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Three Star Wars Characters I have an Irrational Love For

Tastes vary and tastes change, but it is often our first impressions and earliest preferences that stick with us. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen the Star Wars films, but I can tell you that the characters that drew my attention most as a child are still the ones that make me smile every time I watch the films. If you are like me you probably have your own set of supporting or background characters that you love. I thought I would share with you three characters from the original trilogy that I have an irrational love for.

A New Hope: Kabe

A number of thoughts pass through my mind when I see Kabe, the diminutive female Chandra-Fan sidle up to the bar. If the cantina is such a rough-and-tumble place, what is this little critter doing in there? Just how much butt must Kabe kick?

I also am impressed with the eagerness to imbibe that drink of whatever concoction Wuher cooked up. The contrast of large appetite and small stature provides a note of humor in stories.

Finally I am struck with the irrepressible urge to say, “awww, how cute.”

The Empire Strikes Back: Toryn Farr

In the male dominated originally trilogy, Rebel communications officer Toryn Farr sticks out. We learn next to nothing about her, but two things make me always cheer her appearance.

Toryn has some of the coolest toys in the galaxy. The sensor screens that she operates are one of my favorite pieces of set in the entire trilogy.

More important than her tech is Toryn’s courage. She is one of the last to evacuate the Hoth base, even after the Imperials have made landfall and the whole base is shaking she stays in the command center to make sure her comrades can get away.

Return of the Jedi: EV-9D9

ev-9d9

Prior to Return of the Jedi we had seen droids that where obstinate, cranky, sarcastic, helpful, brave, and even quietly menacing. When we enter Jabba’s Palace we meet a whole new set of sadistic and evil droids in the bowels of the palace.

Of these droids my favorite is EV-9D9. A supervisor and interrogator droid EV was just plain nasty. Now it is hard to tell if EV is one of my favorite characters because of her appearance in the film or because of how awesome the action figure was.

I received a case of loose Star Wars action figures and accessories from my cousin Joe and EV was one of my favorite figures because of her articulated mouth. I don’t know why I was so tickled by that feature but playing with EV is something I still remember today.

Do you share my irrational love of Kabe, Toryn, and Ev-9D9? Are there other characters you irrationally love? Let me know on Twitter:

@PeteMorrisonLR

How I Found out that Darth Vader is…

SPOILER ALERT:

Luke’s father.

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It seems that everyone has a story about how they discovered the terrible truth: Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father. I

I’ve heard stories varying from the range of figuring it out from Robot Chicken, to discovering it in the film itself at young age. Regardless, if you’re a star Wars fan, this is likely the single most shocking revelation the entire Saga.

The following is the tale of how I personally made this terrible discovery.

Growing up, when my family would have to leave back here in the United States, (I grew up overseas) I had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time at my Aunt and Uncle’s house. My older siblings would often participate in grand and epic water balloon fights that I remember all too well mainly because I was too young to participate in them. I had two cousins in this family, and they were both very much into Star Wars. In fact, a lot of my earliest memories of Star Wars exposure was through these two cousins. I remember playing Star Wars Episode I Racer on their N64, among many other things. Anyway, one day while visiting my Aunt and Uncle’s house, I was given free reign in my cousins room. (Probably a bad idea) He had quite a few amazing collectibles & toys that I occupied myself with. However what caught my fancy was a stack of Star Wars trading cards. I still remember vividly, rifling through them being fascinated by the pictures of different characters, and reading brief summary that described the various aspects of the saga. And, as I’m sure you can guess by now, I came across a card describing Darth Vader and Luke from The Empire Strikes Back.

What’s funny is the fact that I hardly knew anything about the Star Wars films at this time. I just kind of knew what the movies were. I think I may have known some of the main characters and perhaps a very skeletal understanding of the plot, but that was it.

There it was, Luke Skywalker was the son of Darth Vader. Even having not seen the film, I still remember this coming to me as a complete shock. I think I may have been about 10 or 11 years old at this time, and the idea of the ultimate villain being the father of the hero was very striking to me at the time. So yes, when I saw the film a few years later for the first time, I was not surprised at the reveal. However, the resonance of the moment was still intact, and still as compelling to me.

Riley Blanton

Host of the Star Wars Report podcast, Tech enthusiast, AFROTC. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of… well… other people.

Rumor: Rian Johnson To Write and Direct Episodes VIII and IX

Wow, if true, this is big news. I’m just feeling like I’m getting to know J.J.

According to Deadline:

In a bombshell move, I’m told that Lucasfilm is making a deal with Looper writer-director Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX.

 

What does this mean for the saga? Will we get official confirmation? Stay tuned…

-Riley

Harrison Ford Beaks Leg in the On-Set Mishap

Man, this seems to be worse that many thought at first.

According to CNN:

Harrison Ford suffered a broken leg, not an injured ankle as the studio previously said, on the “Star Wars” set last week, his publicist said Thursday.

“Harrison Ford’s left leg was broken in an accident,” spokeswoman Ina Treciokas said in a statement to CNN.

She didn’t say how long the actor would be out of work, but he is apparently on the road to recovery.

We certainly wish Harrison a speedy recovery!

-Riley Blanton

This is Why ‘Empire’ is the Best Star Wars Film

“No, I am your father.”

Anyone who hears those words, probably recognizes one of the most iconic cinematic revelations in film history. This was the very moment that Darth Vader revealed his true identity to his son, Luke Skywalker in the second film of the original Star Wars Trilogy. At that very moment, audiences around the world screamed “NO” in unison with the the hero, Luke Skywalker. This is the most impactful scene of the film, and possibly of the entire saga of Star Wars movies. This scene is an example of how well the movie was formed.

