Daily Archives: December 18, 2014

Colossal Star Wars Questionnaire

star-wars_ep-7_one-year

As of today, the countdown is on… only 365 days until the next Star Wars feature film hits cinema screens in our galaxy.

Such a momentous event demands I do something here on Simple Tricks, but of course there’s not much more to say at this point than what I’ve already written in regards to the teaser trailer. So how about something a little more… general?

I ran across this questionnaire on Tumblr a while back (thanks to my friend Staci for posting it!), and, well… I just can’t resist these silly things. Some of the questions are a bit outdated now that Episode VII is no longer a hypothetical, and the whole thing seems to have been written by and for younger fans who experience being a Star Wars fan quite differently than I have (I have noticed there’s a definite generation gap developing in fandom, maybe even two of them at this point… god, I’m getting old), but no matter. The only real prerequisite here is that the person answering be a fan of the Star Wars saga, and I think I probably qualify…

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

The toughest question of all, right off the bat. Although popular wisdom long ago decreed that The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the entire saga (and I do concede that it presents the most polished, most satisfying vision out of any of the six films to date), I’ve got to award this prize to the first entry in the series, Star Wars. (Sorry, kids, I can’t think of it as “A New Hope” or “Episode IV”; the name of the picture was Star Wars when I first saw it.) None of the other films, in either the Original or Prequel Trilogies, had the same swashbuckling sense of fun, or a self-contained story that didn’t rely on having seen any of the others to make an impact. (I maintain that the prequels, in particular, are absolutely dependent on one knowing how the story ends when you go into them. But then, that’s the way I experienced them, so maybe the younger fans see it differently.)

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

For the record, I do enjoy the prequels, although not to the same degree as the Original Trilogy. My favorite of them is Revenge of the Sith, because that’s the one that fulfilled a vision I’ve had in my head since I was eight years old: Obi-Wan and Vader battling on the edge of a lava pit.

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

I was 29.

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

All of them. As I said earlier, I’m old.

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

I saw an opening-day matinee of The Phantom Menace, and saw Sith on opening night. I honestly can’t recall when I saw Attack of the Clones, but I’m sure it was probably some time on opening day. I did not see any of the originals on opening day.

6. Who is your favorite character from the Original Trilogy?

Tough choice. At this point, they all feel like family, and I love them all, for one reason or another. But I guess I’d have to say Han Solo. He was the cool guy all us boys (and probably more than a few girls) on the playground wanted to be when we played Star Wars.

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

Obi-Wan. I love the dry humor and sense of derring-do Ewan MacGregor brings to the part, as well as his maturation over the three films. I would’ve liked to see more of Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn.

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

Of course! My history with the tie-in literature goes all the way back to the Marvel Comics adaptation of the original film, and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye (the very first spin-off novel). I’ve also read quite a few of the more recent novels and the various comic series published by Dark Horse, the stuff that’s referred to as the “Expanded Universe,” although I confess I haven’t been able to keep up with all of that. (And I guess it doesn’t matter now anyhow, as Disney has “decanonized” all the EU.)

9. Favorite book or series? Favorite SW author?

Again, I’m old, so my favorites are Brian Daley’s Han Solo trilogy from the late ’70s/early ’80s (Han Solo at Star’s End, Han Solo’s Revenge, and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy), closely followed by Tim Zahn’s “Thrawn trilogy” (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command), the books that restarted the whole Star Wars juggernaut in the early ’90s.

10. Favorite comic?

Obviously, I favor the Marvel comics I grew up with (I guess I need to qualify that as “the original Marvel comics” now, since the company has reacquired the license and will be starting a new SW line in January). I’ve also enjoyed a number of Dark Horse Publishing’s various SW titles, most notably the limited-run miniseries Tales of the Jedi (set 5,000 years before the movies), the comical adventures of Tag and Bink (kind of the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the SW Saga), and the short-story collections published as Star Wars Tales.

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

I’ll confess, a lot of the EU stories have not stayed in my mind, and I haven’t read very many of the later ones (New Jedi Order and following) at all. There’s also some question in my mind as what, precisely, constitutes the EU. Does it include the early tie-in novels by Brian Daley, Alan Dean Foster, and L. Neil Smith? Or the old Marvel comics? Or does “EU” connote only the more regulated, continuity-conscious materials created since 1991, when Timothy Zahn’s novel Heir to the Empire reignited everything?

