Tag Archives: Luke Skywalker

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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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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Star Wars Character Review: Rey

The new group of characters I will be discussing is…. the new characters from the Star Wars franchise. 

*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.

If we are lucky, we are raised in a loving family by parents who do everything in their power to ensure that we grow up to be successful and happy adults. But that is not always the case. In episode seven of Star Wars, entitled The Force Awakens, the audience is introduced to a new heroine, Rey (Daisy Ridley). Rey is a woman alone, living as best she can on the desert planet of Jakku. Her parentage is unknown. She is a scavenger, who earns her bread by selling whatever she can scavenge. The fate introduced her to Finn (John Boyega) and BB-8 and she discovers that not only does have to makeshift family but she also is very strong in the force.

While training with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), in episode eight, otherwise known as The Last Jedi, Rey must not only learn what it is to become a Jedi, but also confront her past and her relationship (if you want to call it that) with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

To sum it up: Family is not always blood. For some, the lack of blood relations creates an emotional hole that is never truly filled. But for others, they find within themselves the ability to create a family.  While the fact remains that her parents are still a mystery, Rey not only finds a family within the members of the rebellion, but also finds a father figure/mentor in Luke. Family is sometimes not born, it is made. The question is, can a character built a family or will they always mourn the loss of the blood relations they have never known?

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The Last Jedi Movie Review-Spoilers Ahead

Warning: This movie review contain spoilers for The Last Jedi. I will not be offended if you choose to read this review until after you have seen the movie. 

The Star Wars trilogy created the movie sequels as we know them to be today.

In The Last Jedi, the resistance, led by General Leia Organa (the late and very missed Carrie Fisher) is on the run from The First Order. Leia’s son, Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Adam Driver) is hell-bent on destroying the resistance, as per the command of Snoke (Andy Serkis). Kylo’s second in command, General Hux (Domnhall Gleason) is as eager as his bosses to see the resistance blown to smithereens.

Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), but Luke is not happy to found. However, at the same time, he sees the power in Rey and knows that she must receive some sort of training.  At the same time, Finn (John Boyega) has woken from his coma and is teaming up with previously unknown Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) to find a way to defeat The First Order. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is all for the plan, but he has been rebuked for his wild ways by Leia and Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) for his wild ways.

Director Rian Johnson has hit it out of the park with this film. A throwback to The Empire Strikes Back, Johnson is a fanboy who has used his love of the franchise to create a remarkable film.

While all of the cast were at peak performance mode, my favorite performances belonged to Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Adam Driver. Luke, who was only seen briefly and without any dialogue at the end of The Force Awakens, is a man who is torn apart by his past and the decisions he made.  His twin, Leia is watching the resistance fall apart and is trying to lead the remnants as best she can.  Kylo is unsure as to the path he has taken. While he has sworn loyalty to Snoke, there is still a part of him that clings to the light side of the force and the family he left behind when he flipped to the dark side.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Last Jedi is presently in theaters. 

 

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The Life & Legacy Of Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker is one of our culture’s most recognizable characters. One of the three lead characters in the original Star Wars series, Luke, played by Mark Hamill is every man. Unlike Han (Harrison Ford) or Leia (the late and very missed Carrie Fisher), Luke is the character we can all relate to.

I could go on, but I think the video below says it all.

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Happy Birthday Star Wars

40 years ago today, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, hit theaters.

It was more than the average movie. It is more than just a science fiction movie set in outer space. Star Wars is revolutionary because it changed the way movies are made. Star Wars is part fairy tale, part social commentary and all around awesome. Before May 25th, 1977, no one knew who Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Darth Vader were. 40 years later these characters, the world they inhabited and the actors behind the characters have become iconic in their own right.

I could go on forever on why I love Star Wars, but I think the trailer of A New Hope says it all.

Thank you, George Lucas for creating this world and introducing us to these characters. You have made multiple generations of fans happy and I hope you will continue to do so for many years.

Happy Birthday Star Wars, here is to another 40 years.

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Star Wars Character Review: Darth Vader

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the original Stars Wars trilogy. Read at your own risk if you are just now discovering the original trilogy. For this post, I will also be briefly delving into some of the narratives in the prequels.

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 the original Star Wars trilogy to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In previous posts, I have examined Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan (the late Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (the late Alec Guinness).In this post, I will be writing about the series’s most iconic character, Darth Vader.

