Minute by Minute

 

One of the benefits of being a lifelong, outspoken Star Wars fan is that sooner or later you don’t really have to go out of your way to find cool or interesting Star Wars stuff.  Eventually everyone I know realized that a large portion of my conscious thought is focused on Star Wars and unless they’re talking about Star Wars the chances are pretty high that I’m not listening.  Therefore my friends and family are constantly bringing new and exciting Star Wars tidbits to my attention and it’s great!  Whether it’s production news, toy releases, or simply attempting to test my knowledge base I seem to constantly be engaged in one Star Wars conversation or another.

Recently a friend brought something to my attention which has become a new tangent for my Star Wars obsession.  This particular tangent is a podcast entitled Star Wars Minute.  Without the slightest bit of hyperbole Star Wars Minute is a pure work of genius.  It’s one of those simple, yet brilliant concepts that is begrudgingly infuriating only because you didn’t come up with the idea yourself.

minute1

The main premise of the podcast is that the two hosts, Alex Robinson and Pete “The Retailer” Bonavita, watch the Star Wars movies one minute at a time, every day, Monday through Friday, and break those minutes apart, analyze them, celebrate them, and most importantly delve into hilarious prolonged discussions about each glorious minute.  Starting back in 2013 the hosts worked their way through every minute of Star Wars, Empire, and Jedi, and are now currently well into The Phantom Menace.

At this point those of you reading are probably thinking one of three things:

A:  “Oh wow!  This sounds great!”

B:  “I mean, I like Star Wars but this seems like too much . . . . “

C:  “How the hell can you talk, at length, about one minute of a movie?”

Allow me to address these questions before I continue.

A:  You are absolutely correct.

B:  It really isn’t overwhelming at all.  Sure there are a lot of episodes but you can really jump in anywhere, or just pace yourself and start from the beginning.  The episodes are generally 20 – 40 minutes long and if you like Star Wars I guarantee you’ll find yourself soaring through them in no time.

C:  That’s the beauty of the Star Wars movies, there is a lot to talk about.  If you really think about it, in any given minute of any of the Star Wars movies there are any number of elements coming together at the same time on screen.  You’ve got the actors, the characters, the aliens and ships of the Star Wars universe, the production style and cinematic choices of George Lucas, John Williams’ music, the various special effects, behind the scenes trivia, various drafts of the screenplay, and the list goes on.  So in short there is a great deal to talk about, both good and bad, in every minute of these films!

Now I don’t know the exact origins of Star Wars Minute or the duo that hosts it but here is what I’ve uncovered from their on-air conversations and a bit of interwebs research.

Alex Robinson is a comic book writer and artist based out of New York City.  Pete the Retailer was a manager at the New York location of the cult entertainment megastore Forbidden Planet.  Based on pure conjecture and their roster of podcast guests I’m guessing that these two friends pooled their network of contacts within the writing, cartooning, and comedy scenes and brought together this brilliant daily podcast with an expertly understated flare.

Pete and Alex have a great chemistry on-air and their conversations and dissections of the Star Wars movies are both informative and entertaining.  It’s like sitting around with your friends watching the movies, pointing out the interesting aliens that are stumbling around in the background, examining the confident ineptitude of Han Solo, and really analyzing the whininess of Jedi-to-be Luke Skywalker.  However I don’t want it to seem like the hosts exclusively make fun of the Star Wars movies, this isn’t a podcast version of MST3K.  Pete and Alex have an honest love for the fantasy/sci-fi adventures from that galaxy far, far away.

It should also be pointed out that Pete and Alex are Star Wars fans dating back to these films earliest days and the two of them are very knowledgeable about the fictional facts of the Star Wars universe, but not too knowledgeable; which in this case is an asset to a show such as this.  Although these guys are Star Wars super fans with a long running successful Star Wars podcast I do find myself occasionally shaking my head in dismay at some of the Star Wars knowledge they slip up on.  That however leaves the hosts and their guests open for a great amount of comedic speculation meaning the show doesn’t dwell too heavily on the practiced regurgitation of Star Wars lore.

cantina2.png

Sure we all know Wuher was the bartender but Chalman owned the Mos Eisley Cantina.  Duh!

