Fan Art Friday! Yoda’s Solitude

I was really excited to do this picture when Mei-Mei suggested it last month…but then as I continued coloring it, I realized that unless I wanted to go totally off the beaten path and make Yoda yellow and grass blue – it was a lot of the same colors over and over.  I struggled with making this picture a little different.  The best I came up with was to make that bright orange background only because it was the only color that hadn’t been used yet.  (Which sounds contradictory, I know.)

While coloring this picture, I started leaving out the different shades of grey, green, and brown colored pencils because it was pointless to put them back in again.  I used them so much.  There was blue in Luke’s lightsaber and Artoo so I decided to leave that as the only blue.  There was some red in the x-wing and yellow in Yoda’s hut window.  So all that was left to me was pink, purple, and orange.  I decided to go bold or go home and went with the orange.

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I did enjoy coloring this, but not as much as other’s we’ve done.  I felt like it was a little monotone for my liking.  The good part was that I didn’t make any huge mistakes (however, I did make a kind of big one, can anyone figure out what it is?), nor did I get very frustrated like I had with my Leia picture.  So I left the picture feeling okay but not very emotional.

Be sure to check out Mei-Mei’s picture to compare/contrast!

For next month, Mei-Mei, we are going to color one of my favorite characters: Salacious Crumb.  Woot woot.  He’s toward the end of the book, I think.

Five Best Feel Good Moments in Star Wars

Yes, I totally stole this from Insider again but I do love these sections they have where they ask someone to list five … somethings from Star Wars.  I did one two years ago with my favorite five visual moments and one in September with my five favorite aliens.

For this Insider (actually two Insiders ago now), they asked Dan Madsen for his favorite five feel-good moments.  He is Star Wars Insider’s founding editor and now publicist for Her Universe.

Here are what I think are the five best feel good moments in the Star Wars saga, listed with number one as my favorite.

 

5. Leia and Han Work it All Out

Leia and Han have accomplished their mission on Endor and look up into the sky to see the Death Star blow up.  Han expresses his concern for Luke but Leia knows he’s safe.  And Han, ever the gallant gentleman, finally concedes defeat in what he thinks is a love triangle and says he won’t get in the way when Luke returns.

Leia’s confused face then gets transferred to Han as she tells him that Luke is her brother.  Han works it all out, has a big smile and kisses her more sincerely.  Ah, l’amour.  Wicket jumps up like a priest officiating a ceremony and even Han doesn’t seem too annoyed at the Ewok.

It’s a small scene but one that warms my heart.

leia han endor

 

4. Han Solo Comes to the Rescue

Han Solo comes to the rescue quite a few times in Star Wars but the moment at the end of ANH definitely takes the cake.  I still get a fuzzy, happy feeling whenever you see him fly down to hit the TIE fighters with that bolt that sends Vader spinning off into space. you're all clear kid

“You’re all clear, kid.  Now, let’s blow this thing and go home!”

Luke then uses the Force and sends the proton torpedoes straight into the exhaust port.  As the Death Star blows up and the ships race away, it was all because Han Solo decided the Rebellion meant more to him than money.

But there’s something about that line that makes me want to whoop for joy and you feel this surge of hope.  The underdog comes out ahead and there really is nothing more feel-good than that.  (Kind of like when the Patriots won their first Superbowl with Tom Brady and no one thought they would.   Yes, I had to go there.)

 

3. Vader Burns/Ewok Celebration

It’s hard to define Vader’s burning as a “feel good” moment, but for many years it was one for me.  There was a definitive end and peaceful feeling about everything.  Luke knew about his family history, had been faced with the dark side and overcame it, had redeemed his father, and the Emperor was killed.  The burning was symbolic of his past, letting go, and moving forward.

The beautiful transition (with the Force theme) from the funeral pyre to the night sky/fireworks and the Ewoks celebrating gave you this moment of all is right in the world.

As a child, I loved the ending of ROTJ.  It wasn’t until many years later when people complained that it was simplistic and had been wrapped too nicely with a bow on top, that I began to see it differently.

My fear now is that my children will never understand the feel good moments of that ending because they will always know that there is more to the story.  In a way, with Disney taking over, we’ve lost the simplicity of Star Wars that was so clear in ROTJ: it all worked out, everything was okay, and good prevailed.

I cherish the ending though because it reminds me of my childhood when things were more black and white.

