- A Junior for All Seasons Part 1: the Kid on the Topps Designs of the 50’s [The Junior Junkie] (JT sez: This is an old post, but Topps’ recent use of Griffey in The Living Set brought it back to my mind.)
- 2019 Chachi #45 Jay Bruce [The Phillies Room]
- 1989 All-Star Ballot [From a 1980s Baseball Card Collector]
- He-wok and skel-wok figures [fortheloveofoldtoys on etsy]
- The Patents Behind Toy Story’s Beloved Characters [Smithsonian.com]
- Optimus Prime Gets a Cool Transformers/Ghostbusters Mashup Action Figure For SDCC [GeekTyrant] (JT sez: Cool? Definitely. $150 cool? Not so much.)
- 5 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block [A Writer’s Path]
We waited 16 years…for this?
And then there was Jar Jar Binks.
What was George Lucas thinking?
Yeah, that’s what he was thinking.
The Phantom Menace is now 20 years old. I’m glad George sold the rights to Disney, and I’m glad JJ Abrams gave us The Force Awakens in 2015 and will bring us The Rise of Skywalker later this year. Let’s not talk about The Last Jedi. Ever. Please. Thank you.
Star Wars. It’s a cultural phenomenon. Long before the Avengers ruled the silver screen, George Lucas’ space opera captured the hearts and imaginations of moviegoers everywhere in the late 1970s.
I’ve ranked the Star Wars films before, but I’m going to do it again (without referring to my previous ranking). Tell me where I’m wrong…
- 1. Episode IV: A New Hope
2. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
3. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
4. Rogue One
5. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
6. Episode VII: The Force Awakens
8. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
9. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
10. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Where will Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker fit into the saga?
[Ok, I couldn’t resist looking back to see how I ranked them shortly after seeing Solo in theaters. I had ESB above ANH, and Solo came in at #4 because it was new and shiny. In the end, it doesn’t really belong in this list because it has so little to do with the overall saga, but I love it anyway. AOTC actually settled into the last spot. So there have been some slight adjustments over the past year, but nothing really earth-shattering.]
(May 19, 1944 – April 30, 2019)
Words escape me. He didn’t speak English, but Chewbacca was certainly one of the more entertaining Star Wars characters. The actor underneath all the fur, Peter Mayhew, passed from this life April 30.
The actor’s family shared the news via his official Twitter account:
The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, regrets to share the news that Peter has passed away. He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home. pic.twitter.com/YZ5VLyuK0u
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) May 2, 2019
The official Star Wars account and several other people involved with the franchise shared memories and photos on Twitter, as did fans of the lovable fuzzball…
"We are deeply saddened today by the news of Peter Mayhew’s passing. Since 1976, Peter’s iconic portrayal of the loyal, lovable Chewbacca has been absolutely integral to the character’s success, and to the Star Wars saga itself."-Kathleen Kennedy.
— Star Wars (@starwars) May 3, 2019
He was the gentlest of giants-A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile & a loyal friend who I loved dearly-I'm grateful for the memories we shared & I'm a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete #RIPPeterMayhew #Heartbroken @TheWookieeRoars pic.twitter.com/8xbq9HEWF2
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 2, 2019
— JJ Abrams (@jjabrams) May 3, 2019
RIP Peter Mayhew. To create a beloved character with warmth and humor is a testament to any actor’s spirit. To do it under a half ton of yak hair takes a true legend. ❤️❤️
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) May 3, 2019
R.I.P 😔 pic.twitter.com/FWRgaOS0Tf
— Joonas Suotamo (@JoonasSuotamo) May 2, 2019
#Mayhew did an extraordinary thing, conveyed empathy, humor and an incomparable soulfulness, all from inside that furry suit. My dad often said, “Chewie is the moral center of Star Wars.” It’s something Peter created & @JoonasSuotamo has faithfully continued and expanded.
— Jon Kasdan (@JonKasdan) May 2, 2019
— DARTH VADER (@isDARTHVADER) May 2, 2019
"I loved him." Harrison Ford bids farewell to 'Star Wars' co-star Peter Mayhew https://t.co/aRdZ6cEu8I
— TIME (@TIME) May 3, 2019
George Lucas remembered Peter Mayhew: “He was the closest any human being could be to a Wookiee: big heart, gentle nature … and I learned to always let him win. He was a good friend and I’m saddened by his passing" https://t.co/kkPgKJs9dR
— Variety (@Variety) May 3, 2019
— Matt Lanter (@MattLanter) May 3, 2019
Peter Mayhew created one of the greatest film characters of all time. Chewbacca was funny, courageous, and caring. He did it all without the benefit of speech, just that vocal growly cry that 1 in 100 fans can do real well when they're drunk. He was always really nice to me.#RIP
— alan tudyk (@AlanTudyk) May 3, 2019
You will always represent the best friend I have been drawn to all my life. Thank you Peter Mayhew for breathing life and sensitivity into #chewbacca #rip #becurious @starwars https://t.co/GpzMUWReBp pic.twitter.com/muKRkasvf0
— Dominic Monaghan. (@DomsWildThings) May 3, 2019
So sorry to hear the news that the great Peter Mayhew has passed away. His portrayal of Chewbacca in the #StarWars universe was humorous, heartfelt and tough – all at the same time. He will be missed. My condolences to Angie and all his family. May the Force Be With You Always! pic.twitter.com/pVrwn6nxHf
— Stephen Stanton (@Stephen_Stanton) May 3, 2019
Thank you, Peter Mayhew.
