lazypadawan: (Default)
Friday Dec. 14 is this year’s Wear Star Wars Day/Share Star Wars Day, which was started in 2010 in response to a little girl at school being told by her classmates that Star Wars wasn’t for girls. There was a huge outpouring of support for the tot and her mother has in the meantime written a book about bullying and hosted a panel on the topic at Celebration VI. Then after Celebration VI, the troops rallied again against a news site that posted a slideshow with disparaging remarks about cosplayers and attendees. I wouldn’t have called it bullying but many fans did and let the news site have it. The site was wrong and what it did was irresponsible journalism.

The irony is with this and with so much media attention on “bullying” is the total lack of self-awareness about the lousy way fans, geeks, or whatever you want to call them treat each other.

For all of the Free To Be Me flag waving, fandom hammers down the nails that stick up all of the time. Both fan-run and professional sites expect “us” to hate on this or hate on that and if we don’t, we’re going to be harassed, trolled, and get called every name in the book. Did this even come up at the Celebration VI panel on bullying? Somehow I doubt it. Bullying is what mundanes do to you, not what you do to other people. This is why I laugh at the occasional calls for “civility.” Where are those calls for civility when people are calling for Lucas’s murder? Where are those anti-bullying forces when the RLM cult starts attacking fans who defend the prequels? Would fans have rallied to this little girl’s cause had she been teased online for liking Jar Jar or the Ewoks? Call me skeptical. It wouldn’t even have merited attention.

A prime example of this lack of self-awareness is how this guy on i09 one day tried to claim without proof that Rick McCallum was fired by Disney, then a few days later was horrified at an anonymous fan being so bothered by a show of Star Wars philanthropy he had to tell Nikki Finke, who was also disgusted at guys helping to rebuild a house. Dude, you just tried to trash someone’s professional reputation and character. You and that hateboy share the same DNA. You’ve helped create and perpetrate a culture where ANYTHING in Star Wars is considered an affront and an outrage to the aggrieved fanbase and that justifies any reaction in response.

Sometimes on The Mary Sue or on some feminist type’s blog you’ll see outrage directed at some jerk’s sexist or demeaning comments about cosplayers, female gamers, female fans, and so forth. But so long as their politically correct sensibilities are not offended, they really don’t care about what else goes on.

Too often, fannish cruelty, harassment, trolling, and all-around dirtbag behavior are shrugged off as “passion” or “enthusiasm” or just expressing an opinion. Moderators are often too busy or too lazy to do anything about it and even if they aren’t, the rabble cries censorship. There’s a reason why online discussion is dominated by aggressive, hateful creeps. They chase off everybody else.

The goals behind Wear Star Wars/Share Star Wars Day are good ones but you can’t knock bullying as a problem in society if you’re ignoring it in your own backyard.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Sorry, wrong song ;).

The very first Star Wars film was unleashed upon the world 35 years ago today with all of the subtlety of a nuclear bomb. Oh sure, "they" didn't expect much from it but the people proved "them" wrong. In an era long before Twitter or Facebook, word got around very quickly that "Star Wars" (it wasn't ANH until 1979) was something special. The underlying story and themes were older than dirt but there was still nothing quite like it before or, even in our blockbuster-saturated age, since. There hasn't been any other movie within my lifetime that really affected people and the culture in a permanent way like this one did.

I first heard about the movie shortly before it came out from my dad. I wanted to see "Carrie"--a movie a little too big for my 7-year-old britches--but my dad said, "You're too young to see that. We'll see Star Wars; it's coming out soon." Oh okay, whatever.

Then I saw the advance ads in the newspaper and found the novelization in the bookstore, the kind they used to have with movie photos in the middle of the paperback. I looked through the pictures--I didn't actually look at the text for some reason--and seriously, I thought Obi-Wan was Leia's dad or something. I figured the gist of it was some princess is abducted and all of these people were out to go rescue her.

The good news was a theater in town was one of the lucky 32 screens to get the film opening day (Valley Circle, R.I.P.). The bad news was it was one of the lucky 32 screens to get the film opening day. Everybody from miles and miles around descended upon the theater, creating huge lines visible from the freeway. My parents concocted a plan to see the film during the week, pulling my brother and I out of school for a "doctor's appointment." This taught me a valuable lesson: Star Wars is more important than anything, including school. (Three years later, I skipped CCD to see TESB; let's hope God is in a good mood on Judgment Day.)

There still was a line on that June day in 1977, but we only had to wait one show to see the film. I'll never forget what a carnival it was, complete with people hawking homemade buttons and a lady trying to cast kids for a commercial. The funny part was my dad, on hooky from work, ran into somebody else from his office. Heh heh.

When we got home, the first thing my brother and I did was draw all of the characters. We couldn't remember everybody's name!

So started the madness that afflicts me to this day.
lazypadawan: (luke rescue)
Well, I have my own reasons, chief among them "it will just make people complain more" but a guy on my FB feed has an interesting idea on why:

http://www.facebook.com/notes/din-yalonen/star-wars-episodes-7-9-should-not-be-made/10150780779004826?notif_t=note_reply

Reproduced Here For Those W/O Facebook )

What do I think? I'm not a pacifist or anything but I think he's got a point. The Jedi go downhill when they cash in their values, going from being "peacekeepers" to generals. It does come up occasionally on Clone Wars. Luke in ROTJ doesn't win by force or with special powers but by adopting the real values of the Jedi, tossing aside the lightsaber in an oh-so-symbolic move. Vader/Anakin does the rest.

