Aug 28, 2015

This piece of Star Wars social media is a gem

Remember the crap people were throwing JJs way when so few woman were supposedly cast in The Force Awakens?

The people who run the Star Wars Facebook page clearly know a thing or two about handling sexism issues in this new Star Wars / social media era.

Check out this response to a fanboy / troll comment about Captain Phasma's armour:

Simply Brilliant.

Aug 17, 2015

So all this fuss about Amy Schumer and no one cares about everything else that has come before?

Princess Leia's slave bikini from Return of the Jedi is an iconic part of Star Wars. Serving to titillate young men everywhere (and maybe young women too), that gold bikini has become the gold standard for all kinds of measures. Am I as pretty as Leia? Should I wear a gold bikini to a cosplay convention? What if I'm just taking the piss. What if my children see a woman wearing a gold bikini and this offends me?

Amy Schumer naked in bed with R2D2 and C3PO

Enter Amy Schumer. An 'overnight' success in the sense that she's popular after years of hard work. So what does she do? She dons the gold bikini and sexes it up by giving oral pleasure to a blue lightsaber and having an apparent threesome with R2D2 and C3PO.

And queue the outrage across the internet! Twitter was abuzz. Abuzz! So much so some one in the official Star Wars camp felt the need to tweet about the outrage:

It was nearly up there with people getting out raged that Sansa was raped in Game of Thrones.


But as with that show where there had already been been plenty of raping and abuse of female characters, the moment something ugly and brutal happened to a fan favourite and no one really said much (Jaime and his sister excluded), all bets were off and fans were outraged that Leia's image had been compromised.

Same thing with Amy Schumer. She was accused of being disgusting. Sure, she was proactive and pushing a line where some people may not be comfortable but no one card when America's Next Top Model donned the same golden bikini and kicked Jar Jar in the nuts. Maybe that's because a lot of people hate Jar Jar so don't care. Maybe that's because Amy Schumer isn't America's Next Top Model. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Mark Hamill approved though. Bless his dirty heart.

Amy won't care regardless, she got the publicity she wanted, which frankly is what it is all about.

While fans will love and adore Star Wars and let it become a part of their heart and soul, they need to remember the owner of Star Wars is all about making money, and sex sells baby, sex sells.

Aug 16, 2015

Rogue One is 'A Star Wars Story'

So. Rogue One now officially has a descriptor with its title.

“A Star Wars Story”

This is clearly a device to help inform people that RogueOne is actually a Star Wars movie so they should part with their money and go see the movie as filler until VIII comes out. I say filler in the loosest sense ever.

But is it necessary to describe Rogue One as a Star Wars movie? It’s almost redundant as when it comes time to market the movie THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE WILL BE INFORMED THAT IT IS A STAR WARS MOVIE. All eyes will be on it and the huge cross it will have to bear. 

What cross do I refer to? I’m taking about the load of expectations fan boys and casual movie goers will have for it as it follows on the heels of The Force Awakens... 

TFA will be a massive hit, no matter what. It will be the biggest movie of 2015 and will beat what Jurassic World did. And there will be a demand for a repeat dose of it in Rogue One. Further, if TFA fails critically, people will be looking to Rogue One to remedy any mistakes made in that movie (there will be mistakes and missteps, it will be impossible for JJ Abrams and Disney to not to).

What’s interesting to note is that as part of the official Rogue One casting announcement, the film is simply referred to as Rogue One with no mention of ‘A Star Wars Story’.

So what about these films being touted as ‘anthology’ films.

Well, an anthology is just a collection of stories or tales or songs so these Star Wars films (stories – Ed) should be able to be packaged together as an anthology – but I reckon the change has been made as too many people questioned the use of anthology or were confused by it. Confused in, how can a release of a single film and another two years later be called (or marketed as) an anthology?

Any ways, who cares, we’re getting more Star Wars and we cant.hardly.wait. 

Aug 12, 2015

Where does Poe Dameron’s name come from?

If you’ve never heard of Morgan Dameron in the context of Star Wars, the answer to where does Poe Dameron’s name orginate from should perhaps now be obvious.

Morgan Dameron is JJ Abrams’s long time assistant and the inspiration for the name of The Force Awaken’s heroic X-Wing pilot.

JJ, who wrote the script of The Force Awakens with Lawrence Kasdan said:

“Dameron came out because it was, obviously, a name that I know, and it just musically felt right.There was no sort of deep reasoning behind it, and I also knew it would make Morgan blush if we named a character that. So she had this giant smile on her face.”

