Blog-Series IV: Star Wars #4: Princess Leia

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.

Princess Leia

Princess Leia

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Blog-Series IV: Star Wars #3: Luke Skywalker

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.

Luke2

Luke Skywalker

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.

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In Memoriam-Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

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

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

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Keeping Feb. 14th in my own way…

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.

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Blog Series IV: Star Wars #2: Padmé Amidala

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

Padmé  Amidala

Padmé Amidala

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.”

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Blog Series IV: Star Wars #1: Darth Vader

In the history of cinema few villains capture the imagination like Darth Vader. While the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz burst onto the scene cackling and shrieking madly in a puff of flame, Darth Vader slowly emerged from the shadows in the opening scenes of original Star Wars film, saying nothing and analyzing the scene before him. He didn’t even have to say or do much to be intimidating. There was just something about him that whispered “evil”. It was as though our cultural fear of death had somehow manifested itself on the big screen and managed to get James Earl Jones to dub his voice.

Darth Vader

Darth Vader

While no one knew what to expect with Star Wars before it opened, actor David Prowse who wore the body armor, wisely chose to take the roll of the villain when George offered him the choice being either  Vader or Chewie. He had stated in many interviews since then that he knew that the villains were always the most memorable characters in a film, and with Vader that was excellent hindsight. Because of his booming voice and his instantly recognizable appearance, Darth Vader has become a cultural touchstone, and his name is nearly synonymous with evil.

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2014 in review…and my 100th POST!

Well, dear readers, another year has come and gone, and with it another year in review! The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 60 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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