I want to take a moment and share a couple thoughts I’ve been having about the fateful planet of Alderaan.
When we are first introduced to Alderaan (in Episode IV: A New Hope) it is the home world of the one and only Princess Leia. Which in and of itself is enough of a reason for us to care about it’s fate, but beyond that we know nothing. We don’t know what it looks like, whether it’s a rocky planet or a lush planet, whether the people get along on Alderaan. Do some people side with the Empire and others with the Rebellion? The fact is, in those early moments of A New Hope, we know so little about Alderaan. Therefore, the fact that an entire planet is destroyed is tragic, yes. But we are not deeply invested in Alderaan itself.
Jump ahead to the prequels and the Clone Wars and Rebels and the comic books and the many novelizations both canon and legend that are out there. Some are chalk full of information about the mysterious planet of Alderaan. And just like that, years later…posthumously, we come to care for it quite a lot.
We see what it looks like in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. We know more about Bail Organa and the upstanding man he is. The kind of man who would take an orphaned Leia and raise her has his own. The kind of man that believed in the Jedi to the bitter end. The kind of man that died on the planet of Alderaan that sad day when Governor Tarkin chose to use it as an example to keep the galaxy in line.
It’s no longer a mysterious planet, it’s a tragic, ill-fated planet. Obi-Wan sensing that not only an entire planet full of people had been killed, but an old friend as well means that much more when we start to see the whole picture.
In some story telling, we may be treated to the whole picture from the get go. Like say…starting at the beginning and working through to the end, but not with Star Wars. No, we start in the middle of the story. Not knowing about Darth Vader and his past as Anakin Skywalker, hero of the Clone Wars. Not knowing about Alderaan, the peaceful planet with the beloved Bail Organa on it.
The more the picture broadens, the deeper we understand. The more we care. It’s what I love so much about Star Wars. It’s what keeps the expanded universe going. It’s what makes it so interesting.
I’m currently reading Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel with my Goodreads book club, in preparation for Rogue One’s release on Thursday night. It deals directly with the creation of the dreaded Death Star and we learn that there are other planets that were sacrificed in order to create that monstrous weapon. Another poignant reason to remember poor Alderaan. I went back and watched A New Hope with this brand new information on my mind and it made the destruction of Alderaan so much more tragic and unbearable.
Alderaan…you went too soon. And we didn’t understand at the time or care as deeply as we do now…in the aftermath. But yes…now we know!
I have to admit that I thought this movie would remain more favorable in my opinion than it has. I found myself rolling my eyes far more often than ever before. Needless to say, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones doesn’t exactly stand the test of time.
Regardless of that, it’s still a Star Wars movie. And that’s all I ever need to know. If you missed my notes from re-watching Episode I you can CLICK HERE.
If you are doing a big re-watch before Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens comes out (in just 10 days, by the way) make sure to comment below. I’d love to know!
-Naboo starships! So sleek. Very different from the trusty ole Millennium Falcon.
-Poor Corde. One of the Natalie Portman look a likes who didn’t go on to have great careers.
-Luminara Unduly and Barriss Offee! Love them. Wish we could have had a lot more of them. Let’s give those lady Jedi some real parts!
-Enter CGI Yoda. He’s way cuter than Ep. I’s puppet Yoda. I think it’s in the nose. But still. Why not be consistent?
-Natalie is an excellent actress, so it’s a bit disappointing to see the rigid way she handles some of the scenes.
-Anyone sort of ship Padme with Obi-Wan?
-I don’t care what anyone says… Hayden Christensen=Hubba Hubba!
-Enter the mullet. Sexiest mullet in the galaxy!
-Here’s where George appeases rabid fans and relegates Jar-Jar to the sidelines!
-“You’ll always be that little boy I knew on Tatooine.” BURN!!
-“And you will learn your place, young one.” Burn again. Ani is getting burned left and right. No wonder he turns to the Dark Side.
-Hey it’s Zam! I always like her.
-Corsuscant is a crazy planet. And visually stunning.
-Forced celibacy on 19 year olds? Bad idea, Jedi.
-This is definitely my least favorite of the franchise, but back in ’02…I loved this movie.
-Easter Egg – the Millennium Falcon just flew by in the air traffic.
-Obi-Wan gets the dumbest one liners in this movie. Making the best character in the prequels harder to take in.
-Unrequited shipper: Zam Wessel and Jango Fett. She coulda raised Boba with him and they could have been a happy little bounty hunting family.
