Why Computer games don't make good movies

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Bandit LOAF said:
While I have little interest in the mechanics of the religion, the idea of the Pilgrim War interests me a lot.
Well, all the Pilgrim stuff is neat, it adds a great deal of information about what had been going on in the huge time space between now and 2634. I do wish that the Pilgrim war had been placed two or three decades earlier, though. That would have made it a bit harder to have a story about how everyone hates Blair because he's half-Pilgrim... but it sure would have removed a lot of the pain that emerges when trying to integrate the Confederation from Action Stations with the Confederation from the Confed Handbook :).
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
It's not just "fast calculating" as you described it.
The pilgim heritage brings religious and supernatural aspects to wing commander that never were mentioned in the past of the games.

No, it doesn't. If the movie has a single lesson to bestow, it is that Blair's ability is specifically *not* supernatural. As the line says, "It's not faith, it's genetics."

Blair can calculate a jump because he has a natural ability to do so, not because he believes in any sort of religion. That's the key to the movie.

In a broader WC-historical sense, the religion was formed around the ability and not vice versa. (TCH, of course, goes into detail, but even the movie talks about this in its exposition -- the Pilgrims believed they were gods because they found they had this ability, not the other way around.)

You're interpretation of blair as a very talented young guy goes false. You're consideration of blair been chosen for tolwyns ge programm is the consideration of a hardcore wc fan (and even therefor its very, very weak), but a "normal" wing commander player or a normal movie watcher won't even think of such a consideration.
For him, it is what you said: basic, solid story telling

Actually, and Chris or Captain Johnny can corroborate this, this theory was originally put forth by a man whose experience with Wing Commander doesn't go beyond having seen the premiere of the movie and an occasional scene of Wing Commander IV. We all found it rather questionable at the time, though it has certainly grown on me.

(Edit: of course, as to the 'weakness' of my own thoughts, I must note that we're told that Blair had been identified as a GE template at the Academy -- there must be some reason for this.)

And this basic and solid would i describe as uninspired and poor story telling.

Then I would argue that your understanding of story is limited, or fully overshadowed by a pre-existing distaste for the movie.
 

Aplha 1-1

Spaceman
Let me get this straight...
Young Chris has a father who turned traitor and 'mysterious space powers' and when he's just a rookie e saves the world from certain doom.
Then he goes on to get the girl, go on a dangerous mission into enemy territory and single-handedly win the day again by flying down a trench and using only 1 bomb?
I think the whole Pilgrim thing was just a way to explain why Mark Hamil was in the games :p

All things considered the story itself wasn't all that bad, just all the little details that really needed no changing at all that grinded at me

CS Tiger Claw - was this done by the dudes who make model kits in japan? TCS Tiger's Claw.

Pilgrims - Interesting to see human religion 600 years from now: just drop all the mystical powers crap. Also if theres gonna be a Pilgrim sub-plot either leave it in or completely cut it, don't make the plot any more hazey.

Kilrathi - They are supposed to be feline and therefor FURRY. The nieghbourhood tom looks more fearsome than those "furless freaks!"

Paladin - The accent was bearable, but he should be a COLONEL. Not a spy just yet.

Not enough Hunter - The one character they didn't screw around with. Seen for a few seconds.

Not enough Towlyn or Sansky - Decent actors that really needed more time on screen.

By now I realise this argument has been debated again and again. You guys liked the movie, I didn't think it was so hot. Just rationalising the view from this side of the fence.
 

Edfilho

Cry some more!
LOAF, I agree with the reasons you pointed for the modifications. I agree that they needed more conflict. I agree with the casting... I just don't feel that the pilgrim stuff was the best choice.

They could have figured a better way to implement this. Blair could have made a mistake after or during academy (like maniac did later with the drayman) or something. We also get the impression that before the K-War, confed had been in peace for a long time (mostly from the books). It is strange to find out that it is not the case.

Maybe death's suggestion of pushing the pilgrim war back (i'd make it a 100 years earlier).

Therefore, even though changes and new material were indeed necessary, I believe that the changes and new material actually implemented weren't really sucessful, given that the movie unfortunately failed to capture positive reactions from hardcore and casual fans and also the regular movie goers.

