The Force Awakens

Carrie Fisher, Our Princess, Passes

Like many of you, I am in mourning today.  The world lost an idol and seems a little dimmer for it.  Carrie Fisher was royalty.  Her iconic role of Princess Leia carried over into our reality, acting as a beacon of hope when, at times, there wasn’t any. Her sheer honesty and courage could shine through any amounts of darkness, uplifting those lucky enough to witness it. But I don’t have to tell you all what she meant to the world. I want to tell you what she meant to me.

5dea49e85d1672067a19ae1306b8ba353e1eac91be17d09a3ee9a50c3fa7db8d

I was not a Star Wars fan until I was an adult. It was the recent additions of Episode VII: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that really pushed me into the fandom. They featured remarkable stories of courageous women caught in the fray of epic wartime. It took me awhile to realize that the original trilogy, as well as the prequels, also accomplished that.  But I digress.

I was, however, always a Princess Leia fan. She was a freaking warrior princess. How could you not love her? She had sass and charm and went after what she wanted but always did the right thing. That’s insane. Women don’t do that! I mean, seriously, we still have films today, almost 40 years later, that can’t properly convey women being as multi-faceted as Leia.

maxresdefault

Carrie Fisher was intense behind the scenes of Star Wars as well.  She has been quoted as standing up to Hollywood sexism that still plagues films today.  One of my favorite quotes came from 2008’s Wishful Drinking, her one-woman show she later adapted into a book, discussing with George Lucas why there’s no underwear in space.

George comes up to me the first day of filming and he takes one look at the dress and says, “You can’t wear a bra under that dress.”

So, I say, “Okay, I’ll bite. Why?”

And he says, “Because. . . there’s no underwear in space.”

What happens is you go to space and you become weightless. So far so good, right? But then your body expands??? But your bra doesn’t—so you get strangled by your own bra.

Now I think that this would make for a fantastic obit—so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.

images

If that’s not the cheesiest explanation to see boobs, I don’t know what is.

As an adult who is both a writer and a mentally depressed person, I have been able to appreciate and sympathize with Fisher on a deeper level than I ever thought possible. She has been bravely public about her struggles with addiction and depression, something that I, too, try to do.  When you have a disease where your mind wants to live, but your body wants to die, it’s comforting to see others overcome their struggles. Watching Carrie in anything always gave me hope.

I feel I need to talk just a little more about Star Wars, because it wasn’t until recently I recognized just how pivotal Fisher’s character was to the entire franchise. It may go without saying, but Leia is by far the overshadowed hero of Star Wars. She begins the story as an adopted princess given a life jeopardizing mission that she takes without hesitation. She loses her adopted parents and her planet, yet takes charge during her own rescue and saves herself.  She gets taken captive and made a slave by what can only be described as the most disgusting allegory for sexism ever and KILLS HER CAPTOR BY CHOKING HIM WITH THE SAME CHAINS THAT BOUND HER. She rises through the ranks of the rebellion, becoming a trusted strategist and ally until she is their leader. She is looked upon as hope for the galaxy. She stays with the fight while both Luke and Han had abandoned it (this may or may not be true later, but as far as Episode VII goes, it sure looks like it to me). From princess to rebel to general, Leia is the reason the fight is alive. I will be ever grateful for her portrayal of this woman who could do it all.

carrie-fisher-en-star-wars-el-despertar-de

Carrie Fisher and her embodiment of Leia are the symbols of survival that we so often need. She struggled and persevered. She offered humor during times of sadness. Her talent changed the world of both fiction and non-fiction as we know it. She made 44 movies, appeared in 46 TV shows, authored 7 books, wrote and starred in 4 stage productions, doctored numerous scripts including Sister Act and Last Action Hero, and dedicated much of her time to educating masses on mental health. While the stunning Carrie Fisher may be gone from this world, she’ll always be regarded as a pioneer across many platforms.

carrie_fisher_2013

May the Force be with you, Carrie Fisher. Yours will always be with me.

Carrie Fisher, Our Princess, Passes

Grid Talk: 08 – Power Puff Girls Return

Grid Talk is back in an all new format! Each week, I’ll be your host, bringing you some of the larger entertainment stories from the week plus what’s been going on around The Grid Daily including the latest I Ship It and Screen Heroes. This week? I talk about the return of the Power Puff Girls to Cartoon Network, Amazon possibly bringing back The Tick, which Star Wars: The Force Awakens actor is the front-runner for the new Tomb Raider reboot, and the casting of Commissioner Gordon in Justice League: Part 1.