If we’re counting the early stuff, I loved Jessa and her father Doc, the outlaw mechanics who helped Han Solo modify the Falcon according to Brian Daley’s Han Solo at Star’s End. If we’re starting with Zahn, I’m partial to Talon Kardde, the smuggler lord introduced in Heir to the Empire. What can I say, I like the scoundrels.

12. Favorite villain from the EU?

Grand Admiral Thrawn, again from Zahn’s Heir to the Empire and its two sequels (which comprise the “Thrawn trilogy”).

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’m not sure what a “mash-up/ugly” might be, but then I tend to prefer the classics anyhow… the Millennium Falcon, of course!

14. Would you rather be Sith or Jedi?

Jedi. I’d look terrible with yellow eyes.

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

A Rebel. I have a problem with authority, especially the kind that Force-chokes you for every little thing.

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

I’m pretty happy being human, actually.

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

Those Twi’lek chicks are pretty hot…

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

If I’m allowed to pick someone from the old Marvel comics, Amaiza, the Mae West-ish “den mother of the Black Hole Gang,” was a cutie, and she’d probably keep me on my toes.

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

Luke’s friend Camie from Tosche Station.

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

Lando Calrissian. Because I’d love to be as smooth as that guy with the galactic ladies.

21. What would your SWU name be?

Well, I like my given name, but “Bennion” isn’t very Star Wars-y… following the general pattern of human family names on Tatooine being somehow related to the cosmos, let’s say… Jason Doublestar.

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?

Um… my favorite color is red, but as far as we can see, only the Sith use those and I already said I don’t want to be one of them, so… a blue single-blade in a straight hilt (classic style, none of this fancy stuff!), and I’d only use one. Enough risk of losing digits with one, let alone multiples.

23. Do you own SW merchandise?

Silly question. Of course.

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

I’ve been collecting Star Wars stuff since I was seven years old. I think it’s fair to say the amount I’ve spent over almost four decades is incalculable.

25. What is your favorite SW possession?

Again, difficult… in terms of plain sentiment, the first thing that comes to mind will probably seem a little weird: three pages torn out of an ancient children’s magazine and gifted to me by my third-grade teacher, who got tired of me asking to look a that particular issue. Those pages include a couple of quotes from George Lucas speculating that, in a future “Star Wars 2,” we might see the origins of Darth Vader, when he and Obi-Wan dueled at the edge of a lava pit, and Darth fell in and was horribly burned, which is why he has to wear that suit and respirator machine. This image remained in my head for 30 years, and when I saw the lava fields of Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith… well, it was like a circle was now complete.

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

So many excellent artists have contributed to Star Wars in so many media over the decade, it’s very difficult to pick just one. But I will say Drew Struzan is probably my favorite one-sheet artist in general, and he’s done a lot of incredible work for Lucasfilm.

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

Sure, of course… there’s so much SW stuff out there, there’s no way anyone could have everything they covet. I’d love to have an original “birthday” one-sheet (produced to celebrate the first SW playing in some movie theaters for an entire year back in the day). I’d like to have an original “Han Solo in Bespin outfit” action figure still on the card. A life-size, functioning R2 unit would be fun (there are hobbyists who build them!), too.

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

A fully functional landspeeder, perhaps? Even better, a speeder bike?

29. Did Han shoot first?

There was no “first.” Greedo never shot.

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

I think the odds are good he escaped. He was wearing an armored suit that would have protected him (for a time) from the Sarlaac’s digestive process, and the suit had weapons built in even if he didn’t manage to hold on to his blaster. And if there was even a grain of truth behind his fearsome reputation, he must’ve been a survivor.

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

Since we’re on the subject of Boba Fett, I’d give him a larger part and more characterization — as it is, he’s basically little more than a cool-looking costume, even with the backstory provided by the prequels — as well as a more interesting and meaningful demise. (I’ve always imagined him and Han Solo settling things Old West style, with a quick-draw shoot-out — the original Star Wars was very much like a Western, after all.)

I’d drop the notion of Luke and Leia being siblings and come up with a more honest resolution to the Luke-Leia-Han love triangle established in Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. (You’ll never convince me that George Lucas planned that from the beginning; it has always struck me as a cop-out to avoid dealing with a plot point that had evolved in the first two films, but which he didn’t want — or didn’t know how — to address.)

And I’d fix Jar-Jar Binks by giving him a heroic character arc in The Phantom Menace that sees him rise to the occasion during the droid battle at the end and save the day through his actions and choices rather than by accident. I’d also establish that his weird speech pattern is due to English being a second language for him. We’re accustomed to seeing subtitles for non-humans in the SW universe; if Gungans were shown as speaking intelligently and grammatically among themselves, I think viewers would’ve been far less annoyed with Jar-Jar’s pidgin-speak.

