting my information from. So clearly I had read something that was talking about the Special Edition, where George Lucas must have said that he's not planning to do it for the other two movies, which obviously didn't turn out to be the case.

[00:10:38] Frey: Or maybe you just didn't hear about it. And you were, like, just kind of extrapolating, like, what George Lucas was thinking about it at the time. Like, well, I'm hearing about it, so he's not enthusiastic.

[00:10:47] Josh: My code of ethics as the journalist that I'm LARPing as here, I don't think would have allowed for that sort of a characterization. Like, it doesn't seem like the kind of thing I would invent whole cloth.

[00:10:58] Frey: Ten-year-old you just got really offended that I [00:11:00] suggested that.

[00:11:04] Josh: Moving on: Recently, Fox video re-released the Star Wars movies on video cassette. They have been digitally remastered by THX, meaning better sound and picture quality. The movies have been packaged in new boxes and each includes a video interview with George Lucas and a special coupon booklet with discounts on Star Wars merchandise. I don't know why I included that detail.

[00:11:22] Bracey: You went straight from newsletter to super saver in one fell swoop.

[00:11:27] Josh: Yeah, exactly. The set of three goes for around $40, but you better hurry and buy your copy fast because the Star Wars movies in their original format will be taken off the market forever on January 31st, 1996. 

[00:11:39] Russ: No joke. 

[00:11:40] Josh: No joke. 

[00:11:42] Russ: No joke. You can't get them. 

[00:11:44] Josh: Available also is the THX remastered Star Wars, movies in "Letterbox" format. I don't know why I capitalized letterbox and I don't know why I abbreviated Star Wars to SW in that last sentence.

[00:11:56] Frey: Yeah, I think you'd do it for here on out. You do that.

[00:11:59] Josh: [00:12:00] Once I set a precedent for something, I continue with-it. 

[00:12:02] Frey: Yeah, you have a style guide.

[00:12:04] Josh: Yeah. I have a little style guide. You guys remember the famous "faces" release, as they call them.

[00:12:09] I know our viewers-- or our listeners--you can't see, but there's a little thumbnail of the boxes up. 

[00:12:15] Russ: It's the only legitimate version of Star Wars. Yeah. Yeah. I remember. 

[00:12:19] Josh: The "only legitimate version of Star Wars."

[00:12:21] Bracey: As deemed by whom, Russ? As deemed by whom?

[00:12:26] Russ: ME. It's been approved by me. 

[00:12:27] Josh: At some point, we are going to do a Special Edition episode, but I don't want to wade too deeply into that right here.

[00:12:33] 20th century Fox recently launched their "web site" on the "Internet." Website is two words and the I in internet is capitalized.

[00:12:40] Frey: I remember learning that, that we had to do that. Yeah. I think in the nineties it was like, that was, it had to be like, that was proper to, like, capitalize it.

[00:12:47] Josh: For sure. Like the New York Times style guide, the internet and the worldwide web, like, all had to be capitalized.

[00:12:51] And then I list the URL: www.tcfhe.com. That's a fucking god-awful URL. Isn't it?

[00:12:59] Frey: Yeah, [00:13:00] it just doesn't look right.

[00:13:01] Josh: Was there, like, a domain squatter on 20thcenturyfox.com?

[00:13:05] Bracey: I think they were going with the logic, like, you gotta make it as small as possible. Like it's just, it doesn't matter what it is.

[00:13:11] Josh: Yeah. But when I look at that URL, I have no idea what the fuck that is. Nowhere in my mind, am I going, oh, that's obviously 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.com. 

[00:13:22] Russ: The site can't be reached. 

[00:13:23] Josh: If we Wayback Machine'd it, we could find it. And then I note they have a very large Star Wars area. 

[00:13:28] Russ: The play area for adults. 

[00:13:29] Josh: I assume we all owned this particular VHS.

[00:13:32] Bracey: Actually I didn't rebuy it. I still have the set before this one, and, and it came with From Star Wars to Jedi.

[00:13:40] Josh: Star Wars to Jedi. Yeah.

[00:13:42] Bracey: And, and that was the set I, I stuck with.

[00:13:44] Russ: They did make changes. 

[00:13:47] Josh: I don't think they made changes. It was just the transfer was a cleaner transfer. 

[00:13:51] Russ: Okay. Was there any audio adjustments? Like, I thought there might've been audio changes. 

[00:13:56] Josh: I don't think there were adjustments to the film itself. [00:14:00] I just think it was the source for the transfer and the process of the transfer from whatever the print they used to VHS. And it is interesting because I believe--and I might be getting this completely backwards--but for VHS, they preferred very low contrast prints, I believe.

