Haiku Me Friday! The Bridge

A chasm between Father and son, tensions build In truth, a long bridge

A chasm between
Father and son, tensions build
In truth, a long bridge

First, a few administrative updates.  My Friday posts have been lacking because I have a doctors appointment every Friday now since I’m in the last haul of my pregnancy.  And because I am considered high risk, I have to go to the hospital for this appointment instead of my normal doctors and the hospital is further.  So by the time I’m done with all the monitoring and driving round trip, I’ve lost about 2 hours of my day and I spend the rest of that time catching up on my work.

Secondly, I am due in 3.5 weeks!  Soooo soooooon.  I don’t know what’s going to happen with this blog, but I’m sure I’ll be taking a hiatus for a while as I begin my new life and learn how to adjust.  Follow me on Instagram if you are interested in updates, if not, eventually I’m sure I’ll be back.  This is my only outlet for Star Wars!  I need something to keep me sane, haha.

Third, Mei-Mei and I have started a once-a-month Friday initiative where we will both be coloring the same page from the same Star Wars coloring book.  We won’t confer with each other and it’s just a chance to see what we did differently and why.  This month, she colored in the one I did just a few days ago on May the 4th.  Check it out!


I watched the Han Solo death scene three times last night.  It’s just so good.  I think it could be one of the best scenes in the movie acting-wise, cinematically, and artistically.  Abrams did a great job with it.

First, there’s that really long bridge separating both Kylo Ren and Han Solo.  Though bridges are known as a support, it’s made to look almost like a chasm in this instance, emphasizing the long distance emotionally and physically between these two characters.  When Rey and Finn barge in on the top landing, the light falls as a spotlight onto the two characters.  When we take in that expansive shot, it’s foreboding, but the light gives hope: you thinks that maybe there could be redemption here.

Kylo Ren calls out, “Han Solo!” after Han had yelled his name.  I noticed last night that Han calls his son by his true name (I would expect nothing less), but Kylo Ren also uses Han’s true name.  Not “Father” or “Dad” or anything like that…Han Solo.  I’ve written about the importance of names in Star Wars before, but this is just another perfect example of how by using Han’s given name, Kylo Ren distances himself from his father.  Han uses “Ben” to try to bring his son closer and Kylo Ren uses “Han Solo” to create a distance.

han solo deathAs we transition into the conversation between Kylo and Han, Kylo removes his helmet (and also his conviction) and turns into the petulant child that most people have grown to despise about the character.  Instead, I found that it made a lot of sense.  He’s trying to defend his actions and his turn to the dark side (though not spelled out like that) to his father.  Sometimes I find myself acting like a child a bit when I’m trying to defend myself against my mother or father’s unspoken accusations.  I am listing reasons and I sound a little pathetic, even to myself, similar to Kylo’s excuses that Han’s “son” was weak and foolish so he had to be destroyed.  And when Kylo says Snoke is “wise”, it’s almost like he’s grasping at straws.

When we get to that moment when Kylo Ren acknowledges that he knows what he has to do but doesn’t know if he has the strength, I find the acting of both Adam Driver and Harrison Ford really comes up a notch…especially on Driver’s end.  The tears were in his eyes when he was struggling and petulant but they slowly disappear as he hands the lightsaber to his father.  The beam of light that was on the bridge disappears and you know that last glimmer of hope is gone. As Han tries to wrest the lightsaber, Adam Driver’s subtle progression from conflicted to decided is perfect.  I remember thinking this the very first time I saw the movie in the theaters too.  You can tell that he realizes he does have the strength and he commits the unforgivable act of murdering his own father.

But after Han Solo registers surprise, he pulls his hand up to touch his son’s face.  His last act before death takes him is one of kindness and love.  I teared up watching this yesterday, and I’m sure it’s because I’m going to be a parent so soon, and I realized that no matter what – parents really do love their children.  No matter what.  Han just got killed by his son whom he trusted, but reached up to touch his face one last time before falling off the bridge.

han kylo gif

Interestingly, if you read the script for this scene, there is no directive for Han Solo to touch Kylo’s face.  This was Ford’s interpretation of Han Solo’s last moments.