32. Which era would you want to live in?

Assuming this refers to the “classic” (i.e., rebellion against the Empire) and “prequel” (i.e., Old Republic/Clone Wars) eras, I’d go for the Imperial/rebellion era. It’s the one I grew up imagining myself in, the one that feels most like “home.”

33. What SW games have you played?

Um… the old Escape from the Death Star board game is the only one that comes to mind. I don’t really play games.

34. Do you play/own Star Wars Miniatures?

No, but I’ve thought about picking up some of the miniature ships that go along with this game, just because they’re wonderful little models.

35. Favorite SW costume for men?

I love seeing them all, from Jedi to stormtroopers to Han Solos. It’d be nice to see somebody cosplay Luke Skywalker’s farm-boy outfit or his “medals ceremony” uniform, though… for some reason, nobody ever does those.

36. Favorite SW costume for women?

Weirdly enough, I really like seeing women dressed as Han Solo. I’m not sure why, but the outfit seems to work really nicely on the ladies.

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

No, unless you count when I was little and would pretend I was Han by wearing a denim vest over a white t-shirt. Maybe I ought to try one of those Luke outfits for Salt Lake Comic Con sometime.

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

Um…

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

I confess, I had to look up the slang term “shipping” in order to answer this. This would be one of the generation-gap questions I mentioned above, I think. (Briefly, for my fellow uninitiated, “shipping” means wanting to see two fictional characters have a relationship, or being intensely interested in a fictional relationship.)

It’s not anything that’s ever occurred to me, so I’d have to say “no.”

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

Nope. I wrote an Indiana Jones/Rocketeer crossover once, but never anything Star Wars-related.

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

No, I’ve never been to one of these and have no plans to attend one, but I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea.

(For the unhip, “Celebration” refers to the officially sanctioned Star Wars Celebration conventions.)

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

Again, no, but I wouldn’t be opposed.

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

As I live much nearer to California than Florida, it would certainly be more convenient for me.

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

I’m not sure what this one is asking… I’ve enjoyed the Star Tours ride in the past but honestly don’t remember that much about it.

45. What initially brought you to the SW fandom?

Seeing the original Star Wars when I was seven years old. Growing up reading and re-reading the Marvel comics and the novelization and early tie-ins, playing with the Kenner toys, wearing t-shirts with rubber Star Wars iron-ons, listening to the NPR Radio Dramas in my barn one hot summer day, and generally obsessing about the most mind-blowing experience I’d ever had at the movies. You know, the same as everybody else my age.

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

Hm. Another difficult question. Although I have referred to myself as a fanboy as a way of shorthanding my interests, the term has picked up certain baggage that I don’t really identify with, much like “nerd” or “geek” used to connote a type of person much different than those words now describe. The truth is, I no longer have the time or interest in the levels of devotion that I associate with the true fanboy. I’m tired of arguing about the prequels, I’m inclined to see George Lucas as a flawed human being rather than either a god or a hack, and I really don’t know the name of every single creature that you see in every frame of film.

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

I have seen it, once. I didn’t care for it, as much of its humor was derived from lazy old stereotypes of SW fans, and lovers of science fiction generally, and the laughs came at the expense of these characters rather than from their situations. In other words, the movie laughed at fans instead of with them. In my opinion, a much better movie about the Gen-X sci-fi-fan experience was Free Enterprise, although that film was constructed more around Star Trek than Star Wars.

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

Kind of a moot point, considering Episode VII is now in post-production. But to go along with the spirit of the question, I was always quite content with just the original three films, and the occasional tie-in novel or comic. I never clamored for more movies, whether prequels or sequels.

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 don’t know how many people remember this, but the novelization of the first Star Wars — Episode IV to you kids — was subtitled “From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker.” Although I’m perfectly happy with exploring and even creating other characters in other media, to me, the feature films have always been about the Skywalker family… and always should be. I’m anticipating that Episode VII will probably be a “pass the torch to the next generation” scenario, and I’m perfectly down with that… but somebody in that next generation needs to have Skywalker blood…

50. Do you watch The Clone Wars?

Not regularly, but I’ve seen a number of episodes and generally enjoyed them. Same with the new animated series that’s now replaced The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels.

And on that note, I think maybe I’ll go throw on the bootleg “Despecialized” edition of the my favorite Star Wars film…

spacer