My Love For Star Wars in a Party

When I was 11, I received my first copy of Star Wars Insider from Lucasfilm after writing a letter to George Lucas (I did not get reply from him, alas).  Within the issue, they had a section where they printed letters from fans and readers.  One letter started out as:

Dear Insider,

I have been a Star Wars fan for over 20 years…

That sentence has stuck with me throughout my life.  Why?  Because family and friends thought I was going through a “fad” or “stage” in life with my Star Wars obsession.  And there is nothing that irks me more, even at that young age, than people thinking I’ll grow out of something or won’t like something as much in a while.  I saw that sentence and thought, “I want to be a Star Wars fan for over 20 years as well.”

I haven’t reached 20 years, but I’m currently at 18 years.  Actually, technically I’m over 20 years if you count when I first saw Star Wars, but I only count the age when I became obsessed as the starting point in my Star Wars journey.

Throughout this journey I have:

Yup, that Star Wars party happened this past weekend.  Why?  Because what better time to celebrate my true love than around Valentine’s Day?

I know “first annual” is an oxymoron of sorts, but I wanted to make it clear that this is something that will be continual on a yearly basis.  Due to some bad weather the day before, we only had seven people show up (12 RSVP’d as a yes) but I was more than happy with that!  This was blue_milkthe greatest party I could ever throw, in my opinion.

And, oh the discussions!  It was so wonderful to sit with friends, drink some wine and blue milk (yes, I had some blue milk and Yoda soda), watch a Star Wars movie, and discuss Star Wars for four hours.  Heaven.

What movie did we watch?  Ah, the suspense!  No one knew until they showed up and there was a prize for those who guessed correctly.  Surprisingly, there were a lot of ROTS guesses, which I thought was very strange.

But the movie I chose was The Force Awakens for two reasons: 1) In honor of my daughter, whom I hope will grow to be like Rey, and 2) It was the one movie I had not seen and discussed with a lot of my friends.

To reiterate: the discussions!  I have missed talking about Star Wars and guessing what will be coming next with good friends.  Here were my favorite discussions that happened during the party…please chime in with any thoughts you might have as well.

1. The Force Vision/Knights of Ren

When Rey touches Luke’s lightsaber on Takodona, there a bunch of scenes that go by very quickly.  One of them involves what looks like a knights-of-renmassacre by the Knights of Ren, with Kylo leading them with a lightsaber in the rain.  We don’t know where this is or what happened.  Rey sees someone coming towards her who looks like they are about to kill her, but instead gets killed by Kylo Ren.  When Kylo Ren starts stepping towards her, she gets scared and backs up, where the scene immediately shifts to a young Rey being left behind on Jakku with Unkar Plutt dragging her away.

My friend brought up this theory: what if Kylo Ren had, in fact, saved a young Rey (though we are seeing her as an adult) from another Knight of Ren?  That Knight of Ren could have been going to kill Rey as part of the massacre, but Kylo Ren steps in to save her.  He then takes her to Jakku where she is left behind, which would explain why it seems like Kylo Ren knows her.  Why would he save her? That’s the question.  Guilt?  Is he related to her?  If so – why wouldn’t Han recognize her?

When I previously thought about this scene, I thought Rey was seeing some insight into what happened when Kylo Ren turned to the dark side and those were all of Luke’s Jedi pupils.  I never thought about her actually being there, but the more I think about it, the more I like this theory and it seems to make sense.

2.The Force Vision/Artoo Shut Down

This is my theory and I have brought it up before, but it did become a discussion point again at the party.  In the Force vision, we see Luke put a hand on Artoo.  Artoo is clearly “awake” here and not in hibernation.  Is Luke shutting Artoo down and somehow using the Force to make sure the next time he awakes, it will be because of Rey?

This theory is a little far-fetched, but I keep coming back to it, because WHY are they showing Artoo in this vision?  It could be because Abrams wanted to keep Luke as hidden as possible until the end of the movie, but I also don’t think there were any throwaways in this movie.  They could have not had this scene if he wanted Luke to remain hidden.  Why show Artoo?

I believe Artoo was getting some kind of direction here and it is interesting that he is “awakened” just when Rey shows up on D’Qar.

Here’s a video of the Force vision for your reference:

3. Your favorite 15-20 minutes in Star Wars

This was a question someone asked at the end of the party.  What is your favorite 15-20 minutes out of all the Star Wars movies?

