Archive for Empire Strikes Back

The Greatest Sin, The Most Forgiveness

Posted in Opinion, Spotlight with tags , , , , , , on 14 April 2017 by Megan

It’s deep in the human psyche that betrayal is the worst thing anyone can ever do to anyone. The crux of Julius Caesar is not whether the Caesar was a good or bad ruler who should or should not be removed from power — it’s a tragedy that hangs on betrayal, on E tu, Brute?

When Dante described the lowest circle of hell in his Inferno, he described a place reserved for betrayers — the worst sin that deserves the worst punishment. He also assigns the worst fate (being gnawed on by Satan himself in the center of the pit) to the two most famous betrayers in history — Brutus, betrayer of Caesar, and Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Christ. The creature who betrayed Christ fills us with such revulsion that we no longer use the name “Judas.” When Ben-Hur was being adapted into a film, the producers wanted to change the main character’s name from “Judah” because they thought it was too similar. All of this resonating from the deep human repugnance at the notion of betrayal.

This is a very literary opening, isn’t it? Well, Star Wars is literary and so am I. This is all leading somewhere.

In Luke’s Gospel, 7:47, Jesus makes the profound statement that one who loves much is forgiven much — and one who is forgiven little, loves only little. If betrayal is the worst thing one human can do to another, then it follows that a repentant betrayer is forgiven more and surely loves more than any other person. In light of this, let’s turn to the two most famous betrayers in the Star Wars Saga.

Although they were born 3,000 years apart on opposite sides of the galaxy, these two have remarkably similar stories in the great saga. Malavai Quinn, whose name literally means leader going bad, was born on Dromond Kaas 3,680 years before the Battle of Yavin. One of thousands of frustrated military men, he enters the saga as a companion of the Emperor’s Wrath during the cold war between Old Republic and Empire. A cunning military mastermind, he was exiled to a post on Balmorra after embarrassing a Moff; he only escaped execution due to the good graces of a Dark Council member named Darth Baras. Baras, an exacting master, was content to let Quinn rot on Balmorra until such time as he needed his services. The Wrath was merely an apprentice when Quinn joined his crew; when this Sith received the Emperor’s commission and became Wrath, he aligned himself against Darth Baras and put Quinn in an unenviable position of serving two masters, each wanting the other dead. Not knowing which master was truly serving the Emperor, or which truly desired the best for the Empire — Quinn’s driving passion — he obeyed Baras’ orders and attempted to destroy the Wrath in a crushing betrayal. Defeated by the Wrath, he begged forgiveness and begged to continue serving him for the Empire’s sake.

Lando Calrissian was born on Soccoro 31 years before the Battle of Yavin. Always a restless spirit, he left home as a teenager and acquired a reputation as a professional gambler. He participated in military actions such as the Battle of Tanaab but was always more of a businessman. Constantly sniffing out opportunities for profit, he more than once found himself uncomfortable when the situations went bust. One of his most successful ventures was when he took over as Baron Administrator of Cloud City, a tibanna gas mine that flourished under his control. Many of its citizens came from dubious backgrounds and criminal pasts; they viewed the mine as a way to start over, to go legit. When the Empire arrived on the hunt for Han Solo, it was a disaster in more ways than one. Lando and Han had been friends for years, but due to a falling out, hadn’t spoken for a long time. With the Empire threatening the colony of people who depended on him, Lando tried his best to make the situation work. Betrayed in turn by Vader, Lando was forced to call the city to evacuate and dedicate his energies to rescuing Han from the trap he had helped create.

Both of these men are forced between two profound loyalties when it comes to “the betrayal.” Neither of them choose to betray their friends for something trivial such as greed or lust. Both men are willing to sacrifice for and desperate to choose the best for their respective communities; however, it’s even two-pronged on Quinn’s part, for Darth Baras has treated him well for ten years, protecting him from Broysc’s pettiness, even confiding in him. By contrast, however much Quinn respects and admires the Sith Warrior who becomes the Wrath, this person is a recent acquaintance whose behavior may be quite erratic as far as the good of the Empire is concerned. Sith are notoriously self-serving, and Quinn believes he has ten years of Baras’ behavior to count on.

