After having had a day to recover from the “excellence seizure” I experienced following the release of Return, the new cinematic for Star Wars: The Old Republic, I feel like I am finally coherent enough to post my thoughts on it.
… Wicked. Just freaking sick. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Epic. Brilliant. I feel like there aren’t enough adjectives to use for it (certainly none that do it adequate justice).
This new cinematic, made by the geniuses at Blur, may be the closest any piece of Star Wars media has come to capturing what made the original trilogy so enduring. It had everything: the cocky Smuggler, who talks a good game, but fights a better one; the Jedi master, who sacrificed himself for the survival of his padawan; the Padawan, destined for great things, though they, themselves, do not yet realize it; the Sith lords, cloaked and ominous; a pulse-pounding lightsaber duel featuring some of the best choreography ever seen in Star Wars – you name it, this cinematic had it in spades.
I’m positive that everyone had their own reasons for loving the cinematic. For me, I couldn’t help but think of all the minute details from the previous two trailers (Deceived and Hope) that suddenly have a new coat of context applied to them.
-After seeing Return, I feel like I finally understand that look of utter fury and pain on Satele Shan’s face in Hope as she Force-doukened (trademark pending) Darth Malgus into the mountainside. At the time, I wondered why she looked so pissed — now I know why.
-I understand now why Satele had such a rough time trusting the Sith in ToP. It would be a little hard to trust anyone who launches surprise attacks, especially considering your own master was the victim of one of them.
-I can now see the evolution of Darth Malgus in three parts.
1) Ascension (apprentice who kills his master when he has surpassed him);
2) Lesson learned (commander who leads his forces to battle, but suffers his first defeat, learning of his own mortality);
3) Master (a battle-hardened, much wiser Sith, utterly sure of his own skills in both lightsaber combat and tactics, kills a Jedi Master in one-on-one combat and leads his armies in a successful sacking of the Republic’s capital city.).
-The trooper on Alderaan, the one who watched one his fellows die right beside him in Return. I get why he was so relentless in Hope, why he was willing to set off a frag grenade right in his own face, just to damage his enemy.
All of these don’t even take into account the events of the novels, which also gain a new perspective. The motivations behind some key characters got a spotlight shown directly on them with Return.
This cinematic series would work well if seen in the order Return, Hope, Deceived - but actually, I like the reverse chronology BioWare used in the cinematics.
I felt like BioWare made the smartest move possible with this last cinematic, focusing on both the Empire & Republic. The two previous cinematics felt like propaganda videos for one or the other side; Return felt like a welcomed showcase of both sides.
Other than the narrative tie-ins, there were too many reasons to love this cinematic to name all of them. The Smuggler (oh my goodness, so badass), the dual-dual-wielding-weapon-Jedi (yes, I typed that right [the double-bladed light saber is supposed to be a dual-wield weapon]), finally getting some light shed on why Malgus was dual wielding lightsabers (though I did laugh at some who suggested it was a hint at respec. XD), Satele Shan (love the new design), etc. The cinematic was so crispy, I’m getting baked just thinking about it.
As one poster on Darth Hater said, this is “the first that actually felt like the original trilogy.” I can agree with this statement 100%.
There are still several days of E3 left. There should be any number of things that we will learn from the con before it is all said and done, but this is, without a doubt in my mind, the best way they could have begun their SWTOR promotion.
Here is the video — courtesy of realdarthhater — for your viewing pleasure: