Category Archives: Star Wars

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Recap: “The Imposter Inside”

Finally a Padme centic episode! Well, sort of. Ahsoka does most of the fighting. The Naboo senator and the jedi padawan are setting a table – with the help of a handmaiden – for a political dinner party only for Ahsoka to notice that there are utensils on the table, a diplomatic no-no for the guests involved. It’s all the fault of the handmaiden (who curiously is dressed like one of Padme’s handmaidens from The Phantom Menace) who turns out to be a Clawdite assassin out to kill – you guessed it – Padme…again. It’s time for another Ahsoka/Padme tag team fight! Afterwards – dinner!

Questions 

Why is Padme wearing the white jumpsuit she wore in Attack of the Clones when she’s about to play hostess? Shouldn’t she be wearing something more formal? It’s like she knew what was coming…

Final Thoughts

There’s been a lot of wish fulfillment among female fans about Padme’s fate in the prequels. Most wanted her to give up Luke and Leia and then become one of the great leaders of the Rebellion along with Bail and Mon. But after viewing this episode and The Clone Wars, I don’t think instigating a rebellion was in Padme’s blood. Sure, she was present at the secret meetings (albeit reluctantly) among the senators and presented the Petition of 2000 to Chancellor Palpatine but in the end, Padme was a pacifist through and through. Despite her role as leader in the Battle of Naboo, Padme only fights in self defense (that battle was a last resort after her pleas to the senate failed. It also delivered her unwittingly into Palpatine’s clutches). The rest of the time, she is arguing against war and always finding ways to avoid war  much to her detriment. This is why she’s been the target of assassination attempt after assassination attempt – her beliefs aren’t welcome in a galaxy that’s full of scum and villainy.

I’m hoping that if there are more Padme episodes in the near future, we will get some that take place before, during and after The Phantom Menace but before Attack of the Clones. There’s a 10-year gap between episodes 1 and 2 so let’s see more Queen Amidala. What other challenges did she face as Queen in office? Better yet, let’s see some episodes centered around Amidala’s handmaidens, especially Sabe. Or Yane and Sache when they had to stay behind on Naboo during the Trade Federation Crisis. Or an adaptation of Queen in Disguise.  Or an episode about Corde and Dorme, Padme’s handmaidens from Attack of the Clones. The possibilities are endless.

Until next time, Star Warriors. May the Force Be With You.

Leave a comment

Filed under female characters, Star Wars

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Recap: “Beasts of Echo Base”

Inspired by a deleted scene from The Empire Strikes Back where snowtroopers are attacked by wampas that live in the caverns of Echo Base where the Rebel Alliance is hiding out, Leia and Artoo are looking for Chewie. Poor Chewie is in the possession (literally) of a sleeping wampa! With no weapons or use of the Force can Leia save Chewie without becoming wampa chow herself?

Highlights

Well the only good thing I can say about this episode is seeing Chewie vulnerable makes him more loveable to me. It’s not that I never liked Chewie, it’s just that Chewie was always the tough, gruff alien that could rip your arms from your sockets or choke you to death. But seeing a bigger predator that scares Chewie enough to make him cry for help makes him seem more…humanoid. You just want to give him a big bear hug and never let him go.

Now for the questions. Actually I only have one:

  • For once can we see Chewie fix something without Artoo’s help?

Over all this episode was OK. It just wasn’t as memorable as “Ewok Escape” or “The Padawan Path”. It didn’t make me want to watch it over and over again. In fact I’m starting to think this series isn’t as good as DC Superhero Girls. It’s not that I expect Star Wars to be just like DC (it’s not). It’s just that Forces of Destiny lacks the charm and empowerment that DC Superhero Girls has. It doesn’t even have the spiritual and philosophical mindset Star Wars is known for (and yes, you can slip in those aspects in three minutes). Even the current merchandise looks underwhelming.

Or maybe I find the series lacking because I feel Disney’s ladies are stealing Lucas’ ladies’ thunder. I feel as if Disney is slowly edging out Leia, Padme and Ahsoka to give their characters more spotlight. It’s like seeing more Star Trek merchandise depicting Captain Janeway instead of Uhura because one was a captain and the other wasn’t.

Or maybe I’m just being a troll.

But don’t worry, I’ll still give a recap for the next episode: The Imposter Inside because Padme’s in it!

Until next time Star Warriors!

 

3 Comments

Filed under female characters, Star Wars

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Recap: “The Padawan Path”

After three years of seeing an adult Ahsoka in Rebels, it’s great to see a Clone Wars era Ahsoka again.

Rampaging robots! Ahsoka must hurry to be in time for her scheduled Jedi ceremony with Yoda and Anakin. But on the way she hears cry for help and sees a mother and child Aleena running from a giant malfunctioning droid, destroying everything in its path. Will Ahsoka risk her chance at becoming a Jedi Knight or will she help those in need? I think you know the answer.

Highlights For This Episode:

  • Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka), Matt Lanter (Anakin) and Tom Kane (Yoda) are reunited!
  • Clone Wars fans, our prayers have been answered: we got another CW episode. This story actually takes place between Hunt for Ziro and Heroes on Both Sides.
  • Anakin traded in his scar to become a pretty boy! Someone made this meme in response. No matter what medium he appears in, he’ll always be appealing – except when he becomes Darth Vader of course.
  • The steam that rises from Ahsoka’s lightsabers as she spots a leaky waterpipe reminds me of when Anakin fought Asajj in the rain on Yavin 4 in Star Wars: Clone Wars.
  • In hindsight its sobering to think that Ahsoka will never be appointed a master and Anakin and Yoda will become enemies.

Now For Some Questions:

  • How did that droid get loose anyway? What caused it to malfunction?
  • Why aren’t other jedi present at the ceremony? I know there’s a war going on but the temple is always a busy place.
  • Did she really have to run all the way to the temple? Why not just hitch a ride on a flying taxi cab?

All in all, a good episode. Welcome back Clone Wars.

