Haiku Me Friday! The Outlander Club

The smoke fills my lungs Creatures of all kinds and shapes What? A lightsaber?

The smoke fills my lungs
Creatures of all kinds and shapes
What? A lightsaber?

I did a little twist this week and tried to imagine what it would be like to be a patron at the Outlander Club when Obi-Wan and Anakin show up chasing Zam Wesell.

I love this scene in Attack of the Clones (yes, I just admitted to loving something in AOTC).  It’s one of the few times we get to see the seedy underground of Coruscant and what everyday beings do when it’s time to unwind.  Apparently, just like on Earth, people like to go out and have a drink, possibly gamble, and watch sports.

In this scene, two Jedi show up which must have been unusual.  I feel like Jedi could have been a little like police – when they show up in their Jedi outfit, you know something is about to go down.  I wonder if the reaction to the Jedi was similar to the reaction people had to Stormtroopers 15 years later, but not *as* harsh, since there was a chance you could live when you encountered a Jedi.

I purposefully ended my haiku where I did because I have not yet been able to figure out if Anakin used a mind trick on the patrons of Outlander Club to make them forget their encounter with Zam or if it was an honest statement that it was “Jedi business”.  It’s not like I stay awake at night thinking about this, but I have always wondered (I bet the novelization would give me more insight).  So for the haiku, I had that be the last quick thought before they either go about their business and don’t care, or if they forget because Anakin used a mind trick.

Can you imagine living in a world where this is kind of normal though?  Injuring/killing people like it’s no biggie?  I remember telling my dad that I loved how Han Solo was able to kill someone, flip some extra money to the bartender, and go about like nothing happened.  I’m not sure why I found that cool, because honestly, I wouldn’t really want that to happen in my everyday life, but when I was younger – it was the bees knees!  Now I see it for what it is – a nod-of-the-head to the old Western movies where similar scenes often happened in Saloons.

I’ve said this over and over again on this blog but – I really hope in future movies to see more of the seedy, other side of the Star Wars universe.  We definitely got to see some with Cassian in Rogue One but it still was part of a bigger picture with a fight of Rebellion vs. Empire.  More individual, interesting stories of average folks that make the universe seem as large as it should be would be a good step for Disney to take.

 

Do you guys have any thoughts on the Outlander Club?  Or seeing something different in Star Wars?  Would you want to see stories that step away from main characters, Jedi, Rebellion, and the Empire? 

Haiku Me Friday! Luke’s Solidarity

A single Jedi Alone for most of his life Will Rey bring a change?

A single Jedi
Alone for most of his life
Will Rey bring a change?

I had a strange realization last night.  Luke is alone as a Jedi for most of his life.  The fate of the Jedi rests on him as soon as Obi-Wan died.  It’s such a strong juxtaposition compared to the Prequels where we see the Jedi in numbers.  In TFA it’s worse than it ever was – he’s a hermit on Ahch-To with no other human beings around.  He retreats due to failures and it seems like he may not want to train Jedi again…perhaps it’s come full circle and he has the same feelings as Yoda?  Perhaps he will also tell Rey he’s too old to train another Jedi?  Too scared of failure?

From reading Bloodline, the book indicated that he spent time with Ben Solo and worked to train him but it didn’t seem to imply that he had ever gone off in search of other Jedi to build a Council or anything similar to what they had in the PT.

Will Rey change this?  I wonder if this next Sequel Trilogy will leave us with the feeling that the Jedi will eventually expand in numbers?  Or will it only be Luke and Rey taking on the world?

The Most Pointless Scenes in the Star Wars Saga

The end of pregnancy does weird things to you…for instance – everyone is telling you to “get your sleep” while you can, but yet, you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, uncomfortable, and unable to fall asleep again for at least an hour.

And what do I do during that hour+? Obsess about the weirdest stuff.  Not stuff that makes sense like, “Will I be a good mom? Will I bring my child up safely and politely? Will my relationship survive the strain?”

