In hindsight, the Wing Commander movie was a masterpiece.

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Which is problematic in the long run, with one major story already set in those years that doesn't mention it. Chris McCubbin's attempt to respond by moving the date of the Kilrathi war up in the material he wrote for the handbook was also frustrating...

The problem is Blair's parents. As you can see in the script draft you quoted, the original idea was a lot better--the Pilgrim War was twenty years before first contact with the Kilrathi. Blair's parents were still alive and living in a colony somewhere in that version... but when they decided to kill them in the war in a later revision suddenly the war had to take place within Blair's lifetime.

... on the other hand! I do really like the idea that Wing Commander got the equivalent of the Mexican War, this lesser known conflict where the famous leaders first met and cut their teeth. I can imagine some good stories coming out of that.

(And thank Sivar we didn't get most of that conspiracy-to-remove-a-war-from-history stuff in the finished story. VERY 1990s!)

Yeah, there's a lot of interesting touches in the third draft that make me wish they stuck with that one. But the time dilation stuff needed to be removed. And one of the elements that probably forced moving the war date up was the insistence that Paladin fought in the Pilgrim war, which doesn't make sense unless either the war wasn't so long ago, or that Paladin is a zillion years old.

They were already moving to get rid of the time dilation by the third draft but they both didn't go far enough (even in the shooting script) and introduced other problems. With the Pilgrim war not being as long ago (40 as opposed to 20 years) it's more likely that Blair wouldn't be familiar at least with the basic details.


Yeah I know - it makes me sad that everyday boring things like budgetary constraints and practicality mean that the movie doesn't come out EXACTLY as it should have in my imaginary ideal world full of boxing unicorns and transforming submarines...

I'm going to go ahead and make my final comment so I don't keep rolling this thread along too long and start rambling about nothing.

Every time I watch the WC movie I enjoy and appreciate it a little more. I challenge everyone who thinks its trash to try and find at least one thing they like about it, and see what happens.

I think this thread is great. It's not really about how the movie should have been. And it's been a refreshing change from people spouting off about how much they hate stuff without any real reason or for reasons that aren't justified.

If anything, I hope it helps others find stuff to help them appreciate the film more each time they watch it.

Also, there's nothing wrong with long threads. Maybe we haven't had any really long discussions in a while but this doesn't scratch the surface of what it was like here back in the era when the film was fresh in people's minds.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I used the Jedi comparison since it's the more popular one (not to mention Gundam itself is heavily inspired by Star Wars of course) but I do think it has more in common with Gundam than Star Wars. Whether or not this was on purpose or accidental, who knows.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's not intentional--Gundam is relatively obscure, especially for people who are 20-40 years older than we are. (And Chris Roberts, in particular, has expressed a specific dislike of anime styled designs.)

I like the idea that it's supposed to be the anti-Star Wars--Blair has an ability for a purely scientific reason and not because the universe believes in him... but they just don't get that across well enough in the finished product. (And of course a few months later Star Wars managed to further ruin that comparison--and some would say much else--by trying to give the Force a technobabble background...)

This plays perfectly into Tolwyn's later obsession with genetics and his goal of making humans into a race of superior warriors. That's my conspiracy theory anyway.

There's something to that--the Confederation Handbook talks about Tolwyn having Blair interviewed by a psychologist while he was at the academy, and then has some conspiratorial comments from Paladin in his letter to Tolwyn about his mission in the Vega Sector. And this was exactly when the GE program would have been using Blair as a "template" for Seether...

And one of the elements that probably forced moving the war date up was the insistence that Paladin fought in the Pilgrim war, which doesn't make sense unless either the war wasn't so long ago, or that Paladin is a zillion years old.

Does Paladin need to have fought in the Pilgrim War in the shooting script? I know he did for all the tie-in stuff, but that came a little later...

The time dilation stuff feels like pure Chris Roberts--something he saw somewhere that was cool and so wanted it in his movie.

Wouldn't it have been awesome if the tie-in books had been based on the third draft? What a crazy novel that would have given us.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Does Paladin need to have fought in the Pilgrim War in the shooting script? I know he did for all the tie-in stuff, but that came a little later...

The time dilation stuff feels like pure Chris Roberts--something he saw somewhere that was cool and so wanted it in his movie.

Wouldn't it have been awesome if the tie-in books had been based on the third draft? What a crazy novel that would have given us.