Up next: Leia vs. the “Beasts of Echo Base”.

Leave a comment

Filed under female characters, Star Wars

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Recap: “Ewok Escape”

Forces of Destiny is a hand drawn animated micro-series that centers around the women of Star Wars. They span across the entire saga and can be seen on YouTube and the Disney channel. They will be accompanied by books and toys. I wonder if Disney did this as an answer to DC Superhero Girls. Anyway, I’ll be reviewing some select episodes for the next couple of posts.

“Ewok Escape” is the first Leia-centric episode that shows us what happened between Leia meeting Wicket and Han and Luke’s capture by the Ewoks. Leia is following Wicket through the forest when they come across two stormtroopers bullying a pair of Ewoks. Climbing a tree and making a rope from vine, Wicket successfully ties up the troopers but isn’t heavy enough to lift them off the ground without getting shot. Seeing the whole situation, Leia intervenes, knocking them out and getting a blaster in the process. Next we see Leia at the Ewok village receiving a present: the beige dress she wore in Return of the Jedi. “Does it come with a spear?” she asks.

Here’s what I liked about this episode:

  • Snippets of “Leia’s Theme” and “Ewok Parade” can be heard at the beginning of the episode.
  • It’s canon! So now you can pause Return of the Jedi , watch this episode, then resume.
  • Ewoks, Ewoks, Ewoks! Reminds me of the Ewok cartoons and TV movies. Take that haters!
  • In an age of CGI, it’s great to see a traditionally animated Star Wars cartoon.

And now for some questions, regarding the episode and the entire series in general:

  • Why wasn’t this the first episode of the series? Leia is the First Lady of Star Wars.
  • How did the Ewoks get Leia’s measurements to make the dress?
  • Did they even make the dress or did it belong to another woman?
  • Why did they hire a new voice actress when they could’ve used Julie Dolan since she voiced Leia in Rebels?

And now for questions about the series in general:

  • Why isn’t Padme included in the merchandise line up?
  • Will there be action figures (because not all girls like dolls)?
  • Will there be more than 16 episodes?
  • Will Bultar Swan, Aayla Secura, Luminara Unduli, Shaak Ti or villains like Asajj Ventress and Aurra Sing get their own episodes?

And now for one regret: it’s regrettable that Disney will only do women from the movies and TV shows. This is another reminder of why it was a bad decision for Disney to put an end to the EU. I would’ve loved to have seen some three-minute adventures starring Jaina Solo, Mara Jade, The Singing Mountain Clan, Kerra Holt, Jan Ors, Cindel Towani or Ensign Nanda. But I guess I’ll just have to settle for the usual suspects.

So far, so good.

Up next – Ahsoka takes “The Padawan Path”.

 

1 Comment

Filed under female characters, Star Wars

To Honor Carrie Fisher, Here Are Some of Leia’s Greatest Moments

“Star Wars” legend Carrie Fisher has died at the age of 60.  To honor a woman that has shaped and influenced so many lives, let’s look at some of the most memorable moments of Leia Organa of Alderaan, a character she embodied to the end.

I  never saw the original Star Wars trilogy in theaters because I wasn’t born until 1984 and I wasn’t a fan when the Special Editions came out (although after seeing A New Hope on video I took my Pocahontas doll and styled her hair into two cinnamon buns). However I will never forget the time when I sat in a theater watching Revenge of the Sith and heard the audience’s gasps and “ahhs” when Padme (Natalie Portman) gave birth to twins and with dying breath, says “Luke” and “Leia”. Then the scene where Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) hands baby Leia to his wife and we see her looking up at her new parents as John Williams plays her memorable theme. Such is the magic of good filmmaking.

One of the things about Star Wars that impressed me when it first came out was the way it broke away from gender norms by having not only a woman who was brave, smart and politically savvy but male heroes who weren’t muscular, hypermasculine and callously violent. Leia reflected on the big screen what many women were fighting against in the 70s and 80s: an unequal, patrifocal society not all that different from the Galactic Empire, while Luke and Obi-Wan were a far cry from their macho, cynical, anti-hero contemporaries (i.e. The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, Rocky, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, etc.). Even the much more traditionally masculine Han Solo and Lando Calrissian had to learn to soften up a bit.

I point this out because in all honesty, Leia was never my favorite character in the Original Trilogy. My favorite character was Luke Skywalker because he got the lightsaber, got to fight Darth Vader, got his own starship and the trilogy was focused on his hero’s journey. Leia, on the other hand, has no female rebel officers to converse with onscreen, the introductory scroll to TESB credits Luke as leader of the Rebel Alliance instead of her and Han is the one chosen to lead the Endor Strike Force even though she’d been with the Rebellion a lot longer and was among its top leadership.

But despite these setbacks, there are moments when Leia shines as a shero. To honor Carrie Fisher, here are 18 moments from Star Wars films, books and comics where Leia Organa, senator, princess, rebel, wife, mother and daughter proved that she was the #1 female icon of Star Wars.

1. Leia Lets Darth Vader Know Who She Is

A New Hope

For all the hemming and hawing against the prequels “focus” on politics, people forget that the original trilogy also touched on politics at times and it occurs immediately after C-3PO and R2-D2 escape from the Tantive IV. Leia, surrounded by stormtroopers tells Vader “the Imperial Senate will not sit still for this!” “I’m a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan”. Right away, she lets us know who she is. She sees herself as a senator and diplomat first and foremost. Never for once does she tell anyone that she’s a princess.

2. Leia Tells Han to Knock It Off

A New Hope

Han at this point is selfish and haughty and not making it easy for Luke and Leia. Leia has had it. “Listen! I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but from now on, you do as I say, OK?” Leia gets bonus points for demanding, “will somebody get this big, walking carpet out of my way?”

3. Leia Comforts Luke

A New Hope

Not after Obi-Wan dies but after Han walks away from the Yavin IV mission. Luke is feeling down and tells Leia about his disappointment. I love Leia’s response because it’s something we should all remember when we don’t agree with someone’s choices: “he’s got to choose his own path, no one can choose it for him.”