Oh no.  I obsess about stuff like, “I wonder if I’ll remember to take the trash out when I have the baby,” or “Why is my dog making those weird sounds?  Did he throw up?” in which I promptly jump up, shine a light on him, wake my husband up, and see my dog is just in a funny sleeping position so semi-snoring.  Yes, this happened once.

Last night I woke up and obsessed about my  ideas for Star Wars blog posts and how I haven’t written any yet.  Then it evolved into how I could expand on one of my ideas and write an entire blog post about pointless scenes in the saga.

So here we are!  The fruits of last night’s pregnancy insomnia.

I define scenes as “pointless” if it could have been cut entirely and/or gotten to the point of the scene a lot faster.

 

The Phantom Menace

I think the most pointless scene in TPM would be the bongo scene.  After arriving in Otoh Gunga with Jar Jar who was exiled, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon bongo phantom menaceJedi mind trick Boss Nass into giving them a transport out of there.  He gives them a tribubble bongo and they head off to Theed through the planet core.

What ensues is basically a fish chase.  They almost get eaten multiple times, Jar Jar freaks out too many times and everyone has some pretty dumb lines (“There’s always a bigger fish”).

This entire scene could have been cut.  Instead, we could have seen them get on the bongo then appear in Theed.  Funnily – it’s the scene right after this one that Lucas decides to keep when they arrive above water and have to escape being almost pulled down a waterfall.

If you want to add a little tension and excitement to the movie, that cut scene would have done a better job than the exceedingly drawn out bongo trip.

 

Attack of the Clones

Two scenes come to mind here: 1) the droid factory scene where Padmé and Anakin are on some kind of weird obstacle course and Anakin’s lightsaber dies, and 2) the gladiator arena scene at the end.

The droid factory scene is more pointless than the gladiator scene.  I think this entire segment could have been cut out and replaced with something a padme droid factorylot more interesting.  The point of this scene was to catch Anakin and Padmé somewhere they weren’t supposed to be, therefore giving an excuse to have them in the gladiator scene with Obi-Wan.  Well, why not pick something that made the two main characters look a whole lot less foolish?  Maybe spying on Count Dooku, or, even trying to rescue Obi-Wan right away and failing.  And the whole thing with the lightsaber dying in the droid factory really rubbed me the wrong way.  It took the mystique out of lightsabers that there is a possibility it could fail like anything else mechanical.  Let’s not even go into Threepio in this scene and how must stupider it made the scene look with his horrible puns.

The gladiator scene is a harder to argue against but in this case, I think it was drawn out a little too long, similar to the bongo scene.  I understand it was a convenient setup to have Obi-Wan, Padmé, and Anakin in one place for when the Jedi and clone troopers save the day.  But it was unnecessary to have it be so dramatic when we had both the battle between the Separatists/Clones and Yoda/Count Dooku on the horizon.  I think we could have cut out the entire part with the animals and got rid of the similarities to Gladiator (the blockbuster and Oscar winner that came out around the same time as AOTC) and been a lot better for it.

 

Revenge of the Sith

The General Grievous versus Obi-Wan lightsaber fight.  Way too long and how in the world was General Grievous good enough to last as long as he did?  Again, this is one of the areas where Obi-Wan is so awesome that the fact that he had to keep chasing Grievous and have a weird showdown in order to kill him was yawn-worthy.

general grievous vs obi wan

We all knew that Grievous was not the main nemesis of the movie and there were so many other interesting aspect to get to that the corny lines (“Army or not, you must realize you are doomed.” “Oh, I don’t think so.”) and constant cat and mouse chase got to be too much.  Obi-Wan is one of the best Jedi Masters out there so just kill him already.

It would have been SO much cooler if it was like an Indiana Jones scene where the guy is doing all the tricks with the whip and Indy just takes out his gun and shoots him.  Something like that would have been way better for the Obi-Wan vs. Grievous show down.

 

A New Hope

Surprisingly – I can’t think of any pointless scenes in ANH.  This is one of the things that kept me awake longer than it should have last night because I think every scene in ANH is there for a reason, makes sense, and none of them are pointless.  This could be why I enjoy ANH more and more as I get older.