I don't know that he needs to have, but all the elements are still there. The movie as is kind of suggests Paladin is a pilgrim too, but all the supporting material says that he just lived with them for a while. Fine, no problems, but its also a little odd if he wasn't at least around during the Pilgrim conflict. For example, why would Blair assume Paladin must know something about Pilgrims otherwise, when he doesn't know he's a Pilgrim?

There's the 'Ancient' star charts I guess. Also, the idea that Paladin was on the Iason is part of this same Time Dilation Dillema.


There's something to that--the Confederation Handbook talks about Tolwyn having Blair interviewed by a psychologist while he was at the academy, and then has some conspiratorial comments from Paladin in his letter to Tolwyn about his mission in the Vega Sector. And this was exactly when the GE program would have been using Blair as a "template" for Seether...

Something that I will be forgiving of when it comes to the Pilgrims is that Tolwyn seems to be interested in their abilities and in using them to his advantage. After all he seems to trust Paladin implicitly and takes great interest in Blair which I bet is less about his father being "a good man" and more about who his father married. This plays perfectly into Tolwyn's later obsession with genetics and his goal of making humans into a race of superior warriors. That's my conspiracy theory anyway.

There's something else here too. The lines by Tolwyn can be read as specifically calculated to motivate Blair. One of the things that gets downplayed in draft three, and is brought back a bit in the shooting script is that Tolwyn is using Blair, and the Tiger Claw and doesn't expect either to survive.

In drafts one and two we have the following conversation between Blair and Tolwyn at the end of the film:

Movie script - Draft 2 said:
INT. ADMIRAL'S GIG

Blair is in a clean dress uniform, sitting uncomfortably next to Admiral Tolwin. An honor guard of Marines and the gig crew are also aboard.


TOLWIN

You know I sold you down the river, don't you, Lieutenant.


BLAIR

Sir?


TOLWIN

You were a piece on the board. A piece.


BLAIR

I understand, sir.


TOLWIN

No, you don't. But that's all right. In your shoes, Lieutenant, I'd despise the man sitting next to me.


ADJUTANT

We're in sight of the Tiger Claw, Admiral.


Both Tolwin and Blair go to a port hole and peer out.

So Tolwyn is expecting Blair to hate him for it. It kind of is a nice setup to the events in WC2 and/or academy I think, but anyway this is how it shows up in the shooting script. Early on in the film, after Tolwyn messages Blair on the diligent with the encripted message we have this exchange between Tolwyn and Bellegarde:

shooting script said:
BLAIR

All do respect sir, why me?


TOLWYN

(Small smile)

Right now, you're all I've got.

(a beat)

I fought along side your father, in the Pilgrim Wars. He was a good man -- you look a lot like him.


BLAIR

People say I have my mother's looks, sir.


Tolwyn reacts, as if remembering something.


TOLWYN

Yes, it must of been hard. They were both good people. Godspeed. Tolwyn Out


Recorder spits a small circular chip out. BLAIR takes it and the monitor turns to fuzz.

[edit] 9H INT. CONCORDIA - BRIDGE

TOLWYN steps back from the monitor. BELLEGARDE stands behind him.


TOLWYN

You don't approve, Richard?


BELLEGARDE

Of using Blair's kid? No, sir, I do not.


Also, this underlying idea is hinted at after Blair almost fights Hunter. Angel is lecturing him in the hallway and says "Who do you think you are?"

Blair says some stupid comment about being a fighter pilot, and Angel replies that he's just a Pawn in someone elses game. Seems like they took that line from that scene with Tolwyn in the earlier drafts and gave it to Angel...

I think this fits in at least with the idea that Tolwyn has had his eye on Blair for some time.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I don't know that he needs to have, but all the elements are still there. The movie as is kind of suggests Paladin is a pilgrim too, but all the supporting material says that he just lived with them for a while. Fine, no problems, but its also a little odd if he wasn't at least around during the Pilgrim conflict.

I think the supporting material confirms that he's genetically a Pilgrim--otherwise he wouldn't be Aristee's pair and so on. Pilgrim Truth should make a lot of this clear--there's a scene where he has to choose between family members who are staying loyal to the Confederation and who are going to fight for the Alliance. (If anyone is following this thread for actual canonical Paladin history, he *does* spend the war as a Confederation agent living among Pilgrims. Living and dancing, apparently.)

For example, why would Blair assume Paladin must know something about Pilgrims otherwise, when he doesn't know he's a Pilgrim?

I assume because Paladin identifies the cross while they're on the Diligent.

There's the 'Ancient' star charts I guess. Also, the idea that Paladin was on the Iason is part of this same Time Dilation Dillema.