Every hero needs a villain. In whatever world that hero inhabits, the villain is the one who keeps the hero on their toes and challenges them as they go on their journey.   There is no more iconic film villain than Darth Vader. Physically acted by David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones, Vader is the ultimate villain. Physically imposing and a master of the dark side of the force, he is the overlord of the empire.

Darth Vader started his life as Anakin Skywalker, a young man who was blessed with force sensitivity and discovered by Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). He would grow up and marry Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) and father Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. An enthusiastic, slightly hotheaded young man with an eye for adventure in his early years (much like his son a generation later), Anakin turns to the dark side, looses his humanity and becomes Darth Vader.

For most of Episode 4 (A New Hope) and part of Episode 5 (The Empire Strikes Back), Vader is the standard villain. Then something begins to change. He begins to sense that Luke is also force sensitive and pursues him with the end goal of turning him to the dark side.  The infamous “Luke, I am your father” scene is one of the greatest plot twists in all filmdom, in my opinion.

In episode 6 (Return of the Jedi), Vader finally redeems himself and turns back into Anakin after killing the Emperor while saving his son. Revealing another one of filmdom’s great plot twists that Luke and Leia are twins (and turning their kiss in the Empire Strikes Back into a moment of incest), Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader dies and is finally at peace.

A villain should more than Snidely Whiplash. A more interesting and well-rounded the villain creates a greater threat to the hero, compelling them to act to defeat the villain. A mustache twirling villain who uses the hero’s loved ones/love interest to draw them out into a fight is boring and predictable. A villain that is complicated, that is motivated by more than the standard villain motives, now that is going to grab an audience and keep them wanting more.

To sum it up: A good story deserves a good villain. But if the villain is 2D, predictable and boring, then there is no point to the story or the journey that the hero will go on to defeat the villain. In creating the iconic Darth Vader, George Lucas challenged future writers, regardless of genre to create villains that excite the audience and encourage them to cheer on the hero as they defeat the villain.

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Star Wars Character Review: Obi-Wan Kenobi

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the original Stars Wars trilogy. Read at your own risk if you are just now discovering the original trilogy. For this post, I will also be briefly delving into some of the narratives in the prequels.

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 the original Star Wars trilogy to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In previous posts, I have examined Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan (the late Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford). In this post, I will be writing about Obi-Wan Kenobi (the late Alec Guinness).

There are two perspectives in life: one of youth and one of maturity. If Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) represents youth, then Obi-Wan Kenobi (the late Alec Guinness) represents maturity. Known to Luke as Ben Kenobi, he seems like an old man who has chosen a life of solidarity. But, Ben or Obi-Wan, has a secret. He is the one of last of the last surviving Jedi, going into hiding after watching his brethren killed by Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. After watching his former pupil turn to the dark side, Obi-Wan separates Anakin’s motherless twins, Luke and Leia and watches Luke grow up from afar.

A generation later, with the Empire closing on her ship, Leia contacts her adopted father’s old friend, Obi-Wan. She is in peril and needs his help.  Taking Luke and the droids, R2D2 (the late Kenny Baker) and C3PO (Anthony Daniels) with him, they meet up with space pirate Han Solo (Harrison Ford)  and his lieutenant, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), who agree to help them with the rescue.

While Obi-Wan dies at the hands of Darth Vader in Episode 4, he lives on in spirit, watching over Luke and guiding him in Episodes 5 and 6.

Obi-Wan is to Merlin as Luke is to a young King Arthur. While Obi-Wan is briefly in the narrative in physical form, his presence and memory as Luke’s mentor/father figure remains throughout the entire narrative of the original trilogy.  Every hero needs a guiding hand, someone who can help the hero to overcome the obstacles in his or her path. Obi-Wan Kenobi is that guiding hand.

To sum it up: Sometimes in life, we need someone older and wiser to guide us. In creating the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi, George Lucas paved the way for Luke Skywalker to become the Jedi that he eventually becomes. We may not appreciate the mentor characters in the short-term, but in the long-term, we begin to see how important they are to the growth and destiny of their student.

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Star Wars Character Review: Han Solo

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the original Stars Wars trilogy. Read at your own risk if you are just now discovering the original trilogy.

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 the original Star Wars trilogy to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Two weeks ago, I examined the character of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Last week I examined the character of Luke’s twin sister, Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan (the late Carrie Fisher). This week I will be talking about Han Solo (Harrison Ford).

