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Obsession in Star Wars

Star Wars ObsessionStar Wars contains a number of repeated themes throughout its running, such as family, the presence of myths, and a new generation taking the torch from the old. Another common theme, one we’ve seen even in The Force Awakens, is obsession. From the very first movie to the most recent additions to the canon, obsession has dominated Star Wars.

 What’s Your Obsession?

From the beginning: In A New Hope, the story begins thanks to an obsession about the Death Star plans. Both sides want them – the rebels need them – and so a wide hunt begins. Halfway through the movie, Darth Vader learns of Luke’s existence, and he becomes obsessed with the boy. In The Empire Strikes Back, the obsession continues. Emperor Palpatine aids it, until the confrontation on Cloud City.

In Return of the Jedi, Palpatine and Darth Vader are both obsessed with Luke, and this drives a great deal of the plot. In turn, Luke is obsessed with not becoming the next version of his father. When these obsessions collide, on the second Death Star at the film’s end, Luke’s wins out. Darth Vader turns against his still-obsessed master, and the rebels win.

The prequel trilogy has an even clearer emphasis on obsession. Anakin’s obsession with protecting his loved ones is the obvious, prominent example.

First, it was his mother. He had dreams about her suffering during the events of Attack of the Clones, and those dreams soon become reality. This galvanizes his desire to protect his loved ones, chief among them his new wife Padme. For one reason or another (Palpatine’s influence? The Force? Who can say) the dreams return, showing Padme in danger. Anakin finds help from the Dark Side of the force, leading to Padme’s tragic death and the rise of the Empire.

Finally, in The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren obsesses over his grandfather, Darth Vader. He wants to “finish what you started.” He wants to bring an end to the conflict and rule the galaxy. Putting his grandfather’s melted mask on a shrine can be nothing but obsession.

Darth Vader's melted mask from Episode VII

Obsession weakens the mighty

Why this theme? It’s common in fiction, and fantastic fiction even more so. Incredible power, such as the Jedi and Sith possess, can make things difficult for writers. As their physical power increases, other roadblocks must be placed in the way of the characters. If Anakin Skywalker, Jedi extraordinaire, was perfectly mentally sound, Star Wars would cease to exist. This also allows us to see how terribly things can go when, despite amazing technology and power, you refuse to let something go. We see how power corrupts, and how, even with great strength and a future, your own mind  can ruin your life.

The possible lessons to learn are numerous. Is it possible to care about your loved ones too much? When should one stop pursuing further power? The movies give us plenty of examples of what happens when an idea, a person, or a goal locks in someone’s mind. As we can see in Star Wars, it often goes badly.

Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed this look at intricate Star Wars universe. Come back next time for more fun fan information!

2016 Top Five Star Wars Costumes

Rey, one of the top 2016 costumesYou only have one month left until Halloween — have you found the perfect costume for yourself yet? If you haven’t, there’s no need to be afraid. Here we will list five of the most popular Star Wars costumes for 2016 so far.

2016 Top Costumes: Deluxe Rey Girls Costume

To no one’s surprise, Rey is one of the most popular characters this Halloween. As the first of the next generation of Jedi, she’s destined for great things while she’s training with her new master Luke Skywalker. With the Deluxe Rey Girls Costume, turn a young Jedi into this incredible new weapon against the Sith for Halloween!

Princess Leia Slave Womens Costume

This outfit will surely outlast us all! The Princess Leia Slave Womens Costume is a titillating outfit great for adult-themed events. The Hutt crime lord Jabba forces Leia’s embarrassing look on her in Episode VI before Luke manages to rescue her, and has become an iconic look in pop-culture. Family Guy, World of Warcraft, Dancing with the Stars, and even Friends have all featured the outfit.

Deluxe Luke Skywalker Kids Costume

The original hero of Star Wars! The Deluxe Luke Skywalker Kids Costume is based on the young Jedi’s look during his life on Tatooine. Perfect for classic fans of the original trilogy, this outfit goes well with a lightsaber, and is a look anybody will be able to recognize.

