Arena series references

Discussion in 'General Wing Commander Chat' started by Baggins, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Honestly a 'few weeks' leaves room for 'interpretation'... One person's few weeks might be as little as two, although it might be better to say 'couple of weeks'... Where as to many or maybe even most, someone saying 'a few weeks' would mean to be at least three weeks.... But probably at the most less than six... Or it would be best to use 'several weeks' or 'about a month'.
     
  2. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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  3. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Heh I think Star*Soldier answers the question on LaFong, Blair, and Armstrong, all three are seperate characters. The Star*Soldier gloss goes into more detail on this division as well. LaFong gets two mentions, and Armstrong gets at least one in the magazine. Both are described as having written or had biographies about themselves. All three are said to be some of the best pilots the Confederation has had. Blair is said the only one who didn't have specific biographies written about him (of course not counting WC3-4 novels). Armstrong and LaFong are suggested to still be alive, Blair's fate is 'unknown' presumed missing or dead.

    This means basically the alternate story details of Super Wing Commander are also essentially 'canon' as well. It isn't much different than Wing Commander I suppose other than it lacks many of end mission cutscenes from the original, replacing them with alternate ones? There is also that cloaked fighters sub story that begins from the first or second mission of Enyo (additional lines added to various character's dialogue), and of course the secret missions stuff fans call Secret Missions 1.5.

    Now, another thing I might suggest is that 'Enyo series' proper might actually taken more than 2 missions. But may have been longer, remember in the movie they were already in Enyo as early as .70s, where Bossman was thought to have died (if he had been captured, or in some kind of deep undercover secret mission who knows). Besides the detours that the movie books take the Claw (to Dakota, Charybdis, Earth, Hell's Kitchen, etc), looks like things were heating up in Enyo pretty early on. That it might be suggested that the entirety of the Enyo series might have been .070-.111 and perhaps even longer (if true Enyo had to be moved after .163-.193 to fit in the Pilgrim Truth events). The issue with the TCSO at .140? Well as SO shows were actually fairly routine during historical wars (WW1, WW1, Korea), whose to say there couldn't be more than one (one at .140, and another at when LaFong remembers it later in the year)?

    On a side note the other character thought to have died in the movies... Knight, has anyone ever noticed if you slow frame on the Blueray release, you can see what looks like a human-body sized object 'eject' near the blast going towards the bottom right side of the screen?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  4. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    That pesky 2666 date I believe when I skimmed through the WC1&2 guide, it also suggested that date as well, in the way it figured the narrative. Since it basically tells the story up to the Claw's demise, and then the dates LaFong gives add up to 2666.
     
  5. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    It's interesting artifact caused by the film novels, but events of Pilgrim Truth ends around 2654.193 in the epilogue (although main action ends around .163) . There isn't much known what occurs between that month in the book. I don't remember off the top of my head where it stated the Claw was stationed during that month while they were trying to round up all the pilgrim's who wanted to leave with McDaniel.

    .193 is in the middle of July. Which if we go back to the reference given in WC1&2 guide, which suggests that WC1 begins 'three years' from September 2651 or so. That LaFong arrived on the Claw in August or September of 2654. This is that other 'interpretation' that I've mostly been avoiding as we discussed the Bible timeline, and the in-game timeline... But it's worth coming back to if we are to discuss 'narrative continuity', and one other alternate timeline continuity.

    Might I suggest on your table and notes for WC1, that you add additional notes concerning that September reference, and the three years (2 years in the Academy, and 1 year on the Formidable), in addition to showing where movie/novel dates overlap in the same periods?
     
  6. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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  7. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    Hah, I wrote that line in Star*Soldier and I never really took it seriously. :)

    I’ve always had the idea in the back of my head that they’re different people… but I’ve never really played around with the idea that perhaps the events of Wing Commander I and II are LaFong’s story instead of Blair’s (and so it might be LaFong who is blamed for the Tiger’s Claw’s destruction and the like.) You can get pretty far with this line of thinking (and it helps with some pretty significant things!), but it eventually breaks down (the bio of Blair in the Wing Commander Prophecy guide is fairly conclusive evidence to the contrary.) I’ll do a nice writeup about it soon (family visiting Santa Monica this week, not enough time to sit down in front of a Google Doc and think Wing Commander!)