Unlike, for instance, the LOTR trilogy (though riddled with problems) and the Xmen movies (which do change a hell lotta things in a 30+ year continuity, while pleasing both old time fans and regular people).


BTW, the article is stupid... Resident Evil games have plenty of story. Some of those stories suck, some are pretty decent. RE4 could be made into a decent movie, given that it is NOT based on "zombie-through-the-window" cheap scares. And it has a very cinematic presentation. Of course, adaptations would be necessary.
 

Raider78

Spaceman
Edfilho said:
Therefore, even though changes and new material were indeed necessary, I believe that the changes and new material actually implemented weren't really sucessful, given that the movie unfortunately failed to capture positive reactions from hardcore and casual fans and also the regular movie goers.

Unlike, for instance, the LOTR trilogy (though riddled with problems) and the Xmen movies (which do change a hell lotta things in a 30+ year continuity, while pleasing both old time fans and regular people).

Good point!
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Let me get this straight...
Young Chris has a father who turned traitor and 'mysterious space powers' and when he's just a rookie e saves the world from certain doom.
Then he goes on to get the girl, go on a dangerous mission into enemy territory and single-handedly win the day again by flying down a trench and using only 1 bomb?
I think the whole Pilgrim thing was just a way to explain why Mark Hamil was in the games

You are correct, you do need help getting this straight. :)

Blair's father wasn't a traitor; he was a loyal Confederation officer -- a war hero, even.

The public treated him as a traitor, though, when it came out that he died trying to rescue his wife, a McDanielist, at Peron..

(Seriously, though, Wing Commander was Star Wars... in Space! long before the movie was a glint in Chris Roberts' eye.)

CS Tiger Claw - was this done by the dudes who make model kits in japan? TCS Tiger's Claw.

The movie's 3D ships were done at Digital Anvil, by a team which included many of the same former Origin artists who worked on the games.

Pilgrims - Interesting to see human religion 600 years from now: just drop all the mystical powers crap. Also if theres gonna be a Pilgrim sub-plot either leave it in or completely cut it, don't make the plot any more hazey.

Kilrathi - They are supposed to be feline and therefor FURRY. The nieghbourhood tom looks more fearsome than those "furless freaks!"

I don't especially like the Kilrathi in the movie, but I do have two notes:

* I think Roberts made the right choice in *not* going with a Kzinrathi. He looked at the vastly different attempts in Wing Commander III and Wing Commander IV and correctly realized that a realistic looking 'fur' Kilrathi wasn't reasonable at the present time.

* I feel that the movie did a good job of emulating the original game in terms of how and how much you saw the Kilrathi. You get one or two 'green' scenes and a flash or two of them in combat... and that's it. That's exactly what the original Wing Commander tried to do with the Kilrathi, and the movie deserves credit for following that.

Paladin - The accent was bearable, but he should be a COLONEL. Not a spy just yet.

Paladin in the original game was a Major.

Later sources have confirmed that he was involved with Special Operations before being given the Bonnie Heather in Secret Missions 2. (Even without the likes of the WC4 novel to mention this, one would have to assume it -- the military's elite covert operatives unit is unlikely to hand out advanced spy ships and independant operating orders to anyone who feels like wanting one.)

They could have figured a better way to implement this. Blair could have made a mistake after or during academy (like maniac did later with the drayman) or something. We also get the impression that before the K-War, confed had been in peace for a long time (mostly from the books). It is strange to find out that it is not the case.

People would then complain that it was contradicting the existing continuity, though, since Blair's days at the Academy *have* been detailed -- the religion of his parents has not.

Second: no, we don't. You are citing a single line in Action Stations which claims that the Confederation hasn't fought any *aliens*. This line is sandwhiched between multiple accounts of Banbridge and Turner fighting other humans while in the marines. To rag on this point you have to pretend that portions of the very book you're talking about exist (which, mind you, they actually didn't when the movie was written and filmed -- Action Stations was published in 1998.)
 

Dahan

Rear Admiral
Paladin in the original game was a Major.

Later sources have confirmed that he was involved with Special Operations before being given the Bonnie Heather in Secret Missions 2. (Even without the likes of the WC4 novel to mention this, one would have to assume it -- the military's elite covert operatives unit is unlikely to hand out advanced spy ships and independant operating orders to anyone who feels like wanting one.)