That’s the surname sorted. What about Poe?

“We went through a bunch of different names, and Poe ultimately felt like the right name. Someone reminded me recently that my daughter had had a polar bear named Poe [or Po’ — short for “polar”], and that might’ve been why it felt right. There was a kind of sweetness to, and a charm to that name."

So Polar bears eh? Anyone body remember a small TV show called Lost that JJ Abrams produced? That featured a polar bear didn’t it?

Who are the Knights of Ren? We ask the same questions you have...

Who and what are the Knights of Ren?

JJ’s recently revealed thoughts on Kylo Ren reveal a character that’s simply more than just a bad guy.

If you recall in the Star Wars prequels that the Darth in Darth Vader was not a simple name such as David or Simon but rather a title that signified the title bearer was a Sith Lord. The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams have revealed that he and scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan have cooked up a similar trick for the villain of their movie, Kylo Ren.

Remember how we eventually learned that “Darth” is not a first name, but a kind of title? It appears the surname “Ren” is something similar. JJ’s says of Kylo “He is a character who came to the name Kylo Ren when he joined a group called the Knights of Ren.

So, what is this group of Knights? Are they heroes in the vein of King Arthur’s silver soldiers but with a secret mission? Are they simply bad guys lounging around trying to become one with the Force? What did Kylo do to become worth of becoming a Knight of Ren?

If Palpatine and Vader were indeed the last two living Sith Lord, do these knights serve as the new extraordinary league of bad guys that will serve to terrorise the heroes of the new Star Wars trilogy? Does the mysterious Snoke lead or direct these Knights of Ren?

Who is Ren? Is it a he? Is it a she? Is Ren a thing of mystery? A powerful item such as a Kaiburr Crystal? Is Ren a feeling or a mood that’s part of the Force?

What we do know is that Kylo Ren is not a Sith - which possibly implies that Supreme Leader Snoke is not a Sith Lord either.

And a final question – if Kylo Ren is an adopted name, who is Kylo Ren? Is he a Solo? Is he a Skywalker? Our pick is that Kylo Ren is the son of Han Solo, from a relationship he had with a woman who IS NOT Princess Leia.

Time will tell. Actually TFA awakens tells us NOTHING about the Knights of Ren.

Aug 9, 2015

Nuggets of gold that Larry Kasdan has uttered about Star Wars over the years.

Lawrence with Hamill on the Empire set.
Lawrence Kasdan is a big deal in Hollywood.

He is a first class writer, a director with a couple of serious Oscar nominated hits to his resume and his friends such as JJ Abrams call him Larry.

Why do we care about this man?

Let me tell you a personal story. Many years ago, my dad brought home this big shiny box that went under the television. It had a clock on it. The clock's lights were green. Oh, cool, I thought, it's just a big clock.

After dinner, my father got my brothers and I all to sit down in front of the TV to watch the green clock. We knew something was up as we should have been in bed according to the clock. Dad got a black brick and and put it into the clock and suddenly the TV started a wee film called Raiders of the Lost Ark. It turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my young life. Indiana Jones was scared of snakes! The evil guy's face melted and he became a ghost!

And Larry wrote that film.

So that was thus my introduction to the work of George Lucas. Star Wars came shortly after by way of a copied VHS. Holy Spaceballs, I had no idea what I had out in the green clock but man, we all no how awesome Star Wars was the first time as a child was right!

So back to Larry. He matters because he is the writer that took George's ideas for Indiana Jones and Star Wars and made them comprehensible and work on the big screen. If we are tallying up the films Lucas and Kasdan have collaborated three films:
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Raiders of the Ark
  • Return of the Jedi
If we count The Force Awakens and the as yet untitled Han Solo Anthology films, we can count 5 Star Wars films that Kasdan has written. He's like Lucas's boy wonder to his man who likes to think he's a bat....

What'ts the point of all this exposition? It's to show that thw quotes below that Kasdan has said before are said with authority and that the tales and insights into the films are real, and it's just to let you know a little more about how Star Wars was shaped in general.

We have to talk about Empire

So here's a telling quote about the writing of The Empire Strikes Back and the Leigh Brakett script writing credit:

"Look, there's no question that Leigh Brackett was one of the great screenwriters of all time. But it was an odd job for her, and there's nothing of that draft left in "Empire.""