Listen on to learn the details plus see what’s new on The Grid Daily.

Are you excited for the return of the Power Puff Girls? What do you think about the Tomb Raider casting rumors? Comment with your thoughts and don’t forget to drop us a review on iTunes!

Power Puff Girls Return Podcast Credits

Host, Executive Producer, and Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

iTunes Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/grid-talk-sci-fi-frontiers/id1057992963?mt=2

RSS Feed
http://griddaily.com/feed/podcast/gridtalk

Social Media
@GridTalkTweets

Email
contact@griddaily.com

Grid Talk: 08 – Power Puff Girls Return

No April Fooling, The Force Awakens Blu-Ray

It’s no joke that April can’t come soon enough for us Star Wars fans. April 1st is the day that you can download a high definition copy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and other Disney Movies.  However, the Blu-Ray and DVD Combo makes its leap from light speed to the shelves on April 5th.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed over $926 million at the box office here at home and $2.05 billion across the rest of the galaxy. The Force Awakens shattered box office records, so it will definitely be interesting to see how the sales in the stores do.Star Wars: The Force Awakens Wal-Mart Exclusive Blu-Ray

Speaking of stores, different retailers will have different offers for the in-home release of Star Wars:The Force Awakens.  Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and Disney Stores are offering fans retailer-exclusive collectible versions, so make sure that you visit your favorite retailer on the day of the release.  Here is a list of the stores an their respective offers.The 3D versions of The Force Awakens will be available later this year. That’s right, the April release does NOT include the 3D version of the film. This one is planned for a later release with additional bonus features.

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens Target Exclusive Blu-RayTARGET – The Target Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with exclusive packaging and an additional 20 minutes of bonus content, including never-before-seen interviews with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, and a deeper look at the movie’s costumes and weaponry
  • WALMART – The Walmart Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with exclusive BB-8 packaging and an exclusive Star Wars Galactic Connexions trading disc
  • BEST BUY – The Best Buy Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Combo Pack features exclusive Steel Book Packaging
  • DISNEY STORE  The Disney Store Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with an exclusive lithograph set, while supplies last of course

Inside the combo packages you can find an in-depth documentary, exclusive interviews with the actors, and a feature about the building of BB-8.  The filmmakers bring a new cast member to life and it becomes an instant fan favorite.  Watch the legendary composer, John Williams and the Seventh Symphony an the music of Star Wars and The Force Awakens.  The music of Star Wars has always been iconic.  Scores for the previous six films were done by the acclaimed composer John Williams, and once again he has returned to score Star Wars: The Force Awakens, ultimately garnering his 50th Oscar nomination for his work.  There are also deleted scenes.  I am personally interested in watching a segment called “Force for Change”; it shows how Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ initiative has united Star Wars fans all over the globe to help others.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Best Buy Exclusive Blu-Ray

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt.  The film was produced by Lucasfilm President and eight-time Academy Award nominee Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk.

The movie is sure to create more fans and fun times watching it over and over with friends and family, that’s no joke!

The Force be with you all.

– Ultra

No April Fooling, The Force Awakens Blu-Ray

Smuggler’s Bounty Box #2 Unboxing

We continue our unboxing of the Funko\Star Wars themed subscription box, Smuggler’s Bounty. This month is the second month for the service and features the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Resistance box. Last month brought us the First Order box. Check out our video here.

There was a lot of speculation about what POP Vinyl might be inside and whether or not it was a flocked one. Be sure to check out our unboxing video below to find out what we got plus all of the other great goodies.

What comes in these boxes? For those who don’t know, the official Funko services are completely exclusive items. Everything in the box is only available in the box. Items include pins and patches, t-shirts, POP Vinyls, mugs, variant comic books, and other fun collectibles. While some of the items might look familiar (see Captain Phasma’s POP from last month), they are different than what is available at retailers. For example, the standard Captain Phasma is grey\silver but the exclusive Smuggler’s Bounty version is shiny chrome.


 


 

What did you think of this month’s crate? Was it everything you hoped for? Do you subscribe? Comment below with your thoughts on Smuggler’s Bounty box #2!

