I Don’t Know About You…

Pray for Orlando

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I don’t know about you, but whenever a horrific tragedy, like what took place this weekend in Orlando…my city, takes place it’s hard for me to collect my thoughts. If my thoughts could be seen they’d look like this…

ANGER

SADNESS

PRAYER

WHY GOD

back to ANGER

a little more SADNESS

And when I sit down to speak about it or write about it, I feel fractured between wanting to find assurance that the world is a way more beautiful place than it feels and not really believing that it is. Fractured between wanting to cry and wanting to scream. Fractured between thanking God for my life and asking Him why things like this happen at all. Fractured between knowing that my everyday life is waiting and wanting to become some sort of vigilante assassin the likes of Elektra or Black Widow.

Lord knows I’m not alone. Take a look at social media right now and see that people are fractured. Spirits are torn apart. And yes, it’s beautiful to see my city come together and rally around the victims and their families. It’s amazing to see the blood banks so full of donors that they had to turn people away. That is an encouraging sight that we cannot forget!! But we also cannot ignore the bigger community of humans that continues to be divided when horrible things happen. Half the country says “get rid of guns,” the other half clings tightly to their weapons. And who is right?

Can we all agree that humans aren’t the only common element in these tragedies. Can we start to talk about other countries that don’t have the staggering statistics of gun violence that plague the whole of America? Can we start holding the human(s) responsible…responsible, not the community that human is a part of, not the religion that human is a part of, not the sexual preference that human identifies with?

I am not the white, American that killed Christina Grimmie on Friday.

And neither are you the statistic that groups you to a killer. If you take up semi-automatic weapons or any other kind of weapon and shoot up a bar of happy people celebrating life…then you are that KILLER. It’s that simple. It should be.

But it isn’t. Why the hell isn’t it!!!??

There’s the bigger issue at work here. The issue of people vs people. Forget the fact that an Islamic extremist shot up an LGBT club. Forget the fact that a white man with 2 guns killed a singer the very night before. Forget the fact that a South Korean shot up a college campus or that a privileged, white, Stanford student raped a girl and is getting off with light sentencing. Forget all that for a moment. Only for a moment because we have a human problem.

Until humans value the lives of other humans above their race, religion, sexual preference, gender orientation, occupation or anything else that divides us as simple human beings, then the blood shed will not stop. 

I read someone who was arguing that if we make gun laws stricter, then we have to take away people’s cars because car accidents cause more deaths than shootings. I think they’ve missed the point. It’s easy to miss the point if you’re looking for reasons to miss the point! The operative word here is accident. Car accidents are horrible and tragic and sad and i wish they never happened to anyone, ever. The difference is that shootings like what happened at Pulse on Saturday night are no accident. No one “accidentally” purchases an AR-15 and then “accidentally” calls the police to “accidentally” align themselves with a terrorist organization and then “accidentally” shoots 50 people dead and wounds 50+ more. Nope…not an accident!

The people who are spreading hatred towards Muslims for being killers and towards the LGBT community for deserving death for “sinful lifestyles” and towards white men for being rapists and black men for being thugs are hardly better than the killers themselves. The lack of respect for human life doesn’t begin when a gun is purchased. It doesn’t begin when the trigger is pulled. The lack of respect for human life begins long before that. It’s in the words we say to one other. It’s in the way we handle conflict. It’s in the way we choose to believe the best instead of assuming the worst. And it’s in the way we respond in the aftermath.

How will you respond?

I implore you…do more. Even if it’s as simple as trying to change your own damn mind about something. Even if it’s simply seeing another person’s point of view, stepping in their shoes, trying to understand instead of sticking your feet in the mud and holding your ground come hell or high water.

“The time is always right to do what is right!” You know who said that? Martin Luther King, Jr. You know how he died? From a gun shot. Do you think that would have changed the message of his life of non-violence? Would he have bought a gun if he knew he’d die from one?

I would never suggest you lose your right to bear arms. It is Constitutional. I’m simply saying there’s something missing in the Constitution. The right to live. Is that not more important? Is that not something we can agree upon? I’m scared that the answer is no. And that is not encouraging at all.

I don’t want to end on a note of sadness. I like to keep it upbeat. But I don’t think I have it in me to turn this one around. So I’ll simply end by saying that I love you.

What color are you? I DON’T CARE.

What do you believe? I DON’T CARE!

Where do you come from? I DON’T CARE!!

Who do you love? I DON’T CARE!!!

I believe in you. I think your life is worth living. I just love you!

Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?

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Last week, an article was released on Retro Zap called “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?” Finding it rather interesting, I posted it to my various social media sites encouraging my followers to read it. One of my favorite Twitter friends had a response and this is it:

THERE ARE SPOILERS!! Of course there are spoilers. If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet and have come to my blog, then you’re sorta asking to be spoiled, aren’t you now? 

Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?

by Michael Burgett

“By now, most everyone has seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens numerous times (I say most everyone because it’s still behind Avatar & Titanic in worldwide box office). And there have been a wide range of articles written about the movie and every nuance that could be found within it.  One that was interesting, brought to my attention by my friend Liz, was an article entitled “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?

The article itself doesn’t necessarily answer the question, although it does tell what Ben can possibly do to overcome what has happened.  But the question still hangs there….is Kylo Ren redeemable?

Granted, we are asking this question and are only one film into this trilogy of Star Wars films.  We do not know the journey that took Ben Solo to Kylo Ren.  We do not know the journey that will take place in the next two films.  What we do know is the actions that Kylo took in The Force Awakens.  He killed his own father, Han Solo.  For many, that may seem to be the unredeemable offense.

But let’s imagine we’re back in 1980.  We have just walked out of the movie theater after watching The Empire Strikes Back for the first time.  We have watched Darth Vader and all the evil things he had done.  We will have had two films to base our opinion of him.  If someone came up to you and asked “Is Darth Vader redeemable?” what would our response have been?  I would guess that most would respond with a resounding no.  He was portrayed as one of the ultimate villains.  He is “THE bad guy” when you think of bad guys.

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However, as we came to find out in Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader was redeemable.  He found redemption and became Anakin Skywalker again.  It was not without doubt.  Most everyone even in the Star Wars universe thought that it wasn’t possible.  It was not without sacrifice.  Vader had to sacrifice his life to save his son from Emperor Palpatine.  But it did happen and that redemption changed the course of history in the Star Wars universe.