Woah! Sound's like Leigh's credit is more of a thank you for writing the first draft. One wonders if she had not died shortly after writing it, whether she would have received a credit..... Kasdan explain:

"George had hired Leigh the way anyone would--because, oh my God, she's Leigh Brackett, and because he wanted a Hawksian, goading humor between Han Solo and Princess Leia. But Leigh couldn't serve George the way he wanted to be served. Out of all our respect for her, she was always going to get a credit for the movie."

So, does this mean Kasdan wrote Empire all by himself? No:

"Not to say it's all me. The truth is these movies are all George. I wouldn't say that of "Raiders," but I would say that of the "Star Wars" movies. He has the stories in mind and the difference in each film is how they're executed.
Here's what Kasdan has said about when he came into the piece:
"What I worked on was a draft of the script George had written, based on the story George had given to Leigh [Brackett]. I don’t know what of Leigh’s draft survived into the draft George wrote. What George handed me was a very rough first draft, really somewhere between an outline and a first draft. The structure of the story was all there – it was the skeleton for a movie. What was needed was the flesh and the muscle.” found at Cinefantastique Vol. 28, No.28 (February 1997).

A quick remark about The Phantom Menace

Says Kasdan about Lucas:

" I saw him a couple of weeks before he left to shoot "Phantom Menace" ... and the first remark he made to me was, "Hey, do you want to write 'Phantom Menace'?" I asked, "Aren't you starting to shoot it?" "Yeah," he said, "but it would be great if you took a second pass at it." For George, the movie is bigger than the script...".

Such a telling quote - what Kasdan is saying here is that there is more to the movies than simply a story that George Lucas is focussed on. We know George is hugely vested in the visual aspects of the movie - you could arguably watch A New Hope with all the dialogue removed and you'd understand the film completely! Indeed, if you've never heard of the Star Wars Ring Theory and how George tied all six movies he made together, your mind will probably be blown!

The Kurosawa Connection

The work of legendary Japanese film-maker, Kurosawa had a massive influence on George Lucas and how he developed the Star Wars script (see how C3PO and R2D2 where inspired as a story telling vehicle) but it's nice to see Kasdan and Lucas having a connection in common:

"The movies that made me want to make movies were action movies, and thrillers, and Kurosawa films, you know, where you have an opportunity every day to shoot it in an unusual way. I was looking for something like that."

A reluctance to write Return of the Jedi

Scripting The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark for Speilberg and Lucas opened some big Hollywood doors up for Kasdan. It gave him the chance to do some other things. So he perhaps wasn't ready to get back into Star Wars again so hurriedly to do what was at the time known as Revenge of the Jedi. He's said:

"I mean, I really liked those guys and the experience of doing Raiders was really good for me, but I did not really want to be involved - I only did Jedi, as I really owed George a favor."

He did a fine job, most would agree.

The Force Awakens

Vanity Fair had a chance to ask Kasdan some questions:

What was it like coming back to Luke, Leia, and Han and writing those characters again, picking up their threads after 30 years?

"That’s just fun because they’re around my age. Carrie is a little younger, Mark is my age, and Harrison is a little older. So since we’ve treated it as 30 years passing in the film, there’s no artificiality about that. You get to infuse them to the extent that you can with your experience of 30 years on."

Less is more?

“It’s a big movie. It’s full of wonderful stuff, incident and character stuff and jokes and effects. One of the things that we always refocus on from the get-go was that it not be one of these very long, bloated blockbusters. A lot of very entertaining movies lately are too long. In the last 20 minutes, you think, why isn’t this over? 

We didn’t want to make a movie like that. I mean, we were really aiming to have it be—when it’s over you’ll say, “I wish there’s more.” Or, “Wait, is it over?” Because how rarely you get that feeling nowadays, and I think we’re headed there. But it means that there will be constant critical looking at it from now to the end, saying, “Do we need this? Do we need that? Is it better if this comes out, even though we love it?”

Kasdan also said to Entertainment Weekly

“I thought, ‘Wow, okay, these people have lived — they’re in a different place in their lives, Han and Leia and so on. They’ve lived the same 30 years I have. What would that be like? How would you see things differently?’

 “And I was trying to figure out how I saw things differently, and one of the surprises is that you don’t learn all that much. You haven’t become much wiser than you were, and things are not clearer to you, and the world is just as confusing as it always was — and that’s a kind of lovely thing to get to write about again. Age does not necessarily bring wisdom; it just brings experience.”

So, basically he's saying he had to find a reason to keep the Luke and Leia relevant against the back drop of new heroes, Finn, Rey and Poe Dameron.