 

The Empire Strikes Back

This may be a little controversial, but I think one of the most pointless scenes in ESB is the cave scene where Luke sees his face in the mask of luke-dark-side-caveVader.  It’s not that I don’t understand what Lucas and Kershner are trying to do and say.  However, I think it could have been brought up totally differently if they wanted to make that point.  Or, do we even need it?  Was our Star Wars viewing experience enriched by that scene?  Isn’t it something that if you know Luke and see the training he is going through with Yoda, you can kind of figure it out on your own?  It’s a pointless bit of fake foreshadowing that leads the audience to believe and think something else.  Star Wars is also not known for its symbolism, even if it’s blatantly slapped in your face like this scene.  So why pull it in now?

 

Return of the Jedi

Honestly, I had a few scenes in my mind but then when I started to write about them, I realized that they didn’t quite hit “pointless” on my radar.  They did, in the end, have a point and they didn’t need to be cut either.

Therefore, I’m leaving ROTJ as another movie that was pretty well done and not too many scenes that I thought could have been left out.

 

The Force Awakens

Oh c’mon, do I even need to go here?  We all know the scene that should have been cut.

rathtar tfaThe freaking Rathtar scene.

Whhhhy is it in the movie?  As I thought about this, the only reasons I could think of was to a) alert Han that the First Order was looking for two fugitives and a BB droid, and b) to show that Han Solo still has trouble talking his way out of things, albeit in a funny way in that he thinks he can talk himself out of dire situations.

This could have definitely been done differently.  Being a smuggler again, Han probably would have known the First Order was looking for two fugitives and a BB unit…he probably would have had that come in on a priority signal or something.

As for the second part, we didn’t need it.  Han had plenty of time in the movie to show that he was still the same guy.

This scene is up there with the droid factory scene in AOTC as something that could have been completely cut.  It was childish, out-of-place in the Star Wars universe and was thrown in only for the action element.

 

I love Star Wars, as you all know.  But there are some parts of it that drag on too long or don’t seem to have a reason as to why they are in the movie.  More of the fault lied with the Prequel Trilogy than the Original Trilogy as I feel that gratuitous action scenes were thrown in to keep up with other summer blockbusters, when they really just made the movie look a little silly.

 

Let me know if you guys think of some pointless scenes in ANH and ROTJ…or if you disagree with my assessment!

Sorry, I Can’t Relate – I’m a Younger Star Wars Fan

Ever since The Clone Wars came out, I’ve considered myself an “in the middle” Star Wars fan.  I’m not one of the original Star Wars fans who got to see the Original Trilogy in the theaters, nor am I the youngest who have fallen in love with Star Wars through the TV shows and, now, the release of new movies.  I’m smack in the middle…one of the younger fans who grew up on the Prequels.  Maybe we’re not so young now, but I always feel young when I talk to the fans who were there when it all began.

As such, when I do happen to talk to the Star Wars fans who have known a world without Star Wars, I find that there are some things I just can’t understand in terms of experiences and annoyances.

I compiled this list in my head during the past week of feelings I can’t relate to as a Star Wars fan born post-Original Trilogy.

Midi-chlorians

For some reason, this is one of the strongest differences I find between myself and older fans.  I’ve read articles and talked to people who were absolutely heartbroken that Lucas “scientized” the Force.

qui gon jinn and anakinMy understanding is that when you watched ANH, it gave the impression that the Force was so mystical and anyone could use if they had the proper training.  It spoke to fans because they realized that they could have this power.  By the end of ROTJ, fans realized it could be genetic but it was still something completely supernatural.  It couldn’t be explained why someone had the Force and someone didn’t or if it always gets passed down through generations.

When TPM came out and introduced midi-chlorians as the reason for the Force, a lot of older fans were outraged.  They were, and still are, upset that the Force became something you could track and measure by taking a blood sample.

