Songs in Star Wars

Which songs comes to mind when you see the following pictures?

Star Wars Binary Suns songs

What about this one?

Emperor songs

And this one?

Duel of the Fates Songs

If you’ve seen the Star Wars films, it’s likely one of John William’s pieces of music. They’ve been famous and well-known since their arrival inside our ears in 1977. Like almost no others, the soundtrack for the Star Wars movies have stuck in our minds, but why? Lots can be said about the stellar compositions of John Williams, the wonderful work of the London Sympathy Orchestra, or the choir, but one of the most important things we can take from these songs is the idea of themes and repetition.

Songs in the Stars

Take this as an example: Perhaps the best sequence in the prequel trilogy is Order 66. Clone Troopers cut down Jedi from behind, Anakin betrays the Jedi and slaughters hundreds at the temple, and the Force splits asunder. This song plays as we watch the tragedy. At approximately 1:55, the soundtrack changes from the familiar brassy sound to a string-focused melody and mournful choir. Now, listen to Battle of the Heroes. Quite similar, aren’t they? It’s easy to come up with a reason for this. Order 66 plays during a dramatic, emotional moment, and Battle of the Heroes reprises many of the same elements to revive those emotions. Tragedy, loss, betrayal.

There’s also the “Force Theme,” the official name for the song playing during Luke’s wistful look at the setting Tatooine suns. The song (also known as “Luke’s theme,” “Binary Sunset,” and “Obi-Wan’s Theme”) plays through the entire trilogy in different formats, but the most powerful version is in episode IV, showing us, along with Luke’s far-away look, the adventure awaiting us. It’s no wonder trailers for both “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” feature the song. The Rogue One trailer also uses a modified version of the Imperial March during the first half.

We could go on for days. The “Love Theme” first introduced for Han and Leia in Episode V is re-used in Episode II. Yoda’s theme shows up in every movie the small Jedi appears in. “Dies Irae,” a classic gregorian choir melody, shows up in numerous places. All of these help us follow the emotions the movie wants, and only improves the experience.

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

Zam Wesell Character Corner

Human-form Zam WesellEpisode II introduces us to a character named Zam Wesell, shape-shifting bounty hunter and accomplice to Jango Fett. Jango Fett then kills her. We don’t see much of this strange character, but now we have a chance to finally examine the life of this enigmatic figure.

Zam meets Fett

Born on Zolan, a mid-rim planet, Zam Wesell is a member of the Clawdite species. Originally part of the Zolander species, extensive genetic engineering gone awry turned this off-shoot into shape-shifters. The Zolanders ostracized them, and Zam grew up in a world either on the brink of war or fighting. Zam trained as a Mabari, a religious order of warrior-knights, and was thrown out for wanting to become a bounty hunter.

Zam Wesell first met her longtime partner (and eventual killer) Jango Fett while they hunted the same person, a smuggler wanted by a crime lord, currently held in an asteroid prison. Wesell reached the quarry first, but had to stage a riot and breakout. Fett’s arrival ruined her plans, so she decided to hijack Fett’s ship, Jaster’s Legacy. It was destroyed, forcing Zam and Fett to work together. The situation began to spiral out of control when they arrived at their destination and Fett revealed he was working a larger job, of which the jailed smuggler was only a piece.

Fett revealed he was after the location of the failed Jedi Padawan who had become leader of the Bando Gora, a Force-worshipping cult. Thanks to information gained on the current job, the pair headed to Tatooine. There they discovered the location of Bando Gora after dealing with dueling Hutt crime lords.

Zam and Fett battled with the dark Jedi and the cult, ultimately defeating them. Out of the shadows appeared Tyranus (Count Dooku), who was Jango Fett’s contact for the mission, revealing it had essentially been a test to see if Fett was worthy of being the clone template for the eventual Republic Army.

Working together
Clawdite Zam
Zam in her original Clawdite form.

