A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…again

English: Opening logo to the Star Wars films

English: Opening logo to the Star Wars films (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday Disney dropped an atomic bomb right on the heads of the nerd community when they announced their purchase of Lucas Films and their plans to produce Star Wars Ep. VII. That’s right, you read correctly. Disney is making a new Star Wars movie, scheduled for release in 2015.

While no information on the film itself has been released, Disney execs claim that the film is ALREADY in early production stages.

Hordes of Fan Boys and Girls around the globe are speaking out against the a new addition to the 30 year old legendary saga. Some complain about the fact that making an addition to such a classic film is almost Taboo, while others believe that a mega-conglomorate like Disney will fail to give Star Wars the authentic care and attention that is required for such a pivotal new sequel. I myself am on the fence about this new movie. Even though I am a die hard star wars fan who believes that the series is perfect the way it is, I can’t help but be curious of what Disney can bring to the table.

Let me make one thing clear to those who don’t know (though judging by my audience, I doubt there are many), while the name Disney is associated with legendary children’s movies, the company is by no means limited to that tone of film. In recent years Disney has purchased several companies such as Marvel and Pixar, and as such, they have professionals who have created some of the most gripping recent hits (the Avengers, Iron Man etc). With a powerful company like Disney at the head of a potential billion dollar movie, it is a safe bet to say that the company will not be frugal in their use of resources at their disposal. As a result, if there was a company to give a Star Wars sequel its due diligence, I believe it would be Disney.

Now that the company aspect of this article is out of the way, I would like to touch upon what I am most curious to see. Story. We have seen the tale of Anakin Skywalker’s rise to power, fall to darkness, and ascension to redemption; we have seen the story of Luke Skywalker ending the reign of the Galactic Empire’s tyranny; we have seen the death and rebirth of the jedi order (at least in it’s initial stages). What are we going to see next? With such an expansive EU section, covered in books, comics and video games, the possibilities are nearly endless.

In a discussion with fellow nerd friend and co-author of the site, we came upon a theory of what the next segment of the Star Wars  saga will be. The Yuuzhan Vong War.

Now, some of you fellow Star Wars fans may be shaking your heads. Why would they skip such a crucial era, the birth of the New Republic and the New Jedi Order. Surely they will show Luke going back to Yavin IV to start the Jedi Praxeum. Well, while that is indeed an important chapter of the Star Wars saga, it would mean the recasting of legendary figures, Luke, Leia, and Han. Perhaps Disney would think of this as a wise choice, but I am sure the fans will agree that recasting will lead to nothing but disaster.  That issue would not arise with the Yuuzhan Vong war.

There is about 20 years between the end of Return of the Jedi and the Yuuzhan Vong invasion (25 ABY [After Battle of Yavin]). However, there was nearly the same amount of time between the end of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope (The Empire was formed in 19BBY [Before Battle of Yavin]). Because of this, the roles of Luke, Leia and Han will not have to be recast and while the actors are a little older than their character counter parts, Hollywood make up can hide it. Star Wars is clearly no stranger to time skips, and I believe that with the two gaps being nearly equal, it would provide for a more consistent flow between the trilogies (prequels-originals-sequels).

Along with that, the reconstruction of the Republic and Jedi order fails to convey the same sense of impending conflict as the YV war. Sure, there was the whole Dark Empire crisis with Palpatine’s clones but comparing that to the great YV war that brought the galaxy to the brink of Destruction makes Palpatine look like a Storm Trooper standing next to Death Star. It’s nothing.

So maybe the timing is perfect, but why should the Yuuzhan Vong be the enemy? What makes them so special? Well, if you haven’t read the book series revolving around the wars I suggest you hop to it. Seriously, it is one of the most gripping wars in the history of Star Wars. While the jedi and sith have been going head to head for thousands of years, they did not wreak nearly as much destruction as the Yuuzhan Vong did in their 4 year campaign across the galaxy. This war would successfully convey the intense conflict that we are familiar with in the previous films, and amplify it, as all of the beings in the galaxy (Jedi, Sith, Mando and Wookie) are forced to unite against this grave threat. During the wars we would see the introduction of new great characters, the death of old favorites, the revival of an anicent culture, and the war against the current one.