I’ve never been able to relate to this.  I was 12 when TPM came out and even though I had seen the OT beforehand, I never thought much about the Force.  It was just there.  Luke had it.  Vader had it.  It was implied Leia might have it.  So when Qui-Gon starts telling Anakin about midi-chlorians, I thought, “Ah, okay, that makes sense,” and it became part of my Star Wars knowledge almost instantaneously.  I accepted it and moved on.  When people get upset about it, I almost can’t remember a time before midi-chlorians so it doesn’t get me worked up.

Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s Father

Alas, I wish I could relate to the shock everyone felt when that was revealed.  But I can’t . I knew Vader was Luke’s father before I watched the movies for the first time.  Even if I was never directly told, it’s such a part of our pop culture that the misquoted, “Luke, I am your father,” is almost I am your father vaderomnipresent.

This is one of those things where I really wish I could have had that older fan experience.  I wish I could be in the theater watching it for the first time and think, “Wait, what?  Did I hear that right?  What did he say?”

But nope.  It’ll never happen like that because I was born post-1980.

Jar Jar Binks

Jar Jar binksThis may come as a surprise, but I don’t hate Jar Jar.  Like the midi-chlorians, since TPM came out when I was 12, Jar Jar became accepted into my Star Wars love with no issues.  It wasn’t until I was older and rewatch the movies that I think he’s annoying.  Yet in 1999, he was just a different alien that, in the end, helped the Jedi and Amidala obtain victory over the Trade Federation.

Even now, I can’t relate to the extreme hatred older fans have for this character.  The cruelness at which fans crucify this character and George Lucas for creating him is baffling to me.  I’ve read that people think he’s a Jamaican stereotype and cruelly berate Lucas in articles for it.  Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not, but I don’t get it and I can’t relate to it.

The Feeling That Star Wars is Done Forever

I kind of felt like Star Wars as I knew it was over in 2005 after ROTS was released.  I didn’t know where my love for Star Wars would take me.  But even as it ended, there were rumors of an animated Star Wars TV show being released (keep in mind the original TCW, was an animated microseries,star wars comic 1985 ended in 2005 as well).  By 2008, we had a completely new Star Wars to watch, albeit a very different format, but enough to keep the spark there.

I don’t know what it feels like to feel like there is NOTHING.  Sure, Star Wars continued in the form of board games, comics, and some old school video games after ROTJ, but no one thought there would be new movies, TV shows, etc.  The Thrawn Trilogy wasn’t published until the early 1990s so there was a good 8-10 years where all fans had were comics and games.

Props to the older Star Wars fans.  I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be in a Jakku-like planet with absolutely no knowledge that there would ever be more Star Wars movies.

Practical Sets/Effects vs. CGI

This has become a huge debate in the past few years since Abrams was brought on board for TFA.  Any time he or Kathleen Kennedy was interviewed, they stressed about bringing back real sets, real costumes, real locations for the new Star Wars trilogy.  It’s clear that what they were saying is practical = Original Trilogy = what most fans love and CGI = Prequel Trilogy = what most fans dislike.

coruscantI disagree.   The PT is a large part of my life and I don’t think CGI is bad.  What I could possibly concede on is that a) too much CGI was used, and b) the scripts were not well done in the PT.  If you don’t have a good script or storyline, then the CGI is going to be more noticeable.

I loved seeing the planet of Coruscant, the ships in space, and all the interesting planets we got to see because of Lucas’ work with CGI.  One of my favorite scenes is when Artoo fixes the hyperdrive on Queen Amidala’s ship.  Can you imagine how crude that would look without CGI?  I also loved Utapau and the scenes with Obi-Wan riding the Varactyl.  That would not have been possible without CGI.

So I can’t understand where this aversion of CGI comes from.  It also baffles me that KK and Abrams went to such lengths to talk up their practical sets when the movie has a lot of CGI in it.  I’ve said this before, but if you are going to go in one direction or the other, go all the way.  I thought Snoke was one of the most out-of-place characters/moments/scenes in TFA and I know it was due to the CGI.  He might not have looked so out of place in the PT because our minds were used to the special effects.

