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Christmas gift ideas for your Force-sensitive friends

The original trilogy is classic. The prequel trilogy, not so much. J.J. Abrams’ first entry into the third trilogy restored the faith for fans of the classics, but Rian Johnson shredded that renewed fandom in less than three hours. Ron Howard’s Solo was excellent (ignore the negative reviews from so-called “fans” who never even bothered to see it). Abrams is back in the driver’s seat for the ninth and final episode of the Skywalker saga, due next year, and I am hopeful and optimistic that he will finish well.

While the Star Wars bandwagon has slowed considerably, there are still many gifts suitable for those who have not abandoned that galaxy far, far away. Here are a few ideas to get you going.

Visual MediaStar Wars DVD Blu Ray

Music

BooksStar Wars Shakespeare

Toys and Collectibles

Attire

Other odds & ends

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Ranking the Star Wars movies

Star Wars logo

I had the extreme pleasure of watching Solo: A Star Wars Story on Friday with my boys. I avoided all spoilers and did not read any articles ahead of time, and I was floored by the movie. I thought Alden Ehrenreich played the lead role brilliantly, and Donald Glover was everything I expected Lando to be. I realize there are others who were not as impressed, even in my own house. But this is my blog, so only my opinion counts here.

Solo

Now that we have ten full-length theater-released Star Wars films, why don’t we rank them? I’m omitting the < ahref=”https://amzn.to/2kvlh5l&#8221; target=”resource window”>Clone Wars cartoon movie because it has been quite a while since I have seen it, and I have not watched any of the Clone Wars or series (though I really want to watch Rebels soon). I’m also ignoring the old Droids and Ewoks cartoons, and the Ewok television movies and infamous Holiday Special. We’re sticking to the trilogies and the two theatrical spin-offs.

This is my ranking as I sit here; tomorrow I might shift some things around if you were to ask me again. (I know, you didn’t ask to begin with. Don’t get technical with me, you scruffy-looking nerf herder!)

1. Empire Strikes Back
2. Star Wars
3. Return of the Jedi
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story
5. Rogue One
6. Revenge of the Sith
7. The Force Awakens
8. The Phantom Menace
9. The Last Jedi
10. Attack of the Clones

That’s right, Solo slides in right below the original trilogy in my present state of mind. Maybe tomorrow it would switch places with Rogue One. The top three will probably always remain the same, because how can you top the best trilogy ever made? Revenge and TFA may occasionally flip-flop (I loved them both), and the bottom three may struggle for the cellar (they are so difficult to watch sometimes, despite having some epic moments).

Darth Maul

May The Fourth Be With You!

In 2016, Punk Rock Paint released one of the most epic custom trading card sets ever…the “Galactic Greats Set.” I was fortunate to pick up one of the 66 sets made before they sold out.

Travis took inspiration from Fleer team stickers and “Baseball’s Famous Feats” cartoons to make these parodies. Here are a few of my favorite logos…

Star Wars baseball

Ewoks Endor

Astromechs

…and some of the best “Galactic Greats”…

Han Solo

Stormtrooper

Ackbar

I really hope Travis returns to making custom cards soon. I have purchased three of his creations. In addition to the Star Wars set, I have also picked up his Stranger Things box set and Stars of The Negro Leagues. He has also created a ton of digital-only cards, including a some fantastic Star Wars customs that take their inspiration from other sets. Check out Punk Rock Paint for a ton of stuff that will bring a smile to your face!

May The Fourth Be With You!

Christmas gift ideas for Force-sensitive beings

I am so pumped about Star Wars, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. I’m doing my best to steer clear of spoilers, and I plan to go “radio silence” mode next Thursday night since I can’t see the movie until Friday morning. But there is so much awesome Star Wars Christmas GiftsStar Wars-related merchandise out, from the classic trilogy to the awful prequels to the exciting new releases. Here are a few ideas for those Force-sensitive beings you love…

The Shakespeare books are perhaps the most unique items on this list. I have the books for Episodes I-VI and absolutely love them. The only reason I don’t already have “Part the Seventh” is because I didn’t realize it was out! It has been added to my Christmas list, and if I don’t get it from someone else, I’ll buy it myself!

Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book (2017)

Star Wars Sticker Book

Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book
Abrams, 2017

After reviewing the series of Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Cards, it seems only natural to move on to the Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book, also published by Abrams. While the Original series displayed all of the cards and stickers from the trading card sets for the original trilogy, Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book is more than a display. These are actually stickers.