[00:14:17] And there was something about the reds that I was reading. Somebody on Twitter had a whole thread about how, if you look at the cinematography of movies in the nineties, how they were basically like shooting for VHS, the way that VHS handles colors in particular, the color red. Red was a notoriously troublesome when reproduced on VHS.

[00:14:39] Bracey: I remember certain colors actually made this like static thing happened on my VHS, on my TV, actually on just my TV in general. Maybe that wasn't a VHS thing, maybe I just had an old shitty TV that I needed to fix. Those were the times.

[00:14:57] Josh: When was the first time you guys saw Star Wars [00:15:00] in widescreen?

[00:15:00] Bracey: Probably in the theater. When, during the rerelease. Oh, Nope. At my friend PJ's house. I think they had a, what were the gold discs, laser discs? Wasn't that, I think that was--

[00:15:11] Josh: That is cool.

[00:15:12] Bracey: Yeah. I think that was the first place. I didn't see them all. I think I will this all one of them.

[00:15:16] but. 

[00:15:16] Josh: For me, the Sci-Fi Channel, when they launched with--the first thing they ever showed was the original Star Wars trilogy in widescreen in 199--I don't know, 4 or 5. 

[00:15:28] Russ: I recall that. 

[00:15:29] Josh: USA and the Sci-Fi channel were a part of the same company. So they used to have a Thanksgiving marathons and they would show--I think on Sci-Fi, they showed it in widescreen.

[00:15:38] I don't know if they showed it in widescreen on USA, but I guess that they figured that anyone watching Sci-Fi was nerd enough to care about that sort of thing.

[00:15:45] Bracey: I remember when the Sci-Fi Channel was coming and they used Star Wars all throughout their advertising. And I was just so amped and then I never saw Star Wars on Sci-Fi. I mean, I guess I just didn't align [00:16:00] with whatever the schedule was, but I never saw it. 

[00:16:02] Russ: The ultimate bait and switch. 

[00:16:04] Bracey: Yeah, that's what it felt like.

[00:16:05] Josh: I just remember like reruns of The Incredible Hulk from the seventies, The Bionic Woman and the $6 Million Man, and In Search of with Leonard Nimoy. I remember those were, like, on repeat all the time. So if you think about it, it started off as like TV Land for Sci-Fi. It was like, whatever was cheap to license and Star Wars, at that moment in time,

[00:16:28] wasn't the super hot commodity that it is now. Obviously the licensing, I'm sure, wasn't cheap, but if you think about it, that's sort of in line with the rest of Sci-Fi channel's programming. Like they probably had the license to show it for, like, a year.

[00:16:42] Frey: Yeah. That's like perfect for a new cable channel. And also, I remember they had, I don't know if it was right away, but they had Mystery Science Theater, 3000. That was like an early--

[00:16:49] Bracey: Oh yeah.

[00:16:50] Josh: Comedy Central canceled Mystery Science Theater 3000. And then the last couple of seasons were actually on Sci-Fi.

[00:16:55] Frey: Starting in '96 or something like that.

[00:16:57] Josh: Yeah. '96 or '97. Yeah. Okay, anyway, [00:17:00] moving on: Star Wars book review. Star Wars: Darksaber is a new Star Wars novel by Kevin J. Anderson. It involves the coming together of Admiral Daala and the promoted Vice Admiral Pelaeon.

[00:17:11] I never actually knew how to say his name--is it, is it Pelaeon?

[00:17:16] Frey: That sounds--

[00:17:17] Josh: Paella? Anyway-- 

[00:17:22] Russ: Yeah. 

[00:17:23] Josh: Together they construct a massive battle fleet and attempt to destroy the New Republic. Meanwhile, in the Hoth asteroid belt, a Hutt named Durga uses original Death Star designer Bevel Limelisk to design a new Death Star, to be named the Darksaber.

[00:17:38] Will Daala and Paella succeed in their quest to destroy the Republic? That sounds delicious. Will this new Death Star be as fearsome as the first? What about the second? I'm skipping over the second entirely. Find out in the fabulous action-packed Star Wars novel Darksaber. And then I say: new Star Wars book, the Star Wars Illustrated Universe, and coming soon - Star Wars: Tales of Jabba the Hutt and Star [00:18:00] Wars: Tales of the Bounty Hunters.

[00:18:02] Russ: Uh, the good, good. That's the good stuff. 

[00:18:04] Josh: This was really quite a time. I have to reread that. 

[00:18:06] Russ: Star Wars. 

[00:18:07] Josh: Did any of you guys ever read the Kevin J. Anderson novels in the nineties?

[00:18:11] Russ: Yeah, they were the first ones I read, actually. 