 

If you’re an older fan, do you disagree with some of what I said?  If you’re a younger fan than me, is there something that perhaps you can’t relate to that I’ve written about?  If you are close to my age, do you agree with what I’ve written?

How Star Wars Made Me Who I Am Today

On the surface, Star Wars is a story about good versus evil.  It can seem simplistic to anyone who does not delve into the lair of the Sarlacc to find out as much as possible about the saga.

But it’s so much more than that as any fan can attest to.  It’s changed our lives to a varying degree or has been a guiding point for some of us throughout our life.

I was faced with a tough situation recently that brought the wisdom of Star Wars to the forefront of my mind.  I began to think about the way Star Wars has helped me throughout my years since I began to be obsessed with it.

 

Ages 8-10

This was when I first started getting into Star Wars.  Only the OT was available at that point and I used Star Wars to understand the classic good versus evil.  I was more simplistic back then and when I thought about “life” as a whole, it was black and white.

luke yoda training

What helped me the most was the part in ESB where Luke asks Yoda:

“Is the dark side stronger?”

“No… no… no.  Quicker, easier, more seductive.”

“But how am I to know the good side from the bad?”

“You will know.  When you are calm, at peace.”

So simple, but just what I needed at that point in my life.  Luke asks the point blank question on if the dark side is stronger and Yoda doesn’t give a wishy-washy answer.  The answer was no.

 

Pre-Teens (10-12)

I began to get restless at this age.  I understood there was more out there but I couldn’t quite grasp it yet.  I got antsy and frustrated.  Middle school was crueler, harder.  TPM came out when I was 11 and that’s when I began again to look at not just good versus evil, but being a better person as well.

qui gon and obi wanIt was the Jedi who guided me at this point.  Being introduced to the Jedi Council and hearing Qui-Gon Jinn’s advice to Obi-Wan encouraged me to pretend that I was also a Jedi Apprentice.

I also watched Luke’s journey more closely, understanding that he took a hard journey to become the Jedi that we knew him to be at the end of ROTJ.  It’s not always easy to do right, but it’s what you should do.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but during this time I kept a “Jedi Journal”.  Each day I would write down ways where I failed to live up the Jedi standard and how to improve.  Looking back, it sounds a little extreme, but it did help me become a lot more aware of my actions.

 

Angsty Teens (13-18)

I think this was one of the hardest parts of my life as the bullying began in middle school and I tried to find my place in high school.  I was different, nerdy, strange, and openly known as being obsessed with Star Wars.  Getting up and going to school was so difficult in the beginning, but gradually it became easier as people realized I didn’t care what they thought.  My friends were my friends because they liked me, not what I wore or what I loved.  That’s not to say I didn’t struggle – but I think this time period taught me to find myself and remain firm.

I had my first boyfriend whom I went out with for 2.5 years in high school and I remember he struggled with going out with *me*.  He was more padme leiapopular than I was, fit in more, and many people couldn’t understand why he would want to be with me.  (Yes, I know, looking back, I’m not sure why I stayed with him that long but hindsight is 20/20.)  In turn, that made me feel more out of place because I wasn’t necessarily accepted by his friends and my friends also felt uncomfortable around him.  It was a strange, isolating experience.

I gravitated towards the women of Star Wars during this time period: Padmé and Leia.  I liked how Amidala was in TPM, strong and just didn’t give a hoot what others thought about her decisions.  I loved Leia’s spunk and how she was a princess, Han a smuggler, and yet they still ended up together.  Each woman knew they were smart and didn’t care what people thought of them.

 

College (18-23)

For the first time in my life, I don’t think I stayed true to myself during my freshman year of college.  I had a roommate who loved to party and I thought that was what I was supposed to do too.  I went out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights…even when all I wanted to do was stay in and watch a movie.  I dabbled with different men and learned how to look “hot”.  She was cruel, judgmental, and selfish, yet I thought that somehow translated to confident when it was anything but.  By hanging out with her so much, I also became similar to her than I like to admit.

star wars saga

I remember being home in between freshman and sophomore year for summer and feeling so much more relaxed.  I realized I hadn’t watched Star Wars once during that freshman year.  I had given up on my Hyperspace/starwars.com blog and had let my love for Star Wars fade.  I began watching the movies again and also realized how far I had strayed from whom I was.  Me…who had always prided myself in staying true to my roots.   Yes, people knew I loved Star Wars, it’s not like I hid it, but I had forgotten why I loved it.  That’s the most essential puzzle piece to being the level of fan that I am.

