My Love For Star Wars in a Party

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

Dear Insider,

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

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

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

Throughout this journey I have:

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The Force Vision/Knights of Ren

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

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

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

2.The Force Vision/Artoo Shut Down

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

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

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

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

3. Your favorite 15-20 minutes in Star Wars

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

I can’t wait until next year’s party.

My 5 Favorite Aliens

Every issue of Star Wars Insider has an article where they talk/interview a person somehow related to Star Wars about their “5 Favorite…” and I love reading them.  I like to think of my own answers to them and wrote a post on my 5 favorite visuals a while ago.

This issue interview’s Tom Spina on his 5 Favorite Aliens.  You’ll have to read Insider for his answers, but here are mine.

  1. Salacious Crumb. I get it, he’s totally one of the most annoying aliens in Star Wars.  But I think his name is fantabulous along with his quirky, annoying personality.  He had just the right amount of screen time; any more would have jolted the audience too much out of the movie and instead would have caused them to resent him. I think he’s also top of my list because I’ve definitely used him as a code name in many work instances.  Back when I worked in an office, there was always one person who was a total butt kisser and super annoying.  My code name for them was always Salacious B. Crumb.
  2. Cantina Bar Ithorian. Wow, this guy totally sparked my imagination when I was younger.  I couldn’t imagine functioning as this alien and his head was so funny looking!  I just think this gives a great testament to George’s ability to make aliens in the Star Wars world all look different and unique.  Most sci-fi movies had a pretty boring outlook on what aliens should look like, but the Star Wars universe was lived in and diverse.  I’m happy Ithorians got to play a larger role in The Clone Wars.
  3. Varactyls.  I loved Boga.  I thought she was so cute and I’d like to imagine that she lived through the fall on Utapau.  I also like it because there are not many aliens that we see more as pets/transportation in Star Wars.  Boga, as well as Dewbacks, were used as a form of transportation and I thought that was cool.  It showed that people, including Jedi, were not above riding animals when they needed to get the job done.  Does she count as an alien though or does she fall into the animal category?  I don’t care, she stays on my list.
  4. Geonosians.  Most of my choices with my favorite aliens also relates back to their sounds.  Crumb had a high-pitched annoying laugh, the Itorian at the Cantina Bar had a sound that I can’t even accurately describe…it was almost like a stretching sound, and Boga/Varactyls had this cool scream.  Geonosians have to have one of my favorite voices/sounds ever.  To this day, I still make their noises and imitate them at times when I walk around the house.  I’m not a huge fan of the way they look (eew, life size bugs!) but the way they sound put them on my list.
  5. Twi’leks. I would be untrue to myself if I didn’t put Twi’leks on this list.  They fell out of my favor for a while when I saw that the females were used in a purely sexual fashion within the movies (even Aayla Secura had a lot of skin showing) and the men were kind of evil (Bib Fortuna).  But since the addition of Hera in Star Wars Rebels as a fully clothed, competent, smart leader of the Ghost crew…they have made their way back onto my list.  I just loved Twi’leks from the first time I saw Oola dance on the screen.  The lekku completely fascinated me and I wanted to know as much about them as possible.  The Star Wars universe continues to reinvent this alien race and I am much obliged.

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So there you have it!  What are your top 5?  Are you surprised I have two on the list from the Prequels?

Environmental Attitude

This.  Is.  The.  Slowest.  Week.  Ever.

For the past three days, I have thought it was a Thursday.  Yup, a Thursday.  I even wrote to one of my clients yesterday saying I’d get the assignment done Friday.  She must have been wondering why it was going to take me 3 days to complete a fairly simple task.  We also have finally begun seeing some peeps of spring (55 degrees today!  It’s like a heat wave!) so I feel like it’s just making me antsy in general.

By Saturday, it’ll be back in the 30s, and I’ll miss it so much.  Speaking of Saturday, we are supposedly doing our rescheduled Star Wars virgin viewing night.  So as long as no one gets appendicitis again, I should have an update next week.  🙂

Every once and a while on this blog I will either a) repeat a blog post I’ve already done in another format because I forget what I’ve written over 2.5 years or b) write a blog post that should have been written 2.5 years ago when I first started this blog and introduced core elements of my fandom.

Today is a B day.