[00:18:14] Josh: me 

[00:18:14] Russ: air the 

[00:18:15] Josh: The first one I read--no, so did I, the first one--so this must mean, because you and I both had the same experience, so that they, like, broadened their marketing strategy because the Jedi Academy trilogy or the Jedi Search trilogy was the second trilogy to follow up the Thrawn trilogy.

[00:18:31] And I remember very clearly I was grocery shopping with my dad and in the magazine section, I saw Jedi Search and I was like, what? New StarWars?

[00:18:42] Russ: There were Star Wars. books in, like, little kind of basket racks and the supermarket. I definitely bought the second book in that Kevin J. Anderson trilogy in the supermarket. I also bought the Courtship of Princess Leia in the A&P. So yeah. I bought Star Wars books at supermarkets. 

[00:18:57] Josh: The Courtship of Princess Leia is [00:19:00] only notable to me for--that's where the Witches of Dathomir originate. I believe they show up again in Clone Wars. And George Lucas's daughter, his second daughter, whose name is escaping me right now. She really loved the Witches of Dathomir. And she was in the writer's room for clone wars and she was responsible for the whole return of the Witches of Dathomir in the Clone Wars show.

[00:19:25] Frey: I think they, one of them also shows up in Ewoks: Battle for Endor. Like one of the characters is 

[00:19:32] Russ: I know the guest on that episode of the podcast. 

[00:19:35] Bracey: I remember nothing of that one.

[00:19:37] Russ: The Battle of Endor? I mean, I think Frey's just going to cover all the Ewok movies.

[00:19:41] Josh: I think that came out in what, like 1985 or 1986. And I remember I had no idea they existed. I think I saw that they were showing it like on the Disney Channel or something, and I was like, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God--I can't believe there's like a Star Wars thing that I've never seen. [00:20:00] And I remember I started to watch it--like I sat down to watch it, probably with a fresh VHS in the old video cassette recorder, and I remember instantly being crushingly disappointed.

[00:20:11] Frey: Yeah.

[00:20:12] Josh: Because I was like this, why are the Ewoks speaking English and who is this little kid? And what the fuck is this garbage? This isn't more Star Wars. This is for babies, or whatever. I was really pissed. 

[00:20:23] Russ: They were TV movies. And I think that's the reason why, uh, they didn't really have as much of a cultural impact. Maybe not having a theatrical release? 

[00:20:31] Josh: They really are an artifact of that fallow Lucasfilm period in the mid to late eighties, the aesthetics and the props. It's right after Return of the Jedi, it's all a carryover. And I believe--the first one, at least--was directed by, oh God, his name is escaping me, but a friend of George Lucas who directed--something Korby. Maybe he directed--

[00:20:51] Bracey: He was like, yo, we got all these teddy bear costumes in the backlot, what do you wanna do with them? Ah, let's make a movie.

[00:20:56] Josh: Basically. Yeah, 

[00:20:57] Russ: John Korty.

[00:20:58] Josh: Yes. Did he [00:21:00] direct--?

[00:21:00] Russ: The second one? No, it was Jim wheat and Ken Wheat. I assume brothers. 

[00:21:03] Frey: I know that Wilford Brimley didn't get along with them. So Joe Johnston was the production designer on that one and he had to direct all the scenes with Wilford Brimley.

[00:21:11] Josh: That's amazing.

[00:21:12] Bracey: Holy shit. How do you guys know that?

[00:21:15] Russ: Oh, Frey knows. Frey knows things. Yeah. It's--I don't even know. He just, things happen in that head of his.

[00:21:21] Josh: It is that anecdote that now makes me want to do the episode on these two movies. 100% seriously. We are going to do them now.

[00:21:30] Russ: The Battle for Endor poster, by the way, rocks. That's a cool looking poster. Like, that's cool.

[00:21:36] Frey: I'm not sure who the guy is on that.

[00:21:38] Josh: That looks like a foreign poster, if you're looking at IMDb. 

[00:21:40] Russ: Yeah. The Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure--not as cool looking. But classic. 

[00:21:45] Josh: Okay, this is obviously a German poster. It's called Kampf um Endor.

[00:21:50] Russ: It's awesome. This is the best poster I think I've ever seen. Cindel is in both of these films, by the way. We're getting way off topic. 

[00:21:57] Frey: It's--what's crazy is that her, the rest of her [00:22:00] family's, like, the main characters in the first one and they all--spoiler alert--they all die, like, at the beginning of the second one.

[00:22:05] Josh: It's very dark, that first one. But what else did John Korty direct? Because he's a filmmaker of some note. 

[00:22:13] Russ: He's probably most well-known for, according to IMDb, Farewell to Manzanar? Miracle in a Box? I don't know what any of this is.