The Iason fits with Paladin's history pre-movie--according to Wing Commander I he had been flying since before the war started. The bigger problem is that it's just a confusing and seemingly needless reference to make... because in the same breath you have to explain what the Iason is and why it matters.

I think this fits in at least with the idea that Tolwyn has had his eye on Blair for some time.

Also, the movie happens after the first episode of Academy--Tolwyn had already visited the flight school and asked to observe Blair's command abilities. Then assigned him to the Tiger's Claw personally. It makes for an interesting background story...
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
What was Chis Robert's motivation to add the Pilgrims in the first place?

It seems that it was a lot of work to include them and to adjust the established WC story somehow with the Pilgrim stuff - why even bother?

Just to have some space magic in the movie? My other guess is that Roberts needed an explanation why Blair was better than the other pilots... it would have been better if that was explained by other means. Like Blair's parents taught him to fly early on or the like.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Good question--I think the biggest problem is that it feels unnecessary in the finished movie without the traitor. In the movie-as-shot the Pilgrim stuff runs through the whole movie and in the climax Blair has to choose between a Pilgrim traitor offering him his past and a Confederation officer who hates him. Without building to that you get the implication that they just slopped backstory on to Blair because it felt interesting to someone.

(And of course you do need to make Blair more interesting, and especially an underdog. Otherwise you're stuck with: Blair arrives on the Tiger's Claw, has no chip on his shoulder and is consequently nice to everyone and quickly proves himself because he's a great pilot.)
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
(And of course you do need to make Blair more interesting, and especially an underdog. Otherwise you're stuck with: Blair arrives on the Tiger's Claw, has no chip on his shoulder and is consequently nice to everyone and quickly proves himself because he's a great pilot.)

Well, I feel the price was too high to pay to have this plot point. The Pilgrims were very destructing to the movie and its intended audience because they came completely out of nowhere and had that annoying space magic vibe which was completely absent in the games.

Blair's piloting skills and his socialising problems could be explained by other means, without the side side effects the Pilgrim brought in. How out-of-place the Pilgrims were to WC is proved by third draft quoted above, where they had gone to ridiculous lengths to explain the absence of them in the WC games (death penalty for talking about Pilgrims?). It seems to be that they fixated too much on the Pilgrim plot (and then trying to fix it/patch the holes) without taking far easier options into consideration.

How about: Blair's father/mother was a traitor. That's it, problem solved. Of course people would have doubts about you, if your parent was a known traitor to humanity. Fans could have been asking "why haven't we heard nothing about this in the games?", but Blair having a traitor in the family we knew nothing about is a far less severe suprise than this far reaching Pilgrim affair.

Even for an ongoing traitor plot in the movie itself the Pilgrims are unneeded, because the same tension could be created by Blair's family's past, and you don't have to be a "Pilgrim" to be a traitor, just look at WC2.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I think it's one of those things you have to imagine shifting completely--it's not just a plot point the way it was written, it's the whole story of the movie.

One thing to remember is that the 'intended audience' for a video game movie isn't the people who played the game. For a Wing Commander game to be a success in 1999 it would have needed to sell around half a million copies... but for a movie to be a success it would need to sell twenty million tickets. More people saw the Wing Commander movie in its opening weekend than ever bought any one Wing Commander game.

So--they're not trying to explain anything about the games. As far as resetting anything, it was open season as far as the creative team would have been concerned.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Well, I feel the price was too high to pay to have this plot point. The Pilgrims were very destructing to the movie and its intended audience because they came completely out of nowhere and had that annoying space magic vibe which was completely absent in the games.

I get the idea of "space magic" feeling out of place. But not the outright hatred of the idea of pilgrims. As an entity, is there anything wrong with the idea that there was a faction of humans that broke away from the rest of humanity and had a quasi civil war pre-kilrathi era? I feel like you would be complaining about this anyway even if they didn't have the special navigational edge.

Blair's piloting skills and his socialising problems could be explained by other means, without the side side effects the Pilgrim brought in. How out-of-place the Pilgrims were to WC is proved by third draft quoted above, where they had gone to ridiculous lengths to explain the absence of them in the WC games (death penalty for talking about Pilgrims?). It seems to be that they fixated too much on the Pilgrim plot (and then trying to fix it/patch the holes) without taking far easier options into consideration.

How about: Blair's father/mother was a traitor. That's it, problem solved. Of course people would have doubts about you, if your parent was a known traitor to humanity. Fans could have been asking "why haven't we heard nothing about this in the games?", but Blair having a traitor in the family we knew nothing about is a far less severe suprise than this far reaching Pilgrim affair.