 

2. “Chewie, We’re Home.” – TFA Trailer

This instance is too personal for me not to put it in.  I saw this at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim last year.  We had been waiting in line since han chewie TFA6:00am for this panel that included JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and members of the old cast and new.  Everyone was hoping and praying that they would release a new trailer during this panel for TFA and they did not disappoint.

When the lights darkened and our lightsabers lit up the room, the feeling of intense emotion was inescapable.  We all held our breaths, I think, for the entire trailer and that last moment when Han and Chewie board the Falcon and he goes, “Chewie, we’re home,”…there was an explosion throughout that room at the Anaheim Convention Center.

I was swept up in the passion that you can only get when surrounded by thousands of other Star Wars fans who love and adore the series as much as you do.  When Abrams asked if we wanted to see the trailer again, it was met with a deafening, affirmative roar.

The moment in the movie is good, but it will never replace that moment in the teaser trailer and the feel-good memories I take away from it.

 

1. Yoda Lifts the X-Wing from the Swamp

There’s something about this scene that seems to define Star Wars.

Yoda is so diminutive and up until this point, he had trained Luke and had a lot of knowledge of the Force, but did he actually use the Force?

So I can totally understand when Luke gets frustrated and walks away saying, “You want the impossible.”  What he should have said is, “Oh really Yoda?  If you’re that awesome, why don’t you do it yourself?!”  Because that’s how I would be feeling if my only mode of transportation sunk into the grimy lakes of Dagobah, never to be seen again.  Luke then walks away in frustration, which is quite mature.  I might have “by mistake” kicked the little Jedi Master as I walked by.

Then you see Yoda take a deep breath and concentrate, outstretch his arm, Artoo freaks out, and the crescendo music as he lifts Luke’s x-wing out of the swamp is a moment so magical and makes you feel so good.

It sums up the Star Wars experience for me.  You get it in that moment.

The impossible can be possible.

Judge me by my size, do you?

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

Do.  Or do not.  There is no try.

 

What was most interesting to me is that none of these moments include the Prequels.  I did try hard to think of one from the Prequels, but they are definitely more somber than the Original Trilogy.  The only thing that kind of came close was Anakin winning the Boonta Eve Podrace.  But…with that, I knew it was going to happen, so the feel good moment lost some of its edge when you can predict the outcome.

 

Can you guys think of any PT moments that could make it on this list?  Or is there anything I forgot on this list out of all seven movies?

 

You Must Learn Control

Icarus left a comment on my blog post the other day that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.  Actually, it wasn’t his comment per se, but was said by George Lucas regarding Anakin’s fall to the dark side from a CNN article in 2002 (AOTC era, pre ROTS):

In this film, you begin to see that he has a fear of losing things, a fear of losing his mother, and as a result, he wants to begin to control things, he wants to become powerful, and these are not Jedi traits.  And part of these are because he was starting to be trained so late in life, that he’d already formed these attachments. And for a Jedi, attachment is forbidden.

“He wants to begin to control things.”  This sat with me – mainly because of my terrible need to control things as well.  We all, at some point or another, want to control our life and our future, no matter who you are.  You can be the most chill person in the world, but there is probably some degree or need to control minuscule portions of your life.  Then there are others, like myself, who prefer to control every minuscule detail if possible and though I think I’ve gradually gotten better, I still fall apart when Plan A, B, and C aren’t quite working like I was hoping.

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At one point on Dagobah, when Luke is training with Yoda, Yoda admonishes him,

Control, control, you must learn control!

So why does Yoda want Luke to learn control, yet probably wanted Anakin to let go of his control?  Isn’t that contradictory?

What is the difference between Anakin and Luke?  The way I read and think about the situation is that Anakin used his fear as a propeller to learn more and conquer more through his knowledge.  He wanted power to change the situations through his control of the Force.  We see this to be very true later on in ROTS when he wants the ultimate power – to stop Padmé from dying – and apply it to his life.  He believes he’s helping people but he is, instead, digging his own grave.  Would Padmé have died if Anakin hadn’t turned to the dark side?  Ah, the million dollar question.

With Luke, though, it seems a little different.  He wants to go to Cloud City to try and rescue his friends (which, again, would have fared better without his help) but his motivation does not seem to be as rooted in the need for power.  While it seems to be more altruistic in nature, it does also stem fromluke skywalker handstand dagobah this need to control the events around him.  As Yoda says, “If you leave now, help them you could.  But you would destroy all for which they have fought and suffered.”