Master Skywalker vs the Vong

While I will not out right condemn Disney if they chose to cover a different portion of Star Wars history, I highly doubt they will make a movie that can be nearly as successful. One of my worst fears is a new Star Wars movie being nothing more than a sequel to the other films. We don’t need another sequel, we need a stand alone trilogy, one that does not alienate fans, but also brings in new elements to the story. The Great War of the Yuuzhan Vong can do that.

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Anyway, there’s my two-cents about the new Star Wars movie. If you think that there is a better era to cover, please leave your opinion in the comment section below. I hope you enjoyed this article, and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @TheNerdNexus.

Blu-Bin 3D printing

Poultney, VT September 28th, 2012–

Blu – Bin, Inc will be opening the doors of its first 3D printshop this Saturday the 29th. Blu – Bin is the first company to offer retail 3D printing design and creation services, and is excited to be introducing this new business model in Vermont. Working against the grain, Blu – Bin employees see 3D printing as a service that can benefit everyone even if they can’t afford the printer itself. Founded by Daniel Riley, alumni of Green Mountain College, the business seeks to fill the void left by larger 3D printing companies that have entirely ignored offering retail 3D printing design and creation services.

Customers will be able to order items designed and made in store, as well as providing their own designs for creation as part of a growing catalogue of designs the company has access too. Using a range of rapid manufacturing techniques, Blu – Bin creates a friendly environment for rapid design and creation of what it’s customers want. Through these services Blu-Bin seeks to advance the field of 3D printing, bringing it to the forefront in manufacturing and into mainstream American life.

With the first store being opened in Poultney, VT, Blu – Bin inc will be working with students and professors of Green Mountain College to demonstrate and test the capabilities of 3D printing through various unique projects.

Effectively creating an entirely new industry, Blu-Bin predicts a successful future, which will lead to expansion of the company into other cities and towns. Saturday will be the start of what the company hopes to be a bright and successful path towards a future filled with this innovative technology.

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Batman over the years: Kane to Noland

The Batman series has had its ups and downs through out the years. Because of this, I have decided to acknowledge how far the series has come since its creation from Bob Kane. Rather than telling the story of the Dark Knight of Gotham from start to finish, I have decided to just post a picture that I found on http://www.geektyrant.com. You’re welcome.

Click image to enlarge!

Which was your favorite era of Batman? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Hey guys and gals, I hope that you enjoyed this article; feel free to leave comments of your thoughts below and remember to like the post, follow the blog and our twitter (@TheNerdNexus) for further updates. And remember to Like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheNerdNexus)

Hedge Fund – Super Rich Super Heroes in The Great Recession

Guest Written by Mark Gundle

In a global sense, the economy isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders. Massive debt, shrinking job markets, unfair tax brackets, and slow deaths of the middle class in several countries are all contributing to the continuing unrest and discomfort that are plaguing people across the globe. Four years after the US government announced its financial crisis that seemed to take the whole world with it, not much has changed for the common man. Progress, while being made, is being made at a snail’s pace. With all this weighing on the shoulders of those not taking home six-figure paychecks, it’s only natural to want to escape from the world for a bit, which could be part of the reason that summer flicks have been making record amounts of money. In particular, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises have broken records in record time.

Which brings us to the point of this little article today, children; in a struggling economy, what do we make of heroes whose superpower is basically an infinite money cheat?