Standard Jedi Adult Robe Costume

The Jedi are the famous protectors, warriors, and peacekeepers of the galaxy. Anyone can join their storied ranks for Halloween! With the Standard Jedi Adult Robe Costume, it’s possible to turn any number of outfits into an original Jedi costume. You can also create an Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, or Anakin outfit!

Deluxe Kylo Ren Kids Costume

A new villain has appeared! Kylo Ren’s powerful performance in Episode VII has made him the new Sith warrior for Halloween! While Darth Vader will never die, the Deluxe Kylo Ren Kids Costume is ready to make waves as the new cloaked and masked costume for Star Wars fans in 2016!

Thanks for reading about the 2016 costumes! We hope your Halloween end up fantastic. Come back next week for more fun fan information. Finally, don’t forget to enter our official sweepstakes!

Troopers of the Empire

Star Wars TroopersIn a series full of famous figures, Stormtroopers stand out as one of the more memorable looks. With full-white armor over a black jumpsuit, a helmet with a one-of-a-kind design, and their immediate introduction as tireless and unbeatable hand of the Empire, they are both Halloween mainstays and easy symbols of Star Wars. Can you name the differences the troopers have? Why do Snowtroopers have a skirt? Let us take you through the differences:

Super Troopers

First off, standard Stormtrooper equipment is distinctive and memorable because the Empire wants to make them a symbol of fear a power. The armor also provides users an extended range of survival equipment and temperature controls; the helmet provides filtered air, enhanced vision, and communication systems. A color-coded pauldron on the left shoulder indicates rank. They have a utility belt, which included a grappling hook. However, the plates are heavy and difficult to run with. The helmet also obstructs vision.

How do the Scout troopers differ? Well, most importantly, their armor is lighter, allowing for greater mobility and stealth. The optics in their helmets are also better, which leads to faster reaction times on speeder bikes. Expert marksmen and trained in reconnaissance and infiltration as well as independent action, scout troopers were much more adaptable than most Imperial troops.

Snowtroopers
Stylish and functional

Snowtroopers were well insulated from the tremendous cold they would face. In fact, the empire hand-picked snowtroopers from planets with cold climates. The battery pack their suits have can last up to two weeks, providing a heated breather mask. They have ice boots, polarized goggles, grappling hooks, iron flares, and homing beacons. The skirt is for added insulation, and to keep snow from going down their pants. Really.

Bonus Troopers

There are other types without as much information available: Sandtroopers had augmented cooling fans for survival in hot climates, as well as a backpack stocked with extra rations and water.  Shadow troopers are equipped with cloaking devices. Magma troopers — units deployed to volcanic areas — have their own air supply and heat-resistant armor. Spacetroopers had rebreathers, and can operate in zero-G. Shocktroopers had heavy firepower such as a rocket launcher, and could resist blaster fire even better than normal armor.

Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more fun fan information!

Score Episode VII

Score the Star Wars moviesA few months ago we ranked the Star Wars movies, taking from fan polls and lists online. But how do the critics agree? We looked at Rotten Tomatoes, score the movies in chronological order, and also included the latest installment to see where it falls!

Episode IV

A legendary beginning to a legendary series, the original Star Wars is regarded as one of the silver screen’s enduring legends. Based on the classic hero’s journey and set in a unique and imaginative world. Movies changed after “A New Hope” came out, but how does it stand up to the critics?

“Star Wars is nothing short of pure unadulterated entertainment, something that has been sorely lacking in a great majority of recent films.” – Vern Perry

“It’s a near timeless milestone in cinema that lives up to its legacy as a simple, exciting, and fun science fiction fantasy.” – Felix Vasquez Jr.

Almost universal acclaim. Critical reviews call it childish and nothing more but a toy creation system – though their voices are covered by positive reviews. And the audience? Seeing even a three-star review out of five is surprising (allowing for the knee-jerk ½ star reactions).