4. Leia Gives Orders to the Troops

The Empire Strikes Back

Another scene that shows Leia’s leadership skills is before the Battle of Hoth where she stands in the midst of a group of rebel pilots and briefs them on how to fight Vader’s troops. Notice how no one questions her experience, or her sex.

5. Leia Rescues Luke

The Empire Strikes Back

The earliest hint that Luke and Leia are twins. Defeated, crippled and desperate, Luke is hanging on for dear life (literally). He calls out for Obi-Wan, then, through the Force, reaches out for Leia. The camera pans over Leia’s blank expression when she realizes that Luke needs her. She orders Chewie and Lando to go back and rescue him.

6. Leia Kills Jabba

Return of the Jedi

You’ll notice that ROTJ has the most entries of the three movies. That’s because I believe, as character, Leia shines the most in episode 6 (she also stops wearing white all the time). After fooling everyone with her bounty hunter disguise, she’s captured by Jabba and forced into a “dancing girl” outfit as his prisoner. This famous bikini has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years as a sexist example of the male gaze. Even Fisher has admitted she didn’t like wearing it when she was filming Jedi. However she also had some choice words for a dad who criticized the outfit as a bad example for little girls:

“Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage.

She’s a prisoner of a giant testicle who has a lot of saliva going on and she does not want to wear that thing and it’s ultimately that chain, which you’re now indicating is some sort of accessory to S&M, that is used to kill the giant saliva testicle. That’s asinine.”

Exactly. Part of the reason this outfit has stayed popular with female fans over the years is because they see it as a symbol of empowerment. A woman forced into a “sexual” situation she had no control over, who turns the tables on her captor and indirectly avenges another captive’s (Oola the Twi’lek) pointless death. What woman wouldn’t identify with that?

7. Leia Befriends Wicket

Return of the Jedi

Some stuck up fans would rather blast an Ewok into the stratosphere. Not our princess. She strikes up a friendship with one of them, Wicket (behind the scenes Carrie Fisher gave Wicket’s actor, Warwick Davis, cookies and chocolate milk. Yum). She goes back with him to his village and even wears a dress they made for her. Thanks to her diplomatic skills, she gets the Ewoks to help the rebels and we get two made-for-television Ewok movies, comics and a cartoon series. Take that snobby fans!

8. Leia Learns About Her Heritage

Return of the Jedi

The most poignant scene in the Original Trilogy. Luke asks Leia about their biological mother, the fact that Leia has gotten visions of Padme proves she’s Force sensitive. Then Luke tells her that Vader is his father. Shock #1. Next he tells her that he’s her brother. Shock #2. Next he tells her he’s turning himself in for the sake of the rebellion. Shock #3. Is it any wonder she collapses from grief into Han’s arms?

And speaking of Han…

9. “I Love You”, “I Know”

Return of the Jedi

Are you surprised I didn’t list that immortal exchange from TESB? Ha! I never understood why people swoon over that scene. After constant pestering from Han about her feelings, she finally admits that she loves him. But Han never tells her how he feels about her. We had to wait until the next movie. During a shootout at a shields base on Endor, Leia gets shot but is able to shoot a trooper, prompting Han to say “I love you” and Leia to respond, “I know”. I wish more his and her merchandise had this exchange instead of the other one.

10. Leia Reassures Han About Their Relationship

Return of the Jedi

Yet despite Han professing his love, he’s still not sure if Leia still loves him. He thinks she loves Luke. But unlike the Han from ANH, the new Han proves his true manhood by not slut-shaming Leia and promising that when Luke comes back, he won’t get in the way. Fortunately for him, Leia reveals that her love for Luke is familial and her love for Han is romantic.

11. Leia Reveals The New Symbol of the Rebel Alliance

b3d1d481ea38635795ee69d97f383845

The Force Unleashed

A 2008 multimedia project that includes a video game, a comic, a novel and an action figure line, TFU bridges the gap between episodes 3 and 4 and tells the story of Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, Galen Marek, who is assigned to hunt down any remaining jedi but instead sacrifices his life for the Rebellion. To honor his memory, Leia and Bail Organa open a sheet found in his childhood home decorated with the Marek family crest. Leia announces that this symbol will now stand for the Rebel Alliance. You’ve seen it on lots of Star Wars merchandise.

12. Leia Stands Up For a Caamasi

Star Wars Tales #15: First Impressions

An anti-speciesist story. Leia is visiting Coruscant for the first time with her father and observes a Caamasi get arrested for buying a drink. She loudly protests this injustice to no avail and nearly gets arrested herself. She tells Bail that she will complain about the matter to Palpatine but doesn’t out of (justifiable) fear. Bail teaches her that sometimes change has to happen subtly. He then reveals that he’s arranged a release for the Caamasi and that Leia can go to meet him. His name is Eg’ros Akala.

13. Leia Rebuffs Xizor

xizor_and_leia

Shadows of the Empire

Falleen prince, leader of Black Sun and really gets around thanks to his pheromones. He likes to seduce a female (of any species), bed her and then dispose of her when he gets bored. So it should come as no surprise that between plotting against Vader and plotting against Skywalker, Xizor becomes infatuated with Leia. He nearly succeeds in seducing her but she knees him in the groin.

Xizor: You’re refusing me?

Leia: You got that right.

14. Trioculus “Woos” Leia

trioculus_leia

Zorba the Hutt’s Revenge

Another lousy suitor, another lousy prince. Except this one thinks he’s the son of Palpatine and wants to be his successor. Since every king needs a queen, he believes Leia is the pick of the litter. After capturing her, he professes his love for her and proposes. She responds with a slap.

15. “I Would Be Pleased If You Would Join Me”

Sean Cooke, artist who’s done a few Star Wars covers for Dark Horse

I once came across this hard to find picture online and posted it on my Tumblog. I will never forget the way it captures a tender moment between an icon of evil and an innocent little girl. I’ll let the caption speak for itself:

She pulled the comb out of her hair and tucked it in her sash, then went to watch the rest of the sunset from the Great Hall, through the arch.

