Breaking Bread in Star Wars

In Game of Thrones, the significance of meals, soups, and stews cannot be overlooked. I love that important events happen around the table and eating: Joffrey gets murdered/poisoned during feast, the Red Wedding takes place during another feast, many of Olenna Tyrell’s witty and strong speeches are given over food, and some of the secret meetings often involve wine and tea cakes.

Food, in general, plays an important role in literature. Think about Alice in Wonderland with the Mad Hatter’s tea party or Chocolat where chocolate drives village folk to break their Lenten vows. How about Macbeth when he comes newly to the crown and has a feast (complete with scary visions)? And let’s not forget how Harry Potter was denied the ability to sit with his family to eat; often food was shoved into his broom cupboard, or later, his upstairs room, representing a denial of familial blood/bonds.

This of course got me thinking…what about Star Wars? Does Lucas put the same emphasis on meals as our literary friends? I’m going to take a look at the most important scenes involving food.

Let’s analyze!

 

Episode I – The Phantom Menace

The most important meal scene here would be when Qui-Gon, Padmé, and Jar Jar take refuge with Anakin and Shmi on Tatooine due to the sandstorm. This scene is very essential as it ties together some speculations, as we see Qui-Gon revealing to Anakin that he is a Jedi and Qui-Gon’s speculation that Anaking has Jedi reflexes due to the fact that he can drive (fly?) a podracer.

In one sense, it’s a meeting of the past and future. We see the old way of life and the Jedi Order with Qui-Gon Jinn. We see the future and the change in the galaxy with the meeting of this boy.

It’s also a moment where rich and poor come together. We see this clearly with Padmé who doesn’t understand slavery still exists, juxtaposed against Shmi who probably views her as a little naïve for not understanding the Outer Rim.

 

Episode II – Attack of the Clones

There are two specific meal scenes I want to focus on (sadly, I’d like to focus on when Anakin meets Padmé’s family, but since that was a deleted scene, I will keep it out of the picture (pun!)).

Meal 1: Anakin and Padmé on the Coruscant Freighter to Naboo

This is the first time we see Anakin and Padmé have a real, adult conversation that digs a little deeper into the Jedi life. Padmé teases the surface to see if Anakin’s flirtation could ever turn into something more substantial. We see them connect more as adults on an even playing field, versus what was happening earlier when Padmé was still trying to distance herself as the older and “wiser” of the two.

Here, too, there’s a connection of two different worlds and lifestyles meeting each other. There is the secular, political world which Padmé is a part of and the reclusive, temperate world that Anakin has sworn his life to.

Meal 2: Anakin and Padmé on Naboo

This meal is almost as if our characters were leveling up in a video game. They’ve approached each other with caution in Meal 1 and now they’re sparring flirtatiously (or should I say they’re having aggressive negotiations?) in Meal 2. The walls separating their worlds between them both have melted away a bit. Anakin now teases the Jedi and his master, Obi-Wan, slowly pushing aside their world. We see Padmé begin to pull Anakin into her world: not only are they literally on Naboo, her home planet, but also figuratively as he begins to grow more in love with her as a person.

Instead of two worlds meeting, we have two lives overlapping. This scene reminds me of a Venn diagram: Padmé, politics, wealth on one side with Anakin, Jedi, and isolation on another.

 

Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

Nothing to note.

 

Rogue One

Nothing to note.

 

Episode IV – A New Hope

The only scene in this movie with a meal involves Luke conversing with Uncle Owen while Aunt Beru silently watches the exchange. It’s here where we find out that Luke has a father, who for some reason, is mysterious and not much is known about him. Luke also vents frustration about staying on Tatooine for another harvest.

The meal itself seems normal enough if you’ve ever had a meal with a teenager, but the difference with this meal is the emphasis on Luke’s father. Luke is clearly interested in knowing more and is intrigued by the detail that Old Ben knew him, but Uncle Owen squashes that conversation quickly.

The main difference in this meal is that while the meals in the Prequels are pulling people together, this meal seems to be pushing people apart.

 

Episode V – Empire Strikes Back

Meal 1 – Luke eats a meal in Yoda’s hut

Again, similar to ANH, this meal is one of discord and tension as opposed to harmony. Luke is impatient and wants to find a Jedi Master. This little green being has invited Luke into his home and is trying to be hospitable, to bring warmth and friendliness to the meal, but all Luke wants to do is leave. How horrible! It reflects so poorly on him. Yoda also seems to be gauging Luke to see if he will open up to becoming more patient and is testing him.