The recent trend in comic book films has been to make the characters relatable to the audience. Granted, Marvel has been doing this for far longer a time than DC (since at least the early 1960s, when a young high-school student got bit by a radioactive spider), but DC has definitely tried to pick up on that trend in recent years, and doing so has been one of the reasons for the New 52 relaunch. Yes, this is the company that has the unreachable bastions of cardboard-personality perfection that are Superman, the Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and the like, but give credit where it is due; at the time they were created, that’s what people wanted (a case could be made against Superman, though, as he was a MUCH less empowered being during his first run in the late 1930s). Relatable characters are a thing now. And as far as movies go – especially recently – they’ve gone the extra mile to ensure that. The Spider-Man movies have always had Peter Parker’s everyman lifestyle at the forefront in some way, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy has examined Batman as being much more like any of us than practically any previous incarnation, and every movie leading up to The Avengers has had their eponymous characters have at least one very vulnerable, very human moment that everyone in the audience could connect to, and helps to build the all-important suspension of disbelief (no, seriously, it’s crucial).

But money? It’s a hit. Take the two most popular characters from the summer’s two most popular franchises. You know who I’m talking about. Don’t play that game.

Tony Stark. Iron Man. He’s a cool exec with a heart of steel, as his 60s theme song puts it, and nobody watching the films would really disagree. We look at Tony Stark and we see one of the common people; someone who would rather be at an AC/DC concert than the opera, and who would spend all day tinkering in his garage if given half a chance. So let’s take a look at his checking account, eh?

Assuming the infographic  is true, this is a guy who has enough personal wealth to trump some national GDPs put together. He’s constantly tinkering with the Iron Man, and such tinkering does not come cheap. He already has a top-of-the-line house, a whole fleet of luxury cars, and the production capital to build one of these suckers in his garage, and that’s BEFORE building the Mk. II prototype. For me, the suspension of disbelief isn’t broken by him having all this. The suspension of disbelief is broken when he continues to build the blasted things, each one an upgrade on the last.

Keep in mind that, prior to this, he sent his company into an economic nosedive by shutting down the weapons division it was famous for. As a board member, it’s likely that he was paid in stock rather than cash, so that would have severely curtailed his income. His stock crashes, and while it could be assumed that it eventually picked back up, we’re still dealing with a guy who is spending MASSIVE amounts of money on one-off suits of powered armor, with costs going from $80,000,000 for an unarmed steel prototype to a jaw-dropping HALF BILLION for the latest model (in fairness, though, War Machine wasn’t really his doing).

For all of his cool and all of his awesome, where the HELL is he getting this kind of money? With any luck, it’ll be explained, but holding out hope is foolish; this is a country where even presidential candidates don’t have to share their tax returns, right Mitt?

Anyway…

Bruce Wayne. Batman. He had an infographic himself for the Dark Knight iteration of the character, and while it’d be SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper to get those wonderful toys, it’s still a heart-attack inducing nine figure sum we’re looking at. Not something your average schlub could scrape together working overtime, that’s for damn sure.

Christopher Nolan’s Batman, however, gets major points for actually addressing Wayne’s wealth in all three movies; he’s head of the company because he bought a majority shareholding, there’s a scene or two dedicated to business upkeep, and the most recent movie has him robbed of his billions and his company on the brink of failure (two seemingly-independent events, mind you). In the most basic sense; this incarnation of Bruce Wayne, while still stupidly rich, does NOT have a limitless bank account, and these movies work harder than any other work before them to prove that. Even using the stuff already on hand is a bit of a double-edged sword; yes, he wasn’t blowing away millions by his lonesome, but the stuff in his storage shed is STILL worth more than any of us will ever make ever. $10,000 for communications? $18,000,000 for a tank? $1,000 for a BULLETPROOF JOCK STRAP?

But hell, compared to other versions of the character, this Batman is SLUMMIN’ it. He didn’t really pay out of pocket for much of his equipment, and generally seems to be a much more bare-bones type of crime fighter. His car’s not as tricked out, his plane’s not as capable, his suit’s not as invincible, and his cave is still VERY much a cave instead of a secret high-tech hideout in comparison to other versions. And while Bruce himself had just about all of it in storage beforehand, his company still suffered. Funds channeled from R&D into a super-secret hedge fund, the CEO putting on the appearance of a careless tool, and using company money to supply an all-out assault on crime has left Wayne Enterprises on the brink of bankruptcy.

And in a world where even juggernauts like Freddie Mac get cast down from their gilded thrones, that’s probably the LEAST responsible thing to do.

