George Lucas on Star Wars: A “Good” Villain?

***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.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Palpatine, Darth Sidious, Star Wars Revenge of the Sith

The Scene: Palpatine is revealed as Darth Sidious. Moments after Mace Windu’s death, he instructs his new apprentice Darth Vader to kill all the Jedi in the Jedi Temple.

George Lucas Says (via the Revenge of the Sith commentary track): “One of the issues in all of this is the bad guys think they’re good, and Lord Sidious thinks he’s bringing peace to the galaxy because there’s so much corruption, confusion, and chaos going on. And that now he’s going to be able to straighten everything out. Which may be true. But the price that the galaxy is going to have to pay for it is way too much.”

I Say: I understand the notion that most evil people don’t believe they’re evil. But I don’t necessarily agree with George here. Especially given the way Ian McDiarmid plays Palpatine. The man is clearly reveling in his own wickedness. This isn’t some misguided soul who thinks he’s making hard choices for the good of the galaxy. Palpatine knows who and what he is. He wants all the power in the universe for himself, and there’s no length to which he won’t go to obtain it. He’ll even defy death itself…

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Good and Bad Technology

***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.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

C-3PO, Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

The Scene: R2-D2 and C-3PO are among the allies our heroes find as they face off against the Trade Federation and its army of Battle Droids.

George Lucas Says: “I like technology. I use technology. But at the same time, I understand the failings of technology. You can’t rely on technology for everything. So I have this duel nature in the movies of the friendly human good technology of Artoo and Threepio, and the evil technology of the battle droids. … I’m constantly playing with those two ends of the dilemma. But never really saying that one is better than the other. I’m just simply trying to promote the human spirit, even as it exists in a droid.”

I Say: I get what he’s saying here about the good and bad of technology. But at the same time, George Lucas talking about how he understands the failings of technology is a little rich, as so many of us would say his over-reliance on technology and CGI is one of the major drawbacks of the prequel trilogy.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: The Kurosawa Influence

***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.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

C-3PO, R2-D2, Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope

The Scene: The original Star Wars film opens from the point of view of two droids, C-3PO and R2-D2.

George Lucas Says (via the A New Hope commentary track): “…we follow the two most insignificant characters, which are the droids. This was an idea I was enamored with that was used by Akira Kurosawa in The Hidden Fortress. Where you take the least important characters and you follow their story amongst this big intergalactic drama that they don’t understand.”

I Say: The influence of Akira Kurosawa’s work on Lucas and Star Wars has been widely documented. In George Lucas: A Life, Brian Daley notes that such influence included the “used, repaired, then used again” look of Kurosawa’s films, along with the practice of dropping audiences in the middle of a grand setting without the benefit of backstory, were also among the more notable elements Lucas borrowed for the original film.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Boba Fett’s “Death”

***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.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Boba Fett, Return of the Jedi

The Scene: Han Solo accidentally smacks Boba Fett’s jet pack with a weapon, jump-starting his jet pack and sending him falling into the sarlaac pit below, presumably to his demise.

George Lucas Says (via the Return of the Jedi commentary track): “In the case of Boba Fett’s death, had I known he was going to turn into such a popular character I probably would have made it a little more exciting. Boba Fett was just another one of the minions. Another one of the bounty hunters and bad guys. But he became such a favorite … for having such a small part, he had a very large presence. And now that his history has been told in the [prequel] trilogy, it makes it even more of a misstep that we wouldn’t make more out of the event of his defeat. Because most people don’t believe he died anyway. I had contemplated putting that extra shot in where he climbs out of the hole. But I figured it doesn’t quite fit. The main character that ultimately dies in this scene is Jabba the Hutt.”

I Say: “It’s a little refreshing to hear George admit a mistake here. He’s a guy that usually sticks to his guns. But with almost 40 years of hindsight, it’s pretty tough to deny that Fett went out like a chump. Years after the fact, Lucas would make a similar admission about his decision to kill off Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace.

It’s even more interesting that George acknowledges that the fans didn’t buy that as his death. It makes you wonder if he’d have made Fett part of the sequel trilogy, had he gone forward with his version of the movies.

