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VIDEO: The Running Trooper Challenge!

 Stormtrooper Larry takes part in the running man challenge… to the horror of Star Wars characters!

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Star Wars Episode 8 Leak: The Major Characters

Recently, the holonet cesspool of 4chan has alerted us to intel supposedly about Star Wars Episode VIII.

While the original thread has since been taken down, we managed to secure the Death Star plans alleged leak for your tactical analysis.

So belly up to the table and get your fill. Begun the leak war has!

WARNING: Possible spoilers ahead.


 

BenicioDelToro.jpg

Benicio del Toro: Said to be a former bounty hunter turned politician in the Republic. He survived because he was offworld during the destruction of Hosnian Prime. According to the leak, Kylo Ren will kill him off later in the movie.

Laura Dern: Take this one with a massive grain of salt, her character is one Asala Qurd. She plays the role of a Republic military officer commanding a capital ship. She reportedly butts heads with Leia Organa, including a scene where she says “The daughter of Darth Vader has no right to lecture me!”

As one of the senior surviving brass, Laura is said to take command of the Resistance after the Republic world falls and Leia gets severely wounded during the evacuation. According to a previous leak, she and Poe will then have a confrontation about their future course of action. Laura wants to hide and consolidate forces, whereas Poe wants to rescue a captured Finn and take the fight to the First Order.

Kelly Tran: Rumored to play the Resistance spy Shtala Zi, she is Leia’s contact on the relocated capital of the Republic. Shtala has evidence linking Del Toro’s character to the First Order, and Poe and Finn are tasked with making contact.

Later on, Shtala and Finn will have a romantic adventure in the city. Finn will fall for her, only to be betrayed by Shtala as she is revealed to be a double agent for the First Order.

Set-4

Anakin Skywalker: Hayden Christensen was spotted filming a night scene at Pinewood Studios. This is rumored to be the scene where Anakin talks to Luke and Rey.

Yoda: Similarly, there are reports of Yoda puppeteer Frank Oz appearing at the London studio. According to the leak, Yoda will talk to Rey alone, but as a voice instead of a Force ghost.

Captain Phasma: Shtala will lure Finn to a trap, where Phasma will be waiting. Phasma nurses a deep grudge against the former stormtrooper not only for betraying the First Order but for forcing her to deactivate the shield on Starkiller Base.

This time, she returns the favor and has Finn lower the Republic capital’s shields at gunpoint. Finn will then try to escape in the ensuing chaos, and Poe will come to his rescue.

Poe Dameron: During the First Order invasion of the Republic world, Poe will lead a ragtag assortment of fighters against the full might of the enemy fleet.

However, Poe also gets more screen time on the ground compared to his fighter jock scenes in TFA. Poe will be instrumental in cornering an aide of Del Toro who holds evidence tying the politician with the First Order. Poe will also come to Finn’s aid in a chase scene against Captain Phasma.

According to the leak, Poe will get shot at the wrist, though it’s unclear whether it will be a glancing wound or his hand will get blown off (in the Star Wars tradition of losing a limb in each episode). This gives Phasma the opportunity to capture Finn and take off.

Rey: Portrayed as being extremely gifted in the Force, she is also erratic. In one sparring scene with Luke, she almost delves into the dark side, which makes Luke hesitate to train her. The Force ghost of Anakin will supposedly make him change his mind.

Luke Skywalker: He is shown as a haunted Jedi master, not only because of the death of his students but because he nearly gave in to the dark side during the slaughter. Luke is also accompanied by a small furry animal on his exile island, which reportedly looks like a cross between “a dog, an Ewok and a lizard.”

Leia Solo: Leia will return to the Republic Senate where she will plead with the surviving leadership for war against the First Order. She and Benicio del Toro will clash because of this, since Del Toro argues they need time while Leia wants to seize the moment.

She will suffer grievous wounds during the evacuation from the Republic planet, after the First Order attempts to deal the death blow against the weakened government. Luke will sense her peril, and he will join Rey in the Falcon as they race back to the galaxy.

According to the leak, all of these intel comprises only the second act of the movie. The third act is reportedly under heavy guard tighter than a Death Star convoy.


Once again, take these reports with a healthy dose of skepticism. We did our homework by trying to verify the alleged names of Laura Dern and Kelly Tran. “Asala Qurd.com” and “Shtala Zi.com” are still available domain names, whereas “Jyn Erso.com” is already taken, so there’s that.

It may end up like the Rey debacle from last year, where Daisy Ridley’s character was supposed to be named “Kira” because of an earlier script. We’ll do our best to uncover more leaks from the Disney Empire, so make sure to subscribe to receive the latest intel!

Meanwhile, try to judge whether this supposed plot of Episode VIII is the real deal or not!

The Jakku Incident


The whine of the sublight engines ceased, replaced by the throb of the repulsors. They were in atmosphere. One minute to deployment.
Onboard the squat transport, white-armored figures checked blaster rifles and power packs. On top, the dorsal gunner began blasting away at unseen targets.

Touch down. The ramp drops. Fires. Shouting. Brilliant beams of energy crisscrossing through the night. Moving as one, the stormtroopers rush out of the transport and into the fray.

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Stormtrooper FU-1287, aka “Larry”, pays no attention to the firefight. He has more important things on his mind than some stupid battle.

