The influences of Holiday Special that are now Star Wars canon

Oct 15, 2018
madalorian rifle holiday special

While the Star Wars Holiday Special is infamously famous as a piece of hot garbage derided by most viewers, thanks to its modern availability on the internet, it has become a bit of a cult film.

For this writer, I'll probably never choose to watch it again, except for the Boba Fett cartoon sequence which is fairly entertaining as a side story. 

And it's Boba Fett that brings us here today. 

You may have heard that Lucasfilm is developing a live action Star Wars show called The Mandalorian. Produced by Jon 'Happy Hogan' Favreau, it will follow a Mandalorian that appears to be following in the footsteps of Jango and Boba Fett. 

Favreau recently posted to Instagram a picture of the Mandalorian's rifle:



Did you spy it yet? Yes, the style of that weapon is remarkably similar to that which the Special Edition Boba carried.

It would seem then that the Holiday Special still has something to offer Star Wars fans and scriptwriters?

Take for example the plot point about Chewbacca. Chewie is returning home to visit his family for Life Day on the planet of Kyshkkk. 

You may recognise that name as it was featured in the Revenge of the Sith. Yes, the name of Chewie's planet was taken from the Holiday Special.

wookie battle revenge sith


The original designs for the Special featured the Wookie homes in the trees which I think was inspired by the work of concept designer Ralph McQuarrie. These elements eventually made their way into the Ewok tree village in Jedi and the Revenge of the Sith.

Chewbacca, son of Attichitcuk


The recent Han Solo movie took things a step further when Chewbacca introduced himself to Han.

Their exchange:

Han: "So what's your name?"

Chewbacca: "Chewbacca, son of Attichitcuk"

And where does that name Attichitcuk come from? Yes, it is Chewie's father in the special.

Attichitcuk from Holiday Special Star Wars


The influence of the Special also extends to the Clone Wars television series. 


In The Mandalore Plot episode of 2010, the elongated Mandalorian helmets are based on Boba Fett's cartoon version.

The version of C-3PO on the 2001 Star Wars: Clone Wars was animated in a style that paid homage to the animation style of C-3PO in the Special.

Who knows what JJ Abrams may pinch for Episode IV?

Kirsten Dunst wearing the Death Star as a dress

Actress was Kirsten Dunst was spied wearing a pretty sweet Death Star dress on the red carpet some where.

She looks good eh?

Kirsten Dunst wearing Death Star dress

Does really Anakin Skywalker fulfill the so called Prophecy and so restore balance to the Force? Or does Luke do that?

Oct 13, 2018
Anakin's shadow of Darth Vader
The Chosen One
I believe it was The Phantom Menace which introduced the concept of there being a chosen one who would bring balance to the Force.

Anakin was considered to be the Chosen One as he was considered by Qui Gon Gin as a 'vergence' in the Force - his Midicholrian count was higher ever measured before.

Perhaps grudgingly, Anakin was accepted to be a Jedi in training by the Jedi Council - on the promise that he was indeed the Chosen One.

But was he? He left things pretty badly at the end of Revenge of the Sith. He betrayed the Jedi, killed a few more of them, massacred some Younglings at the Jedi Temple, force choked the woman he loved and he engaged Obi-Wan in the most awesome light saber duel Star Wars has ever witnessed.

He became wretched and Obi-Wan lamented that Anakin was supposed to be the chosen one but clearly his behaviour to that point suggested other wise.

How could such a betrayal mean Anakin was the Chosen One?

So does this mean Vader's son, Luke Skywalker was the Chosen One?

After all, he saved the day in a Return of the Jedi?

Right?

You better back the horses up Billy - let's a think about what happened in Jedi. Luke beat his father in the duel, mortally wounding him as he did so.

This lead to the Emperor Palpatine reigning force lightning down upon Luke - to which Vader then betrayed his master by throwing him down the pit killing, the Emperor.

This act is considered the moment when Vader brings balance to the Force.

So even though Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader and killed all those people including his friend Obi Wan Kenobi,  he actually was the chosen one who fulfilled the Prophecy.

It just came about in an extremely round about way - it showed the cleverness of the prequels - taking the existing ending of ROTJ and fashioning a grand story around Vader.

It really was good writing by Lucas and Hales.

Don't believe me?