Paladin was a Major in Wing Commander 1 on board the TCS Tiger's Claw prior to be on board the Bonnie Heather

In Wing Commander 2 we don't exactly hear what he was doing until in the secret missions it was later revealed that he was full Colonel in Covert Ops division.

By Wing Commander 3 he made to General, although Loaf and I discussed which final Flag Rank he achieved we both agreed that he was a General and left at that.

So to answerr the other question. Paladin was a Colonel later on in the years that followed
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
In Wing Commander 2 we don't exactly hear what he was doing until in the secret missions it was later revealed that he was full Colonel in Covert Ops division.

Special Ops. He served with Special Ops and then went on to be in charge of Covert Ops -- from the WCSO disks, it seems that Special Ops is more of a broad 'dream team' sort of a group charged with doing anything and everything.
 

Dahan

Rear Admiral
OK I think I got those two a bit mixed up with Covert and Special Ops, but Taggart was a full Colonel during that time. Is that right??
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Bandit LOAF said:
(Seriously, though, Wing Commander was Star Wars... in Space! long before the movie was a glint in Chris Roberts' eye.)
On that note, I've seen one or two articles that suggested either Roberts or Garriott originally wanted to base the game on a Star Wars license. Neither of the articles was something I would consider credible, though - would you happen know if there's any truth to this?

Second: no, we don't. You are citing a single line in Action Stations which claims that the Confederation hasn't fought any *aliens*. This line is sandwhiched between multiple accounts of Banbridge and Turner fighting other humans while in the marines. To rag on this point you have to pretend that portions of the very book you're talking about exist (which, mind you, they actually didn't when the movie was written and filmed -- Action Stations was published in 1998.)
Eh, while I'm far more interested in working out how Action Stations can be combined with the movie rather than with yelling about how the movie is bad because it's different to Action Stations, I must nonetheless point out that you're stretching things a bit here.

Firstly, Action Stations doesn't mention aliens - it says outright that there hasn't been any war for over a century (p.18). Secondly, even if it had only referred to alien wars, the overall meaning of the passage is pretty specific. Senator Jamison More is questioning why Confed needs to spend money on a fleet that has nothing to do - that really doesn't mesh that well with a Confederation that has just built the Grand Fleet to take on the Pilgrim Alliance. The great huge irony here is that even as Jamison More speaks his piece, the Confed Grand Fleet is fighting against the Pilgrims. It hasn't just finished fighting - it is fighting, and the war is not yet anywhere near won. Even more ironic is the fact that the Confederation has effectively been engaged in a cold war against the Pilgrims since the very moment it first tried to colonise the universe - so why talk about how safe it is and how we can cut fleet expenditures?

Also, there's the matter of Tolwyn. Apparently, Ensign Tolwyn, at the moment when he sinks his career by speaking out against Senator More, is already a Rear Admiral (having earned his first star for his role in designing the Grand Fleet). It is remarkable that nobody has heard of this young man... who has already been awarded the Conroy Medal and a Senatorial Commendation for his work designing software controlling Grand Fleet manoeuvres. Under these circumstances, it's tempting to suggest that the Tolwyn from the movie is different than the one from the games.

Again, I'm not saying this to try to prove how the movie doesn't fit with the games - I grew out of that phase many years ago ;). What I am interested in is how this can be explained.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
On that note, I've seen one or two articles that suggested either Roberts or Garriott originally wanted to base the game on a Star Wars license. Neither of the articles was something I would consider credible, though - would you happen know if there's any truth to this?

I have heard this, but I think it still qualifies as an urban legend -- because no one has been able to tell me that it's true, just that it's something they heard about while working at Origin. It doesn't fit everything I know about how Wing Commander was developed, which included the rough concept for the storyline with the initial proposal.

I'm somwehat suspicious of the 'Star Wars' story because it didn't appear until there was sort of a formal competition between X-Wing and Wing Commander. It's essentially an anecdote which respons to a situation no one had actually imagined happening in 1989.

Garriott has a number of these 'we showed them!' stories assosciated with him... but I'm not sure that any of them are actually true. There's another one about how he called off SNES development because Nintendo was angry that Origin was developing ports of games for the Genesis... and as often as it gets repeated, no one ever points out that Origin *did* continue to develop for the SNES until long after the system was obsolete.