Han’s last moment is looking into his son’s face. HAN’S
KNEES BUCKLE. The blade tilts down with him… until KYLO
REN EXTINGUISHES IT AND HAN HOLDS onto the catwalk — his
life slipping away.
Finally Han FALLS BACK, OFF THE CATWALK, INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE STRUCTURE

As the scene wraps up, we watch Chewie attempt to gun down Kylo Ren, hitting him with a blaster bolt that seriously weakens him.  I’m not sure if anyone else noticed, but when Kylo Ren leaves the oscillator, he also leaves behind his mask.

Will we see him with another mask in VIII?  A new mask?  Or, if the mask was to hide his indecision and conflict with the light side, will he now no longer need one?  He’s got a pretty good looking scar to make him look a little more intimidating so they might decide to keep him mask-less.

I enjoyed this scene even when watching it in the theaters, but being able to rewatch it at home and picking up all these nuances has brought it to a new level.  I think it’s one of the best scenes in TFA.

What do you take away from this scene?

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Haiku Me Friday! Under the Shadow…

Under the shadow A new dark lord rises up Yet struggles so much

Under the shadow
A new dark lord rises up
Yet struggles so much

This has to be one of my favorite haikus I’ve written in a while.

When I wrote this haiku, I thought that Kylo would be rising up as a dark Force user under the shadow of Darth Vader.  But after watching the bonus disc material that came with TFA, I wonder if perhaps the shadow he felt were his parents: these two prominent figures in the fight against the Empire.  Adam Driver mentioned that his parents were not often there for Kylo Ren as they struggled with the politics of putting a new government together.  So under this shadow, did Kylo Ren turn to the dark side because Snoke offered him attention?  And his struggle with the light side come from the fact that now he finally has his parents attention so he wants to turn back to the light side?

But added to that is the shadow of his grandfather.  He wants so badly to live up to these standards he has set for himself and carry on the legacy of Darth Vader.  Yet as he goes through the process, he constantly battles with the pull to the light side of the Force.  Is this because the light side is stronger (Yoda said it is in ESB) or because of his personality?

It seems like Kylo Ren’s biggest struggle was living under the shadow of his family.  His parents helped rid the galaxy of the Empire.  His grandfather was the most powerful Force user in the galaxy’s history.  His Uncle is the sole remaining Jedi.

And not only does Kylo struggle with the light side, but he also struggles with the respect he feels he deserves as a Sith (or soon-to-be-Sith…I’m still unclear if the Knights of Ren are actually Sith).  Clearly General Hux tolerates him but I’m not sure he respects him as a member of the First Order.  Lor San Tekka derided him as soon as he showed up on Jakku.  Supreme Leader Snoke seems to go back and forth on if he trusts Kylo Ren and I bet he knows he’s taking a gamble with him.  Heck, I would too…the grandson of Darth Vader to possibly use as your tool, even if he ends up dying or turning to the light side would be worth it for a bit.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the shadow of Kylo’s family (Vader, parents) drove him to the dark side where he rose up high due to his natural inclinations with the Force.  But he struggles with the light side and gaining respect from others.

Ahhhh I love it when my haikus force me to think.

Have I convinced any of the Kylo-haters to give him a second chance or rethink about him a bit?

Friday Posts – Haiku Me Friday?

Should I talk about the Vanity Fair pics?  I feel like you guys have all already seen them, right?  I don’t consider them spoilers because it was authorized and allowed by Lucasfilm to go on the web.  But if you DO consider them spoilers…then skip the next paragraph.

Only noticeable news is that Kylo Ren is Adam Driver.  Gwendoline Christie is the silver stormtrooper Captain Phasma (stupid name).  Lupita Nyong’o is a CGI pirate character (which is a shame, because it would have been nice to see more diversity in the cast, but pirates! Fun!).  There’s a frozen planet.  Hoth?  Who knows?  A lot of people thought Jakku was Tatooine and it’s not.  See the whole article here: http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/05/star-wars-force-awakens-photos

I’m still struggling with my Friday posts, and I apologize.  I like doing the Friday Fives, but I realize it’s too much work on my end when I’m already usually working on another post at the same time.  What I loved about the Scene Its, I’m now realizing, is that most of the work was done for me.  All I had to do was write about whatever scene came up.