[00:22:21] Josh: Yeah, you're right, his IMDb is weird. But he and George Lucas, I believe were like college roommates at USC, something like that. So this was definitely a case of, we have all these Ewok costumes lying around, hey buddy, would you do me a solid and direct this shit for me? So Darksaber, one of the many expanded universe attempts to recreate what the Star Wars formula became, where like you have to have a super weapon that's on par with the Death Star--that I would argue started with Return of the Jedi. The Return of the Jedi was the first one to pull that. And it was [00:23:00] just barely acceptable that first time. Some may argue it wasn't even then, but--

[00:23:05] Bracey: I'll argue that. Now. It was my favorite back in the day, but like growing up it's, oh, I see what you did there. All right. 

[00:23:14] Russ: I'm just going to hold. I'm going to hold all of my-- 

[00:23:16] Bracey: Teddy bears!

[00:23:17] Russ: Stop it! Stop it!

[00:23:19] Josh: That's a topic for another episode. That's a topic for another episode.

[00:23:21] Bracey: It's true. Just saying it's 

[00:23:22] true

[00:23:22] Russ: They're warrior bears. Warrior bears. How dare you.

[00:23:26] Bracey: Wookies 

[00:23:27] Russ: Paploo is amazing. How dare you. Take it back. 

[00:23:30] Josh: Chief Chirpa is actually pretty scary-looking, if you look at him. 

[00:23:33] Russ: He's intense. 

[00:23:34] Josh: I wish that they had gone more in the Chief Chirpa direction and less in the Wicket direction.

[00:23:39] Frey: If they'd behave differently than it would be actually terrifying. Like they're not inherently cute 

[00:23:44] Russ: Show their teeth! 

[00:23:46] Josh: Yeah. 

[00:23:47] Russ: Real scary. 

[00:23:49] Josh: Okay. Anyway--

[00:23:49] Bracey: Show they don't have a dental plan. Things are like going in all directions. If you get bit, it's totally gangrene.

[00:23:57] Russ: And also, like, there were Care Bears out at the time so show [00:24:00] these ones are like carnivore bears, eating raw meat and pulling fish out of the river. I don't know.

[00:24:05] Josh: I would have watched that cartoon. Okay. Star Wars comics backslash cards. I don't know why I went with the backslash there. Have you heard of Star Wars Widevision cards for those who have not?

[00:24:15] Well, Russ, for those who have not, the Star Wars Widevision cards are cards with scenes from the Star Wars movies.

[00:24:22] Russ: They were still frames. They were just like frames. 

[00:24:25] Frey: You're being very clear.

[00:24:27] Josh: However, these cards are about double the size of a standard-size card. The Star Wars Widevision packs are no longer sold at stores, but can be purchased from catalogs. Most stores are now selling packs of The Empire Strikes Back Widevision cards. In the Star Wars set, there are 120 cards to collect. In Empire, there are 144. Each series also has a certain number of special foil cards. Coming soon: Return of the Jedi Widevision, Star Wars the Customizable Card Game, and Star Wars Galaxy 3, which, I think Star Wars Galaxy was a magazine.

[00:24:56] Russ: That was the magazine that both you and I had a subscription [00:25:00] to.

[00:25:00] Josh: The Star Wars Customizable Card Game. That, for me, was what made me a regular at my local comic shop, where I grew up--that was pretty crazy. There is an everlasting array of Star Wars comics. The legacy of Star Wars comics began with the adaptation of the first film by Marvel. After that they continue to produce original comics based on the movie.

[00:25:16] They also adapted the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Then Marvel stopped producing Star Wars comics and went on to other projects. A few years ago, Dark Horse Comics began to produce Star Wars comics with Dark Empire. Since then, Dark Horse has produced more Star Wars comics like Tales of the Jedi, reprints of the original movie adaptations, Ewoks, Droids, Star Wars: The Early Adventures--in parentheses, Star Wars comic strips from newspapers, Dark Empire 2, Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett, and X-Wing Rogue Squadron. Coming soon: X-Wing Rogue Squadron #4. Russ, could you speak to, a little bit, how important the Dark Horse label was at this time? 

[00:25:48] Russ: Yeah. I mean, basically I'll recap this more in the Dark Empire podcast episode, but I believe that 1991 was the first time the Star Wars comics came back. Star Wars comics actually premiered before the [00:26:00] 1977 film came out. So it was a month before Star Wars actually premiered. So you can actually have a Star Wars comic in your hand before we even saw the movie.

[00:26:07] So the comics that played like a huge part for a lot of, like, fans--like their first kind of visual, like, storytelling dip into Star Wars. And then, yeah, Dark Horse. I guess the license had lapsed or no one wanted to make comics, thinking that Star Wars didn't really have the weight to sell books. I don't know.