What have I not talked about yet on this blog?  I’ve written about my favorite quotes from Star Wars, favorite order of movies, favorite characters (okay, I haven’t totally devoted one post to this, but it’s been written enough in other posts that it could be a post)…guessed what I haven’t written about yet?  Planets and ships.  Bingo.  Good job.

Today is a planet day.  Because ships are fun but a whole post on it?  I need more inspiration.

Planets play a key role in the Star Wars movies, and even outside of it.  We get to explore so many more planets in TCW and, hopefully, SWR as well.  And if we look at Legends – well, there are more planets than I could count.  I once had this really cool map of all the Star Wars planets from an Insider that was up on my wall.  I tried to memorize all the planet names and where they were.  Never happened.

Star Wars insider planet pic

But from the picture you can see that the Star Wars universe is a lot more concrete than you might think.  When Luke says “If there’s a bright center to the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from,” he wasn’t kidding.

So how do the planets shape the universe that we know?  I love that Lucas had each planet pretty much have the same ecosystem.  Some people think that may be too simple, but I think it’s really interesting.  Endor was a forest moon.  Tatooine was a desert planet.  Coruscant is one giant city.  This is not a video game where Lucas throws the characters into a chase and you while they’re on the speeder bikes zooming through the forest moon of Endor…oops – they just ended up in a desert.  As an audience, we can pretty much understand what will happen on this planet because there are no unknowns, therefore it takes away from distractions and helps us focus more on the plot, action, and character development.  It’s nice to have different planets, but it’s like adding spices to a meal.  It’s not the main attraction, but it enhances the movies and situations enough to make it interesting.  The most obvious case in point would be Mustafar.  Can you imagine the fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin on Endor?  Or beautiful Lothal, which we have just been introduced to in SWR?  The hellish, lava-filled planet is the perfect backdrop for a fight filled with betrayal, anger, and remorse.

If we look deeper at the movies, we understand that the planets also play a part in shaping the character, but can also be a reflection of them.  Luke is an empty vessel in the beginning of the OT.  He’s a blank desert canvas, naive and unsure how to navigate the different worlds.  His inexperience shows strongly in ANH.  Padmé grew up on Naboo, a planet known for beauty in plains, seas, and swamps.  It’s a reflection of her character: a beautiful person, filled with an intelligent depth but there are also murky aspects to her character.

Naboo

Naboo

Sometimes I wonder if being a New Englander has created me to be a little harder and crueler than if I lived in another area of the United States.  I have little patience for people at times, hate it when people fake interest in something they don’t care about, and I rarely smile at someone I don’t know.  I’ve read that the history of our attitude was created because people did not have the luxury of standing around outside and talking with neighbors, people in stores, etc., because the cold weather drove them to hurry on their way.  Now that we have central heating, this environmental attitude has still lingered.

When I lived in Hawaii for six months, I remember thinking I would welcome the change in pace and attitude that island life would bring.  Instead I found myself frustrated by how slow it took for things to get done, the smiling and saying yes when they really meant no, and worst of all, doing things without asking permission because they’d assume you’d just be fine with it.  It drove me crazy and I even though I loved the weather, the beach, and the sun, I sometimes longed to take the New England mentality and place it in Hawaii because then things would, you know, get done in a reasonable amount of time with little skirting around the issue.

So have we internalized our environment into our life?  And if that’s true for us, how much more true would it be for the characters of Star Wars, where they may not have had changes of seasons but instead their personalities reflected their environment more intensely?

Look at me!, Update, and Scene it on Friday – TPM Scene #85

Man, oh man, I have had a busy 2 weeks.  This is normal for me and my job…year end is always horrible in terms of work load but I feel like today is the first day I’m finally breathing.  There are no crushing deadlines sneaking up on me and most of my Christmas shopping is done.

I’m also excited about doing some year-end reviews on my personal life.  For 2012 and 2013, I wrote some posts on my past year and even though they are generally not Star Wars related, they are good for me in terms of taking the time to reflect and move forward into a new year.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.