Instead, the meal falls apart to the point that when Yoda is revealed to Luke, Yoda almost refuses to train him. The two Force-sensitive beings are pushing apart at this meal instead of coming together as they should be to save the galaxy.

Meal 2 – Lando’s betrayal

There’s not much to this meal time, but damn is it memorable. This is the Star Wars version of the Red Wedding. Han and Leia think they are going to a friendly meal with Lando, only to find that he betrayed them all.

Interestingly though, this is the first and only time we really see formal dining in the Star Wars movies. If anyone is wondering how the meal turned out, you should watch this version.

Out of all the meals in the Star Wars movies, this has to be the biggest antithesis of what meal times should be. Meals should be about coming together, letting bygones be bygones (temporarily) and as we saw in the Prequels, worlds meeting in a friendly manner.

We definitely have different worlds meeting together in this meal, but it is the opposite of opening your mind, sharing warm conversations, and attempting to be friendly.

The Empire and the Rebellion stirred together with some betrayal left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. (That was the greatest line I’ve ever typed)

 

Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Though not necessarily a meal, I wanted to include the scene of Leia handing Wicket the rice cake because it speaks back to my theme of bringing different worlds together. In this instance, which is different from the Prequels, Leia’s act of sharing a meal with someone completely different is what saves her life and topples the Empire.

It is often mentioned that food is a great way to bring together different cultures, even if they cannot speak the same language. We see this with Wicket and Leia on Endor. Despite their differences, the food helps Wicket overcome his hesitation to befriend Leia. In turn, he helps her take down a scout trooper and she goes with Wicket to his village. This helps her save her friends (who were also going to actually become the meal), disable the shield around the Death Star and bring down the Empire. And this all became possible because of a rice cake, imagine that.

 

Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Meal 1 – Rey’s solitary meal

For obvious reasons, this meal was shown to emphasize that Rey was alone. She was a girl on a lonely, desolate planet. I think this meal, though it could have been cut from the movie, was important to show us how isolated she was on Jakku.

In some ways, eating meals by ourselves is sometimes viewed by others with pity. Not many people go to restaurants alone, and even eating at your desk sometimes feels a little shameful. As human beings, we were meant to eat as part of a community. Though, in some ways, I think the American culture has forgotten (or ignored this as we prefer to place an emphasis on being busy), we still put an importance on eating together on holidays.  At our root, our cultures like to take coffee breaks, tea breaks, water cooler breaks,  so that we have a chance to connect with other beings.

Rey’s act of eating alone in a desert (another place that often symbolizes lack of life) forces us to acknowledge how secluded she is.

Meal 2 – Maz Kanata’s castle

This meal mirrors the meal from TPM slightly. We have four people from greatly different worlds, pulled together around a table for a meal. Whereas TPM was a happen chance, this meal was forced by Han Solo. Finn is an ex-First Order Stormtrooper, Rey is a loner from Jakku, Han is a smuggler, and Maz is…a Force-sensitive being (and totally also a hoarder – say what you want, but if you read any description of her, she belongs on TLC).

This meal is a meeting of the worlds, but not an overlap. Everyone still has their boundaries firmly in place once they leave. Yet here at this meal, they learn a little bit more about themselves. Instead of learning about others as we saw in most of the meals in Star Wars, they each understand a bit more about who they are and what they may have to do.

 

I was hoping to come away from this analysis feeling like there was a deliberate reason for each meal scene in Star Wars. I think that’s the case for some, but not all.

What I enjoyed observing the most was that the meals in the Prequels were focused on bringing together people from very different ways of life, into an open discussion and understanding of each other.

With the Original Trilogy, meal times were focused more on strife, discord, and a sense of unbalance. The meals highlighted tension for our characters and the larger political scene at large. Leia’s sharing of the rice cake with Wicket is the only instance in the OT where we see something closer to what we saw in the PT.

With TFA, I think the meal scenes were much more deliberate and placed within the movie for a reason: to help us understand the characters better.

 

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaching, food plays an important part in our lives. Though we love to gather around our tables and eat during the holiday season, do we also keep an open mind and realize that at any meal, we have a meeting of the worlds? Do we try to keep ourselves from discord and tension (and hopefully betrayal)?

 

Did I miss any meals that you think should be part of this list?

 

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Fan Art Friday! Wicket’s Cuteness Overload

I am really happy with the way this Fan Art Friday turned out.  If you read my other ones, especially the ones with characters, there was always some problem I had with the way I colored them.  This time – I am pleased with almost everything.  I love the colors I chose, I’m happy that Wicket turned out slightly similar to how he looks in ROTJ, and when I combined colors they came out the way I envisioned in my head.