Zam spent several years of working with—and against—Fett on various contracts. Fernooda, a Dug on Coruscant, contacted both bounty hunters, though separately, asking them to recover an artifact stolen from him. Barely escaping with their lives, Fett returned with the artifact. Shortly after, Zam discovered the artifact they had recovered, the Infant of Shaa, is not only capable of destroying planets, but the alien they’d returned it to, Ashaar Khorda, planned to use it to destroy Coruscant.

Appealing to Fett’s better side, the two traveled to Coruscant to stop the plot. Joining with Jedi Master Yarael Poof, the bounty hunters battled the terrorists in an attempt to save the planet. They were successful, but Poof gave his life. The next mission the two took together landed Zam in a fight against another Clawdite, posing as a decoy of their target. Their final mission together was the attempt on Senator Padme’s life. This led, directly or indirectly, to both of their deaths.

Behind the Scenes

Australian actress Leeanna Walsman plays Zam in both Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (voice only). She was originally going to be a longer-lasting character and a main antagonist of Episode II. The one-shot comic Star Wars: Jango Fett is her first canon appearance. Walsman was not made aware of Zam’s shape-shifting abilities, as it was a later addition to the film.

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

Rogues: A History

Rogues emblemRogue One premieres in less than two months. Every Star Wars fan looks at their circled “December 16th” on the calendar with increasing glee. The movie promises action, adventure, and entirely not enough Donnie Yen beatin’ up on Stormtroopers. For new fans, Rogue One is a call sign for the ship Jyn Erso and her companions use. For older fans it evokes memories and nostalgia. Walk with us, if you will, through the history of the Rogues.

The Beginning of the Rogues

Canonically, the Rogues (or Rogue Squadron) first appeared in-universe between the battle of Yavin, and the battle of Hoth. Built from the remnants of pilots during the battle of Yavin, the group became famed for its skill, and was the squadron rebel leaders called upon to conduct clandestine raids and strikes. We, the viewers, first hear of the Rogues during The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke Skywalker commands a team of snowspeeder pilots he calls “Rogue Group”. The radio drama version of the movie calls it “Rogue Flight.”

Timothy Zahn, he who gave us Admiral Thrawn, first coined “Rogue Squadron” in his novel Heir to the Empire. The Rogues became the focus of numerous expanded universe works, such as the novels by author Michael A. Stackpole, as well as his series of comics from Dark Horse. LucasArts and Factor 5 made three Rogue Squadron video games: “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron” for the Nintendo 64 and computer in 1998, “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader” and “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike” came out in 2001 and 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube.

After Disney announced the title of the first Star Wars anthology movie, many speculated about how much the story would take from the expanded universe. While the Rogues we’re going to see in the movie seem to function in the same space—a group of the best for special missions—the mission to find the plans for the Death Star is far earlier than most sources say the Rogues first appeared. Hopefully the movie will make some effort to meld our old universe with this brave new one.

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

Halloween is Here – 2016

Halloween StormtroopersIt’s Halloween once more! We want to wish everyone a great night of trick-or-treating and costume parties, or whatever else your spooky night entails. We want to remind everyone to stay safe, and we have a few tips to make sure the night is fun for everyone:

Decorating tips:
  1. Don’t let kids use the knives, and make sure they aren’t in the way when you cut the pumpkin.
  2. Be sure to clean up – pumpkin guts are messy and could cause falls.
  3. Try using a glow stick or a light bulb inside the finished pumpkin rather than lighting a candle, which can be a fire hazard.
  4. Halloween Decorations can be scary, but avoid dangerous decorations that might have a tripping hazard, a falling hazard, or objects with sharp points.
Tips for preparing your costume:
  1. Shoes should fit well to avoid trips.
  2. Masks should not block your vision.
  3. Baggy costumes can make moving difficult.
  4. Test makeup in a small area of the skin to make sure that it is safe to use and no allergic reactions occur. Some costumes may contain latex, which can cause allergic reactions.
  5. Make sure your costume avoids open flames or hot lamps – some materials can catch on fire or melt, burning the wearer.
  6. Use costume accessories such as swords or knives carefully. They should be dull, with no waving around or stabbing at people or items.
  7. Colored or decorative contact lenses shouldn’t be worn unless they’ve been prescribed by an eye doctor.
Tips for Trick-or-Treating on Halloween:
  1. Always go trick-or-treating with a flashlight.
  2. Never run. There are a lot of things to hit or trip over, including other people.
  3. Attach reflective tape to your costume to help cars and other vehicles see you if you walk in the road.
  4. Don’t go trick-or-treating alone; go with a group or a trusted adult.
  5. Avoid eating homemade treats unless you can trust the person that gave it to you, or an adult says it’s all right.
  6. Don’t visit dark homes. Only enter homes of the people you know unless a trusted adult is with you.
  7. If you do not have an adult with you, someone in your group should have a cell phone, and you should travel an agreed-upon route.
  8. Brighter neighborhoods are safer than dark ones, and well-traveled areas are best. Stay on the sidewalk.