First off, wanted to show you guys that Yours Truly made it into Star Wars Insider!  I was so shocked when reading it that I couldn’t continue on in the magazine.  I had sent it in months ago so hadn’t thought about it in a while.  But fun, fun, fun!

file-page1

Other than that, we’ve had some fun news released last week, even if it was not all-telling: some character names released via trading cards!  My theory on Boyega being the kid from Star Wars Rebels was squashed pretty quickly, unless it’s a nickname.  So I still have some hope, right? 😉

Here’s the list of names right now (they only released names of those seen on the trailer):

  • X-Wing pilot (Oscar Isaacs) – Poe Dameron. People are speculating he could have a dark or conflicted side to him, due to the name.  Some are even claiming they noticed he looked a little evil as soon as they saw the trailer…I didn’t pick up on that at all.  I have also tried to stay away from all of this because I stumbled upon a rumor/possible spoiler when looking up his name, so make your own assumptions!  As long as they are just guesses, feel free to share them with us.
  • Stormtrooper with helmet off (John Boyega) – Finn. So again, not much there in terms of the name BUT the card says “on the run”, so a lot of our deductions were correct that he could be paranoid, running away, etc.
  • Girl on speeder (Daisy Ridley) – Rey. I found this interesting because most people (including myself) have thought she was Han and Leia’s daughter OR somehow related to the Skywalkers.  Her face has elements of Padme and Leia, so if she is of Skywalker or Solo blood then perhaps they are purposefully leaving that name off of the card.
  • Dark figure with cross guard lightsaber (unknown actor) – Kylo Ren. Not much given to us…except my second theory is now also wrong since the quote on the card says, “Kylo Ren ignites his lightsaber”.  ‘His’ being the key word there.
  • Soccer ball droid – BB-8. Cute!  I just love this little guy.  The fact that he has a name could make him a main character.  Can’t wait to see.

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I love having the names but I don’t think they give us much more insight into the movie, unless Isaacs is really a conflicted, dark character.

For the new characters, we are also still missing Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong’o, Adam Driver, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow (plus others).  My question to you is – do you think Andy Serkis plays himself, a CGI character, or is just a voiceover?

I love this trickling of information.  I just want more, more, more, but at the same time – it’s being done SO well.  Enough to keep me wanting, but not too much that I get upset or feel disappointed.

ANnnnnyway.  Enough VII/TFA for now (hey guys – less than a year YAY).  READY FOR CHRISTMAS???  I am so ready.  I actually hadn’t really thought about it until yesterday because I’ve been so busy, but now I’m finally relaxing and realizing Christmas is in less than a week!!  AHHH.

Okay, quick Scene it on Friday, since I feel like I haven’t done one in a while.

What I love about this scene:

  • I feel like Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon were in a little bit of a lover’s quarrel and now Obi-Wan realizes his shortcomings and apologizes.
  • Obi-Wan also does a little of growing up in this scene, where Qui-Gon also takes a step back and acknowledges that he is wise and will be a great Jedi.
  • This scene contains one of those moments where I always think…what if Qui-Gon had survived? I think he was the type of Jedi Master Anakin needed.  Someone who would push the boundaries a little bit but still keep you motivated, in line, and most importantly, within the light side of the Force.  I think he would have understood Anakin’s frustrations with the council later on and instead of almost discounting them or trying to make him conform, I think he would have handled it better than Obi-Wan.

Sure, people love Obi-Wan, but I will always stand by Qui-Gon.  Obi-Wan was too much of a rule follower.

I foresee you will become a great Jedi knight

EXTERIOR: NABOO SWAMP – DAY

The Naboo spacecraft has landed in the Gungan swamp. TROOPS unload the ships in the background as OBI-WAN approaches QUI-GON.

OBI-WAN: Jar Jar is on his way to the Gungan city, Master.

QUI-GON’s thoughts are elsewhere.

QUI-GON: Good.

OBI-WAN and QUI-GON stand silently for a moment.

OBI-WAN: Do you think the Queen’s idea will work?

QUI-GON: The Gungans will not easily be swayed, and we cannot use our power to help her.

OBI-WAN: I’m… I’m sorry for my behavior, Master. It is not my place to disagree with you about the boy. I am grateful you think I am ready for the trials.

QUI-GON looks at him for a long moment.

QUI-GON: You have been a good apprentice. You are much wiser than I am, Obi-Wan. I foresee you will become a great Jedi Knight.

Rewriting ROTS

I decided this weekend that I am going to rewrite some of Episode III.  I’m rewriting it enough to give it what would be a satisfying ending for myself.

I was talking with a friend about the shortcomings of the Prequels and we went back to the fact that Padmé’s death was incredibly lame.  She “lost the will to live”?!  Really?  Tricia Barr makes a great argument on this in an Insider article, where I mentioned it in a past post.  But at the end of the day, Padmé is a strong, wonderful character and her death deserved more respect.