Lord Vader was already there, standing at the center of the door, a black mountain against the vivid red of the sky. He was aware of her presence, though she wasn’t sure how, or how she knew it.

Well, she wasn’t going to miss the sunset just because he was in her favorite spot. She wasn’t afraid of Lord Vader and it wasn’t bravado, like Father thought.

“Good evening, Your Highness,” he said, “I would be pleased if you would join me.”

You can view the picture here.

16. Prince Isolder Wants to Marry Leia

The Courtship of Princess Leia

Another romantic rival for Han but this time, he’s a good guy. Set four years after ROTJ, Leia, wanting to add more star systems to the fledgling New Republic, opens talks with the Hapes Consortium. However there’s a catch: the Queen Mother wants Leia to marry her son, the dashing Prince Isolder. At a royal dinner Han asks Isolder why would the Queen want Leia for a daughter-in-law when she has no planet or royal house to hail from. Prince Isolder shocks everyone in the room: marrying Leia was his idea. Why? Because he was so impressed with her diplomatic skills.

17. Girls’ Night Out

Vector Prime

The first novel in The New Jedi Order series. Leia is riding in a starship with her daughter Jaina and sister-in-law Mara Jade. Jaina is training under Mara and at first she’s a little jealous of their rapport but also realizes that her sixteen year old daughter is becoming a young woman. She later confesses her feelings to Mara, who in turn confesses her yearning for a child. It’s heartwarming to see some female bonding in the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

18. Leia Trains With Yoda

Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back

What if Luke Skywalker never survived that blizzard on Hoth? With dying breath, Luke tells Han about Yoda and Dagobah. Han relays the message to Leia, who decides to visit this “Yoda” character – and ends up training as a jedi instead.

I will conclude this tribute with a quote from Tricia Barr who wrote a recent article about the Alderaanian princess in Star Wars Insider issue 144:

“Princess Leia has never quite been embraced by the feminist movement in the same way Wonder Woman has, perhaps because of the perception that Star Wars was a boys’ franchise rather than a pro-feminism vehicle.”

Ah, but how many little girls became avowed feminists after viewing Star Wars for the first time? The intergalactic saga definitely made me a feminist and I believe that George Lucas, in his own way, has contributed to women’s rights as much as William Moulton Marston has. And Lucas could never have done it without the wit and talent of Carrie Frances Fisher.

Goodbye and God bless, Ms. Fisher (and you too Ms. Reynolds). And May the Force Be With You.

011-princess-leia-and-han-solo-theredlist

Now, it’s your turn. What Leia Organa, Carrie Fisher or Debbie Reynolds memories would you like to share? Sound off in the comments!

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under RIP, Star Wars

6 Star Wars Action Figures That Should Be Added to the Black Series

Yesterday, I took a Star Wars Black Series survey at surveymonkey.com to tell Hasbro what I want to see in future Black Series releases. If you take it yourself, you can 20% off your purchase at hasbrotoyshop.com (a word of caution, the survey is heavily 6″ biased, which can be a problem if you lean more towards 3.75 figures like me).

On another related note, I finally, finally, finally got that Ahsoka Tano figure I’ve always coveted. For years I wanted the Vintage Collection Ahsoka Tano figure but it was always priced at over $100. I love to collect, but I’m not stupid so I waited and learned that Hasbro had released the same figure to the Black Series line. So when it was finally available on Amazon, I bought it. Before that, I bought Medal Ceremony Princess Leia, a much needed update of a 1998 version.

Recently, I got myself to thinking: “what other past figures should get the Black Series treatment?” The possibilities are endless. So I’m narrowing the list down to female characters only and they’ll mostly be from before the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm. Also this is going to be an ongoing series so for now I’m going to pick 6 characters. Let’s begin, shall we?

galx_24-1

Padme Naberrie Peasant Disguise

Episode 1’s toy line in 1999 had three Padme figures: her battle gear, her Mongolian-influenced senate dress and her peasant disguise outfit when she first meets Anakin. At the time, Lucasfilm were promoting Padme and Queen Amidala as separate characters to avoid any spoilers. Padme’s battle of Naboo outfit was redesigned and re-released in 2012 to coincide with the 3-D release of The Phantom Menace but there hasn’t been a Tatooine Peasant Padme since 1999.

011-princess-leia-and-han-solo-theredlist

Leia Organa Ewok Celebration Dress

Leia channels her inner Earth Mother. This is my third favorite Leia costume after this one and this one. To show off her diplomacy skills, she wears the dress the Ewoks make for her after Wicket brings her back to his village and again after the Empire is defeated. The last time we saw this dress in toy form was as part of some collectible tin collection in 2006. The figure looks like she needs to use the bathroom. A Black Series update is much needed.

junoeclipse-30th

Juno Eclipse

This figure was part of the 2007 multi-media project The Force Unleashed. Juno Eclipse (portrayed by Nathalie Cox) is the Imperial pilot who escorts Galen Marek/Starkiller on his missions to eliminate any remaining jedi and helps him find his humanity (as well as hers) in the process. The only figure of her is her black Imperial Officer uniform. Eventually she joined the Rebellion so maybe when Hasbro gets around to designing her, she’ll have her Rebellion look.

cp_tholme_trasaa

T’ra Saa

The picture above comes from the 2009 Comic 2-Pack Collection of secret jedi couple Tholme and T’ra Saa, two heroes of the Clone Wars. Not only did the line feature two action figures for the price of one but also came with the Dark Horse comic both characters featured in. No doubt the toys would fetch a very high price today what with Dark Horse no longer holding the reins of Star Wars. Hasbro can release both Tholme and Saa figures separately under the Black Series banner but you know which one I’m more willing to shelve out money for.

