kottke.org posts about star wars

The Otherworldly Sounds of Ice

posted by Jason Kottke   May 05, 2021

The holes drilled into Arctic, Antarctic, and glacial ice to harvest ice cores can be up to 2 miles deep. One of my all-time favorite sounds is created by dropping ice down into one of these holes — it makes a super-cool pinging noise, as demonstrated in these two videos:

Ice makes similar sounds under other conditions, like if you skip rocks on a frozen lake:

Or skate on really thin ice (ok this might actually be my favorite sound, with apologies to the ice core holes):

Headphones are recommended for all of these videos. The explanation for this distinctive pinging sound, which sounds like a Star Wars blaster, has to do with how fast different sound frequencies move through the ice, as explained in this video:

(via the kid should see this)

Make Everything Important

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 20, 2021

I enjoyed this interview with actor Mads Mikkelsen.

Q: Is there a life philosophy that you feel has carried you through your career?

A: My approach to what I do in my job — and it might even be the approach to my life — is that everything I do is the most important thing I do. Whether it’s a play or the next film. It is the most important thing. I know it’s not going to be the most important thing, and it might not be close to being the best, but I have to make it the most important thing. That means I will be ambitious with my job and not with my career. That’s a very big difference, because if I’m ambitious with my career, everything I do now is just stepping-stones leading to something — a goal I might never reach, and so everything will be disappointing. But if I make everything important, then eventually it will become a career. Big or small, we don’t know. But at least everything was important.

“All his life has he looked away, to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was, what he was doing.” —Yoda, Empire Strikes Back. See also “I’ve Never Had a Goal”. (via @tadfriend)

Carrie Fisher’s Screen Test for Star Wars

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 13, 2021

Before her appearance in Star Wars, Carrie Fisher had only appeared in one film (Hal Ashby’s Shampoo) and for the role of Leia, she was going up against several other great actresses, including Karen Allen and Jodie Foster. In this footage of Fisher’s screen test from late 1975/early 1976, where she’s reading a scene with Harrison Ford about the Death Star plans, you get a tantalizing glimpse of why she ended up winning the part.

See also Mark Hamill’s screen test and several other Star Wars screen tests, including this one of Kurt Russell, who auditioned for the roles of Han and Luke.

Fans Build Life-Size Model of the Razor Crest from The Mandalorian

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 17, 2021

Some Star Wars fans in Yakutsk, Russia (aka one of the coldest inhabited places on Earth in the winter) spent the last few months building a life-size replica of the Razor Crest spacecraft from The Mandalorian. It was self-financed at the beginning (one of the creators sold his car) but attracted some sponsorship as construction progressed.

R2-D2 and C-3PO Say “Get Vaccinated!”

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 05, 2021

Star Wars Vaccination

In the 70s, the US government enlisted the droids of Star Wars to encourage parents to immunize their kids against childhood diseases like whooping cough and measles.

American parents weren’t getting their kids vaccinated. Measles, polio and whooping cough were taking a toll on young lives. Just as it is today, the message was important but the spot itself was horrible — a sludgy, if informative script. We shot it in a faux sci-fi control room. Most memorable was the way R2 appeared to pay no attention to the laws of physics.

(via kottke ride home)

USPS Announces Star Wars Droid Stamps

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 27, 2021

Star Wars droids stamps from the USPS

Star Wars droids stamps from the USPS

Star Wars droids stamps from the USPS

Star Wars droids stamps from the USPS

The spring, the USPS will be releasing a set of 10 stamps featuring droids from Star Wars movies and series. (These are the droids you’re looking for lolololol.)

Representing more than four decades of innovation and storytelling, the droids featured in this pane of 20 stamps are IG-11, R2-D2, K-2SO, D-O, L3-37, BB-8, C-3PO, a GNK (or Gonk) power droid, 2-1B surgical droid and C1-10P, commonly known as “Chopper.”

The characters are shown against backgrounds representing settings of memorable adventures. The selvage features a passageway from the floating Cloud City above the planet Bespin, introduced in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.”

(thx, caroline)

Spaghetti Western Trailer for The Mandalorian

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 21, 2021

Just as the original Star Wars movie was inspired by Flash Gordon and Kurosawa,1 The Mandalorian is modelled on the western — a lone gunfighter makes his way through the wilderness to protect the innocent. As Mando star Pedro Pascal put it: “I think that George Lucas played with the Western undertones with the first movie, ‘Episode IV,’ and now they’re taking the suggestions of that tone and infusing it with steroids.” So naturally, it’s a great idea to make a trailer for The Mandalorian in the style of a Sergio Leone spaghetti western, complete with music by Ennio Morricone. Il Mandaloriano!

  1. Lucas made Star Wars because he couldn’t get the rights to do a Flash Gordon movie. Who knew that “Flash Gordon as a samurai film” would be such a lucrative idea?