Scores: Tomatometer 93%, Audience 96%

Episode V

Regarded as the prime cut among the Star Wars series, “The Empire Strikes Back” is the series’ highest point. Bearing even higher scores than the original, this movie is fraught with emotion, danger, and one of the greatest twist endings in movie history (albeit one everyone knows of by now). What have the critics said?

“The Empire Strikes Back is the ultimate in fantasies, a visual wonder and a movie that should be recommended highly if only because it makes you feel good.” – Rena Andrews

“Has any movie sequel ever so thoroughly surpassed impossible expectations as The Empire Strikes Back?” – Tim Brayton

Again, nearly universal. The audience as well loves this movie to the ends of the earth, and their scores reflect it.

Score: Tomatometer 94%, Audience 97%

Episode VI

Finally we get a movie a bit more contentious. Known as the weakest of the original trilogy, “The Empire Strikes Back” is still very well-liked by critics and audience.

“It’s everything it ought to be — glorious, exhilarating, exciting, absorbing, technically wondrous. But there also is something bittersweet in the knowledge that, with Jedi, we are bidding a fond farewell to all of the characters we got to know so well.” – Rena Andrews

“[A] capper to a solid trilogy that’s nevertheless not quite the flawless work its reputation would seem to indicate.” – David Nusair

Audiences seem to enjoy it at a higher rate, even though some might not like the Ewoks.

Score: Tomatometer 80%, Audience 94%

Episode I

And thus we begin the lean months. The first of the prequel movies began at the top of the box office, but the shine quickly wore off. Dense sections of special effects bookend boring trade, politics, and the beginning of the worst movie romance in twenty years.

“Mr. Lucas is not without a certain technocratic sagacity, but I don’t think he’s communicating even with the young as astutely as he once did.” – Andrew Sarris

“The Force may not be strong in this episode, but it’s there.” John Hanlon

There are some bright spots – Darth Maul was a compelling if underused character, and the podracing sequence, while too long, was at least exciting – but George Lucas’ iron-fisted control of the entire production brought it down. Audience reception has been better but nowhere near as good as even Episode VI.

Score: Tomatometer 55%, Audience 60%

Episode II

Better? Worse? The debate rages on whether or not this one or Episode I is the worst of the Star Wars films. While better received by critics, audiences were not as kind. The aforementioned romance, terrible dialogue, and more overpowering special effects equal the movie’s redeeming qualities.

“In lieu of a proper climax, Attack Of The Clones ends with a tantalizing cliffhanger for the next episode, but Lucas’ lumbering series is presenting fewer and fewer reasons to tune in.” – Scott Tobias

“Attack of the Clones is the best Star Wars installment since The Empire Strikes Back, hurtling along so quickly that you hardly notice the many moments when the story fails to make sense — even on its own fantastical terms.” – David Sterritt

The battle scene at the end was exciting, as was the lightsaber fight against Count Dooku, but as the movie ages it proves its lack of quality.

Score: Tomatometer 65%, Audience 58%

Episode III

Seen as a dramatic improvement on Attack of the Clones, “Revenge of the Sith,” but this installment brings much more dramatic tension and real emotion to the table. Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the dark side is the crux of the entire series, and manages to get the on-screen respect it deserves.

“Special effects have greatly advanced since 1978, but technology needs imagination after it has made an initial impression. Imagination is not the strong suit of Revenge of the Sith.” – Philip French

“Revenge of the Sith is far from a great film but it easily trumps its two predecessors.” – Jeff Meyers

Audience scores make rising and falling mountain range of reception. Some like the close of the trilogy for its emotional weight. Others find the acting and dialogue enough to bring it down.

Score: Tomatometer 79%, Audience 65%

Episode VII

J.J. Abrams gives us another taste of delicious Star Wars pie, and the consensus is it brought back the magic of the original trilogy. One of the common criticisms is the film is a modern copy of “A New Hope.” So?

