George Lucas on Star Wars: The Old Man and the Machine

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode IV, A New Hope, lightsaber

The Scene: Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader prepare to duel with lightsabers aboard the Death Star.

George Lucas Says (Via The Birth of the Lightsaber featurette): “In the beginning, the first film, Episode IV, it was a fight between a very old man and a man who was only partially a man, mostly a mechanical being. So it really wasn’t much of a sword fight at all. … As we went on, we wanted to have the lightsaber fights become faster and more intense as Luke became more proficient in the art of sword fighting.”

I Say: I’ve heard George talk about this a number of times over the years. It works fine as an in-story explanation of why there are no acrobatics or fancy sword fighting moves in A New Hope. But if Star Wars had been made in the prequel era, i.e. the late ’90s and early 2000s, you’ve got to know that Obi-Wan would have been doing all sorts of wild stunts. Remember that Count Dooku, who can’t be that far removed from Obi-Wan in terms of age, does a somersault off a balcony in Revenge of the Sith for no apparent reason.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

George Lucas on Star Wars: General Grievous and Darth Vader

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

General Grievous entrance, Star Wars Revenge of the Sith

The Scene: General Grievous, leader of the Separatist droid army, enters the film.

George Lucas Says (via the Revenge of the Sith commentary track): “With General Grievous, I wanted somebody who was reminiscent … of what Anakin is going to become, which is a half-man, half-robot. In this case, Grievous is sort of 20 percent alien, 80 percent robot. … It echoes what is about to occur with Anakin, as a part machine, part life form.”

I say: George Lucas does love his echoes, doesn’t he? I remember thinking this idea of Grievous sort of foreshadowing what happens to Anakin when he becomes Darth Vader was pretty cool. If nothing else, it shows that Darth Sidious’ forces had become somewhat proficient in creating cyborgs out of critically wounded beings. So, in a way, Grievous also lays the groundwork for Anakin’s transformation later in the film.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Toy Chest Theater: Darth Vader by Tanner Scott Mielken

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

So would this be…an inverted parody?

More than three decades after its release, Spaceballs remains the definitive Star Wars parody. Frankly, it’s not even a close race. Most of us who’ve seen the movie no doubt recall the moment when Colonel Sandurz (played by George Wyner) walks in on Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) playing with his dolls. Personally, I’d call them action figures. But that’s neither here nor there…

In this image, Tanner Scott Mielken takes that scene from a Spaceballs and flips it on its head, using the character that’s actually being parodied to parody that parody. Make sense?

Darth Vader, Tanner Scott Mielken

It doesn’t hurt that it’s funny just to see Darth Vader playing with dolls. So even if you haven’t seen Spaceballs, it works.

Incidentally, if you haven’t seen Spaceballs then run, do not walk, and find it. I’ll even help you: You can stream it for free on YouTube.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

George Lucas on Star Wars: Reading Emotion into a Robot

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

C-3PO, Star Wars A New Hope

The Scene: C-3PO enters the film alongside R2-D2.

George Lucas Says: “One of the very difficult things about creating Threepio is that I needed to create a face that was absolutely neutral, that I could then read into whatever emotion it was that was being put forth in the scene. I had a sculptress come in and do a series of heads to to get to a head that was absolutely neutral and had no emotion on it whatsoever. I wanted all the reactions to be from the environment and the story around it so that if he was happy you would read happiness into his face. If he was sad you would read sadness into his face, and it wouldn’t be distorted at all by the physical configuration of his face.”

I Say: The whole “read emotion into the face” principle doesn’t just apply to Threepio. It also applies to Darth Vader. Case in point: The moments prior to Vader’s unmasking in Return of the Jedi, as he’s telling Luke he wants to “look on you with my own eyes.” We’re reading things like love and compassion into Vader’s mask, which is a stark contrast to what we’ve read into it previously.

To an extent, it also applies to R2-D2 and other robot characters. I suppose that’s what happens when your robots have so many feelings…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Epic Covers: Star Wars: Darth Vader #28 by Rahzzah

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

They’ve been doing a long-term storyline in Star Wars: Darth Vader where Vader teams up with one of Padme’s former handmaidens, Sabe. While I can’t say I’ve been following along, this cover for today’s issue by Rahzzah caught my attention. The Emperor tends to have that effect, doesn’t he?

Darth Vader 28, cover, 2022, Rahzzah

This cover has a lot going for it. The blocking is wonderful, placing Palpatine behind Sabe with his hand on her shoulder, like he’s a vampire or some undead creature reaching for her. The detailed fashion in which Rahzzah renders his face certainly accentuates that idea. Along those same lines, Sabe looks just like Natalie Portman. That might actually be the one thing I dislike about the image, as Sabe was played by Keira Knightley in The Phantom Menace. Do they not have the rights to her likeness?