Now, it certainly could have been true - but if it is, it's probably a lot less minor than it seems. More akin to Origin demo'ing the in-developing Wing Commander for Lucasarts after it was already working and casually inquiring about the Star Wars license than Origin setting out to do anything but develop a game that captures the sense of Star Wars.

(A whole slew of 'haha, Origin is dumb' stories also fit into this catergory. One common claim among former employees is that Origin turned down the rights to publish Myst. This just doesn't make sense, since Origin wasn't a *publisher* in 1993... and Cyan wasn't some out-of-nowhere development house that needed to license the Origin name for themselves.)

Eh, while I'm far more interested in working out how Action Stations can be combined with the movie rather than with yelling about how the movie is bad because it's different to Action Stations, I must nonetheless point out that you're stretching things a bit here.

Firstly, Action Stations doesn't mention aliens - it says outright that there hasn't been any war for over a century (p.18). Secondly, even if it had only referred to alien wars, the overall meaning of the passage is pretty specific. Senator Jamison More is questioning why Confed needs to spend money on a fleet that has nothing to do - that really doesn't mesh that well with a Confederation that has just built the Grand Fleet to take on the Pilgrim Alliance. The great huge irony here is that even as Jamison More speaks his piece, the Confed Grand Fleet is fighting against the Pilgrims. It hasn't just finished fighting - it is fighting, and the war is not yet anywhere near won. Even more ironic is the fact that the Confederation has effectively been engaged in a cold war against the Pilgrims since the very moment it first tried to colonise the universe - so why talk about how safe it is and how we can cut fleet expenditures?

Allright, I think this is probably a good discussion to have at this point.

What I was trying to say was that Action Stations clearly divides between whole scale war and minor actions, because we see the latter presented in the novel - you're right that I haven't actually looked at the wording in a long time.

Lets think about scale, though.

Consider Orange Five, the 'limited war' ("phony war", at one point in the book) that everyone in Action Stations shrugs off of being unimportant. It doesn't involve putting the fleet on alert, the "peace party" politicians don't consider it a war (all the claims characters in the book make about the need for the fleet are said either while it is going on or with the assumption that it is going to happen). In nine days (.186 to .195) of this plan, the Confederation captures "half a dozen bases and four systems"

Also from Action Stations, speaking to the subject of scale: the size of the military action alluded to earlier... terrorists threatening to destroy an entire colony. Five years earlier that same Confederation lost an entire colony, Fawcett's World, to the Kilrathi without ever even knowing it.

Now, compare this to the Pilgrim War -- four Kilrathi planets in the Facin Sector is a quarter the size of the entire Pilgrim Alliance! It's only one fewer planet in nine days than the Confederation took in five months of fighting the Pilgrim Alliance. Furthermore, at the time Action Stations begins, this fighting is over and has been for over two months. From 2634.078 (before Action Stations starts) to 2634.302 (after Action Stations ends) consists of the fleet blockading a single planet (Peron, in the Luyten System).

Also note that the animosity towards Pilgrims doesn't come from the actual fighting - once the Confederation set its mind to taking out the Pilgrim Alliance, they seem to have done so with reletive ease. The reason the Pilgrims are so loathed is because of their early attacks - slave labor and mass executions on Celeste and "more remote colonies". I can't help but liken these incidents more to the terrorists threatening to destroy a planet or the loss of an entire colony ship because it was so remote than I can to galactic warfare on the scale of the Terran/Kilrathi conflict.

It also seems important to note that the Confederation military doesn't lose any battles in this war. The attack on Port of Titan is repelled -- and it doesn't even result in the declaration of war. The Confederation fleet goes on to march through the Pilgrim colonies and demand a surrender, once sufficiently provoked. The Pilgrim Alliance expected to fight a full scale war, but found the Confederation to be its military superiors. The present fleet, to the likes of Senator More, is completely adequate for its task - it's problem is that its leadership is more interested in building toys (a pair of Grand Fleets) than serving a purpose defending Celeste and the other remote olonies attacked by Pilgrims. This is apparently a political point of debate, as it shows up in the Tolwyn interview.

