About that upcoming Han Solo Film…ugh

Backstory: Star Wars was my rock and my refuge during any and all of the dark times. It shaped who I am and my career path. It is what I love. My office is filled with Star Wars memorabilia.  I think you who have read my posts here already know this.

This brings me to Solo: A Star Wars Story. Let me say that this is my emotional response to the film, not the trailer. I have almost no emotional response to the trailer. The best I can say about it is that it looks like a generic science fiction film. This is a response to the existence of the film itself. I don’t care who they cast as Han in this film, Harrison Ford will always be Han for me. I loved reading the backstory (now Legends) books that came out in the 80s precisely because I could see Han as I knew him in my head while reading the stories. I am not interested in seeing another actor try to take on the role. This film just really needs to not exist. That’s really the beginning and the end of it for me.

I feel like this film is unnecessary (and yes, I know that no film is really necessary). So, I don’t care if it’s good or bad. I don’t care if it’s funny or not. I don’t care if the actor they case is any good or not. I am sure he’s a fine actor. And I love Ron Howard, so I am sure he’s done a fine job directing. I just don’t plan to see it. I know that makes me sound like all of those Star Wars fans that everyone is tired of listening to their rants, but it is how I feel.

I know that with this post, I just continue the negativity that almost all of my Star Wars related posts seem to express these days. I don’t like feeling this way, and I don’t like what the fandom is becoming. We are all angry and some of us express it in different ways.  However, I do hold Disney responsible for their part. Yes, the fans complained to/about George when he made Ep I, II, III (well, I didn’t, I liked them), but with them, he didn’t undo anything that had come before. Nothing about Luke, Han and Leia and their efforts and adventures through Eps IV, V, VI had to change with the events of the prequels. In my opinion, much if not all of Ep VII, VIII so far have been about undoing the past, and that hurts. I think that’s where those of us who are unhappy are coming from.

How funny that I feel this way, when just 5 years ago, I couldn’t give my money away fast enough to acquire Star Wars things. I collected all of the figures, all of the books, all of the things! Flash to now, and I will still buy things with Luke, Han and Leia but I no longer look forward to new Star Wars things coming out and definitely don’t collect merchandise of these new films, and neither do my children.

It is what it is.

MTFBWY

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The Books I Read This Year: 2017 Edition

Happy New Year!

Over the last couple of years, I have done a post to capture the books I managed to read over the course of that year. With the help of Goodreads, I have challenged myself the last two years to read at least 12 books during the course of a year. Reading has always been one of my passions, but as I got busy with work and children, I made less and less time to enjoy a good book. Challenging myself to meet a goal of a book a month has been a fun way to motivate myself.   I managed to make it through 16 books in all even if a couple of them were a comic books or young adult novels.

My tastes are a little bit all over the map. If you asked me my favorite book genre, I’d have to say science fiction and fantasy. But if you look at what I’ve read over the last year, biographies and non-fiction have snuck their way into my reading list.

With the help of my iPad and the Overdrive app making it super easy to borrow digital books from the library, here is the list of the books I read in 2017. I list them from the first one I read back in January to the one I just finished in December. I have two books I am currently reading, but I won’t take credit for them until I finish them, which will most likely be January 2018.

Wishful Drinking, by Carrie Fisher

I wrote a blog post about this book back when I read it. You can go to it here.  I found that I was really affected by the loss of Carrie Fisher this time last year, so I made it my  mission to read all of her autobiographical books.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J. D. Vance

Like many folks in the world, I struggled to understand what was happening in my country as we went through one of the nastiest elections I have lived through. This book made the rounds on the various NPR stations I listen to. Well written, I enjoyed Mr. Vance’s extremely honest recounting of his difficult early life and how he turned himself around through an enlistment in the Marines and eventually putting himself through Yale Law School.

Shockaholic, by Carrie Fisher

This was the last of my Carrie Fisher reads in my 2017 books.  This one focused a bit more on her relationship with her father, and pretty much broke my heart. Were it not for her humor, I’d have cried through the whole book. This is another one I borrowed the audio book from the library and listened to on my drives to/from work. It breaks my heart that we no longer have Carrie Fisher with us.

