Posted in Autographs, Star Trek, Star Wars

Florida Supercon autographs

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Florida Supercon was earlier this month and my friends made sure I got autographs from the Star Trek and Star Wars guests who were attending even though I couldn’t be there myself.

William Shatner gets me a little bit closer to the Classic Trek collection I will never complete. Of those who are still with us, I just need George Takei… but I don’t have DeForest Kelley or Leonard Nimoy.

Gates McFadden leaves me with just three to go to complete the Next Generation bridge crew… I just need Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Wil Wheaton to finish that set. (We’re going to ignore season two, unless I have a chance to see Diana Muldaur somewhere.)

Nana Visitor gets me about halfway there with the Deep Space Nine cast, something I’m a little bit sad about since that’s my favorite Star Trek incarnation. I have Avery Brooks, Visitor, Michael Dorn, Terry Farrell and Armin Shimerman. I’m missing Rene Auberjonois, Colm Meaney, Alexander Siddig, Cirroc Lofton, Aron Eisenberg and Nicole de Boer.

Hugh Spight is not a famous face, but he played a role in my favorite Star Wars film, portraying one of the Gammorean guards in service of Jabba the Hutt. This is an unusual photo I hadn’t seen before.

We’ll have to see if I can return the favor when New York Comic Con comes around.

Do you collect autographs? Are you working on any particular collection themes?

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Posted in Star Wars

A quick review of Solo: A Star Wars Story

I finally made it to see Solo: A Star Wars Story today with my friend Vinny, and we both enjoyed it.

Solo is a fun, action-packed summer popcorn flick that can be enjoyed whether it’s your first Star Wars experience or if you’ve seen all nine previous live-action films plus all six seasons of Clone Wars and three seasons of Rebels. 

Alden Ehrenreich may not be Harrison Ford, but he ably brings a younger version of Han Solo to the screen. (Solo primarily takes place 10 years before the events of the original 1977 Star Wars film.) He’s got good chemistry with his co-stars, particularly Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca.)

Veteran actors Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Paul Bettany created wonderful new characters in the Star Wars universe, though Newton’s Val was shamefully underused. Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian and his co-pilot L3-37 (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge) stole the show for me, though.

There are some amazing action sequences (including the best “car” chase in a Star Wars film) and a lot of fun Easter eggs and cameos.

I hope that Solo’s disappointing opening weekend won’t prevent us from seeing some additional adventures involving Ehrenreich’s Han, Glover’s Lando and Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra.

What did you think of Solo? 

Posted in Autographs, Star Trek, Star Wars

A few new autographs…

I’m loving the New York Mets’ start this season (9-1 is the best in franchise history), but I haven’t been having a ton of luck with baseball autographs lately. I went 0-for-5 with the requests I mailed out to spring training camps and just got a return to sender from Dusty Baker last week.

I started working on my non-baseball autograph collections more this year, and I’ve gotten four new photos to add to my albums this week.

Band CCI04112018_0003

First up is a signed photo of two of the members of the cantina band from the original Star Wars film. Speedy Turtle Autograph Service ran private signings with Kim Falkinburg and Jibralta Merrill, two ILM staff members who were drafted to play band members and my dual-signed photo arrived on Monday. Continue reading “A few new autographs…”

Posted in Autographs, Star Wars

A new addition to my Star Wars autograph collection & some thoughts on collecting

Earlier this week, I received a signed photo from actor Marton Csokas who’s in a Broadway play with Uma Thurman that ends in early March. Csokas is probably best known to genre fans for playing Celeborn in two of the Lord of the Rings movies and Trevor Goodchild in Aeon Flux.

In an uncredited role, Csokas provided the voice for Geonosian leader Poggle the Lesser in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. And that’s why I wrote to him to ask for an autograph. He responded in less than a week, and I have my first new Star Wars autograph of 2018. Pretty cool

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Lucasfilm released some footage of Solo: A Star Wars Story this week. Full disclosure: I did not want a “young Han Solo” movie, and I still do not think Alden Ehrenreich looks enough like Harrison Ford circa 1976. And it didn’t really help when the movie’s original directors were fired late in filming over “creative differences.”

But you know what? I’m coming around to the idea that a Star Wars caper movie could be really fun. And in the little bit we see of Ehrenreich in these clips, he seems like he’s got Han Solo’s mannerisms down.

So yeah, I’m looking forward to watching Solo on Memorial Day weekend… though I’m not sure how well it’s going to fare among all the summer blockbusters. (Avengers: Infinity War comes out May 4, Deadpool 2 is coming on May 18 and Ocean’s 8 will be out June 8.) But hey, that’s Disney’s problem.

New Star Wars Media

In other news this week, Disney announced that Game of Thrones show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will write and produce an entire series of new Star Wars films. This comes after the November announcement that The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will helm a new trilogy of films to be released at some point after the as yet untitled Episode IX comes out next year. And Disney CEO Bob Iger told investors “We are developing not just one, but a few Star Wars series specifically for the Disney direct-to-consumer app.”

