Black Sails and Crossbones: Two more pirate TV series in development

Because Port Royal, Pyrates, and The Republic of Pirates aren’t enough, there are two more pirate TV shows on the horizon. First, Michael Bay is working on Black Sails, a Treasure Island prequel for Starz. There are a couple of troublesome ingredients in that recipe, but okay.

Meanwhile, NBC has ordered ten episodes of a show called Crossbones. According to the AV Club, it’s about “Blackbeard and the undercover assassin who was sent to bring him to justice, only to discover that pirates are actually kind of fun.” Even without Michael Bay, it seems.

Hmm. Cross-referencing this news with the earlier announcements, I notice that The Republic of Pirates was also being developed for NBC and would feature Blackbeard as well as other historical pirates like Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Without having any inside information, I’m guessing that someone figured out they could develop their own pirate show without paying royalties for the Republic of Pirates name. Sort of like Once Upon a Time did with Fables. I’m okay with that (Crossbones is a cooler name, for starters), but it probably does mean that – if they all make it to TV – we’re looking at four pirate shows and not five. I’m okay with that too so long as Bonny and Read make it into one of them.

Happy Birthday to me, part two (or, Comics are awesome and I love my friends)

Ben Zmith draws the hilarious and awesome Rooster Jack comics. Turns out, he also draws an amazing birthday card featuring my favorite chicken-handed fantasy hero. Thanks again, Ben!

I’m seriously humbled and awed by all the love I’ve gotten today: here on the blog, through Facebook and Twitter, on the phone, and in person. Thanks to everyone for a fantastic birthday.

Happy Birthday, Star Wars

Because of what it led to, I sometimes forget how much Star Wars inspired me as a kid. And I don’t mean the Star Wars franchise, I mean Star Wars, the movie that came out on this day in 1977. The franchise is “what it led to” and that’s the part I’ve had to figure out how to deal with.

I hate the “Episode IV: A New Hope” title that got added to the name of the first film much later, because it takes my favorite movie of all time and reduces it to just another cog in the Star Wars merchandising machine. Yes, technically, The Empire Strikes Back is a better movie. It looks better and it’s thematically richer and c’mon: Lando Calrissian. But because of the cliffhanger ending, I can’t appreciate it by itself without thinking about all the stuff that followed it: Sy Snootles and Boba Fett’s lame death and Ewoks and the Skywalker Twins. Over time, I’ve drawn the circle of my Star Wars love tighter and tighter around the first movie.

It’s not that I hate the others; not even the prequels. They’re fine for what they are. It’s just that as the Star Wars universe expands, the impact of that first film diminishes. I don’t love them like I love that first movie. In fact, I’ve grown to think of them as non-canonical. I wish I’d known I had that option when I was 13 and rebelling against the idea that Darth Vader is Luke’s dad. I still think that’s a bogus story development.

Vader has some really cool moments in Empire, but I can’t forget that that movie cuts Vader’s coolness factor in half by giving us a peek of him without his helmet, and then halves it again by planting the seeds for his redemption. Vader in Star Wars is the greatest movie villain of all time with unlimited potential. Vader after Empire is a sloppy character on an even messier journey.

By thinking of all the sequels and prequels as non-canonical, I can enjoy the many, many parts of them I like without letting the parts I don’t pollute my feelings for the original movie. Because man, that movie. It sounds like an exaggeration to say that it changed my life, but I think maybe that’s an accurate statement. It’s certainly true in the sense that Star Wars cracked my imagination wide open and made me want to tell my own stories in a ridiculously futile attempt to create something half as cool. It’s sad that I don’t always remember that, so when I do remember, it makes me very protective of the film.

From one point of view, sure, it belongs to George Lucas and he can do whatever he wants to it. But from another point of view, it’s all mine because of what it means to me personally. I don’t have to let what came later change that.