And the author is right...nobody wants to read about galactic contemplation. That's why there's threat after threat, war after war, yadda after yadda in the post-ROTJ expanded universe.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Here's an interesting essay from a Christian standpoint on Star Wars. What I love about it is that here's a guy who takes the big picture look at the saga:

http://oldlineelephant.com/2012/02/18/on-star-wars-and-redemption/
lazypadawan: (Default)
Everybody remembers the scene in ROTJ where Luke confronts blue ghostie!Obi-Wan after a dying Yoda confirmed Darth Vader was Luke’s father. In ANH, ol’ Ben tells Luke his father (Anakin) was killed by Darth Vader, something revealed as at best spin and at worst a flat out lie by Vader himself in TESB. Luke’s upset, at least in a Jedi sort of way, and Obi-Wan tries to continue the spin when he says, “So, what I’ve told you is true from a certain point of view.”

“A certain point of view?” Luke asks incredulously, but still in a Jedi sort of way. Who can blame him? All of this time Yoda and Obi-Wan were setting Luke up to be a patricidal assassin without Luke being in on the patricide part. Now, I think Obi-Wan was justified in not revealing Luke’s parentage when Luke first asks him in ANH. I wouldn’t tell a young, naïve boy who clearly admires the father he’s created in his mind that no, Dad is not a deceased spice freighter navigator, in fact he’s alive right now and is currently the second most-evil guy in the galaxy. Luke would have a nervous breakdown at a time when the galaxy couldn’t afford it.

While hints are dropped in the exchanges with Yoda and with Obi-Wan in TESB, nobody comes right out and says, “Oh by the way, you need to sit down and hear this, even if it isn’t easy.” They blame Luke for “rushing off” and not waiting for when they’re good and ready to drop him the info. Which was probably not until after Luke is standing over Vader’s corpse.

(Can you tell I’m a big Skywalker partisan?)

Anyway, upon seeing the ethically-challenged actions of the Jedi leadership and Obi-Wan’s willingness to deceive even his closest friend, his fellow Jedi, his former kinda but not really lover, and other friends/associates on Clone Wars, I thought the other day, “Wow, this is where it started.” Not only do we see for the first time chronologically Obi-Wan using the pseudonym Ben, we also see Ben Kenobi lying for an alleged greater good for the first time.

Now, I’ve seen Dave Filoni speak a few times. This guy knows Star Wars almost as well as George Lucas does. He really thinks about how all of the pieces fit in the movie saga and I’m willing to bet the moisture farm all of this stuff was in his mind with these episodes.

One of the ideas behind the show is that the shadowy world of the Clone Wars and the increasing power of the Dark Side have forced the Jedi into violating their own principles, supposedly for a valid reason. The Jedi leadership have become secretive, mistrustful, and willing to do anything to win the war. They basically pimped out Padme in “Senate Spy.” They’re willing to serve alongside soldiers who had no choice in being cannon fodder, and in one case, not paying attention to a Jedi Master who was clearly going dark and treating his men like crap. They’re willing to hurt other people to make everyone believe Obi-Wan’s dead.

Obi-Wan has always been, bless his heart, a company man. He serves the Jedi first, even above those he loves. He loves Anakin and I think that even old Ben on Tatooine still loved Anakin in spite of everything. You can tell that affection for his former padawan bleeds over to Luke. But duty comes before anything else and as far as Obi-Wan is concerned, his duty is to finish what was started on Mustafar. If he couldn’t do it, then Luke must. If that requires some obfuscation of the truth and a wee bit of manipulation, so be it.

One could say that Obi-Wan’s “lineage” might also have something to do with his ethics. After all, Dooku ended up a Sith (“lies, deceit are his ways now” says Yoda in AOTC) and Qui-Gon wasn’t exactly 100% honest with Watto either, Mr. I Cheat At Dice.

But I get the gut feeling that Obi-Wan crosses the Rubicon with this undercover mission. Given how chummy they are at the beginning of ROTS, I’ll assume that whatever happens, Anakin will forgive Obi-Wan for this or at the very least, blame the Jedi Council for the whole scheme. But Obi-Wan will not be the same again.
lazypadawan: (Default)
10. Princess Leia

Oh sure, everybody loves her. She’s pure-hearted, just, and believes in freedom for the galaxy. She kicks a lot of butt.

But she’s also the kind of gal who will run your butt from one end of Hoth base to the other. Leaders like her are very demanding, even if they do say please and thank you. If you screw up and Her Worshipfulness is in a bad mood, i.e. Han did something to tick her off, watch out. She can’t Force choke you like her Pops but she’s armed with something almost as lethal: her cutting sarcasm.

9. Grand Moff Tarkin

He’s gentlemanly and seems like a very nice guy. Even if I had no problem with his willingness to destroy a planet mostly full of innocents, I do have a problem with a boss willing to risk his 1,000,000 employees’ lives after an analyst advises him there’s a danger the Rebel’s attack plan could succeed. Tarkin is willing to go down with the ship but that’s his business. Why take everybody else with him?

8. Watto

It’s bad enough he’s cranky, gruff, and probably cheap. Bad enough that is if you’re getting paid. With Watto you DON’T get paid. Benefits? You get to live in a crappy dusty hovel. And if you try to quit, all he has to do is push a button and you’re blown to pieces. Where do I sign up?/sarc

7. Admiral Ozzel

You just can’t respect a moron, especially one who could get you killed because he couldn’t surprise the enemy the right way.

6. Count Dooku

As evidenced by AOTC and CW, Dooku doesn’t treat his employees very well. He hangs his contractors out to dry. He betrays his employees when it’s convenient and then tries to kill them. What a jerk.

5. Jabba the Hutt

Talk about a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen! Not to mention hostile co-workers, unsanitary conditions, Jabba’s temperamental behavior, man-eating pets, and the added bonus of getting killed by Luke and his friends just because you happen to be there.

