Archive for May, 2017

Whose Lightsaber Is It Anyway? (Sort of a Commentary)

May 30, 2017

Lost in the shuffle of Star Wars’s 40th anniversary, the Vanity Fair stuff, and Darth Real Life was the admission last week that Lucasfilm’s marketing department now refers to the lightsaber that once took out a roomful of younglings as “Rey’s lightsaber.”  This means not only will there be no products indicating it’s Anakin’s lightsaber any time in the near future if ever, it seems to reinforce the perception that Lucasfilm is trying to bury any meaningful reference to the prequels.  As you might imagine, this hasn’t sat well with some prequel fans out there.  Is Lucasfilm just recognizing the reality of where Star Wars is today or is this like hauling down statues and blowing up ancient sites?  Or something in between?

I’ll concede the following points:

*It was also known as Luke’s lightsaber for years.  The lucky bastard had two of them:  the blue one he was given in ANH and the one at controversy, and the green one he built himself in ROTJ.  Since EFX got the license some years ago, it’s been marketed as Luke’s lightsaber again.  So the whitewashing started even before the Disney handover.

*Until Rey builds her own, it is in the current canon her lightsaber.  From a marketing standpoint, kids are more likely to associate the lightsaber with her than with anyone else.  Though the pricier EFX versions aren’t for the small fry, it remains a reality that most new products are there to promote what’s out now.

*TFA does (briefly) mention the lightsaber’s line of ownership even if it does not specify Anakin by name.

All of that said, it looks like Rey has basically inherited the Falcon too and I have to wonder if the Millennium Falcon, forever associated with Han Solo, is now going to be marketed as “the S.S. Rey-Mo-Bile.”  (I doubt it.)  While the marketing department has also scratched Luke from what was for two movies his lightsaber, it’s obvious from TFA that the fact he’d once possessed is what leads Rey to him.  Plus, Luke has a backup, the cool green one from ROTJ.  Nobody’s taking that one from him.  I hope.

It might seem like a small thing and in the grand scheme of things, it is.  Yet there’s a perception of slighting the prequels that Lucasfilm’s regime hasn’t quite shaken.  This doesn’t help.

Maybe I need to start marketing t-shirts, buttons, and stickers that say:  “Anakin is the Chosen One and that’s his lightsaber.”

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Marvel Interview With Mace Windu Writer

May 27, 2017

Marvel.com has an interview with the writer of the upcoming Mace Windu comics series, Matt Owens:

I see him foremost as a teacher and a leader. He is incredibly strong and wise and tries his best to lead others down the right path. Sometimes that does mean having to fight. There’s an interesting conflict in a man revered for his fighting skills who would rather not use them. Being a great warrior does not mean you have a love of combat, a lust for bloodshed. His lightsaber is the last weapon Mace would want to pick up. Similarly, he is a fiercely intelligent orator, yet despises politics. He is a man thrust into positions and situations he may not enjoy, but he does them because he just wants to do what is right.

A Look Back At AOTC & ROTS

May 26, 2017

Julian at World of Peacecraft posted his tributes to AOTC and ROTS.

Attack of the Clones also shines in its direction. While Lucas may not be the best actors’ director out there, his visual direction skills are on full display here, and they’re my favorite subtle element of this film. Look at the evolution of how Anakin uses his hands. He uses them for casual Force tricks in the first half, then looks at them in shock after murdering the Tusken Raider colony, then gets his right hand stuck in a robotic shoulder in the droid factory… the same hand that will become robotic by the time the credits roll. Look at the darkened forms of Anakin and Padmé as they kiss before being led into the execution arena, and the way that they lighten up as they’re dragged into the sun. This love may lead to a dark future, but it will also eventually defeat Darth Sidious once and for all, and I think that’s a really nice tool of visual storytelling. Look at the clouds of Naboo forming a yin-yang after Anakin has his nightmare, just before his darker side is put to its first true test. Look at Anakin’s battle with Count Dooku at the end of the film, where the only light sources are the red and blue glow of their lightsabers lighting up their faces. It’s only fitting that both of these characters’ stories when it comes to the Force have elements of both the Jedi and the Sith.

Add in Attack of the Clones‘s expert pacing, keeping the viewer involved from start to finish, and I think it ties with The Empire Strikes Back as the best directed Star Wars saga episode. It’s my second favorite film, but only slightly.

Although this one received considerably more praise than the first two films, once again the spread of anonymous sources has made sure Revenge of the Sith has “fallen from grace”, if you will, and is now hated by a lot of people. That’s a real shame, because, much like The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, this chapter is a heartfelt and above all brutally human movie. Revenge of the Sith was the first Star Wars film I was able to see in theaters, an experience that I won’t forget any time soon. Now, around this time, all the media surrounding it had come out, and I knew a lot of what would happen in the movie. But I was still so amazed by Revenge of the Sith that it quickly became not only my favorite Star Wars movie, but my favorite movie of all time, and it remains my favorite to this day. There were so many memorable moments I found just in that first viewing, and there is so much more I’ve come to appreciate about the movie after countless viewings.

Star Words IX: Shmi On Slavery, The Republic

May 26, 2017

Matril posted another installment of her Star Words series, this time focusing on one of Shmi Skywalker’s lines in TPM:

Much of Shmi’s importance in the overall story of the saga resides in her influence on Anakin — her presence during his childhood, but especially her absence once he leaves to become a Jedi. It’s always a tricky thing to create a character whose primary impact comes from her absence and death (and the use of “her” isn’t a coincidence — it’s overwhelmingly women who are placed in this role). All too often, the character is nothing more than a plot device, underdeveloped, her special place in the hero’s heart implicit rather than explicitly developed. But Shmi’s portrayal is saved from this danger by an excellent performance from Pernilla August and the details the story reveals of her personality and experiences.