“I’m happy to tell you that, despite some minor fumbles, this is definitely the Star Wars film we’ve been looking for.” – Kanin Srimaneekulroj

“That’s what’s so impressive about the tricky balancing act Abrams has pulled off with The Force Awakens: He’s made a movie that’s simultaneously gripping and a huge release. We are in good hands, at last.” – Christy Lemire

Audience reaction is joyful, exuberant, and full of the happiness the last ten years has lacked. It has more humor, solid characters, and better special effects.

Score: Tomatometer 92%, Audience 89%

Thanks for reading! Do you agree with Episode VII’s place? Where does it fall for you? Come back next week for more fun fan information!

Celebration in London

Star Wars Celebration in LondonFor the Star Wars fan, no event is more exciting than a Star Wars celebration. Maybe a new movie is more exciting, but the Star Wars Celebration in London is a close second. In fact, “Jedi Master VIP” tickets for the event sold out in minutes. The celebration is July 15-17 at the ExCel London Exhibition and Convention Center.

A Star Wars Celebration

Last year the celebration focused mainly on the upcoming The Force Awakens; this year the theme is Rogue One. Last year we got a Force Awakens trailer on the first day, so hopefully we can expect a new trailer for Rogue One. Last year also had the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront video game and the second season of Star Wars Rebels.

We can also expect classic convention events such as a cosplay contest (with extensive rules), and a pin trading program. A tattoo pavilion, movie screenings, and art show, and a special exhibit providing a sneak peak at costumes and props that will be featured in Rogue One. There will even be panels on the fine art of Star Wars collecting, featuring super-collector Gus Lopez! We know you’re excited.

Famous guests include stage hosts Warwick Davis (who played the Ewok Wicket), David Collins, who provided numerous voices for The Force Awakens. Guests available for panels and autographs include Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and Jeremy Bulloch. Rogue One director Gareth Edwards, as well as Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and others will also be present.

It’s a lot of news from London. No matter your Star Wars taste, there will be plenty to do. With the recent news Darth Vader will be seen in Rogue One, waiting until December 16th will be difficult. Thanks for reading, come back next week for more fun fan Star Wars information!

Han Solo Anthology Movie

Han Solo AnthologyScheduled to release on May 25th, 2018, the second of the Star Wars anthology is going to feature Han Solo and Chewbacca before the events of A New Hope. After a long search, Alden Ehrenreich was chosen to play the young smuggler, and the film will be co-directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord. The film has been described as an “origin story” for the two characters as we watch Han Solo become the cynical and confident smuggler, thief, and scoundrel first seen in the original Star Wars movie.

Most well-known for his part in the 2016 movie Hail, Caesar!, Alden Ehrenreich began acting in 2008 after meeting Steven Spielberg at a bat mitzvah. His break into films was his starring role of Ethan Wate in the film adaption of the novel Beautiful Creatures, followed by a part in Park Chan-wook’s film Stoker. His co-leading role in Hail, Caesar! helped garner him critical praise. Before we see him in the Han Solo film, he will also appear in Rules Don’t Apply on November 11th of 2016, and The Yellow Birds on an unannounced 2017 date.

The two-man directing, writing, and producing team of Christopher Miller and Phil Lord are known for directing and writing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Lego Movie, as well as 21 Jump Street and its sequel. They also directed and produced the pilot for Brooklyn Nine-Nine and two episodes for The Last Man on Earth.

Alden Ehrenreich
Alden Ehrenreich

Lawrence Kasdan is well-known to Star Wars fans, having co-written The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens, as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark. His son Jon, who wrote and directed The First Time, will also be a writer. Producer Kathleen Kennedy says she “can’t wait to discover what’s in store from these two extraordinary teams of directors and writers.”

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check in next week for more fun Star Wars fan information!

Lor San Tekka Character Corner

Max von Sydow as Lor San TekkaOne of the first characters you see in the Force Awakens is Lor San Tekka, played by legendary actor Max von Sydow. If, like us, you couldn’t concentrate on his conversation with Poe Dameron because you were trying to figure out who he was, then this is the post for you. Here we’re going to learn all about this short-lived character—together.

