Tag Archives: Star Wars

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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Thoughts On The Star Wars Episode 9 Announcement

Star Wars is more than a space fable where a princess, a farm boy and a pirate defeat an evil empire. It is the story of good vs. evil, democracy vs. autocracy, nature and spirituality vs. machine, etc. It is also one of the biggest movie series of all time.

Last week it was announced that Episode 9 would start filming this week in London. While the statement itself is more than enough to make this fan happy, the most exciting aspects is the return of Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and that Carrie Fisher will also return as General Leia Organa. Director J.J. Abrams (who also directed The Force Awakens), stated the following about Carrie’s return as Leia:

 “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”

While we will not know any details about the film for another 17 months, I have complete trust that J.J. Abrams not only will end the Skywalker saga as it ought to end, but also honor Carrie/Leia as she ought to be honored.

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Star Wars Character Review: Poe Dameron

*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.

Becoming a hero is a wish that many have. Saving the day and receiving everything that comes with saving the day is a fantasy that has been the backbone of storytelling since the beginning of storytelling. But there is an unspoken reality of becoming a hero. Besides the danger that is involved, there may also be an ego trip and the inevitable fall that comes after the ego trip.

In the newest Star Wars films, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is a hero of the rebellion. The spiritual son of General Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher), he is not only one of the best pilots within the rebellion, but he is also being groomed as General Organa’s future second in command. In The Force Awakens, Poe is one of the core characters that is front and center in the war against The First Order.

Brash, passionate, emotional and a little reckless, Poe is everything the rebellion needs to prevent The First Order from taking over the entire galaxy.

In The Last Jedi, Poe is still the hero, but his recklessness becomes a negative attribute instead of a positive one. Disobeying orders, he leads a strike against the First Order that costs the lives of many and is promptly demoted. But even his demotion is not enough  when he disagrees with the choices of his replacement, Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern). When he is working with Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Finn (John Boyega) to help the rebellion survive, his actions bring out the opposite result.

In the end, Poe redeems himself as a hero in the battle on the planet Crait, but not before having a few bumps and bruises along the way.

To sum it up: Being a hero and saving the day is not all fun and games. There is a reality to being a hero that is often not explored. When creating a character who wants to be a hero, making that character earn that hero title is in my opinion, necessary. It not only creates a realistic character arc, but it also keeps the audience or reader in their place, questioning when the character will become the hero they want to be.

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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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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Movies, Star Wars

My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie Book Review

In December of 2016, when movie fans across the world were grieving the loss of iconic mother/daughter duo of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, Todd Fisher, Debbie’s son and Carrie’s brother was grieving for his mother and sister.

Recently Todd released a memoir about his life with Carrie and Debbie, entitled My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie.  Born to Debbie and her first husband, Eddie Fisher, Todd and Carrie was raised among the whose who of the golden age of cinema. While Debbie’s career and personal life had quite a few ups and downs (two more marriages that went bust and financial struggles), Carrie had her own issues. While she gained fame playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise and later became a respected writer, she also famously tussled with mental health and chemical dependency issues.

I loved this book. It has humor, it has heart and it feels very personal. In addition to Todd’s memories, the book also contains anecdotes from Carrie and Debbie, in addition to family photos that the public has not been previously been privy to.

I feel like this is his way of saying his final goodbye to his mother and sister, while remembering the good times. For fans of Carrie and Debbie, this book allows them to do the same.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Kelly Marie Tran Quit Instagram Because Of Idiots

The ultimate message of Stars Wars speaks of social justice, democracy, respecting diversity and freedom.

Unfortunately some d*ckheads are so blind that they fail to understand that message. These same d*ckheads also forced Kelly Marie Tran to leave Instagram. Ms. Tran who played Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, chose to delete the pictures on her account because of the online harassment she received.

I personally enjoyed The Last Jedi. Some fans may have not, but every fan is entitled to his or her individual perspective on the film. I don’t mind adult discussions about the films, but the line was crossed when Ms. Tran was verbally attacked because she is a woman and of Vietnamese descent.

This is not what Star Wars is about and I am sorry that she had to experience it.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story Movie Review

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.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is presently in theaters. 

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The Story Question AKA Why Should Someone Else Care About Your Story

Of all of the basic elements that make up a successful narrative, the most important one to my mind is the story question.

Today I started reading a book and by the beginning of the second chapter, I felt like I couldn’t go on. The writer had yet to ask the story question.

In a nutshell, the story question grinds down the narrative down to a sentence or two.

I.E.

  • Star Wars: Can a small band of rebels destroy an evil empire?
  • Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth Bennet must marry because she has a small inheritance and no brother to inherit directly from her father. But she will give into the pressure to marry or will she marry for love?
  • Jane Eyre: Can an orphaned young woman remain true to herself and not change to please others?

But, even with a great story question, the key is to ask the story very question early in the story.

I.E.

  • Star Wars: The opening scene is that of the Empire’s warship closing on a ship they believe belongs to the rebellion.
  • Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth Bennet is the second oldest of five daughters in a family that is without a direct male heir. Her mother is crowing about their new neighbor, a young man who is single and reputed to be wealthy.
  • Jane Eyre: Jane Eyre is an orphan, living with relations who abuse her. She is reading a book and trying to hide from her cousins who frequently mock and bully her.

In creating my own fiction and critiquing fiction by other writers, I have learned that the story question is the most important question that is not only asked by the writer, but by the reader. In my experience, if the question is not asked properly and early on, it is likely to be lost in the narrative. If it is lost in the narrative, the reader or audience may never find it and walk away.

That is the last thing any writer wants.

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Filed under Books, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Writing

Thoughts On The Full Trailer Of Solo: A Star Wars Story

It takes a brave (or foolhardy, depending on your point of view) actor to step into the shoes of a character that is known and beloved the world over. Especially in a prequel or sequel.

The full trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story was released on Sunday.

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.

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