The bad boy or girl. The pirate. The lone wolf who appears to be only be out for themselves. The character who is as quick with a charming smile as he or she is with their weapon of choice. This character has been adapted time and again over the centuries. Standing in contrast to their counterparts that are more innocent and less world weary, this character has seen quite a lot in their life.

In the 1930’s and 1940’s, this character was played the likes of such actors such as Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power. In the Star Wars universe, the pirate is Han Solo.

The audience is introduced to Han in the bar scene in Episode 4. Han and his co-pilot, Chewbacca the Wookiee need a lot of money fast. His business relationship with intergalactic mob boss Jabba the Hutt has soured and Han has a bounty on his head. He agrees to help Obi-Wan (Alec Guiness) and Luke rescue Princess Leia for a handsome financial reward. What starts out as a job will change Han.

As a result of helping to rescue Leia and destroy the death star, Han becomes far more than the space pirate. He becomes part of the rebellion. In the Empire Strikes Back, not only does Han fall for Leia (and she falls for him), but the audience also learn more about Han’s back story. In meeting Han’s old friend Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), we learn a little more about Han’s life before A New Hope. Lando betrays our heroes and Han is frozen in carbonite. In Return Of The Jedi, Han is freed by his friends and leads the final battle on the planet of Endor, which finally destroys the Empire.

Like his predecessors, Han Solo is and will forever be the bad boy. But over the course of the three films, Han becomes so much more. He is not  only bound to himself and Chewie. In joining the rebellion, he finds love, family and something greater than himself.

To sum it up: Characters need to grow. Without growth, their story is implausible. Han’s growth from rogue space pirate to rebellion general reflects life and circumstances change. Without change and growth, the audience may find it hard to grasp onto a character and follow them on the journey.

P.S. I don’t know about anyone else, but the exchange  between Han and Leia “I love you/I know” just before Han is frozen in the carbonite is one of sexiest romantic exchanges I’ve ever seen on film.

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Star Wars Character Review: Princess Leia

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the original Stars Wars trilogy. Read at your own risk if you are just now discovering the original trilogy.

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 the original Star Wars trilogy to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Last week, I examined the character of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). This post will about his twin sister, Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan (the late Carrie Fisher).

It’s no secret that the science fiction genre is a boys club. Female characters are usually relegated to the background or to the predictable role of the love interest and/or the damsel in distress. When the audience is introduced to Princess Leia in Episode 4 , she appears to be the standard female character that often appears within the genre. She is young, wearing white and is the prisoner of the evil Empire and it’s overlord, Darth Vader.

With just the initial introduction, it looks like Leia’s role within the narrative is predictable from the word go.

Then she grabs the blaster from Luke, shoots down a few storm troopers and aids her own rescuers by shooting a hole that will lead down to the garbage pit. From that moment on, not only did the world change, but women’s roles in the science fiction genre changed.

Leia is feisty, intelligent and takes no prisoners. She is the natural daughter of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and Padme Amidala, Luke’s twin (and a Jedi in her own right) and the adopted daughter of Senator Bail Organa and Queen Breha Organa of Alderaan. While she may have some of the narratives and characteristics of predecessors, Leia is a game changer character.

In A New Hope, Leia does not flinch when her home planet is destroyed and resists the torture heaped upon her by Vader. In The Empire Strikes Back, while she does fall in love with Han Solo (Harrison Ford), she is still his equal. In Return Of The Jedi, not only does Leia rescue Han from the carbonite, but she kills Jabba by strangulation. I don’t know about anyone else, but the speeder bike chase is still one of the coolest movie sequences I’ve ever seen.

 

Leia could have easily been the standard damsel in distress/love interest. George Lucas could have taken the easy way out when writing the character. While she has her standard character trope moments (i.e. the gold bikini in Return Of The Jedi), she is so much more than the standard character trope. For many women, young and old, Leia is a role model. While she is in the company of men, she is not the quiet, subservient woman, sitting in the background. She is equal, she is powerful, she is intelligent and she is in charge.

To sum it up: Women need other women to look up to. We need strong, capable intelligent women who can take charge. Leia was one of those women. In creating the character of Princess Leia, George Lucas not only brought a new audience to the genre, but showed that women are as capable as men. Sometimes, as writers, its easy to get lost in tropes and standard characters. By creating a character who goes against type, the writer is not only inviting the audience to look at the character with new eyes, but the world that the character inhabits with new eyes.

RIP Carrie. It’s only a month since you left this world, but it feels like an eternity.

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