The Marvel Universe has just finished going through one of those Event Type Things that happen every couple of years which are meant to scrape off the barnacles of continuity in order to stay current and relevant and easily accessible to readers of all types.
During these Event Type Things there are lots of crossover going on. Plots get very convoluted. Sometimes they involve the end of the universe. Usually they involve the end of ALL THE UNIVERSES. You kind of need checklists to keep track of it all. It’s a bit ridiculous, yes. But it’s Comics Tradition.
(And don’t ask me what this Event was about because I never really bother to keep track of these things. I think Doctor Doom was involved? Possibly with a scheme to end ALL THE UNIVERSES somehow.)
In the middle of all this chaos and disorder, though, there was a little comic, seemingly oblivious to it all, cheerfully celebrating kindness and goodness and friendship. At a time of reboots and rehauls and restarts, this comic went instead with the road trip, one taken by two best friends, and covered all the wacky adventures that ensued.
It lasted for six issues, and every one of those was a gift.
It was a comic with heart, which was so so bursting with joy that you couldn’t help but smile.
It was also unfailingly optimistic. Humany-wumany is the term I like to to use to describe things that speak of simple-yet-essential human truths. And it’s a term I would certainly apply to this comic. It celebrated the wondrous, miraculous things humanity is able and willing to do. The fact that it did so using absolutely no humans but a sentient tree and talking raccoon instead is just one of those happy aftereffects that come with the medium.
It was a comic with a message, you see. And while that message may have been a little bit too on the nose at time, it was also one that would make me cry on a fairly regular basis – which, to me at least, is worth more than all the reboots in all the universes.
Amazon is majorly featuring TAG! at SDCC this year with a pretty amazing setup and a bunch of the crew is there! (Rob Hoegee (head writer), Richard Taylor (head of Weta), Ben Milsom (production designer), Giles Ridge (executive producer), Rasmus Hardiker (Scott/Alan), David Menkin (Virgil/Gordon) and Andres Williams (the Hood) )
I’ve been trolling social media and the like all day for stuff. Here’s the round up. :D (Under a cut so I can keep updating it over the weekend, though I suspect today was the big day since the panel was today.)
@lucasfilm i swear i didn’t record a minute of the panel and instead took notes, which no one said wasn’t allowed. Technicalities.
With this out of the way… This panel was lovely, Filoni, Witver and Sircar and Warwick were excellent and - and they gave me feels, damn. Well, onwards. SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY
The perennial Ahsoka question
The first thing to come up, to the surprise of absolutely no one, was Ahsoka’s fate in the season 2 finale. “Death is a natural part of life”, Filoni reminded us, after which he said it had pretty much been planned since the beginning, and that he’d been prepared, had talked about it with Georges Lucas while they were still doing TCW. Still hard to kill her off, and though the initial plan was death, fan reactions (and his own love for Ahsoka) mean “it’s likely you might not have seen the last of Ahsoka.” Pretty sure he meant after the season 2 finale, because otherwise he’d just have reminded us of the Ahsoka novel coming out.
New looks: it’s all symbolic
Kanan’s is inspired by samurai movies, Zatoichi being the obvious reference. He’s forced to change the way he looks at life and stuff. The mask is apparently the one from the finale, but modified by Sabine, and was hard to design, because nothing felt right. The painted eyes help, in great part because they help with direction
Ezra’s haircut seems to be destined to piss people off, whether he has too much and too fluffy or not enough. I laughed at Filoni’s despair, which i’m really sorry for.
Sabine’s new haircut was actually asked for by Tiya Sircar, Sabine’s voice actor. Filoni apparently asked her back for season 2 what kind of change she’d like and made it happen.
Hera doesn’t change that much beyond a rank patch showing that she’s getting more involved and important in the Rebellion
Sabine will interract with more Mandalorians, and may be related to some of them… We’ll learn stuff about her and her Mysterious Past. She’ll face stuff from that past and also get new gagdets. One of those is a JET PACK and a clip was shown so we saw her in action. Stuff went boom. Another is a darlsaber that was supposed to be for Maul.