Father

Filmmaking is about capturing the imagination of the audience, it’s about being able to submerge the audience in the tale that is unfolding on screen. To accomplish this, the filmmaker must have have relatable characters. Those characters must also develop. They have to change and grow. Characters simply can’t remain the same throughout the plot and still be interesting to the audience. A main character or protagonist should be able to grow and mature in the story. These principles are at the core of great storytelling. Additionally, the writing  must be done well. One could have very interesting characters, but without convincing dialogue or convincing moments in the script, they have nothing. This is the aspect of filmmaking that makes the characters relatable. Nothing jerks the movie-goer out of an immersive, cinematic experience more, than poorly written dialogue. Cringe-worthy writing is nowhere to be found in Empire. A good film needs a good director, one who understands the cast and crew, and can get them work together to bring the best of their talents and abilities to create the best possible product. These are all absolutely necessary aspects of a good film, and The Empire Strikes Back achieves all of these with near perfection.

When talking about good filmmaking, anyone would agree that character development is key. Sadly, often there is a very surface-level of character development in popular films, especially in science fiction. However, throughout Empire, there are numerous examples of how the main characters grow and change in totally unexpected and remarkable ways. For example, Luke Skywalker learns what it truly means to become a Jedi Knight through the teachings of Jedi Master Yoda. Throughout the middle act of the film, Luke trains with the wizened Jedi Master and learns that it takes more than strength of will or strength of physical force to defeat the evil in the galaxy. It will take a strength of character. Yoda teaches Luke that he must “let go” and “unlearn what he had learned.” Luke learns that he must be serene and willing to let go of personal desires to overcome his greatest challenges. Additionally, the scoundrel of the film, Han Solo, grows as a character as he begins to care more for Leia. He starts to put her needs before his. No longer is he just in it for the money. He comes to care for Leia and for his friends and willingly sacrifices himself for them at the end of the film, when Darth Vader freezes him in carbonite. This was an act of almost serene bravery that the viewer wouldn’t have expected based upon what we knew about Han from the first film, In the first film, he was a quintessentially selfish scoundrel nearly incapable of thinking about anyone but himself. These examples show how much care and attention was given to the characters and their development throughout Empire.

Yoda

Secondly, I’d like to address the quality I most enjoy about The Empire Strikes Back, the genius script. Written by Lawrence Kasdan, The Empire Strikes Back script is nothing short of brilliant. Primarily, the script is able to focus on the characters, not the story. As a film goer, we don’t usually care about the events in the movie nearly as much as we care about the characters in the movie. At least, this is the case when dealing with good writing. Furthermore, there is a sinister edge to the writing of Empire that goes against traditional cinematic conventions. Its not a “happily-ever-after” fairy tale. In the most traditional sense of the word, Empire is a tragedy. No one “comes together at the end.” No one rescues the girl, and things don’t “just work out” in the end. Empire has an old school, frustrating cliffhanger where the audience discovers the terrible truth about Luke Skywalker’s father. It’s almost like watching an old Flash Gordon serial. The film has a sort of “Tune in next week!” quality to it. It was a big risk telling a darker story with Empire because the first Star Wars film was so financially successful. It would have been tempting to recreate the formula that made the first film great. However, George Lucas and the creative team were willing to take the risk of telling the darker and grittier story. It was a bold move, and one that paid off in the end.

Lawrence Kasdan

Finally, I’d like to highlight the absolutely unparalleled direction of the film. Irvin Kershner, the director, was an absolute genius. As director, he was able to pull the best performances out of the main actors and bring forward a level of chemistry that is quite rare in Hollywood. Specifically, he was a master at facilitating remarkably compelling, off-the-cuff, off-script moments. An example of this would be Han Solo’s line of dialogue as he’s lowered to his fate in the carbon-freezing chamber at the end of the film. The audience isn’t even sure he’ll survive, and as Leia finally confesses her love for him,  Han simply says “I know.” Now, originally the response to Leia’s line was supposed to be “I love you too.” That was the boring, traditional Hollywood response anyone would expect. However, Harrison Ford didn’t like that dully predictable response so he played with the line until it felt right, and that’s when Ford came up with the “I know” response. This serves as an example of how Kershner, as director, facilitated a free-flowing, creative environment on the set.

I know.

This much focus on the organic, character driven aspects of the film is what made Irvin Kershner such a great director. He was never going to let the spectacle of a Star Wars movie get in the way of the story. that would have to have been the ultimate temptation. It happens in Hollywood all the time. Filmmakers are so tempted to showcase all of the brilliant special effects and computer generated animation that simply shows of the technological accomplishment of the film, and in so doing, they forget about the most important part, the story. Kirshner, came out of an old school Hollywood, an era of filmmaking that appreciated the characters, and appreciated the story.

Many agree that Empire is the best Star Wars film. There is an acceptance of the film that runs deep in our popular culture. Most people really enjoy Empire, but they don’t consider why. It’s important to contemplate what makes a movie great if one wants to fully appreciate it. Empire is by far the best Star Wars film, simply because of how the main characters are developed throughout the film, the absolutely genius script, and the unparalleled directing of the film. When Hollywood looks at the gold standard for a sequel film, they should look at The Empire Strikes Back.

Riley Blanton

Host of the Star Wars Report podcast, Tech enthusiast, AFROTC. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of… well… other people.