Haiku Me Friday! The Millennium Falcon

I like to change up my haikus every year. I forgot this year because, well, life. I realized this mistake last week and began thinking about how to provide some fresh insight into the haikus. I enjoy writing them because they are short, they provide a chance for me to research something about the Star Wars universe more in depth, or I go down a tangent that proves to be quite insightful and interesting. Or all the above!

When I first started my haikus, I based them off the Star Wars daily calendar that I had on my desk at the office. Whatever Friday provided as a picture or photo, that is what I would write about. Last year Mei-Mei suggested doing haikus from character’s points of views – I loved the idea and ran with it. This year I thought hard and came up with two ideas:

  1. Work through the entire saga (I-VIII) every Friday, or
  2. Have a different theme for each month.

Since I’m so delayed, I will be going with option #2. I love the idea of #1 but I would have to be very consistent and start the first Friday in January to give me as much time as possible.

Here’s my schedule:

  • January – woops
  • February – ships
  • March – Species
  • April – Jedi
  • May – Sith
  • June – The Skywalkers
  • July – The Rebellion & Resistance
  • August – the Empire & First Order
  • September – Planets
  • October – Bounty Hunters
  • November – Battles
  • December – Droids

I’m cheating in February because ships are my LEAST favorite thing to talk about in the Star Wars universe, so that gives me only two Fridays to talk about it.

 

So without further ado, ONWARDS!

It always escapes
Owners change throughout its life
Lando, Han, and Rey

 

With only two Fridays to focus on ships, I couldn’t pass up the chance to do a haiku on the Millennium Falcon. This is nowhere near one of my best haikus and I should focus more because there was a lot I wanted to say. (This haiku is better)

Since observing the new look of the Falcon in the Solo trailers and how pristine/different it seems, I began to get nostalgic for the Original Trilogy and Han’s ownership of it during that time period.

I grew up on the Prequels. Sure, I watched the Original Trilogy, but I didn’t feel this sense of ownership towards them like older fans did. But I’m realizing that I do feel a weird sense of protective traits toward the Falcon. I don’t mind that the Falcon now more or less belongs to Rey since I adore her, but it doesn’t sit as perfectly in my soul. The Falcon will always belong to Han Solo.

The bizarre twist to this is that I’m not a diehard Falcon fan. There are people who get tattoos of the Falcon and consider the ship to be a character within all the movies. I have never felt like that until…now. Until I see the Solo trailer and see how different it looks. The Falcon is new, it’s big mandibles have yet to come into being, and the inside looks like a medical facility.

Internally, I’m screaming. This isn’t the Millennium Falcon! This isn’t the ship that we love!

Don’t be fooled by this picture…my phone gave both Artoo and I some extreme airbrushing.

I found an old stuffed Artoo (it’s like an Artoo stuffed animal) last weekend while I was getting ready for my annual Star Wars party. I first encountered this little guy once when I was in Florida when I was 12 at a flea market. I didn’t buy it because I didn’t have enough money and my parents wouldn’t buy it for me – no doubt because they were still hoping this “fad” would disappear. So when we went back a year later I brought all the money I had and prayed and hoped that the little Artoo would still be for sale at the marketplace. And guess what? It was! It probably wasn’t the same one but the guy at the flea market still carried it. The cloth was shining white and it made beep boop sounds when you pressed it. I had that Artoo in my room for years, until my parents put an extension on their house and I had to pack it away. I’ve been carrying it around with me in a box as I moved around from apartment, to house, and to this new house, when I finally unpacked it.

When I found it last weekend, my heart soared and it brought back all these memories. It has weird water stains on it, the white is now almost a cream, but it still beeps strongly and is adorable.

This is the Artoo I love, like the Falcon in the OT. New is great, but old and full of memories can sometimes be better.

I understand that there is an origin story to every human being and even to every inanimate object we encounter. I’m going to work on accepting that with the Solo movie, even if I might struggle a bit with the Falcon.

 

How do you feel about the new Solo trailer? Do you love the Millennium Falcon or are you indifferent?

 

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The Master and the Apprentice – Obi-Wan Kenobi

After I watched The Last Jedi, I started thinking about the Master/Apprentice relationships of the Jedi throughout all the Star Wars films, I realized that they all are very different. I thought about the Jedi that we had seen in the films who we knew as apprentices and gradually grew into Masters themselves. The most prominent of these, and the ones that we got an in depth look at, are Obi-Wan and Luke. We see both in the Saga movies as Apprentices, and then Masters.

(Please note that while I would love to discuss Anakin/Ahsoka and Kanan/Ezra, I primarily try to stick to the movies in my blog to keep it as inclusive as possible – however, if someone else wants to discuss those, I’d love to hear your thoughts!)

