My friends at Nostalgic Ink in Mason, Ohio promised that they would have a Tantive IV Blockade Runner for my upcoming game with X-Wing Miniatures—the popular new tabletop game featuring Star Wars dog fighting tactical strategy. I checked around lunch on Thursday the 22nd and the store sorrowfully told me that their truck had not yet arrived with their deliveries. But they informed me a few hours later that it had arrived, and I promptly drove my motorcycle back there to pick it up. They had it waiting for me behind the counter and for a $100 dollars, it might have been one of the most glorious things I can remember beholding my eyes upon. My next thought was how I was going to get that package home on my motorcycle—because it was so big. You can see it in the picture below.
As much as I dislike progressive politics, a failed teaching system world-wide, socialism and all forms of statism my first love is not politics or even conservativism—but mythology. I am not a huge supporter of group behavior and love my independence, but there are a few groups I support, and one of the organizations I have the most reverence for is the Joseph Campbell Foundation. My love of mythology is my number one enjoyment without there being a close second. My love of the Star Wars Miniatures game, X-Wing has a deep history in the old X-Wing computer games I used to play with my nephews all hours of the day for entire weekends. Many times we had to run missions against those Corellian Corvettes and they were at times, very difficult—which is why I still remember them 15 years later. The wonderful people at Fantasy Flight Games have found a modern—low tech way of re-inventing the great mythological storytelling of that old video game with new gorgeously detailed models that really make modern mythology come alive in that game. That’s why I love Nostalgic Ink and many of the people who frequent those places. Likely they wouldn’t agree with me on my views on modern education, politics, drugs, and even traditional values—but they love the mythology evoked in many of the tabletop games sold in that palace of thought—giving us common ground.
But Star Wars isn’t just about spaceships and fantasy as I have elaborated often. It is about modern mythology and the perpetuation of goodness and as I have stated—the filmmakers of the series and the people at Disney now behind it—wish very much to use mythology to be a force for good in the entire world. I have said it many times, there isn’t anything happening in the world right now that will eclipse the good work that will come from the Star Wars partnership with Disney. The first traces of this attempt at goodness through mythology can be seen in the J.J.Abrams message below while on the new Star Wars set for the seventh film. The video was posted on May 21st and by the time I picked up the Tantive IV at Nostalgic Ink it had seen nearly 2 million views within that 24 hour span on YouTube. There isn’t a government on earth or organization anywhere that has the kind of ability to reach so many people. Star Wars advocates itself to be a force for good by advocating a force for change. The change they are talking about in the video is not silly progressive politics for the sake of social alliances—but real, genuine change born from human innovation to benefit all of humanity with the gifts of creativity.
Star Wars: Force for Change wants to create a brighter tomorrow for thousands of kids and families around the world. With your help and creativity we can develop innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. By acting as a Force for Change, your contribution to support UNICEF’s Innovation Labs and other innovative work for children will fund dozens of life-changing projects like these in communities across the globe: • Portable, solar-powered learning kits being built-in China, Uganda, and Burundi to ensure underprivileged children in these countries have access to relevant, high-quality educational materials. • Mobile phone application developed in South Sudan and Uganda, and used in the Philippines, that helps reunite children with their families after an emergency. • A text messaging solution in Zambia that helps families receive infant medical test results from clinics, in half the time, through mobile phones. Join us! Help create a brighter tomorrow for thousands of kids and families. Be a force for change.
Immediately following that message Lucasfilm sent me this press release which did not surprise me at all. As much as I have raved about Gareth Edwards after his spectacular work directing the new Godzilla movie he was named as the new director of the first Star Wars standalone film—staring either Han Solo or Yoda—likely the later. This to me was tremendous news as I had been saying that Disney was positioning Star Wars to be more than just a huge money-maker for their company—but again, a force for good by using mythology to reach behind political ideologies to get the human race pointed in the right direction. The hiring of Edwards and his response to the alignment I think will have a major impact on the mythmaking experience and the results on a worldwide audience.
Gareth Edwards and Gary Whitta Onboard for Star Wars Stand-Alone Film
May 22, 2014
In addition to the episodes of a new Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm and Disney have begun development on multiple stand-alone movies that will offer new stories beyond the core Saga. Gareth Edwards will direct the first stand-alone film, with a screenplay by Gary Whitta. The film is due out December 16, 2016.
Gareth Edwards blazed into the filmmaking forefront with his acclaimed work on Monsters, a film he wrote, directed and served on as cinematographer and visual effects artist. The skill and vision readily apparent in Monsters earned him the high-profile spot directing this year’s smash hit Godzilla.
“Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life — join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm,” said Edwards.
Gary Whitta’s screenwriting credits include 2010’s The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington. He is also well-known as a journalist and editor in the video game industry, as well as part of the BAFTA award-winning team on Telltale Games adaptation of The Walking Dead.
Whitta states, “From the moment I first saw the original movie as a wide-eyed kid, Star Wars has been the single most profound inspiration to my imagination and to my career as a writer. It is deeply special to me, so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a film-maker as talented as Gareth, is literally a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself.”
So there was a lot to be excited about this week, and especially over the last 24 hours. Through all the years that I have been a member of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, George Lucas—the creator of Star Wars—has been on the advisory board so that he could help guide teaching mythology to a new generation. People like me and Edwards are the obvious benefactors. Edwards makes a living from his education in mythology, where I use mine in real world application—both I would consider equally important. If there was ever a man who deeply cared about the direction of society in a positive way—in a way that Walt Disney did—it is George Lucas. Through his deep commitment to mythology he not only produced films like Star Wars which take story telling to powerful new places—but inspired through the Joseph Campbell Foundation to teach a new generation of filmmakers like Gareth Edwards and J.J. Abrams to take movies to places that Lucas and Steven Spielberg could only dream of. Even small little companies like Fantasy Flight Games in Minnesota are helping advance a mythology that literally touches every corner of the world with messages advocating goodness through their table top game X-Wing Miniatures. As for the Force for Change campaign mentioned by Abrams, that is something I can certainly support. I could care less about being in the new movie, but I do care deeply about the advancement of goodness throughout the world, and there isn’t any vehicle anywhere but Star Wars with Disney at its back that has the power to pull it off. It is for those reasons that the new Tantive IV by Fantasy Flight Games is one of the neatest things I have ever seen for the price of $100.
The Tantive is just a model, but it’s what it represents that matters. It is a force for change that leads to good—and that makes it wonderful and worth pursuing on the cusp of a wave that is hitting the world in very positive ways.