Speaking of the guests, almost every episode of Star Wars Minute has guest hosts who are Star Wars fans and experts of varying degrees.  Most of the guests seem to be friends and colleagues of the hosts who each add interesting and humorous points of view that help keep the daily podcast fresh week to week.  A few of my favorite guests that I’ve heard so far are Tim Kreider, Chris Radtke, Jackie Kashian, and the best of all Tony Consiglio.  When perusing the various episodes keep an eye (and ear) out for those guest stars and make it a point to listen to weeks when they appear.

minute4.png

If you can appreciate this image, then you’d probably appreciate Star Wars Minute.

Overall I’m just going to say this: if you’re a Star Wars fan and are looking for a new Star Wars related podcast to listen to I highly recommend Star Wars Minute.  You can jump right into the daily show which is now covering the Prequel Trilogy or you can go back to the beginning and make your way through the hundreds of episodes which minute-by-minute examine the classic Original Trilogy films.

And Pete and Alex if you’re ever in need of an extremely knowledgeable Star Wars fan for an open guest spot just go ahead and send me a message.  I’ll just be over hear studying my many tomes of Star Wars lore!

That is all!

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George Lucas Doesn’t Hate The Fans, He’s Just A Terrible Artist

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.

—-Leonardo Di Vinci

“Star Wars is like a woman who was once vibrant and beautiful but who has had an obscene amount of plastic surgery and hasn’t been allowed to age gracefully.”  —-Some Guy on a Star Wars Forum

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or simply aren’t a Star Wars fan or geek of any ilk, you most likely have been hearing the complaints about the changes made to the Star Wars movies in their upcoming blu-ray release.  Most of the recent controversy has centered around some added bits of dialogue given to Darth Vader during the climactic final battle between Vader, Palpatine, and Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi.  In this newest version Darth Vader screams “No! Nooo!” as he picks up his Sith master and gives him the shaft.  A phrase that has already garnered some fan ridicule when it was used in Revenge of the Sith and now has them outraged due to its insertion into the iconic ending of the original trilogy.

Cover of the upcoming Star Wars Blu-Ray

Now many Star Wars fans out there already have several complaints to bring up against Uncle George, the bearded creator.  This recent tinkering with the saga seems to be the straw that infuriated the camel’s core fanbase.  Many other blogs and commentaries seem to imply that they feel George Lucas hates the fans, cares nothing for the Star Wars saga, and thinks that adding to, and messing with, the movies will encourage us gullible fans to shell out a few extra bucks in order to collect a newer version of the films.

But here’s how I see it.

From what I can tell George Lucas does NOT hate the fans of his movies, or think that they are fools.  On the contrary Lucas seems to take quite an interest in the fans and their activities.  He has personally attended several of the Star Wars Celebration conventions and I have personally seen him speak twice.  From all indications he seems actually quite congenial to, and appreciative of, his fans.  One quick example that comes to mind is when Uncle George was taking questions at one of the previously mentioned Star Wars Celebrations, when one particularly stereotypical geeky fan asked a very specific and involved question about buzz droids and particle shielding on Jedi starfighters.  George took a breath and was about to answer the inquiry before the other fans in the auditorium booed the awkward questioner down from the mic.  I remember personally yelling something along the lines of “Ask that kind of shit at a Trek convention!”  George Lucas however said nothing, and simply shrugged as if disappointed he didn’t get to answer.

George Lucas shakes hands with a young Jedi fan

What I’m getting at is that George Lucas could be so much more standoffish with his fans, he could be like the Emperor, mysterious and removed from the people.  Instead he seems to make appearances quite often, has dialogues with the fans, and has even given his take on a few of the popular criticisms about his work.

That’s not to say that George Lucas hasn’t made some mistakes in his work.  I am in no way simply pardoning Lucas for everything just because he takes a few minutes to chat with the fan boys.  Jarjar was waaaaay overdone.  Episode II is terrible.  Han shooting first was stupid.  He shouldn’t have directed the prequels.  And Indiana Jones 4 was total shit (but actually I put most of the blame for that debacle on the other major players involved with that one, Lucas’ story could have been one of my favorite Indy movies, but the execution was atrocious!)