600-height-files0_0starwars0_0loosefigures0_0darthphobos

Darth Phobos

Another character introduced through The Force Unleashed only this character functions as a training hologram for Starkiller. She was included in a 2011 5-pack Toys R Us exclusive. Unfortunately that cost at the time, $49.99. Today the lowest price you can get for the pack on Amazon is $149.69. Yup, time to give the gal her spotlight and her Black Series treatment.

hs84059alg

Jabba’s Dancers

OK, I cheated. I said 6 but I’m including these three because how can you split them up. Well, maybe Hasbro can sell them separately or as a 3-pack. Anyway, Rystall, Greeata and Lyn Mei were added to a musical scene in Jabba’s palace in the Return of the Jedi special edition. They were a part of the late 90s Power of the Force line and included in a 30th Anniversary Walmart exclusive with Joh Yowza and Rappertunie. However these gals have been in the same stilted position since 1998! They could use more articulation because they’re, you know, dancers. 

So that’s my first wish list of Star Wars ladies who should be added to the Black Series. Stay tuned for part 2 and sound off in the comments: which female character action figures would you like to see reissued as new additions to the Black Series?

See also: 10 Female Star Wars Characters That Should Be Made Into Action Figures

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Star Wars

I Am A Queen

I am a queen.

c22c6b8fc68c87af6a9641295c5c80a4

I’m brave sometimes,

amidala2

I’m scared sometimes.

afcbd6f1e406bb7df1186c6eb99cf60f

Sometimes I’m brave even when I’m scared.

3022c5f2-9d57-11e5-b919-9dd19e242533_1280x720

I believe in loyalty and trust,

qod_amidala_handmaidens

I believe loyalty is built on trust.

queen_jamillia09

I am a queen.

tumblr_nm3ucb3pig1qb3lkfo1_500

 

I think standing up for myself is important,

tktempest

I think standing up for others is more important,

panaka_amidala

 

But standing with others is most important.

goodhuntingteam

I am a queen.

cbda7bc099a07e8daa046b9c4053763d

I believe caring makes me strong,

padmanakin

 

 

Kindness is power,

parade13

 

And family is the tightest bond of all.

bailbrehaleia-hd

I’ve heard that I’m beautiful,

galx_24-1

I know I’m strong.

space06

 

I am a queen.

queenamidala

Long may I reign.

queens_of_naboo_by_kaelir_of_lorien

(This was made in response to Lucasfilm’s International Day of the Girl video to promote the women of Star Wars, which previously excluded Padme, but, thanks to fan demand, now includes Padme. So, in the spirit of irony, I lifted the words from Disney’s “I Am a Princess” video, to celebrate the unsung queens of Star Wars, because not enough little girls go through a queen phase.

And seriously, there needs to be a “Disney Queen” collection!)

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under female characters, feminism, Star Wars

Enough With The ‘Star Trek’ Vs. ‘Star Wars’ Debates

Star Trek is turning 50, which means lots of new goodies for fans to consume with their wallets – among them collectors’ issues from your local magazine rack. Among these issues, expect to find, once again, the perennial Star Trek vs. Star Wars articles as to which franchise is better. Eyeroll please.

When I was a teenager, I was a Star Wars fan first and foremost. I had never seen any episodes of Star Trek, whether it was the Original Series, the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine or Voyager. There were no TV stations playing the Original Series at the time (not even the then popular TV Land was airing the show regularly). Yet the no. 1 question I would get from people after learning that I loved Star Wars was “do you like Star Trek?” For years – even after I had become acquainted with the show – I had no clue there was supposed to be a “rivalry” between fans of both franchises. I ‘m convinced there isn’t and it’s all a pointless ploy by the media to create divisions and since it isn’t working, they won’t give up.

So to beat them at their own game, I’m going to tell you what both franchises have in common and why they both made our society all the richer for it (no, I will not point out the differences because they’re too obvious).

1. They Premiered In Double Digit Years.

Star Trek made it’s debut in 1966. Ten years later, in 1977, Star Wars: A New Hope  made its debut in theaters across the US. September 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. May 2017 will mark the 40th anniversary of Star Wars. Lord, time flies!

2. Both Had Something To Say

Gene [Roddenberry] envisioned a future where humanity had overcome their fears and prejudices and were willing to use science and exploration to their advantage. George [Lucas] envisioned an epic space adventure story using age-old mythological tropes. Both franchises are morality plays that dealt with topical and age-old issues: racism, oppression, good and evil, the importance of loyalty, the need for teamwork, why we should be forgiving, why we should look for the good in others, and so forth. They also broke ground in representation: Star Trek was the first major sf show to depict a diverse crew – that included a technically savvy black woman, an Asian helmsman and a Russian at the time of the Cold War, who weren’t ethnic stereotypes –  regularly, while Star Wars broke ground by introducing cinema’s first action heroine, challenging traditional male stereotypes with its main character and introducing a black character in a position of power – 28 years before the US would vote in a black president. I would also like to add that The Phantom Menace brought us, for the first time in cinematic history, a queen who wasn’t evil.

Here’s another point: both had potential to be even more groundbreaking, had circumstances not gotten in the way: the Enterprise‘s second in command would’ve been a woman, Obi-Wan Kenobi would’ve played by Toshiro Mifune, etc. But either way, both franchises changed people’s lives.

But the average viewer/moviegoer wasn’t the only person to be inspired by these stories…

3. Both Have Inspired Scientists 

I KNOW what you’re going to say! Star Trek is sci-fi, Star Wars is space fantasy, so you can’t even put the two in the same camp. Try telling that to the many scientists who’ve been inspired by both franchises. While Star Trek is the more obvious of the two – check out the charming documentary How William Shatner Changed the World for more information – Star Wars, believe it or not, has also inspired scientists to “stretch out with their feelings” when it comes to their scientific endeavors, be it space travel, biology, or prosthetics. Here’s a list of scientists (and scientific discoveries) inspired by that galaxy far, far away:

Holly GriffithThe Crew of Expedition 45Israel SanchezJonathan ArmbrusterKelly B. Miller and Quentin D. WheelerNate Lo

Here’s another documentary to watch: Star Wars Tech.