Remember: when driving on Halloween, be sure to drive slowly and watch out for party-goers or trick-or-treaters on the street.

Follow these easy tips to ensure Halloween ends with everyone happy and safe. Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more fun Star Wars information.

Rogue One News Tidbits

Rogue One's charactersThe second Rogue One trailer came out October 13th. If there was ever a demand for a way to turn visual images into edible delicacies, it was then. While there’s no big news about the movie, or star drama behind the scenes, there have been plenty of cool stories to help fan the hype flames in the months leading to the next Star Wars installment.

Rogue One mini-news:

Both Rogue One trailers have been well-received, but one fan (or perhaps a group) decided to go the next step. They cut together video and dialogue from both trailers into an ambitious and stirring six-minute video, building from the scenes of Jyn Erso and her father, to Jyn’s recruitment, to the mission to steal the Death Star plans. It looks like it could be a professionally-made trailer.

A few months before “The Force Awakens” came out, terminally-ill fan Daniel Fleetwood, 32, got to see the film early. Early November of 2015, Daniel was able to watch the film in a private, early screening. Only a week later, he would succumb to spindle cell sarcoma. A similar story—of fan Neil Hanvey—happened in August. After fighting cancer for three and a half years, Hanvey’s family began a hastag campaign on Twitter, asking the filmmakers give him a chance to see the movie. He got his wish, and died a week later. We assume this is a result of the cancer, not the movie’s quality.

Alan Tudyk, famous for his portrayal of Wash in “Firefly,” won’t have his face shown—he plays hulking droid K-2SO. However, a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) revealed he did have an acted cameo, but it didn’t make the cut. Apparently, he played the character as played by his “Con Man” character, Wray Nerely. The character Wray is a struggling actor shoe-horned into SF roles and makes the rounds at cons.

As we get closer to Rogue One, more information and news is sure to come out; we’ll be sure to include it. Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more fun Star Wars information.

Terrible Star Wars costumes

We like to think we’re positive people. However, we also know we know costumes, especially Star Wars costumes. Every Halloween you’re probably going to see some cool homemade costumes and flashy outfits to drool over, but you will also find some costumes able to benefit from a little more work. Again, we’re positive people, so we can ignore costumes from younger fans, or those meant to be low-quality or cost, but some Star Wars costumes just make you laugh. Here are 4 terrible Star Wars costumes:

The Best of the Terrible:

Terrible three charactersOur first picture presents us with a strange quandary: Who are these characters? From left to right it’s Giant White Solo Cup with blue decals, King Midas ready for a battle, and someone trying desperately to keep the rain off. Oh, he has buns duct taped to his head. Duct taped. That’s going to be a difficult removal process. For C-3PO as well! R2-D2 is the best costume here for just removal purposes.

Terrible Darth Vader MaskSpeaking frankly, the Stormtrooper helmet doesn’t look very bad at all. Maybe a bit misshapen, but aren’t we all? The other mask, however, looks more like Futurama’s Bender than a Lord of the Sith. One of the most defining features of Darth Vader’s helmet is the shape, and this example misses the mark. Don’t worry kid, keep at it.

Terrible R2-D2 costumeDon’t stare too long; it may cause nightmares. Honestly, this isn’t the worst costume we’ve ever seen, or even near to the worst, but the…entire package is a bit disturbing. Best we can come up with, during a monster movie this is the joke monster the protagonists would see while escaping something much worse. Not really very scary, but not very fun to look at, either.