Am I alone in thinking that’s a lot of Star Wars?

Now I’m totally going to be there to watch all of it as long as it is entertaining. But as far as collecting goes? I think it’s time to re-evaluate.

I have literally hundreds of Star Wars action figures, and in a couple of months it will be time to buy new ones for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Except maybe I won’t.

I will get whatever comes out for Episode IX to finish the sequel trilogy… and then I’m definitely out. I can’t display everything I have now… and it’s becoming increasingly clear that Star Wars will probably still be going long after I’m gone. (Although, based on Hasbro’s fourth quarter earnings report, I’m less confident about the long-term future of Star Wars action figures.)

I’m not sure where I am with autograph collecting, either.

I have a nice original trilogy collection (no Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing, Harrison Ford, Frank Oz or Ian McDiarmid, but I do have all of the other main characters and a lot of minor ones.) I have an interesting prequel trilogy collection (Jake Lloyd, Ahmed Best and Temuera Morrison are the only main characters, but I have a lot of the minor Jedi and other colorful characters.)

I have no one from the sequel trilogy. Spencer Wilding is the only one I have from Rogue One. The principal characters either aren’t available or aren’t affordable. (Sorry, Felicity Jones, you were great as Jyn Erso but I couldn’t swing the $200 you were charging at New York Comic Con last year.)

So is it really worth pursuing autographs from the casts of these new films? Or am I better off trying to add more from the original and prequel trilogies? I haven’t really decided yet.

Posted in Star Wars, Toy Photography

Maz Kanata (2/52)

Maz Kanata #TheLastJedi #StarWars

A post shared by Paul (@pwhphotos) on

Here’s my second photo of the week for 2018, a closeup of Hasbro’s 6″ scale Maz Kanata figure.

This was a largely unplanned shot – I was just taking pictures of some figures that were hanging around on my desk and happened to like how it came out. I do need to work out a better lighting setup – while some of this photo’s overexposure is a result of the Instagram filter, it is definitely an issue with the original photo.

Posted in Books, Star Wars

Recommended reading: Star Wars: Canto Bight

1515524138227-02a0e9e2-e0e8-42c4-a1cf-f626c17f3bc2_.jpgStar Wars: Canto Bight has the honor to be the first book I read in 2018. One of a handful of releases as part of the “Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Canto Bight sets out to tell us more about the casino city that is featured in the new Star Wars film.

Thing is, I don’t know how many people care. While I enjoyed Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I liked spending time with the characters we already knew and meeting Rose Tico. I liked the crystal foxes and the porgs. I did not care very much about the new ships and locations Rian Johnson included in his movie, because they just weren’t that important or memorable.

And that’s a shame, because Canto Bight is worth a look. It’s a fun collection of novellas that do explore Johnson’s otherworldly Monte Carlo.

  • Saladin Ahmed gives us a tale of a moisture vaporator “salesbeing of the year” who won the vacation of a lifetime and an assassin who’s working one last job who end up crossing paths in Canto Bight
  • Mira Grant tells us about the best sommelier in the galaxy, two mysterious sisters and the wine of dreams in a story that explores the lengths people will go to build a legend
  • Rae Carson offers us a masseur, a crime boss and a story about how family changes us.
  • and Jackson Miller writes about a small-time professional gambler who has an amazing run of luck and learns when to play his system and when to trust in fortune.

If you’re thinking that these don’t really sound like Star Wars stories, you’d be right. Take away a wookiee here, a mention of Alderaan there and you’d have four stories that could be easily rewritten for any science fiction anthology with a casino theme. But I enjoyed them anyway, particularly Grant’s story about the Grammus sisters.

Canto Bight may never capture the imagination of a generation of fans the way the Mos Eisley cantina or Jabba’s Palace did thirty plus years ago. But that probably has less to do with Canto Bight than it does with Disney – in 2018, we can pretty much count on a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as they make money. The original Star Wars was in theaters for over a year and was one of the first movies a lot of us bought on VHS. We watched it so many times, the cantina couldn’t fail to make an impression. That’s not really the case now.

But if you enjoy short-form fiction, whether you care about Star Wars or not, I think you might like Star Wars: Canto Bight.

 

Posted in Lego, Star Wars, Toy Photography

New beginning (1/52)

New beginning #StarWars #Lego

A post shared by Paul (@pwhphotos) on

Last year, I tried to share a new photo on my toy photography Instagram account every day. I managed to keep up with it into April, but it felt more like work than play.

I enjoyed the challenge and I think it helped me improve as a photographer, but there were a lot of days that I didn’t have any good ideas or really feel like taking pictures.

This year, I’m trying for a more modest goal of at least one photo per week. If I share more than one photo per week, I will choose my favorite to post here on Friday.

The picture above features Lego Rey and BB-8 minifigures on their way to a new adventure. I like the theme and composition, but if I re-did the photo, I’d take a bit more time with the background.