Category Archives: Star Wars

I Love Dark Rey

The best characters are the one who catch you off guard. You think they know who this person is and where their narrative is going. Then there is a switch in the narrative and the character goes off in a surprising direction. When done well, this out of left field change in the character arc has the potential to shock the audience and up the dramatic ante by 100. When not done well, it can turn off the audience.

The new Star Wars firm, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters in December. As they are during the lead up to every film in the franchise, Lucasfilm is mostly mum on the details. But then they slip a delicious nugget or two into the trailers.

At this point, there are any number of theories about Dark Rey (Daisy Ridley). Is this a vision of what will or could be? Is this the ultimate manipulation of the dark side? Will we learn that Rey is actually a descendant of the late Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDairmid) and has a family?

At this point, there are so many possibilities. I could theorize all day, but I think I will let J.J. Abrams work his magic and tell us in December.

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Thoughts On Star Wars Day

For some of us, May 4th is just May 4th. But for Star Wars fans, May 4th is a momentous day.

Today is Star Wars Day, or as fans refer to today, May The Fourth Be With You.

What makes Star Wars special for me is that underneath the special effects and other-worldly story is the fight against tyranny and oppression. It is a story that is as old as humanity itself and a fight that still continues to this day.

Though George Lucas may have mucked up the narrative with the prequels, the basic narrative still holds up decades later for a reason. The story of farm boy, a princess and a pirate coming together to fight for freedom is still as emotionally and politically relevant as it was in 1977.

Though the narrative is a basic one, Lucas (at least in the 70’s), knew how to expand on the expand on this basic premise. He knew that Princess Leia (the late and still very missed Carrie Fisher) had to be more than the standard damsel in distress. There had to be something more to Han Solo (Harrison Ford) that just a space pirate who is looking for the next job. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) had to have a future other than running his Uncle and Aunt’s farm.

To my fellow Star Wars fans around the world, May The 4th Be With You!

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Filed under Feminism, Movies, Star Wars, Thoughts On....

RIP Peter Mayhew

I’ve stopped counting the number of movies that I’ve seen over the years. Most movies come and go, but there are only a small handful that I will go back to again and again.

The Star Wars films are among the films that I go back to. Tuesday, we lost Peter Mayhew, who brought Chewbacca to life.

Chewbacca was more than Han’s (Harrison Ford) co-pilot. He was the smart ass to Han’s arrogance and the muscle when brute strength was needed. He also had a heart of gold.

In recent years, Mayhew was experiencing health problems and had passed his iconic role to Joonas Suotamo.

May his memory be a blessing not just to the millions of Star Wars fans around the world, but to those who knew and loved him as a person.

RIP and may the force always be with him.

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Thoughts On the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Trailer

After months of anticipation and speculation, the teaser trailer for the new Star Wars film was released today. The name of the 9th film in the series is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

My mind is blown. Like any teaser trailer, there is just enough information to tempt the audience to want more without giving away too much detail.

With most of the cast from the last two films (the late Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Adam Driver) returning to a galaxy far far away, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will hopefully be the closing chapter that this narrative deserves. Among the cast, there is also a familiar face: Billy Dee Williams will be returning as Lando Calrissian, linking the past with the present.

I could watch this trailer multiple times and nitpick, looking for clues as to the overall story, but I don’t want to. I just want to enjoy the trailer and wait until the film premieres in December.

P.S. Did anyone else get the chill when they heard the unnerving laugh of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid)? I cannot fathom how they have brought him back from the dead, but it will be from my perspective, one of the highlights of Episode 9.

 

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Best Books Of 2018

I’ve read quite a few books in 2018. Below is the list of the best books of 2018, at least from my perspective.

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama: Mrs Obama’s autobiography is insightful, down to earth and one of the best autobiographies that I have read in a long time.
  2. House of Gold by Natasha Solomons: House of Gold was described by another reviewer as a Jewish version of Downton Abbey. I couldn’t think of another description if I made it up myself.
  3. Pride by Ibi Zoboi: A modern-day Pride and Prejudice set in New York City, this Jane Austen adaptation feels old and new at the same time.
  4. We Are Going to Be Lucky A World War II Love Story in Letters by Elizabeth L. Fox: The story of a marriage during World War II told in a series of letter that will make you believe in love.
  5. My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher: When Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds departed this world two years ago, no one knew them better than their brother and son. The book is a love letter to them by one of the people who knew and loved them best.
  6. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah: A young girl growing up in the wilds of Alaska learns some hard truths about life, love and marriage.
  7. American Tantrum: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Archives by Anthony Atamanuik and Neil Casey: Based on the character created by Anthony Atamanuik on The President Show, it is a what if story in regards to the fictional Presidential library of you know who.
  8. Not Out Kind: A Novel by Kitty Zeldis: Just after the end of World War II, two women from vastly different worlds meet in New York City and forever change each other’s lives in the process.
  9. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux: 150 years after the publication of Little Women, the book still resonates with readers across the globe and across the cultural landscape.
  10. The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict: Behind every genius is a supportive and loving spouse. But what happens when the spouse is denied her own genius because she is a woman?

That’s my list, what are your favorite books of 2018?

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Downton Abbey, Feminism, History, Jane Austen, Movies, New York City, Politics, Pride and Prejudice, Star Wars, Television

Happy Birthday, Carrie Fisher

Dear Carrie

Happy Birthday, wherever you are.

This year is two years since you left this world. Two years since your snark, your intelligence, your biting wit, your openness about your battle with mental illness  and your undeniable love for the Star Wars fans faded into memory.

I watched The Last Jedi last night. Though Leia’s narrative is only a small part of the overall narrative, you were fantastic. While we can only imagine where Leia’s character arc might be going in Episode 9, the legacy of her strength, intelligence, courage and heart will forever live on.