Also, there's the matter of Tolwyn. Apparently, Ensign Tolwyn, at the moment when he sinks his career by speaking out against Senator More, is already a Rear Admiral (having earned his first star for his role in designing the Grand Fleet). It is remarkable that nobody has heard of this young man... who has already been awarded the Conroy Medal and a Senatorial Commendation for his work designing software controlling Grand Fleet manoeuvres. Under these circumstances, it's tempting to suggest that the Tolwyn from the movie is different than the one from the games.

Again, I'm not saying this to try to prove how the movie doesn't fit with the games - I grew out of that phase many years ago . What I am interested in is how this can be explained.

The relevant passage: "He earned his first star before his fortieth birthday, as en engineer building the first Grand Fleet in the Pilgrim war. A few months alter, he gave up the star to take command of his first battle-ship, as part of the Second Grand Fleet."

I think the key here is that the handbook is particularly vauge about Tolwyn. He wasn't responsible for "designing the Grand Fleet", he served "as an engineer building the first Grand Fleet in the Pilgrim war". Chris Reid works at Boeing, he didn't design the 777.

The idea of his being a "Rear Admiral" isn't stated, either - instead we have the vauge 'earned his first star'. Is that about promotion (it is, I have trouble making sense of it -- he demoted himself so he could command a ship? That's like drinking to stay sober.), or is it about his reputation (his 'star is rising', and he gave up on engineering to be a fighting officer?)... or, in the unique context of Wing Commander, is it about a martial award of some sort? I don't think it's impossible that he (like Blair!) would have pursued an engineering degree at the academy, and then put that to use serving with Maj. Blair as a midshipman (in 2633).

(As for commanding a battleship in the Second Grand Fleet -- that much is easy, as the Second Grand Fleet is launched *after* Action Stations, a novel that ends with Tolwyn's being made a line commander...)

I did some work on a Tolwyn bio quite a while ago, combining the various notes about his history into a coherent history. It's nowhere near done, but I'll put up what I wrote for your consideration (as long as you realize that I haven't even thought about it in months -- if there's interest I'll try to continue it.): https://www.wcnews.com/loaf/tolwynbio.doc

A note for those observing this conversation: While the general desire is to claim that the movie 'contradicted' Action Stations, consider several points. - Action Stations is a licensed novel while the Wing Commander movie was written and directed by the creator of the series. - Action Stations was published after the movie was written and filmed. - Action Stations is not a 'Wing Commander novel', it's a 'novel in Wing Commander' - the conceit of the book is that you're reading a book someone in the Wing Commander universe wrote. I personally don't believe any of these things matter in terms of deciding continuity... but if you're preparing to complain about the movie, keep these facts in mind first.
 
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Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Bandit LOAF said:
Also note that the animosity towards Pilgrims doesn't come from the actual fighting - once the Confederation set its mind to taking out the Pilgrim Alliance, they seem to have done so with reletive ease. It also seems important to note that the Confederation military doesn't lose any battles in this war. The attack on Port of Titan is repelled -- and it doesn't even result in the declaration of war.
Ok, yeah - I see your point about scale. I'm still not sure if it's that simple, though. The Confederation did spend a pretty significant amount of time and effort building the first Grand Fleet to take on the Pilgrims. Was this merely done so that they wouldn't need to shift their forces from elsewhere (since by this time, contact with the Kilrathi had been established)?

Also - while it must be said that the presence of the Pilgrim threat at least goes some ways to justifying the existence of McAuliffe before the discovery of the Kilrathi, it leads us to pose another question. Just how exactly did Confed manage to build a huge base in the middle of Vega sector (which they had abandoned to the Pilgrims) without the Pilgrims noticing and intervening? Is it possible, perhaps, that McAuliffe was actually a Pilgrim base which Confed started using immediately after capturing it? This would make sense, I suppose, considering the presence of the Kilrathi...

The relevant passage: "He earned his first star before his fortieth birthday, as en engineer building the first Grand Fleet in the Pilgrim war. A few months alter, he gave up the star to take command of his first battle-ship, as part of the Second Grand Fleet."
Yeah, but in a different part of the book, it says that Commodore Tolwyn was chosen for the Grand Fleet design team - so, even if we assume that this first star refers to anything other than a promotion to R.Adm. (and it's really difficult to interpret it otherwise - this would really be the only context in which it would make sense for him to "give up" his star to be a fighting officer - since Admirals command fleets, not individual ships), we still know that he was a Commodore... at the time of his graduation.