I went back into sophomore year with an effort to be more of who I was.  I had the same roommate (really bad call) and it hit the fan pretty fast, but I’m proud that I stuck to my gut feeling that I wasn’t the person I wanted to be when I was with her.  Our “friendship” fell apart and our time together was an icy standoff for the remaining 5 months of sophomore year.

As I separated myself from her and her lifestyle, the rest of my college ride went pretty smoothly.  I did not party as much, I studied more and had a few boyfriends.  The nicest of those men was a scoundrel who is now my husband.

 

The Dawn of Marriage (23-28)

Being married has come with way more difficulties than people ever tell you.  Or perhaps they try to tell you but you believe your love is the strongest ever and it’s not hard at all.  Marriage is hard work and it’s hard work every single day.  Some days are not so hard, but other days are the hardest thing in the world.  Yet, it’s rewarding and gratifying at the same time if you give it patience and watch it grow like a young plant.

anakin and padmeI’ve realized in the past 5 years that good and evil are not so clear cut as I may have thought when I was growing up.  Being an exemplary Jedi is not as easy as I thought either.  Sometimes we struggle or don’t do what we know we should do.

Rewatching the saga during my marriage has made me realize more than a few things, but it’s been Anakin’s turn to the dark side that has always stayed with me.

Anakin goes to the dark side to save Padmé.  I might not have seen the significance of this when ROTS first came out, but I get it more now.  Anakin is not really doing what is wrong in his eyes because to him — it’s an act of selflessness.  He will do anything to save the woman he loves and is there anything wrong with that?  Yes, obviously we know there is, but it makes me feel for him.  I realize that sometimes our choices seem right to us and they make sense, but you’re caught up in a mess of mynocks before you can change your mind.  At that point, you just roll with it and it gets harder and harder to get out.

Which is why it’s good to have a support system and be truthful with your spouse.  Whenever Padmé and Anakin began to get into a conversation where honesty could have changed their future, it flat lined and they avoided digging deeper.  The secrets they hid from each other, never mind keeping their relationship a secret from the outside world, put a large strain on their marriage.  I see that and am reminded of how fragile a marriage, or any relationship, is unless you are both honest and keep communication flowing.

 

Present Day (28-?)

Recently, I’ve seen some of my friends go through hard times in their own marriage, with discussions of divorce and counseling circulating.  They ask for advice, but really, who am I to give it?  It’s not my relationship and the problems they have are not ones I have so it’s hard for me to relate.  The one line I keep coming back to is when Luke wants to change Han’s mind in ANH but Leia says,

He’s got to follow his own path. No one can choose it for him.

I can only be here for my friends, I can’t fight a war for them and I most certainly cannot give advice.  Nor do I want to.  They have to follow their own path and make their own decisions, no one else can do that.

There are also a few things already at work within me since TFA was released.  I find myself emulating Rey in the most random of circumstances.  As I work on moving things out of the guest bedroom to make way for a new family member, I find myself doing a lot more than I used to.  I’ve been trying to figure out power tools, installing shelves myself, and I even did half of the diaper changing table before my husband woke up!  It’s this small voice in the back that says, “I bet Rey would have been able to do this herself.”

rey at home on jakku

I’m entering a new stage of my life right now.  I can feel my little Jedi kicking within me and wonder how Star Wars will continue to shape my life.  How can I show her to be self-sufficient like Rey?  To be smart like Padmé?  To not care what other people think?  To work for justice and peace in our galaxy?  To know good versus evil?

How will I pull from Star Wars to continue to change my life and possibly hers, even if it’s indirectly?