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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Haiku Me Friday! Kenobi Rumors

My little green friend
His advice and help guide me
So strong with the Force

 

I really don’t like talking about the rumors of new movies coming out. I’m the type of gal that until I hear it from LFL, then it doesn’t exist.

BUT.

BUT.

There have been so many rumors swirling around of an Obi-Wan standalone. I’m 95% against this idea for a movie because I think it ruins George Lucas’ vision. Not that I really know the story Lucas had in mind for Kenobi, but I believe he was implying by the end of ROTS and in ANH that Obi-Wan had lived on Tatooine for about 19 years in solitude watching Luke grow up and making sure the Empire (specifically the Emperor and Vader) never knew he was there.

So the thought of a movie is slightly abhorrent to me.

BUT.

Suppose I have no choice in this matter (I never do, sigh) and Disney makes a Kenobi movie.

I believe they have the chance to explore something really interesting: taking Luke when he is very young to Dagobah.

It’s like… something out of a dream, or, I don’t know.  Maybe I’m just going crazy.

Yes! That line! It bothers me and I’m sure it bothers other fans. Disney has the chance to correct something that Lucas, if he had more time in his movies perhaps, could have spoken to (along with Leia remembering her mother which is an even bigger grievance).

I’m unsure how they would work into the story line the need for Luke to go with Obi-Wan to Dagobah. There are plenty of reasons for Obi-Wan to go (more training on how to become a Force ghost or chat with Qui-Gon), but less compelling reasons for Luke to go. Not my problem how they work it out but this could be really interesting. Of course, this would mean enlisting a child actor which would be difficult, but again, not my problem.

This has been on my mind as well because my daughter is just beginning to understand and remember events and details. ARM now knows when we are getting close to our house when driving down the street. She knows when we go to one of her grandparents’ houses and knows where the children’s section is in the library. From 1.5-2.5 years could be the perfect time for Luke to go to Dagobah, forget it entirely, but feel an odd remembrance when he returns years later.

 

Do you think there will be a Kenobi movie? Are you in favor or not?

 

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.

1201171435

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.

Another Happy Landing: The Endings of Star Wars Films

One of my favorite things about Star Wars, ever since I first saw it when I was a child, was the endings of the movies.

As I got older, I saw the endings as slightly corny, but they still satisfied me. Why? Because while George Lucas created endings that were corny or too-nicely-tied-up-in-a-bow, there was a sense of hope and happiness…sometimes more weighted on one than the other – but still there, nevertheless.

With ANH, Lucas did not know if he would be able to continue Star Wars or if it would be a big flop. He opted to make a story that had a clear and decisive beginning, middle, and end. Sure, he left some ties open (we don’t know the fate of Darth Vader) but overall, the Rebellion won. It had hope and happiness handed to us on a silver platter. It was an ultimate feel-good ending.

I believe that ESB is the only film under Lucas’ hands that has the most question marks. We have no idea if Luke and Leia will be able to get Han back. We don’t even know if Han is alive. In a more subtle way, we don’t know if we can still trust Lando. What about Luke’s training on Dagobah? Will he go back? Is Darth Vader really Luke’s father? How did Leia sense where Luke was? Does she also have the Force?

Yet, despite all these questions, we watch Luke get a new hand and exchange smiles with Leia. They move to look out the window to an infinite galaxy. Threepio and Artoo stand on one side. It is one of my favorite shots of all time. Instead of looking at the camera, everyone is facing away, and it gives more credence to the loose ends of the movie. But it’s beautiful. And it’s an ending. When they look out into the galaxy, I have a feeling of hope and inspiration.

ROTJ is the corniest, in my opinion. Lucas thought this would be his last (or at least for a while – he did continue to have thoughts about telling Anakin’s entire story) Star Wars film and everything is nicely tied together in a bow. The Rebellion won (again)! Darth Vader was redeemed! Leia and Han are together! The Emperor was destroyed! We see almost the entire cast surrounded by dancing Ewoks and smiling benevolently into the camera. Happiness! Hope!

When Lucas filmed the Prequels, he continued his trend of concise endings, using the themes of hope and happiness.

With TPM, the ending is almost as exuberant as ROTJ or ANH. There are some lingering questions in the background presented by the Jedi at Qui-Gon’s funeral, but overall, the celebration of Naboo is nothing short of glorious. Everyone is looking at the camera and the corny level is quite high.

AOTC is the only film out of every Star Wars film under Lucas that strays furthest from the theme of hope. I think it’s happy, yes, but in a bittersweet way. You are happy for Anakin and Padmé but the hindsight you have as an audience member, pangs you with bitterness. I do not think hope is lost entirely however. It may not be the first emotion you feel, but you know this union is necessary because “a new hope” is what arises from this wedding. Without this marriage – there would be no Luke and Leia who end up saving the galaxy further on down the line. In some ways, I think the Jedi were headed towards combustion, Anakin was the catalyst, and I believe the wiping out of the Jedi had to happen. It was doomed. So knowing that Luke and Leia are coming out of this ill-fated love match is one of those strange things where hope is present in this scene, though it may not be dominant.