The "before his fortieth birthday" bit is also significant. Yes, if Tolwyn was 21 in 2633 (as the DOB in your bio indicates), then this promotion certainly did occur before his fortieth birthday... only, it also occured before his thirtieth birthday, so it makes no sense at all to be talking about his fortieth birthday. Besides, it also brings up another question - we know the Kilrathi can rise to high officerial ranks in their teens... but we haven't heard that about humans. And yet, if he was to be a Commodore at the age of 21, he would have had to start serving awfully early.

I mean, we could argue that the rank of Commodore was given to him temporarily, as a kind of courtesy promotion - that here was this young genius they wanted to have working on the Grand Fleet, and they needed to give him a rank high enough to convey some authority. The only trouble with this is that according to the Confed Handbook bio, Tolwyn only earned his master's degree and doctorate after graduating at the top of his class, so he really didn't have the qualifications to be doing anything engineering-related before the graduation ceremony we see in Action Stations. So, at the time when he was working in the Grand Fleet design team, he didn't actually have any qualifications.

I did some work on a Tolwyn bio quite a while ago, combining the various notes about his history into a coherent history. It's nowhere near done, but I'll put up what I wrote for your consideration (as long as you realize that I haven't even thought about it in months -- if there's interest I'll try to continue it.): https://www.wcnews.com/loaf/tolwynbio.doc
Well, it definitely would be good to have the early part of his bio (up to WCII, I would say) filled out as much as possible, especially since this is where you've done the most work so far. Like I said, the way Action Stations and the movie-related materials match up remains (at least to me) a somewhat troublesome area - it definitely would be good to iron out once and for all the details of this timeframe.

Speaking of which, one other, related question. The Confed Handbook provides a different date for the declaration of war than the other sources... and indeed, there are two different dates inside the handbook itself (2641.009 on p. 10, and 2639.009 on p. 13). Given the nature of the handbook (as an online site in the WC universe), I'm inclined to simply assume that both dates are mistakes of the kind that plagues today's internet - especially since there's a tenuous, but semi-logical explanation for how this mistake was made (the war was declared after the Iason incident... and the Iason was attacked on two different dates, so somebody could have gotten them confused). It sure is easier than figuring out why Confed would declare war three times (...on top of the limited war mentioned in AS). What do you think?
 
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Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Ok, yeah - I see your point about scale. I'm still not sure if it's that simple, though. The Confederation did spend a pretty significant amount of time and effort building the first Grand Fleet to take on the Pilgrims. Was this merely done so that they wouldn't need to shift their forces from elsewhere (since by this time, contact with the Kilrathi had been established)?

The quote is "... Confed was concentrating its resources on assembling a massive invasion force in the Sol system." Did they build a fleet... or did they just spend time marshaling and organizing one that would be assured an easy victory?

Also - while it must be said that the presence of the Pilgrim threat at least goes some ways to justifying the existence of McAuliffe before the discovery of the Kilrathi, it leads us to pose another question. Just how exactly did Confed manage to build a huge base in the middle of Vega sector (which they had abandoned to the Pilgrims) without the Pilgrims noticing and intervening? Is it possible, perhaps, that McAuliffe was actually a Pilgrim base which Confed started using immediately after capturing it? This would make sense, I suppose, considering the presence of the Kilrathi...

I'd tend to stick with Action Stations' history for McAuliffe (though the Handbook does give exactly your way out, saying specifically that the Confederation took over Pilgrim basis.)

Yeah, but in a different part of the book, it says that Commodore Tolwyn was chosen for the Grand Fleet design team - so, even if we assume that this first star refers to anything other than a promotion to R.Adm. (and it's really difficult to interpret it otherwise - this would really be the only context in which it would make sense for him to "give up" his star to be a fighting officer - since Admirals command fleets, not individual ships), we still know that he was a Commodore... at the time of his graduation.