Even for an ongoing traitor plot in the movie itself the Pilgrims are unneeded, because the same tension could be created by Blair's family's past, and you don't have to be a "Pilgrim" to be a traitor, just look at WC2.

I actually think that idea is worse than the Pilgrims. Blair's family has a storied military history. I don't think there's any reason to think they would be traitors, especially not before the Mandarin's really started getting traction. Some obscure aunt or uncle being a traitor wouldn't make much sense. We see blair talking to his adoptive parents (who are pacifists) post-movie in Academy. It wouldn't make sense to have his real parents alive within that context and have them traitors either. I would certainly take issue with the idea that his parents were traitors way before the idea that his mom was from some offshoot human colony that went rogue.

Regarding WC2, Blair is called a traitor by Tolwyn for various reasons most of which involve the fact that Tolwyn doesn't believe Blair's story about stealth fighters and thinks that Blair is using the story to cover his negligence. He's had years of being painted with such a brush by the time the lion's share of the WC2 plot takes place. Essentially this still relies on the plot device of stealth fighters. People calling Blair a traitor doesn't come out of nowhere.

If you really want to judge the Pilgrim stuff though, it's at least a good idea to read through the novelization or if you don't want to buy that, we have the shooting script online. Much of it makes more sense when you see the stuff you are complaining about in the context of the overall story.
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
I think it's one of those things you have to imagine shifting completely--it's not just a plot point the way it was written, it's the whole story of the movie.

Hm, shouldn't the focus be on the Kilrathi? I mean it's not like the movie was a rousing success, something is wrong with. And the Pilgrims (or how they were portrayed, like being too much of a focus) are part of what's wrong.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I think the supporting material confirms that he's genetically a Pilgrim--otherwise he wouldn't be Aristee's pair and so on. Pilgrim Truth should make a lot of this clear--there's a scene where he has to choose between family members who are staying loyal to the Confederation and who are going to fight for the Alliance. (If anyone is following this thread for actual canonical Paladin history, he *does* spend the war as a Confederation agent living among Pilgrims. Living and dancing, apparently.)

I need to reread Pilgrim Stars, and am looking forward to reading Pilgrim Truth finally.

I'm also curious to see what you find when you go to Texas and look at that 91 proposal for the movie. I found an interview recently where Chris Roberts mentioned that he had ideas to make the games into a movie at least that far back. It was only four years later from then to Kevin Droney's draft of the script so giving a year to set things in motion I'm wondering how much of these details for the story Chris layed out at that early of a date.

I'm also interested in looking into how much guidance Droney had. I need to sit down and lay everything out but it really feels like he might have been given the same background material as the academy crew to work off of. His ship selection seems to fit that anyway.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Hm, shouldn't the focus be on the Kilrathi? I mean it's not like the movie was a rousing success, something is wrong with. And the Pilgrims (or how they were portrayed, like being too much of a focus) are part of what's wrong.

I don't disagree. A more straight forward war story might have been a better option for the first movie. Likely Roberts had the Mandarin element from WC2 in mind here, but I think that for a first movie in the series plus Chris Roberts first directorial effort, it was an overly ambitious script.
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
As an entity, is there anything wrong with the idea that there was a faction of humans that broke away from the rest of humanity and had a quasi civil war pre-kilrathi era? I feel like you would be complaining about this anyway even if they didn't have the special navigational edge.

Yeah, because (speaking strictly as a fan of the games here) it's a lot of stuff that just appeared out of thin air.

To stay in the SF genre: It's as if a new Star Trek show would come out in which it's suddenly revelealed that Kirk is part Vulcan and would treat it as common knowledge, together with Kirk having suddenly special Vulcan powers and stuff as if nothing happened.

The Pilgrim story is also grating me on a certain level because, as faulty as Confed is portrayed in the games, suddenly they also commited something of a genocide just prior the Kilrathi war. And they never even apologized or felt bad about it, quite the opposite. (At least that's how the movie showed it, maybe the issue is resolved in one of the books, but we are talking strictly about the movie here)

It felt a bit like I was betrayed throughout the whole games, puts the whole Kilrathi war in a different light, especially the end of it. After the movie, The Temblor Bomb suddenly didn't feel like a last ditch effort anymore, but more something of a "business as usual" action.

I was flying for murderers the whole time and no one told me.