And we met Imperial mandalorians which is great. They can’t all be for rebel scum.
The character will be greatly expanded in S3. Filoni said Maul is coming to term with his life, searching for a new purpose after the series of falls from grace his life has been up to then. He’s not exactly a baddie anymore, but not a goo guy either - Filonis said he will never truly be good, but also that he’s ‘in-between’ which is pretty interesting because that’s also what he said of Bendu.
Maul thinks of Ezra as his apprentice, and calls him that way in the second clip shown. Acoording to Filoni, Maul thinks Ezra is sort of mifguided, needing to be nudged in the right direction - meaning towards Maul’s side. He wants to pass on what he learned but in a selfish way (for Filoni the Light Side is selfless and the Dark one is selfish and self-serving which i have lots to say about but here’s not the time or the place).
In the clip we see him asking Ezra if the sith holocron was illuminating (interesting choice of words here) before trying to kill Kanan, who’s way too trusty. but whatever. The set of that scene came from a projected TCW S6 or S7 arc.
There was an aside on how Lucas was used to live action vocabulary and pretty much nothing else, and howw it became a habit to talk about anything that way - which is of great interest, method-wise.
Ezra seems to really, really want powah - “I will never let my friends be hurt again” looks like it’s gonna be a leitmotiv and pretty much what will bring him closer to the Dark Side.
A completely new character, Bendu is neither jedi nor sith but ‘the one in the middle’. The ‘middle ground of the Force’, as said later, ‘a force of nature’ and a different type of Force creature than we saw before. At some point he mentions Ashla and Bogan, which is great.
And he’s voiced by Tom baker, and lemme tell you, the voice is fucking great.
Also this is the most beautiful homage ever. I’ll do a specific post prolly, but jedi bendu!!! TOO EXCITED [ANH scripts here] also [this] is actually a really great read:
THRAWN! THRAWN! THRAWN!
To the delight and astonishment of the world, Thrawn is now canon. Lemme enjoy the fact that there are now more than two gifs
OMG OMG OMG i’m not over it at aaaaaaall
“We got your back at Lucasfilm”, says Filoni, and fuck yeah, that they do. He pretty much said it was always part of the plan to bring him in, but that it needed to be done right, with the right introduction etc. Finding the voice actor (Lars Mikkelsen) was hard - you do not fuck with Thrawn, really, is pretty much what he was saying.
The fact that Timothy Zahn is the one who wrote the Thrawn book is also indicative that they’re REALLY NOT fucking around with the Grand Admiral, which is Great News.
Bridging the gap betwen Rebels and Rogue One
One of the things they started doing in S3, since the R1 movie will be out, ahem, relatively soon, is starting to link both, design-wise, but also in terms of continuity.
A point on that: i’d been wondering about the Story Group, tbh, but is all very encouraging. Their efforts have been more or less visible for the last months, but the fact that Thrawn (THRAWN!) has been in planning for a while, that there’s been a novel we didn’t hear a word about – it’s like the nail in the of the idea that as a group they’re, ahem, relatively useless.
I feel pretty validated cuz i expected it, though if you’d told me about the Thrawn thing i’d have laughed.
Wedge Antilles is part of this - i mean he’s not in R1 but he’s in ANH so he’s clearly part of this those continuity efforts. Also HE’S A TRAITOR TO THE EMPIRE. Bad Wedge, bad.
Mara Jade is very, very unlikely to ever enter canon
The Ysalamiri won’t either, for internal logic reasons
Prolly no Force Ghost Ahsoka either - Filoni doesn’t think she’d have learned to the trick
The Sith Holocron voice teaching Ezra has a name, but he’s not saying
A new meeting betwen Maul and the emperor isn’t super likely, and would end badly for Maul in any case
Cad Bane might be around somewhere in a dive
New characters are a good idea says Filoni. Returning ones are great, but he made a good point - the galaxy has to expand. the story has to grow. give a hand to fandom, we’ll ask for an arm.
There was an episode shown, but i’d rather not spoil that too much.
That’s pretty much the extent of my notes, but feel free to ask precisions or whatever