Last night, the dreaded Internal Security Bureau discovered his hidden stash of smut holozines. It won’t be long before the ISB traced it back to him. In fact, he had volunteered for this mission in order to desert and preempt their inevitable dragnet.

According to the mission briefing, they were to raid an inhabited area of Jakku, a backwater planet. Never one to volunteer, Stormtrooper Larry jumped at the chance — he expected to find a dingy city of scum and villainy where he could disappear. Instead, what he found was a ramshackle group of huts in the middle of the desert.

He really should pay more attention to those mission briefings.

A disappointed Larry scanned his surroundings. Around him, white armored soldiers exchanged blasterfire with civilians. Flametroopers torched huts while the heavy gunners laid down withering covering fire to allow the squads to advance.

One stormtrooper smeared with blood stood motionless in the middle of the shootout. What the hell was this guy thinking? Larry tackled the idiot to the ground.

“Dammit man, don’t be a nerfbrain!” The dimwit didn’t respond. Larry could see the soldier was traumatized, his helmet still marked with a bloody handprint. It was probably the kid’s first combat deployment.

“Just stay low, okay? It’s gonna be alright.”

Screen-Shot-2015-04-16-at-2.50.47-PM.png“Keep your head down man! What are you, Boba Fett or something?”

With a pat on the back, he left the shellshocked idiot to find someplace where he could think. A war zone made a poor place for contemplation.

Crouching low, he made his way to the back of the village, skirting around the residents who were busy welcoming the intruders with blaster bolts. He couldn’t find even an old speeder or swoopbike to escape in. This place really was a dump, and he had been to many hell holes.

Larry broke into a tent, but found it occupied by an old man who was frantically burning some tattered books and ancient-looking stuff. “Oops. Sorry old timer!” Nope, he couldn’t stay here either. It was probably the village hoarder and his load of junk.

test“And no offense, but you gotta air this place out. It smells like a Hutt.”

At the edge of the village, he finally found an outcrop of rocks where he could sit and concentrate.

Ten full crates of Twi’lek Dancers Monthly were stashed in the main hold of a broken transport. Thanks to First Order bureaucracy, that transport ship sat neglected and unrepaired for over three years. This made it the ideal warehouse for Larry’s bootleg operation — smuggling sexy holozines for his captive (and very eager) market, the bored stormtrooper contingent of the Star Destroyer Finalizer.

What he didn’t count on was the unwelcome arrival of General Hux and some kind of space magician onboard the destroyer. Within a few days, all of the sloppy mess on the Finalizer was cleaned up… including Larry’s smut ship. After the crates were cracked open to reveal an avalanche of porn, the ISB was called in.

As Larry sat brooding, a yellow ball raced past him into the desert. He ignored the twittering droid and focused on his situation.

bb8 runIf only all his porn could fit in that droid, he wouldn’t be in trouble.

The good news is, he had the foresight to name the shipment after an old training sergeant that he hated. The bad news is, once the ISB unraveled the false trail, Larry only had three days before they caught on to him… perhaps five days at the most. Those ISB thugs may be mindless brutes, but they were ruthlessly efficient brutes.

A crackle in his commset interrupted his thoughts. “FU-1287, what’s your status? Get back here!”

Larry ran back to his squad, firing in the air for effect.

A pauldroned officer confonted him. “Where the hell were you?”

“Uh, I looped around back and shot a whole group trying to escape sir!”

“Yeah? Well get back in formation, space Rambo. We have visitors.”

A menacing command shuttle circled over the assembled troops and touched down. It was the magician from the Finalizer, followed by that bitchy stormtrooper in chrome, Captain Asthma or something. The battalion snapped to attention as the black figure strode dramatically down the ramp. These First Order bigwigs loved their grand entrances.

The old hoarder he encountered was taken before the magician, and the two began to talk. They were probably haggling over the old man’s wares. Larry tuned them out and looked around for ways to escape.

All of the civilians were being herded in the village square. Unless there was a mass breakout, there was no way he could disappear. He couldn’t even hide, since the whole area was surrounded by nothing. A white-clad stormtrooper in the middle of the desert would stand out like a nude Twi’lek dancer in a Jedi temple. Why does it always have to be a desert planet?

There was a commotion. The black magician stopped a blaster bolt in mid-air, seizing Larry’s attention back to the present. Wow, cool trick! It was probably magnets or something. He watched as a scruffy-looking civilian was brought before the space wizard, get beaten up, and then was hustled off into custody.

Larry gulped. That would be his own fate a few days from now.

stormtrooper larry jakku“Shit. I don’t even have a jacket like that.”

After a few minutes, Captain Asthma took over. “On my command.”

As one, the line of stormtroopers raised their rifles and aimed. Larry mimicked them.

“Fire.”

The troopers began shooting. Still distracted by his predicament and unsure what he should be firing at, Larry shot at the straw huts, the dirt barricades and some of the rocks. He also shot at a dead mynock, wishing it was the ISB agents who were at this moment hunting for him. Finally, the blasterfire ceased and the firing line dispersed.

Larry approached the magician. “Hey man, that was a neat trick! How’d you do it?”

The black-robed figure didn’t respond. He was staring intently somewhere else. All of a sudden, the frozen blaster bolt was released, impacting into a nearby post with a loud bang. Larry was stunned — this guy should have his own holonet show!