Now onto the idea that Lucas hates the Star Wars universe, or simply has no regard for the established universe that is Star Wars.  I’ve commented on this before in my post about Lucas VS the Fan Boys.  Without repeating myself too much I’ll just restate that I’ve never felt, nor have I really seen any evidence to support the idea that Lucas simply doesn’t care about what changes he makes to the Star Wars universe.  On the contrary I have to say that if you’ve read any interviews with Dave Filoni, the director of the Clone Wars cartoon, or George Lucas himself, you’ll discover that there is quite a bit of thought and effort put into what new elements are added to the Star Wars universe through the cartoons, and film changes, and how those elements fit in with the existing Star Wars realm.  Sure Lucas makes changes to established and iconic scenes, and tinkers with works he’s already completed but I attribute that more to the idea that Lucas is a perfectionist who regularly thinks about how he wishes this or that scene had turned out better.  I don’t believe he makes changes on a whim, but instead foolishly makes these edits based on his current state of mind, and not his original inspired direction.  As a writer myself I can sympathize with wanting to tweak your work to make it just right.  That however has to happen before it is unleashed upon the world.

Which brings me to the last part of my rant.

“Lucas just wants to make a quick buck off the fans by making some unnecessary changes and putting the movies out on a new format.”  George Lucas knows how to make a buck, there is no denying that.  That son of a bitch is the grand master of merchandising and he established the style of promotion and rebranding that keeps a product fresh in the mind of the consumer.  He knows how to stretch something out and get the most from fan expectations and desires.  I’m convinced that the only reason we haven’t seen the live action Star Wars television series yet is because the Clone Wars was far more popular and successful than originally anticipated, so why show all your cards at once?  Get the most of the Clone Wars and when that winds down, ramp up the live action show once more.  Some might say it’s a dick move, but it’s just good business.  Hold onto those good ideas until you need them, and keep the product going.  It’s America, it’s capitalism.  So all our Star Wars dreams aren’t coming true all at once, too bad.

I believe Lucas does what he does in terms of changes, additions, tinkering, etc. because deep down George Lucas is still clinging to his indie film school roots.  Somewhere deep down there is still good in Lucas, he pictures himself as a hipster film geek who praises 2001: A Space Odyssey and Kurosawa movies.  He wants to try to perfect his art however and is afraid to let things go until they are “done right.”  The problem is of course that things are never done right, they’re just done as best as they can be.  As the above quote states art is never finished, only abandoned.  This of course means that George Lucas is a terrible artist in that he just can’t let go.  I’m not saying he shouldn’t have made the prequels or has done too much with the Clone Wars, on the contrary, for the most part, I really enjoy these new segments of the Star Wars saga (glaring annoyances aside.)  It just means that Lucas has to learn to let go.  When he stepped back from the directors chair on the original movies we found that his vision could be fulfilled just as well, if not better, through a different set of eyes.

A young George Lucas with his friend, a young Francis Ford Coppola

It is my theory that George Lucas is not a spiteful person, nor a solely greedy one.  If any maladjustment can be assigned to him I would say he suffers from excessive vainglory.  He wants his works to be the best, and remain the best.  Star Wars, his inarguable pinnacle achievement and best known creation was once the apex of movie making, a groundbreaking achievement in film.  He is slow to relinquish that glory and so attempts to make his art a continual work in progress, slowly adapting the state of the art practices of the present to his masterpiece of the past.  Without a doubt Lucas has been a pioneer in new technologies and styles of film making, but he is unable to completely let go of his pride and the earlier works that got him there.

That is why you fail.

That is all!

Listening To Star Wars

As a humungous Star Wars fan and a collector of various Star Wars memorabilia I often hear the question “What’s your favorite item in you Star Wars collection?”  That is a question I don’t think I’ve ever successfully answered.  I constantly think about it however, trying to come up with an answer for the next person who asks.  Some of the contenders are my small Star Wars vinyl collection, the old cassette and projector reel set my wife salvaged from an abandoned classroom media collection, the few figures I have from the original Star Wars toy run that I played with as a kid which were purchased from various yard sales and flea markets, or the theater projection reel of the trailer for the Star Wars special editions that I stole from the local movie theater during my college days.

All of those are fantastic, and each has some of my favorite Star Wars related memories attached to them.  These items are certainly more valuable to me than the most expensive piece in my collection, a good story and a shared moment are more important than an original rocket firing Boba Fett figure.  However the one element of my collection that perhaps fueled my Star Wars fandom more than any others (with the exception of the movies themselves) are my boxed sets of the Star Wars radio dramas.  For anyone out there who is an avid Star Wars fan and who hasn’t listened to the Star Wars radio dramas you’re really missing out!  Produced for NPR and put together with full permission from George Lucas himself the radio dramas are full of many of Ben Burtt’s familiar sound elements from Star Wars; firing blasters, Vader’s menacing breathing, and the distinctive sound of TIE Fighters soaring through space.  There are even several recognizable voices from a few actors reprising their roles for the radio.