Both men defend the decision in the heat of it. Lando’s “I’ve done all I can! I’m sorry I couldn’t do better, but I’ve got my own problems” and Quinn’s “I didn’t want to choose between you, but Darth Baras has forced my hand” are nearly interchangeable. No doubt it’s on this very brief moment their detractors most focus — but look at how much, how weighty the evidence is on either side of this flash.

Both men instantly regret the decision. One could say they merely dissolve when it goes sideways on them, but look at their history and you can see that’s not in their character. They both express their remorse right away. Quinn programs battle droids to kill the Sith and Lando stands by while Han is tortured, but as Quinn realizes the Wrath is more powerful than he thought and as Lando realizes Vader intends to destroy Han, Leia, and Chewbacca, they freely acknowledge they’ve gotten in over their heads. Both take steps to rectify the error as quickly as possible. Quinn later explains to Darth Vowrawn that he is trying to make up for a past indiscretion.

Neither man is questioned on his loyalty again. Quinn is integrated fully into the storyline after the anticlimactic betrayal scene. And while Han’s last words to Lando before carbonite are a stony, “What’s goin’ on, buddy?”, the first thing he does free of carbonite is attempt to save Lando from the sarlacc. There’s no hesitation. Not only does Lando reflexively call out for Han to help him, Han leaps into action despite being blinded and weakened. And when Han takes a blaster to shoot the tentacle holding Lando prisoner, neither man even considers the possibility that Han would take revenge–Lando’s only concern is Han’s ability to aim with hibernation sickness affecting his vision.

Now, I understand that The Old Republic is a game, and the Emperor’s Wrath is a character that is played differently by everyone who plays it. While I’ve freely noted Han’s interactions with Lando, I’ve refrained from speculating on the Wrath’s. Maybe you play a really dark side Sith who would like to kill anyone who ever looked at him sideways. I don’t have anything to do with that. I only present the canon version of these events: namely, that Quinn is accepted into the Wrath’s crew once more and remains a player in galactic events, just as Lando is welcomed into the rebellion and becomes an integral part of the Star Wars. How you feel is your business; I am under no circumstances telling you how to feel. So far, I haven’t even mentioned how I feel. I’ve just given the bare facts of the story.

Now, this is how I see it: if you want to be like the kids who threw things at Billy Dee Williams’ car when he picked his kids up from school, if you want to be like the kids on Twitter who moan about how much they want to kill Quinn, it’s your prerogative. It’s my prerogative to love both of these characters. I love the friendship between Malavai Quinn and my Wrath, a Chiss named Chan’drakan’tah. I love the friendship between Han and Lando. I can only hope my real life friendships are as strong and as stable — I hope if I feel forced between loyalties and choose the wrong one, that forgiveness and not condemnation will meet me. I promise my friends that if they make the same bad choice, I will forgive.

Because he who is forgiven much loves much. And, also, I love both these characters. Much.

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Twenty Years, Part 2

Posted in Fun, Spotlight with tags , , , , , on 22 February 2017 by Megan

It’s amazing what things stick with you and how clearly they stick. As I said in the last post, I remember with absolute clarity the first time I saw Star Wars: A New Hope. I even remember when I saw E4 for the second time and, with similar exact clarity, when I saw The Phantom Menace in the theater two years later. Ditto Revenge of the Sith. Yet for all that, I don’t remember the first time I saw Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi, even though E6 is my favorite and the most important of the six.

1997vide

The first Star Wars I ever saw!

As I said last time, the first time I ever saw E4 was February 12, 1997. We watched it again the next day — 10 AM on a Thursday, my older sister grabbed me and said, “Hey, see if Mom will let us watch that movie from last night again.” A third, but partial, rewatch occurred again on February 18th, so already there was something major and significant about this movie.

