Archive for Dexter Jettster

Prequel Appreciation: Favorite Scene

Posted in Opinion, Questions with tags , , , , , on 5 August 2015 by Megan

Day 5 of the Prequel Appreciation Week.

I mentioned yesterday that Episode II wasn’t even “in the running” for favorite Prequel film, so it seems appropriate that I grant it my favorite scene.

There are so many things about this scene to love. First of all, like its twin Episode V, Episode II is weak on a lot of things from dialogue to continuity–but, like its twin Episode V, it never fails to disappoint on a visual. The lines, colors, framing are all top-notch.

Ever since I read about Luke Skywalker standing on the roof of the palace drinking hot chocolate and watching the traffic below, I have longed to see Coruscant. As the most significant planet birthed in the EU and fleshed out on screen, it should hold a special place in any fan’s heart, and certainly mine. I remember there was a preview pack of Episode I cards in my Star Wars Trivial Pursuit game–the design on the back of the cards was the Coruscant skyline and I used to stare at it in rapt attention.

I pored with the same attention over McQuarrie’s concept art in The Illustrated Star Wars Universe. What was life like in this city-planet, so unlike anything in my experience, the teenage girl living in rural Ohio, the nearest town consisting of 11,000 people twelve miles away? The Episode I glimpses were so brief, they were little more than tantalizing. I didn’t get to really find out until Episode II in 2002, four years after my first piqued curiosity.

From the speeder chase that dives from the skyline to the nightclubs, to the shipping lanes, Senate hall, and corridors of the Jedi Temple, Episode II delivers Coruscant visuals like no other. And of all those scenes, the best, the most amazing is Dex’s Diner in the commerce district (CoCo Town).

I’ve mentioned this a time or two before (1)(2). I mean, come on, I even baked a cake in honor of this scene! So how could I answer any differently?

In a deleted scene (and in the book), we see the Temple archive droids let Obi-Wan down. They can’t give him the information he needs, so, like his mentor Qui-Gon, he turns to the streets, to the common folk outside the Temple who know what’s what. He has a long relationship with this place, as Qui-Gon used to come here for help when it was Didi’s diner. As Qui-Gon had a non-Jedi confidant and assistant in Didi, Obi-Wan has Dexter.

I really love Dexter (as the previously linked post indicates). He’s a great character who just radiates cool backstory. This scene is one of the rare places of Episode II where the dialogue shines: all showing, no telling. There’s the added bonus that Dexter reminds me of the first college professor I ever had, an amazing naturalist who died in 2005 but whose class Local Flora changed my life. I may be importing a lot of Jaworski’s personality onto Dex, but they both had encyclopedic knowledge of anything you could ask about and an interesting story¬† to go along with. They also both preferred a wardrobe of holey shirts and baggy pants, though Jaworski’s shirts were black — seriously, Dex, it hides the dirt better! Get a clue ;)

So, in short, while there’s a lot in E2 I’ll fast forward out of frustration or boredom, this is a scene I could watch several times in a row and undoubtedly find something new and interesting every time. I love it.

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.

Episode II: The Tennthenniel

Posted in Fun with tags , , , , , , , on 25 May 2012 by Megan

Maybe I can shake off my depression enough to give you a post for May. This is the occupational hazard of having just about the best week of all freaking time, and then having it be over. As you should well know, May 16 was the tenth anniversary of the second Star Wars prequel, that much-abused Episode II: Attack of the Clones. After the giant Episode I party, I knew my friends and I had to do something of equal or greater grandeur to celebrate the next decadeversary of the franchise.

Michelle, Kristine, and I once again got together around a phenomenal cake to watch Star Wars, play games, and in all ways celebrate the starriest of all the wars. Follows are some pictures from our fun time.

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The next important thing after the cake is of course decorations to set the scene, and entertainments, so you’re actually doing something besides getting together for processed sweets.

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At last we were ready for celebration. The guests were assembled — all, uh, three of us — and everything was baked, decorated, prepared, and set. The order of the day included playing every Star Wars game we had, participating in some Mad Libs and coloring books, and finally watching Episode II over dinner — a fresh hot gristlewart sausage pizza (sorry, old Star Wars Haiku chatroom in joke there). We ended it over fresh slices of Dex’s Diner. (If it wasn’t abundantly clear what our cake was: it was Dex’s Diner from Episode II.)