The Trailer for Season Two of The Mandalorian

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 15, 2020

So admittedly I was not the biggest fan of the first season of The Mandalorian — I don’t particularly care for westerns, space or otherwise, and in terms of the off-piste Star Wars tales, preferred Rogue One and even Solo to Mando’s adventures. But there is something compelling there and because I was indoctrinated in the ways of The Force as a child,1 I will watch the new season that starts on Disney+ October 30.

  1. I am not Force-sensitive myself, but I like to watch those who are.

Darth Costanza

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 27, 2020

The premise is pretty simple and there’s no need to oversell it because you can imagine what this is going to sound like going in and it delivers perfectly: George Costanza’s father’s voice dubbed over Darth Vader’s dialogue in Star Wars. Serenity now!

(Quickly: Luke = Jerry, Han = George, Leia = Elaine, Chewie = Kramer. Does that even work? (Obi-Wan = Uncle Leo? Is 3PO Newman?))

Kenobi, a Star Wars Fan Film

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 17, 2020

Although the announced Disney+ series about Obi-Wan Kenobi may shed some light on the matter, we don’t know too much about what “Ben Kenobi” was up to on Tatooine after the events of Revenge of the Sith, besides keeping an eye on Luke. This short film made by a group of Star Wars fans as a “love letter” to the series shows what may have happened after the Empire makes its presence known when Luke is just a young boy. (via kevin kelly)

Star Wars Spoiler Generator

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 23, 2019

From Randall Munroe at XKCD, here’s a spoilers generator for the latest Star Wars movie.

Xkcd Star Wars Spoiler Generator

In this Star Wars movie, our heroes return to take on the First Order and new villain Theranos with some help with their new friend Dab Tweetdeck. Rey builds a new lightsaber with a beige blade, and they head out to confront the First Order’s new superweapon, the Moonsquisher, a space station capable of cutting a planet in half and smashing the halves together like two cymbals. They unexpectedly join forces with their old enemy Boba Fett and destroy the superweapon in a battle featuring Kylo Ren putting on another helmet over his smaller one. P.S. Rey’s parents are Obi-wan and Laura Dern.

Second trailer for The Mandalorian

posted by Patrick Tanguay   Nov 05, 2019

The “streaming wars” are starting in earnest with the launch of Disney Plus and I’m wondering how things will turn out, who’ll lose out, who’ll get favour swinging on their side. I can’t help but be disappointed that Disney owns so much of what I loved as a kid and teen (and still), and I don’t intend to have multiple subscriptions so there’s a good chance I won’t be seeing The Mandalorian for a while but… damn that looks fun! And that’s even before having Pedro Pascal smirk his way out of things à la Han Solo.

Andrew Liptak for Tor.com has some additional insights and links to visuals and more info about the series.

There’s other staples from the Star Wars universe present: carbon freezing (which seems to become a regular practice since Darth Vader froze Han Solo), speeder chases, giant creatures, and bars full of aliens. What’s also neat to see is that the Mandalorian seems to have two sets of armor: one that looks as though it’s cobbled from bits of armor from other places, and a nice, shiny set.

The Final Trailer for Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 22, 2019

Let’s just all pretend that this trailer did not give me goosebumps and make me pump my fist a little, because at this point Star Wars is a sliced-n-diced and repackaged global financial instrument and very much not something a 46-year-old man who knows better should get excited about. (Jk jk, pump Mark Hamill’s gravely voice and John Williams’ soaring crescendos directly into my veins. And if James Earl Jones’ voice does not make an appearance in this movie, I will eat a Stormtrooper helmet.)

What’s Weirder: Glenlivet’s Tide Pods or Le Creuset’s Star Wars Collection?

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 07, 2019

Last week we saw two absolutely incredible product introductions, and I’m having trouble picking a favorite. First, there were Glenlivet’s cocktail capsules that immediately reminded the entire internet of Tide Pods.

Glenlivet Pods

And then there was Le Creuset’s Star Wars collection of cookware, including a Darth Vader dutch oven, R2-D2 cooker, a Han Solo in carbonite roasting pan, and a “hand-painted, special-edition Tatooine™ Round Dutch Oven, inspired by the desert planet with captivating binary sunsets”.

Star Wars Le Creuset

Star Wars Le Creuset

People, we are living in a true golden age.

Talking Chewbacca: “Where the Hell Have You Been?”

posted by Jason Kottke   May 06, 2019

This is neat: Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca speaking English to Harrison Ford’s Han Solo in a scene from Empire Strikes Back:

Mayhew’s dialogue provided context for Ford to play off of. Chewbacca’s more familiar voice was dubbed over the on-set dialogue in post production — listen to Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt describe how he created Chewie’s voice in this video at ~26:18. Mayhew passed away last week at the age of 74.