“Awesome dude! So where are the magnets??” But when he turned around, Mr. Magic was gone. He had already returned to his ship. Larry didn’t even get an autograph.

His headset crackled. “We captured a Resistance pilot. FU-1287, take a squad and search his ship for the map. Get moving.”

“Umm.. roger that!”

Accompanied by a handful of troopers, he trudged off to carry out the task. What map?

The ship turned out to be a damaged Incom T-70 snubfighter. Obsolete by galactic standards, the old X-wing was being phased out in favor of the newer T-75. While the others searched the hold and access panels, Larry climbed the ladder and plopped down into the cockpit.

It was a filthy mess. The tiny space was littered with empty ration bars, holo-selfies, a stained jumpsuit, hair gel, and a map of the D’Qar system. Was that their objective? Larry tried hard to remember. Oh yeah, they’re supposed to be looking for the Skywalker system. He tossed the map aside and rummaged behind the seat.

Just behind the headrest he found a couple of gay holozines and some empty water bottles, while he discovered dried gum stuck under the seat and even more discarded wrappers. Disgusted, he climbed out of the cockpit.

These Resistance scum probably lived in their ships full time. As much as he wanted to escape,  it would never be in this filthy craft, even if it wasn’t damaged and even if it was the last ship in the whole galaxy. As soon as he was shipboard, his gloves were going in the incinerator.

Larry signaled to the heavy gunners. “Nothing here, go ahead!”

poe x-wing destroyed“Filthy space hobos.”

He ran back to the lieutenant. “The enemy ship was uh, clean, sir.”

“Get back to your transport. We’re pulling out.”

As Larry walked dejectedly back to the dropship, he passed the shellshocked idiot he tackled earlier. He wasn’t sure if it was one of his porn buyers.

“Hey, what a mess right? We’ll get out of it somehow.”

The blood-smeared trooper stared blankly at him. Maybe not one of his customers then.

Stormtrooper Larry looked back at the burning village, as the first rays of dawn broke through the dark. He had less than a week to escape from the First Order and the merciless ISB, all because some pasty general and a space wizard ruined his sweet smut racket.

Yes, he would get out. Somehow.


 

Itching for the next part? Stormtrooper Larry will return in Escape from the Finalizer. Subscribe now so you don’t miss out!

In the meantime, check out this other stormtrooper who didn’t keep his head down.

Could This Be the Entire Plot of Star Wars Episode 8?

Earlier today, our Bothan spies alerted us to a trending topic on the Holonet…. someone has supposedly obtained the script and leaked the entire plot of Star Wars Episode VIII.

This alleged leak not only has the title of Episode VIII, it also features massive plot twists bigger than a Star Destroyer.

If you really want to spoil yourself, read on.

WARNING: Once you cross this line, it will be like the dark side. There will be no going back.

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Ready?

Okay, you asked for it.


Star Wars Episode VIII:

Echoes of the Dark Side

 

  • The camera pans down on a green-brown planet, pockmarked and mottled with toxic pollution. It is eclipsed by a looming shadow, either a massive ship or an orbiting base of some kind. A lone shuttle is seen making its way to this immense construct.
  • The ship lands. General Hux disembarks, followed by a pair of stormtroopers supporting a wounded Kylo Ren. They are taken to a cavernous room bathed in shadows to see Supreme Leader Snoke. While Snoke grills Hux over the fiasco on Starkiller Base, he has only one line for Kylo, “It is time you complete your training.”
  • The camera then turns out the window. Outside, we see a massive battle fleet assembling. Scores of Star Destroyers and other capital ships are converging from all points of First Order territory to strike the final blow against the weakened Republic.
  • We pick up on the last scene in The Force Awakens. Luke takes the lightsaber, then hands it back to Rey. It is a symbolic passing of the torch, where Rey becomes the latest force wielder and Luke is the Jedi Master.
  • In a flashback, Luke reveals that Snoke was able to seduce Kylo Ren and some of the other students to the dark side. Snoke then ordered them to massacre the entire Jedi academy. Only Luke and a few others survived, including a young Rey who was subsequently dumped on Jakku to hide her from the growing First Order.
  • Rey is angry at Luke, not just for abandoning her but because she guesses that he is her father. Luke turns to her and says, “No, you are my father”.
  • It turns out that Rey is the reincarnation of Anakin Skywalker, or more specifically “the Chosen One”. Luke found that the spirit of the chosen one is reincarnated by the Force every time the universe is thrown out of balance, which apparently happens on a regular basis.
  • Luke learned all these after isolating himself from the galaxy. He searched for the first Jedi temple to understand how it works, and in the process discovered the cyclic history of the Jedi throughout the millenia. The first Jedi temple itself has the same layout as the one on Coruscant, based on these leaked photos of the set being constructed.
  • There’s another reason for Luke walking away from the galaxy: seeing the brutal death of his students nearly made him succumb to the dark side, which may have been one of Snoke’s aims. After all, if you want to get rid of the galaxy’s last Jedi, there are other ways to achieve it besides killing them.
  • The reported “space casino” scene is actually a flashback from when Luke was running from the First Order and searching for hints of the Jedi homeworld.
  • Rey was the product of a virgin birth — Luke says “you are a child of the Force”. This explains how she was able to mind-control the stormtrooper, wield a lightsaber and almost kill Kylo Ren without Jedi training.
  • Luke faces an internal struggle whether to train Rey or not. Based on what he learned of the Jedi’s history, the chosen one always struggles between the light and dark side of the Force. He is afraid that Rey could become another Darth Vader and do more damage to the galaxy than Kylo or even Snoke could ever hope to accomplish.
  • The ghosts of Yoda, Obi-wan and Anakin appear (hence why Hayden and Frank Oz were spotted filming). This makes Luke change his mind and decide to train Rey.
  • In one scene, Rey has a vision of Anakin telling her she is him, in a new life. Then we see a vision of hundreds of other Force ghosts who are heavily implied to be the past chosen ones. Rey also encounters Maz Kanata, although it is unclear if they are actually communicating by telepathy or if this is dream sequence. Maz repeats “The lightsaber chose you.”
  • On the other side of the galaxy, Finn is revived from his coma… to wailing sirens and mayhem. He wakes up just in time to witness the First Order strike back on D’Qar. Following the destruction of Starkiller Base, Snoke dispatched a considerable fleet to wreak vengeance on the Resistance base. As he is hustled off one of the last transports from the planet, an exasperated Finn asks, “Why is it that we’re always running from something?” Poe quips “To stay alive, buddy!”
  • Onboard a cruiser, Finn and Poe receive their new orders: Accompany General Leia Organa to the Republic’s new seat of government and bolster their plea for war against the First Order. We are then introduced to Laura Dern’s character, a Resistance officer who is distrustful of Finn. Poe staunchly defends his friend, and we see the friction between Poe the intrepid pilot and Laura the straight-rule officer.
  • The Republic’s temporary government has relocated to an old city (which is why the crew filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia). The elegant but sinister city echoes Bespin’s Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • The Republic is in turmoil, and Lord Vikram (played by Benicio Del Toro) is the interim leader. It is implied that he isn’t the best choice as leader, and only got promoted because he happened to be offworld during the capital’s destruction. There is a memorial service of sorts for all of the victims (which includes much of the Republic leadership) who were killed in the Hosnian system.