 

I’ve divided the Apprentices and Masters into four labels:

 

Obi-Wan Kenobi – The Golden Child

             As a master – The Cautious

Anakin Skywalker – The Restless

Luke Skywalker – The Hopeful

               As a master – The Jaded

Rey – The Seeker

 

We only see Obi-Wan’s apprenticeship in one film, but it seems clear that he’s the “good kid”. You can see that the way he acted as an apprentice ended up steering the life he lived as a Jedi Master. Obi-Wan as an apprentice was rational and curious, but also followed directives. His Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, seemed to be the one who was more uncontrolled by nature. Obi-Wan is not an outside-of-the-box thinker when faced with the larger picture. He could think on his feet in the moment, in a battle, but he was not able to deviate from what he was presented when it came to larger life choices. We see this reflected mostly in Anakin, and in some ways, Luke.

As an Apprentice, Obi-Wan lives a very different life than what we see in the Original Trilogy. In TPM, Obi-Wan’s world as he knows it is intact. The Republic has flourished, the Jedi Council and members are strong and intact, and the Sith are mere whispers.

But over 15 years, everything he knows crumbles. He takes on Anakin as his apprentice and seems to grow even more cautious than he was an apprentice. He has a good relationship with him but in some ways, he stifles Anakin and too much of that relates back to his inability to think outside of the box.

Anakin pushes the boundaries and as a reaction, Obi-Wan tries to rein him in even more. I labeled Anakin as The Restless because even in TPM, we never see Anakin satisfied. When he’s young, he wants to be the greatest Jedi, free the slaves, and leave Tatooine to visit all the planets. In AOTC, we see Anakin fall in love, dissatisfied with Jedi Council’s forbiddance on attachment. Though I can’t stand the movie, one of the scenes that shows his true restless emotions is when he and Padmé are seated by the fire and acknowledging they’re falling for each other but refuse to do so at the same time. He is fidgeting, sweating, and held back by the rules of the Jedi – a real manifestation of the torture within him. In ROTS, we see his need for power grow. He knows he should not want more but he does. Instead of being satisfied with his life and who he is, this restless energy is becoming stronger and more potent within him. It’s a perfect breeding ground for Palpatine to come in and envelope him in the dark side of the Force.

When Anakin, who was The Chosen One, falls to the dark side and becomes a Sith who helps wipe out the entire Jedi Order, Obi-Wan’s life as he knows it drastically changes. If he was cautious as a Master to Anakin, you can imagine him being even more cautious with Luke.

We see Obi-Wan at his most guarded when he outright lies to Luke about who his father is. We could argue all day about WHY he did it, but the fact remains that he lied (from a certain point of view) and that was the cautionary side of him. He didn’t want to tell Luke at that moment because the timing was not right. Luke had no knowledge of the Force or of his Jedi ancestry. Perhaps Obi-Wan thought it would be better to wait until he became more invested in the ways of the Force.

Interestingly, the one time I believe Obi-Wan threw caution to the wind was when he gave himself up to the Force while fighting Darth Vader in ANH. He knew he could be of more help as a Force ghost than alive, but I do not think he deliberately planned out that situation.

Yet in ESB, he returns as a cautious Jedi Master. In Empire, he pleaded for Luke not to go to Cloud City. He wanted him to stay and finish his training. Ironically, the last pupil he had, Anakin Skywalker, also chafed at the leash of the Jedi training and Obi-Wan’s approach turned him to the dark side (there’s a lot more to Anakin’s fall; this is just one aspect of it). While Anakin restlessly remained a Jedi, Luke decided to disobey outright and go and help his friends, understanding full well the consequences of his actions.

In ROTJ, he seems to have a sense of despair layered onto his cautious side. He believes Vader cannot be turned back to the light side and the Emperor has won because Luke refuses to kill his father. He cautions him not to reveal that he has a sister, which in all fairness, seems to be the right choice. Yet, for all of Obi-Wan’s cautionary measures, nothing goes as planned and perhaps finding out that he not only one child, but two children with Padmé is his undoing.

 

I understand why people love Obi-Wan. He is an exemplary Jedi Knight who follows the Jedi Code and stays true to his roots. But his cautionary outlook is almost too inhibiting for those he takes under his wing and does some damage. As an apprentice, he closely followed the rules and continued to do so as an adult Jedi Master. Though he was less restrained as he grew older, he still did not bend the rules as much as he probably could have. It had different consequences in both apprentices – one who turned to the dark side and one who rid the galaxy of the dark side – both outcomes of not following the cautionary guidelines set forth by Obi-Wan.

