Archive for A New Hope

Sand People

Posted in Questions with tags , , , , , , on 26 March 2012 by Megan

The SW movies really portray the Sand People as a savage, dangerous, and fierce people. I was wondering if there was additional information on this people group? There are tantalizing glimpses in some of the encyclopedia and on the wookipedia but they are only glimpses. I’d really like to know more about their culture, and family life. Thanks for digging about for me! — Michelle

Tusken Raider costumes

A family of Sand People

We are first introduced to the Sand People in A New Hope with Luke’s exclamation, “Sand people, or worse!” Tusken Raider is actually a pejorative, a name given to these mysterious nomads after a series of attacks on Fort Tusken. They attack Luke for no apparent reason in A New Hope, and we learn a few things from Obi-Wan Kenobi about them — that they are easily startled but not easily driven off (returning swiftly with reinforcements), that they travel single file to hide their numbers, that they are not extremely accurate with blasters. Luke simply describes them as dangerous. In Attack of the Clones, Cliegg Lars brusquely defines them as animals, as does Anakin after destroying an entire village. In Phantom Menace, we only see them camped out on the Podrace track to take potshots at the racers.

Packers! Wooo! Wait, what?

Packers! Wooo! Wait, what?

So really very little is expressed in the films about their culture. We find them to be responsible for the death of Luke’s grandmother (though what kind of mentally deficient person goes out before dawn to pick mushrooms alone, in an area known for the presence of Sand People and during a period of excessive hunting by them — smacks of collusion to me), and nearly for the death of Luke himself. But why did they kidnap Shmi and torture her to death, if you believe that happened?

A typical family; children dress in a unisex fashion

A typical family; children dress in a unisex fashion

Lucas’ inspiration for the Sand People is clearly seen in the American Indian tribes as well as the nomadic Bedouin of the Middle East. They live in small tribes and war with both each other and the “invaders” of Tatooine, the moisture farmers and other settlers that imposed themselves on the arid planet. Unlike the Jawas, which quickly adapted to colonists and their technology, the Sand People resisted all attempts at infiltration, peace, and even extermination. Completely suited to the desert and untraceable, they are actually only vulnerable to the meddling settlers when they attack — which they do regularly in an attempt to protect and keep separate their sacred places, particularly hidden springs, which are of great interest to the settlers for obvious reasons.

There are two banthas down there, but I don't see . . . wait a minute--

There are two banthas down there, but I don’t see . . . wait a minute–

The men are warriors, and each one is specially bonded with his bantha — great shaggy creatures that roam the Dune Sea and form a close and intimate relationship with their riders. When a warrior is killed, the bantha is driven into the desert, never to be ridden again. When a bantha dies, the warrior goes out alone into the desert where he will face death, or, if the spirit of his bantha wishes him to continue on, he will find a new bantha and return home with it.

Mrs. Raider to you

Mrs. Raider to you

Children are not differentiated male from female until they come of a certain age, and the women, as in a typical tribal system, care for the homes, meals, and families. Wood, such as the ancient poles they use for their tent supports, is jealously guarded and protected. The Sand People consider it greatly humiliating for anyone apart from their spouse to see any part of their skin, but their elaborate and heavy coverings serve many practical purposes as well; the eye guards filter out sand and harsh desert light, and the mouth protectors contain tubes to a water supply and prevent dehydration. Their skin is protected from the elements, and they are not much bothered by the harshness of their environment, although as a result, no one actually knows what a Sand Person looks like beneath.

Sand Children are called "Uli"

Sand Children are called “Uli”

Marriages are always arranged. Because they always hide their features from even their own family members, it is important that meticulous records be kept and managed so that no one will accidentally marry a close family member. In this capacity, the Storyteller — who is also the tribal historian — is really the most important person in the entire village.

Ralph McQuarrie's beautiful concept art of a Sand People village

Ralph McQuarrie’s beautiful concept art of a Sand People village

The Sand People are as harsh as the environment in which they live, and there are really no such things as mistakes or small slips; this is very evident in the explanation of the apprentice storyteller, who must memorize the exact wording to each story, each exact syllable. If he so much as forgets or changes a word, the master storyteller is waiting to kill him. No room for mistakes or alterations.

A warrior with a gaffi stick

A warrior with a gaffi stick

Their primary weapon is the gaffi stick, which has a sharpened point and four sharp blades, as well as a fearsome pointed knob on the other end. They are very deft with these and can cut a man to pieces readily. Their “bandage” footwear enables them to move easily in the sand without leaving any trace and without stepping on anything dangerous.