So I’m debating if I should go back to my haiku’s.  I actually really liked them (though doing one every day for a month was a bit much) and I can do what I did last year – use whatever photo is on my calendar for that day to write the poem.  (Watch them discontinue the calendar next year.)

I apologize for the back and forth in trying to find something for my standing Friday post.  Bear with me as I experiment a bit.

You made a wise choice. Afraid of a lightsaber? As well you should be.

You made a wise choice.
Afraid of a lightsaber?
As well you should be.

Have a GREAT weekend everyone!

Final Analysis on the The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer

So we all watched it last week and had a great discussion about what the heck is possibly going on in The Force Awakens.

I thought that since it’s been a week, now is a good time to organize my thoughts, excitement, and speculations and write everything down.  It will be fun to come back in a year-ish and see which of my predictions were right, and which were wrong.

Overall, I liked the trailer.  I’ve heard complaints that people wanted to see the original cast back, but I’ve said from the beginning that I really wanted them to focus on the new cast and give a fresh look to Star Wars.  They did that with the trailer and I’m happy about that.

I was also happy at just how much of a tease it was.  So many questions left unanswered and so many theories now in place.

This is a looooooooooooong blog post, mostly for my own reference next year, but if you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan, then plow ahead.  (Oh wait, that’s all of you)

******

Trailer fades in and all we hear is,

There has been an awakening.  Have you felt it?

I spent a long time trying to figure out the voice.  My first thought was Andy Serkis, and then I completely wiped that from my mind and I swore it was Benedict Cumberbatch, despite his denial that he’s in VII.  I thought maybe he wasn’t appearing in VII, but his voice was there…mysterious and elusive and he will appear in person in VIII and IX.  I was completely wrong (but originally right) because Andy Serkis confirmed he’s the voice.

THEN BAM!  Up pops John Boyega in a stormtrooper outfit on a desert planet.

john boyega

Boyega: My first gut reaction is that he’s on Tatooine.  I still believe that because it would be a nice way to tie all the trilogies together.  We visit Tatooine in the first movie of each trilogy (ANH and TPM) so I think it would be appropriate to also see it in TFA.  Will the main star come from Tatooine like Anakin and Luke did?

Most interesting is that Boyega is in the stormtrooper outfit with his helmet off.  When have we ever seen that with a stormtrooper?  Never.  We’ve seen it with clonetroopers, but not stormtroopers.  He also looks paranoid, frightened, and is definitely out of breath.  Why the urgency?  What’s going on here?

Is there significance with the way he pops up after the voice over mentions “the awakening”?  Could Boyega’s character randomly have the Force awakened in him?  We’ve thought that the Force is with someone from their birth and it doesn’t awaken out of the blue.  In a sense, it awakened with Luke when Obi-Wan began his training, so perhaps that is the case with Boyega’s character, though the voice over suggests otherwise.

ezra and zare

Ezra and Zare

My final thought on this shot is my grand revelation I had last Friday that Boyega is actually the stormtrooper that Ezra met in the Star Wars Rebels episode “Breaking Ranks”.  If so, his character name would be Zare Leonis and he infiltrated the Imperial Academy in search of his missing sister.  When Ezra escapes, Zare decides to stay to continue his personal mission.  Disney and LFL said that they wanted to start tying the canon together more with the books, shows, and movies.  If my theory is correct, this could be step in the right direction.  Perhaps we will never see Zare again in SWR, but his storyline will be revealed in TFA.  It could also explain why perhaps he’s on the run in this episode.  Maybe he’s escaping the Empire (finally).

On top of that, what if his sister is played by Lupita Nyong’o?  We don’t see her character at all in this trailer, but they gave Zare’s sister a name in SWR (Dhara) and why do that with no intention of ever bringing the storyline back?

It might be a bit of a stretch though, since Boyega himself is 22 years old.  But Nyong’o is 31 so it could work…maybe…?

As we transition to the next scene, you can faintly hear a probe droid, so it reaffirms the fact that he could be on the run.