It is difficult to succinctly sum up why I love the radio dramas so much.  I guess I would put it this way; if you see a movie based on a book viewers inevitably remark that, even though the movie might be good, the book was better.  Although Star Wars is not based on a book, the Star Wars radio dramas are in some ways the book version of the Star Wars movies, retroactively of course.

Hopefully that makes sense.

What I’m getting at is that the Star Wars radio dramas really do a great job expanding each of the movies, fleshing out the characters, and really adding a helpful perspective to the action seen in the movies.  Questions that might arise during the movies, are answered in the radio dramas.  Lines of dialogue from the films such as Vader’s quote to Leia “You weren’t on any mercy mission this time!”  Suddenly become crystal clear and full of meaning.  By adding several hours of storytelling to each of the already established narratives of the Star Wars films, the radio dramas give us the opportunity to delve deeper into the Star Wars universe and have a better understanding of why the characters do what they do.

A recording session from the first radio drama. David Clennon as Admiral Motti, Keene Curtis as Grand Moff Tarkin, and Brock Peters as Darth Vader

The only thing that can be a little off-putting for us hardcore Star Wars fans is hearing iconic bits of long memorized dialogue being recited by new voices with different, unfamiliar, inflections.  The most difficult element to get used to is the casting of Darth Vader, sadly James Earl Jones does not take on the mantle of Vader in the radio dramas thus leaving the part lacking that iconic grandeur that has become associated with the voice of the dark lord of the Sith.  Don’t get me wrong, Brock Peters, an actor who has his own sci-fi cred from his work on Star Trek and elsewhere, does a wonderful job as the radio voice of Vader.  After awhile you get comfortable with Peter’s voice in the role, but honestly who can replace the smooth booming baritone of James Earl Jones?

There are however several actors from the movies who pick up their parts once again in the radio dramas.  Anthony Daniels, Mr. Star Wars himself, is the only original cast member who performs in all three of the radio dramas as the distinctly prissy C-3PO.  Mark Hamill returns as Luke for A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, but sadly is not present for Return of the Jedi.  I assume this was Hamill’s first venture into voice acting and perhaps paved the way for his future career?  Billy Dee Williams provides the smooth talking dialogue for Lando Calrissian in the Empire Strikes Back but sadly he too is not a part of Return of the Jedi.  There are also some special guest stars who take on some of the other major parts.  John Lithgow gives an amusing performance as Yoda in Empire and Jedi.  Ed Asner speaks fluent huttese in his role as Jabba the Hutt, and Ed Begley Jr. voices Boba Fett in Jedi delivering his dialogue with a whispering menace.

Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Bernard Behrens as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Perry King as Han Solo, and Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.

The Star Wars radio dramas provide a rediscovery of the Star Wars saga.  If you haven’t listened to these audio productions I highly suggest you sit down and make time to take them in.  With the last days of summer winding down there isn’t a better time.  Set up the hammock in your backyard with the CD player beside you and close your eyes as you return to Tatooine to discover new adventures of Luke Skywalker.  Maybe you’ve got a vacation on the horizon and a long car trip ahead of you, the radio dramas would make for a perfect listening experience for you and the family.

Anthony Daniels and Mark Hamill go over a scene from A New Hope.

At  6 ½ hours long the first production, A New Hope, is the longest of the dramas and provides the most new material for Star Wars fans.  It reveals the Empires subjugation of the planet Ralltiir, how Princess Leia begins to learn just how ruthless the Imperial forces really are, and how Leia and Bail Organa get into some serious trouble with the Empire.  There are also several new sections of Luke on Tatooine with his friends in Anchorhead where we get a chance to learn how Luke came to be known as the best pilot in the outer rim.  We even get the few moments just before where the movie opens and what leads to the Star Destroyer chasing down the Tantive IV.

The Empire Strikes Back radio drama clocks in a little shorter, at 5 hours long.  We get some more information about the construction of Echo Base on Hoth and find out how Luke was promoted to commander.  There are several expanded scenes in this second production where we get a little more information about classic moments from the movie.  We get to hear Captain Needa’s ill-fated apology and learn that Luke’s leap from the bridge in Cloud City was indeed a willing attempt to take his own life rather than be taken in by Vader to join the Empire.

