HuffPost has a great piece in response to the news that screenwriter Michael Arndt is no longer working on Episode 7. Mike Ryan points out that the script to The Empire Strikes Back changed massively as a result of the death of its original author, Leigh Brackett. From the piece:
The original Leigh Brackett draft of Empire is a bit of a marvel in and of itself. It's online if you want to read it (which I have), and it is really drastically different than what appeared in the final film. And it's an oddity worth exploring to illustrate just how much a story can change from the first draft to the final draft.
Brackett's version of Empire -- titled Star Wars Sequel Screenplay -- still starts on an icy planet that we all know now as Hoth, even though this planet's name is never identified (though Hoth will play a role later on in the script). The Wampas, which are basically relegated to the beginning of the final film, play a huge role in the first script, to the point that a massive battle breaks out between the Wampas and the Rebel Alliance (oh, also, Wampas have the power to freeze people with their touch).
During this battle, Luke Skywalker basically gets his ass handed to him by a Wampa, resulting in Han Solo barking sarcastic lines like, "The Force is not with you today, kid." Then Han explains to Luke how a lightsaber works (which is just weird in every way), "Those lightsabers were ceremonial weapons, even for the Jedi Knights."
Follow the link for more ESB weirdness, including the ghost of Luke's father (hint: he's not Darth Vader), the clone Lando Kadar, and Han's stepfather Ovan Marekal.
Created by Atlanta based artist Christian Waggoner, the series sees highly detailed illustrations of characters from the Star Wars universe, but it’s in the reflections where this series sets itself apart from other art collections we’ve featured. If you look closely at the visor for Boba Fett, you will see the reflection of Han Solo being frozen in carbonite. Darth Vader’s reflection showcases his lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi, R2-D2 shows Princess Leia recording her “Help Me Obi-Wan” message, and several other characters are seen with famous reflections in their eyes and visors as well. The prints are limited edition, available in canvas and framed versions, are individually numbered, and even come signed by the artist himself.
Follow the links below for many more images. The prints start at US$112.
How can I make iron-on transfers of these images using my color printer? These are all from the spectacular Star Wars Iron-On Transfer book. I had this set at one time and actually made a few t-shirts for myself. I am sure there is some way to get the special paper for my printer so I can do the same with these. I have to do some research on this subject.
I don't know the answer but I hope he figures it out and tells us all. These designs are pure old-school Star Wars. Follow the link for more transfers.
Oliver Miller posted this on Thought Catalog back in March, but it's new to me and probably to you, too. The quote selection is interesting in itself, but my favourite part is Miller's hilarious, dead-on introduction to his list. Here's an excerpt:
…And by “quotes from Star Wars,” I of course mean the three real Star Wars movies, and not the prequels, which I still haven’t fully recovered from. Seriously; the prequels — I have no words. I am speechless. I have no words. And now they’re making three more Star Wars movies. Maybe it’s time to ask ourselves: how many Star Wars movies do we need, exactly? This seems like an important question to be asking. Maybe three Star Warsmovies is good? I’m good with that.
Follow the link for more Star Wars irreverance/amibivalence, not to mention the quote list itself.
My wife's friend posted this amazing shot on Facebook. It's a hot air balloon flying over High River, Alberta. It's there all this weekend, apparently.
Nicely done video with four propositions about what made Star Wars great. It's full of subtle and not-so-subtle digs at the prequels.
You can also visit the web site and sign a petition in support of these sentiments. If they get one million signatures, the makers of this video plan to visit Disney HQ in Burbank (with camera crew) to hand deliver the petition to, er, the receptionist I guess.
Look at this beautiful photo of my book--with the two Star Wars figures I always wanted as a boy but couldn't have because Kenner didn't make them! The photographer is also the man behind one of my favourite new Star Wars blogs. If you haven't visited the YASWB Tumblr blog yet, go do it. YASWB puts a lot of thought into his photos and posts. I have sung his praises before here. If you're an old-time Star Wars fan, this blog is a real pleasure.
YASWB posted this terrific picture of my book, together with some very kind words for it, on 4 September, but I've only just seen it now. Here's a quote:
The book is written in a very humorous way and contains many smart and beautifully written statements about Star Wars and its impact on our lives. I consider this book a mandatory reading for everyone who grew up with the original Star Wars and its toys in the 70s and 80s and for everyone who wants to understand and learn about the beauty of the Star Wars of yesterday.