Then, nine days after I saw A New Hope for the first time, Mom rented The Empire Strikes Back. I must have been after her to see it; I’d been watching anniversary interviews with the cast on Rosie and Oprah, not knowing who Billy Dee Williams was as he described angry kids yelling at him for betraying Han Solo. Han Solo got betrayed?! Was he killed?! I had to see this movie! Kroger — which did video rentals back then, if you can believe it — didn’t have any, so I remember Dad pulling a few doors down to the West Coast Video where Mom ran inside. It was raining. Can you believe I remember rain from 20 years ago? Yet I don’t remember the actual moment we sat down to watch the movie.

dscn5197

I didn’t have much to say about it in my diary that night, either. The most significant thing was “It was almost 70 degrees!!!!” followed by how much I hated doing English (ironic given that I later majored in English…)

Then the bombshell. Then Return of the Jedi.

1983 ROTJ Poster

It was partly a bombshell because of how clever my mom is. She went into the video store alone because it was raining and we had groceries in the car. She let me hold the E5 VHS on the way home and put it on top of the TV for viewing. I absolutely took for granted that it would be at least one week before we could get E6. (“Town” was 18 miles away and going in for groceries was a weekly thing.) So I was pretty nonchalant about the cliffhanger ending.

The next day was February 22, a Saturday, and I was replaying The Island of Doctor Brain on our Windows 3.0 Compaq in Dad’s office.

office2

Even though that picture was taken in 2003, Dad’s office pretty much never changed the entire 16 years they lived there. Same computer! So the point is that’s where I was sitting sometime after lunch when I got to this screen:

doctorbrainisland

I’d played the game before, so I knew where all the Easter eggs were — the best thing about Sierra computer games was that you could right-click for jokes. And I called for Mom, always my first response upon a new discovery, and said, “LOOK! I never got that before!!” Right-clicking on the hut at the top left of the screen produced a box of text reading Don’t mess with Jabba the Hut.

We laughed and then Mom got a mischievous glint in her eye. “You want to see what he looks like?” she asked. I was like, Huh? and followed her out of the office, which was right next to their room, and she opened their closet and pulled out the opaque rental case for Return of the Jedi. My mind was absolutely blown that she’d rented both at once and kept it a secret.

So late in the afternoon, before dinner, I tore around the house rounding up Dad and my sister and we started to watch Return of the Jedi as the sun was going down. Huh, guess I remember more than I thought about the moment I first saw E6!

My diary couldn’t even handle all the information I had to unload:

Dear Pal,

We saw return of the Jedi. Lai is Luke’s sister! And Darth Vader is Luke’s father. But the Emperor was killed and Darth became good, only he was killed.

Love Megan

I like Luke, Leia, C3Po R2D2 Ham Solo best.

The clearest thing I remember is that when it was over, I passed by the front door to go upstairs and I stopped to watch the moon rising through the cut glass windows. It was nearly full, huge, and felt closer than ever. No movie had ever made me feel that way before. I loved stories, I loved reading and telling stories, but not even any of them had ever made me feel like that.

I wrote that Han Solo was my favorite, but even then, even before I bothered to notice Luke, he was the reason my imagination caught fire — the hero whose journey was the reason Star Wars changed my life.

Favorite ESB Moment

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , on 29 May 2014 by Megan

I’m surprised it took me so long to come up with this because this is one of the only scenes I used to rewind to watch more than once, and I distinctly remember looking forward to it every time I watched Empire Strikes Back.

I’m talking about the scene with the bounty hunters.

Where my scum at?

Where my scum at?

Naturally, any scene with the Imperial fleet is one that I look forward to and enjoy thoroughly. So here we’ve got the Executor smashing asteroids with aplomb, we’ve got deck officers moving around doing interesting stuff, and then we’ve got the bridge. Oh, the glorious bridge of the Imperial flagship! I love it.