Usually I have a lot more to say about my colorings but because I’m so happy with this, there’s very little to go into.  Be sure to check out Mei-Mei‘s picture as well!  For those of you who are new to my blog, Mei-Mei and I have the same coloring book and color the same page monthly and compare/contrast.

Overall, a success!

wicket-2

I know there are fans that hate the Ewoks but I don’t get it.  I’ve written about this before, but stop with the Ewok hate!  Or, at least learn to accept them.  All the complaining in the world won’t get rid of Jar Jar or change the fact that the Empire was brought down by little teddy bears.  I still think that’s one of the coolest takeaways from ROTJ – you can be small, but change the fate of an entire galaxy.  What a great message for so many people!  And further, look what happens when you keep an open mind.

Han Solo wanted to shoot the Ewoks.  His first reaction was to shoot and ask questions later.  Very Han.  Leia and Luke decided to pause and assess the situation.  Maybe they had a good feeling through the Force, knowing with some inkling that the Ewoks could be a great “asset”.  Both did not shoot and possibly create a bad encounter right away.  Sure, they almost got eaten but they still didn’t resort to blowing up the village (I don’t know, if I was tied up to stakes with a fire getting ready to roast me, I would probably not be as calm as Luke) once they were free.  Because of Leia and Luke’s open mind, they befriended the Ewoks.

That friendship with a species they couldn’t understand helped them bring down a government the Rebellion only had a 1% chance of defeating (this fact was in the last Rebels episode so is now canon booya).  Life lessons from Ewoks y’all, life lessons.

 

Stay tuned for next month’s Fan Art Friday!  We’re doing the most feared bounty hunter….(Mei-Mei, it’s the Boba Fett drawing that’s on the left of Grand Moff Tarkin. Closer to the end of the book.)

 

Scene it on Friday – ROTJ Scene #32

leia sharing food with wicket

Where the heck did these scout troopers come from??  Are they just hanging out all over Endor’s forests?  She was a long way from the shield generator.  Did maybe the other scout troopers call ahead and let them know their route?  Or are their tracking devices on all their bikes?  How did they find her???  Did they just hear her talking to Wicket?  This part is very suspicious…

leia looking for scout troopers

Reading this scene kind of made me have a new found love for Ewoks.  I know Null is probably cringing as I write this, but seriously, Wicket is pretty cute.  And reading this scene made me realize how much like a Border Collie Wicket is.  Intelligent, but cute and adorable at the same time.  I love Ewoks, despite many fans hatred for them.  This scene is a perfect example of how you shouldn’t ignore the little guy.  He may be beneath your notice (pun intended!) but that doesn’t mean you should discount him.

Another question that has been bothering me for, oh, about 12 years – what is that food that Leia gives to Wicket??  Everything in Star Wars has a name and when I tried to research this (again), I couldn’t find anything.  God forbid it’s just a “cracker”…no one in Star Wars would allow that.  So what is it?  I know…LEMBAS BREAD!  One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man!  No, but seriously, if anyone can find out what it is, you would be my hero for 5 minutes.  It’s one of those things that I think about every time I see this scene in the movie and then forget promptly later on.

Anyone notice that the description of Leia is that her “clothes are torn; she’s bruised and disheveled”?  Hmmm, I didn’t get that impression from the movie, haha.  She looked quite put together, but just a little shook up.

Anyway…it’s Halloween!  Anyone dressing up as a Star Wars character?  I’m donning my Old Republic Jedi Knight outfit today to hand out candy.  Anyone notice that kids seem to be coming earlier and earlier?  Maybe it’s just my area but when I was younger, my parents at least waited until 6pm.  I hope to see some little kids with Star Wars costumes.  Star Wars love all around!

leia and wicket

EXTERIOR: FOREST CLEARING – LEIA’S CRASH SITE

A strange little furry face with huge black eyes comes slowly into view. The creature is an EWOK, by the name of WICKET. He seems somewhat puzzled, and prods Leia with a spear. The princess groans; this frightens the stubby ball of fuzz and he prods her again. Leia sits up and stares at the three-foot-high Ewok. She tries to figure out where she is and what has happened. Her clothes are torn; she’s bruised and disheveled.

The Ewok jumps up and grabs a four-foot-long spear, which he holds in a defensive position. Leia watches him as he circles warily and begins poking her with the sharp point of the spear.

LEIA: Cut it out!

She stands up, and the Ewok quickly backs away.

LEIA: I’m not gonna hurt you.