You can read the rest here.
Thanks for the kind words and the thoughtful photo!
Beatrice hatched the plan weeks ago. Upon learning that my wife would be going to Montreal on a business trip and leaving me alone with both kids for four nights, my little girl whispered in my ear, "Can we watch Star Wars when mum is away?" As Beatrice well knows, Stephanie has been the main obstacle to me showing her Star Wars. My wife worried the film was too violent for our five-and-a-half-year-old and would scare her. "I saw it when I was four," I told her. A raised eyebrow was Steph's only reply.
With mum out of the way, the next challenge was to find something to do with Zach. Even I had to admit that, at barely a week beyond his third birthday, Zach really was too young for Star Wars. So I arranged to have him spend the night with his cousin Rory--his first sleepover. We were all set.
So after a dinner of macaroni and smores (Beatrice's choices both), I put the blinds down, inserted my copy of the Star Wars Special Edition DVD (Greedo shoots first but Obi-Wan's Krayt dragon call is unchanged) and settled down on the couch with my excited little girl.
As Beatrice and I watched the film, I found myself half agreeing with my wife. Beatrice probably is too young for Star Wars--not because of the violence, which Beatrice compared at one point to the old Bugs Bunny cartoons I introduced her to over the summer ("Everyone has guns"), but because of the complexity of the story. Just like when I told her Star Wars as a bedtime story a couple years back (see the epilogue to A Long Time Ago), Bea kept confusing the characters. As late into the movie as the trench run, she had to ask me which one was Darth Vader. Han's habit of calling Leia "sister" also confused Bea, who exclaimed at one point, "She's his sister?" The irony...
Two scenes made a clear impression on Beatrice. Our first sight of Princess Leia caused her to gasp and exclaim, "Oh she's beautiful!" Later, when our heroes flee the detention block through the garbage shoot, Han's rebuke of Chewbacca--"I don't care what you smell!" followed by a kick in the bum--had her howling with pleasure. Beatrice repeated the line several times for the next 30 minutes, mostly with the addition, "mister!" at the end of it.
Watching Star Wars with a five-year-old got me thinking about what I must have taken from Star Wars--and, more to the point, what I missed--when I saw it so long ago. There is simply no way I could have understood the film except in the broadest of outlines. It's just not a kids' movie. Beatrice wanted to know why Han shot Greedo. How was I supposed to explain smuggling and indebtedness to a five-year-old?
When the film was over, I told Beatrice that there were two more Star Wars movies we could watch together. (I wasn't going to say five, was I?) She wants to see them, but so far there are no signs of obsession. She enjoyed the film, and the movie night with dad, and the smores for desert. Not necessarily in that order. Time will tell, but for the moment there are no signs of those "little star-shells of madness" that Alec Guinness once claimed to have seen in the eyes of a young Star Wars addict.
The main reason I wanted to show Beatrice Star Wars sooner rather than later was my fear that, if I didn't cram the whole original trilogy down her throat before she got to kindergarten, she would find out about the Vader/Skywalker thing on the playground, and The Empire Strikes Back would be spoiled for her. Having shown her Star Wars, I realize that fear is silly. Even if someone does spill the beans, I don't think she'll really get it. Not yet. I was seven when I saw Empire. Maybe Beatrice will be, too.
PS yes that is me in my Tarkin t-shirt. What else would I wear on such an occasion?
The Guardian has a long, fairly interesting piece on the mainstreaming of geek culture. From the article:
What does it all mean? Has geek finally been absorbed and neutered, its network of rich and sustaining subcultures that were rooted in a real love of pop-culture minutiae and genuine expertise in matters technical now reduced to an unearned T-shirt and a pair of heavy-framed glasses with no lenses in them? Or has it, Borg-like, assimilated the mainstream and begun to subtly direct our world via its norms and memes? (Example:people actually know what memes are now.) Is geek just the post-noughties' fleeting equivalent of punk or lad culture, or does it mark a more fundamental realignment in our society? Above all, have we finally reached Peak Geek?
Chris Coleman is head of print and graphics at fashion trend forecasters WGSN. He puts the Rise of the Nerds in straightforward economic terms. If education, once free to all, is now scarce and expensive then you'll begin to unconsciously flaunt your commitment to the life of the mind. Thick glasses and a cardigan thus become the red braces and power-shoulders of the 21st century. Enticingly, you become both an outlaw and a member of an elite.