-Anakin losing his lightsaber over and over again either makes him really stupid or is just a whole mess of foreshadowing to him losing his arm. Either way…it’s dumb.
-Jedi can’t have sex, but they can drink?
-The Jedi Temple is hella cool looking!
-Mace Windu is the most disappointing one. Did George jam a stick up Sam Jackson’s ass? I imagine Mace being so much cooler when i read him in the expanded universe. And with Sam Jackson is so cool. So it should have worked. Not sure what happened there!
-Warning Anakin! Stop listening to Palpatine right now! Listen to Obi!
-Why is Yoda in that floating chair? Why don’t they all get floating chairs?
-I like Padme’s Minnie Mouse looking buns when she’s packing for Naboo.
-Unrequited shipper: Dorme and Captain Panaka.
-Padme flirts with him right after asking him not to look at her that way. Sending some mixed signals there, Padme!
-Anakin gets the pauper poncho and Padme is dressed in regal refugee robes. This doesn’t look suspicious at all!
-I really like Dex. Plumber’s crack and all.
-“I should think you Jedi have more respect for the difference between knowledge and wisdom.”
-Does lace make her seem less conspicuous?
-Younglings!!! I love younglings.
-“Lost a plane, Master Obi-Wan has.”
-Must go to Spain and stand on Naboo!
-Queen Jamilla’s costumes are far less impressive than Amidala’s were. What gives?
-“The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it.” Well….
-Kamino is a planet I would never want to live on.
-Kaminoans look like giant walking Q-tips. They feel way too sleek for the Star Wars Universe.
-I love Padme’s Naboo sunset dress. This scene is stupid, but the dress is pretty. And her seashell hair is cool.
-Oh yeah…she really seems to be fighting Anakin off!
-The Clone Wars series really does such an amazing job at giving the clones their individuality. Adds another layer to the whole thing.
-I also like her yellow field dress with the croquet Leia buns. Another stupid love scene. But gorgeous costuming.
-I lived for these costumes! Somewhere is a notebook full of my own ideas for Padme’s wardrobe.
-“How would you have it work?” -Padme “Evil dictatorship…that’s what I’m into!” -Anakin
-As stupid as this field scene is, Portman actually has personality in it, which is saying something.
-Coulda done without the large tick cows. (as my dad calls them.)
-Padme’s all… hey let’s roll around in the grass together. All sexy like. Cause that will definitely discourage your crush on me.
-Padme’s S+M dress on Naboo was designed by none other than George Lucas himself. Another example of Padme really trying to discourage Anakin!
-How long were they awkwardly staring at each other on that couch before the scene began?
-THIS SCENE IS THE WORST!!!! THE ABSOLUTE WORST THING EVER!
-You think they’d have covered ship docks on Kamino. Given that it’s a planet of oceans and it probably rains constantly. Think it through people.
-No on uses contractions in the prequels. Is that supposed to make them seem more serious? It’s dumb.
-Yep. Naboo is gorgeous!!
-Padme is sending some seriously mixed signals. First she’s dressing like a dominatrix, now she’s in her silky nightgown and robe. Come on now!
-Natalie Portman looks like she was slapped in the face before even scene in this movie.
-Back to Tatooine. For a planet that is furthest from the center of the universe, a whole lot goes on there!
-I love Padme’s blue Tatooine outfit.
-Seizmic charges make the dumbest noise.
-“Fiyah!” – Boba Fett
-John Williams’ score to the rescue.
-Owen and Beru!
-Ah, the old homestead where all the blue milk is served.
-Welcome back to my ears, Duel of the Fates.
-Don’t do it, Anakin. Don’t lose your patience. Don’t give in to your hate!!
-Stupid Nute Gunray. Someone kill him already.
-Techno Union Army is lame and glitchy.
-Fiercest Sith Lord of all time’s nickname is Ani. Still can’t get over that one.
-Shmi lasted all that time only to give up once she’s been saved by her son.
-You could’ve prevented this, Shmi. You could have lived.
-Geonosians are creepy, oversized termites. Add Geonosis to the “never gonna live there” list.
-I like Padme’s white battle outfit. But she didn’t really know she was gonna be going to battle.
-I like when Padme gets sassy with Anakin and is all “If you plan to protect me, you’ll just have to come along.”