Shattered Empire, Comic by Marvel and Disney

By now you know I am a Star Wars: original trilogy fanatic. I bought the hardbound collection of the Shattered Empire comics that came out over the last couple of years, and it sat unread next to my bed since The Force Awakens came out. I decided to finally read it.  This one gives some of the back story of Poe Dameron’s parents, who were part of the rebellion on Endor after the fall of the Death Star II.  It was a fine addition to the SW canon. I neither loved nor hated it.

Talking as Fast as I can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between, by Lauren Graham

This is the year I finally became a Gilmore Girls fan. Yes, I know, it took me long enough. With the revival out on Netflix, my daughter and I decided to pour through all of the episodes before checking out the new ones. It was glorious mother/daughter time, and even though we were definitely not fans of the episodes with Rory and Lorelai fighting (went on way too long), we fell in love with their banter. Lauren Graham’s timing was always hilarious, and when I saw she had an autobiography out, my daughter and I had to listen to the audiobook version. If you liked Lauren, and Gilmore Girls, I’d definitely recommend this.

Armada, by Ernest Cline

A coworker of mine recommended I read “Ready Player One” a few years back, and I instantly fell in love with the 80s nostalgia. Really looking forward to the Steven Spielberg adaptation next year. I bought Armada when it came out but just kept not getting around to reading it. That changed in March. If you liked Mr. Cline’s writing style in his first book, you will enjoy it here. While it definitely was easy to guess what would happen next, I have to say I enjoyed Armada. Sometimes I like happy endings where the heroes save the day and everything works out. Definitely takes its queues from “The Last Starfighter” but that’s a good thing.

A Caribbean Mystery,  by Agatha Christie

When I was in high school, I used to devour Agatha Christie books. They were my staple, and I’d buy them by the stacks from the used book store near my house. With the new version of “Murder on the Orient Express” coming out, I thought I’d revisit some of her books, and make my way through them again. This one is a Miss Marple mystery and I think I honestly enjoyed her crime solving method more than Poirot. When I was younger, it was quite the opposite.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1), by Agatha Christie

I decided to start at the beginning for the Poirot mysteries, with his first appearance. Didn’t guess the ending, and really enjoyed the mystery. I think I’ll be adding more Christie books to my reading list.

The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware

Over the last couple of years, I read The Girl on a Train, and Gone Girl before that, so I figured I should check out the “it” mystery book that was making the rounds in Entertainment Weekly.  I found that I actually enjoyed The Woman in Cabin 10 much more than the other books to which it is compared. That is entirely because of the main character.  Where I didn’t really care for the two main female protagonists in the other two “Girl” books, I actually liked Lo Blacklock, the lead protagonist in this book.  The mystery unfolds differently than I expected and I found I really liked how things wrapped up. Definitely ends on a much less somber note than other books of its similar category.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

My son had to read this over the summer between 8th grade and entering High School, so he asked me to read it with him so we could discuss it. We had our own little book club going. Told as a parable, in rather simple anecdotes, I found I really loved it.  I loved the message. You can journey through life, and it you are open to your path, it will present itself to you. I found it to be spiritual and personal, and it definitely touched me.

 Loving Frank, Nancy Horan

I admit that I bought this book simply because I found the cover beautiful. I’ve had it for years, and just never got around to reading it. Frank Lloyd Wright is one of my favorite architects. You will find touches of his style incorporated in my own home, but I knew next to nothing about his personal life. This book, which recounts his relationship with a married woman, who leaves her family and children to be with him, surprised me. Told in a diary style and taking liberties with what might have happened, it focuses more on Mamah, the woman and their life together, than on Frank. I found I really didn’t like her very much.

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2), Diana Gabaldon

I read the first Outlander book before watching the series on the Stars network and really liked it. When I learned that there were multiple books, and that the author invents new and sad ways to keep her two main characters apart, well, I was less than pleased. I read this one before watching season two of Outlander on Stars, and found that half way through I was hate reading it. I just wanted to get through it but really didn’t enjoy it at all.  It was long. It dragged, and I was tired of the Claire and Jamie in a constant state of depression.