We saw one act of deplorability from Kylo Ren.  Granted it was a pretty deplorable act that he did.  But if you compare him to Vader (and in many ways that’s what he himself is trying to do), he is no less redeemable.  By the time we get to Return of the Jedi, Vader had committed numerous deplorable acts to both people he loved and people he didn’t know.

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So I would say that yes, Kylo Ren is redeemable.  Deep down, we all like and root for a redemption story because it gives us hope.  Hope for a brighter future.  Hope for change.  If Darth Vader can change, if Kylo Ren can change, then maybe anyone can change.

The question then becomes “Will Kylo Ren be redeemed?”  That is the tougher question to answer.  It is one thing to say if someone is redeemable, it’s another to say whether they will or not.  One may be given all the opportunities in the world to be redeemed and not take them.  For all we know the scene with Kylo and his father may be the last time or it may just be the first time there is the opportunity for redemption.

We will have to wait and see how things transpire in the next two films.  Kylo Ren stands at the same crossroads with the same opportunity to respond to redemption as his grandfather did.  He will have that same choice to make.  And we will be on the edge of our seats to see how he responds.”

 

Michael Burgett is a nerd in a different city. He has a blog called “There and Back Again” and is a part of a podcast called “Reactor Radio.” Go check out all the things Michael is up to and follow him on Twitter at @MichaelBurgett

Reader, what do you think? Is Kylo redeemable at all? Or is it just a matter of time till he is redeemed?

I will be posting my thoughts on this matter tomorrow. Stay tuned…

The Force is Awake

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens blog post NErds

Now that I’ve see Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens for the 6th time, I feel like I can accurately and comprehensively share with you my thoughts and feelings and theories about it all. But before you go any further, let me offer you two warnings:

The 1st is the obligatory SPOILER WARNING. Because I’m doing deep. I’ll be up to my elbows in Jar-Jar quotes and Midiclorian references…wait…it’s not 1999. Regardless…there will be spoilers and I don’t want you, who haven’t seen it, to be spoiled. So if you choose to proceed…you have been warned about the spoilers.

There are SPOILERS ahead.

So many SPOILERS!!

Ok. The 2nd warning is about the tone of my “critique.” I put critique in quote marks because I have not the desire nor the ability to be critical of Star Wars right now. Thats not always the case, I guess. I have very strong opinions about Episode II: Attack of the Clones. But those opinions developed after many years and many viewings and many Conventions and debates and articles.  What you are about to read is enthusiastic. It’s positive. It’s hopelessly upbeat. I just can’t help it and I won’t apologize. So if you’re looking for a searing review or a critical eye…you’ve come to the wrong place. I absolutely, positively loved this movie (hence the seeing it 6 times thing.)

Now that you’ve been doubly warned, you may proceed…

PLOT

X-Wings Star Wars The Force Awakens recap blog

On my scale from Clones to Empire… I would give this a resounding Jedi! The plot itself greatly mirrors the events in A New Hope. Evil reigns in the galaxy. A misfit band, the Rebellion Resistance fight to stop them. A young person from a sandy planet doesn’t know the power that lies inside them, but after meeting an adorable droid is set on a journey of adventure and discovery that leads them to the Force. That adorable droid also carries secret plans that the Empire First Order is desperately trying to retrieve. The Rathtar gags mirror the Trash Compactor scene. And even Han Solo’s last stand against his son Kylo Ren mirrors Obi-Wan’s final stand against Kylo’s own grandfather, Darth Vader.

There have been complaints that this mirroring hurts the film in that it essentially is unoriginal. But I disagree. I think it makes it feel like home. The Force Awakens’ job (JJ’s job) was to create nostalgia and warm feelings inside, while trying to start the franchise on a new journey. What they have accomplished is making  this film feel comfortably old and excitingly new at the same time. No small feat. And where the prequels lacked things like shocking revelations (ie: Luke’s parentage or Kylo’s parentage) and witty one liners (ie: “I’d just as soon kiss a Wookie.” or “That’s not how the Force works!”) TFA has it all and then some. So I’d say that Disney’s mission is accomplished and the numbers don’t lie. TFA continues to break records as we speak!

And besides, Star Wars was never about the proven theories or even the deep character development, though those things are what makes it an everlasting saga. Star Wars is about the feels…the emotion…the shared experience of watching it with loved ones. That’s what Star Wars is about and this movie does not disappoint. From the very first words that scroll across the screen, “Luke Skywalker has vanished.” It grabs you by the short hairs and holds on tight till we finally glimpse that weathered face on the cliffs of who-the-hell-knows. If you didn’t shed a smidgen of a tear, then I daresay you may have embraced The Dark Side…

CHARACTER BREAKDOWN

REY

Star Wars The Force Awakens - Rey - Reactions blog

I don’t even know where to begin with Daisy Ridley and her performance as Rey. OUTSTANDING…STUPENDOUS…AMAZING? Yes to all three, but those measly words still lack the emotion that I felt watching a young, independent female take the lead in this film. I felt empowered. I felt represented. She was neither the love interest (“I know how to run without you holding my hand.”), nor the sexual object that her predecessors fell prey to. (ie: gold bikini and “accidental” midriffs.)

Rey doesn’t know the power of the Force that has lay dormant inside her. But we get to watch as she discovers it. From the moment Han Solo mentions the Jedi, there is an undeniable spark lit in Rey’s eyes. When Kylo Ren attempts to raid her mind for the map to Skywalker, Rey discovers she can fight back. And even more, she can use that power against him. And even tests this new strength on who she must surmise is a mindless drone (but is of course in fact, James Bond himself!!) As each power is unveiled she innocently steps forward to test her skills and in so doing, she tests her very being.