Fan Art Friday! Anakin’s Progression

I’m really proud of this picture I did. I picked it when I was working my way through the machete theory prior to TLJ and was learning and appreciating Anakin’s downfall so much more.

The reason I like this one so much is because I think I finally got the skin coloring and lips of Anakin to a somewhat normal point. If you look at my past Fan Art Fridays, you’ll notice that often times I completely mess up the skin tone and it comes out way different than what I originally meant. This time, I even remembered to put a dash of red in young Ani’s cheeks so that it gives him a rosy glow from the podracing.

I always wonder what Qui-Gon sensed about Anakin. I feel like he had some kind of Force intuition about him…not just that his midi-chlorians were off the chart. Perhaps that cemented his intuition, but I wonder what he specifically felt. He knew he was the chosen one after bringing him before the Council, yet his feelings had to have been long-ranged. If Qui-Gon saw the shadow of Vader lurking in Anakin, would he have brought him back to Coruscant? Would he have made those bets on the podrace and tried so desperately to free Anakin?

This picture is so poignant because it shows us a stark dynamic between being a child and being adult, and worse, the difference between innocence and the extreme loss of it. We see Anakin when he’s podracing, possibly one of the most joyous moments of his life – doing something he loves and saving the day for his friends. The we see Vader bearing on top of him – filled with hate and anger, creating misery in his wake.

Around young Anakin, we also see life – plants and flowers billow around him. The contrast with Vader on top is empty. Even the blue vines/swirls don’t touch him. He is alone and without life.

I liked this picture and the story it was trying to tell.  I liked the way it made me think and reminded me of how things can go so wrong, so quickly.

Also, don’t forget to check out Mei-Mei’s version when you have a moment!

Machete Theory: Review

I did it. I watched 7 Star Wars movies over 7 weekends. You may be thinking, “Really? That’s a feat?”

Yes. Why yes, it is.

I have a 19-month-old toddler. I run my own business and I’m up early in the morning working and late at night working. We bought a new house that we have been working on. It is the Christmas season.

Dammit, yes, 7 movies in 7 weekends is a lot!

If you remember, I decided to prep for The Last Jedi by watching every Star Wars saga movie in the Machete Theory order.

To recap, I watched them in this order: IV, V, I, II, III, VI, VII. This is not the original Machete Order, but my version because I love TPM and TFA is a new addition.

I also tried to pretend I was watching these movies for the first time and being introduced to Star Wars as a rookie. (This is important as many people suggest showing your children the movies in this order or to people who have not seen the movies.)

My verdict? I was not impressed. In fact, I’m not sure I liked this viewing sequence. I’m happy I did it, to finally get it out of the way because I’ve been obsessed with it for a while, but I won’t do it again.

There are few reasons here. (Excuse my lists lately on blog posts; they help me organize my thoughts cohesively)

  1. It doesn’t make sense.
  2. The flow is horrible.
  3. You can’t get strongly connected to the characters.

 

Before going more into detail on the above points, I do want to point out one tremendous pro to the Machete Order: You get more invested in Anakin as a character.

This is, after all, the point of the Machete viewing. You follow Anakin’s story much closer than you do if you split the trilogies up. I find the character fascinating but I’ve never had the connection I feel for, say, Luke or Rey. Yet over these past few weeks, I’ve understood more about Anakin than I ever have when I watched the movies as single one-offs.

For that reason alone, I do say every fan should try watching the movies in this specific order at least once in their life.

Now onto why I wouldn’t watch it in this order again.

 

It Doesn’t Make Sense

This was the biggest surprise for me. If you are watching the order in Machete style for the first time, you do not know who Anakin Skywalker is.

Think about it:

  1. ANH – Kenobi mentions a pupil named Darth Vader betrayed and murdered Luke’s father.
  2. ESB – It is revealed Vader is Luke’s father. We don’t know his first name. (***Please note, I am referring to the ORIGINAL THEATRICAL version of ESB. The scene when Vader speaks to the Emperor via hologram is later edited in the DVD versions to include Anakin’s name)
  3. TPM – Anakin’s full name is not mentioned until…get this…the podracing scene where they refer to him as a “late entry” to the race. He introduces himself as Anakin quickly to Padme in the angel scene and his name is mentioned when Padme says goodbye. It’s not until the podracing scene that they say his full name is Anakin Skywalker. There are a lot more mentions of his last name during the podracing scene, which helps, but right now, I would believe we were following Obi-Wan’s life, not Anakin’s.
  4. AOTC – Suppose I skip TPM and follow the original Machete order. We still run into the problem that Anakin’s last name is not mentioned in relation to him! It’s worse than TPM as the only time we run into his last name is when he is looking for his mother.
  5. ROTS – By this point, it evens out and we understand that Anakin’s last name is Skywalker.