Then you have the obvious color contrast between the two characters. Palpatine is in black, while Sabe is all in white. Good and evil, etc. The red background also gives the image a certain intensity. Of course, it helps that red is synonymous with the Sith in Star Wars.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

George Lucas on Star Wars: The Rule of Two

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Count Dooku, Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones

The Scene: Count Dooku asks the captured Obi-Wan Kenobi to join him against Darth Sidious. Obi-Wan refuses.

George Lucas Says (via the Attack of the Clones commentary track): “I was able to get in this little thing of, you put two Sith together, and they try to get others to join them to get rid of the other Sith. So Dooku’s ambition here is really to get rid of Darth Sidious, and he’s trying to get Obi-Wan’s assistance in that. … So that he and Obi-Wan can overthrow Sidious and take over. And it’s exactly the same scene as when Darth Vader does it with Luke to try and get rid of Sidious [in The Empire Strikes Back]. So whenever you get too many people together with these Sith Lords, they all gang up and they all try to get rid of the strongest one. … So the one facet of the Sith reality is that they’re constantly plotting against each other, and therefore there can’t be more than two of them at any time.”

I Say: One of the recurring elements in Star Wars is greed and a lust for power. It’s most plainly on display with the Sith’s “Rule of Two.” Whether you’re talking about Sidious and Dooku, the Emperor and Vader, or Snoke and Kylo Ren in the later films, you always have two individuals who are so hungry for power that their partnership is inevitably doomed from the start. I’ve always felt there’s a truth to this notion as far as the nature of evil is concerned. No matter how long you can make it lasts, it’s destined for self destruction.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

George Lucas on Star Wars: Threepio’s Humanity vs. Vader’s Humanity

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

C-3PO, Han Solo, Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back

The Scene: After a sarcastic interaction with Han Solo, C-3PO says, “Sometimes I just don’t understand human behavior!”

George Lucas Says (via the “Characters of Star Wars” featurette): “Part of the fun of Threepio is he has no soul. He is programmed to think a particular way and be compassionate, but he doesn’t really know what that means. And sometimes he gets frustrated and sometimes he has very human-like qualities, but they don’t have a central place where he can think independently. Darth Vader, on the other hand, as he becomes more mechanical, he loses more and more of his ability to even think like a human.”

I Say: The notion that Vader is losing his ability to even think like a human being is compelling. In contrast, Threepio is, in many ways, trying to discover his own humanity. There’s an interesting dichotomy there when you consider that Darth Vader built C-3PO. As the movies go on, the human being starts to become less human and more robotic, while the robot starts to gain his humanity.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

The Essential Clone Wars: “The Gathering”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S5:E6 – “The Gathering”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Olivia Hack, Jeff Fischer, Greg Cipes, Georgina Cordova, Dee Bradley Baker
WRITER:
Christian Taylor
DIRECTOR:
Kyle Dunlevy
PREMIERE DATE:
November 3, 2012
SYNOPSIS:
A group of Younglings travel to Ilum for a Jedi rite of passage.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

I was immediately disappointed when I realized the dialogue for Gungi, the young wookiee, consisted of recycled Chewbacca noises. I understand it was probably cheaper than hiring an actor to come in to grunt and growl. But at the same time, they had both Dee Bradley Baker and Tom Kane in the cast for this episode. You’re tellin’ me neither of them could fire off a decent wookiee noise? I don’t buy it.

On the subject of voice actors, I was pleasantly surprised to see Greg Cipes on the credits as the voice of Zatt. Cipes also provided the voice of Michelangelo in Nickelodeon’s 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. When you know its him, and listen intently, you can hear Mikey in Zatt’s voice.

From a writing standpoint, I can appreciate the whole “Gathering” ritual. But part of me does wish it wasn’t centered around lightsabers. The Jedi are more than just superheroes with laser swords, and there’s so much emphasis on lightsabers already. It might have been nice for them to think a little bit outside the box here.

Question: As he’s the head teacher for the Younglings, not to mention the grand master of the Jedi Order, does Yoda have to be present at all these Gathering events? If so, that seems like the kind of thing he should have pawned off on somebody else. Especially during a time of war.

This episode takes on a much different tone when you consider that most, if not all these kids were likely murdered during the events of Revenge of the Sith. Possibly by Darth Vader himself. Kind of a downer, huh?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Toy Chest Theater: Darth Vader by Ash Betton

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This is one of those shots that made me wonder, “How’d they do that?”