Smuggler’s Bounty Box #2 Unboxing

Star Wars Episode VIII Delayed 7 Months

The title says it all. Star Wars Episode VIII, which was slated for a late-May 2017 release has been pushed back nearly 7 full months to December 15th, 2017. See the official press release below:

Today, Disney and Lucasfilm announced that Star Wars: Episode VIII, originally scheduled for release in summer 2017, will now debut on December 15, 2017.

The move follows the extraordinary success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was the first Star Wars movie to premiere outside the traditional summer blockbuster window and smashed numerous records, including biggest domestic and global debuts of all time as well as the biggest domestic second and third weekends, en route to becoming the highest grossing domestic release of all time with over $861.3 million and the third biggest global release ever with $1,886.7 billion.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: Episode VIII is currently in preproduction and will begin principal photography in London next month. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman will produce and J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski will executive produce. Stay tuned for exciting updates in the coming weeks.

Star Wars

Not a whole lot is said on the “why” for the delay but it’s likely to deal with re-writes that the film is going through based on feedback from audiences in the wake of The Force Awakens. This does, however, line up the film to be a year after Rogue One, which makes for a nice 12-month release cycle.

What do you think about the delay? Are you disappointed? Sound off in the comments!

Find the official release here.

Star Wars Episode VIII Delayed 7 Months

Grid Talk: 07 – The Force Awakens

Grid Talk is back after a month’s absence to bring your Episode 07 all about Episode VII! That’s right, The Grid Daily is bringing Star Wars The Force Awakens discussions to the podcast. This week, the cast of Screen Heroes is joined by prop builder and Grid Daily contributor, Jon Czerkwinski as well as the other half of the Super Sirens, Hillz. We talk everything The Force Awakens which includes a ton of spoilers as we discuss plot points, characters, costumes, possible connections to canon and old Expanded Universe content, and more. The Force Awakens has crushed box office records and brought tears to the eyes of many. Now it’s time to sit back, listen to what we liked and what we took issue with, and of course, let the Wookiee win. Here’s Grid Talk Episode 07.

The Force Awakens Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rae Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guests
Hillz Lewis
Jon Czerwinski

Executive Producer and Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

iTunes Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/grid-talk-sci-fi-frontiers/id1057992963?mt=2

RSS Feed
http://thegridscififrontier.com/feed/podcast/gridtalk

Social Media
@GridTalkTweets

Email
contact@thegridscififrontier.com

Grid Talk: 07 – The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens, a new hope for Expanded Universe Fans

I am a Star Wars fan.  In junior high, it would have been difficult to find a shirt I owned that didn’t reference Star Wars in some way.   We had the prequels releasing throughout that time, but with those being huge disappointments, I had to get my fix of a galaxy far, far away somewhere else.  Thus, I turned to the EU (Expanded Universe, which consisted of novels, comic books, and video games).

It wasn’t Qui-Gon or Jar Jar that made me happy to be excited to be a fan, it was Kyle Katarn, Mara Jade, and Darth Revan.  Games like Knights of the Old Republic,  Dark Forces, and Masters of Teräs Käsi  (don’t judge me!) were my jam.  I read Timothy Zahn’s novels between classes in school. I wasn’t very popular, as you can imagine.  You nerdy kids today have it so easy!

So when Disney purchased Lucasfilm and announced that the whole Expanded Universe wasn’t canon in any way, shape, or form, I was crushed.

Fast forward a bit, and I watched The Force Awakens, and my opinion has changed.

While the characters I love may not exist in name anymore, many of their stories are set up to play out in the movies.  I am going to cover where I think the similarities lie, and maybe some of where they might be heading.  From here on out, there will be MAJOR SPOILERS for The Force Awakens (TFA) and the Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) games.  You have been warned.

*******************************************

**********************************

*********************

**********

****

**

Still here?  Good. Let’s get into some references to the Expanded Universe.

So to start, Rey bears a pretty major resemblance to Bastila Shan from KOTOR, as well as her daughter Satele from SWTOR (Star Wars the Old Republic).  Coincidence?  Maybe.  Also take into account that they both use staff type weapons (Bastila uses a yellow bladed saberstaff).  Not only that, but Rey’s grey outfit at the end of TFA looks very similar to many old republic styled outfits.

