The Saga Continues: A Commemoration of the Star Wars Mythos #12: Ahsoka Tano

Note: This post contains spoilers for Star Wars: Rebels Season 1 Episode 13 “Fire Across The Galaxy”, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 5 Episodes 17-20 “Sabotage”, “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much”, “To Catch a Jedi” and “The Wrong Jedi”. If you wish to remain spoiler free until after you have viewed the episodes for yourself, please stop reading now.  Consider yourself warned.

 

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Update on Blog-Series IV

Hey, everybody! I hope you’ve been enjoying my blog-series on the Star Wars saga. It’s great to see how many people have been reading the series thus far. I have only four posts in that series left, so keep your eyes open. You won’t want to miss them!
As I’ve been putting a few finishing touches on the series I came upon a new title for the blog series. truth be told, I felt that Blog-Series IV sounded too bland next to “Countdown to Avengers: A Celebration of the Marvel Universe”, “Road to Rises: Adventures in the DC Universe” , and “ An Unexpected Blog-Series: A Celebration of the Hobbit.” I just went with “Blog-Series IV” because I couldn’t think of a better title at the time. It’s funny what several months to think can do.

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The Saga Continues: A Commemoration of the Star Wars Mythos #11: Qui-Gon Jinn

A look at the Essential Guide to the Star Wars Universe can reveal an endless cast of characters as numerous as the stars in the sky themselves. Some appear only in Expanded Universe novels and comic books. Others, like some of 90 % of X-Wing pilots seen in the original movie have no more than five minutes of screen time only to die in a blaze of glory in a battle only to have their story embellished in those same books. Yet no matter how small their role, they can still get a name, an action figure, and a trading card.

At the same time, there are some major characters that appear in just one film for a

Qui-Gon Jinn

Qui-Gon Jinn

significant amount of the story, and yet still make a profound impact on the Star Wars Universe. For example, Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope demonstrates in that one film, just hold cold, uncaring, and draconian the Empire has become. Jango Fett only appears in Attack of the Clones but he serves as the template not only for the Republic’s Clone Army, effectively setting the stage for the Stormtroopers of the Empire, but is the father of the notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett. However, among these “one and done” characters no role was more pivotal than that of the renegade Jedi Master, Qui-Gon Jinn. The mentor to Obi-Wan Kenobi, he was also instrumental in finding Anakin Skywalker, an act that would change the fate of the galaxy forever. Continue reading

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The Saga Continues: A Commemoration of the Star Wars Mythos #10: Mace Windu

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

Mace Windu

Mace Windu

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.”

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“Roads? Where we’re going we won’t need roads” Celebrating 30 Years of Back to the Future

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

Back to the Future poster

the Future.

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.

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“Failure is Not An Option”: Celebrating 20 Years of the movie Apollo 13

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

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.

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The Saga Continues: A Commemoration of the Star Wars Mythos #9: Lando Calrissian

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 Calrissian

Lando Calrissian

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

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