Star Wars-ing: Oh, Star Wars Fandom

If you are a fan of Star Wars but don’t follow other fans on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media, you are probably living the good life. If you do follow those things, then you already know it is a weird place.

It amazes me when anyone turns the conversation about Star Wars away from anything but the story.  Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley have left social media because of the bizarre and hurtful things being said to them.  Rian Johnson gets more verbal abuse on Twitter than an Alabama fan receives in Death Valley on Saturday night.

We are not against constructive criticism. We are against non-constructive criticism. Attacking people because you are scared of social justice warriors is just weird.  I mean social justice warriors aren’t very warrior-like.  Also, telling a director, he ruined your childhood is silly.  Your childhood is still intact. It’s kind of insulting to the actual people that were there for you as a child.

Before you fire up your keyboards in the comment section, I too was disappointed with The Last Jedi.  While I feel that is easiest the most beautiful Star Wars film, it is also deeply flawed. It was badly paced and awkwardly blocked in some scenes. Some scenes, like the milk scene, were just silly and showy. Kelly Marie Tran’s character (her performance was perfect, though) for me was a huge mistake. She started off great. Her opening scenes were excellent especially when she was sciencing the situation, but then it turned her arc into just another action piece that went overlong.  Poe Dameron is a hard character to like for a hero after his actions here. I was often bored watching the film. And I liked it a lot more than Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple did.

What I won’t do is tweet my problems with the movie to Rian Johnson. I made my feelings known by only seeing the movie once in the theater and writing this blog addressed to no one. I won’t also tell someone they are wrong on social media for having a different opinion. I’ll debate with them, but I’ll listen and engage with their thoughts.  I was disappointed by the treatment of Luke at first, but the more I think about it, the more I liked his lapsed-catholic-Jedi arc (which I will write about more in a later blog).  I think his arc his brilliant now. I definitely won’t attack someone because they are a woman, a person of color, or because they didn’t see the original movie in the theaters.  I saw the original in the theaters, but the Mrs. didn’t, and she has forgotten more Star Wars than I have ever learned.

I love that a space adventure that is over 40 years old still gets people so passionate about it.  I love that there are what seems to be 1000s of blogs and podcasts dedicated to Star Wars (including us!). We get tired of seeing people try to own Star Wars and what Star Wars can be.  I don’t want to see Star Wars movies decided by focus groups or made for a select few fans.  I want the saga to go in directions I don’t expect. I want the universe to be populated by thousands of species each with their unique ethnicities. I want good books and exciting comics made by artists, not craftspeople.  This sometimes means the pieces will fail.  Some will not be as good as others.  But it also means we have a shot at greatness.

Think about Star Wars as a restaurant.  Chain restaurants are comfortable. We know what we are going to get and we can expect to pleased and full at the end of it.  But if you go into a new to you independent restaurant, you never know what you are going to get. You may get something not even Gordon Ramsey can save.  But you can also get something special.  Something you can get nowhere else.  That’s what I want Star Wars to be.

I want them to branch out and get new exciting voices.  I want them to be respectful but not always beholden to the lore.  The expanded universe is nice, but it had some weird and, to be truthful, silly moments.  One of the most ridiculous complaints I would read about The Last Jedi is that there was no leadup to a new power Luke enacted.  Well, there was no build up to a Jedi Mind Trick before we see Obi-Wan do it nor any foreshadowing of a Force Choke before Vader did it.  Stop limiting a fantasy movie (especially since the power Luke exhibited comes from the expanded universe).

We, as fans, have to face we are never going to get the Star Wars we make up in our heads.  And frankly, I’m not sure I would want to.  The Star Wars in my head that I want to see would be a nine-part documentary about Jocasta Nu’s methods for archiving Jedi material and running of the library.

Let’s enjoy the new material we get, obsess over it if we like it or hate it without bringing the creators into it (trust me, they will know, they look up hashtags and phrases like the rest of us), and then move on to the next thing.

May the force be with you, friends!

Star Wars-ing: Communicating With Nola Nerd Baby

This will probably be the silliest Star Wars think piece that you will probably ever read.

George Lucas and LucasFilm are beyond helpful with raising the Nola Nerd Baby. They have provided me with an entire universe to communicate with her. And every time I do, she smiles and talks back.

Now, you need to understand she is four months old.

Just say names to of Star Wars planets and moons to a baby and you can have a full conversation.

Me: Abafar Ando Jakku Tatooine

Her: Gaja ja skewseras

 

Now, she hasn’t talked to me back in Star Wars planets and moons, but I’m certain that Jakku or Naboo will be her first word.