She’s funny (“I bypassed the compressor.”) She’s endearing (“I know how to run without you holding my hand.”) And she has all the makings of a truly great character. What we don’t know about her parentage and back story only serves to make her more intriguing and interesting. Let the great debate ensue about whether she’s a Skywalker, a Solo, a Kenobi or someone else entirely. I’m casting my vote for her to be a Solo!! If you want to know why…just ask! I can talk about it for hours!! 😉

FINN

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DANG! John Boyega hit this out of the park for me too!!! Again we have a character with very little backstory. Where is his family? Will we ever meet them? And does he get to kiss Rey eventually?? What’s going to happen when he wakes up? And why not put him in a Bacta tank? That always seems to help!! But I digress…Finn is no hero. At every turn he is actually trying to run away. He helps Poe escape so that he himself can escape the evil that he realizes he’s been apart of for far too long. And when Luke Skywalker is mentioned, he’s not driven to help the Resistance right away. It is when his new friend, Rey, is in danger that he is driven to help…to answer the call…until then, he merely gets swept up in the action.

He doesn’t have to get involved. He has no personal stake in the outcome of events. In fact, he even tries to run away time and again and even seeks an escape from Maz Tanata. But there is good in him! So much good that even he can’t fight his own nature and actually succeed in running away. That is what makes him charming and lovely and all the good words in the dictionary!!!

When Rey leaves him with the Resistance he is unconscious after his intense battle against Kylo Ren. The fact that Finn, a mere Stormtrooper, is able to hold his own against a Knight of Ren begs the question…how? He is passably competent with a lightsaber, a weapon he’s never seen in his life, let alone actually used. So how could he possibly hope to fight a Dark Lord like Kylo? Questions…questions and more questions.

POE DAMERON

Star Wars THe Force Awakens Poe Dameron

Is Poe single? Cause I’m super available!!! I didn’t think I could love anyone as much as I love Han Solo…scratch that, I can’t. But if anyone comes really close…it’s Oscar Isaac’s Poe. He’s cocky. He’s scruffy-looking. He has that hair! Dare I call him nerf-herder???

His relationship with BB8 is something akin to Luke’s relationship with R2D2. While his relationship to Finn reminds us of Han to Luke. I’m very interested to see more interaction between Poe and Rey. What kind of relationship will be in store for them? For surely they will meet and fight the good fight together. Rey, Finn and Kylo may be the central figures in the film, but Poe steals every scene he’s in and certainly deserves his medal in the proverbial Throne Room!!

Not only is Poe an outstanding pilot in the Resistance, fighting the good fight but he’s also able to keep his cool in the face of danger and even mouths off to scary, masked bad guys. He is EVERYTHING! And I cannot wait to see more of this character. Again, we don’t know much backstory. But with two movies in the wings, I don’t even care about any of that. I’m just eager for more and more and more!!

KYLO REN

Star Wars The Force Awakens Kylo Ren Reaction BLog

We know that he was Luke’s apprentice. We know that Supreme Leader Snoke seduced him to the Dark Side. We know that he is Han Solo and General Leia Organa’s son and that in the end his decision to kill his father was a tortured one, but that it ultimately helped him turn farther towards the darkness. And we know that his given name is Ben. What we don’t know is why? We have gotten to see Anakin’s journey to the Darkness and his motivations for turning and Luke’s journey to become a Jedi and his motivation for choosing the Light. But with Kylo we are coming in halfway into the story. Much has happened prior to the events of TFA. (Hoping for rich novelization to fill in some of those blanks.)

With Luke Skywalker as his teacher, Han Solo as his father, General Leia as his mother and dang…Chewbacca as his godfather (probably) what could ever motivate him to choose the path to the Dark Side? What is it about the Knights of Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke that was so enticing? It’s a bit of a head scratcher. But if this movie attempted to answer all the questions it throws at us, then it wouldn’t have been a great movie. JJ likes to present you with questions, (watchers of LOST know this very well) many questions. It’s what draws you in. It’s what will make us all return for Episodes VIII and IX!!

Adam Driver did a beautiful and tortured job, showing Kylo’s struggle. I felt like he really was conflicted with his choices. He is a young man, temper-mental, cocky, and yet still unsure of himself. He’s obviously very gifted in the ways of the Force. The way he freezes Poe and Rey in those scenes shows the strength he has. His talent is raw. It is not polished like an Obi-Wan Kenobi or highly trained like a Yoda. You can see it in his very lightsaber. It crackles. It spits fire. He wants so desperately to be great and powerful. But he is still so young.

In the final battle against Finn and then Rey, I did question how he could possibly Force throw Rey up into a tree and then have to put up a fight against someone as untrained as Finn. But…you see…he’d just killed his father. And I have to imagine that would rip up whatever light is/was still in him, causing a great disturbance inside of him. Who says that a bad guy has to be really secure in every evil decision he makes?

I like to think that murdering his dad haunts him. And in turn it influenced the way he was able to fight in the moments following that grave action. That’s my explanation…take it or leave it.

BB8

Star Wars The Force Awakens BB8 droid Reaction blog

Ummmm……there are not enough happy words to describe how much I adore BB8. He is just the cutest. And while he is not quite (i say quite because he is very funny) as funny as R2 always is, he takes over the part of secret carrying droid very well. He is in the thick of it all and survives. He makes friends. He makes jokes (lighter thumbs up anyone.) There is absolutely nothing they could have possibly done to make BB8 any better.

The scene where he is trying to get R2 to wake up is just everything good in this world. We can probably assume, given Poe’s affection for the little guy, that BB8 has been apart of the Resistance for  a while now. And yet he’s never met R2D2, who himself is a war hero!! Didn’t think there could possibly be back story questions about BB8 and yet…I have them.

MAZ KANATA

Star Wars The Force Awakens Maz Kanata reaction blog

I like to think of her as the new Yoda. Maz is very wise. And while she herself is not a Force user…she knows the Force and can speak intelligently to Rey about it’s power. She knows that Luke’s lightsaber is calling to Rey. Perhaps she senses the great power inside of her. I love that Maz knows Han’s struggles to stay away from Leia..from home. I want to know more about their history.

Lupita N’yongo did such a great job voicing this character. I LOVE that she calls Chewie her boyfriend. It immediately made me not just like her…but love her! Hoping for a lot more from Maz in the future. And dare I wish for many expanded universe novels telling her tales…I dare!!