And when I say that I think it “deserved more”, what I really mean is that…I think Anakin should have killed her.  I feel like I could have mentioned this before, but I thought about it more in depth this weekend.

Anakin choking padme

 

I would cut out all the dreams Anakin has about Padmé dying in childbirth throughout Episode III.  I mean, at the end, we all know it’s just an excuse to see Hayden Christensen’s bare, muscular, fabulous looking chest.  I can do without that fine looking chest and cut out all of his dreams.

If we really do want to focus on Anakin’s internal feelings, perhaps let’s focus on how he felt abnormally good and powerful when he anakin killing sandpeoplekilled all the Sand People on Tatooine.  How those feelings of power have become sort of addicting and let’s use that to contradict it against his feelings of guilt as a Jedi.  He knows he shouldn’t like the feeling of power and the act of killing…but he does and it’s slowly taking over his life.

Intersperse that with Palpatine’s wheedling ways and the way he cracks Anakin’s shells by making him doubt everything.  We can keep the pivotal opera scene, but instead expand on what was discussed in the beginning about the Sith not being afraid to embrace the dark side of the Force.  He can talk about how Anakin’s feelings are not bad at all, instead that killing-spree-power-trip is necessary in order to be aware of all aspects of the Force.

obiwanpadmeThen we have Obi-Wan on the other side, trying to mentor Anakin down the road of the Jedi, coupled with the Jedi Council’s mistrust of Anakin.  Anakin’s need to prove himself as a Jedi Master only further frustrates him as he wants to believe what Palpatine is saying so badly.  Within these scenes, Anakin finds out how Obi-Wan and Padmé have been schmoozing on the back porch together and gets jealous aka sociopath jealous aka dark side jealous and just mulls over those feelings in his head (and the thoughts in his head are like TCW jealousy, not what we see in the movies).  It further adds to his internal war because though he loves both Obi-Wan and Padmé, he is starting to resent the Jedi and Obi-Wan is, clearly, a Jedi.

When he finally does welcome the dark side and kills Mace Windu, he doesn’t utter “What have I done?”, instead he relishes in the joy of finally being able to embrace who he is.

At this point, he still loves Padmé because even in ROTS, Anakin wants Padmé to join him and rule the galaxy.  In his twisted head, he thinks she will want power too, be understanding, and still love him, despite being a Sith.  And then Obi-Wan comes out of the back of the ship and all those jealous feelings that have been mulling around in his head internally just come out in a rage, similar to what we actually see in ROTS.

The only difference is that this time – he kills Padmé deliberately.  He doesn’t care about his unborn child and doesn’t care about her.  His dreams of ruling the galaxy with his love are extinguished as soon as he sees Obi-Wan step out of the ship. Because at this point, Obi-Wan represents everything he hates.  Obi-Wan represents the Jedi, which stifled him and refused to let him use his powers to his full ability; he represents the life he has led where he was not able to see his mother, not able to love Padmé freely, not able to feel joy when she announced she was pregnant; and he represents the guilt that Anakin felt for wanting to kill and enjoy it.

padme on ground

Padmé is far enough along with child that they are able to save the children after Obi-Wan’s duel with Anakin/Vader.  They have awesome medical care in a galaxy far, far away so it’s no problem, obviously.  Or the fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin is much shorter.  Or Threepio actually does something for once and pulls Padmé into the ship and manages to hook her belly up to something that saves the children.  Whatever.  Somehow, the children are saved and we still have Luke and Leia.

I feel like this makes the redemption in ROTJ so much stronger.  At the end of ROTS, Anakin is just downright twisted and evil…the Darth Vader we remember from the OT.  So when Luke breaks through and gets Vader to feel a little bit of love again, the ROTJ ending is much more poignant.

Or it can bring into question on whether Vader just killed the Emperor to feel the ultimate satisfaction of killing the hardest target.  Bwaha.  You’d never know if he did it for Luke or because he felt a good opportunity.

 

I know I can’t change ROTS, but sometimes I like to think, “What would I have done?”  Okay, now you all can feel free to tear my thoughts apart and point out all the holes.

As much as we all love Star Wars, is there anything significant plot wise (not characters) that you guys have wanted to rewrite in the Saga?