See also David Prowse’s on-set dialogue as Darth Vader, or as the other cast members called him, Darth Farmer (at 6:05 in the video). (via laughing squid)

A New Teaser Trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX

posted by Tim Carmody   Apr 12, 2019

It is what it is, right? That infinite scroll of Lawrence of Arabia desert, only instead of knives and dynamite, the rebels have laser swords and spaceships. You’ve got those knight-and-samurai motifs of journeys, honor, and an inevitable confrontation between good and evil. You’ve got Chewbacca, still the best character actor of his generation. It’s Star Wars. Even if you resist it, it’s shaped us all. It’s the closest thing to mandatory mass culture we have left. Might as well check out what you’re going to be in for.

How All the Iconic Star Wars Sounds Were Made

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 02, 2019

Ben Burtt was the sound designer for the original Star Wars trilogy and was responsible for coming up with many of the movies’ iconic sounds, including the lightsaber and Darth Vader’s breathing.1 In this video, Burtt talks at length about how two dozens sounds from Star Wars were developed.

The base sound for the blaster shots came from a piece of metal hitting the guy-wire of a radio tower — I have always loved the noise that high-tension cables make. And I never noticed that Vader’s use of the force was accompanied by a rumbling sound. Anyway, this is a 45-minute masterclass in scrappy sound design.

See also: how the Millennium Falcon hyperdrive malfunction noise was made, exploring the sound design of Star Wars, and This Happy Dog Sounds Like a TIE Fighter.

  1. Burtt was the sound designer for the Indiana Jones trilogy, E.T. (he got the voice from an old woman he met who smoked Kool cigarettes), and did the voice for Wall-E. He’s also a big reason why you hear the Wilhelm scream in lots of movies.

A Mega-Trailer for the Whole 10-Film Star Wars Franchise

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 26, 2019

In 2012, actor and budding film editor Topher Grace took all three Star Wars prequels and condensed them into an 85-minute movie called Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back.

Earlier today, Grace and trailer editor Jeff Yorkes uploaded a trailer they created for all 10 movies in the Star Wars franchise: the originals, the prequels, the two new ones, and the Star Wars Stories (Solo and Rogue One). As a trailer, it leaves a lot out, but the pair still make a few connections explicit that the casual fan may have overlooked in the midst of all the light saber & fighter duels.

A Fan-Made Trailer for an Anime Version of Star Wars

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 24, 2018

Dmitry Grozov is a Russian comic artist who has made a trailer for an anime version of Star Wars: A New Hope. This treatment of Star Wars is fitting given the Asian, and particularly Japanese, influence on the film.

I would watch the hell out of a full-length version of this.

For Sale: Han Solo’s Jacket & Indiana Jones’ Fedora

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 17, 2018

A huge cache of rare Hollywood memorabilia is up for sale at a London auction on September 20. The catalog includes over 600 items from movies like Back to the Future, Blade Runner, Batman, Blues Brothers, Die Hard, Goonies, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star Wars, Superman, Terminator, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and X-Men.

Among the most valuable and unique items are the iconic Indiana Jones hat worn by Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark (estimate £200,000-£300,000):

Hollywood Auction 2018 01

They’re also selling Indy’s bullwhip from Temple of Doom (estimate £50,000-£70,000).

The most expensive item is Han Solo’s jacket from Empire Strikes Back (£500,000-£1,000,000):

Hollywood Auction 2018 02

Pairs nicely with this stormtrooper helmet from the first film (estimate £40,000-£60,000):

Hollywood Auction 2018 03

Marty McFly’s hoverboard from Back to the Future II (estimate £30,000-£50,000):

Hollywood Auction 2018 04

They’re also offering the DeLorean’s OUTATIME license plate from the first film (estimate £10,000-£15,000):

Hollywood Auction 2018 05

A Wonka Bar from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (estimate £8,000-£10,000), a rare item because most props from the film were “destroyed at its Bavarian film studio to allow production to wrap quickly, making way for the immediate filming of Cabaret”:

Hollywood Auction 2018 06

Captain Picard’s uniform from the first two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation (£10,000-£15,000):

Hollywood Auction 2018 07

And a bunch of other stuff, including John McClane’s radio from Die Hard, Edward Scissorhands’ costume, Mikey’s doubloon from The Goonies, a T-800 exoskeleton from Terminator 2, Tom Hanks’ helmet from Saving Private Ryan, a THX 138 license plate from American Graffiti, and a full-size drivable replica of the DeLorean from Back to the Future.

If you want to bid on any of this stuff, either in person, via the phone, or online, check out the info page on how to register.

What made Darth Vader such a visually iconic character

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 26, 2018

Darth Vader was only on screen in the original Star Wars movie for 8 minutes and for a little under 34 minutes in the whole original trilogy. In the latest Nerdwriter episode, Evan Puschak examines how the cinematography of the films (particularly Empire Strikes Back) helped make Vader into an iconic character despite such little screentime.