Permanently Stuck

Posted in Fun with tags , , , , , on 23 March 2012 by Megan

I just got the Return of the Jedi soundtrack from the library today. I’ve never listened to it before, believe it or not, and I’ve really been enjoying it. However, there’s just one thing . . . I can no longer listen to the Star Wars Main Theme and take it seriously because I find myself humming the lyrics. “What lyrics?” you might ask — and well you might, because if you have to ask, I am so glad you are reading this post! I am about to introduce you to one of the best things ever. How is it the best thing, you may wonder, if I just described it as ruining the main theme? Well, I don’t mean ruin as in ruin, I mean ruin as in make better. Don’t believe me? Well, watch the following video.

I know, you didn’t know the main theme even had lyrics. But I guarantee you’re grinning right now. And really, isn’t that what fun Friday is all about? Grinning? Yeah, go watch the video again. Super enjoy. *humming* I am a Jedi, we are all good guys, last of our breed . . .

(PS, he promises to post lyrics to his site soon. Here’s hoping he does, because there are bits of that I am dying to know what he’s saying!)

Quality Jackets

Posted in Fun with tags , , , , , , on 27 May 2011 by Megan
Replica Jacket

Like a Boss

Well, this is making the rounds today to, I think, mixed reviews. Amazon claims it’s an officially licensed jacket made of authentic materials according to the original found in the Lucasfilm Archives. It comes with the “Medal of Yavin” and a — now this is important — full color certificate of authenticity. It even comes in three different sizes for your bodily convenience. As far as I can see, the only problem with this snazzy, zipper-free jacket is that it costs $148.50 with the Amazon discount.

In case you recently had head trauma and haven’t watched A New Hope since the accident — first of all, let me say how very sorry I am, and reiterate just how much I never saw you standing there — I have here a nice picture that can show you where in the films this sunny piece of clothing is showcased.

Yavin IV Celebration

Luke in his yellow jacket

Funny story about this scene. The first time I ever saw ANH, at the tender age of 12, I thought Luke and Leia were inexplicably getting married, but I didn’t say anything and I was glad when I realized I would have been embarrassingly wrong. Interestingly enough, though, when a couple of months later I watched it with my ten-year-old niece — her first time seeing it — she said what I had opted not to: “What, are they getting married or something?” So apparently in at least two preteen girls, this scene says “wedding.” I’ve never heard of the best man and the groom walking up the aisle together to the bride, but, eh . . . Anyway, I’ve never told that story to anyone before!

Now, the commentary on the Amazon page seems to be, as I mentioned up there, of highly mixed quality . . . and at least one customer image featuring Forever Alone, as though to indicate how the purchaser/wearer of this jacket can anticipate spending his or her days. My primary criticism is that the medal is not, in fact, called the Medal of Yavin — Mr.! shame on you — but rather the Medal of Bravery. That being said, check out this detail:

Detail of the jacket

Check out the detail!

Confession: I really love this jacket of Luke’s. I think it’s snazzy. I did a little silent squee when I saw someone had made a version of it conceivably available for purchase. I, personally, would really love to own this. However, my preoccupation with Luke is probably just about disturbing, and could potentially make Mark Hamill a little uncomfortable if he knew about it. I do have a bit of a preoccupation with dressing up as Luke, as you may have noticed from the welcome page . . . So, yeah, I’m really excited about this product, which is “athletic cut and features no zipper.” So it’s got that going for it, right?

Worth noting, however, is the following customer review from, titled be careful who you give it to:

I bought this jacket for a co-worker in hopes that giving him a gift would inspire him to reveal his true feelings for me. He did look very nice in it, but maybe that’s what caused the problem. He looked TOO nice. And kind of boring. Shortly after I gave it to him, I realized that he felt more like a little brother to me and that I actually have a thing for another guy at work who’s kind of a scruffy smart aleck (a bit of a loser, really) and SO not my usual type at all who hangs around with some totally disreputable characters (some of them look like real hairballs ) and may not be strictly honest. But he has this sexy bad boy thing goin’ on, IYKWIM and I’m finding it hard to resist. Heh, I haven’t resisted AT ALL!
It’s a really nice jacket, even though it kills all your romantic feelings for the nice, responsible and even kind of attractive guy you give it to, so be careful with it.