CAPTAIN PHASMA

Star Wars The Force Awakens Captain Phasma reaction blog

This is perhaps my only minor beef with TFA. Too little of Phasma. As a Game of Thrones fan, when I heard that Gwendoline Christie was going to be in Star Wars, I was very excited. When I heard she was gonna be a lady Stormtrooper…I almost sprouted wings and flew!!! What a wonderful choice!! I don’t care if it was an eleventh hour decision or if that was the plan all along.

So, expectation and excitement were very high for this character, but then not only do we see very little of her, she is easily taken down and then placed in a trash compactor, which is a great nod to A New Hope, but a terrible ending for a potentially sick character! Apparently there will be more Phasma in our future, which is why my beef is only minor. I’d love for her to be the titular Boba Fett, but with far more onscreen time than fan favorite Boba got in the OT.

I think that she should have been the Stormtrooper that yelled “traitor” at Maz’s place and then proceeded to whip out that laser blaster weapon thing. How much more crazy cool would that fight have been if it had been her…Anyways. Cool character. Hoping for much, much more!! Would love to read a comic run with her headlining.

GENERAL HUX

Star Wars The Force Awakens General Hux reaction blog

Hux didn’t really do it for me. He’s a little young to have the gravitas of a Governor Tarkin. I’m not really afraid of him. Sure he’s blowing up planets like his forefathers did, but he just didn’t have the regal elegance I have come to expect from my British Imperial types. Even his Nazi rant about the Republic just sounded so forced. Though I dearly love Domhall Gleeson as Bill Weasley, perhaps that’s why I expected more bad assery and less petulance.

But, you know me…I have to find something positive! What I did like was the hatred between him and Kylo. I sense a history of them undermining one another to get into Snoke’s good graces. I like thinking that they could eventually have to figure some shit out and either band together or duke it out. Could make this character more interesting.

SUPREME LEADER SNOKE

Star Wars The Force Awakens Supreme Leader Snoke

Andy Serkis is here doing what he does best. Breathing life into computer animation. And what life he breathes! This life, the dark variety. Snoke is a character that is shrouded in mystery. How did he come to rule the First Order? Is he a Sith? Is he in fact Emperor Palpatine’s own former master, Darth Plaguies resurrected from the dead? Did he finally find a way to cross between death and life?

All we have are questions right now. But we know that Kylo is on a dark path towards whatever goals Snoke has laid out for him and now Kylo is about to “complete his training.” Mirroring Emperor Palpatine’s role in Darth Vader’s life. Again I wonder if that training has it’s origins in the dark ways of the Sith, given the givens of the Star Wars Universe. Only time and extensive reading of the new Expanded Universe will answer these pressing questions.

HAN SOLO

Star Wars The Force Awakens Han Solo and Chewbacca

He’s back!!! We’ve known for a long time that he’d be back, we just didn’t know how or in what capacity. But he is back at full throttle and smuggling once again, with faithful Chewbacca at his side. He joins the story in Act 2 when Rey and Finn find themselves aboard the one and only Millennium Falcon. They are attempting to get BB8 back to the Resistance so the map to Luke Skywalker will be secured. A noble mission, to be sure. One that our Han wants nothing to do with at first. He comes home to the Falcon with little on his mind other than Rathtars. Same old Han! Except it’s not, is it.

This Han is a father, we find out. A responsibility not taken lightly by him. The weight of Kylo’s betrayal weighs heavy on Han’s shoulders. With the proper prodding from Maz Kanata, Han is right back in the thick of it.

As I mentioned, we don’t know much…anything about Rey’s past. But I kept getting the feeling that Han knows something. He wants her to join his crew…that’s a rarity in and of itself. They finish each others sandwiches sentences. And when Maz Kanata questions Han about Rey, the camera pans away. Giving the impression that perhaps he knows more than he’s led Rey to believe. This would not be out of character for someone in the Star Wars Universe. Ben Kenobi was holding emotional hand grenades up his flowing Jedi robe sleeves, wasn’t he!

It’s all about the greater good sometimes. The needs of the many…ok that’s Star Trek not Star Wars. But you get my point.

I can’t mention Han without mentioning the big elephant on the handrail-less bridge. The final showdown between father and son. The epic moment when Han steps onto that bridge and calls out his son’s name, “BEN!” Kylo stares with remorseless eyes at the father who wasn’t able to bring him back to the Light. There is so much emotion in that scene…I cried at least the first 3 times watching the movie!!! Han is a favorite, a beloved part of the core of Star Wars and his light has been snuffed out by his own son. It was hard to watch. It still stings, but it was Han (and Harrison’s) chance to pass the torch to the new generation. In that context, I guess it makes sense. And JJ has never been one to shy away from those big, emotional moments.

GENERAL LEIA ORGANA

Star Wars The Force Awakens General Leia Organa

There wasn’t much screen time for the once and future General Leia Organa. Since the original Expanded Universe is no longer canon, we cannot rely on the books to shed light on all the years between Jedi and Force (not yet.) So we don’t know why, instead of banding together, Han and Leia split company in the face of their son’s turning to the Dark Side. But then again we also don’t know why Uncle Luke thought it best to turn tail and run…but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Leia is trying to run a Rebellion over here. One imagines that the pressures of motherhood stunted her otherwise promising career as Luke’s potential Padawan. And once Snoke began to rise in power and eventually sway her own son, perhaps Leia had not the will to try and learn the ways of a Force that is seemingly quite fickle at times. It not only took her father, but her son. What would cause her to want to learn it’s ways.

There is a tell tale scene in the trailer that was deleted. The scene of Maz Kanata handing Luke’s lightsaber to Leia, not to Rey. One would think that Luke/Anakin’s lightsaber might call out to Leia more than Rey. Leia’s force potential is something that I dearly hope will be explored especially because the disbanded EU explained it so beautifully. She clearly sensed Han’s death, and we know the Force is indeed strong in her. Too strong to fight against? One can only hope!!

LUKE SKYWALKER

Star Wars The Force Awakens Luke Skywalker

When the first major trailer hit the interwebs, the question on everyone’s mind was, of course, “WHERE’S LUKE?” Star Wars is a story of the Skywalkers. The story of a father and a son and the balance that is eventually brought to the Force through that family. How could you step forward into a new chapter of Star Wars with little to no Luke?

