As the first spring storms of the season blew through the Twin Cities Metro, I felt that old familiar pull in my chest. It’s a sensation that has become all too familiar over the past ten years whenever it storms. It hadn’t always been there. In fact, much like a storm, how I acquired this ability to sense storm fronts came rather suddenly.
Ever heard of a spontaneous pneumothroax? Unless you are in the medical field you probably haven’t and to be honest at that time I hadn’t heard of it either. In fact it was the furthest thing from my mind ten years ago. On that day I was thinking more about classes, the “four year plan” for college and beyond, how to become friends with a set of cute twin girls who went to school with me, and of course, cosplaying as Anakin Skywalker for the next Star Wars movie with my buddy who was going as the Emperor.
The Star Wars saga combines a number of different genres to craft it’s mythology. it’s got the knights, wizards and princesses of the fairy tales, the robots and space ships of sci-fi, and even the gun-slinger of the American Western with his trusty sidekick in the form of the smuggler Han Solo. Like the heroes of the old West, Han is introduced in a sleazy saloon, engages in a shoot out with a two-bit bounty hunter, and as we learn has a thing for gambling and beautiful women. His heritage in the Western film is connected further by the fact that his costume was inspired by the one Gary Cooper wore in the classic film High Noon.
Han doesn’t take any lip from any one, especially a certain princess. He has some of the
best one-liners in the series, largely because actor Harrison for ad libed a number of his scenes. Because of his spontaneous attitude and his cynical mind he also grounds the franchise in a level of realism, or at least as realistic as you can get in a movie series filled with lightsabers, planet smashing super-weapons, wise sages that sound like a member of the Sesame Street gang, bickering droids, and a mystical energy Force. Everyone else in the galaxy tends to be in awe about this “Force”, but not Han. As he says in the original Star Wars movie,
“Hokey religions and ancient religions ain’t no match for a good blaster at your side…. Kid, I’ve been from one end of the galaxy to the next. I’ve seen a lot of strange things, but I ain’t seen anything that makes me believe in some all powerful Force that controls… everything. It’s a lot of hocus-pocus and superstitious nonsense. There’s no mystical energy field that controls MY destiny.”
Posted in Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Film, Sci-Fi
Tagged Blog Series IV: Star Wars, Boba Fett, Chewbacca, Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Luke Skywalker, Millenium Falcon, Princess Leia, Star Wars
As soon as news broke back in 2012 that Disney bought LucasFilm, fans began to do picture mash-ups of Princess Leia with the other members of the Disney Princess Collection. It is certainly enough to illicit a groan and a chuckle, as there is Leia standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Sometimes she’s pointing her blaster rifle, other times she’s in her bronze bikini. It seems odd to associate Leia with these fairy tale characters, especially “children’s” fairy tales.
Yet at the same time, it is a fitting comparison. While scholars have gone to great lengths to describe Star Wars as a myth, and fans will debate whether Star Wars should be defined as science fiction or simply fantasy in an outerspace setting, Star Wars is also a fairy tale. Like all fairy tales it has a heroic peasant, a charming but roguish knight (or pirate), a wise old wizard and most importantly a princess. Further, as is the case for many fairy tales it is the task of the heroes to save the princess from the clutches of the evil over lord or dragon. It is also the job of the princess to beg the hero for help and there by alert him to the trouble at hand.
Posted in Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Film, Sci-Fi
Tagged Blog Series IV: Star Wars, Darth Vader, Disney Princess, Han Solo and Princess Leia, Leia is a Disney Princess, Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, Padmé Amidala, Princess Leia, Star Wars
One thing that made the original Star Wars film so unique was how it introduced its main characters. After the memorable credit crawl, and the iconic opening shot of the Star Destroyer chasing the Rebel Blockade Runner we are introduced not to the hero of the story but two of its supporting players, the droids C-3P0 and R2-D2. This is followed by meeting the villain, Darth Vader and the heroine, Princess Leia. The droids flee, the princess is captured, and the villain is in pursuit of the Rebel Alliance, trying to reclaim the plans for their super weapon.
This leaves the audience wondering: just where is the hero of the story. The threat has been established and all that remains left is to see just who will rise up to challenge this tyrannical empire, and save not only the beautiful princess but the galaxy as well. Luke doesn’t even show up in the movie until a full half an hour into the film. When he’s first introduced in the film, Luke is not exactly what some may expect as a “hero”. He was just an 18 year old farm boy from a backwater planet of Tatooine, who is in the process of helping his uncle purchase some new droids for the farm and doing his chores.
Posted in Action, Adventure, Film, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized
Tagged Anakin Skywalker, Blog Series IV: Star Wars, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia, Star Wars
Many times for actors especially in the genres of science fiction, fantasy and superheroes, they become so associated with the role that it becomes impossible to not talk about both them and their character as if they were one and the same, especially among the fandom. This is especially true for Leonard Nimoy, who will always be remembered as the Vulcan Mr. Spock, the science officer on the star-ship Enterprise and Captain James T. Kirk’s right hand man. While there has been no shortage of aliens in film and television, perhaps even more so with the advent of computer animation, towards the very top of the list of those who are considered most iconic, Spock would be towards the very top. There was something strange and alien about him, without him being green skinned and having antennae on his head, and yet at the same time almost human.
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn
Full disclosure: back in college I had a great idea. Make and sell sarcastic and cynical Valentine cards. I wrote a series of poems with a bit of a “bite” to them and e-mailed them to my buddies who got a good laugh. One friend of mine, who was a business major, didn’t think there was a market for them as people would rather print them up and give them away for free.
When it came to Luke Skywalker’s back-story, all we knew of him in Star Wars was that he was an orphan who lived with his aunt and uncle on some backwoods planet in the middle of nowhere. What he knew of his father was only bits and pieces and any other information as withheld. That is until he met Obi-Wan Kenobi and began his journey towards becoming a Jedi. Along the way, not only did Luke learn that his father Anakin Skywalker had become Darth Vader, but he also discovered that the beautiful Princess Leia was his twin sister.
It was in that moment in Return of the Jedi when he revealed to Leia who his father really
was and of their relation that we first heard even the slightest hint at the mother of the Skywalker twins. He asked Leia, who presumable told him sometime during their many adventures that she had been adopted, what she remembered of their mother. All Leia could tell him was,
“All I remember are thoughts, really emotions. She died when I was very young. She was very kind…beautiful…but sad.”