4. General Grievous

He prefers to hire droids, which is just as well because he treats them like dirt. Always pushing them out of the way and yelling at them. When push comes to shove, he runs away, leaving his underlings to be destroyed by a lightsaber blade or explosion.

3. Darth Vader

Vader has zero tolerance for error and couldn’t care less about being fair. He bullies the Imperial officers in his command and it’s obvious he has no respect for most of them. He just wants it when he wants it and if you can’t deliver, he chokes you then promotes the next guy in line. He’ll remind you over and over that you’re expendable. But what else would you expect from a guy who choked his own wife, tortured his daughter, and maimed his son?

2. Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious

The man tricks and manipulates you into working for him and what do you get in return? You get maimed, burned, and ultimately betrayed when someone better comes along. The only upward mobility there is among the Sith is to kill your boss and your boss knows it. Oh by the way, your boss is way more powerful than you are. Talk about a dead end job.

1. General Krell

You can at least admire Palpatine’s intelligence or Vader’s willingness to fly alongside regular pilots and get into the thick of battle. Watto has a teensy tiny soft spot. Jabba is at least a great crime boss who managed to hold on to his mini-empire for a long time.

But Krell sits on his rear at the rear, callously lets his men get killed, and threatens any peon who looks at him the wrong way. Ruffle his feathers and he’ll call for your execution. WTF? Unlike almost everyone on my list, he’s not a Sith, an ally of evil, a slave owner, or a criminal. He’s supposed to be a GOOD guy!

He’s not fair. He’s not just. And worst of all, he’s not even competent, except I suppose with a lightsaber.

The sad part is, I’m sure many of you have encountered a real-life Krell!
lazypadawan: (Default)
After reading a lot of posts on the issue and giving it some thought, I believe this is what Clone Wars (and by extension Papa George) is saying about light/dark, the Force, and good and evil:

Light and Dark are not unto themselves Good and Evil. They're qualities and each have their place. The problem here is when Dark becomes an agency of evil and it upsets the balance of the universe. Someone on TFN's message board noted that Daughter wants to preserve the balance; she isn't interested in destroying Son and she sacrifices her life to protect Father. While Son is upset at Daughter's unexpected demise, he seeks to knock things out of balance by trying to destroy Father. It's in his nature because aggression is a Dark quality and he has no Light within him to keep his aggression in check.

Even though Father is supposed to be maintaining balance, that balance is IMO already out of whack. Father is about to "die" and Son is clearly on the move, while Daughter (as per her nature) isn't able to do much about it. Son sees his big opportunity in Anakin. Notice Daughter doesn't even try to persuade Anakin...she is passive (as per her nature). So Son is going in for the kill, manipulating an already vulnerable yet powerful all-too-human young man. Notice the more Anakin refuses, the more aggressive Son becomes. By the looks of the Feb. 11 preview, Son is throwing in all of his poker chips. And there's no more Daughter, no Light to counteract him save for what little bit is in Ahsoka. It looks like Son also does a number on Obi-Wan.

So, will next week's episode explain what the heck Mortis is and why these Jedi were brought there? Anakin as the Chosen One is the catalyst for all of the drama that occurs amongst the Family, because Son and Father see him as an opportunity. The crazy thing is, had Anakin chosen to stay at the end of "Overlords," he would have brought that drama to a quick end, not to mention avoid all of the "real life" drama that eventually happens to Anakin.
lazypadawan: (twisted by the Dark Side)
I bring up Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds' "Red Right Hand" while commenting on [livejournal.com profile] knight_ander's LJ and all of a sudden I get nostalgic for the song, which I haven't listened to in a while. The song overall fits Sidious rather well ("he'll wrap you in his arms/tell you that you've been a good boy/He'll rekindle all the dreams/it took you a lifetime to destroy") but especially this part:

You're one microscopic cog
in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by
his red right hand


There's a fic idea in here somewhere! In case some of you were wondering, I did get the title of my epic-length fan fic "The Mercy Seat" from the Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds song of the same name ;). Maybe I need to listen to Nick Cave more often for inspiration, heh heh.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Yesterday I was enjoying a slow day at work--not a whole lot happens between Christmas and New Year's--and saw a link via Twitter to some article on i09 called "My Year Without Star Wars."

As policy, I refuse to link to anything on Gawker media. Go look it up if you're dying to read it. The author, who used to be a producer on "Lost," decided to go cold turkey on Star Wars and comes to various conclusions. The bad news, he starts at the top by talking about how he doesn't like the PT. Gee I'm shocked. He has a lot of problems with SW's ubiquity and Lucas's tinkering with the movies. But he does acknowledge that SW is Lucas's to do with what he wilt and he doesn't really owe anyone anything. Then you get the usual comments.

Me go cold turkey on Star Wars? Not too likely, especially so long as Clone Wars is on t.v., though I wish the kind of people who comment on i09 and other professional nerd sites would go cold turkey from Star Wars forever.

But I have to admit, I don't watch the movies obsessively. Honest. I might watch each one a couple of times a year. There are times when I go through long breaks without seeing any of them.

Then I started to wonder if perhaps that's germane as to why I've pretty much accepted what's come my way without much trouble. Star Wars endlessly fascinates me on many levels and in different ways but I don't think I geek out over it the same way a lot of other fans do. I'm not saying that makes me smarter or more open-minded than other fans. I have a close friend who is totally disinterested in any of the symbolism or mythical archetypes in the saga. She just thinks it's great entertainment and leaves it at that. And it's fine to approach the movies that way. People will take different things away from them and that's part of what makes Star Wars wonderful.