I thought that would be hard and there were scenes that flit across my brain very fast as I tried to think of something.  I thought of Amidala speaking to the senate (“I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die…”), I remembered Luke staring out at the binary sunset, I thought about Vader revealing he is Luke’s father, I thought about Rey rescuing BB-8, I remember Order 66, I remember Leia and Han’s exchange before he went into carbonite (“I love you!”  “I know.”), but then one part of the saga stood out to me the most.

My favorite scene in the Star Wars saga would be the end of Return of the Jedi.  Luke is trying to control his emotions but Vader gets to him when he realizes that Luke has a sister and says he will turn her to the dark side.  Luke loses it and goes after Vader with such hatred and bests him in their final lightsaber match.  He cuts of his hand in anger – only to hear the Emperor’s sinister laugh behind him.  The Emperor is sure of his victory; sure that Luke will take Vader’s place.  And then….Luke turns away from the dark side.  Seeing his own hand cut off, he turns to the Emperor and tells him:

You failed your highness.  I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

It makes me want to woop with joy every time I see that scene.  Talk about good triumphing over all!  Talk about doing the right thing even when you know it means death!  Aggggh that scene – everything about it: the lightsabers, the ominous music, the Emperor’s moment of triumph – only to have Luke come out on top and throw away his lightsaber.

The best.  That is, in my eyes, the best scene from the entire saga.

 

My party was wonderful and I had a great time.  It’s the perfect thing for me to look forward to since I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day.  This is a way to celebrate my true love in a way that honors it.

I can’t wait until next year’s party.

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Rogue One Trailer

I almost didn’t write a post on this because it seems like everyone and their mother is doing it.  But that wouldn’t make sense for a Star Wars themed blog now, would it?

We all know how excited I was (and I guess still am) about the movie.  I think it could be a very different take for the Star Wars universe and if it goes well, I think these anthology films could open a whole new window for them to play in the sandbox of story lines outside of the Skywalker family.

But this trailer kind of made me backup a little bit and I couldn’t quite pinpoint why.  I have two reasons below but there is definitely some hesitation on my part.

What I liked:

  • I’m feeling Felicity Jones as a lead and it definitely feeds into my need for more female leads in the Star Wars movies.
  • I also liked seeing Mon Mothma and the Rebellion without any of our heroes (though we still don’t know if that guy is Biggs or not).
  • The trailer showed that Rogue One has a completely different feel from any other Star Wars movie.  You can see this one will have more grit and could possibly play out like a Legends novel.
  • I like that Jones’ character’s name is Jen.  Like Luke.  Kinda bringing it back to some good ol’ American/English names that aren’t way out there. (Update: I’ve been alerted it’s spelled Jyn, so similar to Rey – normal but not normal)
  • Friends have mentioned I look like Mon Mothma/Genevieve O’Reilly.  Really?  I can see it now that I have blond highlights but I’m unsure if this is a good or bad thing.
  • GONK DROIDS!
  • When they put the shield (super laser cannon well?) over the Death Star.  Soooo cooool.  It’s like the cross-sections book coming to life!
  • The guy with the staff.  Yay, more staff fighting.  I was a big fan of Rey fighting with her staff, but this is bound to be SO much cooler.  You can already see one dead stormtrooper in the background.
  • AND!!  Oh, and!!  There didn’t seem to be one speck of romance in it and I’m all about that.

What I was unsure of:

  • I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  I know they said that this movie was going to put the “war” in Star Wars, but some of me felt like it was a rip off of other war movies, but with Star Wars in it.  The desert looked like Iraq in American Sniper and the scene with the AT-ATs looked like every Vietnam movie out there.  I guess, for me, if you are going to do a war movie, don’t pick locations that scream American wars.
  • When I took a step back from being a Star Wars fan and viewing this as a regular audience member, I thought it looked slightly hokey and campy.  Like we could throw Vin Diesel in there for giggles and it would work.  Sometimes it had the flavor of a fan made film.

I’m a little surprised that I came away with doubts, but I’m definitely still excited.  I don’t really care about staying spoiler-free for this movie and I’ll definitely see it as soon as it comes out.  I’m keeping an open mind and will eagerly await the next trailer.  Still more excited over this one than a Han Solo movie.

Thoughts?

P.S. Was that Darth Vader or the Emperor in that cloak that went to a kneeling position?