star wars yacht croatia

  • During the ceremony, we also see an honor guard taken from Ralph McQuarrie’s Royal Guards concept from the OT:

star wars honor guard

  • Leia pushes for war while Vikram argues they need more time. The Hosnian system’s annihilation disrupted galactic communications, and they aren’t able to contact the majority of the Republic. Ships have already been dispatched to the rest of the galaxy, and they anxiously await the response of the member worlds.
  • Vikram wants to wait for communications to be restored and for an army to be assembled, which will take time. Leia disagrees and wants to take the war to the First Order now while they are still reeling from the destruction of Starkiller Base. Both argue their case before the Senate, or what remains of it.
  • Vikram effectively shuts Leia down by telling her she’s letting her personal emotions over Han’s death rule her need for revenge. The Senate is swayed by his argument.
  • After the stormy scene, Finn and Poe are tasked by Leia to poke around the city. One of Leia’s contacts says the First Order have spies embedded in the upper reaches of the Republic, and Leia strongly suspects it to be Vikram.
  • Leia’s contact turns out to be Chala (played by Kelly Marie Tran). She tags along with the Finn/Poe bro-ship, and Finn quickly warms on to her.
  • One of the subplots has Finn and Chala having a flirty adventure in the underbelly of the urban planet. This develops the relationship between the two, and it’s probably where the that alien horse in the Dubrovnik filming fits in.

Set-4

  • Afterwards, Poe, Finn and Chala corner an aide of Vikram, who has evidence of contact between Vikram and the First Order.
  • Leia and the Resistance confront Vikram. Vikram denies everything, and Leia orders him jailed for treason. The Republic leadership is stunned — Leia has effectively carried out a coup. She orders the system to prepare for war.
  • Poe suits up for battle, while Finn is put in charge of planetary defense due to his knowledge of First Order offensive doctrine. He is also entrusted with the shield codes.
  • Before the impending battle, Finn and Chala have a tender moment alone. Finn wonders why Vikram didn’t just lower the shields for the First Order, since he was the Republic’s temporary leader. They walk into a room and suddenly we see Captain Phasma! Chala then pulls a gun on Finn, subdues him and takes the shield codes.
  • It was Chala who was the First Order spy all along. She planted the evidence incriminating Vikram, and used Finn to get the codes. To add insult to injury, Chala tells him what she really think of Finn: that’s he’s a sickening traitor. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Captain Phasma steps in to ruin Finn’s day even more. She returns Finn’s favor from TFA and makes him lower the shields.
  • The shield is deactivated just as a massive First Order fleet jumps out of hyperspace. Laura takes the opportunity to swipe at Finn’s distrustful character, while Poe says Finn wouldn’t have done it unless he was under duress. Their exchange is cut short as the orbital bombardment begins. Poe runs with the other pilots to their ships.
  • The entire planet is thrown into chaos — it is a full-scale invasion. The Republic only has a token fleet to defend the planet, since most of the armada was wiped out on Hosnian Prime. Meanwhile, the First Order brought along its entire weight. While the capital ships slug it out, a motley assortment of starfighters led by Poe defend the planet and the ensuing evacuation. This is where the X-wing and the modified A-wing from Pinewood studios come in.
  • In a montage of brutal battles in space, over the city and on the ground, the Republic defenders struggle against the full might of the First Order. Kylo Ren lands on the city and goes to Vikram’s holding cell. Kylo asks him for Leia’s location, and Vikram replies saying that while he hates Leia, he respects her and cannot believe she sired a monster like Kylo Ren. Kylo decapitates him in response.
  • While all hell breaks loose, Finn tries to escape from Captain Phasma and Chala. In the ensuing chase scene, Phasma taunts Finn, calling FN-2187 a traitor to the First Order and a disgrace to the Resistance. He replies “My name is FINN!” and lunges at Phasma. However, he is no match for her. Phasma knocks him out just as First Order troopers arrive, and Finn is taken into custody.
  • What is left of the Republic and the Resistance crumble under the assault and flee the planet. Leia is able to escape, however she ends up gravely wounded. Command of the Resistance then falls to Laura Dern. The remainder of the fleet, a ragtag group of battle-worn cruisers, scorched corvettes and snubfighters, retreat from the battle and jump to hyperspace.
  • In the aftermath, Laura tells the assembled fighters that they are effectively the last of the Resistance. She then butts heads with Poe on their course of action, which leads to a tense standoff. Laura wants to hunker down and consolidate forces for the long term. Poe wishes to rescue Finn and take the fight to the First Order, as Leia had intended.
  • Having failed to capture Leia and draw Luke out of hiding, Snoke falls on a backup plan. Finn is taken before Kylo Ren, who starts to torture him knowing that it will be felt by Rey.
  • Across the galaxy, Rey feels Finn’s distress. Just like ESB, she says she needs to go and rescue her friend. Luke had also felt Leia’s peril through the Force. He tells Rey she isn’t ready yet, and how he abandoned his training with Yoda and rushed into a trap to save his own friends.
  • Luke then says he isn’t Yoda, and he has his own way of doing things. Instead of remaining behind, he goes along with Rey to help.