I have as much of a deep attachment--there goes that word again--to the GFFA as any one of any other "hardcore" Star Wars fans out there, but I think the reasons for it and the nature of it are pretty different. On the surface, you'll see just another gal with a lot of t-shirts, a whole mess of collectibles, and piles of fan fiction to show for it. But you know, I don't fetishize Star Wars. I've never put George Lucas on a pedestal somewhere between the Seraphim and the Holy Trinity. I don't think I "own" Star Wars or that they owe me the Star Wars I want. I'm not particularly hung up on the Star Wars of my childhood. Sure, it's nice to remember a time when it seemed so simple and pure, but that's because your whole life was relatively simple and pure. You approached the movies differently. You didn't nitpick every frame, raging and cringing over every infraction on the internet. To me, if it touches your heart, you don't need to complain over how somebody delivered his lines.

Now I do worry about how the myth is being preserved. But the movies themselves? They all made me happy.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Some f-listers have been posting their headcanon about various SW characters, little known facts about characters they write about in their fan fics. Some have very elaborate and very specific ideas on these things.

I tend to keep stuff like that close to my chest and I also don’t get terribly invested in them because when it comes to SW, things can change at a moment’s notice. Who knew six years ago that Anakin would ever have an apprentice? Who knew until last week that Sy Snootles was capable of cold-blooded murder? Who knew in 1982 that Leia was Luke’s twin sister? Who would have guessed in 1977 that Darth Vader was Luke’s father?

Still, I have a few ideas big and small about the SW universe that have yet to be shattered by real canon that do affect what I write in my fics:

1. Obi-Wan as a kid asks the crèche master one day who his real parents were. He is told his mother was a courtesan and his father was some functionary in the diplomatic corps. They were unmarried and the courtesan offered up her son because the Jedi could provide a better life for her talented tot. When Obi-Wan’s a little older, he realizes other younglings and padawans are told similar tales. When Obi-Wan is about 20 years older, he recognizes the value of the Little White Lie. Though the crèche master was truthful about the guy in the diplomatic corps. Obi-Wan’s surname was chosen from a directory on his home world.

2. Qui-Gon is an ethnic Corellian. For sure. Since the Jedi Order scooped him up, he is not one of those wackadoodle Corellian We Can Do Whatever We Want Jedi from the EU.

3. Shmi Skywalker is Force-sensitive. Maybe it’s my Catholic bias showing, but only someone with midichlorian mojo in her own blood could handle carrying The Chosen One. Unfortunately, her talents are modest and fading by the time Qui-Gon shows up and she is long since past the time where she could be trained.

4. Palpatine believes he is the Sith’ari, kind of the Sith version of the Messiah. His accomplishment in destroying the Jedi Order, turning the Chosen One into his apprentice, and ruling the galaxy pretty much confirms that belief.

5. I know this one is precarious, but I think Cad Bane ultimately trains Boba Fett. Aurra Sing taught him how to be merciless. Bane will finish up the rest of his education. (Plz, Dave, make this come true!)

6. Luke and Leia are gifted with all kinds of oddball powers no known Jedi was able to possess, and with Palpatine a goner and the Dark Side’s shadow abated, these powers start to become more obvious (EU notwithstanding).

7. Leia in particular is gifted with an extremely high IQ.

8. For years, the Naberries refuse to publicly discuss Padme’s death or her mysterious pregnancy. Privately, they believe she was involved with Anakin and think that perhaps she was murdered for that reason. By who, they’re not sure. Ruwee dies too soon, still broken-hearted by his daughter’s death. Eventually Sola tries to investigate on her own what really happened, only to be told by Bail Organa that she was playing with fire. Since her daughter exhibits an interest in the Imperial Senate, she backs off.

9. Darth Vader and the Imperial officer corps have a mutual loathing society thing happening. Vader thinks many of them are there because they’re good at kissing @$$, came from the right families, or got moved up because they screwed up (*cough*Ozzel*cough*). The Imperial officers believe Vader is some kind of creepy caped weirdo and don’t like him second-guessing them. One of the few exceptions is Piett. He and Vader get each other.

10. Vader however, has a different relationship with his troops and pilots. He genuinely respects them and looks out for them, and in return they are extremely loyal. It’s an honor among stormies and TIE pilots to serve alongside him. This goes back to Anakin’s relationship with the clonetroopers during the Clone Wars.

11. Vader and Tarkin haaate each other’s guts. Vader so doesn’t miss Tarkin after that little mishap at the end of ANH. He tells Palpatine that he will never serve alongside a systems governor ever again. Vader hates those guys even more than he hates the Imperial officer corps.

12. Vader thinks the Empire is a huge disappointment but it’s a preferable alternative to the chaos of the Rebellion and the return of a corrupt galactic Republic. He still thinks democracy doesn’t work. You just need the right person in charge.

Of course, there's more...
lazypadawan: (Default)
Now that the Mandalore arc of CW episodes introducing Duchess Satine Kryze (a.k.a. Obi's ex) have aired, we have a fairly good idea of who she is as a character. She's certainly large and in-charge, one of the most self-possessed cartoon characters I have ever seen. She is principled and feels very strongly about her ideals. But are those ideals unrealistic and is she way too hard on those who don't share them?

The writers are smart enough to give Satine's pacifism-at-any-cost cover when Obi-Wan explains that some kind of civil war on Mandalore nearly killed off her people. You can understand why someone who believes her planet's violent culture nearly destroyed it (of course we have to take everyone's word for what happened) would be very, very adverse to violence of any kind. I can definitely understand why anyone, pacifist or not, would not want to be part of the Republic's tiff with the Separatists; I always say that Sidious's plans would have gone up in smoke had everyone just shrugged and told the Separatists to DLTDHYOTWO.

