When the first Star Wars movie, Episode 4: A New Hope premiered in 1977, there was just one prominent woman: Princess Leia (the late Carrie Fisher). Over the last 44 years, the Star Wars universe grew in ways that I guess was unexpected in the late 1970’s. That growth includes a group of female characters who are just as badass and important to the narrative as Leia was then and still is today.
In 2018, Amy Ratcliffe published Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy. This book tells the stories of a variety of female characters that are not always obvious to the fanbase. While some of the obvious names on the list other than Leia are Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), it contains what can only be described as a conclusive inventory of women within that world.
Ratcliffe leaves no stone unturned when it came to the women who are profiled in the book. Sith, Jedi, human, non-human, etc, are all given the spotlight. The artwork is beautiful and worth framing by itself.
*A New Hope will be referred to as ANH and Empire Strikes Back will be referred to as ESB.
Logically speaking, we know that a film (unless it is a documentary) is a work of fiction. It is the cumulative work of many who come together to create a final product that seems real. But a good film has a way of touching the audience in a way that lasts well beyond the final credits.
Thursday was the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. The second of three films in the first Star Wars trilogy, it is widely ranked as one of the best films in the overall series. While it’s predecessor, A New Hope, is the simple story of how a farm boy, a princess and a pirate destroy an evil empire, ESB takes that basic concept and expands it tenfold.
From a writing perspective, ESB is everything one would want in a sequel. The characters have grown and are facing new challenges. The world that the story takes place in is wider. The stakes are higher as the Empire has rebounded and is eager to take back the ground that they lost in ANH.
From a fan perspective, there are two major narratives that will forever hold a place in my heart. I love the will they or won’t they between Han (Harrison Ford) and Leia (the late Carrie Fisher). The tension between them is absolutely perfect. I think that it goes without saying that the exchange between Han and Leia just before he is frozen in Carbonite is simple, sexy and utterly romantic.
And then, there is the most jaw dropping revelation in film history. To this day, new fans watch this scene and their minds are still blown that Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) father is no other than Darth Vader.
Here is to the 40th anniversary of the Empire Strikes Back. May this film live on for another 40 years and beyond.
*-This review will be spoiler free. Loose lips sink star ships andanger fans who have not seen the film.
When Star Wars: A New Hope premiered in 1977, it appeared to be nothing more than a hokey space adventure aimed at a young audience. 42 years later, Star Wars has become part and parcel of our culture with millions of fans around the world.
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker premiered this weekend. Picking up from where The Last Jediended in 2017, the members of the rebellion are licking their collective wounds and gearing up for battle once more. Rey (Daisy Ridley) continues her Jedi training with the help of General Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher).
On a distant planet, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is connecting with the universe’s ultimate evil: the returned from the dead Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). The Emperor has one goal: to finally destroy the rebellion once and for all.
While Leia maintains the rebellion from home base, Rey, Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) go on a journey to stop the First Order in its tracks.
The reviews of this film have been mixed. I don’t agree with them.
The only flaw that this movie had is that it could have been cut down by a few minutes. Other than that, this film is perfect. It was the perfect ending to the Star Wars saga. I loved the new characters, I loved the ending and the seamless way that Carrie Fisher’s scenes from The Force Awakens were integrated into this movie.
I absolutely recommend it.
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker is presently in theaters.
In 1977, Star Wars hit theaters and forever changed the way films are made. Since then, Lucasfilm has tried to replicate the success of the original film with a hit or miss success rate.
Solo: A Star Wars Story premiered in theaters yesterday. Set 10 years before Episode 4, the franchise’s space pirate/bad boy, Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) is the focus of the film. Han is an orphan who has survived on the streets for as long as he can remember. He is cocky, full of it and has piloting skills that has saved his behind more than once. The only standard in his life is his relationship with Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), his longtime girlfriend, who is arrested before they can escape from the authorities.
