Archive for Coruscant

A Character Everybody Else Hates That You Love

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , on 18 April 2013 by Megan

And here is an answer that fell right into my lap.

I was expecting that I would have to do this post on Jar Jar Binks because even though I don’t love him, not even a little bit, I feel the hatred of him is unwarranted, even perplexing. Actually what frustrates me about Jar Jar is that the public outcry undoubtedly influenced E2 and E3 in a negative way, and his suddenly decreased and yet persistent presence is actually more troubling to me than his entire E1 appearance. Frankly, I think he’s quite funny. So George Lucas entirely misunderstands his entire audience, but all the hostility and hatred has to get taken out on Jar Jar? Get real.

He just wants to be your friend!

He just wants to be your friend!

To this day, I laugh when Obi-Wan has to duck Jar Jar’s ears. And I feel badly for Ahmed Best, too. This was not what he signed on for. I was a proud member of the Friends of Jar Jar back in 2000, and I continue that loyalty.

But I don’t love Jar Jar. The question clearly asks for a character everyone else hates that I love. “This is impossible!” I thought, channeling Nute Gunray. What character, universally hated, could possibly be loved by me? Me, to whom hatred comes so much easier? Braving corners of the internet I generally try to avoid, I sought out lists of “worst Star Wars characters ever” and was astonished that one name kept coming up over and over.

NOT YOU, DEX! NO!! Say it ain't so!

NOT YOU, DEX! NO!! Say it ain’t so!

Dexter Jettster is one of the 11 most hated/most annoying Star Wars characters ever?! How could this possibly be? As you have already taken note, I have a thing about loving Dex’s Diner. In fact, this entire scene in E2 is about my favorite, where Obi-Wan travels to CoCo Town to ask an old friend about the mysterious dart that killed bounty hunter Zam Wessel. I love the parts in Star Wars that hint at the common, “real life” of the people, and this diner in the sunny commerce district just captures my fancy every time.

The Diner

Like I said, I don’t love Jar Jar at all; I like him, I am defensive of him because he’s done nothing to deserve hate, but he’s like the myriad other characters I’m just indifferent to. But I actually love Dexter Jettster.

Hey, old buddy!

Hey, old buddy!

First of all, Obi-Wan’s warm relationship with this jack-of-all-trades (a former everything from prospector to restauranteur) emphasizes the influence that Qui-Gon had on him. Qui-Gon was always turning to Jedi unorthodox locations for leads and hints, and this diner was a common place for Obi-Wan and his mentor to visit even before Dex purchased it. Dex’s warm rolling Besalisk purr is probably meant to conjure up the vision of a tough ’49er, but that and his stained t-shirt and broad hairy arms remind me of someone else . . . Terry Jaworski, an adjunct professor at UU whom I took Local Flora from in the summer of 2004. I can’t find a picture of him anywhere to show you, but he was the manager of Cedar Bog Nature Preserve for almost thirty years until his death on March 28, 2005.

I didn’t have a drivers license that summer, and a lot of the class involved taking trips to various parks, preserves, even roadsides, so I usually rode with Jaworski (as I usually call him). I learned amazing things, not just about identifying plants — with which he had an incredible connection — but about the geology of the region, even animal behavior, history — it’s like there’s nothing he didn’t know about. He usually wore dirty blue jeans and a torn black t-shirt — managing a fen is no tidy business — and kept his watch pushed very high on his left arm. He’d stand with his five or six students in a semicircle, holding up some leaf or flower and telling us all about it in this gruff rolling voice. Dex will forever remind me of this man with the gray-threaded mustache, although Jaworski definitely did not have four arms.

So there’s my defense for how much I love Dexter Jettster. I can’t believe anyone would dislike him. I love the scenes in Dex’s Diner — and I love this scrapped backstory Lucas originally hinted at, that the waitress Hermione (whom I also love) was supposed to be older and married to Dex. Instead, when she was played by a younger actress, she became this young runaway taken in and given a place to stay and a job by the kindly retired miner.