Terrible Jabba the Hutt CostumeJabba the Hutt, why are you packed full of bowling balls? It’s a question for the ages. Not every crime lord has the body volume to carry so many orbs. This costume is the lumpiest thing since Chewbacca’s son. We’re also rather unsure of what he’s holding, though it could be a poker, in case the helium balloons taking up this costume’s space make it float away.

Thanks for reading about these four terrible costumes! Come back next week for more fun fan information!

Panaka Character Corner

If you’ve seen Star Wars Episode I, you’ve probably seen Captain Quarsh Panaka, though you may not know his name. He is the stoic, pessimistic, and conserved head of Amidala’s security, who helps Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan protect Amidala and drive out the Trade Federation. What happens to him after the movie?

Panaka’s Rise and FallCaptain Panaka

When Amidala’s term as queen of Naboo ended, Panaka remained to protect the next queen, Jamillia. When Amidala became a galactic senator, he spent some time protecting her, but for the most part stayed on Naboo. He assigned his nephew, Captain Gregar Typho, to the senator.

After the Clone Wars had broken out, Panaka learned of Amidala and Anakin’s marriage. He informed Palpatine, who used the knowledge to his advantage, turning Anakin against his friends, leading to the destruction of the republic and the Jedi.

During the Galactic Civil War Panaka stayed loyal to the emperor. Eventually promoted to Commander, he was tasked with exploring an uncharted planet. He met a Human-Sephi hybrid and battled interdimensional “Rozzums,” and became Moff of the Chommell sector.

Following the death of the emperor, Panaka met with Princess Leia Organa. He found Leia’s new republic illegitimate, despite her attempts to draw him to her side. Even after a threat of attack, he refused to relent. In 13 ABY, the empire fell for good, and the New Republic replaced him with a Gungan senator.

Moff PanakaBehind the Scenes

Captain Panaka prepared for the worst. Humorless and grim, he was often on alert, and was called “the quickest eyes on Naboo.” His officers found him distant, demanding and professional. He was bilingual, and could speak Huttese.

Hugh Quarshie plays Panaka in Episode I. Jeff Coopwood voices the character in most video games. Quarshie decided not to return for Episode II, saying he did not think the studio offered him enough money. The Brazilian dub changed his name to “Panassi,” since his original name is similar to “panaca,” which translates to “douchebag.”

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!

Battle: Vader and Luke against Rey and Kylo Ren

Luke and Vader battle against Kylo Ren and ReyA few times in the past, we’ve pitted Star Wars character from different eras against each other, investigating who would emerge victorious. We’ve had Han and Chewie against the Fetts, Mace Windu against Darth Maul, and more, and now we have a collection of new characters to pick and choose from. Now, for your enjoyment, we present the battle of Rey and Kylo Ren against Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

At first it seems like a very one-sided battle. Darth Vader, the most powerful Jedi ever, and one of the few to ever beat him, Luke Skywalker, against an upstart Sith and a nameless Jedi? Might as well just end the blog post here. So, to make it a little more fair, we’re going to say Luke is Episode IV Luke, with little training and just the barest notion of what the Jedi and Sith even are. Let’s look at each character, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how the battle might end up going.

Rey:

Strengths – Rey Nolastname is a dark horse in this fight. Though she clearly has the powers of the Jedi, and was even able to beat Kylo Ren in a fight, Rey is untrained and unsure of her own abilities. She can shoot, handle a lightsaber, use minor force abilities, and has a definite willpower. She is also a talented mechanic.

Weaknesses – With no training of any kind, physical or mental, she is at a huge disadvantaged with juggernaut Vader on the field. Getting into a straight duel would spell the end for her.

Kylo Ren:

Strengths – We just said Rey beat him, but there is a caveat. Earlier, Chewbacca shoots Kylo Ren with his Wookiee bowcaster, a weapon powerful enough to disembowel at a distance. Not only does he survive the blow, but he then fights Finn and Rey in the climactic battle. Clearly, the man has more physical power than he gets credit for. He’s also talented with his lightsaber, well-versed in the force, and ruthless.