[00:26:25] I don't know what the reason was. I guess Marvel had it and no one else pursued it. 

[00:26:28] Josh: Yeah, I think the license lapsed and nobody wanted it. The same thing with the Kenner action figures. Crazy how fast the market demand for Star Wars, like, completely fell right off a cliff like circa 1985, 1986. Which makes sense. Like, without another movie to look forward to, the Ewoks: Battle for Endor wasn't cutting it.

[00:26:46] Bracey: No, they needed something new.

[00:26:48] Josh: Russ, correct me if I'm wrong, but Dark Horse as a comic imprint, they were doing some really interesting stuff. 

[00:26:55] Russ: Yeah, they had a mix. It was their own owned properties, as well as licensed [00:27:00] properties. They had the Alien, Predator properties, and I'm pretty sure they had Terminator as well. They were the first to do that--have license mix of properties overall. Dark Empire, like, I was reading that they had started planning for that roughly, I think, in 1986--or 1988 is when they started planning to release it, I think.

[00:27:16] And it came out in 1991, the first issue. So it had been in the works for a long time, parallel to the Timothy Zahn trilogy.

[00:27:25] Josh: Did Dark Horse go to Lucasfilm wanting to do this, or no? 

[00:27:30] Russ: a good question. I think they might have. I actually, I don't know. No, I have to look into that. 

[00:27:36] Josh: Both of those are subjects we are going to return to for sure. Next section: Star Wars merchandise, otherwise known as Star Wars. We are on the eve of a new Star Wars era. So naturally "their," oh God, I used the wrong "their" there. That's really fucking awful--

[00:27:49] Bracey: Dude, you were 10! Give past Bernhard a break.

[00:27:53] Josh: Yeah. He deserves a break.

[00:27:55] Frey: He is out here busting his ass!

[00:27:57] Josh: Yeah, so, this I pretty much [00:28:00] must have just read a catalog and went through what it was advertising, because I don't think my heart was really in this section. I seem to recall that. It's very telling, though, that I didn't feel like I could make a Star Wars newsletter without having a section about merchandise that was coming out.

[00:28:15] Here's some of the upcoming merchandise: the Star Wars Customizable Card Game by Decipher. A 3D Millennium Falcon puzzle by Milton Bradley. Exciting collector sets by Galoob. Maquettes of Admiral Ackbar, Boba Fett, and Jabba the Hutt by Elusive Concepts. The 1996 Star Wars Calendar by Hallmark. Original film cels from the movies by Willits Design. C3PO and R2D2 electronic banks by Thinkway. PVC figures and other collectables by Applause. Chromium art and lobby cards with the new Star Wars video cover images by Zanart. Posters of the new video covers by Western Graphics. Star Wars hats by Freshcaps to go along with Star Wars t-shirts by Changes--that's a weird company name. And Kenner has already released play sets and new action figures. I feel like that should have been the headline there because that was a big deal.

[00:28:57] Russ: Yeah, the Power of the Force. 

[00:28:58] Frey: But it already happened. [00:29:00] So you weren't excited to break that news.

[00:29:02] Josh: I'm sure it is why it's just a footnote at the end--because it's not new. However, we have barely scratched the surface of the new Star Wars merchandise. Expect more merchandise as we get closer to the release of the Star Wars Special Edition. Wow--every time I say "we are on the Eve of a new Star Wars era," like, I don't even think I knew the extent of what that phrase would portend there. "I'm sure there will be more new merchandise as we get closer to it." Yeah. You fucking think? Like, Jesus Christ, our planet will be dead and gone and there will still be landfills filled with Star Wars merchandise that are visible from light years away.

[00:29:42] Bracey: I would love to just watch 10 year old you be brought to right now. Just, just brought to right now and see, just go into, I don't know, Target--go into any general superstore and just--

[00:29:55] Josh: Any general store.

[00:29:57] Bracey: general supermarket store. [00:30:00] Cause you'll see it on everything! Like, going from a, like a drought where it was, like, so hyper specialized back in the day to, like, you can't--you can walk down any store in the supermarket and any aisle in a supermarket and sometimes, usually find a Star Wars thing somewhere. It's, like, lip balm. It's disposable plates. Star Wars.

[00:30:23] Josh: This was before even the Special Edition. So like the idea that you could sit down and see a new Star Wars TV show about Boba Fett, like, in your house, I would just be ... it's, like, it's also one of those things where I think ten-year-old me would take a long time, like, wrapping his mind around the size of the television that he was at. He would be like, "you have a movie theater in your house."

[00:30:44] Bracey: Yeah. At the time you were writing this, I was still playing Rebel Assault on Sega CD. And I was happy. I-- 

[00:30:51] was, 

[00:30:52] Josh: CD version! Wow.