But as far as Satine is concerned, she is so determined to stick to her principles, I have to wonder if she would do anything at all to defend her planet. The Death Watch guys keep setting off bombs and trying to kill her, but what is she going to do about it? I can understand not wanting outsiders to interfere, but if I were a Mandalore citizen, she'd get a zero approval rating from me for homeland security. At one point during "Voyage of Temptation," she says that even extremists can be reasoned with. No, they can't. That's why they're extremists. In any case, I saw no attempt on her part to reason with Death Watch and they only want her deposed with extreme prejudice.

Now, Satine's occasionally self-righteous tone and speechifying on violence isn't so much motivated by ideology as it is motivated by her feelings about Obi-Wan. Why do I think so? I've noticed she only directs it at Obi-Wan. She never lectures Anakin about his violent ways, not even after he shish-kebabs that bad guy in "Voyage." I think she's mad at him for leaving her but still has some soft fuzzy feelings for him, which makes her even angrier.

In any case, Satine has additional cover from the fact we all know the Clone Wars are a means to an evil end. This is the second or third time pacifism has come up on the show (the only non-pacifist who seems suspicious of the Republic is that Twi'lek guy from Season One's Ryloth arc) but I've noticed that pacifism isn't brought up as a virtue in anything set during Episodes IV-VI. At least not that I can remember. What would have Satine done during the time of the Empire, or the Rebellion? I imagine she would have fought to keep Mandalore out of the Empire and failing that, out of the war with the Rebels. But Eps IV-VI make it clear that evil had to be stopped, even through violence if necessary. Not because the Alliance was full of crazy bloodthirsty Huns but because it was the only way to stop an aggressive enemy. If Mandalore's back was up against the wall, where the only alternative was slavery and oppression, what would she have done?
lazypadawan: (tpmjedi)
I read this post (http://attanagra.livejournal.com/8862.html). I knew full well Traviss was no fan of the Jedi; having read all of her EU books it's about as obvious as a mushroom cloud. But I hadn't known she disliked them THAT much or about her rather unfair black-and-white assessment of anyone who would stick up for the Jedi.

I am totally against human cloning and creating an army of meat puppets to be a society's set of cannon fodder is morally unconscionable. While it's shameful the Jedi Council never gave that issue any thought, I don't think it justifies slaughtering the entire Order, from infants and cleaning ladies on up.

The Dark Side has grown strong by the time of the prequel era and in AOTC, Yoda and Mace Windu discuss how it has affected their ability to use the Force. One could argue that it also completely messed with their judgment. Not to say there's no moral culpability; I'm just saying the Jedi, clouded by the Dark Side and carried along by rapidly-changing events, made some really bad decisions ranging from how they handled Anakin to joining the Clone Wars to shrugging off any moral issues of using people bred for battle.

Still, I also have to question what would have happened had the Jedi simply refused to fight for the Republic or made some kind of objection to using clone warriors. Could the Senate or Palpatine order them to do it anyway? If they still refused, what would have happened then? And consider public opinion…what would they think if their own tribe of superheroes decide to get all hippie on them as they're being attacked? Remember that the Republic had no military at the time the Clone Wars started. The Separatist threat was here and now; there was no time to recruit and train a massive army overnight (though there was a non-Jedi officer corps in the CW cartoon). So, in the midst of this crisis, the Jedi were doing what they had to do to protect the Republic, knowing there really wasn't a way to back out. The Jedi were new to the war business; they appreciated having the help of trained soldiers. Moreover, the Jedi knew from the get-go that the Sith were behind the Separatist movement…they knew the Sith had to be stopped (though they didn’t know the degree of the Sith's involvement). Yes, they cashed in their values but from their standpoint, there really wasn't a good decision vs. a bad decision. They didn't have the whole picture. So they made what they thought was the least-worst decision.

In any case, the Jedi were stuck right where Sidious wanted them, in the middle of his evil trap. It was Sidious and Dooku who had the clone army created in the first place. They were willing to sacrifice gazillions of lives--Separatists, Jedi, clones, civilians, etc..--just to knock out the Order and seize control of the Republic. Did the Emperor really care about the clones any more than the Jedi did? Nope. At least the Jedi gave their guys names. The stormtroopers are just numbered. Vader is the only one who seems to have any regard for them whatsoever. Otherwise, they're expected to be target practice for the Rebels.

The Jedi were not evil. The Council were, like almost every character in the prequel trilogy, Palpatine's useful idiots.
lazypadawan: (love you)
One ongoing debate that has lingered lo these 27 years since ROTJ came out was whether Papa George should have listened to Harrison Ford's suggestion that Han end the saga pushing up daisies. Ford felt there was nowhere else for the character to go and the noble thing to do was to sacrifice himself for the cause or something. Lucas didn't take Ford's suggestion and Han ends up at the Ewok bbq frolicking through the night.

That alone would have been enough incentive for me to keep the curmudgeonly Ford around for the finale ;). In fact, I probably would have included scenes of Han wearing a silly hat and doing a conga line with a bunch of Ewoks just to tick him off further. Look, I may have been a very cynical 14-year-old when I first read about Ford advocating the death of his character, but it was obvious to me he was trying absolutely positively to ensure he would never have to play the role again should Lucas decide to do Episodes 7-9. It has been written that Ford only decided to do ROTJ out of loyalty to Lucas and Co., not because he was dying to cuddle Chewbacca one more time. I don't know if there's any truth to that per se, but Ford was really done with the whole thing, especially since his own career as a leading man was taking off.