Weaknesses – As the heartbreaking bridge scene tells us, Kylo Ren is wracked with guilt and unsure if he should really be playing his part as Sith Lord. He also can sometimes lose focus, as well as losing control when his anger gets the best of him.

Darth Vader:

Strengths – Power, armor, lightsaber skills, force mastery.

Weaknesses – despite his imposing size and strength, he is a hurt man. Striking his life-support systems could put him out of commission, and a long, drawn-out battle would tire him. Finally, if somebody can reach the emotional side he’s hidden deep within it may stun him.

Luke Skywalker:

Strengths – Luke is a talented pilot, and engineer. He also has his ligthsaber in hand, is a good shot, and has a deep connection to the force. He also has youthful pluck in spades.

Weaknesses – Not very well-trained, not very strong, and without the quiet intensity Rey has, Luke is a huge handcuff for Vader in a two-on-two.

The battle:

Of the four, Kylo is the most likely to rush into battle. The question is would he go after Luke or Vader? The point seems moot, since Vader would probably leap to Luke’s defense. Either way, the two battles would be Kylo against Vader and Luke against Rey.

Luke and Rey, both beginning their Jedi lives, would likely take things slow. However, Rey seems more aggressive of the two, as well as having even more natural abilities than Luke. The close-quarters battle we see at the end of Episode VII gives credence to the thought Rey will quickly overpower Luke, leading to her victory.

Kylo might catch Vader off-guard, but his skill is no match for Vader’s experience, as well as the incredible power Vader possesses naturally. His armor also provides him more. It’s more of a toss-up than Rey and Luke, but still trends in Vader’s favor.

With Rey and Darth Vader left, victory all but seems certain of the original trilogy villain. If Vader teases and tests her, as he did with Luke at the end of Episode V, she may find an opening and poke through, but most of the time Vader will emerge victorious.

Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more fun fan information. Also, don’t forget to enter our Halloween sweepstakes!

Grand Heritage New Costumes

Trying to find a costume with a little more oomph this Halloween, but still want to show off Star Wars style? We now offer a new set of grand heritage costumes that are sure to make you feel ready to take on the Sith, conquer the galaxy, or rule Cloud City!

A Grand Heritage of Star Wars!

Kylo Ren Grand HeritageAs the new villain of the Star Wars movies, Kylo Ren still has a lot to show us. He dueled Rey, sent Han Solo down an endless shaft, and even took a bowcaster bolt straight to the chest. Pick up the Grand Heritage Kylo Ren Adult Costume to turn yourself into the next generation of the Sith. Continue Darth Vader’s legacy of power over the galaxy!

Rey Grand HeritageWear the Grand Heritage Rey Adult Costume to become the newest heroine of the sequel trilogy! She may not know much about her history and heritage, but she knows she has a great destiny in store. As she battles against Kylo Ren and the First Order, this young Jedi looks to save the galaxy from the Sith once again!

Han Solo Grand HeritageHe isn’t the first space rogue, but Han Solo is the progenitor of every morally-ambivalent spacefarer since the beginning. When you get the Grand Heritage Han Solo Adult Costume, you’re ready to join Luke, Princess Leia, and your dependable co-pilot Chewie at what will eventually turn into one of the greatest movie events of all time!

Lando Calrissian Grand HeritageIn the Grand Heritage Lando Calrissian Adult Costume, become the famous ruler of Bespin’s floating Cloud City! The Empire made a grave mistake when it double-crossed this sharp-witted smooth talker. Don’t miss this character from the Empire Strikes Back–looking good has never been easier!

X-Wing Fighter Grand HeritageThe Rebels must always be ready to fight a larger and more powerful force. In the Grand Heritage X-Wing Fighter Pilot Adult Costume, you’re part of the Rebel’s space-fighting force. Launch the attack against the Death Star, defend Echo base, and battle among dueling fleets over the forest moon of Endor!

Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more fun fan information and costumes. Don’t forget to enter our third annual Halloween Sweepstakes!