Today seems to be movie villain day on kottke.org: see also this morning’s post on Black Panther’s Killmonger.

Imaginary insects based on Star Wars characters

posted by Jason Kottke   May 21, 2018

Star Wars Insects

Star Wars Insects

Star Wars Insects

Illustrator Richard Wilkinson is drawing a series of insects inspired by Star Wars and other pop cultural items.

This project was born out of a fascination with collecting, cataloguing and classifying.

It draws inspiration from classic Natural History illustration but explores the subjects that we love to collect and classify from the modern world: Films, TV, Video Games, Comics, Vehicles, Sneakers, Brands etc.

The first book of the series, working title: “Arthropoda Iconicus Volume I: Insects From A Far Away Galaxy”, is a collection of insects that bear a subtle yet uncanny resemblance to characters and vehicles from the worlds favourite space opera.

You can check out more on his Instagram and a few are available as prints in his online shop. (via colossal)

Star Wars: The Last Laser Master

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 06, 2018

The Auralnauts have finished up their epic comedic retelling of the first six episodes of Star Wars with episode 6, The Last Laser Master. Follow Laser Master Duke Dirtfarmer and his friends in the fight against the Empire and its fearsome planet-killing weapon: Laser Moon II.

You can watch the five other episodes — including Jedi Party, The Friend Zone, and Revenge of Middle Management — in this playlist.

For snackier Auralnauts fare, see How to make a blockbuster movie trailer, some Bane outtakes from the Dark Knight Rises, and the Star Wars throne room scene minus the John Williams score.

Why are action movie trailers sounding more musical lately?

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 22, 2018

Did you watch the teaser trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story or the recent trailer for Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp? Here they are if you need a refresher:

In both clips, you’ll notice how the sounds of the action — phaser blasts, switch flicks, explosions, engine revs, gun shots, tires squealing — are synched to the music…and in some cases, make music of their own. This is most apparent in the Ant-Man trailer starting at around 0:45.

Pacing in-movie sound effects to sound musical isn’t exactly new (martial arts flicks come to mind, as do the rapid-fire cuts from Requiem for a Dream), but these recent uses of the technique in these trailers have to be influenced by Baby Driver, Edgar Wright’s 2017 “action musical”. Just about every action in the movie is timed to the soundtrack. Take a look, or rather, take a listen at the gunfight that starts at around 1:20 in this clip:

What’s particularly interesting about the use of this technique in the Ant-Man trailer is that Wright was replaced as the director of the first Ant-Man movie (which he refuses to watch), which freed him up to direct Baby Driver. I wonder if the trailer’s sound design is a subtle fuck you to Wright on behalf of Marvel/Disney, a sly homage by the person who cut the trailer together, or just the unwitting borrowing of an ear-catching technique?

I’d expect to see more usage of this technique as the summer action movie trailer season heats up. Has anyone noticed any other recent uses?

Update: Here are several more trailers that use this effect, although none of them quite to extent of Ant-Man or Baby Driver: Mad Max: Fury Road, Creed, Deadpool, an upcoming Mission Impossible movie (as well as an older one), Suicide Squad, The Punisher, and even the Coen’s A Serious Man.

That’s four Marvel trailers that do it. I wonder if Wright drew inspiration from them instead of the other way around? (via @opeyre, @celiacunningham, @vlavallee, trailer town, @paulstachniak)

Solo, A Star Wars Story

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 05, 2018

Someday, I will see the trailer for a new Star Wars movie and not get completely gooey inside. Today is not that day. Here’s the briefer “TV spot” (don’t call it a trailer!) that aired during the Super Bowl last night.

I think my insides and outsides briefly switched places when they showed Donald Glover as Lando.

Update: Demi Adejuyigbe made this fake Donald Glover / Childish Gambino song about Lando and it’s too good.

Update: The Solo trailer with a soundtrack of the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage is an improvement on the actual trailer:

Which is not surprising…adding Sabotage to any fast-paced video sequence improves it.

Update: New longer trailer. Still cautiously optimistic!

John Williams conducting the opening fanfare for Star Wars: The Last Jedi

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 29, 2018

Director Rian Johnson has posted a short clip of the legendary John Williams conducting the opening fanfare (aka the Star Wars theme) for The Last Jedi. It is difficult to think of the Star Wars films without Williams’ music.

What if Chewbacca sounded like Pee-wee Herman?

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 22, 2018

This is probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever posted and I love it.

A guide to the musical leitmotifs in Star Wars

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 09, 2018

In the New Yorker, Alex Ross points to Frank Lehman’s Complete Catalogue of the Motivic Material in ‘Star Wars,’ Episodes I-VIII, which has been updated to include The Last Jedi. Ross goes on to note that composer John Williams did some of his strongest work for the film, deftly employing musical themes called leitmotifs to supplement (and sometimes subvert) the on-screen action. (Spoilers, ho!)