With only 6 episodes and just 3 hours long the Return of the Jedi production is the shortest of the radio dramas and the one that provides the least amount of new material beyond the films.  We do however get to hear how Luke constructed his green bladed lightsaber by parsing the journals of Obi-Wan, a scene that has been revealed to be included in the upcoming blu-ray release of the Star Wars movies.  There are some extended scenes aboard the second Death Star and at the court of Jabba the Hutt, including an interesting moment between Han Solo and Boba Fett within the dungeons of Jabba’s palace.

When I first listened to the Star Wars radio dramas I was blown away by how well done they were and just how much was revealed about the Star Wars universe.  Countless hours of my youth were spent laying on my bed listening to the unfolding story of Star Wars as heard from a pile of cassette tapes.  My imagination easily filled in the scenes as my favorite heroes and villains worked their way through new locals and revealed events that went unseen in the original trilogy.  The radio dramas gave me a lasting appreciation for the unique medium of radio, and provided me with a whole new Star Wars cast to idolize.

Although choosing my favorite bit of Star Wars memorabilia is still something of a challenge, I can say without hesitation that if I were to be dropped off on a desert island and I had to choose only one group of my Star Wars swag to take with me, I would definitely bring along the Star Wars radio dramas.  Well, that and a power source and some type of audio player!

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the cast & crew of the Star Wars radio productions!

Brian Daley – Writer

John Madden – Director

Perry King – Han Solo

Ann Sachs – Princess Leia Organa

Bernard Behrens – Obi-Wan Kenobi

Brock Peters – Darth Vader

John Lithgow – Yoda

Anthony Daniels – C-3PO

Billy Dee Williams – Lando Calrissian (Empire Strikes Back only)

Mark Hamill – Luke Skywalker (A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back only)

Ed Begley Jr. – Boba Fett (Return of the Jedi only)

Ed Asner –Jabba the Hutt

Some links to more information about the Star Wars Radio Dramas:

The Star Wars Radio Drama

The Empire Strikes Back Radio Drama

Return of the Jedi Radio Drama

Purchasing the radio dramas!

 

That is all!

Unsung Casualties Of Star Wars

     Oh hello there, welcome back.  I have finally returned with another, if not untimely, post!  I was out of commission there for a few days due to the aforementioned technical difficulties I was having with the ol’ computing machine, and as such I was not able to get this post up for the Memorial Day weekend as I had planned.  Better late than never right?

     Anywho, as you should know by now my all-time favorite movies are the Star Wars films, hell the name of my blog is derived from C-3PO’s dialogue from the movies.  I know the Star Wars saga inside and out, I have particularly great nostalgia for the original trilogy but I also appreciate the prequel trilogy and I certainly don’t offhandedly dismiss episodes I, II, and III as some others might.  As far as I’m concerned the two trilogies represent two very different eras and achievements in film making, not to mention two very different periods in one film makers career.  One thing that I think we can agree all six Star Wars movies do have are wars, after all it would be quite a deceptive title for a movie series without them.  As with any war or series of wars there are a great many heroes on both sides.  Star Wars is chock full of memorable characters who, due to their bravery, strength, tactics, or leadership have gone on to become cinematic legends.  We all know Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.  Who could forget the Jedi generals and separatist commanders?  However those aren’t the folks I’m concerned about with this post, what about the other, lesser known heroes of Star Wars? Those soldiers who fought and died so that the better known big shots could continue the fight for the ideals and principles they believed in.  Those are the heroes I’d like to take a minute to remember, the unsung martyrs of the Star Wars saga.  Here are a few I think are worthy of mention:

Sometimes you get to pilot a fast ship, and sometimes you're dead.

NAME:  Tiree

HOME PLANET:  Corellia

RANK:  Pilot, point, Gold Squadron

CAMPAIGNS SERVED:  Corellia, Yavin

HOBBIES:  Making observations, painting, bird watching

PERSONAL INFO:  Tiree was a valued Y-Wing pilot set as point man for Gold Squadron over other more veteran members of the flight crew. Tiree flew during several skirmishes and was hand-picked to fly the Death Star mission. He was certified on both X-Wing and Y-Wing class fighters, though the Y-Wings are much slower, neither group really came out well from that battle now did they?