More than 250 stickers spanning the original trilogy and a handful from The Force Awakens, the book also contains five pull-out posters that can be used as backgrounds for the stickers. But on the flip-side of each poster is a reproduction of some of the original puzzles that could be created using the original sticker card backs.

Several of the stickers retain their original size, though some are shrunk down. In addition to several character stickers, featuring the main stars as well as fan favorites like Max Rebo, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Nein Nunb, the alphabet stickers from the 1980 Empire Strikes Back series are included.

Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book is a blast from the past, and any Star Wars fan will get a kick out of seeing (and sticking) these stickers again.

Learn more about Abrams.

Purchase Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book.

Return of the Jedi: The Original Topps Trading Card Series (Volume Three) edited by Gary Gerani (2016)

ROTJ

Return of the Jedi: The Original Topps Trading Card Series (Volume Three)
edited by Gary Gerani
Abrams, 2016

The third installment of Abrams’ Star Wars trading card books focuses on the third (now sixth) movie in the franchise, Return of the Jedi. As with the first two books, product designer Gary Gerani recounts the process of reading the screenplay and selecting photos from LucasFilm’s library for use on the cards. It is clear from his writing that by the time they were readying this product for release, he had become quite a fan of George Lucas’ space opera.

Each Return of the Jedi Topps card is reproduced in this volume, with the front and back of each receiving its own page. This is a change from the Empire Strikes Back book, in which the horizontal cards were shown with the front and back on a single page. Gerani occasionally writes a sentence or two about specific cards, but for the most part they are allowed to stand on their own. As with the previous two volumes, bonus cards are again included with this third volume.

Return of the Jedi

I was not even ten years old when Return of the Jedi was originally released, and while I have a handful of the vintage cards from this series, I never came close to completing the entire set. To have all of the cards presented here in one volume, in a much more affordable format than tracking down the originals, is a fantastic way to relive my formative collecting years without breaking the bank.

Star Wars fans young and old will love all three Original Topps Trading Card Series books.

Learn more about Abrams.

Purchase Return of the Jedi: The Original Topps Trading Card Series (Volume Three) edited by Gary Gerani.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (2016)

Princess Diarist Carrie Fisher Star Wars

The Princess Diarist
by Carrie Fisher
Blue Rider Press, 2016

This book sat on my desk for over a month before I decided to finally open it. I purchased it after the author’s passing, and avoided any reviews or even descriptions of what was contained within these pages, other than that it contained the late Carrie Fisher’s found diaries, her “recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.” If you are not aware of the contents of The Princess Diarist, be warned: there are spoilers ahead. Go back now if you plan to read this book and don’t want to know anything about it (assuming you have not already read other reviews).

Want to continue? Read on… Read the rest of this entry

Goodbye, Carrie Fisher

(October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016)

Carrie Fisher Princess Leia Star Wars December 27 2016

Random Awesomeness (part 210)

Random Awesomeness

Purchase Ace Freheley – Origins Vol. 1

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Two introduction and commentary by Gary Gerani (2016)

Empire Strikes Back Topps Cards Book

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Two
introduction and commentary by Gary Gerani
Abrams ComicArts, 2016
548 pages

Many fans of the greatest space opera contend that the best film of the series is Episode V, better known as The Empire Strikes Back. It is fitting, then, that the book chronicling Topps trading cards for the film exceeds the initial volume in quality. The creative driving force behind the design and writing of the cards, Gary Gerani, tells the process of meeting with LucasFilm executives to read the script and select images for the cards. The movie’s big reveal was kept secret from Topps at the time; Gerani recalls the first time he learned of Darth Vader’s familial relationship with Luke Skywalker was when he saw the film in Manhattan.

Initially, Gernai and Topps were told they could not use Yoda in their set, as he was a “mysterious creative element” that George Lucas and Irvin Kershner wanted to keep him a surprise for the public. Lucas eventually relented, and Yoda is prominently displayed on several cards in the series. Gerani wrote the copy for many of the cards, making up dialogue that fit with several of the characters’ personalities.

In addition to the reproductions of all three series of cards, front and back, the book also features images of sell sheets, packaging, stickers, and the 30-card set of giant photocards. Also, as in the first volume, actual promotional trading cards are also including with the hard copy purchase. In addition to that, Topps has included a code for a free pack of digital trading cards on their Star Wars Card Trader app.

Learn more about Abrams ComicArts.

Purchase Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Two.

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