Review: Coruscant Nights III

Posted in Reviews, Spotlight with tags , , , , , on 4 December 2011 by Megan

Book 3

by Michael Reaves.

And then it’s book three, Patterns of the Force. I just said that for Reaves, a lot of the time, it’s the force of the well-conceived, well-done first book that carries the second book along. Well, the third Coruscant Nights book gives us a little glimpse at why, maybe, Mr. Reaves should maybe stick to writing singles, and also, makes us all thankful there’s never been a MedStar III.

I really disliked Patterns of the Force, if you can’t tell. As it’s still about a Jedi private detective living in the Coruscant slums, there are some stereotype elements that carry the plot along, sort of, and some bits and pieces milked out of the first two books that aspire to fill in the gaps but really don’t any too much. I was completely bored by this entire book, and when I wasn’t bored, I was frustrated. It defies credulity to think that Vader and Jax would face off and then Jax just goes his merry way. Also, I don’t see what’s so important about Jax that Vader was so personally invested in his destruction anyway–and if Vader were so devoted, I don’t see how the guy could live. Reaves obviously has no compunction about popping characters, so why Jax lives is beyond me. There were too many things for my willful suspension of disbelief to be willful.

I know this is a really bad review, but I’m kind of running out of time, and here’s the thing . . . Being the third book, I read this one most recently, and I can’t remember anything about it to tell you. Looking at the plot summary, none of these generic elements are ringing any bells with me and I can only shrug and shake my head and say, ah, well, I liked the first two books. Nice cover art. All the plot summary gives me is that there are questions, Jax thinks I-5 has the answers, and Vader and Jax have a final confrontation. In all, a sad and boring conclusion to a haphazard series I, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyed.

Review: Coruscant Nights II

Posted in Reviews, Spotlight with tags , , , , , on 27 November 2011 by Megan

Book 2

by Michael Reaves.

In book two, Street of Shadows, Jax is dealing with the news that I-FIVE has given him, that is, about his father, but also dealing with a lot more: there’s his case load as a private investigator. He’s just been hired to investigate a famous artists’ death, and stumbling into law enforcement officers isn’t good for his status as a fugitive Jedi wanted by the Empire. Speaking of the Empire, he’s also trying to hide from Vader’s Jedi Hunters, and also trying to hide from another kind of feeling . . . A “shadow Jedi” Twi’lek who might just make things too complicated for a man who thinks things are complicated enough. Also, as a bit of a fun cameo, Captain Typho is back–and he has a secret, too.

Although not as good as the first book, and, admittedly, Jax is not as adorable as his father, it’s still a decent book and I enjoyed reading it–something I can’t say about a lot of these recent SW books. Reaves has a tendency to become formulaic. Like most of his stuff, the first book starts out really strong and the second book kind of gets carried along with it. I notice these all came out in June of 2011 . . . back in my day, we had to wait months for the next installment. Maybe if the publishers spaced these out a bit more, the writing would suffer less? Honestly, readers won’t mind the wait if it’s worth waiting for . . .

Review: Coruscant Nights I

Posted in Reviews, Spotlight with tags , , , , , on 20 November 2011 by Megan

by Michael Reaves.

Back for more, eh? Right, as I told you in post 1, this is a fun little miniseries I really enjoyed (for the most part), and I’m pleased to be able to recommend to you a couple of novels that were published after the turn of the century! Warning–As I noted before, quietly go make sure you’ve read Shadow Hunter as well as the two MedStar books before embarking on these. I will insist that series of books ought to be read in order! And possibly, make sure you’ve done that before reading these reviews too closely because there’s some little spoilers I can’t help but give away or I wouldn’t have anything to write.