A few years later Han is working for Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), a low-level member of the criminal underworld. While working for Beckett, Han meets Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and has an unexpected reunion with Qi’ra.
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being the prequels and 10 being the original trilogy, I would rate Solo: A Star Wars Story 6 1/2 t0 7. It’s a decent film, however, I wouldn’t call it the greatest of the Star Wars films. While the pacing and the action is to be expected for a Star Wars film, I just was not as impressed with this movie as I was with Rogue One.
Alden Ehrenreich will be stepping into the very large shoes that Harrison Ford first made famous 41 years ago when Han Solo was introduced to audiences. Taking place 10 years before A New Hope, Han is still Han. Brash, cocky and still hell of a pilot, he gets entangled in the criminal underworld and goes on a journey that will lead him to the rebellion. His journey to the rebellion is incomplete without Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover).
As usual, Lucasfilm (and Disney by extension) gave fans just enough to get us excited without giving too much away. At this point, the film can go one of two ways. It can be like Rogue One and open the door to new characters/narratives within the Star Wars universe. Or, it can be like the prequels and basically suck.
Only time will tell. I can only hope and pray that the film lives up to the promises laid out in the trailer.
Yesterday, Lucasfilm teased us with the teaser trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Today the full trailer was released.
Needless to say, I am very excited about this film. Han is such a dynamic force of a character. To see where he came from and how he became the man the audiences meet in the bar on Tatooine in A New Hope is very exciting.
Han would not be Han without Chewbacca (played by Peter Mayhew in the original film and played by Joonas Suotamo in this film) Lando Calrissian (played by Billy Dee Williams in the original trilogy and played by Donald Glover in this film). There are also new characters, Qi’Ra (played by Emilia Clarke) and Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson).
So far, based on the trailer, it looks to be a good film. I can only hope that the film lives up to the promise in the trailer.
Han Solo is one of the most recognizable characters in film history.
Played by Harrison Ford in four of the nine released Star Wars movies, Han Solo was the space cowboy who became a hero of the rebellion.
This summer, Solo: A Star Wars Story is slated to hit theaters. A prequel to A New Hope, the movie tells Han’s story before he joins the rebellion. Alden Ehrenreich will be stepping into the very big shoes that Ford created forty-one years ago.
While Lucasfilm is not releasing any details beyond what is in trailer (which is not unexpected), I can only hope that this film not only lives up to the legacy of the series, but also gives the audience new insight into one of our favorite heroes.
Writing fan fiction, as easy as it appears to be, can be tenuous. The writer must balance the story they wish to write with the already established narrative and characters that readers are looking for.
Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Leia, Princess of Alderaan, by Claudia Gray, takes place three years before A New Hope. Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan is 16. Before she can be officially named as heir to the throne, she must complete a series of tasks that are designed to test her. While she is going about accomplishing these tasks, the Empire is tightening the noose on the universe and Leia is slowly being drawn into the rebellion that she will one day lead.
Warning! The video below has spoilers about the book.
I truly enjoyed this book. Ms. Gray creates a new narrative for Leia while building in the facts (and some well placed Easter eggs) that fans are familiar with. Above all, what strikes me is that despite her status and what she is experiencing, Leia is still a teenage girl who is going through the same growing pains that we all go through at that age.
The late Carrie Fisher was more than an actress known for the iconic role of Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies. She was a writer, a feminist, the face of mental illness and a badass who took no prisoners, especially when it came to her own life.
Her 2008 book, Wishful Drinking, is an autobiography as only Carrie Fisher can write it. Pulling no punches, she writes about everything from her conventional as only Hollywood can create family, to her iconic role in Star Wars, to her public bouts with addiction and mental illness and finally to the fact she was no longer the 19-year-old she was when she Star Wars:A New Hope in 1977.
This book is hysterical and is everything that we, as fans, loved about her. Brassy, bold and not afraid to lay all of her cards on the table, she lets it all hang out in a way that is joyous and wonderful. I absolutely recommend it.