I actually think that idea is worse than the Pilgrims. Blair's family has a storied military history. I don't think there's any reason to think they would be traitors, especially not before the Mandarin's really started getting traction. Some obscure aunt or uncle being a traitor wouldn't make much sense. We see blair talking to his adoptive parents (who are pacifists) post-movie in Academy. It wouldn't make sense to have his real parents alive within that context and have them traitors either. I would certainly take issue with the idea that his parents were traitors way before the idea that his mom was from some offshoot human colony that went rogue.

Make his mother a traitor then instead a Pilgrim. Or forget about the whole traitor thing. Make Blair a Border Worlder by birth (with the Border Worlds existing back then, having tensions but not outright war with Confed), at least there would have been a direct connection to the games, without the magic aura of the pilgrims and all the problems that come with them.

Never watched Academy, but I know that Pilgrims never were mentioned here. Can't you see that such a huge background story affecting the whole fictional universe, that is so crucial, appearing completely out of nowhere, is more of a problem than changing the family history of just one (ok, very important) character?

The Pilgrims were just too costly and too much of an over-convoluted solution for a problem that could have been fixed far easier.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
I liked the beaten up look of everything too. It was a carrier on the frontlines with little to no support. Everything was half-fixed and jury rigged as you'd expect. I didn't really like the design of the fighters themselves which seems to be a pretty common complaint but they didn't bother me as much as some folks. I would've preferred if they were Scimitars or Raptors or something instead of calling them Rapiers so we wouldn't have had to say they were an older fighter of the same name but I got over it.

Many such things bother me about the movie. There are a ton of little references that are supposed to make it feel more like "iconic wing commander" but miss the boat because they don't *quite* fit in the continuity that had been established to date by the games. The fighters could have just as easily been called "Scimitars" or "Raptors" which would have fit in perfectly...but for some reason Roberts decided the name "Rapier" was more iconic, and so a retcon is forced.

The Tiger's Claw is the Tiger's Claw...but someone doesn't check the spelling before they shoot, and so a retcon is forced.

The dead pilot at the beginning could just as easily have been Lt. Tooner or Cpt. Dribbles, which would have tied nicely into the Claw Marks established history...but someone decided that since Bossman dies in the game, he should be dead in the movie, and so a retcon is forced.

The flagship of the Confed fleet could have been named anything...but since it was the iconically named "Concordia" in WC2, they called the flagship the Concordia in the movie, and so a retcon is forced.

If the movie had intended to be kind of a "re-boot" of the universe that didn't try to be set pre-WC1 in the same continuity as the games, but where Rapiers were old and beat up when Blair arrives on the Claw instead of brand new, where Blair never meets Bossman, who died before he came aboard, where Blair's carrier is called the Tiger Claw, and where the Concordia isn't a dreadnought built off of captured Kilrathi technology after Thor's Hammer but rather is the standing flagship of the Confed fleet ten years earlier...then that would be fine. They'd be recycling iconic WC names and symbols as an nod to fans, but doing their own thing. But that's not what they did. By trying to include those iconic references, but by doing it poorly, they created a mess. It would have been almost better if they had treated it as a new game, with completely new pilots, ships, etc.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Hm, shouldn't the focus be on the Kilrathi? I mean it's not like the movie was a rousing success, something is wrong with. And the Pilgrims (or how they were portrayed, like being too much of a focus) are part of what's wrong.

I don't know, there's a leap in logic there--couldn't you pick out any single element that exists in the movie? I really don't think reviewers zeroed in on Pilgrims as the big flaw in the movie...

To stay in the SF genre: It's as if a new Star Trek show would come out in which it's suddenly revelealed that Kirk is part Vulcan and would treat it as common knowledge, together with Kirk having suddenly special Vulcan powers and stuff as if nothing happened.

I think that's an overblown analogy--you're estabishing something we didn't know about Blair, but not contradicting the existing history in some way... before 1999, we had no idea who Blair's mother was. So it's a little more like Star Trek IV deciding that Kirk was now from Iowa--with a similar impact (later stories treating that like it was some important part of his character we knew about all along while earier ones did not).

The Pilgrim story is also grating me on a certain level because, as faulty as Confed is portrayed in the games, suddenly they also commited something of a genocide just prior the Kilrathi war. And they never even apologized or felt bad about it, quite the opposite. (At least that's how the movie showed it, maybe the issue is resolved in one of the books, but we are talking strictly about the movie here)

I don't... think that was the intended take-away. The Confederation fought a bloody war with the Pilgrims, they didn't... wipe them out or anything. And they were not the aggressors.