    As for the Enyo System, I don’t think there’s any issue with the ‘Claw moving back and forth. Obviously it leaves Enyo during the events of the movie and then comes back later (and I’ll argue that the Super Wing Commander intro, also in the Enyo System, must have happened much later after the Rapier II and Fralthi are introduced!) At the same time, I don’t think the number of missions you fly in the game are ever directly related to how many missions were (historically) flown. Presumably you’re seeing the two or three interesting missions in each system… and for every one of those there are a hundred less interesting sorties happening. (The WC1/2 Guide gets explicit about this, too. The ‘game’ just doesn’t show you the dull part.)

    My plan for the timeline is to layer things on as I move forward – so once I’ve gathered up everything from the games and the official guide, we can start adding in Academy, the movie and the like!
     
  8. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff

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    I like the idea that LaFong and Blair we're both Claw pilots that happened to fly very similar missions. I made a crazy movie based short campaign way back when with the idea that maybe I'd do a WC Secret Ops mod someday. I penciled in on the upper left "The adventures of Carl Lafong, and basically you fly a bunch of background and support missions to Blair and Crew in the WC movie timeframe. It's a really really rough outline but you can have a look here:

    moviecampaignidea.png
     
  9. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    On the wiki, I make note that LaFong's flight name Prankster, might even show that he might be someone willing to exaggerate or even embellish 'some' of his accounts, or maybe even 'plagiarize' and take other people's actions as his own (LaFong might even have a bigger ego than maniac if that's hard to believe, considering he calls himself the "Greatest Ace" lol). This might in part explain why at least in latter WC2 era stuff he seemingly took what seems to events which are more directly attributed to Blair (and referred to WC3/WC4 novels referring back to that era, or Kilrathi Saga version of the game).

    http://wingcommander.wikia.com/wiki/Carl_T._LaFong#Personality

    He's also seems to be more competitive than Blair was (although that competitive nature exists in young Blair as the movie shows, but not nearly to the level LaFong is described as being), and has a personality almost similar to Maniac's but he mostly wisened up faster, and started to take things seriously (which is why he is often told to go speak to Maniac and try to help change him)... We just have to assume LaFong, Maniac and Blair are all long time friends (although LaFong and Maniac being friends is 'arguable' and LaFong doesn't really consider him a 'friend' so much as a thorn in his side that he was always competing with, and then having to protect his butt, and convince him not to get others killed) and alumni. Just LaFong apparently retired before WC3, while Blair went on to win the war.

    Otherwise there are some differences (if you consider them key or minor may vary) between the account of how Blair met court martial in WC2 era in the Kilrathi Saga (and WC3 novel?), and how LaFong describes his own court martial in his account. As to the number of people involved, where it occurred, and/or length of the trial (or even how both returned/rescued after the Claw's destruction). But it still begs the question why they wouldn't have used LaFong's account as 'character witness' to Blair's version of the events, and vice versa. Or perhaps Tolwyn or someone else was just looking for a scape goat for their own limitations (and mistakes for not reading the data correctly), and punished both to save face for the loss...

    One difference is that according to sources, Blair is described as having been given the nickname "Coward of K'tithrak Mang" while LaFong describes himself as getting the nickname "Traitor of K'tihrak Mang". Which seems to suggest they each got a different nickname, LOL
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  10. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    "Hah, I wrote that line in Star*Soldier and I never really took it seriously."

    Well, your development explanations made sense to me...

    ""Prankster" - This isn't the last time you'll see this: as awful as it is, I find the idea that Carl "Prankster" LaFong (the character from the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide) and Chris Blair are two different people hilarous."

    "Armstrong and LaFong" - I love this joke and I get the feeling everyone else hates it. Armstrong and LaFong were alternate names for Blair, used in Super Wing Commander and the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide respectively. This is actually addressing a real book, since the conceit of that latter guide is that now-octogenerian LaFong has written his memoirs and you're reading them. Sorta contradicts Blair's death, too, if they're the same character...


    And Yes, the fact that LaFong 'outlives' Blair is something that should be taken into consideration... Besides its now written into an canonical document, so its canon!
     
  11. Blaster

    Blaster Rear Admiral

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    Is it possible that LaFong is a pen name that Blair was using?
     
  12. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    That doens't work,, because Blair is "dead" (or at least missing and In another galaxy) in 2700 when LaFong publishes the story. He mentions having retired from the war following his ordeals in Wing COmmander 2. He's in his 80s (or almost 80) when he wrote the autobiography.