George Lucas has stated unequivocally Anakin was the chosen one:
 

However, if you want to run a cheeky argument that Anakin didn't fulfill the prophecy you could argue that when he became Darth Vader Anakin ceased to exist (as Obi Wan put it in Jedi). Thus Vader was the chosen one.

But you could then argue the moment Vader decided to kill the Emperor he was again Anakin so it's a moot point really... and consider this - when Vader throws Emperor Palpatine down the pit, listen carefully - the Jedi motif is briefly played - signalling that yes, Vader is now Anakin.

At the end of the day you could argue that Luke helps Vader bring balance to the Force - it was his belief in his Father that drove him after all...

Want to read some more sweet things about Darth Vader? 

Try this 'click bait' on for size:

The Mandalorian's rifle revealed (and you may have seen it before...)

the mandalorian rifle

Am image of the Mandalorian's rifle has been shared by producer Jon Favreau. He's sure come a long way since Swingers! 

The Mandalorian is a new live action Star Wars show being developed for Disney's forth coming streaming service. 

The show will be set 7 years after the events that occured in Return of the Jedi.

If you think the rifle seems familiar, it is. A similar looking one first appeared the Star Wars Holiday Special cartoon segment which featured the debut of a certain Mandalorian called Boba Fett:

original cartoon boba fett gun


Space horror 'Event Horizon' has a supposed X-Wing reference

Oct 12, 2018


Did you ever see the film Event Horizon?

It was this nightmarish space sci-fi film starring Laurence Fishburne and Mr Jurassic Park Sam Neil.

It's a slow burner film that descends into utter horror as the reality that the returned space ship is now home to some unnatural entity that's literally hell-bound on killing and torturing everyone on the ship.

Which sounds exactly like the opposite of Star Wars?

The Easter Egg in the film though is that the model of the Event Horizon ship incorporates an "X-Wing" its antenna array. The model is visible on the lower portion of the Event Horizon as seen by the Lewis and Clarke when it does the fly by inspection.

Well so the internet says, I can't see the thing to save myself.

We tweeted out to the film's director Paul Anderson but given he's never sent a tweet, we won't die waiting for a reply.

If you have proof of this Easter Egg, please let us know!

Doug Chiang's Star Wars Prequel concept art designs

doug chiang concept art star wars prequel

Doug Chiang's Star Wars Prequel concept art designs


When Ralph McQuarrie retired and opted not to do the design work for The Phantom Menace, George Lucas turned to Doug Chiang and said, "pick up your pencil, Mate, I need some drawings".

And draw he did.

Here's some of the design concepts he came up with for The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.

phantom menace concept art
Gungan Style

Star Wars requel parade concept design
Note the droid army design

Who is Marcia Griffin and why was she considered George Lucas’ secret weapon?

Marcia and Lucas

Who is Marcia Griffin and why was she considered George Lucas’ secret weapon?


If you note that Marcia’s IMDB page lists her as Marcia Lucas, you might be able to join the dots.

The short version is that in her own right Marcia was a film editor and by virtue of being married to George Lucas, she edited a little film called American Graffiti for him.

This lead to her winning an Oscar Academy Award for her editing Star Wars.

The longer version is that her early work garnered Maria a fair bit of attention and she got to ‘cut’ Martin Scorsese’s first film, 'Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore' which lead to a gig helping with the classic 'Taxi Driver'.

During this period Lucas was putting together the story of Star Wars to which Marcia would act as a sounding board for ideas.

Legend has it that it was Marcia who came up with the idea of knocking off Ben Kenobi:
"There were heated creative arguments between them--for the good." When Lucas was having difficulty coming up with ideas or ways of solving scenes and characters, he would talk about it with her; she even helped come up with killing off the mentor figure of Ben Kenobi when Lucas couldn't resolve the character in the last quarter of the film."
After the filming of Star Wars was done and dusted and Englishman by the name of John Jympson was hired to edit the film but George deemed the work unsuitable and it was "junked wholesale".

This decision to junk the previous editing efforts put Lucas on the back foot in terms of getting the film finished on time and so Marcia, Richard Chew and a short time later Paul Hirsch began to oversee the new version of the film.

The Secret Story of Star Wars (now a defunct website) notes two key points about the process:

The Death Star Trench run was originally edited as scripted with Luke Skywalker making two attempts to fire his missiles however there was a lack of tension so it was recut to what is now an iconic part of the movie.