Obviously I’m going completely off canon by suggesting Yoda would have wanted Anakin to lessen his need to control, but I don’t think it’s that out there.  What I believe is that both had the fear of loss ingrained within them (who doesn’t?) but where Luke needed to control more from a situation of distance and understanding, Anakin needed to lessen his control so that it could also bring him to a place of understanding and distance.

I’ve mentioned many times that I don’t think the Jedi had it right when they tried to rid their pupils from attachment.  In fact, most of the time I think it was just wrong.  As we saw, Luke used his attachment to his father to save Anakin from the dark side and also help the galaxy.  However, there is also a point where life needs to be played out for what it is without our involvement because sometimes when we mess around with it too much, we look back and realize that maybe we shouldn’t have tried to control it like we did.  Luke had to learn to take a step back and realize he couldn’t run to help Han and Leia with everything in their lives because it could just make it worse.  He had to control his need to always help and rein it in.  Anakin needed to learn that he couldn’t be all-powerful and that controlling everything too much could backfire.  The main difference I’ve found is that Luke’s control was rooted in love whereas Anakin’s control was rooted in fear.

The reason that quote has been bothering me so much is that I believe I lean more towards Anakin than Luke.  It’s when I get the most scared, the most fearful, the most anxious, that I begin to try to control events and people around me.  I use all the power that I have to influence what happens around me to make sure it happens the way I want it to go.  Unlike Luke, whose need for more control stems from a caring, kind, thoughtful place; instead, I feel like I completely understand Anakin.  I don’t want life to “just happen”.  I want life to happen according to my rules.

 

What about you?  Do you need more control because you always want to jump and help someone instead of letting them work it out on their own?  Or are you more like me and you need to lessen your control because you always want to make things go your way?

Geek out!

  1. I’ve been super busy, but there are posts in the works.
  2. Star Wars Rebels started up again this week. I will write my thoughts soon, but did you guys have any?
  3. Rumors flying like mad that the official poster for TFA will be released on Sunday, tickets will go on sale Monday after a new trailer Monday evening during MNF.  And there’s supposedly a new logo as well. Guess we’ll have to see about that.
  4. There could possibly be a 7pm showing on December 17th (which would be great for all of us who are not night owls!).
  5. Some theaters might do a marathon beforehand starting at 4:00pm on December 17th.  Ugh, no thanks.

We are in crunch time for TFA.  I’m starting to feel the excitement.  I have, unfortunately, stumbled upon some spoilers on Instagram of all places, so I know a little more than i wanted to.  But the general plot is still as thick as a Dagobah mist for me and I don’t know 95% of the movie.

LET’S DO THIS.

kylo ren

Costumes and Characters Part III: Luke Skywalker

Two fun things before I begin this essay:

  1. I’m writing this from a greyhound bus on my way to NYC. And damn, I’ve knocked out quite a few blog posts while on this four hour trip.  It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have distractions (i.e. the Internet lol) and have plenty of time.  Plus, I feel like I look like some cool writer with my laptop out and typing away.  Though, most of the people around are sleeping or reading and not paying any attention to me.  Shhhh, I feel cool.
  2. I hit my 3 year blogging anniversary on WordPress! As Threepio says, “I never knew I had it in me.”  Thanks to all you awesome blogger friends out there!  In the past 3 years I’ve had guest posts, gotten to email with some people personally off this blog, get to know about their lives/more about them, and met up with one blogger friend in person…Darth Amethystos!  Who also mailed me some fun Star Wars Hallmark goodies recently.

Now onwards and upwards to the last section of my three part series on costumes and how they reflect the three main heroes in Star Wars.


Luke Skywalker evolves the most as a character within the Original Trilogy.  I’ve explored Han and Leia’s transformation in my earlier blog posts, and while I think Leia does go through some major changes, it’s nothing in comparison to Luke.  The narrative plot of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, focus solely on the journey of a naïve farm boy to a mature Jedi who helps overthrow the Empire.

I think Lucas made very deliberate choices with his costumes with each of the three main characters in the original trilogy and made sure that what they were clothed in also reflected either a) their personality, b) their development as a character, or c) their environment.  The latter is the most obvious and almost always true, but I think it’s interesting how color and shape can also dictate a deeper look into who they are.  I know nothing about costume fabrics so that area will remain untouched.