Prior to ROTJ's release, many people seriously thought the Grim Reaper was going to come for one of the major characters. Was it going to be Luke? Was it going to be Leia? Think of the speculation prior to the release of "Harry Potter and The Deadly Hallows." But the OT3 and their immediate friends live to see the galaxy free. Even Wedge survives.

Some fans have come to think that whacking Han would have been a great idea, adding depth to ROTJ because victory would have come at a cost to the main characters. After all, who else on the good guy team dies besides a bunch of no-name Rebel pilots and an Ewok or two? There was a rampant urban legend during the 1990s that Lando was slated for death but Lucas changed his mind at the last minute. Goshdurn it, these fans thought, SOMEBODY should have croaked!!!

I've always argued against the idea of killing off Han, that Lucas made the right call and Ford can take comfort in the fact that there will be no Episode 7 with him in it. Why was it smart that Han lived?

1. The Saga Needed A Happy Ending

Despite what many fans think, the overall story of the SW saga is a hopeful one where ultimately good wins out over evil. Therefore, it only makes sense that the very last film in the series end on a high note. Maybe even a triumphant and joyous one. The death of a very popular lead character/hero would have been too somber of a conclusion and probably would have greatly disappointed moviegoers (I separate "moviegoers" from "fanboys"). It really would have ticked off the legions of women on Team Han too ;). If you look at it now in the full context of the entire series, there's already a high body count of much-loved characters like Qui-Gon, Padme, and so forth. ROTS ends with most of the lead characters dead, in hiding, or with nothing else to do but flack for the Emperor. ROTJ ends with the fellowship of the whatever intact. Survival in itself is part of the triumph.

Before anyone starts muttering about how much more sophisticated and deep it would have been for ROTJ to end with the main characters crying over Han's grave, you have to remember who this was originally made for. The kids. There's a reason why J.K. Rowling let Harry and his friends live at the end. Or why the Hobbits, Aragorn, etc. all got to survive the LOTR books (even Gandalf returns from the dead). These tales were created for young people and they need to see that they can persevere because the characters they love persevere.

Now C.S. Lewis took out almost his whole family of heroes, but they got to go to heaven, er, Narnia forever, so it was all good. And even that has remained controversial to this day.

It isn't say sacrifices aren't made on the good guys' team...

2. The Ultimate Sacrifice Was Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker

There was no need to have Luke, Han, or Leia sacrifice themselves because Vader giving his own life was so much more meaningful than getting blown up or shot by some flunkie stormtrooper with a miraculously fortunate aim. Absorbing Sidious's voltage to save Luke was literally the turning point for Vader, allowing him to fulfill what he was created to do: destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force. Even if we didn't know that yet in 1983, what Vader does saves Luke's life, ends the Emperor's reign, and ensures that there would be future Jedi. It's pretty hard to top that.

3. The H/L Subplot Would Have No Point

They went through an awful lot of trouble in TESB to pair up Han and Leia and there was an awful lot of trouble to bail Han out of Jabba's palace. Why go through all of that if it's ultimately for naught? Leia is left alone broken-hearted, screwed by fate because she dared give her heart to someone after a great deal of reluctance. Everyone wasted their time saving a man destined to die by the end of the movie anyway. Yeah, that sounds great to me. The Han/Leia scenes in both films would serve as mere padding instead of building toward the happy ending that Anakin and Padmé never got.

But, what if say, Leia discovers at the end, once Han is committed to Valhalla, that she is carrying lil' Han? See, she could just raise the kid with Luke and that would be all good, right? Well, you forget…we're talking about a PG-rated, popular-with-kids movie made in 1983, long before it became fashionable for celebrities to have children out of wedlock. Lucas even made darn sure Anakin made an honest woman out of Padmé long before any twins came along and that was less than 10 years ago. Not an acceptable option.

Could they have deep-sixed the brother-sister relationship between Luke and Leia and ended the saga with them together? Well, the problem is it would look like Leia is just going back to Luke on the rebound. (Great, you pay attention to me now the other hunk is dead.) Luke becomes a consolation prize, sloppy seconds. Besides, there's little ground work between the two of them to form that kind of relationship anyway. All of the UST from the get-go was really between Leia and Han. Luke and Leia are always close, but never in my opinion that kind of close. Any kind of sizzle would have to have been dredged up out of nowhere. And it would only emphasize the futility of Han and Leia's pairing in the first place. Han would be nothing more than a placeholder until Leia finally discovered her true love was Luke, though I doubt it would be true since it would take Han's death for her to figure that out.

Sorry, Harry, I think Lucas was right. Now, when are you going to play Han again, hmm?
lazypadawan: (Default)
If you're reading 501st : Imperial Commando like I am or recently finished reading it, don't hold your breath waiting for a sequel. Karen Traviss said that the current book is it for her. She will not be writing a follow-up. Sue Rostoni didn't even know there wouldn't be a sequel until Traviss posted about it on her blog! Traviss also got into specifics about the continuity difference between her vision of Mandalorian society and what's going to be in the CW series and reveals that her Boba Fett novel got cancelled because of possible conflicts with the upcoming live action show!

http://www.theforce.net/latestnews/story/Imperial_Commando_2_Cancelled_128006.asp

If for once you want to read something interesting on Star Wars, check out this blog entry here from the guy who wrote "The Dharma of Star Wars":

http://blogs.starwars.com/dharmaofstarwars/23

He's also added two new entries, so check them out.