Marica also lobbied for the retention of the Jabba the Hutt scene and is quoted as saying":
"Jabba was a big debatable item. George had never liked the scene Jabba was in because he felt that the casting was never strong enough. There was an element, however, that I liked a lot because of the way George had filmed it. 
Jabba was seen in a long shot and he was yelling, while in the foreground, in a big close-up, Han's body wiped into the left corner of the frame and his hand was on a gun and he said, 'I've been waiting for you, Jabba.'
Then we cut to Han's face and Jabba turned around. I thought it was a very verile moment for Han's character; it made him a real macho guy, and Harrison's performance was very good. I lobbied to keep the scene. But Jabba was not terrific, and Jabba's men, who all looked like Greedo, were made of molded green plastic.
George thought they looked pretty phony, so he had two reasons for wanting to cut the scene: the appearance of Jabba's men and the pacing of the movie. You have to pick up the pacing in an action movie like Star Wars, so ultimately, the scene wasn't necessary."
marcia lucas oscar win
Happier times with Marcia and her Academy Award
The scene was eventually added to the redux version of the movie in 1997. Some trickery was required as Jabba was filmed as a human, wheras Jedi had him as the slug. So the CGI Jabba was added over the human actor. Because Han walks around Jabba, the joke of him standing on Jabba's tail was required.

All Marcia's hard work paid off and she eventually won an Oscar for editing the along with Chew and Hirsch.

Ultimately Marcia's relationship with George Lucas was doomed and the marriage slowly fell apart in coming to its end in 1983 as Marcia chose to pursue a relationship with someone else.

Regardless, her place in the Star Wars line up as one of its greatest contributors will never be in doubt!

5 little (or big) things that made The Empire Strikes Back one of the best ever movies and not just a great Star Wars movie

Gone with the Wind poster inspiration for Empire Strikes Back

5 little (or big) things that made The Empire Strikes Back one of the best ever movies


For many people, The Empire Strikes Back movie is not only the best Star Wars movie but one of the greatest movie sequels of all time.

While it didn’t win an Oscar for Best Movie like The Godfather Pt II did (it still won for Best Sound!), we're pretty sure if you asked people to name the best film sequel of all time, people would name drop Empire just as much as the movie that bumped off poor Fredo.

We could go on and on about how the whole of Empire is the best thing since sliced bread but let’s take the time to look at some of the smaller, more nuanced things that went into this film that helped it become such a great movie.

Gone with the Wind


Gone with the Wind was one of the biggest films on movie history both in terms of production scale and box office reward. Some still say that when inflation is taken into account, it is the highest grossing film ever.

Star Wars is number 2 behind it and one of the reasons could well be the obvious inspiration that Lucas took from GWTW. Look at the relationship of Han Solo and Princess Leia, it features an archetype anti hero falling in love (perhaps somewhat unwillingly) with a beautifully strong woman.

This is the exact same scenario that occurred in GWTW. Lucas knew it too and so he even agreed to have the now iconic Empire promotional poster (as above) to cast Leia and Han in the same romantic pose as Rhett Butler & Scarlett O'Hara took in GWTW. 

The posters are also very clever in that a 'bad thing' that happens in each film is obviously lurking in the back ground. For Empire, it's obviously the specter of Vader and for GWTH, it's the great fire.

Yoda



Star Wars’ place in history was cemented before Empire turned up but you could argue that the little green guy, Yoda turned things on its head.

This seemingly go-lucky goblin turned out to a be a Jedi Master who would train Luke to become a great Jedi of his own accord.

It was Yoda’s “Do or do not, there is no try” that spoke loudly to film viewers everywhere, helping cast Empire as one of the greatest films ever.

A key to the success of Yoda was the puppetry skills and voice talents of Frank Oz. The momentum of Empire actually lead to a campaign to get Oz nominated for an acting Oscar, however, it came to naught.


The legacy of Boba Fett

Boba Fett features in the film for like only three scenes and yet he spawned a legion of fans. In some circles, he's considered more bad ass than Darth Vader.

Ever since Vader warned him on the deck of the Executor that he wanted 'no more disintegrations' fanboys and girls have marveled over the character - so much so he turned up in Jedi and also featured prominently with his father Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones. 

I Know


Han Solo’s “I know” line in response to Leia’s declaration of her love for Han just as he's about to be frozen in carbonite has become one of the most iconic lines from the entire film franchise.