From the first word in the title scroll, we know that Luke is pivotal to the plot of this film. There is a map to Skywalker. The Resistance has it. The First Order wants it. The Jedi may be all but extinct, but Luke’s power is still very much a central theme of this movie. There is a light in Rey’s eye when she hears the name Skywalker. The tales are still being told, though truth has been warped and turned into legend.

One is led to wonder many things where Luke’s concerned (though don’t expect answers till 2017 and later!!) How on earth did Maz Kanata get hold of Luke’s blue lightsaber? The one that was lost to that ventilation shaft on Cloud City after Vader liberated his son from his hand.

Why, instead of choosing to stay and right things, would Luke leave his sister and his friends and the cause he believes in to go find an island in the middle of nowhere? Even if it is the island where stands the first Jedi temple? What answers could possibly be waiting for him? What could be more important than saving his friends? The very friends he left his training on Dagobah to go save, all those years ago? Have things changed so much? Were his newly turned nephew and potential niece/daughter/Padawan who knows nothing of her own Force sensitivity not enough to stick around for? And if Rey is his daughter, dear Lord in Heaven…let her mother be Mara Jade!!! (A girl can dream!)

Aside from all that, we get the much needed glimpse of that face we love. Though the lines suggest that he’s seen some things and has weathered all kinds of conflict, it is still and always will be a beloved face. Though one can’t help but wish that, instead of staring at Rey with deep sorrow in his eyes, he Force called his lightsaber from her and ignited it and the passion for the Light side inside of him. Thus setting the tone for what’s to come. Regardless, that ending held the power and momentum that we have come to expect from that little shaggy-haired farm boy from the remote planet of Tatooine!!

STANDOUT MOMENTS

Star Wars The Force Awakens reaction blog

Why choose from the stars in the sky? There were so many!!!

The moment that Han and Chewie come charging aboard the Millennium Falcon after what appears to be years apart from their ship.

How about the moment when Han and Leia see each other after their long and painful separation.

I loved when BB8 tried to coax R2D2 out of stasis for the cutest droid meeting ever!!! And then when they finally did meet and joyful beep boop beeps were had by all!!

Poe and Finn’s reunion after Finn believed Poe dead is endearing and heartwarming and has apparently launched a thousand “ships!”

It could be the moment Han Solo takes the step towards his son in the final act, and we all sensed that this could be the end and indeed it was for our favorite scoundrel.

Perhaps when we finally see Luke on that mountain top and Rey holds out the lightsaber that was lost to him years and years ago. His father’s lightsaber.

But for me, a moment that was beautiful and hopeful was when Luke/Anakin’s lightsaber comes careening out of the snow, not into Kylo Ren’s expectant hands, but instead into the hands of the untrained Rey. The telltale music swells. The blue light shines on her face as the red light shines on Kylo’s and a battle worthy of the title EPIC ensues!! It is truly a great moment in movie history and indeed in Stars Wars movie history as well!

I Love Star Wars Nerd in the city

Obviously I could wax poetic about not only this movie, but the Star Wars Universe for pages and pages. I could talk about music and graphics and costumes and effects and all kinds of things because it’s a deep and true part of my life!! But I’ll end by saying that I simply and truly loved it!! I don’t think I can rank it among the other movies quite yet. It stands on it’s own two feet and doesn’t deserve the comparison yet. So…love…that’s what I’ve got in my heart! Hope you enjoyed it as much or even half as much as I did. Let me know in the comments below or come connect with me on Twitter: @nerdinthecity for a more in depth chat!!

There’s a lot to look forward to in the galaxy far, far away and Nerd in the City will be with you every step of the way!!

May the Force be with us…ALWAYS!

Star Wars Re-Watch (Episode IV)

Obviously the Force is strongest with the original trilogy. No one in their right mind would try to argue otherwise.
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So here we go…

Episode IV:

-I have associated the 20th Century Fox fanfare with Star Wars for as long as I can remember. I was always disappointed when I heard it and Star Wars didn’t play right after! That’s what you call a #nerdworldproblem

-See…sometimes Stormtroopers hit things. Like Rebel extras on the Tantive IV

-VADER!!! But also…ANI!!!
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-Who knew that those buns would become such an iconic hairstyle?

-Why did R2 stay with 3PO for so long? He’s such a nag!
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-It’s just crazy to think about Vader being Leia’s father in these scenes. That is an added layer that I think is very cool.

-And…we’re back on Tatooine. The freaking sand trap of the galaxy. Everyone ends up on Tatooine sooner or later.

-R2 vs the Jawas!

-Why didn’t R2 just fly away? Huh, R2?  Where are your rocket jets now??

-There are long stretches in this movie where no one is talking.

-Luke is so dreamy. I don’t care what anyone says!!

-Don’t pass R2 up so easily Uncle Ben! Rude!

-Damn you and your Tosche station, Luke!!!

-A chip off the old whiney block there, Luke! And you don’t even know it!

-Really convenient for for 3PO and R2 that the Red R2 unit has a bad motivator. A little too convenient if you ask me!

-“Thank the Maker.” So…you’re basically saying “Thank Darth Vader.” Is that what you’re trying to say, 3PO? Is it?

-Mark Hamill is such a baby face in this movie.

-“And not very good at telling stories.” Oh just wait 3Po. You will be…you will be.

-What an interesting character arc for 3PO who starts off so scared of everything and “not good at telling stories” cut to the Ewok village where he is worshipped as a god and is telling the Ewoks of the adventures he’s had!

-“Who is she? She’s beautiful!” DUDE!! She’s your sister!!!

-Why doesn’t 3PO know who Leia is? Haven’t 3PO and R2 been counterparts since Episode III? And the ease at which Leia puts the vital information in that R2 unit suggests she’s comfortable with him and knows him. And if that’s the case, wouldn’t she know 3PO too.

-Blue Milk! The breakfast of champions.

-Uncle Ben really handles Luke poorly.

-It’s really saying something that Owen and Beru took Luke in. There is no blood relation there, but they did it anyways. Good people!

-“Luke’s just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him.” Obviously Beru and Owen know something about Anakin, but what is the extent of their knowledge about him? What did Obi-Wan tell them?

-They really killed that hovercraft tech, proving that they didn’t need that fancy CGI to make a believable world!

-Sand People don’t play around! But also Sand People is not politically correct, is it! Don’t we say Tusken Raiders, Ben? Set a good example Obi-Wan!