Fett was, of course, brought back for various novels and comic books in the old “Legends” canon. And now, Disney has made his return official with The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. So I guess he didn’t go out like a chump after all…

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

Rob Watches Boba Fett – Hijacking the Show

The Book of Boba Fett, Mandalorian posterSERIES: The Book of Boba Fett
EPISODE:
S1:E5. “Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Amy Sedaris
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Bryce Dallas Howard
PREMIERE DATE:
January 26, 2022
SYNOPSIS: 
The Mandalorian gets a new ship, and learns more about the power of the Darksaber.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Let’s call out the elephant in the room. The big critique of this episode, as well as the following episode, is that they’re episodes of The Mandalorian shoehorned into The Book of Boba Fett. Whether anyone likes it or not, that’s a fair and just criticism. This is supposed to be a Boba Fett show, and he doesn’t even appear in this episode.

That’s not to say Mando has no place in this story. He could have come to Tatooine to help Fett in his fight against the Pykes. But this? Basically hijacking two episodes of Fett’s show to shift back to his story with Grogu? That’s too much. It’s good stuff, but it doesn’t belong here. It should have been saved for season three of The Mandalorian.

So what happened? How did The Book of Boba Fett get hijacked? I’ve got two theories…

The first is that the showrunners realized they didn’t have enough story with Boba Fett to fill an entire season. So they fall back on the Mandalorian stuff, which they knew fans would like. That doesn’t excuse it, but it’s a reasonable explanation.

The second is that the higher-ups at Disney and/or Lucasfilm said, “Mando and Grogu are popular. So put them in the show.” I’m not sure how likely that is, as Jon Favreau seems to have a good amount of control over the “Mandoverse.” But never underestimate the possibility of non-creative people trying to exert control over creative people. There’d be a sad irony there, as George Lucas fought vehemently against that sort of thing while making the original trilogy.

But to reiterate, even though these two episodes don’t belong here, they are pretty damn good. So let’s dive in…

The Book of Boba Fett, Mandalorian

Awesome entrance for Mando, not surprisingly. A sure fire way for a Star Wars project to impress me is to show us new and unique places in the Star Wars universe. “Return of the Mandalorian” manages to do that not once, but twice. We get this slaughterhouse in the opening scene, which is pretty cool. They could have gotten a little more creative with the fight and maybe had Mando and the goons smacking into bloody slabs of meat. But maybe that’s a little too much…

But what I really loved was the city of Glavis, which is situated on a gigantic ring structure in space. They could have just had Mando on another desert planet, or a jungle planet, or an ice planet, or whatever. But instead they got creative. Excellent.

Amy Sedaris is back as Peli Motto. Given her background, I’m curious if she has any input on what she says. That stuff about dating a jawa, for instance. Did she come up with that, or was it in the script?

Mando’s new ship is a modified Naboo starfigher, like the ones we saw in The Phantom Menace. It looks cool, but I miss the Razor Crest. This fighter doesn’t double as a home base the way the Crest did.

Mando has Mandalorian armor made for Grogu, and wants to deliver it to him personally. He apparently knows where Luke took him. But how? Luke didn’t exactly give a forwarding address. And you’d think he’d want to keep its location a secret. So what gives?

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

Rob Watches Boba Fett – Krrsantan Steals the Show

SERIES: The Book of Boba Fett
EPISODE:
S1:E3. “Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa”
STARRING:
Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, David Pasquesi, Danny Trejo, Sophie Thatcher
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Robert Rodriguez
PREMIERE DATE:
January 12, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Another attempt is made on Boba Fett’s life.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The cyborg gang that Fett ultimately recruits are riding multicolored speeder bikes. That prompted a few Power Rangers jokes on Twitter. As a Power Rangers die hard, you’d think I’d have been more amused. I wasn’t.

As Fett is riding through the city in the flashback, we see the a shot of stormtrooper helmets on spikes, which is obviously an idea recycled from The Mandalorian. As if to add an exclamation point, we then see Peli Motto, the Amy Sedaris character, walking in the distance with some droids trailing her.