The Force Awakens, Rey’s Story by Elizabeth Schaefer

This was a younger set adaptation of the events of The Force Awakens told from Rey’s point of view. Much as I do not like the new trilogy, I really love Rey. I read this one hoping to find new tidbits about her. There were none to be had, but it was a quick read.

The World According to Star Wars, by Cass Sunstein

I like to read stories about the behind the scenes stuff of Star Wars as well as the impact Star Wars has had on the world. I read this one to get a sense of the latter part. Honestly, the book was boring, and really didn’t give me any insights I haven’t already made over the last 40 years.

Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, by Michael Ausiello

This one, I read but was dreading. Not because I didn’t want to read it. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Ausiello since he wrote for TV Guide and did one of their entertainment podcasts. Since then, I’ve followed all of his entertainment reporting. It is in large part because of his enthusiasm, that I finally watched Gilmore Girls. But I dreaded reading this because I knew it was going to be sad. Having followed him,  I knew the story of his having lost his husband to cancer. The book was all I expected, but strangely, his honesty and humor painted a picture of the love he and his husband shared in a way that made me happy to have gotten to know them as I was sad to for his loss. Definitely not something I could read with my children with colorful language and adult content, but very touching.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Brighest Star in the North: The Adventures of Carina Smyth, by Meredith Rusu

This is another book I bought because I thought the cover was really beautiful. I bought it before seeing the latest Pirates movie, but waited to read it until after. Definitely glad that I did because this one starts with the back story of Carina Smyth, and continues through the action of the movie.  The writing style was fine, and I’d recommend it for young women who enjoyed the movie.

 

I am not alone: The disappointment of my fellow Star Wars fans

It’s been an interesting few days, now, in this post “The Last Jedi” world.  As I said in my first post, after I saw the movie, I didn’t hate it. I couldn’t. Mark Hamill was too wonderful in it. But I did say that I’m done. This isn’t my Star Wars and I’m not interested in where it goes from here.

This is really something I’ve been saying for two years, since seeing The Force Awakens. The events of The Last Jedi are pretty much exactly what I expected. Not that I am happy about that, but it wasn’t surprising. This is where I thought the Disney Story was going.

A funny thing is happening on the internet. Slowly, fans like me, are starting to vocalize that they don’t like this new direction. They aren’t happy that the victory at the end of Return of the Jedi, and the happy ending we got for our heroes Luke, Han and Leia has all been for nothing. They don’t like having to “kill the past” or accept that their heroes were just human. It’s not really an enjoyable experience anymore.

I thought it was just me. I felt mostly isolated these last two years as everyone tried to tell me The Force Awakens was great. Now, I am not alone.

Several very thoughtful articles have come out on the subject. All of them filled with spoilers, so be careful if you haven’t seen the movie yet and want to remain spoiler free.

Here are a few:

Star Wars is Dead, Gen X-ers. Get over it.” Written by a fellow member of Gen-X who is trying to come to grips with the fact that this new Star Wars isn’t for us.  It isn’t a slam on the new movie, just a commentary of unhappiness of the author. The folks commenting on the article don’t get that subtlety. (maybe that’s why so many of them like TLJ. They don’t see the subtle things that are breaking our hearts).

The Backlash against The Last Jedi explained“. I think this one comes close to understanding, although my disappointment with the new trilogy isn’t with the humor nor is it with the inclusion of women (naturally).

Here’s Why the Luke Skywalker of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Doesn’t Feel Like Luke (commentary).”  This is a really good one, and I agree with pretty much everything in it. My dislike, from a storytelling perspective, is that we’ve been told everything and not shown it. I can’t accept the fates of Luke, Han and Leia because we’ve been told things happened and they reacted rather than seeing the things happen and their reaction. The characters I see in these new movies are so very foreign to me, and nothing feels earned. There was no relationship between Han and Ben in The Force Awakens, and the death of Han really felt flat. It didn’t hit me emotionally then or now.  Similarly, we are told about the backstory of Luke and Kylo, not shown. Perhaps if these movies had taken place 15 years ago and actually showed us the fall of Luke’s Jedi temple, things might have been better.