In early scenes set at a remote, ruined Jedi temple, we keep hearing an attenuated, beclouded version of the Force motto: this evokes Luke’s embittered renunciation of the Jedi project. As the young heroine Rey begins to coax him out of his funk, the Force stretches out and is unfurled at length. Sometimes, the music does all of the work of explaining what is going on. In one scene, Leia, Luke’s Force-capable sister, communicates telepathically with her son Kylo Ren, who has gone over to the dark side and is training his guns on her vessel. Leia’s theme is briefly heard against a dissonant cluster chord. Earlier in the saga, we might have been subjected to dialogue along the lines of “Don’t do this! I’m your mother!” Williams’s musical paraphrase is more elegant.

If you’re looking for a primer/refresher for the use of leitmotif in film, Evan Puschak’s video on Howard Shore’s music for the Lord of the Rings films is a good place to start. (via anil dash)

The People’s History of Tatooine

posted by Tim Carmody   Dec 29, 2017

tusken raiders.jpeg

On May 17, 2014, a Saturday morning, a bunch of very bored, very geeky dads on Twitter spontaneously created something weird and fun. Jacob Harris kicked it off, I helped get it going, others joined in. Dan Sinker called it The People’s History of Tatooine, and that name has stuck.

Since Storify has announced that it’s shutting down, I’ve been looking for a permanent home for the People’s History. A lot of the tweets have been deleted, and threads have been broken. I also wanted something without the Twitter-y cruft, but that still preserved the back-and-forth, so I decided to format it kinda like a teleplay. Jason suggested posting it here at Kottke.org. I can’t think of a better home for it.


(in order of appearance)

(not pictured)

What if Mos Eisley wasn’t really that wretched and it was just Obi Wan being racist again?

What do you mean, “these blaster marks are too precise to be made by Sand People?” Who talks like that?

also Sand People is not the preferred nomenclature.

They have a rich cultural history that’s led them to survive and thrive under spectacularly awful conditions.

Mos Eisley may not look like much but it’s a a bedroom community with decent schools and affordable housing.

You can just imagine Obi-Wan after years of being a Jedi on Coruscant being stuck in this place and just getting madder and madder.

yeah nobody cares that the blue milk is so much more artisanal on Coruscant

Obi-Wan only goes to Mos Eisley once every three months to get drunk and he basically becomes like Byron.

so he clings to things like lightsabers and ancient Jedi religion…

“I’m just saying you can’t trust a man what plays in a cantina band. Not you, Figrin D’ith. You’re one of the good ones!”

I also imagine Tosche Station as some sort of affluent suburban mall where Luke just goes to loiter when bored.

That’s totally true about dudes in cantina bands though

you don’t get to be Max Rebo overnight. Playing in the cantina is like their version of the Beatles in Hamburg, Tim.

Luke is such a little shit. Imagine Lucas’s direction: “Mark, just reach out and grab the bartender by the sleeve.”

All I’m saying is that for a place he allegedly hates, Obi Wan sure knows exactly where the best cantina is. Maybe what Obi Wan really hates is himself for having a good time and enjoying the cantina scene

he goes home with one of Jabba’s six-boobed dancers and hates himself for it

that Obi Wan thinks his little “put the hood over my head and make strange noises” is what scares Sand People is racist too. Maybe they just run because they don’t want to deal with the racist old man who gets violent and complains more will come back

You can’t be mad at Obi Wan. That’s just how all the Jedi talked back then.

“more civilized time?” Check your privilege, Obi Wan

“When I was growing up we called the Sand People ‘savage’, but we didn’t mean anything by it… The Sand People used to know their place until those Imperial carpetbaggers came here and started putting ideas in their heads.”

The ‘sand people’ were really just desert nomads emancipating the massive slave population. #Perspective

the Tusken People. “Raiders” presumes some malevolent intent. They are trying to preserve the desert habitat and Luke wants to race through it in his speeder. The Tusken are just trying to keep parts of Tatooine wild and undeveloped by heavy industry.

One could argue calling them “Tuskens” is little better than “Raiders.” See: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Fort_Tusken …

they use it to rob the slur of its power

Belatedly realizing that in a crime scene distinguished by precise blaster marks, Storm Troopers are your last suspects. I mean, based on the rest of the movie, should say “These blaster marks are too precise to be made by Storm Troopers.” But who’s right there pawning the guilt off on the Empire? And who used to be a renowned Jedi marksman himself? Obi-wan!

Connect the dots, people! It was Obi-Wan from the beginning!

Face it - Obi-Wan killed Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru in order to let Luke to sell his speeder for funds to leave the planet.