Make his mother a traitor then instead a Pilgrim. Or forget about the whole traitor thing. Make Blair a Border Worlder by birth (with the Border Worlds existing back then, having tensions but not outright war with Confed), at least there would have been a direct connection to the games, without the magic aura of the pilgrims and all the problems that come with them.

The earliest treatments actually used 'Border Worlder' instead of Pilgrim. And we would still be hearing about magic Border Worlders today if they'd kept that. :) (Actually, I'm thinking the change there was probably a legal one--a comic book company that had published a series called Border Worlds threatened to sue Origin in 1996 after Wing Commander IV came out...)
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Yeah, because (speaking strictly as a fan of the games here) it's a lot of stuff that just appeared out of thin air.

The Pilgrim story is also grating me on a certain level because, as faulty as Confed is portrayed in the games, suddenly they also commited something of a genocide just prior the Kilrathi war. And they never even apologized or felt bad about it, quite the opposite. (At least that's how the movie showed it, maybe the issue is resolved in one of the books, but we are talking strictly about the movie here)

I don't think it's ever said that confed commited genocide in the movie, nor in the shooting script. I don't see how you can take that from the the theatrical cut for sure. Paladin does speak of the Pilgrim's arrogance though.

There's a few references to the Peron massacre but never any details or context other than that Blair's parents died.


Make his mother a traitor then instead a Pilgrim. Or forget about the whole traitor thing. Make Blair a Border Worlder by birth (with the Border Worlds existing back then, having tensions but not outright war with Confed), at least there would have been a direct connection to the games, without the magic aura of the pilgrims and all the problems that come with them.

Never watched Academy, but I know that Pilgrims never were mentioned here. Can't you see that such a huge background story affecting the whole fictional universe, that is so crucial, appearing completely out of nowhere, is more of a problem than changing the family history of just one (ok, very important) character?

How is this an easier fix? How would changing the name of them to Borderworlders make it any better? In fact WC4 does exactly the same thing the movie does. You are suggesting that it's ok for WC4 to do it because you liked WC4 whereas the movie can't because you don't like the movie. You can't have it both ways. The whole idea that the systems we were fighting so hard for in WC1 were in the "borderworlds" is just as much of a retcon as anything the movie does.

Having people hate Blair because he is from the systems you're fighting to save in the Vega sector just doesn't make sense for a reason for the claw pilots to hate him. And specifically, I think we know enough about the borderworlds to suggest that the feelings leading to the events of WC4 were a result of decades of war with the kilrathi, and from neglect, not from confrontation.

Even so, I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility that we could have had exactly the same movie but with borderworlders with special powers instead of 'Pilgrims'. I don't think you would have liked it any better.
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
I think that's an overblown analogy--you're estabishing something we didn't know about Blair, but not contradicting the existing history in some way... before 1999, we had no idea who Blair's mother was. So it's a little more like Star Trek IV deciding that Kirk was now from Iowa--with a similar impact (later stories treating that like it was some important part of his character we knew about all along while earier ones did not).

Being born in Iowa doesn't give you special powers. Nor is it in any way special or unique.

Blair was just a darn good pilot in the games, that's all. (in the cannonical story, he isn't even that much of an über-pilot though. Doesn't he mess up the first mission in the novelization of WC3 and fails Locanda?).. Suddenly he is touched by God and has the best navigational skills in the known galaxy. There is just nothing in the games that pointed to THAT. Not in the slightest.

OK, forget Kirk being part Vulcan. The new show (which plays shortly after the new Star Trek movie) would say his grandfather was a member of some alien species that never appeared previously on Trek but who were hated by the whole Federation. Kirk is now hated too because of this. Oh, and this heritage gives Kirk special powers, like commanding a ship really really great. That's the reason he was such a good captain, too.

Oh and he knew it all along and everyone else too, ALL THE TIME.

Just about everyone on the internets would be just fucked in the head!

See how stupid that premise sounds? IT'S EXACTLY THE SAME in the Wing Commander movie, that's what rubs people off. Before the movie, just no one would have thought that Blair is a good pilot because he is part of an offshot of the human race who are almost gods and have special piloting powers.

"estabishing something we didn't know about a character" has limits. Let's say Lewis Carroll would have written a sequel to Alice in Wonderland where it would be revealed that Alice is an alien. We don't know for sure Alice isn't an alien in part 1, don't we? So it's of course possible that she could be one!

No one would say it's good storytelling though.