Fett returns to the Tusken camp to find they’ve been slaughtered by the nikto gang. So I’ll ask again: How long was he with the Tuskens? Months? Years? He couldn’t have been with them for almost five years, could he?

I loved Black Krrsantan breaking into the palace and grabbing Fett in his bacta tank. It’s one of the highlights of the whole season, if you ask me.

Fett winds up letting Krrsantan go after his conversation with the hutt twins. He lets this big hairy sasquatch just run out into the desert without any water or anything. I guess the idea is that the palace is in Mos Espa, so he’s close to civilization. But it still made for a bit of an awkward visual.

The twins give Fett a new rancor to put in the palace’s pit. Fett expresses a desire to eventually ride the young animal. Well, they’ve planted that visual in our heads. Now it’s going to be disappointing if we don’t get it at some point. If not during the season finale, then during a subsequent season.

I enjoyed the speeder chase through Mos Espa between the cyborg gang and the mayor’s majordomo. Any time there’s a high speed vehicle chase in Star Wars, I imagine George Lucas’ inner child smiles, given his well documented love for cars and speed.

One of the trailers for The Book of Boba Fett made it seem like Sophie Thatcher’s character, the cyborg Drash, would have a bigger role in things. Hopefully as time goes on, we’ll learn more about her.

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Rob Watches Boba Fett – Emerging From the Pit…

The Book of Boba Fett, posterSERIES: The Book of Boba Fett
EPISODE:
S1:E1. “Chapter 1: Stranger in a Strange Land”
STARRING:
Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, David Pasquesi
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Robert Rodriguez
PREMIERE DATE:
December 29, 2021
SYNOPSIS:
Years after escaping certain death, Boba Fett takes over Jabba the Hutt’s criminal empire.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Disney kind of screwed Boba Fett over. I mean, think about it. They took the basic concept of the character, costume and all, and repackaged it into The Mandalorian. And obviously, that repackaging paid off. The Mandalorian is the best Star Wars content to come along in years. But it didn’t leave much for them to work with as far as a Boba Fett TV show is concerned. He couldn’t be a lone gunslinger traveling the galaxy and having adventures. Mando was/is already doing that.

So what does Boba Fett do if he’s not a bounty hunter anymore? That question could have been the thesis for an entire season. But coming into The Book of Boba Fett, we already knew what the character’s new goal was: To take over Jabba the Hutt’s criminal empire.

But why? Why does he want to be the head of a crime family? That’s my big question coming out of the first episode, and that’s what I hope The Book of Boba Fett tells us. At this point, Boba has either been a bounty hunter or been around bounty hunting for most of his life. To an extent, it’s all he knows. So why the change? And why now?

As they’re both overseen by Jon Favreau, and their main characters are so similar, it’s difficult not to compare The Book of Boba Fett to The Mandalorian. Especially at first.

I loved the first episode of The Mandalorian, particularly the opening scene in the cantina. It captured our intrigue, set the tone for the show beautifully, and is generally just a fun scene. This episode doesn’t give us a scene quite like that, but it does show fans something they’ve always wanted to see: Boba Fett escaping from the sarlaac pit.

Even George Lucas didn’t believe Boba Fett died in the pit. He said so on the Return of the Jedi DVD commentary track. So this escape scene was a long time coming. I feel like that image of Fett’s hand bursting out of the sand has been in the fandom’s collective consciousness for decades.

So Fett’s armor (mostly) protected him from the sarlaac’s stomach acid, and he was able to breathe thanks to some leftover oxygen from a doomed Imperial stormtrooper’s helmet. The question, of course, is what a stormtrooper was doing at Jabba’s palace to begin with. It’s not a pressing question, though. We saw stormtroopers walking around on Tatooine. One could have easily gotten on Jabba’s bad side.

Jawas proceed to steal the armor off Fett’s unconscious body. To make matters worse, that white body suit he was wearing isn’t exactly dignified.