Spoilers end

Holy nerf herder! We’re still reeling from the (possible) revelation that Rey is Anakin reincarnate! And even if all these isn’t true, that (possible) ending is enough to make us excited for Episode IX!

What do you think of this (supposed) leak? Does it really “echo with the Force”, or is it as hollow as a Gamorrean’s brain? I guess we won’t find out until December 2017!

If you can’t wait until then for more Star Wars action, then read this short story why FN-2187, Finn, has a conscience.

FN-2003: The Weakest Link

This is an offshoot of the article The Horrifying Truth about Poe Dameron Nobody Seems to Notice. A Reddit user wondered, “What if Finn got hit instead?” The result is this story.


In an alternate universe….

The sublight engines cease their gentle hum, to be replaced by the steady throb of the repulsors. Onboard the squat transport, white-armored figures prepare for combat. The sound of activating HUDs and slap-locking cartridges fill the cramped cabin, while the gunner on top starts blasting away at unseen targets.


The ramp drops. Thick smoke. Fire. The chaotic din of combat. Brilliant beams of energy crisscross the night, some narrowly missing and showering sparks on the dropship’s durasteel. The stormtroopers of FN squadron rush down the ramp and into the fray.

z

A hundred meters from the drop zone, a lone Resistance pilot abandons his damaged fighter. Grabbing a worn blaster from a survival pack, he takes aim on the nearest trooper and starts shooting back.

He fires two bolts in quick succession. Both shots find their marks, downing two stormtroopers attempting to outflank the villagers in their makeshift barricades.

x4

His crippled fighter burning in the background, the pilot shifts his aim and searches for new targets.

He finds one: a stormtrooper standing aimlessly in the middle of the battle and gawking all around. In any firefight, being stationary is suicide, and this one just signed his death warrant.

The pilot fires his third shot.

x3

The reckless trooper is hit dead center on the chestplate. While stormtrooper armor can withstand glancing shots, it isn’t designed to absorb direct hits. The bolt’s lethal energy is only marginally dissipated by the ferroplast. Most of it finds its way to soft living tissue, cooking the wearer, FN-2187.

The stormtrooper slumps to the ground. Behind him, his squadmate FN-2003 sees him fall and doesn’t hesitate. With reflexes born from a lifetime of training, he fires back at the source of the muzzle flash.

q

The return fire strikes the pilot in the head. Poe Dameron, Resistance ace, is dead before his body even hits the ground.

Stormtroopers are not used to hitting their targets with the first shot. A barrage of blaster bolts rain down on Poe’s prostrate body before FN-2003 realizes his opponent was killed by his first lucky shot.

Beneath the helmet, FN-2003 whoops. He has just scored his first kill of the night. Relentlessly bullied and derided as the weakest link during training, “Slip” has finally proven himself in combat. He calls for a gunner to cover the spot and moves on to other targets. His second kill is a bearded old man running away from a hut.

As the triumphant trooper blasts away, his fallen comrade FN-2187 takes his last labored breath. The captain once reprimanded him for his “dangerous levels of empathy”. Only know does he realize the fatal consequence of his flaw. As he lies motionless on his back, the last thing he sees is a massive bat-like shape that blots out the stars.

Minutes into his first combat deployment, FN-2187, the stormtrooper with a conscience, dies. He never received a name.

z

Overhead, the sinister craft folds its massive wings and comes in for a landing. A black-clad figure strides down the ramp, ignoring the villagers being herded in the village square.

“Who killed the Resistance pilot?”

FN-2003 steps confidently forward. This is it. In front of his entire platoon, this will be his moment of vindication.