I don't... think that was the intended take-away. The Confederation fought a bloody war with the Pilgrims, they didn't... wipe them out or anything. And they were not the aggressors.

Hm:

You're one of the last descendants of a dying race.
Pilgrims were the first human space explorers and settlers.
For five centuries...
they defied the odds.
They embraced space...
and for that, they were rewarded...
with the gift of a flawless sense of direction.
....


Then why'd the war start?
[Sighs]
You spend so much time out here alone...
you end up losing your humanity.
When Pilgrims began to lose touch with their heritage...
they saw themselves as superior to men.
And in their arrogance...
they chose to abandon all things human...


You know, maybe I am interpreting too much into it, but that dialogue sounded as if the Pilgrims we just aloof and not really agressors who started the war all on their own.

Also the "dying race" bit together with the pretty heavy racism towards Blair sounded as if the war involved more than just blowing Pilgrim ships up.

Maybe they should have clarified it up more, but I got that "killing fields" vibe here.


The earliest treatments actually used 'Border Worlder' instead of Pilgrim. And we would still be hearing about magic Border Worlders today if they'd kept that. :)

If they wouldn't include Border World "magic", then no.
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
How is this an easier fix? How would changing the name of them to Borderworlders make it any better? In fact WC4 does exactly the same thing the movie does. You are suggesting that it's ok for WC4 to do it because you liked WC4 whereas the movie can't because you don't like the movie. You can't have it both ways. The whole idea that the systems we were fighting so hard for in WC1 were in the "borderworlds" is just as much of a retcon as anything the movie does.

Fighting against aliens who want to wipe humanity out bonds together.

It's not much of an stretch that human factions would join forces in situations like these, and moving back to normal after the danger is gone.

You know, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Having people hate Blair because he is from the systems you're fighting to save in the Vega sector just doesn't make sense for a reason for the claw pilots to hate him.

No it does. If the relations weren't that great before, it takes a while to bond, even in face of a threat.

Let's say the Soviet Union would have invaded Western Europe in 1946. It's safe to say that German, British and French soldiers would have fought together in this case, but the Germans wouldn't be exactly loved by the allied soldiers back then for sure.


Having people hate Blair because he is from the systems you're fighting to save in the Vega sector just doesn't make sense for a reason for the claw pilots to hate him. And specifically, I think we know enough about the borderworlds to suggest that the feelings leading to the events of WC4 were a result of decades of war with the kilrathi, and from neglect, not from confrontation.

The movie retconned so much, just retcon the neglect into the past. The Border Worlders could be known as pirates back then (and some Tiger's Claw crewmen lost family members to pirate attacks), just before the Kilrathi War. This way there would be even one WC4 reference.

Et Voilà!, there you have a reason to be a prick towards Blair.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Blair was just a darn good pilot in the games, that's all. (in the cannonical story, he isn't even that much of an über-pilot though. Doesn't he mess up the first mission in the novelization of WC3 and fails Locanda?).. Suddenly he is touched by God and has the best navigational skills in the known galaxy. There is just nothing in the games that pointed to THAT. Not in the slightest.

If they wouldn't include Border World "magic", then no.

So you are fine with Blair being a pilgrim as long as it doesn't give him powers? Reallly, Blair's "powers" are pretty much useless anyway by the time WC1/2 come around.

Blair's ability to sense magnetic fields doesn't make him a better fighter pilot, it makes him better at plotting a jump path. That's it. That's blairs big space magic trick.

It is interesting that there does seem to be an attempt to make it seem more special in the theatrical cut. This could be deliberate or it could have been for pacing... not sure, but let's look at the scene you quoted again.

This is how the scene is in the Workprint... said:
PALADIN

You're one of the last descendants of a dying race[
Pilgrims were the first human space explorers and settlers.
For five centuries they defied the odds. They embraced space, and for that they were rewarded with the gift of a flawless sense of direction. No computers, Blair, no compasses, no charts. They just knew.

Then, in a small number, about one in a million, a Biological change occured.
They could feel magnetic fields created by black holes and quasars - negotiate singularities. They learned to navigate not just the stars, but space-time itself.


BLAIR

Like a NAVCOM A.I..


PALADIN

You've got it backwards. The billions of calculations each second necessary to lead us through a black hole or quasar is the NAVCOM's recreation of the mind of a single Pilgrim.

None of this helps Blair manoever his fighter in combat. It's all about navigation, not actual flying skills. Notice though that the lines removed from the theatrical cut specifically differentiate their sense of direction from the biological mutation that allows them to sense magnetic fields... and it's not even every pilgrim that has this ability... It's one in a million.