    Also as mentioned his personality is described to be much different than BLair's personality is said to be.
     
  13. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Star*SOLDIER mentions LaFong at least twice once it describes him as one of the Confederation's greatest aces along with Blair. BUt it calls them by their callsigns, "Maverick, Prankster", etc. THen the other when it talks about Maniac, Armstrong and LaFong each wrote their own best selling autobiographies, and it's unlikely that one would ever be released for Blair(since most believe he's dead at that time).
     
  14. Blaster

    Blaster Rear Admiral

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    Does Star*Soldier say that Blair is dead or missing? I only remember it saying that it was unlikely anyone would see his memoirs.
     
  15. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    Re: LaFong’s age. He’s 73 as of the writing of the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide, and he’s also explicitly 18 when he’s admitted to the Academy… which is three years before Wing Commander I. Which suggests that… math math math… the book is written in 2706 (so, a quarter century after Wing Commander Prophecy and five years after Wing Commander Arena.)

    As for Blair’s fate… a close read of Pilgrim Truth will set that old question to rest ;)
     
  16. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    That's pretty much all it says. Remember, though, that Secret Ops already gave Blair a funeral, as he was presumed dead. As far as we know, nobody in Confed has any knowledge that might indicate he's merely missing.

    As for the LaFong vs. Blair thing, an interesting thought just occurred to me. WC3 and WC4 both dramatically differ from the games in terms of the missions. The storylines remain recognisable (minus the choice-consequence stuff), but the missions are reworked completely. Because it is so rare for subsequent stories to refer explicitly to events in a particular mission, this is fundamentally a non-issue - yes, we've got two sets of missions for these two games, with some overlapping and some differing wildly, but it's ok, because there's no need to decide which are more "official", or even if they are the same.

    The same thing, in a sense, applies to WC1/WC2 versus the official guide, which is fundamentally a novelisation of the games (and even handles the choice-consequence stuff in much the same way that the WC3/4 novels did). The big difference here is that on top of everything else, the two versions actually use different central characters. Except... that they really don't :). After all, neither of the first two games forces the player to be Blair. It is only afterwards, from WC3 onwards, that Blair becomes Blair, and his story is connected backwards to WC1/2 through various small references to previous games.

    I'm not taking this idea seriously, treating it more as a joke... but purely hypothetically, WC1 and WC2 do not need to be the story of Christopher Blair at all. It is only those elements of these two games that show up in future references (particularly Blair's WCP bio) that must concern Blair. Everything else could potentially be re-interpreted. Thus, LaFong and Blair could happily co-exist, their stories being similar and often connecting up, but not being identical. The only two clashes of any significance would be around Angel and the destruction of the Tiger's Claw. And of course, with regards to Angel, potentially both characters could have had romances with her on separate occasions. I mean, hey, if the Academy (game) manual guy did, and if Blair went from having a romance with her in the movie to seemingly "not even friends" status at the start of WC1 (...or was that LaFong?), why not? :)
     
  17. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    I had a genuine “eureka!” moment about this tonight.

    First of all: Quarto, that is exactly what I’ve been running through my head this past week. There are some not-insignificant reasons that it’s very appealing. Chief among them is the idea that if the missions on the Tiger’s Claw are flown by LaFong instead of Blair (as written) then 2654 makes a lot more sense. Blair can be off the Tiger’s Claw for the Pilgrim novels with no consequences, and his personal narrative is much less ‘small universe’: he’s the noted hero in 2654 because he saves Earth in the movie and leads the charge at Dolos… and you have a different hero pilot who ends the Venice campaign, destroys the Sivar, etc. And it would benefit greatly by clarifying once and for all that the details of the ‘Academy’ section of the book refer to someone other than Blair. (And the same is true of many references to LaFong’s background that we do not know whether or not to apply to Blair.)

    Wing Commander II didn’t even seem problematic at first, as you note. VERY little is carried over between Wing Commander 2 and 3 (friendship with Hobbes, relationship with Angel, tension with Tolwyn) and so in broad strokes you could assign it to someone else and have Hamill’s Blair go into WC3 differently. But you get into trouble, as you note, with the Prophecy background (which mentions the events of Wing Commander II explicitly) and even moreso with the material added to the Wing Commander II manual for Kilrathi Saga — notes to Blair from wingmen about his exile, his paycheck for the holovid about his life, etc.