I’ve been posting articles like the ones above on my Facebook page all week. My friends have probably tired of my constant anti-Star Wars rhetoric. One of them responded to a link by saying he hasn’t found a single friend of his who saw TLJ that liked it. So he and his family are going to wait for DVD. My response to him was as follows:

I think you will find that folks who are our age, who saw the original trilogy in the theaters, who grew up with Luke, Han and Leia in our heads, will not like this movie. They shouldn’t have liked the Force Awakens for the same reasons, they just didn’t see it. This trilogy very forcefully throws away everything achieved in the original trilogy. It very directly says to those of us of a certain age in the audience, to kill the past, and stop idolizing your heroes. This movie isn’t bad. Mark Hamill makes it with his amazing performance. It’s just the whole premise of the story exists to destroy what we loved, and I won’t accept it. So this is the Disney Star Wars, not my Star Wars, and I’m done.

In the end, all of these other voices, who also have the exact same feelings I do, are giving me a sense of closure. I was always going to walk away from the new Star Wars. From the moment the credits rolled on The Force Awakens, I was done. I just needed to see Luke one more time.  In a small way, knowing I am not alone is really very comforting.

Thank you, Star Wars, it’s been wonderful…

Well, I am on the other side now, so here are some personal thoughts, that I also hope aren’t spoilers. I will write a more lengthy review later that will be.

I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi this past weekend, in an IMAX 2D showing. Because I so very much hated The Force Awakens, I decided to see this one only with my husband and children. I didn’t want to have to share my negative emotions, with a large group of friends. So I had warned my family to give me time to process before asking what I thought.

My thoughts were many. First off, I didn’t hate it. Leaving the theater, I thought it was ok. Then talking with my husband and son, who really did like the movie, I found that there were a lot of things I did like. That moved my opinion up to like. But it was a journey to get there, and I completely understand why audiences are split on this one. Those who do not like the movie are complaining about the same things I said two years ago when The Force Awakens came out. They hate what has been done to the events and people from the original trilogy. They just couldn’t see it had been done during what I’ll refer to as the remake of A New Hope.

I didn’t hate TLJ, solely because of Mark Hamill. His portrayal of Luke Skywalker was amazing. Really, for me, he made the movie. In the end, I feel like TLJ gave me permission to walk away from these new films. I just don’t like the world as they’ve constructed. I don’t like that everything was undone from the original trilogy. I don’t like how I feel watching them. And overall, I really do not care what happens to the new kids. This is all a totally personal point of view, and does not mean others can’t like them, but I just don’t. I wanted to watch this one to see Luke, and now that I have, I think this is where the new Star Wars and I part ways.

For me, the story of Luke, Han and Leia ended with Return of the Jedi. The events of Episodes VII, VIII, and IX are one retelling but not my retelling, of what came after.

Star Wars – My Theory about the origin of Rey

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Photoshop mashup borrowed image of Leia, Rey and Han.

The Last Jedi opens in just a few months, and I keep meaning to write up my own theory about the origin of Rey, the young woman with force abilities whom we last saw handing Luke Skywalker his father’s lightsaber.

This isn’t based on any inside information and it could quite possibly not be where the story tellers have decided to go. I believe that as J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm wrote The Force Awakens, they had no idea what back story they were going to give Rey. They might not have even thought she needed to have a back story until “who are Rey’s parents” dominated the conversation. Unlike the original Lucas stories, which were linked together by one person’s vision, this new trilogy seems to be made up as it goes along. I am not necessarily saying this is a bad thing (well, yes, I am saying that), rather that it is just a thing. Therefore, absent a grand plan, the answer to the “Who is Rey” question might never really be fully satisfying.

My theory below isn’t meant to be “the” answer. It’s actually the only story that will redeem this new trilogy for me. Up to now, I don’t really incorporate it into my own “head canon.” I have gone on and on before about how I abhor the fundamental changes to the main three characters (Luke, Han and Leia) in this new trilogy. My theory tries to fill in some acceptable background story so that I might find their motivation slightly more palatable. I don’t think I will ever accept the new trilogy as my Star Wars. It lacks so much of the heart and wonder and joy of the original.