In case you're interested, a blogger managed to get some (non) info from Papa George about Red Tails and the live action show at the California Hall of Fame ceremony the other night:

http://www.sandwichjohnfilms.com/2009/12/george-lucas-talks-star-wars-and-red.html
lazypadawan: (Default)
A few sites have linked to this essay that supposed challenges assumptions about Star Wars:

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/column/116083-what-if-were-all-mythtaken-about-star-wars/P0/

I read through it and while there are some nice/interesting things in there (he has a FEW nice things to say about TPM and considers ROTJ his favorite), a lot of it consists of the same old tropes I've heard ad nauseum: CGI sucks, Anakin was too whiney, the dialogue sucks, etc., etc..

And I do take exception to the assertion there's no memorable dialogue in TESB. "I love you/I know?" "No, I am your father?" "No disintegrations?" The author can quote an obscure comic series off the top of his head but can't think of any memorable lines from TESB? Ohhkay.

The whole thing sounds like it was written by an embarrassed, recovering basher. Why are there so many disappointing essays on Star Wars?
lazypadawan: (Default)
There was a time when there were geeks and there were nerds. Geeks were people with an intense interest in something. Sometimes it was offbeat, like Victorian burial customs or something very mainstream, like football. But in the popular imagination, geeks were intensely interested in things like Dungeons and Dragons, Star Trek, and computers. A nerd was simply someone with shall we say limited social skills. Many geeks were nerds but not all nerds were necessarily geeks. But geek or nerd, neither was considered hip.

Nerds still aren't hip, but now geeks are. In fact, geeks are today's hipsters. Everything tecchie is cool and cutting edge and of course, geeks are right at home with that stuff. Today's hit movies and t.v. shows are all geek-friendly or come right out of the geek oven. This means people care about our opinions. We're the current tastemakers. Last year, there was almost as many media people at Comic Con as actual attendees. You couldn't move without bumping into somebody with a video camera or a boom mike. There are countless blogs and websites, including some that are corporate (i09 and Gizmodo, for instance, are owned by Gawker Media), that cater to geekdom. There's even a magazine called "Geek," to which I've just sent some unhappy mail but that's another topic.

This my friends, has become a bad thing.

Why? Because it's gone to our heads and to quote Obi-Wan from ROTS, we've become the very thing we fought against.

Elitists.

That's right, I said it. Geeks have become elitists.

There's the elite, those who are inarguably the best at something, and the elitist, which is a nice term for "snob for no good damn reason." Elitists have been one of the bugbears of my existence, dating back to growing up in a status-conscious suburb, then being part of the kids in black crowd in college. How bad was it? The goths and club crawlers were usually the nicest ones in the bunch. The worst were the hardcore indie music fans, many of which were my colleagues when I did college radio. I got crummy time slots for three years because they thought my sets were too "120 Minutes." Everybody tried to out-obscure everyone else, pushing the most unlistenable and forgettable garbage simply because nobody else liked it. When I graduated and moved full time to Washington, D.C., I entered a world where the first question everybody asks you was, "What do you do?" If it wasn’t important or impressive enough, that often ended the conversation.

So as you might have surmised, stumbling across fandom was a breath of fresh air. Whatever the Woodstock spirit was, it was for real among the merry band who lived for toy runs, genre movies, Trek conventions, comics, and Ren Faires. Here were people who didn't care if you listened to the "right" bands or if you wore the "right" clothes. Nobody cared about how much money you had or what you did for a living. Nobody cared about your looks. Nobody cared if you were socially awkward or a tad weird. All were accepted.

However, it took me a few years to figure out that the seeds of elitism were already present to some degree. God help you if you get a factoid wrong among some hardcores. But it wasn't until this decade the seeds grew into a beast that demands the "true" geek follow the "right" trends, like the "right" things, and have the "right" opinions. Deviate from the accepted norms and well, "u r doing it wrong." Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined even 10 years ago that you could put the word "pretentious" next to the word "geek." But you know the jig is up when the aforementioned "Geek" magazine has the cover tagline, "The magazine that's more adorable than a Wes Anderson film." How cloying is that?

It wasn't supposed to be this way. If the geek has inherited the Earth, can somebody please take it back?
lazypadawan: (carrie&nat)
I'm reading the current SW Insider and it has a couple of short Q&As with Carrie Fisher. Fisher always manages to have something interesting to say. She was asked what she thinks Leia's relationship with Padmé would have been like had Padmé lived long enough to raise her. She noted that she can relate to Leia having a better looking mom, although lp will note that Leia was quite cute back in the day herself. But she also said that she could see Leia seriously rebelling.

It's actually a pretty interesting thing to ponder. I think Leia would be a handful for anyone: smart, very sure of herself, and Anakin's temperament to boot. She would be a Daddy's Girl (and it seems very likely she was Bail's Daddy's Girl) more so than a Mommy's Girl. I can easily see Padmé stressing over Leia's bluntness and her penchant for older scoundrels. Leia could throw it right back at Padmé for her cougarish pursuit of forbidden Jedi. And don't even think of trying to get Leia to wear any of those elaborate Naboo outfits. The hair buns were probably enough for her. But I think in the end, Padmé would be very proud of Leia.
lazypadawan: (Default)
With the success of the new Trek movie, it was inevitable that the devil finds work for idle fanboy bloggers to do. I saw a link to a post about another post on why SW needs an Xtreme!Trek-style reboot. I shouldn't have read it because I knew it would make me mad. But I did and not surprisingly, it indeed made me mad.

No, oh God no.

Rebooting the post-ROTJ EU would be a good idea given it has been painted into a dreary corner. But even so, I'm aware there are still many fans who are invested in the current storyline. It won't happen until fans are ready for it.

But the saga itself? Not until I'm cold in the ground, buddy. And you're lucky if my ghost doesn't torment you until you go mad. Here are five reasons why "rebooting" SW is a worthless and stupid idea:

1. They have been changing SW since 1977 anyway

From title changes to editing changes to sprucing up effects to adding scenes to retconning parts of the mythos, SW has been in flux since its inception. When the peanut gallery says it wants a "reboot" what they mean is, THEY want to do the altering. If George Lucas changes even the littlest detail only an obsessed fan would notice, it's a crime against humanity.