    So, a fun exercise but not something that really holds up. Unless…

    … and this is where I’m very proud of myself tonight. What if we separate the Wing Commander II section of the book from the Wing Commander I and Academy ones? It’s a separate part of the book just like the clearly out-of-universe Making Of book… it could be an entirely separate document, and more specifically BLAIR’s memoir of the events of Wing Commander II. The cut is so clean: the description of the last patrol off the Tiger’s Claw starts the new section, so everything that HAS to be Blair can be (the Prophecy guide doesn’t mention anything beyond that Blair was there for WC1.)

    That’s insane!, you say, they call him the wrong name throughout! And here’s the amazing thing: it DOESN’T! The Wing Commander II section was written very differently then the lazily expanding narrative for the WC1 missions, letting players see the story themselves in the game… so there’s not much by the way of conversations or additional details. It’s all first person and he’s never called Carl or LaFong!

    The trouble that remains is minor:
    • He’s called ‘Prankster’ by three characters: once by Paladin ("I think Maniac's already lived his down, Prankster”) once aboard the Austin ("Prankster, where's your flight-data recorder?”) and several times by a bed-ridden, crazed Maniac.
    • LaFong’s intro mentions being the ‘Traitor of K’Tithrak Mang’ and alludes to the events of Wing Commander II. But as already figured out here, that’s NOT Blair’s actual nickname, so it’s easy to assume that LaFong might be another survivor similarly treated (but without the comeback story.)
    It’s a retcon, yes, but damn if it doesn’t somewhat cleanly solve one of Wing Commander’s oldest, most confusing issues!
     
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  18. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    LaFong's age at the time of WC1 (2654) is not easy to figure out. But there are a couple of references that may imply that it was probably between 18 to 27 years old. He was 9 when he learned bout Blakely which lead to him wanting to be a fighter pilot. He mentions he spent 14 years of school previously, and mentions that he and the students spent "18 years preparing to join the academy" (this could mean 18 years of life, or 18 years of exercise and training total). Following this he spent about 3-4 years at the Academy. In his 3rd year he was onboard the Formidable, and then transferred to the Claw. He was on the Claw for about two years before it was destroyed. Then ten years on Carnaevon, and a year or two on Concordia. He claims to have been 15 years total in the navy before he retired. Many years later some date after 2689 at age of 71 he helped make the holo-vids, and the memoirs were put together and written when he was 73 some point before 2701, and most likely around 2700.

    Assuming he was 4 when he started education, 14 years later, he would have been about 18 when he joined the academy. If he started preparing 18 years for the academy after 9 he would be 27.

    Taking Star*Soldier into account if the Memoirs had been published as late as 2701 before the publication of Marshall's book (as Star*Soldier suggests it has already); LaFong would have been born about 2628, and he would have been about 26 in year 2654. If he had published it as early as 2689, he would have been born in 2616, he would have been 38 in 2654. Which as Taggart at 45 is an example way past regular flying age, and 25 is considered within normal regulations. This this would more than likely make the publishing of his book between 2699 and 2701 to avoid being too aged.

    http://wingcommander.wikia.com/wiki/LaFong_timeline

    Also somehow I have a hard time believing a new born baby starts preparing to join the academy... Nor is Wing Commander in a Ender's Game type universe where children are tested to see if they are capable of fighting their entire life, only to be rejected or passed forward into a military career LOL There is I think plenty of evidence that regular civilians exist that never strive to become military, and spend their entire lives eking out a peaceful existence, farming or whatever...
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  19. Baggins

    Baggins Petty Officer

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    Hey I personally like the idea of Prankster/LaFong also ending up on Caenervon and then later transferring with BLair, and that there being a love triangle and competition for Angel for her affection. But Blair wins out in the end ;). There is some room for some humor there if someone ever went back to those stories (novel, short story or references)...

    You know some kind of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead type thing!
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  20. LeHah

    LeHah 212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"

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    I'll have to do some digging on my own. But while LOAF's breakdown does make sense, Blair's "some would disagree" talk with Paladin on Vespus at the start of WC3 sort of throws a wrench in my memory of the timeline?

    (Could the "Traitor of K’Tithrak Mang" mantle be a blanket term thrown at survivors of the event in WC2?)
     

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