Is Blair's arrival to the Tiger's Claw in the movie really his first time?

Master Katarn

Rear Admiral
I was wondering about this for some time. I know it has generally been established here in the boards that the movie takes place between the first and second episodes of the Academy cartoon. The premise is that Blair is a 2nd Lieutenant/cadet. However, this timeframe has the cartoon coinciding with WC1, in which Blair usually is promoted from 2nd lieutenant after enyo 2. He would be a captain or major by the last episode in the cartoon, and I find it hard to believe that Tolwyn would still call him cadet, or that Blair is still in a flight school. Also, the Tiger's Claw in WC1 is in Vega sector, while the impression I get in the cartoon is that the carrier goes to many sectors (I could be wrong on this though).

My main question is: Is it possible that the cartoon takes place in 2653 after Blair graduates from the Academy, and that Blair is transferred off the Tiger's Claw after the flight school training in the cartoon? He returns in 2654 for the movie and then the game. I saw the movie, and there is nothing definitely saying (that I saw) that Blair and Maniac have never been on the Tiger's Claw before. There are a few lines referring to "new surroundings," but this could be attributed to a complete crew roster change, carrier refit, new ships, etc. Thanks, and this is a great site!
 

Delance

Victory, you say?
The answer is quite simple. Blair's first visit to the Tiger's Claw happens when he visits the Tiger's Claw for the first time.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Is Blair's arrival to the Tiger's Claw in the movie really his first time?
I was wondering about this for some time. I know it has generally been established here in the boards that the movie takes place between the first and second episodes of the Academy cartoon. The premise is that Blair is a 2nd Lieutenant/cadet. However, this timeframe has the cartoon coinciding with WC1, in which Blair usually is promoted from 2nd lieutenant after enyo 2. He would be a captain or major by the last episode in the cartoon, and I find it hard to believe that Tolwyn would still call him cadet, or that Blair is still in a flight school. Also, the Tiger's Claw in WC1 is in Vega sector, while the impression I get in the cartoon is that the carrier goes to many sectors (I could be wrong on this though).

My main question is: Is it possible that the cartoon takes place in 2653 after Blair graduates from the Academy, and that Blair is transferred off the Tiger's Claw after the flight school training in the cartoon? He returns in 2654 for the movie and then the game. I saw the movie, and there is nothing definitely saying (that I saw) that Blair and Maniac have never been on the Tiger's Claw before. There are a few lines referring to "new surroundings," but this could be attributed to a complete crew roster change, carrier refit, new ships, etc. Thanks, and this is a great site!

Well, here's some rantings an an attempt to get a discussion going. Please add facts and work things in as best you can figure them.

I think the first thing we have to do is throw out the 'promoted quickly' aspect. All we ultimately know is that Blair makes it to Colonel two years later. Certainly you are correct in pointing out that Blair can become a Major in a month if you play through the game perfectly... but we also know that the official history doesn't match a perfect playing of the game: the Tiger's Claw spends time in the losing scenarios, Blair sometimes fails missions, some are actually flown by other pilots, etc. The bar the game sets for promotions has a random element to it, too, so it's impossible to say 'once he has this many medal points, he'll be this rank' (in this way it is similar to the randomly generated dates for missions - we can't use them because they're always different and because they rarely match up with various later-established official dates). In fact, the Heart of the Tiger novelization goes so far as to say that Blair was still a "junior lieutenant" when Ralgha defected in 2655.

The first question is, then, when did Blair graduate from the Academy and when did he finish Flight School? The Kilrathi Saga 'scrap book' is titled "Terran Confederation Naval Space Academy 201st Class - Class of 2653". The indication would be that he graduated from the Academy in 2653. This is significantly supported by the Terran Confederation Handbook, which would move that more specifically to 'early 2653'. Blair is interviewed by a psychologist reporting to Tolwyn on 2653.084, .092 and .099 at Sirius. He seems to spend the whole year there -- his "CSF FLight School Final Evaluation" says "... Lt. Christopher Blair has graduated Flight Pilot training with Distinction, as a member of the Q1 class of 2654, and has been assigned to...".