“I did, sir!”

“And the old man in the village?”

“It was also me, sir!”

The tall figure looks down on him, somehow managing to radiate a sense of contempt despite the mask.

“What is your serial number?”

The stormtrooper proudly squares his shoulders. “FN-2003, SIR!”

A gloved hand reaches out. Slip suddenly finds himself catapulted toward the hooded figure, floating in mid-air inches away from the unflinching mask.

“I can do many things, FN-2003. But I cannot interrogate dead bodies.”

The hand lashes out. Slip is hurled back, as if rammed by a runaway speeder truck. He hits a nearby hut with enough force to crack the ferrocrete. As his helmet readout flares with alerts of multiple fractures and a broken neck, FN-2003’s last thought was wondering where he went wrong.

A pauldroned officer comes up to the hooded figure.

“We found no signs of the map on either body or on the fighter sir. And our sensors detected no holonet transmissions of any kind. They didn’t have time to send it off-world.”

“They must have hidden it. Form a search perimeter 100 klicks around the village.” The figure paused. “If you do not find any trace, burn the planet from orbit. I will not risk Skywalker being found.”

“Yes sir!”

The man in the black mask stalks back to his ship. Shouting officers begin forming the search party as more transports arrive. In the background, flametroopers move in to erase every trace of the village, a harbinger of Jakku’s fate.

A lone stormtrooper in gleaming chrome looks at Slip’s broken body, then walks away.

“FN-2003: always the weakest link.”

z

The Horrifying Truth About Poe Dameron Nobody Seems to Notice

The sublight engines cease their hum. Onboard, the white-armored occupants steel themselves for combat, as the gunner on top begins blasting away at unseen targets.

The ramp drops. Fires. Shouting. Brilliant beams of energy crisscrossing through the night. Moving as one, the stormtroopers rush out of the transport and charge straight into the frenzy.

A hundred meters away, a lone Resistance pilot abandons his damaged T-70. Grabbing a worn blaster from his survival pack, he takes aim on the nearest white-clad figure and starts shooting back.

x

His first shot is dead on target. Down goes a trooper.

x2

Determined to give his BB-8 unit a running start, the pilot fires again.

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This ace pilot is just as deadly on solid ground as he is in space combat. Before the second trooper can even react to his fallen comrade, he too is hit with a fatal blast.

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As his crippled fighter burns in the background, the pilot slightly shifts his aim to the right and trains the sight on a new target.

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His third shot catches a running figure full on in the chest plate.

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As the target slumps to the ground, his buddy runs to check on the mortally wounded stormtrooper.

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But it’s too late. As he lays dying, the stricken trooper reaches out to his friend with a bloodied hand. Shuddering, he lets out one final gasp and lays still.

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The surviving trooper panics. Numb with shell shock and stained by blood, he stumbles around the battlefield. Within minutes of his first combat deployment, he has seen innocent villagers shot, houses torched, and his friend killed.

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Later on, the Resistance pilot will be captured, and the traumatized stormtrooper will help him pull off a daring escape. Their shared hardship will lead to an unlikely friendship.

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The stormtrooper will never know that the pilot he helped escape was the one who killed his friend. Meanwhile, the pilot will never realize that among the faceless troopers he shot was the the stormtrooper’s bestfriend.

If you think this is some kind of insane fan theory, here’s the full GIF of the scene:

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According to Wookieepedia, the hapless stormtrooper was FN-2003, aka “Slip”. He was the weakest link in Finn’s squad, so that Finn was always bailing his clumsy stormtrooper butt out of trouble:

During a First Order raid on a sacred village on the planet Jakku, Slip was hit by blaster fire from Poe Dameron. FN-2187 went to help his squadmate, but FN-2003’s wound proved fatal, Slip wiping his bloody hand on FN-2187’s helmet before dying. His sudden and violent death contributed to FN-2187’s decision to escape from First Order service.

And so kids, that is why The Force Awakens is the darkest Star Wars movie yet.

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UPDATE: Be sure to check out the alternate universe version! What if Poe hit Finn instead?

Rogue One Trailer: The Frame-by-Frame Lowdown

There was a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of geeks cried out in awe, and were suddenly silenced.

The Rogue One trailer must have happened.

This is it. After months of endless speculation, the salivating masses of Star Wars fans finally got their first fill of Rogue One. And it’s beyond everything we ever hoped, and more.

Let’s take a look.

The opening shot shows Felicity Jones’ character Jyn Erson being led down a familiar ancient temple / hangar.

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As her list of crimes are read out, everything from forging Imperial documents to aggravated assault and resisting arrest, we see the group grilling her:

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Yes, that’s THE 1977 Mon Mothma, in the operations rooms of  Yavin IV!

Mon Mothma says Jyn is aggressive, reckless, and undisciplined, to which she replies, “This is a rebellion isn’t it? I rebel.” And the next shots show exactly that.

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After a montage of rebelling and kicking hapless stormtrooper ass, the sirens blare. We get our first look at Ben Mendelsohn’s villain.

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Is he a Grand Admiral? An ISB bigwig? The white opposite of Lando Calrissian? Who cares, that immaculate cape, chilling stare and mindblowing background  all combine to say “I have manners, impeccable taste, and a penchant for blowing up entire planets.”

