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.

Doing What’s Right

I’ll be back with my haikus eventually, but for now…

This is more of a personal thing that I’m throwing out there and would like everyone’s thoughts/stories on.

 

Has there ever been a situation where you had to do the right thing even though it was really hard? It could have been unpopular or people could have judged or even had loved ones disagree with you?

In the past week or two, I’ve had to do things that I know are right in my personal life, but it hasn’t been winning me any favors. It’s been hard – especially as people close to me say, “Oh, I wouldn’t do that,” or “Do you have to do that?” or “Why are you doing that?”

But I know, in my heart, it’s the right thing to do.

I think it helps that I was raised by two very conservative Christians who always were about doing “the right thing”. However, Star Wars has been such a huge influence in my life that I often turn to that legacy and story to see what my favorite characters would do.

One of my favorite moments is when Luke leaves Dagobah to rescue Han and Leia. Both Obi-Wan and Yoda warned against it and thought he should stay to complete more training. He didn’t listen to them and decided to go his own way. It was hard and I wonder if when he was dangling from Cloud City, he thought, “Oh man, I was an idiot.”

I also think about Queen Amidala, who stood up to an entire senate to fight for her people. When she decided to go back to Naboo and was warned against it, she went anyway because that’s where her people were.

I think about Qui-Gon who defied the Council and took Anakin on as his Padawan learner. It’s still debatable on if that was a good choice, but he followed what he believed was right and I give him credit for that.

I think about Leia whose belief that good can conquer all is why she is still in the same battle years after she thought the war had been won. She faces down her only son on the opposite side of the battlefield because she believes in what she is doing so strongly. In all honesty, I’m not sure I could do that. Would I be able to stand against my own child in such strong opposition? I’m not saying I would join them, but I could remove myself from the situation as I’d be too emotionally linked to make good decisions. But the Resistance has so much faith in her that they still accept her leadership without question, knowing that she is on their side.

I look to Rey who has become one of my favorite characters. She left Luke and his subpar training (yes, I believe it was subpar) on Ahch-To because she believed that she could save Kylo Ren. Her belief in doing what was right mirrored what Luke did all those years ago when he left Yoda on Dagobah.

 

So. Tell me. Have you been in a situation before where you had to do what was right even though it was hard? I need some…support.

TLJ: The First Order Storyline & Its Characters

This is Part III of IV in an ongoing series where I review The Last Jedi.

 

The First Order

The First Order was on point this movie. While I thought they looked a little foolish in TFA and I was wondering if they were even a large organization, they showed their might and strength in The Last Jedi.

Even with Poe’s stunt in the beginning taking out the Dreadnought, I felt like they shrugged it off as a minor loss and continued with business as usual. If they barely notice the loss of a Dreadnought, then what the heck was the Resistance thinking?! I believe this could have been the point General Organa was trying to make: save our people, for we need as many as possible. The First Order seems to have a limitless supply, similar to the Empire. Oh, you destroyed our Dreadnought? Okay, we’ll continue after you. Oh, you busted us up with your hyperspace maneuver? Okay, we’ll take our ground assault team to you.

When the Resistance keeps trying to win these battles against the First Order, they may feel like they win, but they lose in the long run. At least with previous movies, like The Phantom Menace, A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens, they went after the big fish.

By destroying the Trade Federation, the Death Stars, and Starkiller Base, they are striking where it counts and suffering major losses in exchange for another major loss.

The lesson I took away from this movie is the First Order has the resources to infinitely outmatch the Resistance in these small battles. The Resistance made numerous mistakes throughout the film and it started with Poe’s hot-headed foolishness. They either need to take out all their leaders or their main base of operation (which may have been Snoke’s ship but I couldn’t quite tell). Yes, it may seem like a repeat of the other movies, but it’s a smart tactical move.

Sadly, by the end of the movie, you’ll notice that the entirety of the Resistance can fit inside one ship – The Millennium Falcon. The First Order is winning.