This particular document is of further interest to your question because it is the formal reccomendation that Blair (and Maniac) be assigned to the Tiger's Claw. It is, in fact, written specifically as a reaction to the events of Red and Blue. Quote: "... during a routine training flight they surprised and destroyed a Kilrathi blockade-runner ... it is because of this remarkable achievement that I reccommended Blair and Marshall be assigned to gether for their first combat tour." Maj. Gonsalas is reccomending that they be assigned to the Tiger's Claw because of what they did in the first episode of the show. If they'd already served on the Tiger's Claw, achieved much greater glory and so forth it would be neither their first combat tour nor would the events of that first episode stand as a remarkable achievement.

The other oft-discussed aspect is that 'Wing Commander Academy' is, per the show's press kit's glossary, a proper noun. Blair, Maniac, Payback, etc. are actually attending a command school called the 'Wing Commander Academy', which is distinct from TCNSA on Hilthros. Note that they must have graduated from the TCSNA by the time of Academy... since they *are* Second Lieutenants on the show (their door plaques read '2nd Lt. So-and-So'). With that in mind, I think it's easy to write off Tolwyn's referring to them as cadets -- it's simply the protocal for the command program he's teaching them (I imagine the actual military has similar command schools for promising young officers).

Now, all of that is the common read, based on an intentional amount of synergy between Academy and the movie. Unfortunately, there's more to it that we generally don't take into account... so lets take the opportunity to do some of that now. Off hand:

* Claw Marks says that Maniac is "one of the highest-rated Academy graduates of the '54 class".

* The movie novelization says this of Blair: "After graduating from the Terran Confederation Space Naval Academy on Hilthros just a month earlier..."

* The Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide says of Maniac (and LaFong) that "...that was my final mission from the Formidable. Soon afterward, the academy trainees all recieved their commissions a 2nd Lieutenants and permanent assignments. Maniac and I would transfer to the Tiger's Claw in a few days while the other five trainees would remain with the destroyer."

* The Wing Commander Prophecy Official Guide says that Blair was a member of the '2650 plebe class' at the Academy.

So, lets tie up all this (others are certainly encouraged to find similar references to work into this) using a lucky fact from the original guide.

A lot of people are confused about exactly what the Academy program entails. In Action Stations we see the 'Terran Confederation Service Academy at Houston', from which Tolwyn graduated in 2634 after a clearly defined five year program. A lot of people bring that up, so I'm citing it specifically to avoid having to deal with it again: the Terran Confederation Service Academy at Houston is not the same thing as the Terran Confederation Naval Space Academy at Hilthros.

When Blair and Maniac join the Academy in 2650 it would have been (at least) a four year program. They're greeted by "Midshipman, Third Class Tanaka" (ooh, cameo) which of course indicates that they're part of (at least) the Fourth Class. At this point they should be members of the Class of 2654.

There's a huge change after their first year, though: "Starting with our class, summer leave no longer existed. Students left the academy after two years to spend a year in on-the-job-training on a TCSN ship. Then they were sent to permanent assignments..." Note that this refers to the OJT program Blair attended on the TCS Formidable, not the events of Wing Commander Academy.

... which means that they should have had standard classes at Hilthros from 2650-2652 followed by OJT on the Formidable from 2652-2653. They would have recieved their comissions at this point (cited above) and then attended Flight School at Sirius from 2653-2654 before heading to the Tiger's Claw. (Note that it's LaFong and Maniac who already know they're assigned to the Tiger's Claw -- not Blair... of course, that's a confusing argument any day). Another worthwhile fact is that there was no graduation ceremony for the 201st Class... they just went off to serve. In that context, perhaps, the Claw Marks bio makes a bit more sense (or even regardless, since Maniac didn't come into service until 54 because of flight school anyway...). That also somewhat deflates Blair's graduated 'just last month' comment -- since he hadn't returned to Hilthros until then (sometime after OJT), he probably hadn't recieved his diploma.