Book 1

It is the Jedi Twilight, which also happens to be book 1 of the Coruscant Nights trilogy. Although Order 66 was carried out with frightening efficiency and accuracy, and the Jedi Temple was demolished, some Jedi have managed to escape. Vader’s brutal Jedi-neutralizing taskforce is everywhere, though, and those Jedi are constantly in danger. Meet Jax Pavan, one such Jedi who has decided hiding on Coruscant is better than trying to escape elsewhere. After all, what other planet has a population this size and any number of perfect hidey-holes? Of course, life anywhere isn’t free or even very cheap, and so Jax is trying to make a living as a private investigator. Unbeknownst to him, the protocol droid who used to be partners with his father is also trying to find him with the help of the Sullustian journalist Dehn Dur, and also, trouble of another sort is brewing–an uncompleted Jedi mission falls right in his lap along with everything else he’s trying desperately to avoid.

I fell in love with Lorn Pavan in Shadow Hunter, and I was extremely excited to meet his son after reading three books that all talked about him, his disappointment with the Jedi who betrayed him, and his desperation to see Jax again. This book lived up to my expectations and was a fun adventure on Coruscant. I think Reaves held it together very well and the characters are believable and likable. I was certainly eager to get to book two, which, I think, says a lot about book one.

Dexter Jettster

Posted in Fun with tags , , , , , , , on 23 September 2011 by Megan

Dexter Jettster, the diner’s second owner

I just thought I’d start this fun Friday off with a bit of a character sketch on Dexter Jettster. Why? Because it’s never too early to start planning your Star Wars extravaganza, and next May is Episode II’s 10th birthday. Obviously I’m already working on my party–actually have been since May–and, if you paid attention to my last Star Wars party, you know that the cake is the centerpiece, and the cake obviously has to be related to E2 somehow.

In conferring with my primary co-planner, whose blog you should read, we searched a great deal and finally settled on Dex’s Diner, which has an epic cake shape already. Since I’ve already done all this research on Dex, I thought I’d do a character spotlight for this Fun Friday. So here goes with a quick bio of one of Coruscant’s well-known restaurateurs!

Dex is a Besalisk, a four-armed sentient hailing from the world of Ojom. Ojom is not in the Republic, and Dexter is more adventurous than many others of his race, who generally stay settled on their homeworld.

Take a seat! I’ll be right wichya!

Dexter has quite a varied past, having been part of oil-harvesting expeditions all over the galaxy. The work he did with these crews ranged from technical work to bartending, cooking, and brawling, to the shadier work of selling contraband and running weapons. The diner is essentially his retirement, a clean start for a life haphazardly lived before. Of course, his previous experiences make him an ideal contact for a Jedi like Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Coruscant’s CoCo Town

The Diner is located in the Coruscant neighborhood of CoCo Town (sometimes CoCo District, for the Collective Commerce District). There are lots of old-style diners in this area, hearkening back to the Republic’s Golden Age; and while the district is Upper-Level, traditionally indicative of high class luxury on Coruscant, but the eateries in this district cater to those who work for the Senators and other upper-class gentlebeings of Coruscant, and therefore offer more affordable options.

The window sign for Dex’s

Obi-Wan first gained familiarity with the restaurant in his Padawan days with Qui-Gon; back then it was owned by a friend of Qui-Gon’s named Didi. Following his Master’s penchant for keeping friends and informants at all levels of society, Obi-Wan made friends with Dex and depends on his valuable insights and observations. At the same time, Dex recognizes a great friend in Obi-Wan, knowing he is neither judgmental nor high-minded like some other Jedi.

The Diner

Here’s the diner itself. You can see how the shape really lends itself to being “en-cake-ified.” It has an oblong shape, achievable by taking two rectangular layer cakes and cutting them in half, then stacking them and carving to shape. We plan to use red velvet cake. While we do have Obi-Wan action figures in droves, we don’t have a Dexter, so that might have to be remedied in the coming months.

Sources: the Databank entry (here) and The Ultimate Visual Guide as well as the Wookieepedia.