*Another update*: This is a great read.  Short but io9 also did it for TFA.  I love this dissecting and TOTALLY didn’t notice the droid before.  That could be a very interesting twist.  Instead of a slow, lumbering, protocol or astromech droid, we get something more along the lines of IG-88: http://io9.gizmodo.com/every-cool-detail-we-spotted-in-the-rogue-one-a-star-w-1769606654

In Which I Defend General Hux and Speculate on Supreme Leader Snoke

General Hux

I think I’m in the minority out there…but I really like General Hux.  I’ve been reading many reviews that label him as a superfluous character in The Force Awakens but I would like to argue that people who are writing about that are missing the point of who he is.

General Hux is a bad guy, sure.  He’s not the main antagonist like Kylo Ren and, possibly in the future, SL Snoke, but he falls more in the realm of a secondary antagonist.  Maybe J.J. was trying to create him to be the new Grand Moff Tarkin but he fell short.  Not in a bad way necessarily, but just because General Hux is different from Tarkin.

General HuxHux represents a new generation of the Empire.  He is the ideal First Order candidate.  Similar to Finn, he was raised with Imperial propaganda as his breakfast, lunch and dinner.  General Hux sincerely believed that the Empire saved the Republic from the Clone Wars and the current New Republic is weak.  He grew up as a beast frothing at his mouth, trapped by the New Republic.  He’s what I would label a First Order Fanatic (FOF…nice ring, right?).

This is where he is different from Grand Moff Tarkin.  Tarkin worked strategically to get the Empire where it was.  Hux believed it was his God given right to rule the galaxy as one of the best Generals in charge of the biggest, baddest base.   Tarkin was someone who firmly believed the Empire should rule the galaxy.  Hux believes the First Order is there to wipe out anyone who doesn’t agree with them and he should be leading it.

He’s a maniac. I love it.

All his thoughts and actions are surrounding the First Order in a way that reminds you of a deranged serial killer.  He’s obsessed with bringing the First Order to the height that the Empire once was.  He steals kids from birth to brainwash them into being perfect stormtroopers for the First Order!  Wow.

Everything he says and does is purely for the First Order. Starkiller base and it’s troops are his tools that he works into perfection.  Even Kylo Ren does not live up to his expectations, possibly because he knows that he has not completed his training or maybe it’s because of his heritage that involves people who so vehemently opposed the Empire, and now, the First Order.  Though Hux makes mistakes, you can see that he genuinely believes he still has the best army in the galaxy, unlike Kylo Ren who shows a moment of weakness when Hux accuses him of purposefully letting BB-8 escape in favor of taking the girl instead.  General Hux hates weakness and hates mistakes, especially large blunders like the one Kylo Ren made.

All this leads me to talk about why I loved his speech.  There were a lot of complaints out there about how it was badly written, but I didn’t even pay attention to what was said.  I was enraptured with Hux’s face because in that moment, he is in his glory.  Everything he has worked so hard for over 30 years is coming to a the epic climax.  His eyes fill with tears and you can see he means every single word of what he is saying to the core of his being.  This is his moment to show the galaxy that General Hux and the First Order are not ones to be trifled with.

He’s crazy.  I love it.

 

Supreme Leader Snoke

There are rumors going around that Snoke is Darth Plagueis.  He looks like someone once dead and most importantly, people are arguing that Snoke’s theme is eerily similar to the music played during ROTS when Palpatine and Anakin discuss Plagueis at the opera.

I sincerely hope that Snoke is not Plagueis.

Why?

Oh, I’m so glad you asked!

Because the more I’ve written in this blog about Palpatine, the more I love his character.  Lucas did an excellent job intertwining Palpatine’s story between both trilogies to see that he was an absolute genius and mastermind in creating the Empire bringing the Sith back into power.  He was, in supreme leader snokeshort, a genius the galaxy had never seen.

Palpatine, as we know, also learned everything he could from his master Darth Plagueis, and then killed him.  He stole everything he learned.

Do you really think that Palpatine would let there be a chance that Plagueis could return?  By doing so, it shows a weakness in Palpatine’s planning and takes away from how amazing and intelligent 60+ years of his life was.

The music being similar is a good argument, but LFL and Disney has a bunch of tricks up their sleeve.  Remember that the previews led us to believe that Finn was the Force user, as opposed to Rey.

Or perhaps Williams is getting up there in years and forgot he already did a very similar piece.

I just don’t like the idea of Snoke being Plagueis because it takes away from Palpatine’s greatness.  I much prefer Snoke being Palpatine resurrected but, for some reason, I just don’t think that’s the case.  I could be wrong, but I think that would be yawn-worthy and hope they don’t do it.  I like Palpatine’s story just the way it is and I don’t think he should be brought back.