Now, there's still some issues... chief among them in my mind is one that's reverse to what both of us are saying -- in the movie novel Blair claims to Paladin he's never met Admiral Tolwyn.

At the same time, we know he was lectured by Tolwyn in Red & Blue. That said, I would argue that Blair has some specific definition of 'met'... because such a claim seems to be internally invalid, too, since they have a discussion at the start of the movie (and novel). If he doesn't count that then presumably he simply doesn't count being dressed down on Sirius either. (... and with that, this oddity can be used to suggest that Academy *hasn't* happened -- since he doesn't really know Tolwyn yet...)
 

Master Katarn

Rear Admiral
Thanks for the replies! I don't have any of the novels or game guides on hand, just the games, movie, and cartoon. I'm going to have to read that generous explanation a few times though, to get it all :0. The people here really do their research!
 

Master Katarn

Rear Admiral
Without stuff like the Confederation handbook and novels, I don't think I'm in much of a position to press either point. I have read on an earlier post of Tolwyn's shifting Commodore/Admiral ranks explained off as Commodore being a type of Admiral. Your quote from Maj. Gonsalas does seem to clinch the cartoon being 2654. My only possible counter could be that this is another incident he is referring to (not the "Red & Blue" one), and that an arrogant Gonsalas doesn't count any of the "Wing Commander Academy" exploits as actual combat duty because it's still a training program. Blair's Sirius/cartoon stuff would all wrap up by 2654 then, maybe? It's a stretch, and the evidence does seem to point to your timeline here. Like I said, I unfortunately don't have all the resources to look up.

Another thing I noticed from "Red and Blue" was that, on seeing Tolwyn, Bowman exclaims, "Captain of the Tiger's Claw!" Is this a past position Tolwyn held?--as Sansky would be Captain the day immediately following in the movie (going by your timeline) and Tolwyn seems to be in combat in the movie (the day after complaining he's left out in "Red and Blue"). I'd love clarification on this if possible. Sorry if this stuff has been discussed before, I've looked up all the old threads I could find on this.

edit: Forget the Tolwyn part, I read an old post confirming his command of the Tiger's Claw circa 2649
 

Manic

Rear Admiral
In WC2... or rather, BEFORE WC2... Blair was demoted. I don't clearly recall from what rank he was busted down, but I'm fairly sure he was higher than a captain.
 

Master Katarn

Rear Admiral
So Blair was higher than a captain by 2656, yet the Heart of the Tiger novelization implies that he was a j.g. lieutenant in 2655. Either way, at some point Blair must have been rapidly promoted...
 

Master Katarn

Rear Admiral
LOAF's post (above) and other evidence points to the cartoon, despite the name, not being Blair's academy training, but a different flight school of some sort.
 

Master Katarn

Rear Admiral
Blair may state that he's never met Tolwyn in the Wing Commander novel, but Blair has been inconsistent about these things. One thing I noticed in Secret Missions 2 was that Blair states he has never met a non-human before. This is definitely contradicted by the Wing Commander Acadmey cartoon, in which he meets quite a few non-humans.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Sorry, I keep getting distracted from this thread. It's a sad commentary on my state that I'm quicker to yell at Battlestar Galactica fans than I am to engage in actual Wing Commander discourse.

Without stuff like the Confederation handbook and novels, I don't think I'm in much of a position to press either point. I have read on an earlier post of Tolwyn's shifting Commodore/Admiral ranks explained off as Commodore being a type of Admiral. Your quote from Maj. Gonsalas does seem to clinch the cartoon being 2654. My only possible counter could be that this is another incident he is referring to (not the "Red & Blue" one), and that an arrogant Gonsalas doesn't count any of the "Wing Commander Academy" exploits as actual combat duty because it's still a training program. Blair's Sirius/cartoon stuff would all wrap up by 2654 then, maybe? It's a stretch, and the evidence does seem to point to your timeline here. Like I said, I unfortunately don't have all the resources to look up.

I guess what I'd really need would be a compelling reason to move the series earlier before I wanted to think about an explanation like that (not counting the Academy exploits as combat duty). As it is, I usually find myself going the other way, trying to think of some excuse to move the show (or at least an episode or so) later... because the original press material for the series gives the date as *2655*!