So how old is Boba Fett supposed to be at this point? Let’s say he was about 8 when we saw him in Attack of the Clones. And that movie takes places 22 years before A New Hope. So, factoring in the four years between A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, that would make him…about 34 years old when he crawls out of the sarlaac pit, and 39 during the events of The Book of Boba Fett.

I’ll say this much: I don’t necessarily envy Temuera Morrison. He’s over 60 years old, and has to play someone 20 years younger. He manages to pull it off, though.

After being captured and enslaved by Tusken Raiders, Fett is able to loosen his bonds, and offers to free a fellow prisoner. Said prisoner then screams for his captors, foiling Fett’s escape attempt.

Something about Fett offering to free that prisoner rubs me the wrong way. The man is supposed to be a mercenary. What does he care about what happens to anyone else? Particularly in that scenario.

On a geographical note, I never knew Jabba’s palace was in Mos Espa, a city we originally saw in The Phantom Menace. We saw him pop up in that movie during the podrace. But I had no idea he lived there. From exterior shots, the palace always appeared to be in a fairly remote location. Maybe it’s just outside city limits…?

The referral to Boba Fett as the new daimyo is interesting. The word daimyo refers to a lord or leader in feudal Japan. A nod to George Lucas’ appreciation for Akira Kurosawa films, perhaps?

The blue pianist in the cantina is indeed Max Rebo, who we saw in Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi. A random choice. But not an unwelcome one.

After the fight with the assassins, Fett tells his gamorrean guards to get him to his bacta tank. Bacta, of course, being the universal stand-in for medicine in the Star Wars universe.

As he’s moving a bit slow in the fight against the assassins, we see Fett is still feeling the effects of the sarlaac pit even five years later. Presumably he’d be fully healed if he’d started bacta treatments sooner. I’m wondering how long he’s supposed to have been doing bacta treatments. Since he installed himself as daimyo, perhaps? That might make sense, as Jabba would have had the resources to come up with a personal bacta tank like that. Except his would have been much bigger. His would have been, like…a bacta vat.

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

Rob Watches The Mandalorian – The Genius of Baby Yoda

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE: S1:E2. “Chapter Two: The Child.”
STARRING: Pedro Pascal, Misty Rosas, Nick Nolte (voice)
WRITER: Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Rick Famuyiwa
PREMIERE DATE: November 15, 2019
SYNOPSIS: After the Razor Crest is stripped for parts by Jawas, Mando must retrieve a bargaining chip in the form of a beast’s egg.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The child, a.k.a. Baby Yoda, is a stroke of genius. Walk into a Target, Walmart, or Costco these days and you’ll see why. His diminutive size and not-so-diminutive cuteness appeal make him a marketing gold mine. In the grand tradition of Star Wars merchandising, his visage begs to be put on clothes, posters, and of course toys. Frankly, I’m shocked we didn’t see more Baby Yoda merchandise as the first season was in progress. That’s a giant missed opportunity you’d never associate with a titan like Disney.

But at the same time, Baby Yoda teases at answers to questions Star Wars fans have had for decades: What species is Yoda? Why are there so few of them? Did something happen to them? Did they get wiped out? Are they somehow tied into the Jedi and the Force? When you add it all together, Baby Yoda has that rare combination of geek appeal and corporate appeal.

Indeed, the Jawas are back. I remember seeing an “Offworld Jawa” action figure in stores, and wondering what the deal was. The irony is if you came into this episode as a relative newbie, you wouldn’t think they were offworld, i.e. not on Tatooine. Sadly, Arvala-7 is yet another indistinguishable desert planet.

The sequence with Mando chasing the sandcrawler reminded me of a level from Super Star Wars, the old Super Nintendo game. You play as Luke, climbing all over the thing and slashing at Jawas with a lightsaber. That’s basically what Mando is doing here, sans lightsaber.

In terms of the Kuiil character, voiced by Nick Nolte, it’s funny to me how once you know what a voice actor in question looks like, you sometimes start to read their face into the character. For instance, Kuiil looks like Nick Nolte to me, even though they objectively don’t share many features.