Star Wars gave filmgoers normal, everyday life among people who took space travel for granted. There were farmers, merchants, knights, priests–the standard population not only of mythology, folktale, and fiction, but also of our everyday lives. Star Wars took for granted that this was the way the galaxy worked, an old and worn out galaxy at war, and that’s what people loved. Speaking of galactic warfare, you know what else is associated with civil war? Westerns. The American West in the 19th century, with Civil War veterans heading toward the Rockies for freedom, treasure, etc. etc. Yes, Star Wars has plenty in common with westerns, and that is how we get to bounty hunters.

“We don’t need that scum,” Piett hisses, affronted by the riffraff on his bridge. Most of these guys are members of the bounty hunters’ guild — Bossk is the son of Cradossk, the head of the Guild in fact. Although they dress shabby in patched armor, they all have money to burn, money they earn by hunting down anyone with a price on their head and turning them over for profit. In Elmore Leonard’s classic The Bounty Hunters, the eponymous band get paid per Apache scalp they turn in, but you know they aren’t scrupulous and some of those scalps belong to Mexicans. No doubt these bounty hunters follow a similar shifty code . . .

"I said my name is Boba Fett. I know my --- is tight. Start actin' right or you're frozen in carbonite!"

“I said my name is Boba Fett. I know my — is tight. Start actin’ right or you’re frozen in carbonite!”

Except for Boba Fett, of course. Boba Fett, the silent man in green armor who has entranced fanboys for decades and even his widely-criticized backstory hasn’t hurt his fanbase (much). Although some arguments are inevitable about just how much of a badass this guy actually is, it’s hard to deny the coolness factor to his iconic helmet and Batman-quality gizmos. I love Boba Fett as much as anybody, and in the original versions of the films, this was our first glimpse of the man. “As you wish,” he grates out in response to Vader’s demands.

But he’s not the only one there who is totally awesome. One of my favorite anthologies is Tales of the Bounty Hunters — which includes a sadly bittersweet episode 15 years after ROTJ with an aging Fett and his Slave II. These short stories give insights into the life of Dengar (the one with the white bandages), who was badly burned in a race with Han Solo and is out for revenge. IG-88, assassin droid, has actually duplicated himself four times and runs an empire-wide conspiracy to eliminate organic life. He’s the reason the probe droid self-destructed on Hoth — not to disguise the Empire’s intent but so that no organic would ever learn what  the droids were planning! (All four IG-88s died before they could implement this plan.) Bossk, as I said, is the son of the head of the Bounty Hunters’ Guild, and even more of his story comes to light in K.W. Jeter’s stunning Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy. My longtime favorite has been Zuckuss with his droid partner 4-LOM (I talked about them here).

I don't know why it's so hard to get Zuckuss in one of these shots!

I don’t know why it’s so hard to get Zuckuss in one of these shots!

I love every character in this scene. The way the camera peers up at them, putting the viewer alongside the trim Imperial officers with their rampant disgust of the filthy bounty hunters — not because they aren’t human, (because there is no canonical evidence for galactically widespread, government-endorsed species related bigotry,and I don’t thank Timothy Zahn for inventing it) but because they are the scum of the galaxy, mavericks who would presumably sell off their own close family members for the right number of credits. The silent bounty hunters, more like Vader than anyone else on the bridge because they too are separated from everyone by armor, their faces just as unreadable, are fascinating just as a picture. Boba Fett’s curious stance as spokesperson for the motley group. Their backstories, explored in the two canonical sources I just offered you, are fun to explore. And as always, Boba Fett’s mask is as iconic a part of the Trilogy as Vader’s. Man, I love these guys!

The original motley crew. Because it was a long time ago, see?

The original motley crew. Because it was a long time ago, see?

Favorite Ship

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , on 13 February 2014 by Megan

I always shipped Qui-Gon and Shmi . . . oh! That’s not what you mean. Sorry! You mean spaceship — or starship, as they call them. You don’t hear much about my bounty hunter love, I guess, I spend most of my time admiring Imperials or talking about the straightforward goodies. But I have a deep affection for the bounty hunters, especially Boba Fett, and today I’m going to use this as an opportunity to talk about my first favorite vessel in the Star Wars universe.