Leia looks around at the dense forest, and at the charred remains of her speeder bike, then sits down, with a sigh, on a fallen log.

LEIA: Well, looks like I’m stuck here. Trouble is, I don’t know where here is.

She puts her head in her hands to rub away some of the soreness from her fall. She looks over at the watchful little Ewok and pats the log beside her.

LEIA: Well, maybe you can help me. Come on, sit down.

Wicket holds his spear up warily and growls at her like a puppy. Leia pats the log again.

LEIA: I promise I won’t hurt you. Now come here.

More growls and squeaks from the little bear creature.

LEIA: All right. You want something to eat?

She takes a scrap of food out of her pocket and offers it to him. Wicket takes a step backward, then cocks his head and moves cautiously toward Leia, chattering in his squeaky Ewok language.

LEIA: That’s right. Come on. Hmmm?

Sniffing the food curiously, the Ewok comes toward Leia and sits on the log beside her. She takes off her helmet, and the little creature jumps back, startled again. He runs along the log, pointing his spear at her and chattering a blue streak. Leia holds out the helmet to him.

LEIA: Look, it’s a hat. It’s not gonna hurt you.  Look. You’re a jittery little thing, aren’t you?

Reassured, Wicket lowers his spear and climbs back on the log, coming to investigate the helmet. Suddenly his ears perk up and he begins to sniff the air. He looks around warily, whispering some Ewokese warning to Leia.

LEIA: What is it?

Suddenly a laser bolt comes out of the foliage and explodes on the log next to Leia. Leia and Wicket both roll backwards off the log, hiding behind it. Leia holds her own laser gun ready, while Wicket disappears underneath the log. Another shot, and still no sight of anyone in the forest. Then Leia senses something and turns to find a large IMPERIAL SCOUT standing over her with his weapon pointed at her head. He reaches out his hand for her weapon.

SCOUT #l: Freeze! Come on, get up!

She hands the weapon over, as a second scout emerges from the foliage in front of the log.

SCOUT #1: Go get your ride and take her back to base.

SCOUT #2: Yes, sir.

The second scout starts toward his bike, as Wicket, crouched under the log, extends his spear and hits the first scout on the leg. The scout jumps and lets out an exclamation, and looks down at Wicket, puzzled. Leia grabs a branch and knocks him out. She dives for his laser pistol, and the second scout, now on his bike, takes off. Leia fires away and hits the escaping bike, causing it to crash into the first scout’s bike, which flies end over end and explodes. The forest is quiet once more. Wicket pokes his fuzzy head up from behind the log and regards Leia with new respect. He mumbles his awe. Leia hurries over, looking around all the time, and motions the chubby little creature into the dense foliage.

LEIA: Come on, let’s get outta here.

 As they move into the foliage, Wicket takes the lead. He shrieks and tugs at Leia to follow him.

Scene it on Friday – ROTJ Scene #39

Scene it on Friday – ROTJ Scene #39

Hmmm…I feel like I just wrote about Paploo, but it was actually in August.  My, my how the time flies!

I don’t have much to say about this scene other than…man, this makes me want to read up on Han Solo.  There’s way too much information out there for me to actually do it right now, but don’t you wonder what memory he’s specifically thinking about when he says, “Chewie and me got into a lot of places more heavily guarded than this.”?

On top of that, what was Han’s actual plan here?  That place was huge and manned pretty tightly.   How in the world was he thinking of getting in?

Also, say what you want about Threepio, but he is damn useful to have around sometimes.  Without him, they would not have the Ewoks help in ROTJ, and as we know – they turned the course of the movie..

 heavily guarded endor

EXTERIOR: ENDOR – RIDGE OVERLOOKING SHIELD GENERATOR

Han, Leia, Chewbacca, the droids, Wicket, and another Ewok scout, PAPLOO, hide on a ridge overlooking the massive Imperial shield generator. At the base of the generator is an Imperial landing platform. Leia studies the installation.

LEIA: The main entrance to the control bunker’s on the far side of that landing platform. This isn’t gonna be easy.

HAN: Hey, don’t worry. Chewie and me got into a lot of places more heavily guarded than this.

Wicket and Paploo are chattering away in Ewok language. They speak to Threepio.

LEIA: What’s he saying?

THREEPIO: He says there’s a secret entrance on the other side of the ridge.