DEATH:  Electrocution from disrupted instrument panels after being hit by Darth Vader’s laser cannons. His ship later hit the Death Star’s trench
wall and exploded.

QUOTE:  “The guns. They’ve stopped.”

It takes a real man to apologize, a real dead man.

NAME: Lorth Needa

HOME PLANET: Coruscant

RANK: Captain, Imperial Star Destroyer Avenger, Death Squadron

CAMPAIGNS SERVED: Clone Wars, Coruscant Defense, Hoth

HOBBIES: Apologizing, being honest, claiming responsibility

PERSONAL INFO: Captain Needa had an outstanding career and participated in several crucial battles during both the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War including the battle of Coruscant where his ship directly confronted and prevented the escape of General Grievous’ Invisible Hand, the ship that held then Supreme Chancellor Palpatine captive. Needa was awarded several commendations and awards for outstanding service and his family had a proud heritage of military service. Unfortunately for him, awards and clean records can’t capture renegade rebel starships, or even grant him enough prestige for an on-screen death.

DEATH: Force choked by Darth Vader Execution for treasonous acts against the Empire.

QUOTE: “I shall assume full responsibility for losing them, and apologize to Lord Vader.”

Dyer should have installed higher safety railings for the Endor bunker.

NAME: Dyer

HOME PLANET: Ralltiir

RANK: Colonel, Imperial Army, Stormtrooper Corps

CAMPAIGNS SERVED: Bestine IV, Deep Space, Endor

HOBBIES: Giving orders, building and subsequently guarding installations.

PERSONAL INFO: Colonel Dyer was never one to play sports as a child, growing up on Ralltiir he was often teased about his inability to catch.  Given the nickname “Lamproid hands” in school (because Lamproids have no arms) Dyer eventually escaped such ridicule by joining the Galactic Empire, where his harsh discipline and desire to prove himself allowed him to flourish as a commander of an Imperial Stormtrooper detachment.  He was eventually given the prestigious honor of constructing and maintaining the shield generator on the forest moon of Endor.

DEATH: Knocked over a railing when hit with a tool box thrown by rebel general Han Solo. Fell into the bunker reactor core and was subsequently killed.

QUOTE: “Freeze!”

Sith Lords only like useful cowards, not nay saying recreants.

NAME: Daultay Dofine

HOME PLANET: Neimoidia

RANK: Captain, Droid Control Ship Saak’ak, Trade Federation

CAMPAIGNS SERVED: Clak’dor VII Trade Riots, Naboo blockade

HOBBIES: Worrying, backstabbing, wringing his hands

PERSONAL INFO: Heralding from a well established family, the Dofine clan has held prominent positions within the forces of the Trade Federation for decades. Daultay used his connections and political scheming to attach himself to the fleet of Viceroy Nute Gunray. Dofine was ascending to a position of power within the Federation until his worrisome nature and fear of the supernatural powers of the Jedi got the best of him. Apparently Sith Lords don’t take kindly to being seen as powerless against the Jedi, who knew?

DEATH: After being dismissed from Gunray’s inner circle Daultay Dofine was killed aboard the droid control ship when it was destroyed by some
kid in orbit over Naboo.

QUOTE: “I’m not going in there with two Jedi. Send the droid.”

Corde' had the distinction of not being Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, or Rose Byrne.

NAME: Corde’

HOME PLANET: Naboo

RANK: Handmaiden, Royal Security Forces

CAMPAIGNS SERVED: Naboo, Coruscant

HOBBIES: Wearing other people’s clothes, assuming identities, taking bullets, and feeling inadequate.

PERSONAL INFO: Although not officially members of the Naboo Royal Forces all handmaidens are trained in various small arms and hand to hand combat in order to protect the political figures they attend to. In the case of high-ranking leaders such as queens and senators that job description goes into working as public decoys. Some handmaidens assume the identity, characteristics, and mannerisms of those they are protecting, even impersonating their style of speech. Occasionally this of course means these decoys get snuffed by would-be assassins, which is somehow a failure on their part.

DEATH: Corde’ was killed in an explosion on a landing pad on Coruscant near the senate rotunda. The attack was aimed at Padme Amidala.

QUOTE: “I’m so sorry. I’ve failed you Senator.”

Don't talk to strangers kids, or people you know who suddenly have bloodshot yellow Sith eyes.

