The Blockade Runner

Star Wars Is Forever

Leave a comment

Star Wars: Shattered Empire is Your First Step into a Larger World


Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Marco Checchetto

Star Wars: Shattered Empire issue 4 hit comic shops today, concluding the story. After reading the final issue, I can confidently recommend the series to pretty much anyone anticipating The Force Awakens.

Shattered Empire is incredibly approachable and new-reader friendly- all you really need to enjoy it is a passing familiarity with the films. The book begins where Return of the Jedi ends: The Battle of Endor. As you may have expected from the mere existence of the upcoming sequel film trilogy, the death of Emperor Palpatine did not result in a “happily ever after” for the galaxy.


The miniseries has original trilogy favorites interacting with new characters, two of which have a pretty direct tie to The Force Awakens. The story has everything you’d want from a Star Wars yarn- space battles, romance, a lightsaber, Ewoks… It’s a gorgeous comic, and the dialogue and images flow smoothly from panel to panel. My only real complaint with the book is that it goes by a bit too quickly. I became pretty invested in the story of the two main characters, Shara and Kes. I found their story, despite the space battles and daring rescues, surprisingly grounded and relatable. While I thought the ending was excellent, I wish I had been able to spend more time with them.

If you’ve been curious about the Marvel comics and/or the “new canon” in general, Shattered Empire is a high quality, new-reader friendly book. And it may cause you to look at one Episode VII character in a whole new light on December 18th…

If you want physical copies of the four issues, check your local comic shop

You can buy digital issues (that you can read online or on your iPhone, iPad or Android Device) directly from Marvel

Or the cheapest option would be to wait for the trade paperback collection of the issues, which comes out next month

Leave a comment

The Blockade Runner Podcast Episode 1.5 – TFA Trailer Reactions


Show Notes:

Download episode 1.5 here!

The final Force Awakens trailer is here and Ryan and John got together to discuss it just an hour or so after it was released. We pick the trailer apart shot by shot as we process our excitement about this incredible new trailer and also briefly share our ticket pre-sales experiences.

Intro and outro music in The Blockade Runner is “Hedonism” by Ash.



Leave a comment

One Day Remains: Thoughts on the TFA Poster, Final Trailer, and the Lead Up to This Moment

This morning I found myself watching the first two Force Awakens trailers again with my youngest son. I wanted to watch them again while they were still the primary sources of footage for the movie and it occurred to me that the period of time from the release of that first trailer last November to the final moments before tomorrow’s (presumably final) trailer drops is a significant era in Star Wars history.

It’s probably a bit melodramatic to look at it this way, but I do believe we’re entering the final push toward The Force Awakens and I enjoyed taking a few moments to look back at the past year. As I watched those two trailers a few more times, I started thinking about all of the other events and reveals that have taken place since: Comic-Con, May 4th, D23, and even Force Friday all took place during this period of time. Together, they’ve provided small bursts of images and information to keep us engaged and excited about The Force Awakens, but it feels as if tomorrow signals a considerably more significant lifting of the veil of secrecy around TFA.

Then again, the poster itself is very much in line with standard operating procedures so far; it’s conservative in how much new information it reveals (although upon close inspection there is one as-yet-seen character and what seems to a huge reveal in the upper right corner) and it makes use of concepts and characters we’ve become familiar with already. If the trailer follows a similar path, I won’t be surprised and I won’t be disappointed. But I can’t help but feel that the film’s story will become much more clear after viewing tomorrow’s trailer in a way that Lucasfilm was never ready to provide until now.

And if the trailer does provide a more detailed look at The Force Awakens story, for me it will mark the beginning of a new era in the lead up to the film – one that I expected to begin with Force Friday. I’m ready for that, but running through those first two trailers a few more times this morning, I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit of sadness about this past year’s era of anticipation coming to an end. I want the answer to the questions I’ve been asking myself for the past 11 months (and really much longer). I desperately want to see more footage from TFA and I’ve even found myself frustrated with how long Lucasfilm has held out. But, asking those questions and waiting with the most excited anticipation for new footage has been the most fun I’ve had with Star Wars since 2005 or earlier. I have high hopes that the satisfaction and joy I’ll experience with the release of The Force Awakens itself will far exceed the fun I’ve had waiting for the movie, but I think I’ll always remember the wait for this one as a uniquely special time in Star Wars fandom.

Leave a comment

The Blockade Runner Podcast Episode 1

So excited to finally post the inaugural episode of The Blockade Runner podcast! Expect monthly episodes along with occasional bonus shows. In fact, it’s a safe bet that our first bonus episode will launch next week alongside the strongly-rumored trailer for The Force Awakens.

Download episode 1 here!


Show notes:

Welcome to The Blockade Runner, a monthly podcast about all things Star Wars produced and hosted by a core crew of longtime fans and friends. On our first episode we discuss some of our personal history with Star Wars, the new novel Lost Stars, some of our favorite under-publicized TFA merchandise, and more.