First view of the ship

First view of the ship

Yes, unlike most kids who saw Star Wars, I did not instantly love the Falcon. No, the first vessel to stir my heart belonged to Han Solo’s archnemesis, Boba Fett. The first time you see Slave I, it’s hiding among the blasted garbage from the Imperial fleet; somehow Boba Fett knows his prey well enough to realize Han Solo did not jump to hyperspace but instead was hiding somewhere on the ships themselves, waiting for them to depart before showing himself. And the design of the ship is instantly striking.

Firespray Class (E2)

Firespray Class (E2)

That’s worth clicking up the full size, by the way, though the cutaway from the Trilogy Cross-Sections really lets you see how the bounty hunter lives. Fett’s ship is a Firespray-31 class patrol and attack craft. Obviously, he’s heavily modified it the way he heavily modified his armor, and although both armor and ship are admittedly antique (the Mandalorians being an ancient race and the ship and armor being passed down from his father), it’s clear that they are both in excellent shape and remain deadly. This masterful engineering is clearly the product of the Kuat Driveyards, my personal favorite of all the shipbuilding experts in the galaxy.

From the front

From the front

In fact, the Slave I is very rare even for a Firespray, as she is one of six prototypes and really the only survivor of those. Fett’s armor and his ship are linked together, and he is able to communicate with both. In The Mandalorian Armor, it is revealed that his ship was waiting in orbit around Tatooine while he was in Jabba’s palace; it is also revealed that the bounty hunter has decoy ships that look just like his vessel (possibly the motivation behind the “I” following the name).

The Slave I at rest

The Slave I at rest

Although the cockpit is able to right-orient within the vessel, the Firespray ship rests “on its back” when landed and rotates vertical while in flight. It is an extremely compact and powerful vessel with hidden weapons compartments, powerfully armored hull, and great speed and maneuverability. The name is as intimidating as its master, its semi-legendary status adds to the mystique and fear that Boba Fett is able to call up.

And, as a resident girl, I have to declare I think the ship is pretty. I like the class (Firespray sounds cool), I like where it comes from (KDY FTW), and I like the owner (Boba Fett is the man). It’s predominantly green and brown, which is a great color combination, and it’s got snazzy mods. So  there you have it. Slave I is my favorite ship.

In conclusion, here’s a bit from the folks at Robot Chicken talking about Fett’s own opinion of his ride.

Favorite Droid

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , , on 6 February 2014 by Megan

Let me just come out there and say it: I don’t like R2-D2. I just don’t. I don’t mind Threepio at all and I love Anthony Daniels, but he’s not my favorite. No, for my favorite, I’m going to have to go a little E.U. for this. And because information is so limited, I feel justified in giving you two droids tied for my favorite with a brief summary of each. My favorite droid is . . .

4-LOM the Bounty Hunter!

4-LOM the Bounty Hunter!

If you didn’t recognize him, shame on you! He is one of two robot bounty hunters seen in Empire Strikes Back, and, yes, I did consider IG-88 for a favorite as well, but I’ve always just felt too much triumph when Boba Fett destroys him to justify his being a favorite. What can you say about a droid who achieved self-awareness, made four of himself, and attempted to wipe out all carbon-based life in the galaxy? Back to 4-LOM. A LOM-series protocol droid, he was originally assigned to a luxury liner as a translator. The ship herself altered his programming so he would steal from passengers, and thus began his life of crime. 4-LOM just loves money, and his career has been all about the acquisition thereof. Working for Jabba the Hutt, his programming was altered further, and he became a bounty hunter.

His partner is the Gand Zuckuss, and the two have a strong friendship. They were hired by Vader to help capture Han Solo, though they later attempted to rescue him. With a wide and varied career, some highlights suggested in short stories and comic books, 4-LOM is a master thief, bounty hunter, and renaissance droid whose enduring friendship with Zuckuss has endured nearly fatal injuries and sicknesses for them both. He’s good people, man.

I-5YQ

I5 the Droid

I’m really going EU on you now. I talked to you about Michael Reeves’ miniseries (here and here), and while that series desperately fell off at the end, the characters he introduced in Shadow Hunter hold up.