As an ending, ROTS leaves us complete only because we know the entire story already. The sunset gaze by Beru and Lars evokes hope and the weight of responsibility as well. Lucas deftly wraps it up with that Tatooine sunset and closes the film and saga with a sense of satisfaction. We see baby Luke and know that the new hope has arrived.

And where does this leave TFA and Rogue One?

TFA breaks the tradition. It’s such a small thing, the ending of a movie. Yet, if you think about it, you expect a satisfying ending to probably 95% of the movies you watch. There has to be a conclusion of some sort.

Disney leaves me a little jaded with TFA. Their over-confidence (…is their weakness) in knowing that they don’t have to really give us an ending frustrates me. Unlike the other films in the saga that were under Lucas’ direction, TFA does not leave me with hope or happiness. I’m not sure what feelings I take away from it now. It’s neither negative nor positive. I am apathetic for this ending that is not an ending but more like you are putting a bookmark in a book. I know Finn will survive because it’s too early in the Sequel Trilogy to kill him off. Rey is standing there with a strange look on her face and an outstretched arm to an older, grizzled Luke Skywalker who has an even stranger look on his face. Then we have this strange moment where the camera spins around them on the island where Rey is standing there with the arm outstretched trying to hand Luke his lightsaber. Too much movement compared to the other endings!

I didn’t notice the lack of an ending at first. In fact, the first time I watched it, I remember thinking as the shot spun around Luke Skywalker and Rey, “This had better not be the end because we just saw Luke for the first time.” But it was. I was discombobulated but I chucked it up to seeing the new Star Wars film and having a lot to think about.

Yet every time I watch it again, I get more annoyed and I blame Disney and Kathleen Kennedy for most of this. I did not realize how entrenched the Star Wars endings are in my psyche and how much I yearn for them until I compare the Lucas films to the new Disney films.

Rogue One has an ending, but I find it contrived and forced. A CGI Leia says, “Hope,” and it’s a good whack on the head of forcing us into what we should feel. Their effort on the ending of the film should have been less focused on a CGI Leia and more emphasis placed on a beautiful shot with a decent ending that evokes feelings instead of shoves it down our throat. You could argue that the hyperspace jump right after Leia says that is the shot but…it’s action. It’s not a still moment where we appreciate the end of a Star Wars movies.

When I compare the endings, I almost see George Lucas as a more humble director who wraps up each film nicely…just in case. Just in case no one wants to see another Star Wars movie or he never gets to do one again. He gave us a small moment at the end of each film to reflect on what we had just seen. There was no crazy spinning shot, no ships jumping to hyperspace – only his way of saying, “Did you enjoy my movie? I give you time to digest your thoughts and what you saw.”

We have now broken that with TFA and RO and I miss my feeling of hope and happiness at the end of a Star Wars film. I miss the ending being clear cut. I miss the beautiful, panoramic shots that were breathtaking. I miss that still, quiet moment of reflection.

Will we never have that again? Since Disney is planning on creating Star Wars films until I’m old and grey and no longer blogging, is their overconfidence going to extend to the point that we’ll never have that corny Star Wars ending again?

If so, RIP endings to Star Wars films that brought me hope and happiness. You will be missed.

 

So Love Has Blinded You?

Over the past week I have come to the realization that if I connect with a character in a deep and meaningful way in a Star Wars movie, I become blind to almost all the other flaws within the movie.

I came to this realization primarily with two movies of the Saga:

  1. The Phantom Menace
  2. The Force Awakens

 

The Phantom Menace

 

With the Phantom Menace, my obsession is with Qui-Gon Jinn. Qui-Gon opened up a world to me that didn’t exist prior to the Prequels, and more specifically, the world of the Jedi as a functioning unit/organization.

I loved it. But it was peculiar because I loved Qui-Gon and didn’t care about any of the other Jedi on the Council or within the movie. Obi-Wan generated a shrug and “whatever” attitude from me, but I was obsessed with Qui-Gon.

I think the reason is two-fold: 1) Qui-Gon is a Jedi so therefore he follows some kind of moral compass , but 2) he is not on the council because he does not completely follow the Code and that is deliberate because he marches to the beat of his own drum.

I adored everything Qui-Gon said and did in The Phantom Menace…and I still do. I don’t understand why people dislike TPM because I’m blinded by the fact that Qui-Gon is in the movie and takes the movie to the next level.

There are flaws in TPM though, just like any other movie but there are glaring issues. I never realized this until this weekend when I saw that I have the same predicament with The Force Awakens.

Here are what I believe are the main issues with TPM. Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m only just coming to these realizations this weekend when I tried to take an objective look at the movie.