4. Both Produced An Expansive Tie-In Novel Collection

Curious as to what happened to the the crew of  the MirrorEnterprise after the events of “Mirror, Mirror”? Want to know more about the birth and life of Khan Noonien Singh before he was introduced in “Space Seed”? Want to learn more about Vulcan philosophy or Klingon rituals? Star Trek has produced, so far, over 200 tie-in novels written by talented authors, who fill in the blanks left open by the shows and movies that answers many a fan’s burning questions. From 1977 to 2014 the Star Wars Expanded Universe answered questions regarding how the myriads of characters in that galaxy far, far away got involved in the situations presented in the movies: who was Darth Plagueis the Wise? Why do the Sith follow the Rule of Two? How did Luke rebuild the Jedi Order? What happened to the survivors of Order 66? After April of 2014, a new canon novel timeline was introduced which included the novelization of an unfinished story arc from the canceled Clone Wars TV series. Whether you prefer the EU or the CU is up for debate. Because of the successful sales of Trek and Wars books, other franchises, from the X-Files to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, have also released tie-in novels furthering the adventures of their characters, albeit with less success.

Let’s also give a shout-out to all the comics, reference books and magazines published since ’66 and ’77.

5. Both Have Given Us Well-Written And Thought-Provoking Cartoons

If you were alive in 1973, were you under the impression that cartoons were silly, humorous entertainment strictly for kids and nothing more? Star Trek: The Animated Series shot that notion into a black hole with its intelligent, thought-provoking storylines, its continuation of groundbreaking moments (such as when Uhura briefly became captain of the Enterprise) lack of cutesy talking animal characters and its toned-downed humor. And because of that, the show won the franchise its first Emmy and paved the way for more serious, adult-oriented shows like Batman: The Animated Series. And if you ask me, Star Trek: TAS deserves more love.

In 2003 and 2008, Lucasfilm released two TV series that explored the war only hinted at in A New Hope and Attack of the Clones. The 2003 Star Wars: Clone Wars used minimal dialogue to portray the earliest battles of the Clone Wars and introduced a new, scary villain (and also netted the franchise its first Emmy) while the 2oo8 Clone Wars gave us more details, a deeper philosophical insight into the Force, more ambiguous moral conundrums and a new iconic female character. That series also won an Emmy (eventually) and was Cartoon Network’s most watched show.

6. Lots And Lots of Merchandise

…And counting. Could sports or music memorabilia ever compete with a fan’s extensive Star Trek or Star Wars collection? That depends on who you ask. Start with Marc Bell or Steve Sansweet (warning: your mind will be blown or you may covet these collections).

So let’s follow George Takei’s advice and stop this silly rivalry. Remember only a Sith deals in absolutes.

4cbd869b447b2ed7d64b3f742cf7aae2

You can also buy this shirt over at Society 6 in any size you want!

 

6 Comments

Filed under fandom, Star Trek, Star Wars

Planet X Puts Simon Pegg On Trial For Crimes Against The SF Community

(Note: This is a work of fiction. However, real people with real quotes have been inserted into this work of fiction. This is also an inaccurate example of a trial. I’ve tried my best to be as close to real life as possible, but this is a mock trial on another planet. And you know what they say: “when in Rome, do as the Romans”. If your reading this and your an expert on the criminal justice system, any and all corrections are welcome.)

All rise. The Court of Planet X is now in session. Judge John W. Campbell presiding. Please be seated. Calling the case of the people of Planet X versus self-proclaimed geek, Simon John Beckingham Pegg.

Me: Your Honor. Geeks and nerds of the jury. The defendant has been charged with the crimes of haughtiness, rudeness to his peers and disrespect to his elders regarding beloved sci-fi franchises. Four incidents of this disreputable behavior will be used as evidence.

Exhibit A: A Constant Nagging Criticism of George Lucas and the Star Wars Prequels.

The defendant has always let it be known that he has a boiling disdain for George Lucas’ 1999-2005 trilogy. He has spewed bile about it in interviews over and over again. Take this quote for instance:

And I think if anyone can pull Star Wars out of the mire its J.J. He’ll bring the fun back. Lucas seemed to misread what made the first ones great, and concentrate on things that people didn’t really care about, or willfully ignore the things that people cared about. Whereas J.J. embraced them all. We’re going to see the Millennium Falcon again. We’re going to see those characters again. All the things we see about the first three, we will see again.

Or there’s this one:

They’re a monumental misunderstanding of what the first three films are about. It’s an exercise in utter infanticide, like George Lucas killing his kid.

Yet many fans disagree with Pegg’s views. And his response leads to…

Exhibit B: Bully Those That Like The Star Wars Prequels.

This is what Mr. Pegg had to say about those fans. First is this little gem from his show Spaced:

Note: He plays character named Tim and he’s shouting at a little boy for liking “The Phantom Menace”

“You are so blind! You so do not understand! You weren’t there at the beginning. You don’t know how good it was! How important! This is it for you! People like you make me sick!…take your pocket money AND GET OUT!

[little boy runs out crying]

“What a prick.”

He didn’t stop there, he said nasty things about prequel fans out of character too:

I don’t really have any respect for anyone who thinks those films are good. They’re not.

Now that we’ve seen evidence related to Star Warriors let’s move on to the other fans Pegg has offended – the Trekkies.

Exhibit C: Outright Rudeness Toward Star Trek Fans.

Star Trek Into Darkness, the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek reboot was released in 2013. It has an 86% at Rotten Tomatoes and made 467.4 million at the box office. But looks can deceive. At a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, Into Darkness was voted worst the worst Star Trek movie of all time. Pegg did not take kindly to the news. Here’s his kind, thoughtful response:

You know what…it absolutely isn’t the worst Star Trek movie. It’s asinine, you know. It’s ridiculous. And frustrating as well, because a lot of hard work and love went into that movie, and all JJ wanted to do was make a film that people enjoyed. So to be subject to that level of sort of, like, crass, fucking ire, I just say, fuck you.