Supreme Leader Snoke

Much to the chagrin of many fans, Snoke came in with full evilness and was quickly destroyed by his apprentice. Rian Johnson clearly did not like his character and wanted to dispose of him as quickly as possible. Though I am completely fine with this, I wish we could have had a bit more of a backstory to him. Creating a character that looks a bit like a zombie, barely alive, but strong in the Force demands some explanation. Will they give it in Episode IX? Perhaps in a book?

While some were upset with his early death, I think it was an important and interesting move. This is the first time we have seen an apprentice over take a master and get rid of the leash holding him, giving him at least one full movie to explore his dark side. By killing Snoke, we give Kylo Ren full control of the First Order, and that is going to be very fascinating to watch in Episode IX.

Kylo Ren

Every time I watch Kylo Ren, I enjoy his character more and more. He is a volatile character, with smidges of good within his evil that makes him unpredictable. His instability is clearly shown with the way that Snoke was able to easily manipulate him. All he had to do was make fun of his mask and indecisiveness and Kylo destroys his mask. But as soon as Kylo Ren brings him Rey, he changes his tune once again. Unfortunately for Snoke, he pushed his manipulation too far to the point that even Kylo caught on and he didn’t see what was coming to him.

Everything Kylo does borders on sociopath prior to killing Snoke. You’re not sure if he was ever truthful with Rey, not only about her parents, but about everything he said during the Force communications. Is he using her for her strength or was he being honest?

But after he kills the Supreme Leader, a change comes over him that lands him in the territory of being insane. Not only does the power go to his head and he takes over the role of Supreme Leader, he tries to kill Luke in a brutal way. Even Hux got to the point of incredulity at how long Ren was shooting at his old Jedi Master. It makes me wonder if he would have killed his mother, Leia, had he been confronted her in his mental state at the end of the movie.

With Kylo Ren losing so much (Rey refusing to join him and unable to kill Luke) by the end of TLJ, I wonder how unstable he will be in Episode IX. What type of leader will he be? This is what I’m most interested to see. He is an emotional wreck and I can’t wait to see what this insecure Sith will turn into as a leader of the First Order.

General Hux

I love General Hux. When many thought he was pointless in TFA, I enjoyed his character as he is so completely brainwashed by the doctrine of the First Order. It’s a fascinating take on a character that we haven’t seen before. He continued with his magnificent sneers, pasty craziness, and intense loathing for Kylo Ren in this movie.

Yet his detestation for Kylo Ren was upped a level in TLJ and that was more intriguing than his leadership of the First Order. You knew he didn’t like Kylo Ren in TFA but TLJ showed us how much he HATED him. I am trying to figure out if he believes Kylo Ren to just be incompetent, if he can sense the conflict within him and believes that makes him weak, or if he sees Ren only as competition and that is where his disgust comes from. Either way, when he reaches for his blaster to kill him, I’m almost cheering him on. When he looks over in disgust at Kylo Ren’s need to blast Luke to smithereens, I find myself nodding in approval.

I believe Hux will have a larger part to play in the next movie and may orchestrate some of Ren’s downfall. He may not have the Force, and sometimes he’s not the smartest bulb, but his lust for power and hatred for Ren could culminate in something climatic in Episode IX.

Captain Phasma

Sadly, Captain Phasma went the way of Snoke and she never got to prove her bad-assery other than with a chrome outfit. I believe the directors and producers never expected Captain Phasma to become a fan favorite and were a little confused with how to handle her character. So they gave her a little hand-to-hand combat with Finn and then killed her off (which, by the way, how did Finn ever get away?). It kind of reminds me of Boba Fett, who was worked up so much between ESB and ROTJ, and Lucas decided to kill him in an embarrassing way. It wasn’t that bad with Captain Phasma, she did get her moment to shine briefly, but there wasn’t much to her character. She fell flat in TFA and fell flat in TLJ again. I would have rather they not have her in TLJ at all and saved a more dramatic confrontation for IX. Or, as Imperial Talker suggested, it would have been cool to see her lead a battalion of Stormtroopers onto Crait to attack the Resistance.

 

What did you like most about the First Order? Were you a fan of Phasma or Snoke and disappointed with their deaths? What would you have liked to be done better?

TLJ: The Remaining Jedi

This is Part II of IV in an ongoing series where I review The Last Jedi.