Expanded Universe Bastila Shan KOTOR Rey The Force Awakens

There were some new Force powers introduced in TFA.  Remember when Kylo used the Force to stop Rey in place so he could capture and interrogate her?  That is called “Force Stasis”, and was introduced in KOTOR in a very similar way.  Darth Malak used the same move to capture Bastila Shan.  Kylo using the Force to interrogate Rey and Poe is also very similar to another KOTOR force power called “Mind Domination”.

Just like Rey in TFA, Bastila is captured by her Sith enemy and locked into a partially reclined torture device, and subjected to Dark Side probing.  Do these screenshots look familiar?

Expanded Universe Bastila Torture KOTOR Expanded Universe Bastila Torture KOTOR

When Finn and Rey meet, he intends to try and save her, but she saves herself, beating up a slew of attackers in the process with her staff.  This is very reminiscent of this scene in KOTOR (even a similar weapon!):

Expanded Universe Bastila saving herself KOTOR

Remember Finn and Rey having to escape a planetary attack in the Millennium Falcon?  Bastila and Revan have the same situation happen, except the ship is the Ebon Hawk instead of the Falcon.

The plots of TFA and KOTOR II both revolve around finding the last remaining Jedi by chasing down incomplete maps of the galaxy and following them into uncharted systems.  In TFA, the last Jedi was Luke who left the map with R2-D2, in KOTOR II it was Revan who left the map with T3-M4.

There are also some pretty large similarities between Revan and Kylo’s mask design.

kylo ren Expanded Universe Darth Revan KOTOR

That planet the Luke is on at the end of the movie could easily be Rakata Prime, which was a planet that was covered in ancient stone structures that are strong in the force, and was first mentioned in KOTOR.  Those stone structures could easily fit the bill for what Han says Luke is looking for. It just so happens that this planet was shown on the newest, official, canon map of the Star Wars galaxy.

Star wars Map

Speaking of planets from KOTOR, Malachor V is a planet introduced in KOTOR II that is full of ancient Sith temples and teeming with Dark Side energy.  In the visual dictionary released for The Force Awakens, Kylo’s saber is described as “an ancient design, dating back thousands of years to the Great Scourge of Malachor.”  The book is canon, as is Malachor now.

Visual Dictionary TFA

KOTOR had a super-weapon called the “Star Forge” that siphoned power from the sun, the same way that the Starkiller base did.

Pretty striking similarities, in my opinion.

So onto some speculation, because why not?

Maz Kanata mentions something about history repeating itself. Could Kylo’s more primitive clothing and weapon and Rey’s resemblance to Bastila be attributed to that?  Could history repeating itself be a reference to KOTOR’s story repeating itself?  Could Rey be from Bastila and Satele’s bloodline??!?!

I don’t think the mentions of Malachor and Rakata Prime are just nods to the fans.  I think that Snoke is probably living on Malachor, and that’s where he is summoning Kylo to to finish his training.

What do you think?  Coincidence?  Something more?  Did I miss some Expanded Universe references?  Will we see Rey wielding a yellow bladed saberstaff soon?   Let me know in the comments.

The Force Awakens, a new hope for Expanded Universe Fans

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Review with Spoilers

Before I begin, this review DOES have SPOILERS from the film.

Ten years ago, I walked out of the theater convinced I had seen the last Star Wars movie. The Skywalker saga was complete and George Lucas had pledged no more movies. However, on this Thursday, I found myself in a theater for yet another Star Wars viewing. And so, after ten years, it would seem my Star Wars journey had come full circle in seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 

Overview

Following Luke Skywalker’s disappearance, the First Order (or the new Empire) has made a bid to take over the galaxy and squash the Resistance. One thing stands in their path, the last of the Jedi. Both sides scramble to find the last piece of a map that will lead them to the infamous Jedi Master.The Force Awakens: Rey and BB-8

The Force Awakens: Good

1.I was honestly expecting the first scene of The Force Awakens to be reminiscent of the 2009 Star Trek movie. However, this was not the case. The pacing was actually slower than expected. Nevertheless, it was fitting for the movie. After all, A New
Hope 
started off a bit slow. Rest assured, The Force Awakens has its fair share of action sequences but it does not sacrifice story and character development in favor of said action.

2. The movie nostalgia did not flaunt itself in the viewer’s face. There were plenty of callbacks to the previous movies, but they made room for the new as well (albeit new characters and plot points).