But then his criticism of Star Trek fans shifted to sci-fi fans in general.

Exhibit D: Accusing SF of Dumbing Us Down

Obviously I’m very much a self-confessed fan of science fiction and genre cinema. But part of me looks at society as it is now and just thinks we’ve been infantilized by our own taste. Now we’re essentially all consuming very childish things – comic books, superheroes…Adults are watching this stuff and taking it seriously!

And, not surprisingly, geeks did not take kindly to his words because he blamed everyone but himself.

Judge: The prosecution may call its first witness.

The People call the first witness, Israel Sanchez.

Clerk: Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?

Sanchez: I do.

Clerk: You may be seated.

Me: Where do you work, Dr. Sanchez?

Sanchez: I work at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid.

Me: And what is your occupation, Dr. Sanchez?

Sanchez: I am a biologist.

Me: Can you tell us about the fossilized remains of this animal you discovered, Xenokeryx amidalae?

Sanchez: In central Spain, we discovered an amazingly preserved giraffe relative that lived between 23 million and 5 million years ago. Its physical characteristics included a short neck, two ossicones and a cranial, T-shaped appendage.

Me: And why did you name it, Xenokeryx amidalae?

Sanchez: If you remember the Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace film, when Padme Amidala is queen of her home planet Naboo, she shows off several complicated dresses and hairstyles. Well, one of the hairstyles from a scene in Coruscant is strikingly similar to the occipital appendage of Xenokeryx. Yes, I am a fan of Star Wars.

Me: And how does it make you feel to know that actor Simon Pegg has no respect for you?

Sanchez: I think it’s unfortunate, though I don’t think I’ve ever heard of him.

Me: Members of the court. I’d like to take this moment to name other famous fans of the Star Wars prequels: Robert Kirkman, comic book writer and creator of The Walking Dead. Joey Fatone, singer, dancer and former member of *Nsync. Actress Jaime King. Even more important are scientists like Nate Lo, who discovered bacteria in mitochondria and named it Midichloria mitochondrii. And last, but not least, astronauts Scott Kelly, Kjell Lindgren, Sergei Volkov, Oleg Kononenko, Kimiya Yui and Mikhail Kornienko, who posed as jedi for their Expedition 45 portrait and watched Revenge of the Sith in space. These are the true geeks who, inspired by science fiction, the very genre Pegg says is “infantilizing us”, spend their lives studying the world around us and using their findings to help society better understand our world. And because their tastes are different from Pegg, he has no respect for them. Thank you, Dr. Sanchez.

Judge: The witness is excused. The prosecution may call the next witness.

The People call George Takei.

Clerk: Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Takei: I do.

Clerk: You may be seated.

Me: Mr. Takei, tell us your occupation and work history.

Takei: I am a 61-year veteran actor and activist. I played Enterprise helmsman Sulu on Star Trek.

Me: Mr. Takei, can you tell us about the week of July 4, 2015?

Takei: I was informed by John Cho, the actor who plays a younger version of my Star Trek character – that it would be revealed that Sulu would have a husband and a young daughter – as a form of inclusion and as a nod to me as a gay man. This decision was made by Simon, who wrote the screenplay and Justin Lin, the director.

Me: And what was your reaction to the news, Mr. Takei?

Takei:

I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.

Me: So what did you suggest to them?

Takei: I told them to…

Be imaginative and create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly revealed as being closeted.

This movie is going to be coming out on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the 50th anniversary of paying tribute to Gene Roddenberry, the man whose vision…carried us through half a century. Honor him and create a new character.

Me: And did they respect your wishes?

Takei: I thought so at first. But they didn’t.

Me: What was Mr. Pegg’s response?

Takei: He said that he respectfully disagrees with me and that if he created a new gay character, it would be tokenism because audiences would just see that character as “the gay character”.

Me: And what did he say about Mr. Gene Roddenberry?

Takei: He said…

The viewing audience weren’t open-minded enough at the time and it must have forced Roddenberry to modulate his innovation. His mantra was always ‘infinite diversity in infinite combinations’. If he could have explored Sulu’s sexuality with George, he no doubt would have.

Me: Your Honor. Members of the jury. I did not use Mr. Takei’s predicament as Exhibit E, because I felt it was better to hear the victim tell his story in his own words. And it’s this recent incident that convinces me that Mr. Pegg should be found guilty.

Here he is, once again, declaring that he knows the franchises he claims to love better than the creators that spent, hours, days, months and years imagining, writing, outlining and fighting for their work to be released to the public. Franchises that he had nothing to do with in the first place. He was a consultant on The Force Awakens, despite the irrefutable fact that he was only 7 years old when A New Hope was released and had no involvement whatsoever with the making of the original trilogy. They already hired Lawrence Kasdan, the co-screenwriter for The Empire Strikes Back to write the script. Because of this, The Force Awakens lacked creativity and originality. It was nothing more than big budget fan fiction with no heart and no soul. And now Pegg is using his delusions of grandeur against not only against Mr. Takei, a legend and icon among many, but the late Mr. Gene Roddenberry, by assuming he knows Roddenberry – a man he has never met – better than Takei, a man whose worked closely with Roddenberry for 23 years. And Pegg is now in charge of the screenplay for the 13th Trek film, Star Trek Beyond. Why? This man wasn’t even conceived when the very first Star Trek series premiered on September 8, 1966. Now, with him at the helm, so to speak, his decision to turn an established straight character, gay, is not only lazy, it’s inconsistent with Trek mythology. Since these contemporary films are prequels, it would be awkward to show Sulu with a family, and then watch the Original Series and wonder why he never brings them up in casual conversation. For gay fans of Star Trek, it would look as if Sulu went back into the closet. It would make Kirk’s aside about not knowing that Sulu had time to start a family in Star Trek Generations, all the more perplexing. I will close my arguments by pointing out that making Sulu gay as a tribute to Mr. Takei is undermining Mr. Takei’s work as an actor, a job that requires you pretend you’re something other than yourself for the sake of suspending audiences’ beliefs for an hour or two. That his sexuality is the only thing that defines him despite the fact that the roles he took as a Japanese American man broke barriers.