The easiest explanation is that article has been updated at some point from a 'modern' standpoint and refers to him as Commodore Tolwyn because that's what he is in 2654. An article about the President's flying F-103s will probably still refer to him as "President Bush".

Admirals do command individual ships, though - in real life and in Wing Commander... particularly Admiral Tolwyn. All the big carriers in Fleet Action, though, were nominally commanded by Rear Admirals.

Furthermore, 'one star' would be Commodore in a system that has that rank - Rear Admiral is two stars (it's the USN, which has dropped Commodore, which has Lower and Upper Rear Admirals). There's something internally inconsistent in the Handbook about the remark.

The "before his fortieth birthday" bit is also significant. Yes, if Tolwyn was 21 in 2633 (as the DOB in your bio indicates), then this promotion certainly did occur before his fortieth birthday... only, it also occured before his thirtieth birthday, so it makes no sense at all to be talking about his fortieth birthday. Besides, it also brings up another question - we know the Kilrathi can rise to high officerial ranks in their teens... but we haven't heard that about humans. And yet, if he was to be a Commodore at the age of 21, he would have had to start serving awfully early.

I don't think it's something to worry about out of hand - as you point out, it's an oddity and not a contradiction.

The idea of crediting a young person for greatness before they're forty isn't a completely unknown concept, though -- it's the modern middle age, and it's frequently sighted as such. He made his fortune before he was forty, I want to have kids before I'm forty, that kind of thing.

(As an aside, I just read a bunch of gloss trying to assign Milton's Sonnet XIX a date based on the "half my light is spent" line -- if English scholars can create lengthy, contradictory theories based on five vauge words then I suppose that we are in good company.)

I mean, we could argue that the rank of Commodore was given to him temporarily, as a kind of courtesy promotion - that here was this young genius they wanted to have working on the Grand Fleet, and they needed to give him a rank high enough to convey some authority. The only trouble with this is that according to the Confed Handbook bio, Tolwyn only earned his master's degree and doctorate after graduating at the top of his class, so he really didn't have the qualifications to be doing anything engineering-related before the graduation ceremony we see in Action Stations. So, at the time when he was working in the Grand Fleet design team, he didn't actually have any qualifications.

You get your undergraduate degree at the Academy, though. He wanted to fly Wildcats, but he'd also be pursuing a degree -- Blair, for instance, had a BS in Electrical Engineering. Tolwyn in 2633 could well have been a Senior on the Engineering track, serving a midshipmans tour with that in mind.

(I don't see a necessary connection between his later degree in "Hyperphysics" and his working as an engineer -- I think more of West Point graduating officers who would go on to be great generals as elite 'engineers' in the 19th century.)

Well, it definitely would be good to have the early part of his bio (up to WCII, I would say) filled out as much as possible, especially since this is where you've done the most work so far. Like I said, the way Action Stations and the movie-related materials match up remains (at least to me) a somewhat troublesome area - it definitely would be good to iron out once and for all the details of this timeframe.

I think there's a lot of things that can be connected together in a pleasing manner. The movie stuff is great, in my opinion, because it creates these beginnings and parallels and fills out the early history where nothing else did. Paladin having met Tolwyn because they were both serving with the CIS in 2641 is neat -- and then Tolwyn using Paladin as an operative in the movie *and* in WC2 fits together very nicely. In 1991 it was sort of out of the blue -- oh, yes, your old friend Paladin is secretly friends with the Admiral who hates you.


Speaking of which, one other, related question. The Confed Handbook provides a different date for the declaration of war than the other sources... and indeed, there are two different dates inside the handbook itself (2641.009 on p. 10, and 2639.009 on p. 13). Given the nature of the handbook (as an online site in the WC universe), I'm inclined to simply assume that both dates are mistakes of the kind that plagues today's internet - especially since there's a tenuous, but semi-logical explanation for how this mistake was made (the war was declared after the Iason incident... and the Iason was attacked on two different dates, so somebody could have gotten them confused). It sure is easier than figuring out why Confed would declare war three times (...on top of the limited war mentioned in AS). What do you think?

The Handbook also some internal issues with the Pilgrim War dates, which I will think about in a future post if important.

The war dates don't bother me. On a grander scale, you can liken it to World War II -- when does World War II begin? In 1938? In 1932? In 1941? Different countries will have different answers for you. I'm sure there are people in the Landreich who will tell you that the Kilrathi War started long before the Iason Incident...