NAME: Sors Bandeam

HOME PLANET: Coruscant, Jedi Temple

RANK: Jedi youngling, Jakrab clan

CAMPAIGNS SERVED: Operation: Knightfall, Defense of Jedi Temple

HOBBIES: Coloring, tugging at heart-strings, naively trusting
others

PERSONAL INFO: Sors began his Jedi career as an infant. The majority of his early life was under the care and tutelage of the wise and powerful Master Yoda. Prior to the clone attacks on Coruscant Sors and his clanmates were beginning to learn about sensing the Dark Side and being aware of impending danger. Unfortunately they hadn’t completed that training module before the issuing of Order 66. When the chaos of the attack on the Jedi Temple started Sors and the other younglings of Jakrab clan were scooted off to the High Council chambers for safety, there only members of the Jedi Council would have access.

DEATH: Sors was brutally cut down with the rest of his comrades by the newly initiated Sith Lord, Darth Vader.

QUOTE: “Master Skywalker, there are too many of them! What are we going to do?”

     Well there you have it just a few of the nameless faces from the Star Wars saga I believe deserved some recognition.  Before anyone tries to start in on me, let me just say that I absolutely mean no disrespect to the real soldiers who have fought, and continue to fight, in wars around the world.  I am honored and have the greatest respect for the men and women of the United States armed forces and I don’t want anyone to accuse me of taking the Memorial Day holiday lightly, this is all in good fun.  I suppose you could say that I simply prefer my wars to be of the fictional variety where none have to actually die.  It’s nice to observe a struggle that I know has been choreographed purely for entertainment purposes and displays a black and white picture of good versus evil which simply doesn’t exist in the real world.

That is all!

Star Wars Episode VII: Cry of the Fanboys

     Everyone knows I am a huge Star Wars fan.  I live and breathe Star Wars.  I know the movies by heart, I can name just about any background character in every scene, I know the comics, and I read the books.  I own the ewoks movies and have both the ewoks and droids cartoons on DVD.  I even have a bootleg of the Star Wars Holiday Special (gasp!).  It is fair to say that I have an extensive knowledge of Star Wars that goes far beyond the depth of the films alone.  I however don’t know everything.  I wouldn’t say that I am an unparalleled expert in the Star Wars mythos; doubtlessly there are many others out there who know more about the ever expanding galaxy far, far away than I do.  For instance I have not read every single book in the now extensive Star Wars library.  There are just some that don’t interest me, and it’s tough to keep up on the ones that do.

The Thrawn trilogy are some books almost all fans praise

     One of the biggest things going in Star Wars today is the Clone Wars series on Cartoon Network.  I have loved what they are doing with this show and I have really grown to enjoy the creative team that is involved in bringing this aspect of Star Wars to the small screen.  Lead by director Dave Filoni the show has only grown stronger as far as I’m concerned, in both look and story.  After a shaky start with the release of the less then stellar Clone Wars movie they have continued to surprise me with the quality and depth of the developing tone of the show. 

     The Clone Wars has really brought to light a tremendous new niche in the hefty Star Wars EU.  For those who might not know “the EU” is a term used by Star Wars fans, and others, to refer to the Expanded Universe of the franchise, i.e.; the aspects of Star Wars that are not explicitly detailed in, or are altogether separate from but remaining tied to the universe of, the Star Wars movies.  To call the movies canon and everything else EU is not exactly correct though, because every officially published Star Wars work is considered canon, though subordinate to the six movies, and the whims of George Lucas himself.  The EU started small with a few spin off movies, a run of comics, and several book trilogies and has exploded into cartoons, video games, several ongoing comic books, and hundreds of novels and reference books.  It is safe to say that today the material of the EU far outweighs that of its parent films.

The legitimacy of the canon from the Droids cartoon is on shaky ground.

     Well the Clone Wars cartoon has proven to be something of a unique outing for the EU in that the canon of this particular show seems to have a greater weight to it due to the direct involvement of George Lucas.  This cartoon is a strong collaboration between Dave Filoni and his team and George Lucas and his extensive resources.  I would go so far as to compare this project to Lucas’ days during the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi where Uncle George stepped out from the role of director and instead focused his attention on story and overall look and feel of his universe as executive producer.