Intro and outro music in The Blockade Runner is “Hedonism” by Ash.



Leave a comment

Rebels Season Two NYCC 2015 Trailer Impressions

Lucasfilm and Disney released a final trailer for season two of Star Wars Rebels yesterday at New York Comic Con, and as has now become standard with the show, it left me with major goosebumps.

The early portion of the trailer focuses on Ezra’s search for his parents and the importance of his newfound family, while the second half of the trailer emphasizes the role returning characters Ahsoka and Rex will play in season two. I’m undoubtedly looking forward to the inevitable showdown between Ahsoka and Vader, and Kanan’s discomfort at working with clones and being part of a larger group will surely be compelling as well. But most of all I’m excited about spending more time with the core crew of the Ghost and continuing to see their individual stories unfold alongside their deepening family dynamic.

To be honest, at times I’ve been slightly concerned that with twice as many episodes, it may be difficult for the producers of Rebels to maintain the show’s focus on the Ghost crew and the simple but incredibly powerful story of that unit as a makeshift family that it so tightly told in season one. But the opening moments of this trailer reassured me that the themes and characters that were so moving and exciting in season one are still a major focus here even if a host of new characters and membership in a larger rebellion will also be emphasized this time around. So far Rebels has been an incredible surprise in terms of its emotional impact on me and its importance to the larger Star Wars story. It’s characters have quickly grown to be some of my favorite in the Star Wars galaxy and I’m so invested in seeing their core story furthered this season most of all. Today’s trailer indicates season two will deliver in those terms while also bringing major showdowns, epic action, and the joyful tone it so successfully emulated from A New Hope as well. I can’t wait.

Leave a comment

There Is Another: Disney Store Exclusive Interactive BB-8 Impressions

Sphero’s app-enabled interactive BB-8 toy seems to be the most talked about and highly sought-after piece of Force Friday merchandise, and for good reason: it’s an incredibly enticing and desirable piece of tech. That being said, for many of us it’s difficult to wrap our heads around spending $150 on a small toy (even in an admittedly super-cool way) when there’s so much other great Star Wars merch available right now that could be had for that sum.

bb-8 thinkway

Luckily there’s an alternative interactive BB-8 for those of us who are hesitant to spend the necessary credits on Sphero’s version. The Disney Store, first in the UK and now here in the US as well, has released Thinkway Toys’ larger but less technologically impressive interactive BB-8 for only $35. My son was lucky enough to receive one as a birthday gift last week (which means I’m lucky enough to have one in the house), and while it isn’t the high-tech wonder that the Sphero version is, it’s arguably the better choice for kids and an undeniably endearing toy.

When we opened the Thinkway BB-8, I was immediately struck by its size and weight; it’s a big and sturdy toy and it looks great from afar. We often leave her sitting next to our tv on the piece of furniture it rests on so that it’s both on display and ready to pull down and start patrolling the living room. On closer inspection there are buttons on the front and top of BB-8 that slightly detract from its authenticity, but for the most part it’s quite the toy and prop, especially for the price.

BB-8 moves via a wheel underneath her body, which is initially disappointing, but it’s mostly hidden and it isn’t too noticeable until she begins cruising. Even then her wheel is essentially out of sight, but as soon as Thinkway’s BB-8 becomes mobile, it’s obvious that a toy like this one was never going to feature the incredible movement of its film counterpart. Still, though her lower sphere is stationary as she rolls around, her head does swivel from side-to-side and she has a blue eye that lights up as well.

Movement is activated either by button (on top of her head) or apparently sound, though I’m not quite sure how that works. Unfortunately the instructions are limited to images and light text on the packaging, so I’m still not clear on how the voice activated mode really works. But whether activated by button or by sound, Thinkway’s BB-8 will roll around for a few feet or until she bumps into something insurmountable for her wheel to climb over (she’s pretty good at making the jump from my hardwood floor to an area rug though).

Though the sounds she makes are a nice touch (especially her super-cute shutdown beep), her motor and wheel are also louder than I expected and result in a fairly distracting amount of noise. And though she’s sturdy and seems like she’ll hold up even with a lot of play, her antennas are her one structural weak point. One of them broke within a day of use (she often bumps into walls and other objects), so I’d recommend keeping those packed away or closely monitoring her movements to keep her pristine.
I’m enjoying our BB-8 quite a bit; it’s a fun toy and it looks great when not in use. That being said, it isn’t a collector’s item designed for adults looking for a cool gadget or impressive technology like Sphero’s BB-8. While I’m hoping to get one of those as well, I’m happy to have an affordable alternative in the Disney Store/Thinkway BB-8 and I think it’s an excellent choice for families or for anyone who wants an interactive version of the new droid but can’t afford the pricier version. The Thinkway BB-8 is on shelves at Disney Stores now, but it’s also available on their site. I’ve noticed that the listing has been pulled from the site at least once since the toy was released, so if you’re interested keep checking back in the event it’s not currently available.