Soccer ball droid: Your guess is as good as mine.  No idea how that droid would function, what it was there for, or if it was even important.  I checked through the Prequels trailers and they did have some random shots of ships that really had no real bearing on the story.  So maybe that was the case with soccer ball droid, or maybe it does mean something.  The only thing I saw of significance was the junk it was rolling past.  Looks a lot like podracers to me…

soccer ball droid

Empire:  Stormtroopers in garish, flashing light.  Oh, and isn’t one a little short for a stormtrooper?  Could that be John Boyega again?  So we know stormtroopers = Empire, so it brings us to the question…did the Rebellion not destroy the Empire in ROTJ?  Is it still alive and well?  And look at the helmets!  Different, but similar.

stormtroopers tfa

There are also rumblings online that they could be in an Imperial Troop Transport.  Apparently Kenner released a toy of them but no one has actually seen them on film (It was in SWR though).  So is that true and it’s making it’s first movie appearance?  If you see the quick shot, it also looks like the stormtroopers have new-ish blasters as well.

And then we see their feet and it looks like they are about to descend into the night.  But where?  What planet?  There are lights, not natural lights, when you look into the night as the ship opens.  The dots of white and red make me think it’s some kind of civilization where they may be going to attack.

Ridley: Daisy Ridley!  Wooo.  She jumps on some sort of speeder, that kind of looks like a cross between an AA-9 Coruscant Freighter and podracer, but different.  And yet, did anyone else feel like it was eerily similar?  Like I had seen it before?

But let me just say this was my FAVORITE scene.  It was so reminiscent of Leia on Endor that my heart sang.  The outfit was even similar to what the Rebels wore on Endor with the over-the-shoulders slouch look.

There has been a lot of speculation on the fact that she had some sort of spear and/or lightsaber right next to her when she jumped on, but then it wasn’t there when she was flying away.  I also noticed that.  Look:

The hilt definitely looks like a lightsaber, but the blade somehow encased or contained?  Why is it missing in the next scene?  Honestly, I think it was a mistake by the editors.  They aren’t even close to done with the film and they probably have a bunch of different shots, some with that lightsaber thing and some without.  Abrams probably didn’t want us seeing it and getting too much information so he didn’t want it in the scene.  You know what…I have no idea, but I really think it was a mistake.

And she, like Boyega, looks like she is running from something and is slightly nervous.  As she speeds off into the distance, we see her going towards something that looks almost like the junk we saw in the background of the soccer ball droid.  Is it the same place?

X-Wings: Woooo!  X-Wings are back and Oscar Isaac is at the helm.  And notice guys…notice….the Rebel Insignia!!!  I had had moments of fear that they would completely change it and then my tattoo would be a remnant of a lost time, but nope.  Loud and proud on his helmet AND his fighter uniform.  Also, remember how I mentioned a year ago that most of the Insignia’s were actually a dark blue, not the red we always place with them?  Looks like Abrams remembers that too since the one on his uniform is the dark blue, though the one on the helmet is red.

oscar isaacs x wing

But of course that brings up the recurring question AGAIN…are we still fighting the Empire?  Still?  WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?

xwings over waterThe X-wings fly over the water, which I actually could not figure out was water at first, silly me.  Just from the lighting, I thought it was actually Hoth again and they were flying over ice the first two times I watched it.  Beautiful shots though, right?  I love the artistry so far.  However…this scene actually makes me think it might be a closing scene of the movie.  Something about the lighting and the way there are three going into battle.  Will it be a final battle over the water?  THAT would be different!

Sith:  Okay, the big question.  All over the internet and TV, I’ve seen people dissecting this blade and the big question, “Who is that?”

First, we’ll talk about the blade.  I kind of like it.   The pulsing, unclean cut to it makes me think of something new sith crossguard lightsaberunfinished.  Perhaps due to the Sith (supposedly) being wiped out, this person had to create a lightsaber based on what they researched.  And this is what it is?

But what about those little blades coming out and making it seem like a cross guard?  I’ve read so much from people who think it’s stupid (what if your hand slips?) to people who think it’s practical as it will stop another lightsaber from chopping off your hand (that happens a lot, it seems).  I think…meh.  Don’t really like it actually.  I like the unfinished look of the blade, just not the cross guards.

