There are only two characters in the Star Wars saga that saw a debut in action figure form long before a movie would hit the big screen. The first was the fan favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett. The second was Mace Windu, who was a mail in offer in 1998 as a special sneak preview for The Phantom Menace. Like Boba before him, Mace Windu would become a fan favorite character, largely due to actor Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of the esteemed Jedi Master.
Unknown to most casual fans of the saga, the name Mace Windu was always part of the
Star Wars universe. Mace Windu, Chewie, and Anakin Skywalker existed in George Lucas’ earliest version of the Star Wars saga, or as it was called at the time “The Journal of the Whills.” At that point they were known as Mace Windy , Chuie ( also known as C.J. Thorpe) and Annakin Starkiller. Only the names Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Owen Lars, and Chancellor Velorum would carry over to the final films intact. Mace was even meant to be a main character, as is noted in the rough story out line, reprinted in the book The Making of Star Wars,
“This is the story of Mace Windy, a revered Jedi-Bendu of Ophuci; as related to us by C.J. Thorpe, Padawan learner to the famed Jedi.”
Posted in Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Film, Sci-Fi
Tagged Agen Kolar, Anakin Skywalker, Blog Series IV: Star Wars, Blog-Series IV:Star Wars, Dooku, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Kit Fisto, Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Palpatine, Plo Koon, Saessee Tiin, Samuel L. Jackson, Yoda
Back when I was in fourth grade my school had an all school writing contest. It goes with out saying that when it comes to a 4th graders writing project they are, at best “real-life stories”, or not-so-thinly disguised fan factions or assigned topic stories. My story was something different, and had it not been for the intervention of my parents, it would have been a cut and paste version of Star Wars. Mom had suggested I do something with going back in time to witness events of the past, and dad had mentioned a movie called Back to
Back to the Future poster
Save episodes of a short lived animated series based on the films and a few clips on TV here and there I had never really seen Back to the Future before that time so I set my story aside for a while as my family went for a trip to the mall. Back then I loved visiting one of my favorite stores, the now long defunct video store known as Suncoast. Looking through the racks I found a VHS copy of Back to the Future. We took it home and popped it in the VCR, and the minute that DeLorean time machine rolled out I was hooked. No, I didn’t rewrite the movie, but I was inspired to write my own time travel stories because the concept was just too much fun to pass up.
The Back to the Future Trilogy is perhaps one of the greatest modern time travel stories to grace the silver screen. Director Robert Zemeckis said that he felt that the three best time travel tales were HG Wells The Time Machine, Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol and Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. I humbly submit that the duo or Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, together with producer Steven Spielberg managed to craft a story worthy of being listed in the same breath as those three time travel luminaries of Wells, Dickens, and Capra. It almost didn’t happen as a number of studios took a pass at it, but Spielberg believed in the project, even going to bat with Universal Studios over the title, and helping to negotiate with actor Michael J. Fox’s agent and the producers of Fox’s show Family Ties to get Fox to star in the film.
Posted in Film, Sci-Fi
Tagged Back to the Future, Back to the Future 30th Anniversary, Biff, Christopher Lloyd, Christopher Llyod, DeLorean, Doc Brown, George McFly, Marty McFly, Michael J. Fox, retrospective, Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg
Back in the summer of 1995, there was one movie trailer whose title confused me. No, it wasn’t like how Tim Burton thought the title to Batman Forever sounded confusing. The movie in question was Apollo 13. My first thought when I saw the commercial was to wonder about Apollo 1-12, and if I was missing part of a series. Perhaps I should be excused for such an error in my thought process. I was 10 year old at the time, and between a summer of sequels like Batman Forever and Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls, and my beloved Star Wars films starting with a film labeled “Episode IV”, it would certainly look like it was part of a film series.
Apollo 13 poster
However when I saw the movie what I got was so much more than just another installment in a franchise. As it would happen, while I missed it in theaters, my dad had a VHS copy under the Christmas tree for me a few months later. I popped the tape in the VCR, and from the moment the stirring, patriotic main theme played over the Universal Studios logo to the nail biting conclusion of the splashdown it became an instant favorite.
It has been well established by critics and pop-cultural scholars is that at its core the Star Wars films are a modern day mythology meant for children. However, it’s not to say that the films are without their nuances. The Emperor may be a cackling evil mad man, but he is a wonderfully Machiavellian master manipulator. Jar-Jar Binks may be the most reviled character in the Star Wars saga by longtime fans yet he fills the roll of the Shakespearian fool. Yet few characters are as nuanced and intriguing as Lando Calrissian an old friend and former partner in crime of Han Solo.
Lando was a game changing character for the Star Wars saga. For one thing, Lando Calrissian was one of the first characters in Star Wars to be played by a person of color, a rarity for science fiction. Save Lt. Nyota Uhuru on Star Trek, there tended to be very limited rolls for African Americans in Science Fiction. For example, the only character of color in the original Planet of the Apes movie lasted ten minutes before he was caught by the apes and lobotomized.
Some are quick to point out that Lando doesn’t seem “black” in the way he acts and even accuse him of being a token. However, actor Billy Dee Williams said in an interview with People Magazine at the time Empire Strikes Back was released,
“The reason I was attracted to the roll was because it wasn’t written for a black person. I pretty much took what they had and decided to create this character who was devoid of the whole racial, ethnic kind of a thing. I really wanted to create a guy that was far beyond that kind of thinking. I wanted to make a really kind of epic hero out of him. That’s generally what I do with most characters I play. And of course, when I got the cape that really did it for me. That was like the key.” Continue reading
Posted in Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Film, Sci-Fi
Tagged Bespin Cloud City, Billy Dee Williams, Blog Series IV: Star Wars, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Death Star, Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Millenium Falcon, Princess Leia, Star Wars
There comes a moment in every person’s life where the everything seems to crash down. Moments like these are more frequent then we’d like to admit. One minute your life is all good and normal and you feel like “Everything is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie is your theme song. Then all of a sudden. It. Just. Stops.
I’m talking about that level of Earth shattering news that leaves you so shaken that nothing else seems to matter and you feel like you are walking in a fog. No, this isn’t about those huge national events that shock the entire world. Everyone is affected by those, or at least they should be. No, I’m talking about the kinds of things that affect only your microcosm of this globe, as the world around seems to just continue spinning on.
His name is said to be derived not only from the Sanskrit word for “warrior” but from the Hebrew word meaning “one who knows”. As such, it is no small wonder that Yoda is more than capable of challenging expectations others may have of him. When Obi-Wan tells Luke to go to the remote world of Dagobah, the young man expects to find a wise and powerful Jedi from which to learn the ways of the Force. Already, Luke has certain expectations in place as to just who or what this wise warrior could be, all of which are radically altered. He found the teacher, just not in the package he expected, and certainly not in the place.
Posted in Action, Fantasy, Film, Sci-Fi
Tagged Anakin Skywalker, Blog Series IV: Star Wars, Jedi, Luke Skywalker, Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars, Yoda
It’s probably clear by now to many of my readers that I am a huge Star Wars fan and have been so since I was nine years old. So much so, that my dad, who was a small group leader, offered to let me skip Junior High Church Youth Group and go to an opening day showing of The Phantom Menace. I decided to be a good Christian and go to church. Later that week, dad still surprised the family after we piled into the car, and handed me his Commercial Drivers manual. He told me to turn to a specific page and that was where I found tickets to The Phantom Menace waiting for me as he drove us to the now long closed movie theater at Har-Mar mall. I even got to wait in the front of the line.