3. The lightsaber battles were messy. This may seem like a bad thing, but all lightsaber wielders were actually quite inexperienced. It took a lot of work to make the battles engaging and realistic to the skill of said force users. It was actually refreshing to see a grounded, realistic battle instead of a choreographed, over-the-top battle.

4. Although we do not have confirmation that the new darkside users are Sith, they definitely follow some of the same rules. In particular, the sacrifice. All Sith must make a sacrifice before reaching their true potential in the darkside. This was a philosophy that was shared in The Force Awakens.

5. John Williams’ brilliant music shined throughout the film. He brought in plenty of new themes, as well as some well-timed older themes from the original movies. It was certainly a treat to hear John Williams Star Wars music again.

6. All of the new characters are well developed and relatable. Rey proves to be an ideal female protagonist. Finn is a character who is scared and uncertain. As for Kylo Ren, he is an enemy of unrefined and unfocused power. All characters have their flaws, and they are better for it.The Force Awakens: Kylo Ren

 

The Force Awakens: Bad

There is little to complain about in this film, but I was a bit wary of the many references to A New Hope. A droid with important information… A deadly weapon of destruction… I admit that these plot devices worked well for this movie, but the parallels are hard to ignore.Star Wars: The Force Awakens X-Wing and TIE Fighter

Conclusion

This was certainly the movie that Star Wars fans were expecting in 1999. It is sure to please both old and new fans alike. The Force Awakens could’ve easily trudged down the action-ridden path that has made Star Wars famous. However, it holds back the action, which makes it more meaningful. Character development, in the form of all of the leads, are excellent. And the ending of the movie was nothing short of perfect.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Review with Spoilers

Smuggler’s Bounty Box #1 Unboxing

Smuggler’s Bounty is finally here! From the company that brought us the Marvel Collector Corps subscription box, Funko now enters the Star Wars universe with their Smuggler’s Bounty box. This month marks the first of the bi-monthly subscription service. While it was announced that it would include a chrome Captain Phasma Pop Vinyl, everything else is more or less a mystery. We know it’d be similar to the Marvel Collector Corps including a pin, patch, Pop stuff, and t-shirt but we don’t know what they are. So, I sat down to unbox our first Smuggler’s Bounty box to see what was inside! Take a look at the video below and then let us know in the comments if this is a subscription box you’ll be signing up for.

What did you think of the first Smuggler’s Bounty box? Did you like it? Did it meet or fall short of your expectations? Which Pop TIE Fighter Pilot did you get? Which t-shirt? Let us know in the comments below!

Smuggler’s Bounty Box #1 Unboxing

Grid Talk: 05 – Dark Skywalker

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens just over a month away, we break down our thoughts and expectations for the iconic character, Luke Skywalker. Due to his absence in any promotional material, trailers, posters, etc. many think that there might be a twist on the origin trilogy’s hero. Has Luke Skywalker turned to the Darkside in the events after Return of the Jedi? He has gone into hiding as the only known trained Force user left in the galaxy far, far away? Perhaps he has become the new Lord of the Sith, since the only way to become one is to kill the previous. We discuss all of these possibilities plus a few more including a dive into his father, Anakin Skywalker and how his turn away from Vader at the end of the trilogy might affect his son’s choices. So sit back, grab some blue milk and enjoy the ride.

Dark Skywalker Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Timothy Jackson
Zachary Story

Special Guests
Nic Story

Executive Producer and Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

iTunes Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/grid-talk-sci-fi-frontiers/id1057992963?mt=2

RSS Feed
http://thegridscififrontier.com/feed/podcast/gridtalk

Social Media
@GridTalkTweets

Email
contact@thegridscififrontier.com

Grid Talk: 05 – Dark Skywalker

Star Wars – Expectations and Disappointment

I was born in 1977, the year that the first Star Wars movie was released in theaters.  I (half) jokingly like to say that I was born with Star Wars in my blood.  Some of my fondest and earliest memories revolve around Star Wars.

I remember endlessly watching The Empire Strikes Back on VHS tape.  (For those of you that aren’t dinosaurs, that’s how we used to watch movies before they could be streamed over the Internet.  No, before DVDs, too.  Yes, I’m old.)  In fact, I think I might have worn out VHS copy that we had, to the point that my mother had to make sure to re-record it the next time it aired on TV.

star wars 1I have vague recollections of going to see Return of the Jedi in the movie theater, and reenacting, with my best friend, the lightsaber duel between Luke and Vader for weeks on end.