[00:30:54] Bracey: I was happy. That game sucked, and I was happy. I looked just like, yeah, no, I loved it [00:31:00] too. But it was because there was nothing else that was anywhere near that.

[00:31:04] Josh: Don't get me wrong, it doesn't hold a candle to TIE Fighter, or even, frankly, theSuper Star Wars games for Super Nintendo. The big deal about that was seeing that live action Star Wars on your computer screen and being able to interact with it. That was a groundbreaking game.

[00:31:18] Russ: Beggar's Canyon in the skyhopper was fun. The A-wing in the asteroid field. I had a great time Rebel Assault. I played a lot of it on my first computer. Yeah. We got a joystick for it ,and it wasn't a good joystick. It was like the joystick you get with your, like, Dell-ish computer pack. Yeah. 

[00:31:35] Josh: At Comp USA or a Circuit City.

[00:31:37] Russ: They also gave us Maniac Mansion. They gave us like a LucasArts bundle with the computer and it was pretty sweet. Day of the Tentacle? Yeah, LucasArts was-awesome. 

[00:31:47] Josh: We have to do a LucasArts episode at some point. Okay. Here, um, the final section of this, I have to admit, this is the only section of the newsletter that I personally did not write. I had a friend--I've actually had a bunch [00:32:00] of these, like, mayfly friends. We would be really good friends for, like, a couple of years.

[00:32:04] And the thing that we had in common was a love of Star Wars at a time when that was an uncommon thing to love. So the point is I had a friend at this point in 1995, who I was like trying to get to do this newsletter with me. And this was his contribution was Star Wars: Jabba's Deceit. This is an original Star Wars story for you to finish as Jabba the Hutt hires bounty hunters left and right to capture the mercenary Han Solo.

[00:32:29] He is unaware that someone is watching him. Jabba finally had hired just about every bounty hunter in the entire Tatooine system. He relaxed and waited for results. Then he knew something was terribly wrong--dot, dot, dot. Late one night in Jabba's palace, a stranger silently made his way past the guards and walked in. The stranger wore armor collected from several different areas.

[00:32:51] He wore a Stormtrooper chestplate and boots while he had green arm and leg armor. I think there's supposed to be--

[00:32:57] Bracey: No man. No, no.

[00:32:59] Josh: Nah, [00:33:00] man, go with it. He had a few vibroknives tied to his arms and legs, two laser pistols--one on his belt and the other in his boot. He carried a heavy laser rifle on his shoulder.

[00:33:08] The stranger continued to Jabba's main audience chamber--dot, dot, dot. The rest is for you to decide! And remember: be creative.

[00:33:15] Bracey: I just love how you've immortalized, this kid story.

[00:33:21] Frey: Yeah.

[00:33:21] Bracey: Like, You know, like really, this kid had no idea. If he was told back in the day, like, "hey, one day you're going to be on a podcast. Your story is going to be digitized and spread to billions of possible people that might not link click on this." 

[00:33:36] Russ: Potential listeners. 

[00:33:38] Bracey: Okay. Yes, exactly.

[00:33:41] Josh: He would be like, "what's a podcast?"

[00:33:43] Bracey: Yeah. What's the internet? Oh no, no. 

[00:33:46] Josh: What fuck is the internet?!

[00:33:49] Frey: So angry now!

[00:33:51] Russ: If I've learned anything, I'm just frightened of time traveling Star Wars children into the future. Like, that sounds like a fan film that I would actually want to watch [00:34:00] because--just watching someone break down? "So the devil guy with horns has a double lightsaber? He's Sith??" 

[00:34:06] Josh: Sidebar. I actually want to do this. Okay. But. Okay, but moving on--and this was my friend's other contribution: Star Wars contest. "Bring me the head of Luke Skywalker," says Darth Vader in a, what do you call it? A dialogue bubble, a speech bubble? What do you call that?

[00:34:24] Russ: Yeah. Word balloon. Yeah. 

[00:34:26] Josh: A word balloon. 

[00:34:27] Russ: Yeah. 

[00:34:28] Josh: That's right. Lord of the Sith Darth Vader wants drawings of his son, Luke Skywalker. He will accept drawings done in pen or pencil, and that are fully colored. Oh, they need to be fully colored. Oh, wow. Okay. Okay. This is--he will choose the three he likes best and they will be published in our next issue. So put your ship on autopilot and start drawing.

[00:34:48] Drop off your entries at any comic shop or you see a Star Wars newsletter box. You must include your name and address. Good luck, and may the force be with you. And then in--what [00:35:00] is that, size 14 Times New Roman at the bottom? Size 16? Watch for our next issue--with two exclamation points. That's a choice.