But that’s not the point of this article, to debate business sense or to say that either Batman or Iron Man aren’t heroes. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t love them. The idea here is to ask why, given that it’s such a sensitive and yet such an important issue in today’s world, they can still be relatable. Did I answer my own question? Yes and no. Yes, it can make folks rather uncomfortable, and not making mention of the Stark / Wayne / McDuck money pool is probably a good idea from that angle. No, that doesn’t mean that by not addressing the no-limit credit cards means we’re just going to assume that these guys are just regular Joes who got lucky. Remember; many of us are scraping to get by, and rather than use the money to better the lives of people in the simple /obvious / risk of death-free way, they spend untold millions on miniature nuclear reactors and Sound-O-Vision to clean up the streets the hard way. As Alfred points out in The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce could have kept his company afloat by putting his Bat-toys on the civilian market. And while Obadiah Stane was an evil money-grabbing bastard, he did have a point in saying that the miniaturized Arc Reactor could save the company; that thing alone would have pulled up the company’s stock back to par and then some, even if used for the wrong reasons.

I found it funny that the most popular superheroes of 2012 are the ones that are closest to irrelevance, as far as the all-too-precious relatable factor is concerned. And while both companies do bang-up jobs at present their characters as ordinary human beings, they conveniently neglect to address how big a part the silver spoons they were born with played in their ability to transcend the ordinary and place them in the super pack.

Assassin’s Creed 3: Limited Edition kit revealed

New Toys for the faithful Fan Girls and Boys of Assassin’s Creed III

Over the years, Limited Edition packs have evolved. What started off as a unique box cover with an extra DVD and a little booklet to help satisfy the dedicated fans has evolved into full fledged ‘treasure chests’ brimming with rewards such as unique content, figurines and larger books with exclusive material. Some of the better known Limited Edition packs include Halo 3 which came with a full sized Mjolnir VI helmet replica, Halo Reach with a model statuette of Nobel Team and Skyrim which came with a statuette of Alduine on a Dragon wall.

Now, it seems that Assassin’s Creed III is joining in the ranks of Limited Edition pack makers. In a recent announcement, Ubisoft has revealed the contents in their limited edition packets. That’s right, I said packetS, as in there is more than one. Two packs will be released by Ubisoft, including a Limited Edition packet, and a Deluxe Digital Edition which is reserved for PC gamers.

Limited Edition Packet includes:

  • The Game (Obviously)
  • Stunning 9.44″ Assassin statue featuring Connor poised to strike with tomahawk and hidden blade.
  • Embroidered 28″x48″ Assassin’s Creed-inspired colonial flag.
  • 3″x3.25″ sturdy metal belt buckle to proudly proclaim your allegiance to the Assassins.

The total cost for all of these nifty gadget brings the price of the Limited Edition Pack up to $120.00, which may seem to be a tad bit pricey, though super fans would probably believe that cost is no object.

The Deluxe Digital Edition Includes:

  • The Game (Once again, obviously)
  • George Washington’s notebook revealing his true story during the American Revolution.
  • Three single-player missions taking players from the high seas to Cozumel Island in search of Captain Kidd’s fabled lost treasure.
  • The Captain of the Aquila’s uniform and traditional Colonial Assassin outfit, boarding axe and Scottish flintlock – rumored to have fired “the shot heard round the world” – for use in the single-player campaign.
  • Sharpshooter and Redcoat characters for use in multiplayer.
  • A collection of the best audio tracks from previous Assassin’s Creed games.

The total cost of the Deluxe Digital Edition costs a total of $65.oo, which is far more reasonable than the limited edition of you ask me, though gamers won’t receive that statuette, flag, or belt buckle.

Along with revealing these special edition cases, Ubisoft has released a new trailer to commemorate the holiday 4th of July, which is almost upon us!

Anyway, whether you prefer to get the normal game, or the extended edition, at least you know the options!

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I hope that you enjoyed this article; feel free to leave comments of your thoughts below and remember to like the post, follow the blog and our twitter (@TheNerdNexus) for further updates.