Another thing I noticed from "Red and Blue" was that, on seeing Tolwyn, Bowman exclaims, "Captain of the Tiger's Claw!" Is this a past position Tolwyn held?--as Sansky would be Captain the day immediately following in the movie (going by your timeline) and Tolwyn seems to be in combat in the movie (the day after complaining he's left out in "Red and Blue"). I'd love clarification on this if possible. Sorry if this stuff has been discussed before, I've looked up all the old threads I could find on this.

edit: Forget the Tolwyn part, I read an old post confirming his command of the Tiger's Claw circa 2649

I wouldn't forget it entirely -- as far as I can recall, giving Tolwyn an earlier command of the Tiger's Claw is simply to satisfy this reference.

So Blair was higher than a captain by 2656, yet the Heart of the Tiger novelization implies that he was a j.g. lieutenant in 2655. Either way, at some point Blair must have been rapidly promoted...

It could be using junior as an adjective (ie, to mean young or inexperienced) rather than to define a specific type of Lieutenant. That is to say, he could be a 1st Lt. when Crusade starts -- which would be only one grade away from Captain.

As for his rank a year later, the Kilrathi Saga manual has a small clipped article about Blair's 2656 arrest which refers to him as, of all things, a Lieutenant Commander. That's the Naval equivalent of a Major (O4).

There's over four months between Ralgha's defection (2655.271) and the destruction of the Tiger's Claw (2656.033)... it's certainly possible for Blair to be promoted twice in that time.

LOAF's post (above) and other evidence points to the cartoon, despite the name, not being Blair's academy training, but a different flight school of some sort.

That's correct, the press kit glossary treats it as a proper noun.

For example:

"Tiger's Claw, n. -- the aircraft [carrier] holding the Wing Commander Academy flight crew."

and

"Kilrathi, n. -- the ruthless, rigidly structed, cat-like society that wreaks havoc on the whole universe, and particularly the Wing Commander Academy."
 

Master Katarn

Rear Admiral
I also saw the press release stating 2655 as the date for the cartoon, which obviously can't be right. However, part of my preference for a 2653 cartoon date is the fact that the same press release states 'the stories lay out a "prequel" to the games'. Either way, the 2655 date has to be written off as a typo (the debate is 2653/2654). I'm not sure having the majority of the cartoon run concurrently with WC1 (2654) makes it a prequel anymore, but that's just my opinion. I'm also fairly sure that the cartoon producers originally intended it to take place completely before the games, but that's just my best guess. (I felt if they meant it to take place with WC1, they'd show Knight or someone else at least occasionally to offer sage advice or something).
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I also saw the press release stating 2655 as the date for the cartoon, which obviously can't be right. However, part of my preference for a 2653 cartoon date is the fact that the same press release states 'the stories lay out a "prequel" to the games'. Either way, the 2655 date has to be written off as a typo (the debate is 2653/2654). I'm not sure having the majority of the cartoon run concurrently with WC1 (2654) makes it a prequel anymore, but that's just my opinion. I'm also fairly sure that the producers intended it to take place completely before the games, but that's just my best guess.

Yeah... but from the rest of the language, it's clear that they mean a prequel to the 'FMV' games (or even specifically WC4) -- the same press release says that it's a prequel which takes place "20 years" before the games.

Probably important to remember that EA sort of stepped away from directly including the original games in the continuity for a while during the period Academy came out -- the hope, in 1996, was that Wing Commander IV would represent the launch of a Star Trek style multimedia franchise that would grow from that point rather than from the pre-EA releases. (I think the people who made the show itself ended up incorporating a lot more from the earlier games than the people promoting it ever intended for them to...)
 

Master Katarn

Rear Admiral
Another reason I felt an earlier date was appropriate was that the producers' intentions for more than one season would not jive with all that goes on in WC1 (but I guess that's moot now, with only one season in place.) It may be true that EA sort of ignored WC1/2 though.

