Fan Art Friday! Queen Amidala’s Stoic Front

Welcome back to our (Mei-Mei and I) once-a-month coloring from a Star Wars coloring book. It’s fun for us to be working on something at the same time and then compare how and why they end up so different. You can check out Mei-Mei’s here.

I didn’t LOVE my picture this month, but then again, I almost always have issues with character portraits as I mess something up. This time around, it was the gold on Amidala’s headdress and dress. I was looking at her picture, saw the gold and thought, “Well that’s great! I have a gold color pencil that I rarely use!” Well, the gold came out brown but by that point it was too late to go back. So I colored everything with that rusty gold and then tried to layer on top some golden yellow. It came out decent, but now like the actual Queen of Naboo.

While coloring this picture, I was reminded of how Amidala never shows emotion. Her face paint creates a mask for her features. I always thought it was weird but while working on this I realized that it actually is kind of smart. I can’t see that working in the USA as we love to see emotion and see our leaders with it (but God forbid we elect a woman President because then I’m sure there will be crazies saying she shows “too” much emotion just because she’s a woman), but it does work. If you never show emotion, good or bad, then people will never know what you’re thinking. This picture was a reminder of how different Leia and Amidala are. Leia is also royalty but she showed lots of emotion and I loved her for it. Amidala was also royalty, though elected, and never showed any emotion – and I also loved her for it. Amidala probably affected me more than Leia while I was growing up, which I discussed in a different blog post

Back to the coloring…

In all of Amidala’s outfit, including the messed up gold, I combined two colors. Her red dress are two different shades of red and her brown fur are two different shades of brown. As Mei-Mei and I continue to work on this, I’ve realized that when you combine two colors carefully and choose the right ones, sometimes the picture has a lot more depth.

Both Mei-Mei and I seem to have gone with a blue and yellow theme for the surrounding of Amidala, so in a way, at first glance they are eerily similar but like they’ve been flipped. I enjoy Mei-Mei’s picture more than mine however because I love the way she uses two colors for a continual line. While I used yellow and blue for the main borders, Mei-Mei did green, yellow, light green and brown. While Mei-Mei went for a blue background, I had a faded blue around Amidala, but a reddish-brown around the rest of the picture.

For next month, we’ll be switching to a mandala and doing a Darth Vader one!


The Last Jedi Soundtrack

I made the mistake of writing that I was disappointed with TFA’s soundtrack before I gave it a proper chance. I said there was nothing mind-blowing about it and the tracks fell short.

Yet, within 3 months, I had Rey’s Theme on repeat and loved The Jedi Steps and Finale. I couldn’t stop listening to them. When Spotify sent me my top played tracks of 2016 – Rey’s Theme was the first track. I grew to love March of the Resistance (it should be played every time you’re prepping for something big, trust me) and Kylo Ren’s theme (okay, I know he doesn’t have a theme, but you know what I’m talking about). As a whole, the soundtrack is lower on the list than others, but I think some of the core music is quite solid and enjoyable.

This time around, I made sure to wait to write a review on the The Last Jedi’s soundtrack because I didn’t want to make the same mistake. I had to listen to the soundtrack back-to-front and give it a fair chance.

I’m not in love with it. There are some good tracks, and some good themes, but in general, it falls a little short of other Star Wars soundtracks. For instance – when I come away from a Star Wars movie, I want to feel like I need to run and listen to that music…whatever that music is. It speaks to me, calls me, and fills me with emotion. With TPM, it was Duel of the Fates. With ANH, it is the Force theme. With AOTC, it’s Across the Stars. With TFA, it’s Rey’s Theme and The Jedi Steps. With ROTS, it’s Battle of the Heroes. With ESB, it’s the Imperial March. You get the point.

The closest track that comes close to capturing that in TLJ is Fun with Finn and Rose. The more I listen to it, the more it evokes feelings of comfort, family, and joy. I’m surprised that I associate it with family, because I believe it was meant to be playful and slightly romantic. But when I listen to it, I want to hold everyone in a giant hug and feel the security of what we are building for the future. It makes me feel safe and full of joy for those I love.

Unfortunately, Williams does not expand on this theme as much as I would like him to. It reminds me of Han Solo and the Princess – while there was a distinct theme for them, the music was often pushed together with other moments in the movie and other music (as in The Rebellion is Reborn with TLJ). I would have liked a fleshed-out theme for Finn and Rose because their music is one of the lighter pieces we feel through a soundtrack that is actually quite dark in its tones. I have the same disappointment with The Jedi Steps in TFA as I felt like it was over too quickly, but the saving grace was that The Jedi Steps as a piece also includes the finale, so we got another snippet of the Star Wars main theme, Rey’s Theme, March of the Resistance, and Kylo Ren’s/First Order theme.

Though Finn and Rose is my favorite, the one track that stands out the most on the TLJ soundtrack is The Spark. It’s a wonderful piece written by John Williams that encompasses the entire movie in one track. It starts out in a foreboding, anticipatory manner, that then shifts to Luke and Leia from Return of the Jedi. I get goosebumps when it makes that transition…it makes me nostalgic, sad, and resigned at the same time. Then it moves into Han and Leia for a brief moment, transitioning right after into it’s own piece. The past is over and let’s move into a new era. And then, and then, oh my gosh, the build up…you don’t need to have seen the movie to know that something big is coming. This is THE moment when the hero takes center stage. It’s that moment when you put your hand over your mouth and you don’t know what the eff is going to happen. AND THEN IT JUST STOPS. Which is kind of amazing but also so dissatisfying at the same time. All you want is a resolution and to find out what happens. But there is none, and in this case, I kind of like that about this composition. It’s the past moving forward into the future. But what does the future hold? No one knows. Always in motion is the future.