-Oh look…it’s old Ben Kenobi. No relation to Obi-Wan. That would be ridiculous!

-Why in the world would Obi-Wan change only his first name? Doesn’t he know that they list by last name in the Galactic Yellow Pages?

-Poor 3PO really gets the brunt. He always seems to need putting back together.

-Once a Jedi Knight, always a Jedi Knight!

-“Last time I saw your father…I left him burning to death on the bank of a lava pit with no legs or arm…”

-Obi-Wan tells Luke the lie about Vader killing his father, but I guess he kind of has to to continue to keep Luke safe. If Luke found out the truth right then he might go after Vader far too early. Alternatively, but roping Luke into the Rebellion, Obi-Wan all but ensures that Luke will  find out the truth and face Vader.

-It’s funny how much power Tarkin has over Vader. The Empire clearly has no respect for the Dark Lord of the Sith. Even thought the entire Empire is run by a Dark Lord of the Sith.

-Poor Owen and Beru. They really get the shaft. And all for doing a good deed and taking an orphan.

-I guess all the push Luke needed was the death of his aunt and uncle.

-Worst Dad Ever!!! Don’t torture your daughter, Ani! Don’t do it!

-Mos Eisley is clearly no the most wretched hive of scum and villainy. Obi-Wan has been to Geonosis where there are actual hives.

-Hahaha sucker. Those were totally the droids you were looking for!

-The Cantina is filled with the craziest creatures, but sure…no droids. That makes sense.

-No one bats a freaking eyelash when Obi-Wan whips out his lightsaber and slashes off arms like a boss. And yet the Jedi are supposedly extinct. Shouldn’t that have created more of a scene than it did?
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-Hubba hubba Han Solo!

-Obligatory Han shot first comment!

-Tarkin is a major league bad ass! There should have been a lot more Tarkin (for more Tarkin go read Tarkin by) He’s one crazy mofo! He’s like… I blew up a whole planet, bitches. What now!

-The saddest part about Alderaan blowing up is no more Bail Organa.

-This Jabba scene grates the nerves! Again begging the question…was George high when he remastered his masterpiece?

-Don’t look a gift ship in the mouth, Luke.

-I love Han and Luke’s bromance. Their scenes together are so great. They go from smuggler and annoying side kick to friends to brothers in arms and incidentally brothers in law! 😉
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-Leia is such  bad ass!! I love that this movie was made in the late 70’s and the time period didn’t necessarily lend itself to such a kick ass female role. But here she is… mad respect!

-Never play Sabaac with a Wookie.

-The Force controls your actions and also obeys your commands.

-That’s no moon, Han!

-Why isn’t anyone listening to the Jedi Knight in the back seat?

-It’s funny that at this point in history there is no respect for either the Jedi or the Sith. All Force sensitivity is dismissed because of the events of the past. The winners get to write the history books.

-I think Luke’s whininess only adds support to his character arc in the end. He grows so much between Hope and Jedi.

-“A presence I have not felt since…”Since I was lying on a lava bank burning to death with no legs or arm…or eyebrows.

-“Who’s more foolish? The fool or the fool who follows him?” Obi-Wan just keeps throwing those truth bombs!

-Have you ever just stopped to look at how large Alec’s ears are?

-I love how protective Luke is of Ben. Even having not known him for very long. Luke, like Anakin, was just so hungry for a father figure he latched on the first one that came along. Uncle Ben withstanding. Good thing it was Ben that came along and not the Emperor!

-Definitely learned from Star Wars that arguments make the best start to any epic love story. In other unrelated news…this is why I’m single!

-Garbage chute!

-Chewie isn’t even having any of it!

-Imagine someone coming into your life the way Luke comes into Leia’s life and it being your long lost twin brother that you didn’t even know you had!

-Stormtrooper hits his head coming into the room where 3PO and R2 are hiding. Rewind and watch it again!

-3PO is so stupid sometimes. Turn the com link on dummy!

-“Listen. I don’t know who you are or where you came from. But from now on you do what I tell you.” Leia is so BOSS!!!

-It’s funny that Luke comes into save Leia because she is definitely the more war weathered of the two. She really only needed Luke to open the door and Han to give her a lift. The rest she did on her own.

-Showdown at the Death Star Corral!

-Obi vs Vader. The epic rematch.

-Funny that they call him Darth for short when Vader is the part that’s unique to him.

-I think Obi-Wan could have stuck around a little longer. I guess I understand letting go to become one with the Force and everything.

-I can just hear Tarkin maniacally laughing. He must have had a great “Muahahahaha”

-“Still. She’s got a lotta spirit. I don’t know…you think a Princess and a guy like me.” YEP!

-Leia handles her emotions like a boss too. Never taking a beat to mourn the loss of her entire planet. She’s all “we have no time for sorrows, Commander.”

-“The Empire doesn’t consider a small, one-manned fighter a threat.” IDIOTS!

-He calls her Leah…it’s clearly Leia. And you can tell that to your buddy Lando too!

-Come on, Han. Just take a look around.

-Han can’t even say “May the Force be with you” without smirking.

-Awwww… i love this scene with Biggs. It really adds gravity to Luke’s backstory and life on Tatooine.

-“They’ll never stop us!” Oh, Biggs!

-Must be hard to date when you have a Rebellion to run!

-Tarkin’s staring game is very strong.

-Do you think Vader/Anakin sensed the fate of the Death Star? He is sensitive to premonitions. And I wonder what other premonitions he’s had over the years.

-“Negative, it didn’t go in.” Ummmm…that’s what she said!

-I love that Wedge is with them till the end.

-And that R2 is flying with Luke just as Anakin always flew with him. The mirrored imagery is strong and beautiful.

-Luke’s affection for R2 also mirrors Anakin’s. It’s sadly beautiful.
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-I love how concerned 3PO is for R2. As annoying as he is sometimes. He really cares about that little droid!

-Falcon to the rescue!

-Buh-bye Tarkin, you cocky bastard.

-The trinity together. Just makes me so ready for The Force Awakens and to find out what’s gone on since then!

-Looking good Princess!

-Luke looks so cute in his yellow bomber jacket. But he really needs o stop making eyes at his sister.

-Shiny R2!