The press release does state 20 years before the game's origin (singular, so it could mean any game). This is probably a trivial point to debate about though :p

I'm not sure what you meant with Tolwyn being "given" a command in 2649 of the Tiger's Claw. Is it a fan invention? In any case, I find it hard to see he'd go back to overseeing cadets (which he seemed to dislike in "Red and Blue") after the events of the movie. The movie seemed to show him have some clout, at odds with the Commodore training students in the cartoon. (He couldn't even get proper troops to attack the Kilrathi in the last cartoon episode).

edit: Another thing, Paladin is also a Commodore in the movie. Going by your timeline, he and Tolwyn would be the same rank, yet it seems Tolwyn has a higher status than him.

Also, the Maniac/Blair relationship seems to flow better for me with an earlier cartoon date. In the cartoon, then movie, Maniac and Blair are good friends. In WC1, Blair starts hanging with "cooler" pilots like Paladin and Spirit. By SM1, he seems almost contemptuous of Maniac, and there is no indication of him helping his old friend through his nervous breakdown in the game. The cartoon ending just before SM1 would sort of break this flow, but of course it's not hard evidence.

I'm having a really fun WC debate! :)
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Another reason I felt an earlier date was appropriate was that the producers' intentions for more than one season would not jive with all that goes on in WC1 (but I guess that's moot now, with only one season in place.) It may be true that EA sort of ignored WC1/2 though.

The idea that it was 'replacing' WC1 and 2 would probably have become more apparent if they'd done more episodes -- just look at how they were setting up to replace the Hobbes' storyline.

The press release does state 20 years before the game's origin (singular, so it could mean any game). This is probably a trivial point to debate about though

Well, not entirely... you could use it to support your argument: twenty years before Wing Commander IV is exactly 2653 (... of course, that ignores that they hadn't actually decided on 2673 being the date for WCIV in 1996... and so on in circles, I suppose).

I'm not sure what you meant with Tolwyn being "given" a command in 2649 of the Tiger's Claw. Is it a fan invention? In any case, I find it hard to see he'd go back to overseeing cadets (which he seemed to dislike in "Red and Blue") after the events of the movie. The movie seemed to show him have some clout, at odds with the Commodore training students in the cartoon. (He couldn't even get proper troops to attack the Kilrathi in the last cartoon episode).

Oh, I just mean the idea that he would have commanded the carrier at some point before WC1 comes from Red and Blue and nowhere else.

The story I see making the most sense, from how he's treated in Academy and from the reference to the refit, would be that he commanded the ship at Custer's Carnival (in 2649). It's an interesting theory, because it seems to be what made the Tiger's Claw so celebrated... and there needs to be some event in the late 2640s that elevates Tolwyn to a flag rank, too.

edit: Another thing, Paladin is also a Commodore in the movie. Going by your timeline, he and Tolwyn would be the same rank, yet it seems Tolwyn has a higher status than him.

Rank isn't the sole deciding factor in the chain of command -- position is much more important. Tolwyn occupies a position above Paladin, regardless of rank (directly above, in fact, since Paladin reports to Tolwyn).

Also, the Maniac/Blair relationship seems to flow better for me with an earlier cartoon date. In the cartoon, then movie, Maniac and Blair are good friends. In WC1, Blair starts hanging with "cooler" pilots like Paladin and Spirit. By SM1, he seems almost contemptuous of Maniac, and there is no indication of him helping his old friend through his nervous breakdown in the game. The cartoon ending just before SM1 would sort of break this flow, but of course it's not hard evidence.

I'm not sure how much cooler Spirit is than Maniac :) I would argue that Maniac simply continues to distance himself from everyone else... and that we even see it in Academy -- when Maniac is the enemy of the rest of the Tiger's Claw pilots in Invisible Enemy, Blair turns against him too (until he's in the same position). When Maniac starts to go crazy in The Secret Missions, the same thing happens...
 

NinjaLA

Alex Von T.
Maniac also has amnesia. In Wing Commander I he introduces himself to Blair as if they have never met in his first talking head role :p
 
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