2. Don't mess with success

Before the new Trek movie, there hadn't been a hit Trek flick since 1996 and no new Trek on t.v. in a few years. It needed to reintroduce itself and compete with films younger people are used to watching. All six SW films were blockbuster hits, they sell well on DVD, and they attract an audience on cable. The merch still sells. Clone Wars's first season was a big success. Don't fix what ain't broke.

3. Face it, fanboy, most of humanity accepts the PT

The chorus of rebooters only wants to reboot one thing about SW and that's the prequel trilogy. Basically, they want to pretend it doesn't exist, so that they "win" in their bizarro war against a set of movies that aren't part of their overrated childhoods. Sorry, but Lucas won't abandon the PT and the movies are becoming as iconic as their predecessors, slowly but surely. Complain and bash all you want, but I saw the evidence at SW Weekends. Ha ha.

4. It still won't make everyone happy

Your idea of what SW "should" be like might make me run for the exits. And vice versa. If Lucas can't please everyone, why do you think you can?

5. If the new Trek film failed miserably, you wouldn't have even considered this lame idea

That speaks for itself.
lazypadawan: (Default)
There are the things that among the hardcores in SW fandom and among the media that are accepted as true. But are they really true? Let me argue otherwise:


Trope: Luke is a whiner

Fact: Luke is often unfairly characterized as a whiner, often by fanboys who think an earnest, gentle, relatively nice guy isn't cool enough for them. If you really pay attention to the movies, Luke is whiny in a couple of scenes in ANH. Most notable is the first scene where we "meet" him and he whines about going to pick up some power converters instead of having to clean up Artoo and Threepio. But that's the point. Luke is barely out of his teens and pretty much acts like it. How many 19/20 year old guys would rather do chores than hang out with their buddies? Especially if they lived on a dusty desert farm on a crummy planet? Over the course of his adventures though, Luke matures. I didn't think he was whiny in TESB or in ROTJ. Especially not in ROTJ. He protests here and there, but if you're going to count the occasional complaint or question about why patricide is an awesome idea, wouldn't that make just about every SW character a whiner?

Trope: Anakin is a creepy stalker

Fact: Anakin might have plenty of issues but stalking isn't one of them. Having intense feelings for someone doesn't unto itself make you a "stalker." Anakin didn't spend those interim 10 years following Padme around, taking pictures of her, sending her lots of unwanted letters and comlink calls, or trying to peek into her house. Unlike a guy from another fandom I could mention, he's not secretly in her bedroom watching her sleep ;). People base their assertion Anakin's a stalker on a comment in AOTC that Padme shut her security cameras off because she didn't like Anakin watching her and on the "oh noez u r making me uncomfortable" stare during the packing scene. Padme wasn't really creeped out by Anakin. If she was, why the hell would she agree to go off alone with him? No, it's the reaction most women would have if there was a mutual attraction. The woman wants to preserve her "mystery" so to speak until the time of her choosing. Anakin's amused because he knows he's gotten to her. When Padme makes it clear later on in the film that they cannot proceed any further with a romantic relationship, Anakin backs off. A real stalker wouldn't care if the woman wants his attention or not. This is why we have things called "restraining orders." It's not until Padme declares her love for him that Anakin behaves romantically toward her again.

Trope: Midichlorians sucked all of the mystery out of the Force

Fact: Midichlorians seemed really offensive to the peanut gallery until ROTS hinted that maybe, just maybe, manipulation of the little buggers by Darth Plageuis created Anakin the Demon Spawn. In that case, it's cool. But a few still say that the Force was some cool mystical thing until the midichlorian explanation ruined it. These are the kind of people who would let a physics class turn them into atheists. All the midichlorian thing does is explain why some people have greater ability in the Force than others. After all, Obi-Wan wasn't training Han and Chewie how to be Jedi. If it were that simple, the Order wouldn't have been wiped out and even if their numbers were seriously culled, all you had to do was find an instruction book and train a whole new army of them just like that. The midichlorians serve as a baseline as well; we know Yoda is way powerful, so he has a high concentration of them. Displaying that Anakin's count is even higher illustrates two things: Anakin is different from other sentient beings including other Jedi and his potential outstrips EVERYONE before him. This adds to the story of his fall. It doesn't change what the Force is.

My favorite explanation of why the midis were a good plot device: without them, Palpatine may as well have spent his time worrying about Han Solo's birth and Wedge's growing skills as a pilot.

Trope: Uncle Owen is a mean ol' bastard

Fact: As I've noted on someone else's meta on this subject, I'd seen countless stories in fanzines where Uncle Owen is portrayed as a bitter, jealous, resentful meanie. You'd think Owen and Beru were like the Dursleys, forcing Luke to live in a closet until Obi-Dumbledore shows up to take him away. Owen is very much the sort of guy who believes in what's right in front of him. He's not a dreamer. He is cranky and gruff. But he's not cruel. You don't see him beat Luke or anything. Owen is what you'd call a threshold guardian but that doesn't make him a bad guy. Some fans make hay out of his comment that Luke better have the moisture vaporators fixed or there will be "hell to pay," but it could mean anything from "I'm going to ground him" to "we're screwed financially." I also think Owen was genuinely frightened for what could happen to Luke should he venture out into the wider galaxy. He saw what his stepbrother was like after all and he had to have known the Sith would want Luke in their clutches if they knew about him.

There are more, but maybe I'll get to those in another post...

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