So, given that long introduction, my theory on Rey is that she is the presumed dead daughter of Han and Leia, younger sister to Kylo Ren (aka Ben Solo), and also a former student of Uncle Luke Skywalker’s young Jedi academy. I based this theory less on how it neatly ties up loose ends and more on the fact that the pain of losing their daughter is the only way I will accept that Han and Leia wandered around in a separated state. They fought too long together against too many things to separate because their son made bad choices. Having their son turn to the dark side is just another thing in a long line of things that Han and Leia would have faced and fought together. I never felt it was enough of a motivation to drive Han to run off and return to smuggling as an antidote to parental pain. But the loss of a young child? That kind of grief could drive our favorite smuggler to wander about the galaxy, a grieving father, drifting about.

If I were to frame the story, Rey would have been another one of Luke’s pupils, along with her older brother and other force sensitive young children. She could have been 8-9 years old at the time of the massacre of this new Jedi academy at the hands of the Knights of Ren. But because she is his little sister, and perhaps “there is good in him”, Kylo would not have been able to kill Rey. Instead, he’s the one who took her away and hid her on Jakku. He had to do it quickly, and left her someplace that his fellow First Order folks would never look. He either had to make it look like she died as well or that somehow she got away and disappeared. Perhaps he’s spent the last few years trying to prevent anyone from finding her, keeping her safe from a distance.

Rey would have been young, and things would have been traumatic. Maybe she has a vague memory of her parents, maybe she doesn’t. We haven’t really been shown any memories on purpose so the storytellers after The Force Awakens weren’t boxed into any decisions about Rey. So, with a little hand-waving, the story could decide that Rey is be the daughter of Han and Leia.

In the end, I think the back story of Rey will be revealed in The Last Jedi. I don’t know which way Lucasfilm has decided to go. For some time, both Abrams and Johnson have said that her origin didn’t matter as much as her future. I contend that Star Wars is all about origins, and their impact on the future as well as the choices we make in spite of those origins. I approach this December with much trepidation. After I do see The Last Jedi, you can be sure I will weigh in with my opinion. Depending on how it goes, it might be the last new Star Wars movie for me for a long, long time.

 

 

Thoughts about Star Wars Celebration 2017

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Starting tomorrow, the annual Star Wars convention, also known as Celebration, will start in Orlando, Florida. I won’t be attending, but I will be trying to follow along virtually via twitter and the various bloggers out there.

One such blogger,  at Inside the Magic, wrote his top 5 things he hopes will be announced at Celebration here.

I was going to reply on his blog with my own thoughts, but decided to post them here (so I didn’t complain about The Force Awakens on another person’s website).

I am on board with almost all of his hopes.

(5) George at the 40th Anniversary of the release of Star wars panel.

Say what you will, but George created this world and his absence is noticeable in the lack of originality and cohesive character actions in The Force Awakens (no, Han and Leia wouldn’t have failed parenting so hard and no, Luke wouldn’t have run away – I may have blogged about that in excess over the last couple of years). He needs to be there to celebrate the 40th. I hope Disney invited him, and I hope, as you say, he decides to attend.

(4) Announcement of Luke Skywalker / Ben Solo fill-in novels set between Episodes VI and VII

I don’t really care about Ben Solo/Kylo Ren so I am not at all interested in a book about him. I found him to be an entirely annoying character. Yes, I am one of those old “get off my lawn” Original Trilogy folks who really didn’t like TFA (but find things in this rebirth to love: like Rogue One, and especially the TV cartoon Rebels). On the other hand, more Luke Skywalker is always good!

(3) Lando in The Last Jedi! You bet. We need some “hello what have we here” after the depression of TFA. Fingers crossed.

(2) An Obi-wan Kenobi spinoff movie with Ewan and I am there opening day.

(1) Original theatrical release cuts on blu-ray without the special features would make my year. I’m more excited about that potential than The Last Jedi. 🙂

Are any of you going to attend Star Wars Celebration? I wish I could but I can’t convince the rest of my family to go with me, and I’d feel guilty leaving them. Plus, when you add up ticket prices and then the cost of autographs and photos (because why go without getting an autograph), and it’s a rather expensive few days. Still, Star Wars! Maybe next year. I have a feeing there will be many more Celebrations to come.