So during my Junior year in High School, the announcement that George Lucas would be returning to “a galaxy far, far away” to show us the origin of Anakin Skywalker and how he would eventually evolve into Darth Vader made me giddy beyond belief.  One of my courses was a yearbook/journalism course, with a semi-regular assignment to bring in a newspaper article (good grief, I’m old) that was in some way ‘controversial’.

I brought in the first article I could find about the announcement the Lucas was working on a new Star Wars trilogy.  There was nothing controversial about the article at all.  I was just so excited that I completely forgot that aspect of the assignment.

Saying that I’m a fan might be understating things a little bit, which, as one might expect and like many other Star Wars fans out there, means that I had certain expectations about the prequel trilogy, expectations that were essentially shattered upon meeting the cold hard reality that is the prequel trilogy and the seemingly constant re-editing of the original trilogy.

Now I (only half) jokingly say that George Lucas both created and destroyed my childhood.

star wars 2Ten years after the release of Revenge of the Sith, I find myself in the same position again.  A part of me is almost excited beyond words at having a new trilogy of Star Wars movies in my future.  But I still have certain bare minimum expectations for what that new trilogy should be like, and I remember how badly I was burned before. So let’s talk about that for a minute.

Why don’t I just relax and forget about my expectations?

Well, first off, that’s just not who I am.  I’ve got a really good memory for a lot of things, including my favorite books, television shows, movies, etc.  I used to try and play a game with my mom where we would try to have entire conversations using only movie quotes to see who could keep it going the longest.

More importantly, the film industry doesn’t work like that.  In fact, they’re banking on your, and my, expectations.  Look at the movies that are produced these days, especially the ones that are blockbusters or expected to be.  The vast majority of them are adaptations, reimaginings, reboots, or sequels to existing properties.  They’re relying on your familiarity (aka expectations) of an existing property to entice you into paying the price of admission to the theater to see the next big thing.

What happened the last time we were here?

The offenses of which the prequel trilogy is guilty are terrifyingly numerous, and it’s not particularly difficult to find lists of those offenses.  For me, the most important parts of a really good movie is the strength of the characters and the integrity (the structural kind) of the story.  This is where things started to break down for me.  Since I imagine it’s possible for me to ramble on for quite a while about these various transgressions, I’ll stick with just describing my top two:

Motherhood and Memories

leia_truthIn Return of the Jedi, Luke asks Leia if she remembers her mother.  The conversation goes like this:

Leia: Luke, what’s wrong?

Luke: Leia, do you remember your mother? Your real mother?

Leia: Just a little bit. She died when I was very young.

Luke: What do you remember?

Leia: Just… images really. Feelings.

Luke: Tell me.

Leia: She was… very beautiful. Kind, but sad. Why are you asking me this?

Luke: I have no memory of my mother. I never knew her.

Yet, when they were born in Revenge of the Sith, there is literally no chance that Leia develops any kind of memory of her real mother that Luke somehow would not have.  Because she dies shortly after they are born.  What’s supposed to be one of the most powerful and emotional moments of the movie, and maybe even the trilogy, where Luke reveals to Leia her true heritage and what she may be called upon to face if he fails, is supposed to be a powerful moment.  But all the power of that moment seems to ebb away, for me at least, because what Leia says and what we witness as an audience do not connect together in any kind of reasonable way.

star wars 3Quick digression: I’m sure there will be people that suggest perhaps Leia was raised by Bail Organa’s first wife, and that she passed away when Leia was young, and that’s who Leia is referring to.  To this I respond that, first, that’s not the emotional intent of the conversation and, second, even if that’s true this is where we hit the limitations of movies.  And this is one of the big points of this post.  For movies, the audience can only follow along with what is presented ON SCREEN.  If it doesn’t happen on screen, at best with the audience actually seeing it happen or at worst with a character telling us what happened off camera, then it might as well not have happened at all. 