The last track that needs some recognition is the Canto Bight music. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Canto Bight music. It took me a while to come around to it because I associated it so much with the scene in the movie that I thought was unnecessary, so it left a sour taste in my mouth for a while. Once I moved past that and only listened to the music, I found I enjoyed it a lot. The music changes its tones quickly and keeps you entertained throughout. It starts out with elements of Caribbean steel drums combined with brass music that has Southern American influences. The middle of the piece moves and flares up with some 1920s jazz throwback (strongly reminds me of the Jeeves and Wooster theme) that makes you think the parties and booze are in abundance on Canto Bight and it continues this to the end. For a “cantina” scene music, I find it very different and fresh for the Star Wars world. I still don’t understand why we need a cantina scene in every new Star Wars movie, but that’s a discussion for another time.


My verdict on this soundtrack is that though I enjoyed the way Williams embroidered past themes into TLJ, I thought there wasn’t enough new and fresh music. The focus was on the past – Leia’s theme played a dominant role, which is interesting because we had never heard her theme again after ANH, something I griped about earlier. I feel sure this is because of Fisher’s death and everyone wanted to pay a tribute to her legacy. Yet, for a movie that seemed so intent on telling us to let the past die, to kill it if we have to – it seemed determine to stay in the past with its music.


Now that we’ve had a few months to assimilate to The Last Jedi soundtrack, what have been your thoughts on it?

Haiku Me Friday! My favorite species

Ryloth, the harsh world
Some forced into lives of slaves
But they emerge strong

If you are new to my blog…and by new, I mean, you’ve only been following for about 2 years or less (lol), you’ll know my favorite species are the Twi’leks (pronounced Twee-leck).

I loved Twi’leks from the moment I first saw Oola on the screen. There was something about her that was strangely riveting. For being on screen for such a small amount of time, she made a huge mark. She was a slave who was forced to dance for a crime lord against her will, fought to get free (but honestly, she should have thought that through better), and died while trying to make her life better. Her life must have been pretty horrible to all of a sudden crack like that.

Since then, I’ve kept a close eye on the female Twi’leks. I don’t think any made an impression quite like Oola, but I would still perk up when a Twi’lek crossed the background of a screen. Their species was just so fascinating to me.

Watching the evolution of female Twi’leks throughout the history of Star Wars has been an interesting ride for the past 20 years of my life.

Oola was the first one we ever saw, and she was dressed in barely anything. This trend seemed to continue in the Special Editions, where we see Lyn Me, and then further into the Prequels with the Gella twins. All of these Twi’leks were slaves, which is one of the reasons we could explain away their lack of clothing. But as we progress into the Prequels, we see more Twi’leks in positions other than slaves, such as the Twi’leks on Coruscant or even a Jedi fan favorite, Aayla Secura. But, strangely, they still dress in revealing clothing, which had me wondering for a while if perhaps being dressed in little clothing was also something related to their culture.

For episodes I-VI, it seems like Twi’leks were equated with sexual and, in a way, we kind of normalized it as a fanbase. I’m not sure how I feel about that. As an older woman, it feels wrong. Looking back at my younger self, it was something that was presented to me and I accepted it. Not good or bad, it just was. Female Twi’leks were dressed provocatively, which is why I think for a long time, I believed it to be part of their culture.

It changed once The Clone Wars came out. We got to see more female Twi’leks in different roles than just slaves, as actual inhabitants of Ryloth with beliefs and reasons for living. We get to see children, notably Numa, who is dressed…normally.

Finally, with Star Wars Rebels, we are introduced to Hera Syndulla, one of my favorite characters outside of the movies. I appreciated Hera from the moment she was on screen in Star Wars Rebels. I love that Hera a) doesn’t have the Force, b) is a badass pilot without the Force, c) leads an entire team of rebels, first as a small ragtag group and later with the official Rebellion, d) is completely dressed from head-to-toe, and e) is a Twi’lek! I was so happy when I saw this drastic change in the way female Twi’leks are portrayed. I’ve often wondered if the reason she is so heavily dressed is because Disney was trying to make a new statement about female Twi’leks.

It was almost as if how we think about the female Twi’lek species matches the way we physically view them on the screen. When we first saw them, they were slaves to Jabba with very little cover-up and not much personality; then all the way through to an independent species that make their own mark on the Star Wars world. As we get further and further away from the George Lucas canon works (I-VI), I wonder if we’ll ever see the sexy female Twi’leks again? Are they gone forever? Or, if we see them again, will there be a heavy backstory relating to their slavery as opposed to only seeing them in the background?

Finally, I can’t end this post without saying that there is a much better haiku on Imperial Talker’s page that is dedicated entirely to the Twi’lek home world of Ryloth. Read it if you love Twi’leks! And lastly, this is a great little compilation of Twi’lek pictures that I stumbled upon.

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!