  1. The characters. If you’re a fan who grew up with the OT, the characters of TPM seem stale, lacking in warmth and connection, and they are not relatable. Whereas with the OT, we can kind of see ourselves in each of the three heroes shoes, with the PT, unless perhaps you followed a political career path, the characters seem less at ease and more distant. And don’t get people started on Jar Jar Binks (though I don’t really mind him but can understand why some people do).
  2. The politics. I have noticed this one before and have written about it. The movie is bogged down in politics to the point that it may become suffocating for some people. There is no simple (or even really linear) plot as everything is shrouded under Trade Federations, senate issues, etc.
  3. Droids. The droids were not as menacing as they should have been. The Destroyers did the job well but the Battle Droids came off comical. Where’s the fear that people had of the Empire? It’s not there in TPM, in fact, other than Darth Maul, there’s no real fear of the Trade Federation.
  4. No greater cause. With the OT, it felt like they Rebels were fighting for something real and a greater cause for the galaxy. In TPM, that essence is missing. There’s no overarching big bad guy to fight.

 

I’m only trying to play devil’s advocate here as many of you know how much I love TPM. It was the first Star Wars movie I saw in theaters and I thought it was amazing. I love that the main character is a child and there are numerous GOOD things about the movie.

But, I also came to realize that when digging deep on why I like TPM it all comes back to Qui-Gon. I blabber on about the Old Republic and the Jedi, but at my core, it’s all about Qui-Gon. He has blinded me to faults within TPM.

 

The Force Awakens

 

I had a very interesting Twitter discussion this weekend with other Star Wars fans. I learned that most hardcore fans are NOT looking forward to the Han Solo movie (this was also slightly confirmed in blog comments from last Friday). On top of that, what I thought was a minority of fans dissatisfied with Disney and the new movies, it’s actually a lot larger and the frustration runs a lot deeper than I had originally assumed.

I know there are people who did not enjoy The Force Awakens and as I was (am) a lot older when I saw TFA vs. TPM, I’m more aware of the issues in present time, instead of finding out years later.

However, I have a similar issue with TFA that I did with TPM: I love Rey. I love her more than I love Qui-Gon. She’s a female character who is relatable, but she can also fight and use the Force. She is strong without falling into a stereotype of a bland, physically strong female protagonist who has no emotion. I loved the character so much that I named my daughter with Rey as her middle name.

People bring to my attention all kinds of flaws with TFA and I have been able to argue or rationalize all the problems. I try to convince people that the movie is actually quite good and they are being bullheaded. But is the movie good? Or is my love for Rey blinding my love for the movie?

Tweeting this weekend with other fans made me take a step back and realize that TFA has some pretty major flaws.

  1. Too similar to A New Hope. This is obvious and even I couldn’t deny this one. The movie practically copies ANH in every way possible, to the point that even my beloved main character comes from a desert planet. Really? Starkiller Base is a bigger, badder Death Star…that gets blown up by the Resistance. Resistance sounds too similar to Rebellion. At least the Empire got a makeover in their name.
  2. Our 3 main heroes never get screen time. If you are going to go to such lengths to copy ANH and pay homage to the movie, why didn’t you give our 3 heroes some screen time together? If everyone survived, we could have maybe hoped for a reunion further down but that has been revoked with Solo’s death and the real death of Carrie Fisher.
  3. Politics…or lack thereof. Whereas TPM delved into politics TOO much, TFA goes in the extreme opposite direction where we have no understanding of the current political climate. At least within ANH we had some mumbles about the Imperial Senate and we understood Empire vs. Rebellion. In TFA there was Republic, a Resistance, and a First Order…but the First Order sounds kind of small? Or is it large? And is the First Order now the opposition group, like the Rebellion was?
  4. Too much convenience. Rey learns to use the Force very quickly. Artoo wakes up at the most convenient time. Luke/Anakin’s lightsaber magically appears at the right moment with no explanation of where it came from. There’s a certain amount of suspension of disbelief that you can accept when you see a movie, especially one in the sci-fi category, but TFA leaped and jumped over that line. Perhaps we will get all the explanations later, but if not, this is a glaring problem.

 

I have stood up to people’s complaints about TFA just as I did with TPM, but this weekend, I had to admit and accept that both movies have a lot of flaws. Would I love TPM or TFA as much if Qui-Gon and Rey were not in them? That’s where I bite my lip and think…no, probably not.

Qui-Gon was not in Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith and I do not enjoy the movies as much as I enjoy TPM. I actually reallllly don’t like AOTC and I enjoy ROTS but it’s not something I usually pull out to watch at odd times like I do with TPM.

With the future Sequel Movies, I get nervous that they won’t capture Rey’s essence as well as they did in TFA. I worry that there will be no character development or that she will become the Hollywood stereotype of a “strong female character” instead of, well, just, Rey. At least there is hope for The Last Jedi and Episode IX, whereas the Prequels are over and done with.

 

Tell me – have you ever loved a character (any movie, doesn’t have to be Star Wars) so much that it’s blinded you to shortcomings in the movie?