Posted in Questions with tags , , on 6 April 2011 by Megan

“What is a Skyhopper and how long had Luke flown one?” — Outcast

Luke and Skyhopper

Young Luke and a model skyhopper

Essentially, the skyhopper is a high-speed flight training vehicle that may or may not be outfitted with a weapon system. The one common on Tatooine, which Luke refers to, is the T-16 Skyhopper from Incom. It’s a two-person sport vehicle that is both fast (with speeds up to 745.6 MPH) and highly maneuverable. It has a standard DCJ-45 antigrav generator for lift and a single ion engine for forward propulsion. Its operational ceiling is higher than most other similar crafts, and therefore can reach altitudes of 170+ miles without losing cabin pressure. It’s a light, easy-to-steer craft that is controlled on a gyro system. Not only can it turn on a credit, it can climb vertically on demand. Even more advantageously for Luke, the cockpit controls are set up very similar to those in an X-wing fighter. Fuel slugs, standard, provide power for the craft, and its computer is compatible with most astro droids.

Luke, for most of his youth, constructed model ships including those of the T-16. While there is no suggestion of how long he had been flying one, one can assume it had been some four or five years, given his age and skill. Apart from the model in A New Hope, you can also see T-16s in the Return of the Jedi (special edition) celebration scene–it flies over Mos Eisely. Also, there is one in the background of the homestead scene in Attack of the Clones.

My source was Shane Johnson’s Star Wars Technical Journal. More information in the Star Wars databank.

Death Star

Posted in Questions with tags , , , , , on 5 April 2011 by Megan

hey, I thought you may be able to help cause I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere, what is the propulsion system on the death star? any other relevent specs would also be awesome. — Eric

The Death Star I

The Death Star I

The Death Star (Make: MK1 deep-space mobile battle station) has a diameter of 99.4 miles and 84 levels of 4,684 ft. each. Levels are divided into 357 sublevels of 13.1 ft. high. It houses about a million individuals and thousands of armed vessels. This includes a crew of 342,953 (285,675 operational craft, 57,278 gunmen, and 843,342 passengers, which I think includes officers, Stormtroopers, and admiralty).

It was built around a hypermatter reactor. “A fusion reactor of incredible proportions, fed by stellar fuel bottles lining its periphery, produced the raw energy demanded by the Death Star’s superlaser and propulsion systems. Much of the station’s interior volume was filled by the machinery necessary to sustain such a fusion core, with sublight propulsion systems and defense field generators lining the outer equatorial regions. Realspace propulsion was handled by an external array of powerful ion engines, which converted the raw fusion energy of the station’s core into thrust and pressed the stations great mass into any motion dictated by the Death Star’s huge navicomputer banks. . . . The Death Star’s hyperspace motivator units were comprised of linked banks of field generators such as those found aboard Imperial Star Destroyers. One hundred twenty-three individual hyperspace generators, tied into a single navigational matrix, were necessary to carry the Death Star beyond the speed of light. The intense power generated within the battle station, combined with its great mass, gave it both magnetic and artificial gravitational fields equal to those of a natural body many times its size.”

Its actual specs are this–it has a Class 4 hyperdrive. Engines: SFS-CR27200 hyperdrive reactor powering 123 Isu-Sim SSPO6 hyperdrive generators. 2 Sepma 30-5 sublight engines. Armaments: 1 superlaser (range: 29,241,719 mi); 5,000 Taim and Bak D6 turbolaser batteries; 2,500 Borstel MS-1 ion cannons; 768 Phylon tractor-beam emplacements; 11,000 combat vehicles (probably including AT-ATs, AT-STs, and TIEs of a variety of makes). Its maximum speed is 1.2c.*, and its fuel is compressed stellar hydrogen.

Its manufacturer was the Imperial Department of Military Research and Sienar Fleet Systems. The designers were varied–the concept came from Rath Sienar but was stolen by Grand Moff Tarkin. Further development took place by Geonosian Hive Engineers, and it was finalized by Bevel Lemelesk. It was built in three different locations–Geonosis, the black hole cluster called Maw Installation, and was completed with slave labor in orbit around the penal colony Despayre (which then became the first planet the space station destroyed).

So, there you have it! My sources were The Complete Cross-Sections, The Complete Locations, and The Technical Journal. MTFBWY!

* Johnson does not define the unit “c” anywhere in The Technical Journal, and it is not referenced anywhere in any other material.