RSM

 

The Conundrum of General Leia

Shortly after Carrie Fisher passed away in December, worry about her role and the future of Princess Leia in Episodes VIII and IX started to surface online. My first feeling was a sense of loss of someone I’d looked up to my whole life. Although it doesn’t seem nearly as important as the loss of Carrie Fisher the person, I also felt the loss of Carrie Fisher as Leia in the still unfinished new Star Wars trilogy.  We knew long before her death, that Carrie Fisher had already filmed her parts in Episode VIII so that wasn’t in question.

Now that a little time has passed, I thought I’d pull together some thoughts on the options we Star Wars fans have for General Leia Organa. The way I see things, there are four options that Disney has for how to handle Episodes VIII (The Last Jedi) and IX (as yet untitled) without Carrie Fisher.

  1. Recast: Rumors are that Leia was going to have a larger role in Episode IX then she did in The Force Awakens or will have in The Last Jedi. One way to continue the storyline as originally intended is to recast another actress to play Leia for those scenes. I don’t want to even speculate potential actresses because for me, Carrie Fisher is Princess (General) Leia and no matter how wonderful another actress might be, I won’t accept another person filling her shoes.
  2. Digital Recreation: As they did with a young Leia and General Tarkin in the recently released Rogue One, Disney now has the technology to digitally recreate an actor or actress and inner them into a film, interacting with other characters. They could recreate General Leia using image data from The Force Awakens.  Thankfully, it looks like this won’t happen. Almost immediately, Disney released an official statement that they wouldn’t use the new Digital technology to recreate General Leia in Episode IX.
  3. Write in the death of Leia: While her scenes are filmed for Episode VIII, they could rewrite the storyline going forward to incorporate the death of Leia, either on screen of off. This could serve as a sort of catharsis for all of us who lost her, both Carrie and Leia, and allow us to say goodbye. I have mixed feelings about this option, because while I’d like to be able to say goodbye to my Princess, I want her to live forever. It was hard enough losing Han. I don’t want to have to lose Leia too in order to usher in this new generation of Star Wars kids. (Don’t get me started on Luke)
  4. Rework the scenes already filmed: This one hit me almost immediately but I didn’t see anyone suggesting it in all of the blog or forum comments I’ve read over the lat few months. If her scenes have already been filmed, why not rework when they would appear, and split them up. Use some of them in The Last Jedi and some in Episode IX. This would allow Leia to continue through both of the remaining films in the new trilogy without having to kill her off. Leia can live on, and she will always be Carrie Fisher’s performance.

After the fourth option came to me, that was the one I wanted most. I know that some scenes we would have gotten will never happen, but we will get the ones that are filmed. Perhaps through some sort of movie magic (shooting over the shoulder of someone about Carrie’s height or something) they can add in additional scenes here or there.  There have been rumors of reshoots being done next month swirling about the web.

I don’t know where the current creative minds wanted to take General Leia. I am sure that there were at least two key scenes she’d have before things were all said and done: Reunion with her brother and Reunion with her son. I don’t know if both of those were part of what she already filmed. I hope so, but I don’t know.

I’m ultimately torn. I know I won’t accept any other actress at Leia, so I’m prepared to skip the final episode if that’s what they do. If forced to choose between giving Leia a sendoff or allowing her to live on through another actress, I’d actually choose to say good bye.  I just hope that we don’t have to. I find the new trilogy sad enough already without the real possibility that the original Trio (Luke, Han and Leia) will all be dead by the time we’re through. Never did it enter my mind, when I heard that new Star Wars was coming, that I’d have to say goodbye. Perhaps if it had, I could have skipped The Force Awakens and spared myself the disappointment.

Fingers crossed that Disney makes the best decision, whatever that may be,  and that whatever they do decide brings us some sort of hope.