-Why does Anthony Daniels do a higher pitched voice for C3PO in this
-And now George makes more reparations to the fans by having Jar-Jar be responsible for giving Palpatine the emergency power.
-Christopher Lee is amazing, but he really gets underused in this.
-I could never imagine Qui-Gonn on the Jedi Counsel. He’s way too rogue for that.
-Hey! George Lucas is on the Senate. That sounds about right.
-Too much politics.
-The assembly line scene – after seeing behind the scene into the green room, it takes the magic out of this scene. Scratch that. This scene itself takes the magic out.
-This is a gross misuse of C3Po!!
-And R2 can fly? Why? Seems a little convenient. Seeing as after Ep III he never does it again.
-The 3PO battle droid gag is unforgivable!
-There goes Anakin, losing another lightsaber and further foreshadowing the loss of his arm later.
-“Pst…boyfriend…I love you!” -Padme “You love me?” -Anakin (I know! It is a shock after all her belly aching about not going through with feelings and junk!)
-Here comes another love scene. And guess what it’s stupid too!
-Now we get to a good part. Battle. I like Battle. Someone start the Battle already!
-Oh yep…this is a stupid battle. With stupid mashed up creatures. Rhinoceratops vs Anakin Praying Mantis Crabraptor vs Obi-Wan Ratcatupine vs Padme
-I love how Padme is all “Forget this, boy. I’m gonna climb this poll and handle this on my own!” Get it girl!!
-“Hey boyfriend! Wanna give me a ride on your Rhinoceratops!!”
-Roll out the Droidekas!
-The battle droid head on 3PO’s body is funnier than 3Po’s head on a battle droid’s body!
-George allowed NSYNC to film a scene for this movie for his daughter. So…there’s that!
-Aayala Secura and Kit Fisto are two of my favorite B-roll Jedi.
-Kit just looks so happy to be alive after he force pushes that droid.
-Enter the Clones.
-Here starts Boba’s track down a dark path. I guess watching your father beheaded by a Jedi will do it.
-Geonosis is like Tatooine if Tatooine was infested with giant termite things.
-“Around the Jedi, a perimeter create.” Wow! They are really trying to push Yoda’s backwards speech in this thing.
-Yoda, you big faker with that cane!
-Hey…that looks like the Death Star! Hey…does anyone see that Count Dooku has a Death Star? Where’s a Bothan when you need one?
-I do have to admit. The music is really the only thing that grounds this movie into the Star Wars Universe and makes it feel like part of the galaxy we know and love. Otherwise…not much else does.
-I think the older I get, the less I can blindly accept the glaringly obvious faults of Attack of the Clones. I remember loving it so much. But again, it just does’t stand the test of time.
-Dooku’s lightsaber is cool.
-Padme has an A-game Baywatch run!
-Force lightning is so cool and is a big draw that the Dark Side has over the light.
-I remember every single person in the theater completely losing their shit when Yoda starts to fight Dooku like a crazy, spinning top.
-Yoda’s battle with Dooku is arguably the best part of this movie. Though Christopher Lee’s stunt double is way too spry to be believable!
-Yoda is a BEAST!!
-“Try not. Do or do not.” Indeed!
-Are the sails really necessary in space? All that space wind.
-Yoda just picks up his cane like a BAMF!
-“Where is your apprentice?” -Mace “On his way to Naboo with Senator Amidala….to like…get married!” -Obi “What? And no invitation? Rude!” -Mace (or at least I’m sure that’s what he was thinking!)
-“Begun the Clone War has.”
-Imperial Star Destroyers make it real!!
-I really love the decision to cast Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa.
-Across the Universe is a beautiful suite, but flanked by Duel of the Fates and Battle of Heroes, it really isn’t as good. Just like this movie itself.
-All in all. This is my least favorite movie in the entire franchise. And time just makes it worse.
-But it’s Star Wars and I love Star Wars. So there!
Yes, the waiting is getting harder and harder. Especially with the new trailer out this week. Which, if you haven’t seen yet, must mean you are living in a cave on a desert planet far, far away. For those of us who aren’t a crazy, old man, take another look:
Yeah, so patience isn’t exactly my strong suit. But I’m trying really hard to bask in the pre-Force Awakens world of Star Wars. There are so many wonderful stories to read and watch in the waiting. So while I’m working on my patience, I will be doing these things.