Goodbye, Chewie 😔 pic.twitter.com/WfzTpUGvNH
— pictoline (@pictoline) May 3, 2019
R.I.P. Peter Mayhew😔 pic.twitter.com/nWpAjkWzte
— Eva Calviño (@calvino_eva) May 3, 2019
— brian kesinger (@briankesinger) May 3, 2019
It has been nearly three years since my last “Random Awesomeness” post. Partly because I don’t blog as much as I used to, and partly because I don’t spend as much time on the internet as I used to. But there is still a lot of cool stuff to be found around the web, and things that I want to share with you that don’t naturally fit into my own blogposts. Each “Random Awesomeness” entry will feature seven or more links to some pretty rad stuff, so (obviously) I recommend checking them out. I usually include a music video of some sort and a link where you can buy the music (or something related to the video). New in 2019 is “What I’m Reading Right Now.” No spoilers, just a link to where you can buy the book I’m reading.
I don’t know how often I will publish a new list “Random Awesomeness”…maybe weekly? I’m really not sure. Be awesome, and you’ll probably end up on the list. Since this is the first post in almost three years, I decided to change up the top-of-post image as well, so without further ado…
- Rock star Jack White is helping restore a Detroit-area Negro Leagues Stadium [Cut 4]
- Luke Perry was in a Twisted Sister Video that MTV Banned [Ultimate Classic Rock]
- 1979 Alt-Topps [Cards That Never Were]
- We Got Our Hands on 73,000 Never-Before-Seen MLB Scouting Reports. Here’s What We Learned. [The Ringer]
- 2019 Donruss Baseball Checklist, Team Set Lists and Details [Beckett]
- Baseball Cards of Spring Training Celebrities [Beckett]
- Bryce Harper Phillies cards by Gummy Arts and The Phillies Room (1), (2)
- Uni Watch Readers Catch Flaw in Bush Memorial Patch [Uni Watch]
- Mark Hamill Once Again Expresses Unhappiness With New ‘Star Wars’ Sequels [/Film]
What I’m Reading Right Now: Steelheart: The Reckoners, Book One by Brandon Sanderson.
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.
- Episodes IV-VI: The original trilogy
- Episodes I-III: The prequel trilogy
- Episode VII: The Force Awakens
- Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- Solo: A Star Wars Story
- Clone Wars
- Ewok Adventures
- If you already own the movies, you may want to grab the John Williams soundtracks for use in the car or office.
- William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace: Star Wars Part the First by Ian Doescher
- William Shakespeare’s The Clone Army Attacketh: Star Wars Part the Second by Ian Doescher
- William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge: Star Wars Part the Third by Ian Doescher
- William Shakespeare’s Verily, A New Hope: Star Wars Part the Fourth by Ian Doescher (I cannot recommend books 4-6 highly enough. Easily some of my favorite Star Wars books ever. The prequels suffer from the lack of quality of the source material, while the novelty may have worn off a bit by “Part the Seventh.” But parts 4-6 are must-reads.)
- William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back: Star Wars Part the Fifth by Ian Doescher
- William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return: Star Wars Part the Sixth by Ian Doescher
- William Shakespeare’s The Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh by Ian Doescher
- William Shakespeare’s Jedi the Last: Star Wars Part the Eighth by Ian Doescher
- Star Wars: The Classic Newspaper Comics Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3
- Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3
- Star Wars: Droids & Ewoks Omnibus
- The Star Wars Cook Book: Wookiee Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes
- There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Star Wars books to choose from. DOn’t click here until you can spare a few hours to go down the Jaxxon hole.
Toys and Collectibles
- The Art of Star Wars Comics: 100 Collectible Postcards
- Lego Sets
- Action Figures
- Funko POP!
- Funko Vynl
Other odds & ends
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.
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” 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).
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…
…and some of the best “Galactic Greats”…
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!
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-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…
- Episodes I-VI on DVD or Blu-Ray
- Episode VII: The Force Awakens on DVD or Blu-Ray
- Rogue One (or Episode 3.95, if you prefer) on DVD or Blu-Ray
- Topps “Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Trading Cards
- Topps trading card books for Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, or Return of the Jedi
- Hasbro action figures
- Funko Pop
- William Shakespeare’s Star Wars Trilogy (parody books of Episodes IV-VI in Victorian English)
- William Shakespeare’s The Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh
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!
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.