 

How Star Wars Changed Jerome Blake’s Life

May 25, 2017

Cnet has an interview with prequel alum Jerome Blake, who played seven different characters during the trilogy:

During scenes involving the Jedi Council, Blake played opposite Samuel L Jackson, who had lobbied hard for a role in the saga.

Blake remembers one day between takes he was sitting next to Jackson, who was reading a book. “He very calmly closes the book, takes his reading spectacles off, puts them on top of the book — and then drops his head into his hands. I said, ‘Sam, are you not feeling well?'”

“He said, ‘Yeah, yeah. I’m OK — I just can’t get used to the idea that I’m working with Yoda.’ He’d just been on ‘Jackie Brown‘ working with De Niro and Tarantino and he was more excited about Yoda!”

Joseph Fiennes Was Almost Obi-Wan?

May 25, 2017

The current star of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” told The Wrap that he was a finalist in the contest to play the younger incarnation of Obi-Wan.  Sort of:

While Fiennes played coy at first, the actor let out enough information to source the film to Star Wars.

“I auditioned for a great director,” Fiennes started. “It was whittled down after many auditions to myself and another fine actor who I was at that time at drama school with.”

The Wrap independently confirmed Fiennes and McGregor were classmates as Guildhall School of Music and Drama way back when. The Londoners went on to pursue their acting careers, but the pair apparently reunited under the guise of Star Wars.

Fiennes went on to say he moved forward with audition levels until he got to do a test in front of a director and Robin Gurland, a casting director. After finishing, Fiennes went to meet George Lucas and his daughter.

“I auditioned for a great director,” Fiennes said as he began his story. “It was whittled down after many auditions to myself and another fine actor who I was at that time at drama school with.”

However, the encounter would up being a pitfall for Fiennes. “His daughter turned around and said ‘I don’t like this guy. He’s weird. I don’t like him.’ And that’s how my audition went,” Fiennes recalled.

Oh well! Read the rest here.

Where It All Started

May 25, 2017

For me anyway, nearly 40 years ago…the long-gone Valley Circle theater in San Diego:

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I didn’t go opening day; I saw ANH in early June.  The lines were hellacious from day one, especially on the weekends.  They wrapped around the building and down the parking lot.  My mom and dad pulled my brother and me out of school figuring our chances were better on a weekday (no Fandango in 1977…you had to buy tickets that day at the box office).  We did get in but not before waiting hours in line out in the parking lot.  It was like a carnival:  hawkers selling buttons and stuff, a lady scouting for kids to cast in an unrelated commercial, moviegoers sitting in lawn chairs, and the McDonalds that used to be next door doing boffo business.  My dad even found a co-worker playing hooky in the same line.  Once we got inside, I remember seeing the lobby photos on the wall and going into a packed theater.  I’d been at the same theater before to see previous blockbusters like “King Kong” (1976) and “Futureworld,” but this time every seat was filled.  It was nuts!

That was the beginning of a life sentence without parole, heh heh.  Without which I would not be working on this site today.  So a happy 40th to ANH (and a happy 34th to ROTJ).

Essay Looking Back At TPM

May 23, 2017

Julian at World of Peacecraft is posting 40th anniversary tributes to the various Star Wars films and here’s his tribute to TPM:

Speaking of Anakin, the young Chosen One is also one of my favorite elements of The Phantom Menace. Jake Lloyd was widely criticized for his performance, but I fail to see him being bad at all. (Gotta support my hometown! Seriously, I thought he was fine.) After I first saw the movie, I couldn’t quite believe the large contrast between Anakin and the relentless killing machine I knew he was destined to become. Anakin was another character I was quick to identify with; he is always quick to find some way to help his friends, even if that involves putting his life on the line. I’m in awe of those nerves of steel he shows while piloting even at a very young age, and at the time when I first saw The Phantom Menace, I shared Anakin’s fear of being separated from one’s guardian for a long period of time. After several viewings of the film, I do see some very subtle elements of darkness in the young Anakin, namely his expression during his scene with the Jedi Council. I think the movie does a very good job of establishing Anakin as a skilled pilot, great mechanic, and aspiring adventurer.

Essay: “Choose Or Lose”

May 22, 2017

hafanforever posted an essay called Choose Or Lose, which discusses the mirroring of ROTS and ROTJ in the scenes where Anakin/Vader have to choose whether to serve good or evil:

In Revenge of the Sith, in Palpatine’s office, Anakin arrives at Palpatine’s office after Mace defeats Palpatine in their duel. The latter still tries to kill the former with Force lightning, but Mace manages to deflect it back using his lightsaber. As this happens, Anakin is off to the side, watching and trying to decide if he should help Mace or Palpatine. Believing that Palpatine holds the power to prevent death, which is what Anakin desires for Padmé, Anakin chooses to help Palpatine and cuts off Mace’s lightsaber hand. This leaves the latter defenseless against a new bolt of lightning, and Palpatine sends Mace plummeting out the window to his death. Although horrified that he helped to murder a Jedi, Anakin submits himself to Palpatine and finally becomes Darth Vader.

(Yeah, ignore the first line.)

For You Dungeons & Dragons Fans

May 19, 2017

Found on /r/prequelmemes….Anakin is every D&D alignment system rolled into one:

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