-Chewie is robbed.
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-But no one seems to care and the ending is wonderful and happy and triumphant!!!

Star Wars Re-Watch (Episode III)

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Out of all the prequel films, this truly is the gem. I’m not saying there aren’t glaring mistakes…the love scenes still induce gagging. And the way Anakin flips sides so casually…yes, it could have been done better. But that doesn’t take away from the overall strength of the film and the beautiful and tragic story it tells.

I can’t stress the importance of watching the Cartoon Network series, Clone Wars. It really adds so much to the narrative and strengthens the weak points. If you haven’t done that…please do yourself a favor and check it out (all 6 seasons are available on Netflix.)

Ok…here’s my stream of consciousness as I re-watched Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. You’re welcome, nerds!! 😉

-“There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere.” Ok but what heroes are on the bad side??

-Great start to this movie with the sweeping space shots and Battle of the Heroes playing majestically!

-Definitely the best of the prequels.

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-Anakin looks like he’s seen serious action in the Clone Wars and has weathered life.

-“Set S-foils in attack position!”

-Obi-Wan is such a cranky old man… “Flying is for droids!”

-Poor R4. Maybe that’s why Obi-Wan didn’t form an attachment to R2, He’s lost too many droids.

-R2D2 dueling a buzz droid!

-“I have a bad feeling about this!”

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-General Grevious is so unnecessary. But his theme music is super bad ass!! That cough though…what were they thinking?

-R2 hiding the communicator is so cute!

-I want to hear all those loose wire jokes, Obi-Wan!

-CGI’d Christopher Lee jumping off the balcony is just trying way too hard!! (I hate how they try so hard to show you that even though Christopher Lee is older he can still fly around like a Jedi bat. And why. Because older Obi-Wan was a boss and didn’t need to do CGI backflips to prove his skills!!)

-“Sith Lords are our speciality.” I wish they’d stop giving Ewan those stupid one liners. He’s so much better than that!

-This lightsaber battle between Anakin and Dooku is much better than the one in Episode II. But Lee’s stunt double is still way too spry!

-Emperor Palpatine showing his teeth in this scene!

-Also… as I said, if you aren’t watching Clone Wars, then you are missing out on all kinds of Dooku goodness!

-Anakin holding both the red and blue lightsaber as he kills Dooku…major foreshadowing…and I love it!

-Wilhelm scream!

-Why do all he Nemoidians on Grevious’ ships sound like surfers?

-That whole “I say patience” conversation is dumb. “Wait a minute…we’re smarter than this.” Cause it doesn’t sound like you are.

-Major smack talk between Grevious and Anakin!

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In this photo provided by Lucasfilm/Twentieth Century Fox, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor, left) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) launch a daring rescue attempt aboard an enemy ship, in “Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.” (AP Photo/ Lucasfilm/Twentieth Century Fox)

-Ani and Obi fighting side by side brings warm feelings to my heart!

-How can Grevious fly in outer space without needing air, but has that nasty cough??? And does having an organic heart mean he needs oxygen to breath? And how did he catch that cold? And does he have lungs? And if he has lungs and a heart, wouldn’t they explode in outer space????

-Why do they give Sam Jackson the dumbest most static lines in these movies??

-There’s Jar-Jar’s only line in this movie. “Excuse me.”

-Ok…do Ani and Palme think that no one can seem them there? It’s not that dark!

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-“The happiest moment of my life.” Awwww…the heartbreak of this moment.  And of Anakin’s happiness about the pregnancy. Hayden really hit this scene home and makes you feel it!

-Were they trying to go for some pre-Vader heavy breathing with Grevious? Cause it just comes off as a bit of a head scratcher!

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-Que the terrible love scene… “No, it’s cause I’m so in love with you!” “So love has blinded you then?” Yep, blinded by love has to be the only explanation for this stupid dialogue!

-Awww Japor Snippets of love!

-“You die in childbirth” Clearly they didn’t teach Anakin about hope and faith and changing your destiny. Come on!!

-Yes, of course Obi-Wan would be able and willing to help you both. Of course he would! And you should have trusted that instinct.

-“Fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side.” But Yoda, I think actual loss can do that too sometimes if not properly dealt with!

-“Attachment leads to jealousy.” Yeah, but if taught correctly it wouldn’t have to! Friendship is attachment…and the Jedi have friendships.

-“Be careful of your friend Palpatine!” They’re all warning Anakin and all but pushing him in that direction. Of course Anakin easily trusts him. He is a loyal man who is hungry for a father figure. And when you separate him from Obi-Wan, the only father/brother he’s ever known, then Anakin finds that relationship in Palpatine who uses it and twists it. All Anakin wants is to love and be loved.

-Palpatine showing faith in him is exactly what he’s always wanted.

-I want to hear more about Yoda’s back story with the Wookie’s.

-Then don’t put him in that situation, Obi-Wan. You know what’s best for him. You are his family. Protect him from Palpatine and from the council!

-I just wish Qui-Gonn was still around right now!

-“A prophesy which misread, it could have been.”

-War always represents a failure to listen. This is a serious truth bomb from Padme!

-Just when Padme is getting to the good stuff and calling Anakin out on his stuff she goes all mushy, “Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo.” YUCK!! I want more of the fierce politician!

-Space Opera is cool!

-Bring on the tales of Darth Plagueis!

-“All who gain power are afraid to lose it.” Yep and that’s why power should be given to those who don’t want it.

-“The Jedi are selfless, they only care about others.” In an ideal world, of course. But sadly this isn’t true.

-What are some other Sith Legends, Palpatine? He’s such a good story teller!!

-“The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some would consider to be unnatural.” He just hits those dark lines so well!!

-This is Ian McDiarmid at his best! He really nails this scene.

-Utapau is cool!

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-WOOKIE ARMY!!!

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-Anakin and Obi-Wan saying goodbye. The last time they see each other before it all goes down. I’m not crying…you’re crying!!

-Jealousy doesn’t look good on you, Ani. Knock it off!!

-Padme looks so pretty with her curly hair.

-They don’t make it very clear whether or not Obi knows about Ani and Padme at this point.

-A rose gold R unit for Obi-Wan. That goes with everything this season! Obi has major droid style!

