Sunday, January 04, 2015

May the Meme Be With You

There's a big Star Wars questionnaire going around. Jason did it. Kelly did it. And now I shall do it, too.

1. Which film is your favorite of the Original Trilogy?

The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite. It's the movie I watch when I'm sick and need to feel better. I think the fact that it's the first movie I have a conscious memory of going to see plays a large part in that. It also has my favorite score of the series. And, of course, it has Yoda, and those scenes with Yoda on Dagobah are my favorite thing in the entirety of Star Wars.

2. If you enjoy the prequels, which one is your favorite?

I love the Prequels. My wife is the only other person who would pick this, but The Phantom Menace is my favorite Prequel. Yes, it has weaknesses, but I love Qui-Gon Jinn and I love the creatures and it just occupies this special place in my heart. It's the only one of the Prequels that made me feel like a little kid again. I don't want to have to argue about this frigging thing anymore; it's tiring, stop telling me to hate it, because I never will.

3. How old were you when Episode 1 came out?

22. I turned 23 that summer.

4. Which of the movies have you seen in the theater?

All of them, technically. Sort of. I was just shy of a year old when the first one came out, but I know we saw it in a re-release. Empire I saw for sure, but I'm not sure where. I remember seeing Return of the Jedi at the Fox Valley Theater and being amazed at how crowded it was and how big the line was. We saw that movie 13 times! My parents bought me a poster there. I saw all of the Special Editions at the theater at the Yorktown Mall. I noticed the audiences were less for each picture... the Star Wars Special Edition was PACKED the first time we saw it. (I took Becca and my Mom and Jayne on opening night, where we sat in front of a couple of orgasming fanboys, so Becca and I went to see it a second time.) I was thrilled to see Peter Cushing on a movie screen.

Becca and I saw The Phantom Menace at the Marcus Addison, which was our go-to theater for years. Every time we saw it (a lot of times, maybe 9 or 10), we saw it there. Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith we saw up here in DeKalb (where we moved in 2001) at the Cinemark, though I think it was called the GKC then.

I have problems traveling a long way in the winter, so I'm not sure where we'll see The Force Awakens, but I hope it's at the big AMC in Geneva. I can't remember the name of it. Since we don't get to see many movies anymore, we like to make a trip out of it for the big ones and go to that theater and have lunch at Five Guys. That's the closest Five Guys, nearly an hour away... which, let's face it, is probably for the best.

5. Did you go to any of them on opening night?

Not the Originals, because my Dad liked to go to Saturday matinees. The Prequels, yes. We stood in line for them.

6. Who is your favorite character from the Original Trilogy?
7. Who is your favorite character from the prequels, if you have one?

The answer to both is Artoo Detoo.

8. Have you read any of the books or comics?

The Marvel comics were actually my gateway to Marvel Comics as a whole, which is why Plif the Hoojib will always be an integral part of the Star Wars universe to me. I also love the old Russ Manning/Archie Goodwin/Al Williamson comic strips. I started reading some of the Dark Horse comics when they were first coming out, but I thought they were too dark and kind of boring. The big exceptions were a Droids miniseries, some of the early Knights of the Old Republic stuff, and a delightful, hilarious mini called Star Wars Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika. I also enjoyed a lot of stories in the anthology book Star Wars Tales. I don't know if I'll try and read the new Marvel comic; I didn't care for Brian Wood's recent Dark Horse comic that lots of people dug. I might be burned out on that stuff, but who knows?

As for the books, I liked Brian Daley's Han Solo novels when I was a kid, and they inspired some of my short stories (which also featured a tough space smuggler and his bearlike sidekick). I was very excited about the Thrawn Trilogy when it first came out, and I devoured them, but generally I think they're overrated. I only read a few of the novels after that, and then there were some I tried to read (I worked in books from 1994 to 1997, so I was there when they were first released--even got to take home a Chewbacca standee from a display) but just couldn't get into.

9. Favorite book or series? Favorite SW author?

I wouldn't say I have one. I've always liked the Original Trilogy novelizations. I have the original paperbacks just from having them as a kid.

10. Favorite comic?

I'm going to pick The Yavin Vassilika. It takes place in the days when Han and Chewie were smugglers, and Jabba the Hutt makes a bet with a couple of other Hutts over whose business methods are the most effective, and they send teams of bounty hunters after the title treasure. Jabba's team is Han Solo, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett. Another Hutt hires IG-88, Bossk and Dengar, and the third hires Zuckuss, 4-LOM and a guy called Sardu. And they're all followed by a hilariously incompetent Greedo, who is trying to get back in with Jabba. It's like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World crossed with the kinds of old adventure and detective movies that inspired George Lucas, as everyone tries to outrace and double cross one another. It's practically a John Huston movie with some comic relief, and it's wonderful.