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Next we see the height of the Empire, with stormtroopers strutting, citizens cowering and a new Hasbro toy lumbering down the streets.

But not everyone bows down. Here we see Jyn and a fellow saboteur running from something, along with the stripped down droid from earlier in the trailer:

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Why are they running? Because stormtroopers. And tan troopers.

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And don’t forget the famous Shadow Trooper, finally seen in action. (Side note: maybe black armor isn’t the best when fighting in jungle terrain).

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Our heroes fight back, blowing up a landing barge that looks closer to Kylo Ren’s shuttle than a Sentinel-class craft:

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In the aftermath, we see Mr. Immaculate Cloak striding down the body-strewn battlefield. While Tarkin and his ilk lead from the polished floors of the Death Star, this is one admiral who isn’t afraid to go down in the trenches and get dirty.

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But the carnage wasn’t limited to stormtroopers. As Jyn and her misfits rush through the tropics, they come face to face with the Empire’s towering monstrosities. We finally get to see the famous walking artillery in a landscape other than Hoth! (And with a shitty tan camouflage at that. Did the Empire really think they will blend in with those trees?)

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As Forest Whitaker asks, “If you continue to fight, what will you become?”, we see a final shot of Jyn disguised as either a TIE pilot, Death Star gunner, technician, or random guy who cleaned the detention-level toilets.

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A lot is riding on Rogue One. A billion dollars worth, to be exact. As the first Star Wars film to venture outside the main story arcs and John Williams, it will be the benchmark to see if further Star Wars stories can be spun independent of the trilogies.

But judging by this trailer alone, it looks like the dark lords of Disney already have a winner on their hands. This film is even more Star Wars than the The Force Awakens. Take a look at the many homages and incredible attention to detail packed in that one and a half-minute trailer.

For instance, that famous shadowtrooper mug has its roots in the EU’s dark trooper and Ralph McQuarrie’s original concepts:

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They even got the Star Destroyer right. The Imperator Mk 1-class in the opening scene of A New Hope was slightly different from its later sister ships in ESB and Return of the Jedi:

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And finally, take a look at the Yavin scene. Not even 20 seconds into the trailer, we’re already treated to several cameos: the bushy bearded General Dodonna, complete with the iconic Rebel roulette table that doubles as a countdown timer! Seeing this scene alone, approximately 500 geeks fainted.

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Despite being billed as a different, grittier version of Star Wars outside of the main stories, Rogue One may end up as being the most Star War-sy film outside of A New Hope. 

And that’s a good thing.

The Saddest Thing about The Force Awakens

Back in the olden days of Return of the Jedi, we were treated to a happy ending.

The second Death Star was destroyed, along with Vader and old man Palpatine. All over the galaxy, repressed citizens crowded the streets in jubilation. The last shot of the original trilogy had the heroes of the Rebellion celebrating while the force ghosts of Ben, Yoda and Hayden Christensen looked on.

Against all odds, the ragtag alliance won the war and ushered in the fall of the Galactic Empire.

returnofthejedix05The last time they will ever be happy together

After all they’ve been through, our heroes earned a well-deserved break, right? The old Expanded Universe thought so.

Luke started a new Jedi Academy, while Han and Leia settled down and pumped out Jedi babies. They had 3 kids, and Luke and his wife Mara Jade had one. Leia later became the New Republic head of state, and Han settled down to a comfortable life while occasionally going on adventures with Chewie and Lando.

With the release of The Force Awakens, the overlords of Disney wiped away all of that.

Instead, thirty years after the fall of the Empire, our heroes were actually worse off than before. Let’s take a look:

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Luke – Tried to start a new Jedi school, but ended up with a wholesale slaughter of his entire student body.

He failed so massively that he fled from the rest of the galaxy. He abandoned even his own sister, best friend, and his loyal droid. And as the opening crawl says, it was in Luke’s absence that the First Order grew stronger and spread tyranny across more worlds.

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Leia – Once a distinguished Senator, respected warrior, and royalty, she faded into political obscurity. In fact, she was considered a liability by the new government. According to the novelization,

Leia bit down on her lower lip. “So much time has passed. There was a time when they were at least willing to listen. And of course, the Senate’s makeup has changed. Some of those who were always willing to pay attention to me have retired. Some of those who have replaced them have their own agendas.” She smiled ruefully.

There’s even a scene where Leia straight up tells her envoy that if she went personally, something bad might happen to her:

“But why don’t you go yourself, General? An appeal of this nature is always more effective when delivered firsthand.” Leia’s smile thinned. “I might make it to the Senate, yes. I might even be able to deliver my speech. But I would never, never get out of the Hosnian system alive. I would have a terrible ‘accident,’ or become the victim of some ‘deranged’ radical. Or I would eat something that didn’t agree with me. Or encounter someone who didn’t agree with me.”

In short, Leia was coldbloodedly telling someone else to take the risks for her, and being frank about it. Now we know where Kylo Ren got his evil from.

In the end, we have Leia carrying on her lonely fight for freedom, after being abandoned by her husband, son, brother and the galaxy at large.

And what about poor Han Solo? He won the princess, saved the galaxy, and got his precious ship back from a suicide mission.

Thirty years later, he was estranged from his wife, disavowed by his son, lost the Falcon, and went back to his old conman-smuggler routine.

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And after managing to survive a hand-to-mouth existence, he gets stabbed in the heart with a ragged lightsaber by his own offspring.