It would also be somewhat out-of-character for Disney to bring in a character that was only mentioned in the PT when they are focusing so much on pulling similarities from the OT.  I will argue that the opera scene is one of the most interesting and best acted scenes in the PT and I don’t think anyone could argue with that so perhaps if they take anything from the PT, they go with the Plagueis storyline since it is canon.

If you’re interested in reading all the theories out there on who Snoke is, combined into one place, click here.

But please don’t.  Leave Plagueis to history and leave Palpatine with his body in fragments across the galaxy after the second Death Star was destroyed.

 

Haiku Me Friday! The Never Ending Battle

You know what?  I love the Rebellion and I love the protagonists, but gosh, it must be SO tiring to be a Rebel.  Palpatine was so deliberate in every single one of his actions and made such a huge Empire where it’s reaches were felt all over the galaxy.  And the fight…the fight for freedom goes ever on and on, down from the road where it began…and it just NEVER ENDS.

How did they not throw in the towel, put up the white flag, or even sleep in for a day?  It amazes me how people, when they really believe in a cause, will not rest until they get what they want.

Look at Ghandi.  Look at Martin Luther King, Jr.  Look at the French Revolution. Hell, look at our American Revolutionary War (which started in my hometown of Lexington, MA holllllla).

It’s the same thing with the Rebellion in the Star Wars saga and will only continue in The Force Awakens.  It makes me tired when I think about it.  The constant fighting, the constant small victories, that feeling when you’ve finally gotten somewhere…only to find out that for everything you win, the Empire still seems to be going strong.

Sometimes it really makes me feel inadequate, but other times I feel really, really blessed.  I can sleep in on weekends.  I can go to bed without fear of a bomb dropping on my head.  I’m not forced to leave my home and the place I love.

The Rebels never really rested.  They believed in fighting the Empire with all they had and they will continue to do so in Episode VII and beyond.

So on this Friday, in my own small way, I want to raise a glass to those out there, right now, right this moment, that are fighting for what their cause and are not giving up against tyranny and terrorism, who don’t have the luxury of sleeping in, and who don’t have a home.

If Star Wars teaches us anything, it teaches us that you have to keep fighting for what you believe in, even if the odds are against you.  Because there is always hope in the goodwill and kindness of strangers, in humanity doing the right thing, even if it feels like a never ending battle.

It goes on and on The never ending battle Will we see results?

It goes on and on
The never ending battle
Will we see results?

Luke and the Dark Side

While writing my analysis of Luke’s costumes through the Original Trilogy, an interesting question presented itself.

Do you think Luke would have turned to the dark side had he not known Leia was his sister?

I’m looking at this in a way of Luke having no family that he knew of at all.  Leia can still be in the picture, but only as a friend at this point, not even a romantic interest.

Luke finds out about Leia being his sister right before he goes to confront his father.  I know that in the end, it looks like Leia could be the string that unravels it all.  When Vader finds out Luke has a sister and uses it as bait, Luke goes crazy.  The thought of Leia being turned brings him perilously close to the dark side; some could even argue that he enters the dark side as he lashes out against Vader (one of my favorite lightsaber battles).

You could argue that Leia brought him closer to the dark side.  He had attachment to her at this point, something Yoda of the Prequels would admonish him for.  But could this attachment also have saved him?

Luke and leia discussing motherHe now had an immediate family member, something Luke had never had his entire life until finding out about Vader being his father…and that’s not really the family you always wished for.  In a way, Leia is holding him accountable, subconsciously, to come back after he is done confronting Vader.  She was the last person he spoke to and saw before leaving for the Death Star.

If Leia was out of the picture, would the Emperor have been able to turn him?  He was so, so close with the talk of Luke’s “pitiful friends” and the trap that was laid out for them.  Luke was the first to go on the offense at the Emperor’s goading.

When Vader found out about a sister, it was because Luke was trying so hard to *not* think about Leia.  He didn’t want Vader to know about her for fear that Vader would, of course, try to lure her to the dark side too (though, personally, I think Leia is has a stronger personality and wouldn’t have been swayed).

So taking Leia out, would it have been easier for him to turn?  Pointless thoughts, I know, since that’s not what happened, but it made me think that perhaps Luke’s strength in the Force comes from love for family.  If Vader was the only family member he knew, maybe he would have been more easily tempted to join him and take down the Emperor.  Perhaps Leia was holding him back as a reminder of the light side of the Force.

Care to discuss?