11. Favorite character from the Expanded Universe (EU)?

I know the Marvel comic doesn't count as the EU, but screw it, I'm saying Pliff the Hoojib. Sorry, but I love him, and none of the "official" EU characters stand out for me except for Mara Jade, and I didn't read enough of her to care much. It seems to me every new iteration of a Star Wars universe has some proactive redhead for Luke to fall in love with; to me, Mara Jade is just Shira Brie 2.0.

If the EU is canon to you, that's great. That's a fun part of being a fan of something that has a huge media presence and dubious canonicity; if it's important to you, it is your canon. Don't let someone liking it or not liking it--even if it's the parent company--make you feel like it isn't. But I don't want to have serious arguments about it.

12. Favorite villain from the EU?

I don't have one. I remember Grand Admiral Thrawn being a really full-bodied character, but I haven't read those novels since high school, so I don't remember a lot about them.

13. If you had your own ship from the Star Wars Universe (SWU), what would it be? It could be a mash-up/ugly.

I mean, come on, the Millennium Falcon.

14. Would you rather be Sith or Jedi?

Jedi. But I don't know if I'd be a very good one. Too angry.

15. Would you rather be a Rebel or a member of the Imperial Navy? What would your role be?

Definitely a Rebel; I can't do anything regimented. I'd like to be something simple, though, like a cook or something. Or some kind of work with Droids.

16. If you could be any species from the SWU which would you be?

If I have to be a non-human, I think a Duros would be pretty cool.

17. If you could date any species from the SWU which would you pick?

Those Twi'leks, man...

18. If you could date/marry any character from the SWU who would you pick?

Ahsoka Tano.

19. If you were going to bone just one Star Wars character and you never had to see them again, who would you pick?

I'm surprised it took us this long to get here, honestly, because Star Wars fans. Anyway. Aayla Secura, of course.

20. If you could BE one SW character, EU or not, who would you be?

Lando Calrissian is my template for cool, and I'll never be that cool, so I'll say him.

21. What would your SWU name be?

You can create custom characters in the Lego Star Wars games. In one, I created a swashbuckling Ithorian adventurer called Aravis Stig, so why not?

22. What color would your lightsaber be, what kind would it be (double-bladed, single blade), would you dual-wield, and what kind of grip would it have?

I love Mace Windu's purple blade, so I'll take that one. Classic style, but maybe with one of those fuchi hilt collars like on a samurai sword. In fact, let's go the samurai route and have two lightsabers, like a samurai daisho.

23. Do you own SW merchandise?

Of course!

24. How much, to date, do you think you’ve spent on SW merchandise?

Yeah, I'd rather not have an accurate number, because I've got a lot of it.

25. What is your favorite SW possession?

Hard to say. I think it's really just that I still have some action figures from when I was a kid, despite my Mom's best efforts to garage sale them out of my life without my knowledge. I also love my Lego X-Wing Fighter.

26. Do you have a favorite SW artist? If so, who?

I honestly can't decide between Ralph McQuarrie, who crafted so much of the look of the films (I do love that Star Wars: Rebels is very much influenced by McQuarrie's art, right down to the characters themselves looking a lot like his original concepts), and Drew Struzan, whose posters captured so much of my imagination. I also have to give a shout-out to Doug Chiang, who did a lot of wonderful art for the Prequels.

27. Are there items you do not own but covet? What are they?

All I want is one of those life-sized Artoo Detoos.

28. Are there items that are not made but that you wish were made? What are they?

Are they making Star Wars Pop! Vinyls yet?

29. Did Han shoot first?

I don't like the change in the Special Edition, and it'll never look right to me, but I don't get worked up about it. It doesn't ruin anything for me.

30. Did Boba Fett, in your opinion, ever leave the Sarlacc or did he die there?

He's dead.

31. Are there things about the movies you wish you could change? If so, name three.

Okay, let's see...

First, I really liked the original story notes for Return of the Jedi as detailed in JW Rinzler's The Making of Return of the Jedi, and a large part of that was because it gave Princess Leia a much more active role in the story. She kills Jabba the Hutt, and after that she basically has no role in the story. So I'd like to see her have more to do that affects the story in RotJ.

Second, I just want to see a few tweaks to the Jedi Council storyline in the Prequels, because The Clone Wars did a much better job of establishing just how much the Jedi Council had become complacent and corrupt, and basically withered in their capabilities, which is a huge part of the story. I see people complaining all the time that they find it unbelievable that the Jedi Council couldn't sense that Chancellor Palpatine was the Sith Lord they were looking for, but that's part of the point of the story. He's a better Jedi than they are because years of complacency and inaction have made them weak, fusty and ineffectual. That's the story! So I'd just like for that to have been clearer.