A small part of me wishes I understood this.

it’s a pretty obscure film

The People’s History of Tattoine that Jacob Harris and Tim Carmody wrote this morning is an essential document.

all I’m saying is that I don’t blame the Tusken People for steering clear of the racist, violent and armed old man

“he’s making those noises again, honey bring the kids inside.”

and the Greater Mos Eisley Business Improvement District doesn’t care about the rantings of a separatist hermit

Actually they’re so offended by being called “sand people” that they beat up any outsider who wanders by.

think of the number of letters he wrote in to the Tattoine Times-Call

But traveling in a straight line to conceal their numbers? That’s just plain deceptive.


it’s a nature preserve, Scott, and Luke just thinks he can drive his speeder through it. Like anybody forgets what Luke and his friends did to native womp rat populations at Beggars Canyon Park

but how can you trust people who walk like that? They must be up to all kinds of stuff. Tricky walking, ew.

they’re only concealing their numbers if you have trouble telling them apart

If they wanted us to be able to tell them apart, they shouldn’t conceal their faces. Their fault, not mine.

maybe those are their faces, Skott. Sheesh!

Jesus old man, aren’t you late for a pancake breakfast at the Jedi Knights Lodge?

is it racist that I don’t think skin can be made out of canvas and metal?

Not *All* Jedi.

if liking Jedi “no hands” pancakes is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

And let’s face it, there’s good reason for them to distrust Skywalkers.

Child of known felon hanging out with a violent separatist and disturbing the peace of their home

it’s not like it was generations ago. The kid’s *dad* was The One Who Killed. Didn’t even change his name.

so it might seem extreme to knock Luke out and vandalize his annoying speeder, but they’d had enough.

If c3po hadn’t fallen off that ledge he’d have translated Tusken. “You’re scaring us! We mean you no harm!”

Luke and Obi-Wan don’t even stand up for their droids, man. Tattooine is so fucking racist.

no, it’s very diverse. Which is why Obi Wan hates it.

That bartender is no prize either, is all I’m saying. And they let Threepio get kicked out like it’s nothing

Now you’re just forcing your affluent Coruscantist cultural standards on them.

My freedom is bound up with everyone’s freedom, whether they’re Jedis or Tuscans or droids or Hutts.

You’re hurting the revolution with this talk.

You can have your species-ist *Rebellion*; I’m talking about real revolution.

“Used to be that every kind of creature turned out for the podrace. Now we just keep to our own.”

the Tusken who scares Luke when he’s using his binoculars is just an old man with a walking stick

Mos Eisley hasn’t been the same since the Spaceport Riots in ‘67. Then they built Tosche Station and…

can you blame them for rioting? I mean Anakin did come in and “slaughtered them like animals.” His words, man

You’re all talking small potatoes. Big story is Palpatine’s equity in Sienar Systems.

Your “Big Story” of the military-imperial complex lets you ignore what’s right in your FACE

the economic system is predicated on turning a man born into slavery against persons of sand. NOT ALLDERAAN!

YOU GUYS this is the exact thing those crazy old wizards want us to do: fight against each other.

I hear they recruited child soldiers to blow up a gov’t building on Endor.

don’t even get me started on what they did to the Hothian ice caps.

you’re walking single-file to avoid damaging gundark nests and some jerk in a speeder races in… of course you’re going to knock him and out and vandalize his speeder to warn him and friends

Hey the Jedi have a multi-generational history of child labor & gambling on children.

Not fair - Jedi provided shelter, regular meals, education, social mobility

Say what you will about the Empire, but supply ships arrived on time.

You can do a lot of things on time if you don’t even care about your own clones.

The clones knew what they were signing up for.

The Rebellion: they get their *one* Mon Calamari general to sell the world on a plan that was *clearly* a trap

I think Akbar, Calrissian, and Mon Mothma were set up to take the fall, frankly.

let’s give the drug runner a medal, but have the Wookie that does everything stand around with the Droids.

I was wondering when we’d get here. The clearest evidence racism isn’t just hearts & minds, but institutional. Offstage, R2 shouts “THIS IS SOME BULLSHIT,” and they just turn and laugh right in his face.

maybe Chewbacca didn’t want to take their bullshit medal. He doesn’t need their approval

meanwhile, Da Mayor is all, “Wookie, always do the right thing.”

Given the Mon Calamari tendency to treat Bothans as disposable, it’s no wonder why Akbar got to be the token.

Another way the original trilogy is superior to prequels: its characters seem racist, rather than its author.

imagine an Ep 1 that was about Palpatine manipulating tensions between Amidala and the Gungans.

I think Lucas thinks he’s making a deep statement about racism using droids

except he never touches it again and they are never liberated. So.

Droids in the OT are almost exactly slaves. Socially, they are treated precisely as slaves were treated. Especially classical slavery (Rome, etc.), the parallels are astonishing.

Jawas drive Tuskens away from sustainable agriculture by creating a market for captured droids.

agreed - attempts to disrupt Jawas crowdsourced droid marketplace point to old ways of thinking

and what do we know about environmental impact of extractive factory farming like water evaporation?