Star Wars Digital
Show of hands, who will be purchasing both Star Wars trilogies on a digital platform regardless of whether or not you own DVD versions of the films. Count me it. Not only is this the most everlasting version of Star Wars available to us, there are also brand new behind the seasons featurettes available. And if you are anything like me, you consume new Star Wars information like a ream of frozen Thin Mints.
Star Wars Expanded Universe: Legends
By now we all know that the entire Expanded Universe has been relegated to Star Wars Legends to make room for all the new stories as well as the story line of the new films, but that doesn’t diminish the amazing work of all the authors who penned the Legends. Like Timothy Zahn and James Luceno and Drew Karpyshyn and John Jackson Miller and many, many more. So in the ether of the waiting zone I will be diving head first into the Expanded Universe starting with Timothy Zahn’s epic Thrawn Trilogy! And hopefully getting through as many as I can. Because after December I will be focusing on…
New Star Wars Expanded Universe
All of the new novels that are now considered canon. Not to say I won’t return to the Legends, because, as I said, they are amazing stories that deserve to be read. But I want to fully immerse in what Lucasfilm and the Disney overlords are considering part of the official Star Wars Universe. There are many new titles coming out not only this year, but in the works in order to start making use of the word Expanded. Right now the timeline is a little thin, especially given how long the previous Legends timeline is. But if I start soon, then I won’t be as behind as I am with Legends. So there’s no time like the present. The only current canon novel I’ve read so far is A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller. Which leads me to…
Star Wars Rebels
The explosive Disney XD cartoon that is not just for kids takes place in the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. It is a great way to stay connected to the Star Wars Universe in the space between big budget films and the story being told is very strong! If you don’t want to watch week to week, go ahead and start with…
Star Wars Clone Wars
If you don’t like to wait for new episodes to come out, then Clone Wars is what you want. This is what I’m currently watching. And as sad as it is when a great show ends, I love being able to just power through and fully immerse in the experience of a show. And Clone Wars is truly a wonderful show. The Cartoon Network series takes place, obviously, during the Clone Wars in the space between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. It does an amazing job of bridging that gap, not only by giving us actual stories from the legendary Clone Wars, but also in Anakin’s decent and temptation towards the Dark Side of the Force. Something believed to be missing from Revenge of the Sith for avid Star Wars fans. Clone Wars boasts of strong villains like Asajj Ventress and Savage Opress, new heroes like the young padawan Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex as well as all the characters we love from the prequels, Obi-Wan, Anakin, C3PO, R2D2, Padme.
Star Wars Comics
Star Wars comics are returning home to Marvel Entertainment. From 1977-1987, Marvel held the property. Dark Horse got a hold of them after Marvel and they have been responsible for all the modern Star Wars comics that we know and love. But this is the year that Star Wars returns to Marvel, where it always belonged (not to belittle the amazing work Dark Horse did for the comic universe.) With Disney owning both Marvel and Star Wars, it makes sense to keep it all in the family. Now, all the comics coming out of this Mavel/ Star Wars partnership are considered current canon so this blurb could technically belong in the New Expanded Universe column. But comic books are an entity in and of themselves. I love comic books, but have a hard time keeping up with weekly serials. I tend to gravitate towards books or graphic novels. But if comics are your thing or you want to expand your knowledge of the SWEU, then you should start with Lando #1 which hits the racks in July.
There you go. Plenty of Star Warsian things to do while we eagerly (and patiently) wait for December to roll around.
As previously mentioned, in my family, we celebrate with a bit more pizazz than your average Joe. We vote the previous year on what our theme will be. This year was Star Wars. The ultimate theme. All of us have a pretty even love of it. (Except my Grandma, but even she got in the spirit) Then throughout the year we all individually research who we want to be and start claiming characters. This process can be viewed at www.sterlinghutchinson.com/christmas
When it comes to the day itself we all show up to my Granny’s house in full costume and resume Christmas as usual. Including breakfast, stockings, presents, pictures and videos in front of the green screen and a new tradition… the singing of the themed carols. Yours truly penned a few Star Wars Christmas Carols. ie: “Leia, It’s Cold Outside” “God Rest Ye Merry Stormtroopers” “O Jedi Knight” and countless others.
This year we had some extra joiners. Non family members who were just interested in the phenomenon and wanted to be apart of it. So take a look at the photos here and if you’d like to join next year just remember two things: 1. The theme is going to be Lord of the Rings and 2. Costumes are not a suggestion… they are mandatory!