Actually, this makes a lot of sense.  Babies often say the “ooh” sound that appears in a lot of planets and moons that appear in the Star Wars Universe. G and the hard c sounds are also one of the first ones they can say.

So put your money on Jakku.

Of course, I would actually prefer pappa or momma, but how cool would it be if her first word was a Star Wars word. She would be a Star Wars fan for life.

Well, she really doesn’t have a choice will she?!

Star Wars-ing: Celebration Update

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There is not a whole lot of Star Wars Celebration news out there. Probably won’t be for some time. There are still a few rooms to rent under the Star Wars Celebration tent as of this writing (Tuesday afternoon), so check to see if there are still some. Star Wars Celebration is also reporting they are running close to running out of Thursday tickets. The Thursday tickets are called the Bounty Hunter Preview which allow access to show floor, some autograph session and famous Celebration stage. There will be no Stage programming as of now on Thursday.

Of course, today is Indpendence Day.  Have a Happy Fourth and May the Force Be with You!

Star Wars-ing: Celebration News

Star Wars fans love Celebration. The five day passes for adults and kids have sold out! Saturday tickets as well. We had to go out of town for a family medical emergency, so we are thankful we bought our tickets before we left!

Celebration will bring back the stages and panels that have been a feature at the previous shows. The Celebration stage, which will be at Wintrust Arena, will have the stars from the saga as well as entertainment productions. The Galaxy stage will have some celebrity guests and other Star Wars entertainment. The Behind-the-Scene stage will feature those artists and craftspeople who make Star Wars. The Fan stage allows fans to be in control of the content. The Collectors stage is always a treasure trove of information from some of the greatest collectors of Star Wars memorabilia. One of our favorite stages, Star Wars University, will be back as well. Many of the presentations at this stage are workshop type panels where you can learn the finer points of crafts such as writing, art, vegetable carving(!), and more. Finally, the Live stage will be on the show floor. This area will often be streaming interviews and panels and usually draws great crowds.

As you know, we do podcasts as well as keep up this blog. Unfortunately, we had to put the podcast on hold due to the extreme naseau. We plan on bringing it back soon (hopefully before the end of June). Well, Star Wars Celebration has a Podcast Stage and we will be throwing our hat’s into the ring. We will probably focus on Star Wars autograph collecting but are brainstorming other ideas as well.  If you are a podcaster, you can fill out the application here.

Check back weekly for more updates!

 

Star Wars-ing: My Favorite Villains from the Saga

While we all root for the heroes of Star Wars, we all really think the bad guys are cooler. Think about Vader’s scene in Rogue One. It’s a horrible massacre of men fighting for the good of the galaxy.

And we all loved it.

Before I list some of my favorite villains from the saga, let me reiterate the same rules from yesterday’s heroes piece. No characters introduced in The Force Awakens will be listed.  We don’t know their fate so they may not stay good. Second, I include any Star Wars I’ve seen or read.  I  have not read all of the EU nor have I read all of the new canons, so this list is not pretending to be definitive. Not in the slightest.  Also, this list is not in any type of order.

Darth Vader: Ok, this one is the top villain. He was the perfect version of evil for my young brain (I was born in late 1973). When he is evil, he is impressive, most impressive.  When he turns good, he becomes our hero.  And as amazing as he is in the films, he really gets some moments in the comics.  IF you haven’t read Vader Down, stop reading this and go read it.

Darth Maul: Darth Maul in the Phantom Menace is a great action, bad guy.  In the comics and especially in the Clone Wars, he is genuinely terrifying.

Palpatine – Overrated: Emporer Palpatine as an evil character.  Underrated: His time before becoming emperor. He outwits and outmaneuvers the entire Senate and Jedi Council.  As a Sith and a politician he indeed is the personification of evil in the saga.

Orson Krennic: Krennic is a different kind of bad guy. He is that guy in the office that you pray to god doesn’t become your boss.  He can do the job, but he isn’t overly talented at it.  In fact, he knows how to take credit for your work.  He really wants to be in charge, and he will entirely forget the help he received to get there. In other words, he is the most real-world version of evil.

Barriss Offee: She is almost a forgivable form of evil. Her motivation is reasonable in that the Jedi Council seems to make every wrong decision leading to what appears as an unending war.

Thrawn:  So methodical in his work. In fact, he is not necessarily evil.  He just works for the bad guys, and is better at his job than practically everyone else.