And third, a better story arc for Jar Jar Binks. I'm still convinced that he had a real character arc that was abandoned because the fans hated the character so much. I actually like all of the accidental stuff in the battle scene on Naboo (I find it funny, and it's so obviously cribbed from Buster Keaton's College, in some cases down to exact stunts), but Jar Jar didn't need to be in the background of every scene tripping over stuff. I love that silly Gungan, and I would've liked to have seen him have more of an effect on the story and maturing over time into something a little more measured. (The Clone Wars generally did a better job with him, but they used him sparingly, which is a good idea.)

32. Which era would you want to live in?

Maybe the Old Republic era.

33. What SW games have you played?

I love the arcade game from around 1994. I love the old pinball game, too. There's another collectible I covet. I see them for sale all the time and wish I could have one. I love the Lego Star Wars video games and the first Force Unleashed. I love Pod Racer, which Becca and I used to play A LOT on Dreamcast. When I was a kid, I had the Escape from the Death Star board game.

34. Do you play/own Star Wars Miniatures?

No.

35. Favorite SW costume for men?

I always like the Jedi robes in the Prequels; they look comfortable and have that wandering samurai kind of thing. When I was a kid, I "borrowed" my Dad's LL Bean jacket and wore it for years because it reminded me of Han's jacket from TESB. Still the best jacket I ever wore.

36. Favorite SW costume for women?

I love some of the various costumes Padme wears in Episode II.

37. Have you ever dressed up as a SW character? Who/When/Why?

No.

38. Do you ever have SW sex fantasies? If so, have you ever acted them out?

I like Star Wars, but other than some ogling, I've never really considered them sexy movies or done the whole roleplay thing with SW. I did date a girl who liked my Harrison Ford impression, though...

39. Do you Ship any SW characters who aren’t together? Who/why?

No, but I am fascinated by the idea that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Aayla Secura had a secret love for each other. I can't remember where I read that...

40. Have you ever written SW fan fiction? Can we read it?

Never anything specifically Star Wars, but like I said earlier, it did heavily influence a character I used to write stories about in high school. It was an amalgamation of all of my influences, really. particularly Indiana Jones and books about space exploration (and Bob Eggleton's art). One of the ways I learned to write, though, was by writing "novelizations" of scenes from Empire. Taught me a lot about what writers call "said bookism."

The only direct fan fiction I ever wrote was when I was 9 (1985) and my friends and I tried to write a script for Ghostbusters 2.

41. Have you been to a Celebration or plan on going to one?

I might enjoy that, but I've never been. I always loved it when I would see members of the 501st at WizardWorld Chicago, particularly the year they had a purple R2 unit that worked on remote control.

42. Have you ever been to Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World?

I wish!

43. Do you wish they had Star Wars Weekends at Disneyland?

I'm closer to Florida, so it doesn't affect me.

44. Best section you’ve experienced on Star Tours?

Never been.

45. What initially brought you to the SW fandom?

Being a little kid in the early 80s! I can't remember a time in life without out, mainly because I was 10 months old when the first movie came out!

46. Do you consider yourself a SW Fanboy or Fangirl?

I'm just a fan. Frankly, the term "fanboy" has picked up a lot of negative connotations, and now when I hear "Star Wars Fanboy" I think of somebody who is seething with rage about those movies, and I'm just... I'm so tired of those people. No, I'm just a fan.

47 Have you seen Fanboys? Favorite character and/or quote?

Yeah, in the theater. Had to drive out to the one theater showing it. Have the DVD. I dig it. My favorite character, obviously, is Zoe, because she's Kristen Bell. And my favorite line is just the moment when George Lucas is on the phone and she geeks out with "I can hear his beard!"

48. Do you wish they would make 7, 8, and 9 or do you think they should be done with it?

Well, whether I ever wished it, here they come. I'm more excited than I thought I would be, honestly. The same thing happened with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull... I was cynical and uninterested the whole time they were making it, but when I saw the teaser I just had to go. (And I liked that movie, I don't care.)

49. If they ever made 7, 8, and 9, do you think it should continue the Skywalker Legacy or use entirely new characters? Or something different?

I think the Skywalker family is central to the whole thing; yes, it's an epic about the fall of a Republic and the defeat of an Empire, but that context is experienced by generations of the Skywalker family, and I want to see that continue. I assumed the new movie would involve Han and Leia's kids in some way, although I assume they're adult children.

50. Do you watch The Clone Wars?

I did. I loved it; it's one of my favorite Star Wars things ever, and I think it really explored a lot of the themes that didn't quite come across they way they should have in the Prequels themselves. I'm enjoying Star Wars: Rebels very much, too, and hope it becomes the equal of Clone Wars.

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