 

While we were dealing with the desperate escape of the Resistance, there does not seem to be much optimism with the Rey/Luke storyline, where she tries to convince Luke to return and give the galaxy hope. Luke seems to be determined not to give the galaxy anything, instead he would rather brood on an island, drinking the milk of Thala Sirens. (Really? Did we need that scene?)

Luke

I really wanted to be convinced that the explanation for why Luke was isolated and in hiding was a legitimate reason. I think they convinced me at about 70%. I understood Luke’s shame and his reason for ending the Jedi Order. In fact, that was one thing I strongly came away with from this movie – maybe it was good that the Jedi Order ended. The references to the Prequels and how Sidious masterminded the destruction of the Jedi and the rise of the Empire was a nice nod. To galaxy inhabitants, it was almost 100 years ago (almost, but not quite) and the galaxy had built the Jedi Order and Luke into a legend. By ending the Jedi Order, it opens up a new realm for the way the Force flows. Perhaps there is no dark and light, but a combination of both. I’m hoping they explore that in greater depth in IX.

I understood Luke’s fleeting moment of wanting to kill Kylo because of the dark he saw in him and then the immediate, but too late, regret. It’s kind of like when I’m very, very irritated by something in my business or an email I get and would really love to take my computer and smash it. Like that – but on a much larger scale, haha.

What I don’t understand is why he deserted his friends and family because of this. I could not match that up with the Luke from the OT. Even in ROTJ, where he is much more serious than the previous movies, he still has that optimism within himself. And for someone who spent 20 years of his life yearning to know his real family, I doubt he would have given up on Leia and disappeared on her.

Some of me is also frustrated with the end of the movie and the weird Force holograms. It takes away from his awesomeness. I feel like if he had actually gone to Crait with Rey, instead of being stubborn…all that would have been SO much cooler. Instead, the Force vision/hologram thing cheapens everything a bit. It’s a minor point and I wasn’t as annoyed by it the second time I watched it, but I mean – wouldn’t it have been way cooler if he actually fought Kylo in person?

It is what it is and I reluctantly accept his story line, but I wanted to voice my opinions here. It’s just going to take me a while to believe in it. All that aside, I was happy to see Yoda join Luke for a few moments. It felt like a reunion between old friends…almost as if not much had to be said because they had kind of been with each other the entire time.

Rey

Thank you, Johnson, for not ruining Rey’s character. Thank you for keeping her real and a hero to look up to. I enjoyed her perseverance in getting Luke to come back to the Resistance, but what I most enjoyed were her chats with Kylo Ren. At first it threw me for a loop (as I’m sure it did with many fans) but then I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed her flirtation with Ben but also her flirtation with the dark side throughout the movie. She was trying to understand everything and where she fit into the entire picture.

Rey was unashamed of her call to the dark and confronted it. A few times in this movie, she was invited to the dark side of the Force but did not fall. It had me thinking that perhaps it’s just the lust for power that skews you toward the dark side. Or perhaps you always lean one way or another, but if there is opposition, then there is balance. Kyle Ren is not wholly bad. Rey is not wholly good. Both are heavier in one direction but maybe there is no need for such strict delineation between both.

Rey was a shining example in this movie of always doing what was right, even when it was hard. She didn’t give up on Luke, but she did give up on the training when she knew it was no longer the right path for her. She didn’t join with Kylo Ren after he defeated Snoke, though it was tempting, especially as he tells her that her parents were nobodies and she was a nobody…but not to him.

It was interesting to watch Rey grapple with who she was and who her family was the entire movie. It was almost as if Johnson wanted to say, “Rey’s a nobody, and are you okay with her being a nobody?” There are many fans out there who refuse to accept this is true. There’s a possibility that Abrams may reverse this in the next movie as all we have is Kylo Ren’s word that Rey’s parents were not anyone important.

Even though I rooted for Rey to a be a Skywalker, I also think this could be a good direction to go in. The movie was saying, “Enough with the Skywalkers. You don’t have to be a Skywalker to do great things.” And I believe them. After all, wasn’t Anakin a nobody?

 

Do you think Rey is a nobody? Or do you think there is more to her story that Ben did not tell us?