Judge: Will the jury foreperson please stand? Has the jury reached a unanimous verdict?

Foreperson: Yes. The jury finds the defendant…guilty.

Judge: Thank you jury. Ladies and Gentlemen. Due to the amounting evidence against Mr. Pegg, I think we can’t afford to wait another day to give the defendant his punishment.

From this day, forward, Mr. Pegg, you will be stripped of any film making duties, be it screenplays, producing, directing, editing and creative consultant. You will be restricted to acting and acting in other’s films only. However, you will be suspended for one year from film roles to spend the next two years, with worker’s compensation, reading and studying the works and history of science fiction. You will be given all the major classics of SF, from Asimov to Zelazny, to complete while wearing a different Star Wars prequel t-shirt everyday.

Court dismissed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Comments

Filed under fandom, Star Trek, Star Wars

Dear Asajj Ventress,

 (Beware of Spoilers)

I’ve just finished reading Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple, a canon novel based on a  story arc that never made it to TV because The Clone Wars was canceled. Now I wonder how audiences would’ve taken the news that you die at the end of your story when you saved your lover, Quinlan Vos, and former enemy, Obi-Wan Kenobi, from Count Dooku’s force lightning. Quinlan and Obi-Wan buried you on Dathomir, home to your people, the Nightsisters. At first I was sad and disappointed that you died instead of living happily ever after with Vos. But when your body was dipped into a pool, turning it green and the voices of your long deceased sisters welcoming you into their fold, was heard, I felt a sense of triumph. After all the years of pain and suffering you endured and afflicted on others, you were finally at peace. And you were reunited with your family.

Let me go back a bit. OK a lot. To 2002, after the release of Attack of the Clones. There was a book by Mark Cotta Vaz called The Art of Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones. On one particular page there was concept art of a grey-skinned, bald woman drawn by Dermot Power. He explained that he wanted this character to be a successor to Darth Maul for all the female star warriors but instead George Lucas went with the character now known as Count Dooku. No matter. It didn’t stop me from drawing a profile picture of you from the book.

And then you made your debut as Asajj Ventress in 2003 with Genndy Tartakovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars. 

I watched the micro-series with excitement as you snarled your first famous line: “Jedi! Their order is a fading light in the dark. Corrupt and arrogant. They must be punished. The jedi shall fall!” Then you lured Anakin closer to the dark side with one of the most memorable lightsaber duels since Yoda fought Count Dooku on Geonosis. You lost that fight but you went on wreaking havoc in the comics.

Then there was a second Clone Wars series in 2008 where you caused more murder and mayhem even getting a scene cut from cartoon network because it was deemed too sultry for young viewers. But it was in this show we learned that you had a tragic past. You were ripped from your mother as a youngling and sold into slavery. You were eventually freed by a kindly jedi knight named Ky Narac, yet tragedy hit you again when your surrogate father was killed and you were orphaned once again. Your pain drew you to the Dark Side and into the guidance of sith lord Count Dooku where you were a scourge of the Republic. But eventually Dooku betrayed you and left you for dead. You just couldn’t catch a break! But you made your way back to Dathomir, vowing revenge and exciting times lay ahead. Katie Lucas wrote some of the best epsiodes of Clone Wars involving the Nightsisters – Force sensitive women who practiced the dark arts – and she admitted in the introduction to Dark Disciple that she loves writing stories about you. We fans had only been familiar with these mysterious women through Dave Wolverton’s Legends novel, The Courtship of Princess Leia and the 1985 TV movie Ewoks: The Battle For Endor. But now we would see, for the first time, how the Nightsisters operated as a society. As a student of warrior women history and folklore, I couldn’t have been more intrigued to see TGFFA’s take on the Amazon archetype.  We also have you to thank (indirectly) for giving us back Darth Maul (shirtless of course).

But, alas, your quest for vengeance failed. Your experiment, Savage Oppress disobeyed you. Dooku slaughtered your sisters and you escaped but were alone yet again. Nevertheless you forged on and became a bounty hunter. It was through this unlikely job that your inner goodness came through. In The Clone Wars season 4 episode “Bounty”, you saved a young girl from a forced marriage after listening to her pleas for freedom. You also won our hearts further when you helped our favorite Togruta, Ahsoka Tano, clear her name with the Jedi Order. 

Which brings us back, full circle, to Dark Disciple. The Jedi Council ordered Jedi Master Quinlan Vos to go incognito as a bounty hunter, team up with you and convince you to help assassinate Count Dooku. Sadly this led to disaster as you and Vos went down the path of the Dark Side and it nearly lost you the love of your life. But your better nature and intuition came through when you let the light side of the Force flow through you and show you the way to redemption. With this newfound enlightenment, you not only convinced Vos to come back to the light side, you also saved the soul of the Jedi Order by convincing them that assassination was not the Jedi Way.

Some would accuse Lucasfilm of making you another woman in a refrigerator so as to push a male character’s story forward, but I disagree. You had taken the lives of others, so eventually you would have had to repay their lives with yours. But the difference between you and other “fridged” women is that you went down fighting and you made your choice knowingly and confidently.

You lived as a criminal in the eyes of the Republic and died as a hero in the eyes of the Jedi Order. By forging your own path, you taught us that we are not bound by destiny but by choice. You started off innocent, turned corrupt and then redeemed yourself. But you were always, Asajj Ventress, one of the most multifaceted characters to ever emerge from Star Wars. In hindsight, I’m glad Lucas stuck with his original decision.

Rest in peace, Asajj.

And may the Force be with you.

2237677-190443_73451_asajj_ventress   82456-5864236Fr4550324-ventress_nohair Asajj_Ventress_Kindred_Spirits

Asajj_Ventress_yellow_lightsaber

star-wars-the-clone-wars-asajj-ventress-wallpaper

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Star Wars