I5 was a standard model protocol droid used for the care of some rich children who routinely tortured him — things like ordering him to jump off buildings — until he could no longer handle it. Lorn Pavan was a dispirited former employee of the Jedi Temple, thrown out and forcibly separated from his son after the toddler showed Force aptitude. Lorn helped I5 achieve sentience and freedom, and the two worked as partners on Coruscant.

On a mission to find Lorn’s son Jax, I5 meanders across the galaxy and through nearly half a dozen of Reeves’ books, some better than others. Luke Skywalker may say of Artoo “I’ve never heard of such devotion in a droid before,” when Artoo is lying about his origins, but I5 is the real deal. Boldly asserting his status as a free, intelligent individual, not to be owned by anyone, I5 questions what it means to be, well, “human” (i.e. sentient) and even figures out a way to program himself “drunk.” He’s clever, intelligent, loyal, and I enjoyed the trip even if Reeves let the whole series fall on its backside.

I notice both of these droids have unique partnerships with their sentient friends. Yeah, maybe I have a type when it comes to droids.

Favorite Member of the Empire

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , on 23 January 2014 by Megan

I’m an Imperial girl, I am. Not ashamed of it, either. The Empire was a fitting replacement for a diseased and outmoded galactic republic. A government in charge of billions of non-homogenous races cannot function taking into account the opinion of every one of a countless number of minorities. A weak and chiefly ceremonial chancellor clearly could not shoulder the responsibility of a million planets. Are you really going to fault the imperial system for the one single tiny insignificant little detail that its leader was evil? There was nothing wrong with the system. The Republic couldn’t even enforce its own antislavery laws. I’ve probably said it before but it’s a truth I’ll repeat forever: I guarantee you that the vast majority of galactic residents didn’t notice a change in their day-to-day lives with the Empire in control. And probably for every group of people who did feel oppressed or noticed a change for the worse (i.e. all those senators who started the rebellion in response to sudden unemployment), there was almost certainly a group of people who felt their lives changed for the better. And by that I mean people who were oppressed by the Trade Federation and Banking Clans and people who were slaves. Yes, some high-up imperials (such as Palpatine) and gangsters (such as Hutts) continued to own slaves, but it almost certainly ceased being as common a thing.

Anyway, all that to say that I didn’t want to start every post in this challenge by saying “last year when I talked about this” — but I wanted to be able to reiterate I love Maximilian Veers and also to emphasize that I have loads of favorite Imps because frankly I just love the Empire. I’m a devoted loyalist. I don’t deny that there were evil imperials, like Tarkin and Palpatine. There were less-than-honorable rebels, too, you know. All that to say I’m still trying to decide who to regale you with this week! We all know I have a special weakness for the military officers. I love an Imperial uniform. And the navy is my jam. So I see I’m presenting you with . . .

Firmus Piett

Firmus Piett

Yes, his first name is Firmus, and I would be lying if I could tell you I didn’t think he and Captain Needa were the same person the first 12 times I watched ESB. They just look very similar. In fact, I considered making Needa my favorite member of the Empire — because there is a man who demonstrates every admirable trait of the Empire, sacrificing himself in order to save his crew when the unthinkable occurs. I’ve often thought it was half suicide of him to insist on apologizing for something that wasn’t his fault, in person, to Vader, but it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility that Vader would have had the Avenger destroyed if Needa had not presented himself as a target. Therefore, I admire him greatly. However, Piett has the larger role.

Apart from having a last name very similar to Piatt, as in the historical family homes that I worked in as a guide for a few years, Piett is awesome for other reasons. He was the longest-surviving admiral under Vader’s command, and pretty much the only imperial officer to appear in both ESB and ROTJ.

Admiral Piett

Admiral Piett

Piett was born on Axxila and began his naval career early, first in an anti-pirate militia in his home sector. His humble backwater background made progress difficult, and he was cautious about the rapid promotions granted him by the fact that Vader liked to kill those under his command. Being a member of the elite squad assigned to Vader was a dubious honor at best, and becoming admiral in this unorthodox way was not exactly something to be proud of.