As for who it is – I really, really want it to be Gwendoline Christie.  Really badly.  I’d love to think that the fact they were hiding the person was because we are finally, FINALLY get a female Sith.

Logic is pointing to Adam Driver because ever since he was cast he has been attached with the Sith rumor.  Some fans believe it could even be Luke due to the fact that they think this person’s right hand/arm is thicker than the other so perhaps it’s a bionic hand in there.  I disagree.  The gait of the villain (if it is a villain) seemed to be of a younger person.  And a very tall person at that.  Christie and Driver come in at 6’3” and Hamill comes in at 5’9”.

The voice returns.

The dark side.

And the light.

And then YAY IT’S THE FALCON.  Who got goosebumps then?  I certainly did.  The effect of it turning around and we’re following it upside down at this crazy angle and then there are TIE Fighters coming at you…MAGIC.  Loved it.  Second favorite moment for me, for sure.  And with the theme blaring in the background.  Happiness.  Pure happiness.

Falcon and TIEs

Again though, why the TIEs?  The Empire is somehow back in this movie.  Another desert planet, but this whole time we have not seen any sign of twin suns so we can’t confirm it’s Tatooine.   The Falcon also has a rectangular dish on it, no longer a circular one because if you remember, it got knocked off on the second Death Star run.

*****

The only question left for me at the end, on which I have no real theories on, is the voice.  Serkis’ overarching voice gave us a narrative that seems most unusual for Star Wars.  What character is that?  It seemed a little too neutral to me.  Are they good or bad?  Do they play a big role or are they, like my original theory on Cumberbatch, elusive for the first movie?

Time will tell, but for now, I’m pumped, excited, and can’t wait for the next trailer, much less the actual movie a year from now.

Episode VII Cast Announced!

I take time from my conference to let you guys know the first piece of BIG news since October 30, 2012.  The Episode VII cast has been announced!

Here’s the full list:

  • John Boyega
  • Daisy Ridley
  • Adam Driver
  • Oscar Isaac
  • Andy Serkis
  • Domhnall Gleeson
  • Max von Sydow
  • Harrison Ford
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Mark Hamill
  • Anthony Daniels
  • Peter Mayhew
  • Kenny Baker

So we can learn some information from this.  The original three heroes have been confirmed to return, along with Threepio, Artoo, and Chewbacca.

New actors/actresses?  Here are some of their street creds:

  • John Boyega – younger African American actor. Relatively unknown.  Quite a bit of TV work.
  • Daisy Ridley – younger caucasian actress.  Same as Boyega – relatively unknown with TV work.
  • Adam Driver – This guy has been popping up all over Star Wars rumor sites.  Most rumors have been pointing to him as the new nemesis/Sith Lord.  He’s best known for his recurring role as Adam Sackler in the TV show Girls and Samuel Beckwith in Lincoln.
  • Oscar Isaac – Interesting roles in movies.  Drive, Sucker Punch, The Nativity Story, to name a few.  I feel like he picks his roles with extreme care.
  • Andy Serkis – Gollum!  I’ve actually never seen him act in human form, so no idea what that will bring, but I’ve heard he’s not bad.
  • Domhnall Gleeson – He was in Harry Potter!  I knew I recognized him.  He played Bill Weasley.  He was also in About Time, which I heard was really good, but have never seen.
  • Max von Sydow – Older man…Just celebrated his 85th birthday.  What role could he possibly play?  He has a lot of acting (movies and TV) under his belt.

Let the speculation begin.  If rumors are to be believed than we have Adam Driver as the villain.  Daisy?  Leia and Han’s daughter?  I don’t see anyone here that could possibly be matched with Luke as a wife/partner, so maybe he is sticking to the old Jedi ways of not marrying.  Max von Sydow?  That’s really interesting.  I’m also curious as to what Gleeson will play.  Love interest to Daisy’s character?

Also, rumors have been swirling that Abrams wanted VII to focus heavily on the returning three heroes before handing the baton to a younger generation.  So does that mean folks like Boyega, Ridley, and Gleeson could be returning for following movies?

I am excited this has finally come to the light.  Let me know what you think.