In A New Hope, Luke wears one costume primarily throughout the entire movie, other than the x-wing  uniform, which I will not go into.  We see him first as a farmboy on Tatooine where he wears a white tunic, cream/white colored pants, and the same color boots with straps.  He has a dark brown utility belt and in one scene, also wears a brown poncho when he and Obi-Wan sell his landspeeder and board the Millennium Falcon.  In the Throne Room ceremony scene, he is wearing black boots, brown pants, black shirt, overlaid by a gold jacket.

In the Empire Strikes Back, he starts off in Hoth with a mostly white snow suit and brown vest.  His boots are grey with white straps and he wears a hat that has a scarf attached to it so he can protect his face from the cold elements.  After healing from the Wampa attack, he is briefly in hospital garb that consists of a tunic on top, before changing into the Rogue Squadron uniform to fight the AT-AT’s in a snowspeeder.  When he heads to Dagobah, he is wearing a muted grey uniform (some people claim it’s cream or off-white, but I’ve always seen it grey or “muted”) that he stays in for almost the entire movie, until the last scene where he is in a comfortable off-white/tan hospital outfit that consists of baggy pants and a loose tunic.

The grey outfit is what we are most likely to think of when we associate Luke with the Empire Strikes Back.  The shirt is a sleeveless grey tank (the only one we see in the Star Wars Saga! Correct me if this is wrong, but I don’t remember seeing any other ones) and Luke often wears a jacket over it.  The jacket has multiple pockets and is made out of a coarser, heavier material and looks like it is meant to stand a lot of wear and tear.  His pants are slightly baggy, but the same color as his jacket, with darker boots. He also has a dark brown utility belt.

In Return of the Jedi, Luke stays in a same colored costume from beginning to end.  He has an all-black outfit: black shirt, black pants and black boots.  In the beginning, he has a standard Jedi Robe over his outfit, but loses it early on and also has two tabards over his long sleeve black shirt, very reminiscent to the original Jedi Order.  The tabards are lost when he meets up again with the Rebellion and he stays in that simple, black outfit for the entire movie (other than the camouflage tunic on Endor).  You’ll notice that his shirt is buttoned up very nicely until after his battle with Vader, where the top of his shirt comes undone from his shoulder, having it fall open in a triangular shape of a light grey color.  It stands out drastically compared to the rest of the outfit and it always bothered me when I was younger.  I wanted to attach it back to his shoulder.

With A New Hope, Luke is an innocent, young farmboy.  The greatest of his concerns are leaving the moisture farm to join his friends.  He’s the kid whose family doesn’t have enough to send him to college, and he has to stay behind, work, and watch all his friends go off and have adventures without him.  It definitely makes him a little petulant and whiny, as we see with his Tosche Station complaint to Uncle Owen.

As his story takes him off Tatooine, he learns more and progresses more, but still maintains the innocence of the beginning of the movie.  It stands in stark contrast to Han Solo’s bravado and worldly wisdom.  Luke is the eager beaver, wanting to impress and not stand out as the one who has no experience.  We’ve all been in that situation where we want to fit in and not show how little we know about what’s going on.  That’s the point where Luke is in this part of the trilogy.  He wants to fit in, to help in any way he can, and show that he can keep up with the big boys of the Rebellion.  The entirely white costume makes sense within the context of A New Hope as Luke shows his naiveté and innocence as a character.  When Luke gets awarded at the end of A New Hope with some medals, he has now been accepted into the Rebellion, and the shiny gold jacket represents the hero who saved the day.  It represents hope and a future for the Rebellion that is pinned on this one farm boy.

By the time we reach the Empire Strikes Back, Luke has gained some of that knowledge that he so wanted in A New Hope. But the knowledge comes at a price: Luke’s mentor, Obi-Wan, died by Darth Vader, Luke’s best friend was killed in the run against the Death Star, the Rebellion thought they had won a decisive victory and instead are forced into hiding on the remote, frigid world of Hoth.  Every day is lived in fear of the Empire finding them.