As you can see, this is a big problem. If you are watching Star Wars for the first time, it is essential that you understand that Anakin is Luke’s father. The Leia surprise can wait, but it’s vital to the viewing of the Saga to understand who Anakin is. By watching the Machete Order, it would take a long time to understand that Anakin was the father to Luke. Like I mentioned, while watching it this way, I believed I was seeing the story of Obi-Wan’s life, not Anakin.

The Flow

There is a reason the audience should watch them I-III or IV-VI, and then VII separately. The most obvious reason are the special effects. The special effects make such a big difference on how we view the movies and I often forget that since I’m so entrenched in the mythology and story of Star Wars.

The Original Trilogy has more of a slow, plot-driven feel to it. Even though the special effects are good, it’s an older movie now and I find myself trying to follow along with figuring out who the Empire is versus the Rebellion. The redeeming part is that the basic plot is easy to understand and the characters are very relatable.

After watching ANH and Empire, I jumped into TPM, AOTC and ROTS. It was very jarring and slightly absurd. With ANH and ESB, I felt like the plot was relatively easy to follow. When I went into TPM – I couldn’t understand a thing. It was much faster; the effects they used made the movie seem like BANG! KAPOW! ZOOM! It made the saga seem disjointed and there are so many new characters. Most of the characters we focus on from the OT are Luke, Leia, Han, Vader, Kenobi, the droids, and Yoda. In The PT we have bounty hunters, the Jedi Council, multiple senators, Jar Jar, and a new species in each movie.

The flow when watching in this order didn’t fit well together. Lucas created these pieces of art in two different times in his life and wanted them to represent two different times of the galaxy. When watching it as a newcomer, it is irritating and it was hard to get into the PT after coming from the OT.

 

Connecting to Characters

This relates to my above point about the flow. One of the greatest parts about Star Wars are the characters. It’s very hard to get a lasting connection to the characters when they are chopped up from their trilogies. There is a lot of character development in the OT, and by taking ROTJ out of its place following IV and V, you get disconnected from some of the greatest feelings you may have when watching the OT whole. By ESB, you are really rooting for the characters. When you turn heel, and move to the PT, you must rework your feelings and do a 180 to understand a completely new set of people.

As with the different flow, the variety of environments and new faces make it hard to really feel for anyone except Yoda and Obi-Wan in the PT. I would also argue that it’s harder to connect to characters in the PT than in the OT. I believe, again, this is because the OT feels a lot more plot and character driven than the PT, which relies more on events to drive the movies.

 

As for TFA, I did not feel strongly one way or another about it, as it followed in the correct sequential order. The one note I did have, however, was I believe it is more different from ANH than I sometimes think. Broadly, yes, it pulled from ANH often. But minutely, not so much. There are enough differences to make it feel like the start of a new trilogy, but still within the same universe.

 

All that aside, if you watch the Machete Order as a seasoned fan, I think it can be enjoyable. I gained new experiences and felt deeply for Anakin in a different way than I had before.

If anything, if you choose not to explore watching the movies this way, I do recommend at some point watching ROTS followed by ROTJ. It was refreshing to watch Anakin’s fall and then his redemption within those two movies.

 

And now ladies and gents…onto The Last Jedi.

Fan Art Friday! Peekaboo! Where’s Artoo?

Can you tell I have a baby in my life? Honestly. I just wrote peekaboo in the title of a blog post. Shoot me now.

I’m glad Mei-Mei picked an easy picture this month to color.

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I realized while coloring this that I always, in my head, thought of Artoo as a “blue” droid. But he doesn’t have that much blue! I think it’s because it’s his only defining color that I think he’s blue. Just like I think BB-8 is orange, but he’s not really. He has very little orange as well. The dominant color of most astro droids is white (if that can be considered a color).

I was pleased with the way this picture came out for most part. I stayed true to Artoo but did the background with colors I don’t use very often so I felt satisfied that unused pencils got a chance to shine.

I picked the quote on top because it stuck with me the entire time that I was coloring this in. Sometimes I like throwing in a quote here and there and this one is one of the funnier ones Threepio says to Artoo.

When you check out Mei-Mei’s picture, she mentions that a lot of fans were disappointed that Artoo didn’t get as much screen time as some had hoped. I was fine with it, but I think it will be interesting to see how his story progresses along with Luke’s. They’ve always been tied together, along with Artoo being with Anakin. Artoo is a member of the Skywalker family – something I had never really considered until this drawing.

We will be taking a break next month as Mei-Mei just had her little baby boy and will reconvene on the first Friday of February 2018. The picture will be the one of Darth Vader and Anakin in the podracer towards the end of the book.