Scene it on Friday – ROTJ Scene #41

Scene it on Friday – ROTJ Scene #41

Okay, first off, I don’t feel like writing today.  So this is a little lame.  Surprise!  (I got together with some of my Mount Holyoke friends a few weeks ago and we were discussing how women have the tendency to say “sorry” much too often, even when we don’t mean it.  It’s a knee-jerk reaction.  So instead of saying “sorry”, my friend said she substitutes the word with “Surprise!” because most of the time she’s really not that sorry.  I am now trying to incorporate that into my life.)

I love this scene because it’s wonderful when a movie will throw in a little humor to alleviate a tense situation.  This is exactly what happens as Han and Leia get ready to take their first step in taking down the Empire.

It’s pretty obvious that George Lucas was trying to show that the little people could take down the big man.  I can’t speak on if there was a much larger symbolism he was trying to convey, but I love that it can also be seen in moments like this.  The Ewoks are primitive, and so people often take that to mean unintelligent, especially as they don’t own the machinery and technology that others have.  Yet, with no blasters, lightsabers, or even protective gear, Paploo immediately knew what he had to do to help out our Rebel friends.  They totally knew what they were going to do in a heartbeat after Threepio explained the situation.  And to everyone’s surprise – it worked!  Though Paploo seemed to be naïve and slightly crazy, he got rid of three out of the four scout troopers, thus making the job of Han and Leia a lot easier.

A little trivia: Paploo is played by Kenny Baker, who is the guy inside our favorite astromech droid, R2-D2.

Surprise!  I’m done.

paploo kenny baker

EXTERIOR: ENDOR – RIDGE OVERLOOKING CONTROL BUNKER

Han, Leia, Chewie, the droids, and their two Ewok guides, Wicket and Paploo, have reunited with the Rebel strike squad. The entire group is spread through the thick undergrowth. Below them is the BUNKER that leads into the generator. Four Imperial scouts, their speeder bikes parked nearby, keep watch over the bunker entrance. Chewie growls an observation, and Paploo chatters away to Han in Ewok language.

HAN: Back door, huh? Good idea.

Wicket and Paploo continue their Ewok conversation.

HAN: (cont) It’s only a few guards. This shouldn’t be too much trouble.

LEIA: Well, it only takes one to sound the alarm.

HAN: (with self-confident grin) Then we’ll do it real quiet-like.

Threepio explains what is going on to Wicket and Paploo. The Ewoks chatter a moment between themselves. Then Paploo jumps up and scampers into the underbrush.

Threepio asks Wicket where Paploo went and is given a short reply.

THREEPIO: Oh! Oh, my. Uh, Princess Leia!

LEIA: Quiet.

THREEPIO: I’m afraid our furry companion has gone and done something rather rash.

LEIA: Oh, no.

EXTERIOR: BUNKER – ENTRANCE

Paploo has slipped out of the undergrowth near where the Imperial scouts are lounging. He silently swings his furry ball of a body onto one of the scout’s speeder bikes and begins flipping switches at random. Suddenly, the bike’s engine fires up with a tremendous ROAR. Paploo grins and continues flipping switches. The scouts leap up in surprise.

EXTERIOR: RIDGE

Han, Leia and company watch in distress. Chewie barks.

HAN: (sighs) There goes our surprise attack.

EXTERIOR: BUNKER

The Imperial scouts race toward Paploo just as his speeder zooms into motion. Paploo hangs on by his paws and shoots away into the forest.

SCOUT: Look! Over there! Stop him!

Three of the Imperial scouts jump on their rocket bikes and speed away in pursuit. The fourth watches them go from his post at the door.

EXTERIOR: RIDGE

Han, Leia, and Chewie exchange delighted looks.

HAN: Not bad for a little furball. There’s only one left. You stay here. We’ll take care of this.

Han and the Wookiee nod at each other and slip down toward the bunker. Threepio moves to stand next to Wicket and Artoo.

THREEPIO: I have decided that we shall stay here.

EXTERIOR: FOREST

Paploo sails through the trees, more lucky than in control. It’s scary, but he loves it. When the Imperial scouts pull within sight behind him and begin firing laser bolts, he decides he’s had enough. As he rounds a tree, out of their sight, Paploo grabs a vine and swings up into the trees. A moment later, the scouts tear under him in pursuit of the still-flying, unoccupied bike.

EXTERIOR: BUNKER

Han sneaks up behind the remaining Imperial scout, taps him on the shoulder and lets the scout chase him behind the bunker into the arms of the waiting Rebel strike team. Han returns to the front, and taps out a pattern on the bunker door’s control panel. Everyone stands out of sight, police-style, as the door opens. Han and Leia peek inside. No sign of life. The group enters the bunker silently, leaving one lookout behind.