Born in the waning years of the Galactic Republic, Lor San Tekka came to have high regard for the Jedi order, though he had no ability as a Jedi himself. After the destruction of the Jedi by the Empire, Tekka became a member of the Church of the Force, an underground faith who believed in the Jedi ideals but were not force-sensitive themselves. Tekka personally uncovered a great deal of history about the Jedi despite the Empire’s attempt to hide it.

An avid and experienced explorer, after the Empire’s defeat at Endor, Tekka appeared to the fledgling New Republic to provide information regarding worlds around the galaxy. A close ally to Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, Tekka helped Luke recover more Jedi lore the Empire had tried to destroy. He also became close to Ben Solo, who would later betray Luke and destroy the growing Jedi. Skywalker would go into exile. Years later, Lor San Tekka found a partial map to Skywalker’s location. After this, Tekka lived with the Crèche, and gained their trust; eventually they would refer to him as “the explorer.”

Entering his retirement on the planet Jakku, General Organa and the First Order both learned Tekka had the map to lead them to Skywalker. Poe Dameron reached him first, beginning the events of The Force Awakens.

A seasoned explorer, Tekka knew knowledge and wisdom from across the galaxy, specializing in hidden lore of the Jedi. Unable to stand by as darkness took over the galaxy, Tekka was instrumental in introducing Finn and Rey to the Resistance, and eventually destroying Starkiller base. Created for episode VII, Tekka is the first character created for the Church of the Force organization, which was originally dreamed up by George Lucas for the Star Wars live action TV series, which was shelved after Lucasarts was sold to Disney.

Thanks for reading about Lor San Tekka! Be sure to come back next week for more fun fan information!

 

Choose: Who Would You Rather?

Choose one or the otherDuring our lives we are presented with many choices. What do you do with your free time? Do you go to a party, or don’t you? Do you wear your parka and snowshoe combo, or your chinos and tie-dye? Today, we’re going to ask you to choose between one of two characters in a number of situations—both have their pros and cons. Who will you choose?

Who would you rather make dinner?

You’re heading to a friend’s house for a fun meal. One of the characters will be manning the kitchen, but which one: Han Solo or Finn?

Han Solo’s been on his own a long time. Doubtless, he’s learned a few tricks about taking the bare minimum and making something tasty out of it. It may not be haute cuisine, but it’ll taste good and stick to your ribs, and taste good with an after-dinner brew. Finn wants to do the best possible, and won’t stop until he’s either produced an incredible three-course dinner, or has burned the house down.

Who would you rather watch give standup comedy?

You’re getting your local laughs at the Mos Eisley Cantina. A Star Wars character gets on stage. Who would you rather see grab the mic: Anakin Skywalker (circa Clone Wars), or Chewbacca?

Chewbacca is a master of the physical form. Impressions, pratfalls, exaggerated motions, Chewbacca can do it all. On the other hand, he can’t exactly speak English. His well-timed gags and wordplay threaten to sail over your head. Anakin, on the other hand, can speak English, but his comedic timing is, shall we say, lacking.

Who would you rather take to a party?

And now the question most fraught with worry: you’re going to a fun party at Brett’s house, but you can only bring one friend. Do you bring Darth Sidious or Jar-Jar Binks?

Darth Sidious has charisma. He draws people around him. He inspires confidence and trust. However, there is the whole electrifying people with the caustic power of the dark side of the force thing. Jar-Jar, on the other hand, is a bumbling, gleefully hateable creature, destined to be forgotten in the corner an hour in, but at least he knows how to tell a joke. He also won’t burn anybody with the power of the dark side.

Who will you choose? Let us know in a comment. Thanks for reading, and be sure to come back next week for more fun fan information!

Kylo Ren Character Corner

Kylo RenOut of the new characters introduced in The Force Awakens, the tortured villain Kylo Ren is one of the most exciting. Today we’ll lay out what we know about this Darth-Vader loving character—his life may be mostly mystery, but there are some things we know.