He managed to survive Vader’s wrath, demonstrating intelligence in battle, shrewd cunning, and extreme diplomacy necessary to navigate Vader’s moods. Although convinced his death was at hand when the Millennium Falcon escaped them yet again, Piett escaped and never let himself get too at ease with his position — a mistake Ozzel had made.

Generally, I find Firmus Piett capable, intelligent, and all that top quality admiral stuff. I imagine that he and Veers had a close relationship, and that they would knock back some drinks together when they got some time off. The Executor was his baby, not Vader’s, and half the sadness of seeing a ship that gorgeous go down is knowing that he died with her. It’s so wasteful! If they hadn’t been that close to the Death Star, they would have survived. It was just losing control and getting pulled into the gravity well that did it. Oh, I can’t talk about this; it still chokes me up.

The Super Star Destroyer Executor

The Super Star Destroyer Executor

Piett was played by Kenneth Colley, a distinguished British actor born in 1937. In conclusion, while this site is not highly accurate, it brought a smile to my face, so enjoy the Piett Dossier, why don’t you? It includes every line of dialogue spoken by Piett in both films.

Favorite Object/Prop

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , on 20 June 2013 by Megan

Okay, let’s take this a slightly different direction. You think props and Star Wars and of course you think lightsabers. But what I want to talk about is my favorite thing in the entire franchise:

The Super Star Destroyer Executor

The Super Star Destroyer Executor

Look, it is an object, and it is way more my favorite than lightsabers are. I mean, just look at it, all the grandeur of the Empire summed up in one sleek ship. An almost unique ship, in fact, as there were not a lot of other Super Star Destroyers made, and this one cost the Empire AurebeshSans-Serif credit1,143,350,000. Manufactured by the Kuat Driveyards, one of my favorite places ever, the ship was 19,000 meters long, or about ten miles. To give that a little local  perspective, if the ship were landed in Champaign County, Ohio, the ship would reach from the town center of Urbana to West Liberty on the county line.

Proportions in perspective

Proportions in perspective

So it’s a really grand ship is what I’m saying. You  can’t deny that it’s really beautiful. At four times the size of an Imperial-class destroyer, the Executor could in fact dock an entire Star Destroyer if necessary. It had many times the armaments as well: 5,000+ turbolaser batteries and ion cannons, 250 heavy concussion missile batteries, and 40 tractor beam projectors. It carried 144 TIE fighters; 200 combat and support ships; 3 prefabricated garrison bases; several hundred armored walkers, speeder bikes, and ground vehicles; and 50,000 heavy concussion missiles. It could run with a skeleton crew of 50,000, but its usual compliment was more like 279,000, 1500 gunners, and 10,000 droids. It could carry 250,000 metric tons of cargo, and supplies for six years.

Significantly larger than an Imperial-class destroyer

Significantly larger than an Imperial-class destroyer

Now, there is some confusion over the name of this spectacular ship. In fact I was pretty confused myself for a long time. It’s often thought that Executor is pronounced “ex-ih-cute-r,” as in someone who cuts off people’s heads for a living; in fact an early toy of the ship said this was so and it was in fact considered too dark. However, after I realized that a person who cuts off heads for a living is in fact an executioner, the actual name of the ship made much more sense: “ex-yeh-cute-r.” That is, the guy who gets things done for the Emperor. Much more sensible.

In all its sleek glory

In all its sleek glory

And I know it wouldn’t have counted as “saddest moment” anyway when that question came up, but I’m always so heartbroken when the Executor goes down. And Ackbar is so  self-satisfied with the whole thing. Ugh.

These guys are people too.

These guys are people too. And now they’re all dead.

Anyway, in conclusion on this post that took me way too long and I’m sorry about that, I love this ship and am not a bit sorry for being upset when it goes down or for considering it an object/prop. And now I shall give you my favorite shot of the command station behind the bridge of the crown jewel of the Imperial Fleet.

The command station

The command station