 

Ahsoka Tano Day – One Day Late

ahsoka1Apparently, yesterday, January 29th, was Ahsoka Tano day as celebrated on Twitter (#AhsokaTanoDay). Nine years ago yesterday, in 2008, the cartoon movie Star Wars The Clone Wars  debuted in theaters, and with it was the first appearance of Anakin Skywalker’s padawan, Ahsoka Tano.

My children were young when Star Wars: The Clone Wars the movie was in theaters, so we waited to see it when it was on DVD. They immediately loved it. They were instantly huge fans of Anakin, Ahsoka and Jabba the Hut’s baby son, Rotta (whom Ahsoka called “Stinky”). We watched it over and over, and they watched it even more in the car on our drive to/from school.

I didn’t read much social media back then, and didn’t really pay attention to whether other Star Wars fans liked the new movie or the new characters. All I did know is that I was a fan, of all of them. Most of all, I loved Ahsoka. She was spunky and smart. She was a bit bratty but brave, and there was something about her. Something that said she had a journey to take and some life lessons to learn. The dynamic between her and Anakin did for that character what the live action Anakin and Padme were never able to do – it humanized him and made us realize how much was lost when he turned to the dark side.

It was only much after Clone Wars cartoon series was well in to its third season that I realized that some of the fans found Ahsoka less than wonderful during that first movie. They compared her to Jar Jar in their pantheon of hated Star Wars characters. I will break here in my Ahsoka narrative to say that I have no hatred for Jar Jar. I actually quite liked him and The Phantom Menace. That was the first of the Star Wars films that my children asked to repeat view. It was probably their favorite followed by Return of the Jedi and the Ewoks. Say what you will about the childish nature of those characters, but that was exactly the audience George Lucas was going for when he introduced them.

I watched only one season of Star Wars:The Clone Wars the TV series when it was originally broadcast. I had been watching it with my children, and some of the action was a bit too heavy for them. The loss of the Clones was often too upsetting for them and they found the Night Sisters really creepy, so we stopped watching as a family. I have since watched the series in it’s entirety on Netflix, and absolutely loved the arc they gave Ahsoka. My children are starting to watch it now that they are older, and they agree that Ahsoka and Captain Rex are their two favorite characters. They are easily mine as well.

In honor of Ahsoka Tano day, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to George Lucas, David Filoni and Ashley Eckstein for bringing me Ahsoka, in all of her layered brilliance. I never thought I’d love a Star Wars character the way I love Luke, Han and Leia. Ahsoka proved me wrong. I can’t imagine the Star Wars universe without her.

…and I hope I never have to…do you hear that Mr. Filoni. 🙂

 

RSM Review: Wishful Drinking

carrie-fisher-as-prinsess-leia-wishful-drinking-cover-2-shotA month before Carrie Fisher died, I wrote a blog review of her latest autobiographical work, The Princess Diarist. I’d decided after reading it that I’d go back and read them all and try to give them proper reviews. Then came December, and the heartbreaking news that Ms. Fisher had passed away. I’m still not entirely willing to accept it. Now all I want to do is to hear her voice again.

So I’ve continued what I started, and went back and purchased Wishful Drinking on iBooks on my iPad. I knew that Ms. Fisher had published several books, some autobiographical and some fiction, but I had just never gotten around to reading them. I also knew that this one had a live stand up show associated with it (HBO decided to rebroadcast it after her passing). It wasn’t until I read the book that I learned the show came first, and the book second.

Having just listened to Carrie read The Princess Diarist, I couldn’t help but hear her voice in my head as I read Wishful Drinking. I could hear her when she quietly told a story, or as she yelled an exclamation. I swear it felt like she was in the room reading it to me.

Like her most recent book, the stories told don’t necessarily come out linearly. They tend to jump around. From her interviews, I get the sense that this is what it would be like to actually talk with Ms. Fisher. Her brain moves so quickly, that her thoughts come out all over the place. I found it both fascinating and comforting.

Her first chapter focused on the death of her friend, Greg, who very famously died at her house and her subsequent depression, followed quickly by a chapter on her own family and the big scandal break up when her father left her mother for Elizabeth Taylor complete with family photos and a really awesome Hollywood 101 Family tree. I’ve read that she uses the family tree bit in the stand up show. A great deal of this book is dedicated to stories about her mother, Debbie Reynolds, some really very strange and some sweet.