-“Oh…a volcanic planet. Why didn’t you say so? Definitely send us there cause it sounds super safe!”

-And now we find Dooku was training his evil half organic droid with the croup in the Jedi arts…but what for? That doesn’t make any sense! He was also training Asajj Ventress at this time. That seems to go against the rule of 2!

-Half wheel/half animal droid vehicle thing.

-How are we not about to have holographic conference calls yet? Someone get on that!

-“I sense a plot to destroy the Jedi” Slow clap and a cookie for Mace Windu…

-At least Anakin knows something is wrong here. Now if only Mace didn’t screw the pooch with this one and basically hand Ani over to Palpatine on a silver platter.

-Buh-Bye General Grevious!

-I wish Anakin had gone to anyone besides Mace Windu! Bad idea.

-This staring out the window thing is weird. Are Ani and Padme having a Force moment? Did it work? Did it help?

-Awwwww… Poor Kit Fisto! I liked him!

-Palpatine’s CGI stunt double is also pretty unbelievable! Too much CGI!

-Palpatine is seriously the most brilliantly evil mind. The way he manipulates situations for his outcome.

-This part is too quick. Anakin sees Palpatine kill Mace after asking Mace not to kill Palpatine. Then all of a sudden he’s swearing fealty to the Sith. It’s too fast. The progression isn’t there and that is the biggest failing of this film. That’s the most important part of the story and it gets rushed.

-Do you think Palpatine had the name Vader all picked out and embroidered on all the towels. He thinks of it really fast.

-How can Anakin possibly become so evil so quick??? It’s too fast. Ani is still in there somewhere.

-ORDER 66 😦

-No one takes down Yoda, bitches!! BEST!!!

-Without the Clone Wars series to give you the shading and characterization of the Clones as individuals, you really lose something in this scene where they turn after having fought side by side with the Jedi for years and years. It’s so powerful when you add that layer in there.

-NOT THE YOUNGLINGS, ANAKIN!!!!! Think of your own child!

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-I really love Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa.

-There goes George Lucas’ Jedi son kicking serious Clone ass!

-Anakin really jumps on the evil bandwagon and lies to himself so easily.

“Oh, by the way, Padme. It’s Darth Vader now. I know…totally confusing. And sure it sounds evil. It’s cool. You’ll get used to it!”

-Bail, Obi-Wan and Yoda make a killer team!

-“So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause.”

-I think we really get robbed of seeing Padme as her best self. She is a fierce politician with a very clear picture of how things are going down and she’s not afraid to say what needs to be said. Her political career should have been much brighter after stepping down as Queen.

-Search your feelings, Obi-Wan. you know exactly who killed the younglings. 😦 The pain of the reality doesn’t change the reality.

-Obi-Wan’s heartbreak over Anakin is…well…heart breaking!!!

-Oh look, Padme can easily lie to herself too.

-Qui-Gonn could have fixed this. Maybe not all of it. But we really need him right now!

-This movie is so sad!

-Here comes more heartbreak!

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-Padme’s hair is cool in this Mustafar scene!

-You’re darn right Obi-Wan was right! You should have gone to him earlier, Padme!

-Don’t fight your brother, Anakin!!! That’s your family. Come back!

-“Only a Sith deals in absolute.” That’s an absolute, Obi-Wan! Was George high when he wrote some of these lines???

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-This is the lightsaber battle we deserve!!! It’s so freaking epic!!

-Yoda walks in and throws the red guards around like a freaking BOSS!!!

-“Not if anything to say about it, I have.” Trying too hard to Yoda-tize every line of his.

-This whole part is EPIC!!!

-And just when you think it can’t get any better, Duel of the Fates starts playing and takes the emotion up 100 notches!!

-The way they intertwine Duel of the Fates and Battle of the Heroes into each other…John Williams is the Master!!!

-Yoda looks so small after his fight with Palpatine. As he goes into exile and fully realizes the defeat of his oversight.

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-Ok, when Anakin and Obi-Wan start jumping on the lava droids…it loses the magic.

-Even as Jedi, standing on those droids is just distracting and stupid.

-Yes, he is lost. And he needs you now more than ever, Obi-Wan!!!

-“You were the chose one…” I’m not crying again…it’s still you that’s crying, you big baby!!!

-Also…he is still the chosen one. That never changed!

-“Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness.” It actually never specifies how he will bring about the balance, does it. Obi-Wan? Just says that he does.

-Can we talk about how Obi-Wan’s last vision of Anakin is him burning on a lava bank with no legs and no arm. Then he goes on to talk to Luke about him like he was the best guy. Obi-Wan can sure bend the truth and hide his feelings.

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-I’d like to see Bail Organa: The Early Years, with Jimmy Smits raising Leis amidst what I can only imagine is a rather fascinating political landscape in the early days of the Rebellion on Alderaan!

-“Isita Orido…Oooba…Oooba…Oooba… isista Orida.”

-Oooba has got to be the calmest way of saying push in the whole galaxy!!!

-Padme hopes there’s good in him. But she is no Jedi. She believes. She has faith and that is so powerful!

-Vader breathing his first as Padme breathes her last is everything!! And then….NOOOOOOO happens. Ooops!

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-FRANKEN-VADER!!!

-Leia’s theme is beautiful here!

-Tarkin’s look alike is on fleek for those .2 seconds that he’s on screen!

-The last 4 minutes as a set up for A New Hope is very solid. Really sets up the world to come, the world we already know!

-Oh, John Williams. You magical beast!!! He makes the credits worth sitting through every time. He taught me to stay through the credits and listen to the beautiful music!!

What’s Your Favorite?

Only 1 week of web series hiatus left. And I have all kinds of crazy stories coming at you in the New Year! But I wanted to find out if you had any favorites out of the episodes I’ve done so far. So I have a couple of polls below that I hope you’ll take! And if you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

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Photos by Cristina Fowler

 

There have been a handful of men to come into my life up to this point (don’t worry, there’s a bunch more in our future) but I wanted to know if you had a favorite. And if you forgot who did what, then click here and take a look back at the episodes that we’ve done so far. With only 18 episode at about 2 minutes each, it’s an easy binge watch. 😉

Thanks for your opinions. I love to see the results. And I’ll see you next week for a brand new episode of So…This Happened.