George Lucas and Dave Filoni

     This “word of Lucas” canon vibe of the Clone Wars has rekindled a fierce EU vs. Canon debate that has been brewing amongst Star Wars fanboys for decades.  Strictly from my personal take on the whole thing it seems like some people are Star Wars fans, enjoying the high adventure and sci-fi/fantasy blend of the movies while others are fans of sci-fi, who happen to enjoy Star Wars more or less because of the sci-fi elements of the movies.  I could go on and on about this debate but my feelings are George Lucas runs the show, he created Star Wars and allows the EU to even exist, Lucas giveth and Lucas can taketh away.

     For the most part Star Wars fans have eagerly embraced the Clone Wars, but there are a few things that have ruffled the feathers of the EU purists.  The first major issue that I became aware of was a three episode story arc in season two that featured the planet Mandalore and the Mandalorian warriors which are fan favorites.  Of course the Mandalorian lineage provided Boba Fett with his training and distinctive armor.  As we all know, any time Boba Fett is involved Star Wars fans go ape shit and express their very adamant opinions about the character.  In fact allow me to take a second to talk directly to the Boba fans out there.

     Hi gang, personally I like Boba Fett, he’s a cool character, and he’s got some nice armor but enough already!  Put an ice pack on those Boba boners and get over it!  There is nothing in those Clone Wars episodes that ruin Boba Fett or his history!  The information that deals with Boba Fett is given by the episodes villain who does nothing but lie and deceive about his activities!  Clearly he wasn’t a fountain of truth, and because he was trying to hide his criminal activities he of course is not going to link himself with a known criminal such as Jango Fett.  So what if Jango’s blue color scheme is part of a group called Death Watch?  They’re still Mandalorians, and Mandalorians who have taken up the battle armor of their people in an effort to reclaim their warrior past!

"Ugh! Now my cross stitched Fett family tree will have to be completely redone!"

 

Sorry, just had to take a moment and share a few thoughts with those fans. 

     Another more recent tid bit that has people all worked up is the death of Jedi Master Even Piell in one of the latest episodes.  Master Piell is not one of my favorite Jedi.  He appears in Episode I and did not return for Episode II and to be honest I didn’t give him much thought, I never liked his character design and his backstory was “blah.”  But apparently his death in the show went against an EU depiction of his death (although there is some vagueness in these claims) and fans are up in arms about this.  Some fans are waiting to see how Dave Filoni will try to explain it and wondering why they would so blatantly go against the EU.  For more on this development check out this discussion thread on wookieepedia.com HERE.  A little ridiculous.

This guy = controversy

     Once again I state that George Lucas can and will do whatever the hell he wants to do and he should be allowed to.  This is his playground; just because he let someone else build a sand castle doesn’t mean he has to let it stand forever if it gets in the way of him building an even cooler sandcastle that a greater number of people can enjoy.  Frankly the EU lost me after one of the earlier books tried to tell me Boba Fett’s real name was Jaster Mereel.  First off why would Boba Fett need a secret identity?  He’s not a super hero.  And second that’s a terrible name.  All of that has been retconned nicely these days, even fitting in with the whole Death Watch fiasco.

     I don’t want it to seem like I am not a fan of the EU stuff, I really am, but I am also comfortable with the fact that the EU does not have the final word on Star Wars, George Lucas does.  There is a lot of good EU works out there, I especially enjoy the comics.  There is also a great deal of bad EU stuff out there, and I’m sure fans of the EU would argue that there are a few bad Star Wars movies out there as well.  My personal problem with the EU comes down to the writers trying to write Star Wars as a strictly sci-fi genre by detailing the aspects of hyperspace travel, or trying to discern the illogical ranking system of the Empire.  For me Star Wars EU is at its best when it takes something familiar and interprets it through a Star Wars filter, taking into account the equal parts sci-fi and fantasy.  Dave Filoni and his Clone Wars team understand this.  The Clone Wars has allowed Star Wars to put its spin on the horror genre, giant monster movies, westerns, and much more.   Essentially that’s what Star Wars is all about, the movies were not wholly original in their concepts, they are full of old school high adventure fantasy, gritty noir gangster and war films, and serialized hits like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.  Lucas took all those elements and transformed them into this new imaginative universe.  It was his execution and the interpretation of his ideas that was important.  If you try to later breakdown that universe through EU works it just gets tiring and stops being exciting, especially when it loses that fantasy sense of the unknown.

Anyway enough ranting for now, I’ve gone on far too long!

That is all!