Mother Talzan: From a certain point of view, this character is not always on the wrong side. In fact, there are storylines in which you might root for her since she is going up against someone worse. While we can argue if she is pure evil or not, I think we can all agree she always interesting.

Count Dooku:  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put him on here, but he does have great storylines in The Clone Wars and especially in Dark Disciple.

There are some that aren’t on this list that I’m going to get flack for.  I don’t find Tarkin very interesting in the movies and in the animated series, but I like him more as a villain in Catalyst. (Edit: Ok Tarkin definitely belongs on the list and maybe near the top as far as evil goes. He blows up an entire planet, and there is no proof that the order comes from anyone else but him – at least in the movies).  Also, for the love of all things Star Wars, I do not get the Boba Fett worship. There are a few others that I like but I don’t feel like we got enough of to put on a list (such as the Inquisitor).

So who are your favorite villains from Star Wars?

 

Star Wars: My Favorite Heroes from the Saga

Star Wars is, in its purest form, a story of heroes and villains.  That’s one of the reasons why Joseph Campbell was so attracted to it and wrote about it in the Power of the Myth.

Since this week is the release of the Last Jedi, I decided to list my favorite heroes and villains from Star Wars. Today, I will list my favorite heroes.

But first some explanations.  No characters introduced in The Force Awakens will be listed.  We don’t know their fate so they may not stay good. Second, I include any Star Wars I’ve seen or read.  I  have not read all of the EU nor have I read all of the new canons, so this list is not pretending to be definitive. Not in the slightest.  Also, this list is not in any type of order.

Cut Lawquane:  Yes, he is a deserter.  No, that doesn’t mean he is not a hero.  He was made to be a soldier, but decided not to be.  More importantly, he decided to have a family, and to them, he was their protector and his hero.  So from a certain point of view, he does have a heroes story to tell. It is also one of the most compelling one-offs in all of Star Wars.

Hera Syndulla:  To me, she is the best leader in the Star Wars saga.  She cares for her people, but she sees the bigger picture.  If someone were to write a leadership book from her point of view, I would buy it in a second.

R2D2:  If being a hero is putting others before yourself than R2D2 qualifies.  Far too many times, R2 risks personal injury, and annihilation, to save his friends and the republic.  He is fearless, but he does have a heart of gold.

Leia: Leia is THE leader in the Star Wars saga.  She was born and raised to do this.  She accepted the role long before we met her and handled it maturely.  She is the same age as Luke, but her experience has made her far wiser. Unlike most people on this list, her heroes journey started as a child. The fact that she never has wavered makes her one of the greatest in the saga.

Han Solo:  He is the reluctant hero.  He doesn’t want to be the hero; he just can’t help himself. And he probably never does it for the bigger cause.  Being heroic for his friends is good enough. When you think about it, he is a poor scoundrel.

Luke:  Luke is THE hero of the saga.  So far, the story has been about him or the coming of him.  The fact that this was thrust upon him and that eventually gets control of his power is a testament to the type of hero he wanted to become.  Sure he is whiney, but he is one of the most powerful people in the galaxy with no understanding of why he is or how he can control it. Even in Jedi, when he comes to grips with it, he acts as if he is in control, but he knows what he is doing is risky.  In Jedi, he wants to be the hero, but he isn’t completely sold on the outcome.  I can’t wait for Thursday night to see where his journey goes next.

Obi-Wan:  He is the perfect Jedi, in that he does have faults.  He would have left the Jedi for a woman if she wished.  He shows favor and sometimes a blind eye towards his friends. Yet, he always attempts to do the right thing.  Sometimes this means for the greater good; other times it could be to save just one Jedi’s soul.

Asajj Ventress:  Sometimes the hero’s journey takes a long route through the villain’s timeline.  But if you don’t believe Ventress belongs on this list, read Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple.  Golden creates a multi-layered story of a multi-layered character.  It’s the best Star Wars book I’ve read yet.

Ashoka:  Ashoka, more than any other character on this list, learns.  She learns from her mistakes.  She learns from the mistakes of others.  She understands there are rules and that sometimes laws are worthless if they mean losing your soul to abide by them.  Throughout the Clone Wars, she has tremendous growth.  She went from being my least favorite character to my favorite.

Yes, there are people I left off the list.  Yoda for instance.  I’m not saying he isn’t a hero. I’m saying he is not one of my favorites. He too often gets caught up in what a Jedi should be he forgets what they actually are individual. Others have moments, and some characters are heroic but not truly heroes (this is how I classify Lando).

So…who are your favorite heroes from the saga?