Fair. But what about the evaporation farmers? We need to teach that whole sector new job skills.

last time someone “disrupted” that sector, we ended up with a bunch of astromechs nobody can repair.

Because the Trade Federation was funding anything they could flip to the Empire. Remember Droidr?

well, if you make anything original, they’ll just rip it off on Kamino. In the new R2 units, they can only project holograms you buy from Industrial Automaton.

can we get back to the Rebellion exploiting native population as soldiers on Endor?

First they totally underestimate them. Then they trick them. Then they send them to die.

in Clone Wars all Jedi are automatically Generals despite no experience. Clones die.

How did OUR moisture get under THEIR sand?

highest rank a clone could get was Commander. No wonder they fragged Jedi in the end


Order 66 wasn’t brainwashing, it was the chickens coming home to roost

what are the odds the same guy survives Order 66 and *both* Death Stars exploding?

If @darth was awake we’d be looking at a gif of Admiral Akbar reading My Pet Goat right now


Follow the galactic credits. Who was awarded the Death Star contracts? Twice.

how deep does the rabbit hole go?

here I always thought Kenobi was playin cool, not recognizing R2 and C3PO in Ep 4. Now seems more likely R2 and C3PO were just two of the millions he’d betrayed in his life, and who can keep track?

“hello there friend” and “I don’t recall owning a droid” are subtle threats to R2 to shut up

“And we are friends, right? You wouldn’t want _not_ to be friends, would you?”

Follow the death sticks and you get a death stick case, but follow the galactic credits…

Never forget that the movies aren’t historical documents, but propaganda 1000s years later. If all this is IN legends Republic/Jedi use to justify Rebellion, imagine what’s left OUT.

The Jedi as samurai vs. the Jedi as ninja

posted by Tim Carmody   Dec 22, 2017


What’s nice (if exhausting) about Star Wars is that you can never run out of Star Wars content, because you can talk about Star Wars forever. Maybe you can do this about anything, and in an alternate universe, we’re talking about the Rocky franchise like it’s Talmud. But I think Star Wars both gives you enough material and leaves you enough conceptual empty space that it’s possible to just generate talk and talk and talk.

In an ongoing franchise, this runs the risk of that empty space collapsing and fans feeling like their imaginations have been foreclosed. Again, this happens to every fandom, but Star Wars fans seem to take it pretty hard.

Consider the Jedi. Even if you haven’t seen The Last Jedi yet, you know if you’ve seen The Force Awakens that characters in the new trilogy are using the Force to do things the Original Trilogy and prequels implied either required a lot of training or exceptional genetic gifts, and ideally both. In the new trilogy, the rules feel a little looser. Light sabers and force magic are things that some people are better at than others, sure, but they also can… kind of just do. And oh my, does this have people in their feelings.

Writing for The Week, Lili Loofbourow does a good job of explaining why:

The fact that Johnson’s Star Wars is more “democratic”… means, paradoxically, that it is also less interested in the rituals of samurai training that made Star Wars so satisfying. Becoming a great Jedi warrior used to be serious work; it demanded talent and skill and time. Later it seemed to require an aristocratic bloodline as well (what with the midi-chlorians, etc.). Now it just demands talent and no study… What was the point of Yoda? Do the sages have nothing to tell us? Did they ever?

See, there’s actually a three-part division here. The original trilogy emphasizes spiritual and physical training; the prequels, bloodline or origins; the new trilogy, being gifted and/or rising to the moment.

And actually, there are strands of all three theories in all three sets of movies. It’s just a question of relative weight. Training is important in the original trilogy; it’s also important in the prequels — they talk about it all the time! — and in the new movies (The Last Jedi is basically about Rey looking for a teacher from start to finish).

But training also became important to fans who rejected the introduction of midi-chlorians in the prequels. No, they said — the force isn’t about alien doodads in your bloodstream, it’s about training and discipline. It might be strong in families, but it’s available to anyone. So they leaned particularly hard on that crutch, only to see it (seemingly) kicked out of the way. And the fandom came crashing down.

One theory I really like comes from Abraham Riesman. It’s misleadingly titled “The Case for Midi-Chlorians.” What it really says, as I read it, is that the Jedi themselves do not fully understand what the Force is. Consequently, at different moments, and in response to different crises, they reinterpret it. They go into exile; they restore temples; they abandon them.1 They do not have it figured out, but are always refiguring it out for themselves, and for us.

Maybe midi-chlorians are as stupid an explanation of the Force as their real-world critics say they are. What if high midi-chlorian counts had a loose correlation to Force sensitivity, but weren’t actual causes of it, and the Jedi just misinterpreted their data? What if this was something like medieval doctors rambling on for centuries about humors and leeches — a faux-scientific delusion that was wholeheartedly embraced by a guild of people who loved to preach their own greatness to the hoi polloi? Perhaps the Jedi had thunk themselves into utter stupidity on an array of matters. Midi-chlorians were just one manifestation of their high-minded idiocy. From that point of view, the prequels are a tragedy about well-intentioned intellectuals whose myopic condescension led them onto a path of war and self-immolation…

So how do we explain the fact that Luke’s trainers don’t mention them?