Here's some interesting reading regarding sense of direction:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=sense-of-direction-innate
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1346285/Mr-Fox-fantastic-sense-direction-uses-magnetic-field-hunt.html
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-10/aps-ntb100305.php

So... basically the only thing special about Blair is that he can do the jump math really fast because he can tell where the magnetic fields from the spatial anomaly are. That's a pretty boring Jedi mind trick. And while Paladin does make it seem like he feels it makes the Pilgrims special, the way it plays out in the workprint does make it sound a little less hokey. In fact the whole scene plays out much slower with more pausing between lines. Paladin actually comes off as sounding a bit sad when he talks about why the Pilgrims and Confed began fighting.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Being born in Iowa doesn't give you special powers. Nor is it in any way special or unique.

Haven't you heard? Iowa is now the center of the Star Trek universe! They built the Enterprise there! All the famous characters hang out at a bar there! All because of a joke in Star Trek IV...

Blair was just a darn good pilot in the games, that's all. (in the cannonical story, he isn't even that much of an über-pilot though. Doesn't he mess up the first mission in the novelization of WC3 and fails Locanda?).. Suddenly he is touched by God and has the best navigational skills in the known galaxy. There is just nothing in the games that pointed to THAT. Not in the slightest.

I guess it's worth noting that Blair's genetics had already been singled out as being important--we had already learned that he was used (at the very start of his career!) as one of the templates for the GE project that created Seether. (And really, being a fighter pilot *isn't* a case of just trying your best and you'll be fine--genetic factors are tremendously important... think of Yeager and his 20/10 vision.)

OK, forget Kirk being part Vulcan. The new show (which plays shortly after the new Star Trek movie) would say his grandfather was a member of some alien species that never appeared previously on Trek but who were hated by the whole Federation. Kirk is now hated too because of this. Oh, and this heritage gives Kirk special powers, like commanding a ship really really great. That's the reason he was such a good captain, too.

Oh and he knew it all along and everyone else too, ALL THE TIME.

Just about everyone on the internets would be just fucked in the head!

See how stupid that premise sounds? IT'S EXACTLY THE SAME in the Wing Commander movie, that's what rubs people off. Before the movie, just no one would have thought that Blair is a good pilot because he is part of an offshot of the human race who are almost gods and have special piloting powers.

Ah, so that would be after the new movie that just established that Kirk's father is a space hero we've never heard of whose /very existence/ is what means that the universe has destined him to be the Federation's greatest captain :)? Isn't that *exactly the same retcon* as Blair's mother having been a Pilgrim? If anything, it's on a much, much bigger scale? The movie wants us to suddenly believe that all of Kirk's accomplishments go back to who his father is who we'd never heard of were.

"estabishing something we didn't know about a character" has limits. Let's say Lewis Carroll would have written a sequel to Alice in Wonderland where it would be revealed that Alice is an alien. We don't know for sure Alice isn't an alien in part 1, don't we? So it's of course possible that she could be one!

No one would say it's good storytelling though.

Isn't Wonderland transformed into a giant chess board for no reason in the sequel? Or there's a separate magic world that is a chess board that we'd never heard of before? We find this sort of retcon distasteful often, but it's also entirely necessary to telling further stories...

You know, maybe I am interpreting too much into it, but that dialogue sounded as if the Pilgrims we just aloof and not really agressors who started the war all on their own.

Also the "dying race" bit together with the pretty heavy racism towards Blair sounded as if the war involved more than just blowing Pilgrim ships up.

Maybe they should have clarified it up more, but I got that "killing fields" vibe here.

Yeah, I think you just took that wrong way. When Paladin says the Pilgrims lost touch with their humanity what he means is that they decided they were better than humans--and fought a war to keep the Confederation from being able to colonize the galaxy.

The basic idea of the Pilgrim religion was that the 'stars were their destiny'. Those with the nevigation gene had been 'touched by God' and had to leave and inheret the galaxy... leaving everyone else, damned, in the solar system.

... but the rest of us caught up and developed the jump drive and the NAVCOM. That's where the war came from--the Alliance attacked the Confederation to prevent ordinary humans from expanding further into space.

When the war ended, the Pilgrim religious authority announced that they were no longer to use their ability at all. They'd been disgraced and were to stay on their planets forever as punishment. That's what Paladin is referring to and why Blair is a little special--while there are still billions of Pilgrims, they are busy staying out of history's way.
 
Top