For two decades I expected that Leia did indeed know her real mother before she ultimately passed away.  Pulling the rug out from under that particular expectation was really bad for me, but nowhere near as bad as…

Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, and his family

I came out of the theater after seeing Attack of the Clones feeling rather dejected.  It hadn’t been a great movie, and I feared for what might come as part of the third movie in the prequel trilogy.  I imagined that the odds were high that the majority of the movie would continue to be disappointing, but I thought as long as they got one particular thing right to finish the trilogy, I’d be happy with it.

star wars 4That one particular thing was establishing why Vader would finally turn on the Emperor in order to save Luke at the end of Return of the Jedi.  In my mind it needed to play out like this: despite all of the evil that Anakin had perpetrated over the course of two decades, his love for his family needed to remain untarnished by the Dark Side.  That would give it the weight and power needed to finally urge Anakin to act, instead of Vader, for the salvation of his son. 

I wasn’t a huge fan of Anakin’s slaughtering of the Sand People in Attack of the Clones, but I was willing to accept it.  It was violent and angry, but it was an act meant to avenge the death of his mother.  So it fit what I hoped would be established.  How hard could it be for the trilogy to end with Anakin falling to the Dark Side without harming Padme?

Finally, Revenge of the Sith was released and I was once again disappointed.  Anakin uses the Force to Choke his pregnant wife.  He’s been haunted by ‘visions’ of her death the entire movie, and now he’s attacking her.

anakin-choking-padmeFor me, that destroyed any ability to believe that Darth Vader would turn against the Emperor to save Luke.  Anakin doesn’t know Luke, didn’t raise him, was never there to care for him or teach him, or do any of the things that would make him a father.  Padme, however, was his wife.  The woman he swore to love and cherish and protect above all else.  If he was willing to attack his own wife that way, I just didn’t believe that he’d sacrifice himself to save a son he barely even knew.

How am I going to be disappointed this time?

For the upcoming The Force Awakens and its sequels, the original trilogy will obviously serve as the base upon which the films are built, with 30 years of history and changes separating them.  This is the first thing that worries me.  Remember what I said before about how things need to happen ON SCREEN or they might as well not have happened at all?  There’s a LOT of room for things to go wrong here. 

So here are the things I’m already worried about, given the limited information about the upcoming movie.

Han Solo and Leia Organa not-Solo

The last time we saw these two crazy kids, what were they doing?  Snuggling by the Ewok bonfire, warm in the glow of their newly professed love for each other.  With that as the last thing we see of those characters, where do you imagine than_and_leiahey end up 30 years later?  Happily married with kids is where I think is the most reasonable place to go from there, and the Star Wars Expanded Universe (I’m sorry, Star Wars Legends) novels took the relationship in that direction to great effect.  It’s one of the things I liked most about those novels, despite how annoying the children turned out to be.  But from what little information we’ve seen so far, it doesn’t look like Han and Leia manage to maintain a relationship following the Battle of Endor.  From the information available so far, they’ve gone completely separate ways.

Luke Skywalker

In the EU novels, within a few years of the Battle of Endor, Luke has begun training other Force Sensitive individuals he has encountered to become a new generation of Jedi Knights to protect the New Republic.  For the new trilogy, that appears to distinctly not be the case from the extreme lack of any lightsabers shown so far outside of Kylo Ren and Finn.  Some articles I’ve read seem to suggest that Luke is mostly in hiding, as he fears even his own power.  I can’t find any confirmation of that particular line of thinking right now, but I desperately hope it is not true.  

Names are Important, but I’m not telling what they are

reyFinn and Rey are two of the new characters being introduced in The Force Awakens.  But unlike nearly all of the other characters being introduced in this movie, they only have first names.  According to J.J. Abrams, “It is completely intentional that their last names aren’t public record.” 

Remember, before Star Trek Into Darkness was released, how Abrams said that John Harrison is DEFINITELY NOT KHAN…except he totally turned out to be Khan?  Thifinns feels like that.  At least this time he’s not lying to our faces.  I can’t help but feel that the deliberate withholding of that kind of information is an incredibly cheap method of suspense for a story.  It’s a cheap trick to try and keep the audience guessing (not in a good way) and be confused.  And if those are the tactics you have to resort to, it makes me worry that the rest of the story you’re telling isn’t going to stand up very well on its own.

Now we wait…

Thankfully, the bar has been set really low with the prequel trilogy.  I’m cautiously optimistic, despite my reservations and seemingly already dashed expectations, because whatever The Force Awakens does, it just needs to be better than Episodes I – III.  How hard can that be?  Right?

Do you think Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to crash and burn? Or do you think it’s going to be incredible? Do you agree about the prequels? Let us know in the comments.

Star Wars – Expectations and Disappointment