I like to think it’s because they realized in their old age that midi-chlorians aren’t worth worrying about. Yoda and Obi-Wan had decades to ponder the nature of the Force and refine their conception of it down to its essence. Maybe, in looking back on the downfall of the Jedi, they realized that hewing too closely to specific explanations of the Force was a fool’s errand, a pseudo-intellectual distraction from what’s really important: spiritual contemplation and selfless deeds. As such, they may have thought Luke had the opportunity to build a future Jedi Order that wouldn’t repeat their mistakes. Like their decision to hide Leia’s familial relationship to him, they felt that Luke was better off without certain tidbits — and, unlike their dissembling about his sister, this was a worthwhile sin of omission. A condescending one, yes, but hey, old Jedi habits die hard.

Ultimately, both Riesman and Loofbourow come back to the same point: different people like Star Wars for different reasons, and we’re constantly jettisoning the bits we don’t like in favor of the ones we do. And the Jedi are doing that too.

This touches on my own personal fan theory, which is that the Jedi are better off and more interesting when they act less like samurai and more like ninja. Vader is 100 percent a samurai. He dresses like one, he acts like one: a loyal and noble retainer to state power. Obi-Wan in the original trilogy is not a samurai. He’s a trickster, a wizard, who uses misdirection and stealth rather than, well, force. He’ll throw down when he has to, but even his fight with Vader is more of a sleight-of-hand than an iron fist.

The Jedi should never have been the police force of the galaxy. They’re not Thors, but Lokis. They should have been rumors, legends. They don’t wear recognizable uniforms, but either simple robes or black cloaks. None but the initiated should have ever known they were real.

But maybe that is just the ethos of an order in exile, as the ninja were said to have been, scattered and displaced to the mountains of Japan.2

Maybe ninja is what you become when you can’t be samurai any more. When the old ways stop working, invent new old ways.

  1. See Babylonian Talmud, Book 10: History of the Talmud, tr. by Michael L. Rodkinson, [1918]:

    The sages, the commentators of the Talmud, differed in opinion as to the epoch when the Talmud began to be written down. The scholars of Spain, and their colleagues and disciples, said that it had been recorded from notes possessed since schools had begun in Israel, a long time before R. Jehudah the Nasi. The scholars of France, among them “Rashi,” however, declared that not a line was written till the completion of the Talmud, before which its study had been oral. Each school adduced proofs in behalf of its assertion. Modern scholars have made a compromise between these various versions, by asserting that during the first centuries the commentators of the Talmud in the beginning had taken notes of their studies, and later had written them out in a permanent form. It would seem that as the persecutions had at their commencement been very severe, and the sages felt that their lives were in peril, they decided to write its teaching in secret and to conceal it from its foes. No sooner had the Pharisees granted permission for this (for till then it was absolutely forbidden to put in writing oral law) than the number of manuscripts became very great; and when R. Jehudah the Nasi came to occupy the seat of his father and had been confirmed in authority (since he enjoyed the friendship of one Antonius, who was in power at Rome), he discovered that from the multitude of the trees the forest could not be seen; that is, from the multitude of the Mishnas the people had lost sight of the Talmud. He therefore resolved to compile, selecting out of all the written and the unwritten law, clear Mishnayoth, and to systematize them.

  2. From the Wikipedia entry on “Togakure-ryu”:

    According to Bujinkan researcher Glenn Morris, Togakure-ryu originated in the Mie Prefecture with its creator, Daisuke Nishina. Morris explains that it was started in 1162, as a way of fighting in the war between the Genji and Heike (Taira) clans. The style itself would go on to be known as the origination of ninjutsu and its various fighting styles. Nishina was a samurai and a member of the Genji clan, which had been staging a revolt against the Heike clan because of their oppression against the Genji people. The revolt, however, was crushed and Nishina fled his home village of Togakure in Shinano Province to save his children….

    Togakure-ryu’s ninpo taijutsu is described as being “fundamentally different” from other styles of Japanese martial arts that are currently taught in Japan and around the world. This is largely because, unlike these other styles, Togakure-ryu does not have a “tightly regimated (sic) organizational structure.” The Bujinkan teaches that while Togakure-ryu contains some “historical kata,” which are similar to the training in judo and aikido in that they require an attacker to attack to initiate the movements. Much of the “formality” that other styles contain is not present in modern Togakure-ryu. Stephen K. Hayes explained that it is likely this “freer, more flexible structure” that makes it different, as the style has an atmosphere where “questions are encouraged, but there isn’t one part answer for every question.”