[00:35:06] Bracey: But where am I watching? Where were you putting this for somebody to stumble on?

[00:35:11] Josh: No, Mrs. Gross from Mint Condition, my childhood comic shop--she agreed to let me have a few of these on the counter. I don't know if I actually followed through with that. I never made a second issue. This is the second issue. We're doing it right now. This is issue two. 

[00:35:28] Russ: Should we tell Star Wars news for what's going to happen? 

[00:35:31] Josh: And do we know any? Obi-Wan Kenobi from Disney Plus is coming out on May 25th. 

[00:35:36] Russ: Is it?

[00:35:38] Josh: Yeah. 

[00:35:39] Frey: By the way. That was my favorite sentence. "That's right. Lord of the Sith Darth Vader wants drawings of his son, Luke Skywalker."

[00:35:46] Russ: Spoilers! It's very casual. Like, oh yeah, his son. No big deal. Yeah, Very casual about it.

[00:35:51] Josh: Yeah, you can imagine he's just all, "I need to find Luke, I'm going to have people draw and send in pictures. They need to be fully colored." And then he has them like scotch taped on the inside of his [00:36:00] meditation chamber. And he's just, like, staring at all drawings.

[00:36:03] Russ: I gotta be honest. I'm a little perturbed by the full color request. It's like, what, you don't like pen and ink, kid? Come on, get outta here.

[00:36:10] Josh: I don't think I was responsible for this entire last page. I'm only responsible for about three quarters of this. 

[00:36:16] Russ: Were you the publisher at the time? 

[00:36:18] Frey: Editor-in-chief?

[00:36:20] Josh: I was indeed. Yes. 

[00:36:22] Russ: Take responsibility for this, please. 

[00:36:23] Josh: No, you're right. No, you're right. One thing I do find interesting in both of these: they are set--now stick with me here--so Jabba, in that story, he's trying to send bounty hunters after Han Solo. So it's before Return of the Jedi and probably before The Empire Strikes Back. And in that contest, Vader knows Lucas is his son.

[00:36:44] Frey: And he's still alive.

[00:36:46] Josh: Yeah, and he's still alive. But it is interesting because, if you think about it at that time, the only thing we had was these original movies. So to play around in Star Wars, like you just, automatically, it was within the confines of, from A New Hope to [00:37:00] the end of Return of the Jedi. And within that framework was where you could play. I just thought that was interesting. 

[00:37:06] Russ: Yeah, I guess I didn't read--it's something about the expanded universe, and I didn't read the book until, I guess, the mid nineties. I think I read The Hobbit before I read, like, the expanded universe Star Wars books. I don't know why that came to mind, but those are like the dueling franchises that were around, just floating around in the nineties, nothing done to them.

[00:37:22] Josh: I never cared for Lord of the Rings. I was never into fantasy 

[00:37:26] Russ: Star Wars is a fantasy, Josh. 

[00:37:28] Bracey: Yeah. Yeah. What are you talking about?

[00:37:30] Josh: Yeah. Except it looks like-- 

[00:37:32] Russ: Thank you, Bracey. 

[00:37:33] Josh: Yeah .. you guys.

[00:37:37] Russ: Pile on. Get him!

[00:37:38] Bracey: In space.

[00:37:41] Russ: Especially, like, watching Return of the Jedi the other day for the whatever time, and just watching the Emperor just sizzle fireworks out of his fingers? Like, That's wizard. That's wizard shit right there. That's just darkwizard. All wizard.

[00:37:52] Josh: Oh, no for sure. 

[00:37:53] Russ: You know 

[00:37:54] Josh: I know an Ob-Wan--obviously an inspiration for Ob-Wan was Gandalf, for sure. He even, [00:38:00] he dies in the first one.

[00:38:03] Frey: Right.

[00:38:04] Josh: comes back.

[00:38:05] Frey: As the White.

[00:38:07] Josh: Right. Yeah. So that is issue one of the Star Wars newsletter, my friends. Anything you want to comment on? 

[00:38:12] Russ: Top of the page, it says prototype with three exclamation points and an underline. And I love it. It has tape over the top. 

[00:38:19] Josh: And I also left room for the Y and the P in the underlining.

[00:38:26] Bracey: So much room that it looks like it's proto-ty dot P.E.

[00:38:29] Frey: It does.

[00:38:30] Russ: That's exactly what I was thinking. It looks like dot P.

[00:38:34] Frey: Reminded me of some of the scrolls. Like, WAR! THE DEAD SPEAK! PROTOTYPE!

[00:38:41] Josh: And I don't know about you guys, but I really enjoyed that. I thought that was a lot of fun to go through and reminisce.

[00:38:47] Frey: That was amazing.