Ash Betton shows us Darth Vader as we saw him at the end of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Pretty quick turnaraound, too. That episode is only a couple weeks old.

No, but seriously. How’d he do this? It’s not like they have a “Vader with his mask broken” action figure out…yet.

Darth Vader by Ash Betton

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part VI” Review

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi poster, Owen LarsSERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part VI”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Moses Ingram, Hayden Christensen, James Earl Jones (voice), Joel Edgerton
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Andrew Stanton, Stuart Beattie, Hossein Amini
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 22, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan must face Darth Vader once again.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

We got a lot of callbacks in this episode. We got some Empire Strikes Back with the ship being chased by a Star Destroyer, Vader on the bridge, and the musical callback to John Williams’ score. We got another later in the episode with Luke’s line, “I’m not afraid.”

We had some more more verbal callbacks with Ewan’s lines, “I will do what I must,” (Revenge of the Sith) and “Then my friend is truly dead” (Return of the Jedi). Palpatine (more on him in a bit) had one about Vader’s thoughts being “clear.” One can even make an argument for Reva’s hunting of Luke in the dark being a nod to Return of the Jedi.

All…interesting choices. I’m not sure I would have gone quite that heavy. But there it is.

Ha! After Obi-Wan says, “I will do what I must,” he does what I’ll call the “Obi-Wan pose” (shown below), with the lightsaber in one hand and his other extended outward. Great little touch.

The second fight between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader was about what it should have been. Obi-Wan had a little bit of his mojo back, but was still doing a lot of evading.

That broken Vader helmet thing was done on Rebels. So there is a certain cheapness to doing it again. But I’d argue this was more effective, by virtue of us having the involvement of both Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones, as well as Ewan McGregor.

This episode gave us what I thought was the show’s only major misstep: Obi-Wan knowingly leaving Vader alive. That’s an objectively stupid move. At least in Revenge of the Sith, he thought Anakin was dead when he left Mustafar. But here there’s no excuse. Obi-Wan has accepted the notion that the Anakin he knew is gone. He’s standing in front of Darth Vader, who has slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands of people. The right thing to do would have been to finish the job.

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi, Part VI, pose

What boggles my mind is that they could have easily had the Grand Inquisitor fly in with a squad of TIE Fighters and attack Obi-Wan, prompting a hasty retreat. Or something like that. But to just leave the evil dictator alive when you’ve got him right where you want him? Nope. Fail. So is Obi-Wan now culpable in every life Vader takes from here on out?

Reva’s redemption obviously opens the door to more stories with her. Supposedly she has her own series in the works. I can’t say I’m dying to see her story continue. But who am I kidding? I’d watch. If nothing else it would be poetic justice for all the racist crap Moses Ingram got.

Great to see a Palpatine cameo from Ian McDiarmid. He’s always great. Poor guy had to lie about it at Star Wars Celebration.

There’s been a lot of talk about Leia’s outfits in this show being reminiscent of stuff she wore in the original trilogy. But I’d argue her final outfit in this episode, and the series itself, was very similar to what Luke wears on Tatooine. That’s fitting, for obvious reasons.

So…Obi-Wan just stopped by Alderaan for a quick visit? That’s a little weird. They couldn’t have done that via the holo-communicator?

I can already here the crybabies out there calling foul over Obi-Wan meeting Luke. But Luke did know who “Old Ben”was in A New Hope. There was nothing there to directly contradict him meeting Leia, and there’s even less to indicate that he hadn’t met Luke at least once. Maybe even two or three times. Cool your thrusters, fanboys…

Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi, Part VI

Aaaaaaand of course Liam Neeson made a cameo as Qui-Gon. I called it. They couldn’t not pay that off after Obi-Wan spoke to him multiple times over the course of the show. I’m happy Liam Neeson is back in the Star Wars fold. I enjoy the Qui-Gon Jinn character. Quite a bit, actually.

There was a time period where Star Wars really harped on hope. Especially in Rogue One and The Last Jedi. But in its own way, Obi-Wan Kenobi was about hope too. Specifically, Obi-Wan regaining the hope he lost so many years ago after Anakin’s fall. Thankfully, this series didn’t point at it the way those movies did.

Obi-Wan Kenobi went by fast, didn’t it? But the show, despite its critics, delivered. I’d still argue The Mandalorian is better. But not by much. Obi-Wan Kenobi has been, and perhaps should be, judged by very different standards. People came in with much higher expectations. But I honestly don’t see what more the show could have done to appeal to fans new and old. For that, I tip my hat to it.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.