She gets around to Princess Leia about half way through the book. Her first story, which I actually saw the clip from the tale end of her live show first and completely didn’t understand, involves a speech and drama class she took in London to which she credits the enunciation Leia has at the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope (especially in the classic Hologram dialog – Proper Copper Coffee Pot – read the book and you’ll get it). This is the chapter where she shares the story of George Lucas telling her she can’t wear a bra under her white dress on the death star because there’s no underwear in space.

The last several chapters are dedicated to her relationship with Paul Simon, and her depression and addiction. Every story is near heartbreaking, yet she tells them with such humor that you hope that she’s actually laughing behind the words.  Every interview with and article about Ms. Fisher over the years has focused on her honesty with her struggles. She is definitely honest. Sometimes honest to the point where I wonder where she got the strength to share so much. Perhaps sharing it made it a less heavy burden.

Having read Wishful Drinking, I want to see the live show. Now that we’ve lost her, I miss Ms. Fisher and want to watch, read and listen to all I can of her voice. As with Princess Diarist, this isn’t fit to share with my children. With the honesty comes adult language and stories that I’d just as soon they not hear yet. I wouldn’t have been ready to hear things like this from Princess Leia when I was a child.

Next up, I’ve requested Shockaholic from the library to read next. I already miss her voice and I want to hear it again.

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

viii-logo-tall-1536x864-414669331908As I posted my tribute to Carrie Fisher yesterday afternoon, StarWars.com broke the news that the next installment of “the Skywalker Saga” (as they called it) has been given a name. Ready yourself for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. I delayed publishing this because I wanted my Carrie Fisher article to sit up on my site for a full day.

So, with that, We have a new title.

It will come as no surprise to you all that I greet this announcement with much trepidation. I still don’t like the new direction taken in The Force Awakens. I still don’t like how Luke, Han and Leia were all portrayed. I still don’t like how we just threw everything they accomplished in the original trilogy in the garbage to sell new toys and bring in new characters. I still hate that we killed off Han just to make Mr. Ford happy.

I’m also broken hearted that with the death of Carrie Fisher we will never get to give Leia her due. No solution either Disney or Lucasfilm comes up with will be as wonderful as what would have happened with Carrie’s inclusion in Episode IX. (this one is a topic for another post).

Things to notice, or rather things, I noticed.

This title is shorter than any title of the second in the trilogy titles

  • Attack of the Clones
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • The Last Jedi

The Star Wars words are outlined in what I can only call Sith or Darth Vader red, not the usual beautiful yellow. To me, that signals an episode where the bad guys might have the upper hand. I expect battles, with some small victories but the war will not yet be won.

The use of the word Jedi. Now the Jedi appear twice in titles in the saga. That will make the shorthand reference to movies just a little more complicated. Perhaps that’s only ever been a think for those of us who are old school. We refer to “Star Wars”, “Empire”, and “Jedi” when talking about the original Three. I’ve never heard anyone refer to the Prequels as anything other than their full names.  Same as TFA. So perhaps this isn’t going to be a thing.

The title itself. I feel like something else in the Star Wars extended universe, or comics or novels has been called “the Last Jedi.”  I am sure a quick internet search will find what my old brain can only vaguely recall. (and yes, it did, here is it: The Last Jedi which was not about Luke)

The tense of the word Jedi. As used in Star Wars, Jedi  can refer to one Jedi (as in, I am a Jedi like my father before me) or several Jedi (as in the Jedi order). We already were told that Luke was a Jedi, and that he was the last of the Jedi in Return of the Jedi. Presumably, Luke worked to restart the Jedi order, or something like it, after Return of the Jedi. Also, presumably, it didn’t go so well. Does this title refer again to Luke, or to someone to follow in his footsteps (Rey?) or to whatever happened to that fledgling Jedi order? What does this really mean for Luke.

Unlike the tact I took leading up to The Force Awakens, I plan to read any and all spoilers and speculation I can find out there on the internet. If I find that they do, indeed, kill off Luke, I just might have to catch this one on DVD.