[00:38:48] Bracey: This is a whole new side to you. I just, I think I already knew, but I just didn't realize it was so ingrained so long ago.

[00:38:58] Josh: No dude, I'm fucking nerd. I've always been [00:39:00] fucking nerd.

[00:39:00] Bracey: Yeah, no, I, 

[00:39:03] Russ: Uh, 

[00:39:04] Josh: Um,

[00:39:05] Bracey: True colors. 

[00:39:07] Josh: I really do wonder what it is. Like what was the impetus to even do this again? I think one of you asked, but it's like, who did I think I was talking to? Why did I want to do 

[00:39:14] Bracey: I love it. I love the initiative, but I do think, bring me the head of Luke Skywalker in full color. It's kinda tops of this whole thing. Like you did some great work, but that kind of combination you're at this it's pretty magical.

[00:39:28] Josh: Got it. That's my nightmare for me to create something and then have the thing that people love the most about it not be my part of it. Uh, you're really cutting pretty

[00:39:35] Bracey: I'm not, and I'm kidding.

[00:39:37] Josh: No, you're cutting deep. You're cutting deep and fry two. Before we started recording, he's like, there's one line that I want to say.

[00:39:42] It was my favorite line in the whole thing. I also didn't write it. I was too busy. I'm sorry. I was too busy. I was boning up on my journalistic standards and ethics. I was pounding the pavement and, uh, cutting out all the magazines in books. I photocopied this it's a Z. This is a Xen is what this is. And like the layout or [00:40:00] whatever.

[00:40:00] I typed this up and I printed it on like an inkjet. And then I taped her. I glued the cutouts from the magazines and books and stuff. My mom drove me to Kinko's to photocopy this and they wouldn't photocopy it because they thought I was violating.

[00:40:16] Frey: Wow. 

[00:40:17] Ha 

[00:40:17] Russ: this journalistic. 

[00:40:18] Frey: How many photocopies where you're trying to base?

[00:40:22] Josh: Uh, I can't remember if I actually made more than this one. Copy. I think I did, but anyway, yeah, I don't

[00:40:28] Frey: And this is pre Disney.

[00:40:30] Josh: closing thoughts. Anything

[00:40:31] Frey: No, I

[00:40:32] Josh: want to highlight?

[00:40:33] Frey: I love that this was my first trash compactor episode. This is like perfect for me.

[00:40:39] Bracey: It's amazing just to see just the clippings that you made and just bringing my attention to the books that I remember buying and never reading, because it said Star Wars, uh, seeing that and remembering, oh yeah, micro machines was all over stores back then. And like all these things, it's like, oh, geez. I completely forgot about that whole period of my life [00:41:00] that it formed my identity.

[00:41:02] And now it's, and now it's gone. It's overtaken by this new Star Wars stuff. It's, it's overtaken all my memories. All the exists. It's crazy. 

[00:41:09] Russ: I don't know, fight. Keep your memories, keep them intact inside in a protective shell in your skull. 

[00:41:15] Bracey: no change grow. It's good. It's healthier.

[00:41:18] Russ: Oh yeah, that's true. Can confer. 

[00:41:24] Josh: want our listeners to know that the last 20 seconds of exchange between Russ embracing perfectly sums up the differences between them. And anyway on that note, would anyone like to plug anything or say where they can be founded? 

[00:41:41] Russ: Russ the lush on all social media talking mostly about wine and spirits, but eventually I'll probably have some nerdier endeavors mixed in there. What is Java drinking in that chalice? I don't know. We should talk about.

[00:41:54] Josh: I like that fright. What about you? You have any socials, anything you want to

[00:41:59] Frey: Um, yeah.

[00:41:59] Josh: [00:42:00] people can.

[00:42:00] Frey: On Twitter, I'm motor thistle, like motor is an engine like fissile as in like plan. And also it's my S my site where I think a lot of creative projects going to live with Jonathan fried.site. That site is a new extension, or I don't know if it's new, but.

[00:42:14] Russ: That's all. 

[00:42:14] Josh: And Bracey. Where could you be found on the old inner webs?

[00:42:17] Bracey: Uh, I can't, I don't exist. I'm just, I'm a ghost who's ever listening. Just leave me alone.

[00:42:23] Josh: No, that's fair enough. If I were smart, I would heed that advice instead of doing what I'm doing right now.

[00:42:30] And on that note, join us next time. When we throw more Star Wars opinions out into the ether that I'm sure will be in no way, controversial, whatsoever, and no one will have any thoughts about on the internet.

[00:42:41] I'm Josh and I still don't have a sign off for this podcast.

[00:42:44] Bracey: That's the whole sign off right there.

[00:42:45] Frey: Yeah.

[00:42:45] Josh: Did it in one.

 

 

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