I’ve spoken often on this blog about my own battles with mental illness. You continue to inspire myself and thousands, if not millions of others who battle mental illness daily. While it kept you down temporarily, it never forced out of the game completely.

While we continue to mourn your loss, you live on in the memory of family, colleagues, friends and fans.

RIP. In the words of our mutual ancestors, may your memory continue to be a blessing.

Sincerely

Writergurlny

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Bloodline Book Review

When it comes to Star Wars, it’s easy to get sucked into the world. Especially the narratives and characters that are not covered in the films.

In 2016, Claudia Gray published Bloodline, filling in the timeline in between The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens.

It’s been decades since the old Empire was defeated. The dream of a true intergalactic democracy has dissolved into partisan infighting among the leaders of The New Republic. With decades of political experience under her belt, Leia Ogana has become a respected senator.

Leia hopes that peace and co-existence will return to the galaxy, but hope turns to dread, especially when forces within and without are threatening to destroy The New Republic. Will Leia’s hopes turn into reality or will her instincts and her family history return the galaxy into the war zone that it once was?

I really liked this book. I enjoyed it not only because it is well written, but it fits into the previously established timeline between the original trilogy and the newer movies. It’s nice to read a fanfiction that feels unique to the writer while not disregarding the original characters and narratives that the fans are loyal to.

I recommend it.

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Star Wars Character Review: DJ

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

For some, supporting a specific cause is everything to them. For others, the only cause is themselves. These people are willing to play both sides, if it will enrich them somehow. In The Last Jedi DJ (played by Benicio Del Toro) is short for Don’t Join. Loyal to neither the rebellion or The First Order, DJ is a thief and slicer who helps Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Finn (John Boyega) escape from Canto Bright. After taking Rose’s pendant as a fee for his services, DJ helps them sneak onto a First Order ship so they can stop the tracking system that is being used to track the rebellion ships.

Not surprisingly, when they are caught, DJ gives information to General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) in return for his freedom and a financial reward. 

While DJ is playing both sides, he speaks with a slight stutter, giving shades of grey  to a character who appears to be merely black and white.

To sum it up: Loyalty is often defined as being there for someone else. But, while one is loyal to those around them, they can also be loyal to themselves. As writers, we have to decide where a character’s loyalty lies and if their loyalties change over the course of the story. While some characters are dynamic in their loyalties, others are static in who or what they are loyal to. Regardless of a character’s choices, it has to feel natural. If it is not natural, the reader or the viewer will know that the choice is forced on the character, which may lead to the reader or viewer walking away. That is the last thing any writer wants.

This will be my last character review post for the new Star Wars Characters. The list of characters that I will be reviewing is….you will have to find out next week. 

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Star Wars Character Review: Vice Admiral Holdo/General Hux/Captain Phasma

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There is supporting a cause and then there is supporting a cause. It is possible to support cause without it consuming everything around you. But for some, that cause is everything. Nothing else and no one else matters. In the most recent Star Wars movies, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the complete commitment to the cause is represented by Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie).

Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) is high up in the chain of command in the rebellion. She becomes General Leia Organa’s (the late Carrie Fisher) second in command after Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is demoted and General Organa is incapacitated. As she watched the rebellion ships being destroyed by the First Order, she makes the ultimate sacrifice by jumping her ship to light speed and destroying the First Order’s flagship.

On the dark side, this complete adherence to the cause is General Hux and Captain Phasma. General Hux is a First Order General, answerable only to Supreme Leader Snoke. He is cold, ruthless, calculating and believes that First Order is destined to rule the galaxy at all costs. Right behind General Hux is Captain Phasma. In charge of the storm troopers, her job is to make sure that her soldiers do as they are told. Her one failing is Finn (John Boyega), with whom she battles with in The Last Jedi.

To sum it up: It takes a certain type of person to give everything to a cause. Especially when the cause is life or death. In Star Wars, Vice Admiral Holdo, General Hux and Captain Phasma represent that commitment so fully that nothing else matters. When creating these characters, the writer(s) must ensure that nothing deters the characters from the cause.

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Star Wars Character Review: Kylo Ren/Ben Solo

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Life is often a series of choices. What we don’t know is the the repercussions that may come about from those choices. In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) was introduced as the film’s baddie. Like Darth Vader before him, Kylo was determined with a capital D to destroy the rebellion at any cost, regardless of the ties to the heroes of the rebellion.

Kylo Ren’s birth name was Ben Solo. He is the son of Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), the nephew of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the grandson Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman). With his lineage and natural abilities when it comes the force, he could have followed his uncle Luke to become a Jedi. Instead he took the same path his grandfather took. Seduced by the dark side and Supreme Leader Snoke, Ben Solo becomes a think of the past. He is now Kylo Ren, master of the knights of Ren and supreme leader of The First Order.

In The Force Awakens, while Kylo is committed the destroying the rebellion, there is a part of him that still goes back to the light and the family he left behind. That is, until he kills his father. Even so, the questions about his loyalties still never quite disappear. His interactions with Rey (Daisy Ridley) bring those questions to the surface, especially he has the opportunity to kill his mother in The Last Jedi. But, he makes the split second decision not to.

In the end of The Last Jedi, after Rey has rejected Kylo’s offer to join The First Order, he frames her for the murder of Supreme Leader Snoke and goes after in the rebellion with everything he’s got. He has made the choice to completely give into the dark side.

To sum it up: Kylo Ren/ Ben Solo made the choice to forego any return to the light side and completely become one with the dark side of the force.  In this process, he killed his father, nearly killed his mother and become a younger version of his grandfather. Characters make choices and like all of us, will have to live with those choices. Episode 9 starting filming this week. While we will have to wait until next year to see the repercussions of his choices, he made them and will have to deal with them.

 

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