Then there’s our beloved droids: C3PO and R2-D2. As usual, nobody listens to Threepio, and nobody even gives a fuck to paint his replacement arm. Meanwhile, Artoo becomes a hermit just like his master — shoved under a dusty tarp in a forgotten corner, he is absent for most of the movie in favor of BB-8.

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And in case you’re wondering about Lando, there’s no mention of him at all. It’s like the Hero of Tanaab and the Guy who Blew Up Death Star II didn’t exist. Maybe he died during a stimspice-and-hooker collision with a star cruiser. Or he got shanked in a dingy casino in Nar Shadaa. That would be the best outcome, so he wouldn’t see how low his friends have sunk.

And you know what? This may actually be better. It means that there is no fairy tale ending, and not everything has to end happily ever after. That is the cold, hard reality not just in the Star Wars universe, but our own. 

Quite a lesson for kids, right?

You might argue that even the old EU had its tragic moments. One of the Solo brats goes dark, the galaxy gets invaded, and Chewie dies. And yet, at the very least our heroes never got sidelined. Luke was still Jedi Master, Leia stayed in the political limelight, and Han was a respected General. And most importantly, they never abandoned each other.

With The Force Awakens, we have a virtual Shakespeare tragedy: an emo recluse who gave up on the galaxy, a faded princess abandoned by her whole family, and an aging con-man back to his old tricks. Each one of them going on their own separate path.

I really hope Lando wasn’t around to see any of that.

starwarsep6_ending“Look at them clueless fools. They have no idea what’s going to happen them.”


Hungry for more Star Wars stuff? Check out the story of stormtrooper FU-1287, and his experience in the raid on Jakku!

The Right Mix

Lora Hex smiled. After six long years, the seeds of her revenge were ready to be planted.

It had taken six long years to turn abstract idea into actionable reality, an idea that began its first stirrings as soon as she was taken from the New Republic world of Poctoris.

It had taken half that long for the First Order to trust her with a task other than mere theory building and paperplast shuffling. On the third year of her forced servitude, the former Sr. Researcher of Profile Training and Psychoanalysis was finally promoted. From mere lab hand, Lora slowly climbed the ladder back to junior analyst in her new home, the Star Destroyer Ravager.

It helped that half of the FO scientists were moronic yes-men who wouldn’t have passed the first year admission exams in a Republic institution, much less wear a lab coat. It also helped that she began sleeping with the vessel’s Director of Science, a morbidly obese man whose academic credentials consisted of being related to the sector Moff.

On the fourth year, she gained clearance to the tightly guarded Recruit Training Program, the First Order’s conditioning process for the conscripted soldiers that formed its military backbone. Lora felt a special kinship with these recruits — like her, they were forcibly taken from their homeworlds, never to see their families again. Unlike her, the “blaster fodders” were taken at a very young age, the better to mold them for a lifetime of unquestioning service to the Order.

At first limited to observer status, within six months Lora became Program Assistant. Her meteoric rise came from improvements she made in the regimen’s Logical Reasoning, Cortex Development and Abstract Thinking classifications.

On the fifth year, the death of her elderly superior catapulted Lora into the position of Program Head, Level 1 Recruit Training and Conditioning. It was the break she was looking for.

She began with minuscule changes to the basic regimen. A slight tweak to the Creativity course here, a small dip in the Obedience programming there. All over her various postings, Lora sabotaged the conditioning process of FO foot soldiers more effectively than any Republic battle fleet or resistance spy. Approximately 120 new graduates of the FC batch on the fortress world of Thosis II received a boost in independent thinking. Onboard the Decimator, 70 recruits of the FL batch were given a sense of survival, while 30 new FN troopers destined for the Finalizer were given a moral conscience. The First Order wanted the perfect stormtrooper: smart, unquestioning, and uncaring. Lora was giving them the exact opposite.

Unfortunately, her sabotage was shortlived. After several incidents of insubordination among the FC batch, the entire wing was sent to a penal colony for reconditioning. Of the FL batch, an attempted mutiny by FL-1366 led to the summary execution of six squads and the whole legion’s quarantine. In her zeal to topple the enemy from within, Lora’s altered troopers stood out like flashing distress beacons and were ruthlessly suppressed.

But not anymore. On her sixth year, Lora Hex finally found the right mix for her revenge. The latest batch was independent enough to think without being hardheaded, creative enough to adapt while seeming obedient, and ethically aware without being obvious. Best of all, they were programmed with a delayed fuse. Instead of being fanatically opposed to tyranny like the first ones, the new ones will blend in and quietly disrupt the First Order from within.

The FU batch was her crowning gift to the powers that destroyed her life.

As Lora closed her datapad, the door to her cabin chimed, announcing the arrival of unexpected guests. On the monitor, two black-clad agents of the dreaded Internal Security Directorate stood waiting outside, alongside a handful of naval troops. After two years of causing havoc, the ISD had finally caught on to her.

Lora Hex looked out her window. She closed her eyes, imagining she could see the emerald seas of Poctoris one last time, rather than the featureless gray of a warship’s bulkhead. She reached for a button under the desk.

The soundless explosion briefly blossomed from the destroyer’s right flank, incinerating Lora, the two ISB agents, a whole detention squad, and all historical records of Recruit Training and Conditioning, Level 1.