Kylo Ren was born Ben Solo, son of Leia Organa Solo and Han Solo, leaders and heroes of the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Han and Leia had a difficult relationship, as their personalities clashed: Han, a smuggler, felt strange staying in one place, and Leia became a senator in the new government. Feeling his parents had abandoned him, an individual name Snoke recognized Ben’s potential. Snoke saw Ben as a focal point, and attempted to sway him to the dark side. Leia discovered Snoke’s plan, and sent Ben to train with his Uncle Luke Skywalker.

Though the details are not known, Ben eventually betrayed his uncle, leaving the new Jedi temple in ashes. He began training until Supreme Leader Snoke and become one of the knights of Ren, taking the name Kylo Ren and putting his old life behind him. Wearing armor and a mask and known as “Jedi Killer” in the First Order, Kylo Ren idolized Darth Vader and kept his burned helmet at a shrine, believing, as Snoke did, Darth vader was who Anakin Skywalker truly was.

Kylo Ren built his own lightsaber, using an ancient and crude design. Using a cracked kyber crystal, which could barely withstand the power the weapon generated. As a result, the weapon needed dual vents on either side, as well as making the blade possess an unstable and flickering appearance. Kylo Ren, as Snoke’s apprentice, had the capacity to command military forces, though technically existed outside the military hierarchy. This caused no small amount of tension in the First Order, though it was based off of the agreement between Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.

Supreme Leader Snoke and Kylo Ren both know if Skywalker were to reappear, it would be dangerous for the First Order. He commences his search for his old master, leading to the events of Episode VII.

The embodiment of conflict, Kylo Ren’s legacy was some of the most powerful Jedi in decades. He loved the power the Dark Side brought him, and feared the Light Side. He knew he had to avoid Vader’s sentimentality, though his inner conflicts continued, as we can see in The Force Awakens. He combined Jedi techniques with Sith lore, resulting in a contradictory warrior who was often angry, and used his temper as a weapon. Kylo Ren may have been conflicted, but had no fear in battle, and was very sure of his abilities.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren
Adam Driver as Kylo Ren

Behind the scenes, Kylo Ren shares similar aspects with Jacen Solo, the son of Han and Leia from the Expanded Universe, and has a similar name to Kybo Ren, a space pirate from the animated series Star Wars: Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO. Actor Adam Driver was able to better feel the character’s anger because of the time and effort required to get into costume, described as a “cumbersome and difficult” process. An early version of Kylo Ren’s design was used in The Force Awakens for the Guavian Death Gang, one of the criminals Han meets during the movie.

Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more fun fan information!

Rumors for Episode VIII

Episode VIII RumorsAfter “The Force Awakens” came out, rumors flew (If you haven’t seen “The Force Awakens,” you may want to turn away now). Now, for your reading pleasure, we will collect some of the prevailing rumors and news about the next installment in the main Star Wars franchise.

Frank Oz is at Pinewood: Pinewood Studios, perhaps the most famous United Kingdom film studio, is where many of the Star Wars films have been captured. On April fifth it was confirmed through various channels Frank Oz—who provided the voice and puppetry for Yoda—has visited the studio. Will this result in a little blue ghost to assist Luke in training Rey, or is it just a social visit?

Oscar Winner Nyong’o to Return: Maz Kanata, one of the new (and one of the only totally-CGI) faces in episode VII will also be in the next installment. A photo posted to director Rian Johnson’s Tumblr page has actress Lupita Nyong’o in a motion-capture suit while a film crew works its magic. Though Kanata was left in peril at the end of VII, there is plenty of ground for her character to cover, including how she got Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber in her possession.

Hayden Christensen’s Triumphant Return: Editor-in-chief of website Making Star Wars, has reportedly been told: “A team in the UK are soon heading to the US to being training Hayden Christensen for a Star Wars: Episode VIII appearance of some sort.” There’s been no confirmation or other news about this, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. However, if it was true, what form could this spot be? A vision from Luke? A nightmare from Kylo Ren?

Of course, there’s a possibility any of these rumors are entirely false, and will result in something unexpected. Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more fun fan information!