“I’m a Mandalorian. Weapons are part of my religion.” I love that line. It’s my favorite in the series thus far.

The hero fighting a big monster is a recurring theme in the George Lucas Star Wars movies. You’ve got the snow monster in The Empire Strikes Back, the rancor in Return of the Jedi, the arena monsters in Attack of the Clones. Depending on how liberal you want to be with the concept, you can extend it to various other moments in the Star Wars saga.

Odd as it sounds, I appreciated how muddy Mando got during the fight with the… *checks Wookiepedia*…mudhorn? That’s the name they came up with?

Anyway, the mud added a bit of a grittier texture to the whole thing. I can’t imagine it was fun to film. But it was appreciated.

So Baby Yoda uses the force to lift the mudhorn into the air so Mando can make the kill. Obviously, this only lends credence to the theory that Yoda’s species is somehow linked with the Jedi and the Force.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Chewbacca and the Ewoks

***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.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Ewoks, Chewbacca, Return of the Jedi

The Scene: To aid in their final defeat of the Empire, the Rebel Alliance finds unlikely help on Endor in the form of the diminutive, fuzzy, primitive ewoks.

George Lucas Says (Via From Star Wars to Jedi): “In the original screenplay [the ewoks were] a society of wookiees who had this giant ground battle with the Empire at the end of the film. And also a space battle. They were trained to fly ships, and they were able to take over the Empire. Well, in the evolution of the script I realized I couldn’t do this giant battle. When I came to the third film and the battle was back in again … I couldn’t use wookiees, because I’d established Chewbacca as being a relatively sophisticated creature. … He [wasn’t] the primitive that he was in the original screenplay. So I had to develop a new kind of wookiee or a new kind of creature that was primitive … [what I decided to do was] instead of making them incredibly tall the way wookiees are, I’d make them incredibly short. And at the same time to make them look different from the wookiees I’d give them short fur instead of long fur. That’s really where the ewok evolved.”

George Lucas Also Says (Via the Return of the Jedi Commentary Track): “It was a wookiee planet. Since I had fallen in love with the wookiees so much when I made Episode IV, I decided to make [Han Solo’s] co-pilot a wookiee, which meant that he was technologically advanced. And the whole concept originally was that the people that overthrew the Empire were not technological. So I had to reinvent a half-sized wookiee.”

I Say: “Before Jar Jar and the gungans became as despised as they are, we had Wicket and the ewoks in Return of the Jedi. I don’t hate either group the way a lot of fans do. I actually enjoy the ewoks quite a bit. But I do reject the notion that a society of wookiees couldn’t have worked in Jedi. I’m fairly certain that even back then, Chewbacca’s backstory was that of a slave, freed and taken in by Han Solo. Given enough time, you can teach technology to a primitive. Chewie could have been unique among his people, and thus been that much more distinct.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Wise Mentor

***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.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

THE SCENE(S): We are introduced to Obi-Wan Kenobi, a wise old hermit living in the deserts of Tatooine who was once a Jedi Knight. He guides Luke Skywalker throughout the film, teaching him the ways of the Force.

GEORGE LUCAS SAYS (VIA THE STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE COMMENTARY TRACK): “Most of the characters in this follow the classic mythological archetypes of the [in the case of Luke and Obi-Wan] the young hero and … the old wizard, the old man, the wise companion. … There’s always a teacher. Someone who mentors the young hero in what his destiny is.”

I SAY: Lucas famously read Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces before writing the original Star Wars treatment. So he’s very much a student of mythological motifs, archetypes, etc. One of which is, of course, the wise mentor.

Likely the most common example you’ll find is Merlin, who mentored King Arthur. But you’ve also got Biblical characters like Moses or Elijah, or Norse mythology characters like Odin or Mimir. The Iliad also has the likes of Nestor or Chiron. More modern examples include Gandalf from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series, and even Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid.

Of course, Star Wars is filled with wise sages. After Obi-Wan in A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back introduced us to Yoda, and then Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. Years later, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo would all play a version of the role in the sequel trilogy.

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