Women love it because it's romantic and men love it because it's smart ass.

While the line is often described as being ad-libbed by Harrison Ford, he didn't simply make it up as he was going along. It was a suggestion that came out of rehearsals and not the scripted line of "I'll be back".

That big twist which we are still talking about 20 years later


Vader’s confession to Luke that he was his father in The Empire Strikes Back is considered by many movie fans to be the best plot twist in a movie.

EVER.

Bigger than that of Planet of the Apes.

The A New Hope film clearly intended that Vader and Anakin Skywalker were different people - please recall Obi Wan’s expository scene with Luke which explained how Vader was seduced by the Dark Side and killed Luke’s father.

So it was a great move to introduce the best bad guy ever as the father of the hero.








Why is this film so popular?



It’s a dark tale that has no real ending but it did feature one of the greatest movie twists at its highest point.

If you weren't around back on the day, it was a big a plot twist as Bruce Willis’ character was actually a ghost in The Sixth Sense or that in the Planet of the Apes, they had been on Earth the whole time.

Consider the Sixth Sense – would it have been any good if Bruce Willis was actually alive and the film had a slightly different ending?

No.

If the twist had not of been in Empire, one could argue the movie would have merely been classed a good movie, rather than being great. 

One should bear the time when the movie came out with this point – many movies now try to come up with the key plot twist. Now-a-days such a twist may seem cool but not amazing – it certainly was back in the day.

About that time Han won the Falcon from Lando...

Oct 9, 2018
lando cheats han solo in sabacc

When you saw the Solo movie did you pick up on the strange thing that occurred when Han and Lando played Sabbac for the second time?



Han owed Lando Calrissian a ship and he didn't mention it!

Think out about for a moment.

In the original game of Sabbac where Han and Lando met for the first time, the final bet was for each other's ship. 

Who lost?

Han lost and thus owed Lando a ship. 

The Falcon came into the equation when Kira and Beckett negotiated directly with Lando to use his ship to get them to the Kessel mine.

When that whole situation was resolved, Han still owed Lando a ship as a result of their gambling. 

Did Lando forget this when Han arrived for a rematch on Tanaab?

Probably not.

He probably remembered how he deserted Han when things got a little tense when Enfys Nest turned up to steal their hard-won coaxium.

Maybe he felt slightly guilty for that?

Maybe it was because he knew he had cheated Han by literally hiding a spare Sabbac card up his most fashionably dressed sleeve?

Either way, if he had mentally forgiven the debt without telling Han, he was still willing to cheat him again on the second game. This time, however, Han was very wise to the card trick and swiped it from Lando's person when they hugged. 

So, in that game Han won fair and square and so deserved the Millennium Falcon.

Lando probably couldn't have even called him out on the debt because he would have suspected it was Han who swiped the card, meaning Han would have known he was cheated the first time around and so could have easily countered the collection of the debt. 

Even if Lando did want to acknowledge that indiscretion, the real issue to him would have been his reputation as a Sabbac player  - if the word had gotten around he was a Sabbac cheater, his reputation would have been quite tarnished and he wouldn't have been able to find a high stakes table on any planet.

Buy the game of Sabbac yourself from Amazon!

lando loses to han in sabbac second game

"The Mandalorian" officially announced, Taika Waititi attached

Oct 4, 2018
the mandalorian suit armour

It's official, Star Wars.com has just released the first image of The Mandalorian and confirmed some of the directors doing episodes.

Here's the official announcement:

Production on the first Star Wars live-action streaming series has begun!

After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.

The series will be written and executive produced by Emmy-nominated producer and actor Jon Favreau, as previously announced, with Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels) directing the first episode. Additional episodic directors include Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), Bryce Dallas Howard (Solemates), and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok). It will be executive produced by Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Kathleen Kennedy, and Colin Wilson.

Karen Gilchrist will serve as co-executive producer. Stay tuned to StarWars.com for updates.

-

What a treat we are in for. To see David Filoni getting a chance to cut his teeth on live action TV after his incredible success with Reels and Clone Wars is a just reward for all his hard work over the last decade.

While Taika Waititi is a hot property after his Thor and Hunt for the Wilderpeople gigs, let's not forget that Kathleen Kennedy did say he could direct some Star Wars some time ago. Looks like she came through!
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