If you need a direct explanation for the errors in the handbook, declaring things is pretty much all the legislature can do at this point. It seems reasonable that they'd issue some sort of additional proclamations in 2641 as a result of the recent series of Kilrathi attacks.

(The Kilrathi certainly do this -- over and over they make similar declarations.)
 

Karthik@KANE

Spaceman
Seriously, Chris Roberts should have let a experienced director alongside a good scriptwriter to make the the movie, he could have just stayed on as a creative consultant or something.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Bandit LOAF said:
The quote is "... Confed was concentrating its resources on assembling a massive invasion force in the Sol system." Did they build a fleet... or did they just spend time marshaling and organizing one that would be assured an easy victory?
Yeah, I guess it can be understood both ways.

On a side note, one of the things I like about the Confed Handbook is that it doesn't just create some of the complications mentioned here - it also solves some. For example, the rapid expansion fo the highly militant Pilgrims can be taken as a hint about the nature of mankind's conflict with the Yan, and about why we never hear any further mention of this race.

(As an aside, I just read a bunch of gloss trying to assign Milton's Sonnet XIX a date based on the "half my light is spent" line -- if English scholars can create lengthy, contradictory theories based on five vauge words then I suppose that we are in good company.)
Hehe, yeah. The texts we're analysing are regarded as less important than your average English poet (though some would disagree ;)), but the textual analysis works the same way.

I think there's a lot of things that can be connected together in a pleasing manner. The movie stuff is great, in my opinion, because it creates these beginnings and parallels and fills out the early history where nothing else did. Paladin having met Tolwyn because they were both serving with the CIS in 2641 is neat -- and then Tolwyn using Paladin as an operative in the movie *and* in WC2 fits together very nicely. In 1991 it was sort of out of the blue -- oh, yes, your old friend Paladin is secretly friends with the Admiral who hates you.
Yep, and I like the addition of Paladin's Iason background... not to mention the irony of Paladin's warning to Tolwyn to watch his own officers because the military might succumb to Pilgrim elitarism.

Anyway, I haven't got much else to add at this point, so thanks for the discussion.
 

orangefen

Spaceman
ok well lets get this straight, not to be argumentative alpha, BUT WWII was ended by just two bombs so it aint all that weird that an interstellar war could be ended by one bomb(especially one that can destroy a planet), wars have been started with a single bullet, and both times blair gets the girl she either dies or dumps him, now I tend to think that making blair a pilgrim was completely unneccisary, you can easily write in some conflict between him and tolwyn(there was in the game) you can also add some with maniac(more humorous but still did exist in game), as far as a history you can always add in something like he was involved in an accident in the academy or even put the movie after the tigers claw incident, which by the way could add an extra element of finding out who the traitor is to the story, and it stands to reason that if someone as high up as paladin found blairs abilities important they wouldn't just risk blair in simple fighter missions they might not even let him fly that often, and blair could always save the day by doing what he became famous for in the first place... being a really good pilot, I mean wasn't that the whole point of the games centering around him? he is the heart of the tiger afterall
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
I think it was completely unnecessary to completely skip 10 years between WC1 and WC2.

It's too bad Chris Roberts didn't get our opinions, isn't it?
 

orangefen

Spaceman
well that may be true, however they had no problem combining ten years of events into the one movie when they included elements of wcI and WCII
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
You mean those things that weren't original to WC1 and WC2 in the first place?

I don't presume to be the greatest author in the world, but there are certain elements that are present in many different works of fiction. Traitors, a single ship going up against an entire fleet, some kind of structural integrity failure that leaks atmopshere/lets water in, someone makes a stupid mistake and gets someone else killed, an army/flight group being obliterated by the enemy before our small group of heroes triumphantly returns. Nothing very original here.

But, you know what? I loved the movie. I happily bought the widescreen DVD edition. I watch it from time to time even now.

But how could I possibly love a low-budget, cliched sci-fi space carrier action hit? Maybe because it embodies everything that Wing Commander is and has always been. :>

Of course, all of this is moot because the movie *is* canon. We can argue up and down of what should have been changed, but that's not going to change what is.
 
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