Luke’s knowledge and instincts in the Force begin to grow.  Since Obi-Wan helped him tap into that strength, a long luke esbsleeping power begins to grow within him.  With that power, life is not simple.  Yoda teaches him about the dark side versus the light side of the Force, and how Luke can live the way of a Jedi.  Toward the end of the movie, Luke has to make a choice between staying and continuing to learn under Yoda or go and rescue his friends.  Yoda tells him sternly not to leave his training when they’ve barely begun, but Luke leaves anyway.  During the failed rescue attempt, which is actually a trap for him, he learns the worst point of all: the feared Sith Lord and villain Darth Vader is his father.

That is a lot for one character to go through during an entire movie.  There’s no question that while Luke is still good, still a hero, he is now struggling with bigger and harder choices.  His main outfit, all in grey, helps emphasize the point that our main character is stuck between good and evil.  By the end of the movie, you think and hope that Luke continues on the path he is currently on, one with the light side of the Force.  Especially as the movie ends with him in a lighter costume with Leia.

When we move into Return of the Jedi, the progression of color seems a little baffling, especially knowing the ending of the film.  We know Luke redeems his father and stays on the light side of the Force, so why is he in black for the entire film?  And when the portion falls open, is it a deliberate choice by Lucas?

Black is almost always associated with evil.  Sure, you can change it around if you want, but in most mythical storylines, the character in black clearly equates to the villain.  So it is with Star Wars as well: Darth Vader and the Emperor are both always in black.  But so is Luke in Return of the Jedi.

Why?

We find out in the middle of the movie that Luke has come to accept he is Darth Vader’s son.  When he asks Yoda if Darth Vader is his father, it’s clear he already knows the answer deep down even as Yoda confirms it.  When Luke enters this Luke_Skywalkernew chapter of his life, he must be wondering what his fate is.  Will he be able to withstand the power of the dark side or will he succumb as his father did?

I studied criminology in college and there was one fact that stood out to me so clearly and I still remember to this day.  If a man had a checkered past, either with doing/selling drugs, going to jail, etc., but is now on the clean, law-abiding path, he should not tell his children – but more specifically his son(s) – that he had a questionable past.  Studies show that psychologically, young boys will start internalizing this fact and believe they are ultimately headed for the same lifestyle.  Instead of having the effect of a cautionary tale as was hoped, it backfired and the children, especially sons, were more likely to get into trouble knowing their fathers once had as well.  Of course, this is not true of all children, but was the case for the majority of those studied over a long term.

Luke, I believe, had already internalized the fact that Darth Vader was his father by the time he went off to rescue Han Solo on Tatooine.  He was already internalizing it at the end of the Empire Strikes Back when he kept asking, “Ben, why didn’t you tell me?”  If Luke has accepted that Darth Vader is his father, the black outfit follows the path that Luke believes he could potentially be headed on.  It makes the audience question whether or not he had enough training from Yoda to remain a Jedi, or inevitably become a Sith, like Anakin.  Maybe he thought it was part of his destiny, as Darth Vader had proclaimed.

This is where I think the part of the shirt falling open at the end of the movie is key to his character.  The shirt falling open still annoys me to this day, but now I look at it as a deliberate choice from Lucas.  By having the top part of the shirt fall open, it not only breaks up the black within the costume and gives us some light, but from an audience’s viewpoint, it’s on the left of Luke’s body.  Our hearts are on the left side of our chest and viewing Luke from an opposite side, it shows Luke’s heart being open.  When he refuses to give in to the dark side of the force, he is tortured and the shirt falls open, revealing that the dark side did not overtake him.  It was interrupted by the light side of the Force.   It makes Luke open to change, open to choice, and open to the light side of the Force.

At the end of the movie, Luke decides to focus not on the fact that Darth Vader is a Sith, but that he has come to accept that he was once Anakin Skywalker, his father.  By realizing that the Anakin Skywalker who fathered him was a Jedi at that point, it helps Luke remember that he has a choice.  His heart opens to the light side of the Force and at the climax of the movie, he tells the Emperor, “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”  He accepts both the dark side and the light side of the Force as part of him and makes a choice on which to follow.


I hope you all enjoyed my three part series on the costumes of Leia, Han, and Luke as it reflects their journeys as characters.  I’m most interested to see where this leads us going forward with The Force Awakens, especially with Luke.  As a Jedi, there’s a lot more at stake if Luke turns to the dark side and with Darth Vader as his father, it’s entirely possible.

What are your thoughts on our three heroes and their costumes? Have I made a right judgement in my analyses?  Luke was the hardest to figure out, which is why I saved him for last. Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on Luke?