Archive for Empire Strikes Back

Party Planner

Posted in Fun with tags , , , , , , , , , on 10 May 2013 by Megan

Because May is Star Wars parties month, I’d like to call your attention back to the last two parties I’ve done by pointing you in the direction of the posts done on them, and also to reblog this post from HS that I did on some parties I’d like to have in the future.

2009: The 10th Anniversary of Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and the first time Michelle came out to visit in Ohio. She and Kristine and I threw the first of several Parties of the Century. Read more (here).

2012: The 10th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and the first time Michelle came to visit in Indiana. She and Kristine and I threw the second Party of the Century. Read about it (here).

The third Party of the Century hasn’t occurred yet. That’s because the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith doesn’t happen until May of 2015. But in the meantime, these sorts of things take awhile to plan, especially since I mean for the third party to the best one yet, since, after all, E3 was the best prequel. The guest list includes Kristine, Michelle, and Allison, as well as myself, and even though it’s a couple years away, I’m enjoying the planning process. Besides which, there are other Star Wars milestones coming up. Return of the Jedi, which is my favorite of the original trilogy, celebrates its 30th birthday this May . . . which is why it’s kind of frustrating that my biggest theme party I’ve come up with so far is for Empire Strikes Back! But regardless: these are the next two Star Wars parties I’m working on.

Star Wars Party 3: The Third Gathers

If you count the tauntaun, there will be exactly this many guests at my "party of the century"!

If you count the tauntaun, there will be exactly this many guests at my “party of the century”!

Winter parties are cute. So it must follow that a Star Wars winter party must be freaking adorable; plus there’s so much material to work with! I originally meant this Hoth/Empire Strikes Back-styled party to circle around the release of one of the films to 3D, so that the party could relocate to the tridimensional theater of our choice and then reconvene for the rest of the party on a buzz of lightsabers in 3D. However, the first dampener was that ESB wasn’t due out in theaters again until 2017, followed by the fact that now I have no idea when its 3D release is scheduled. But let that not stand in my way! This party will take place in some wintery month in the near future, and it will be awesome.

Each one a unique work of art!

First of all, let’s hear about the decorations, because every party requires decorations. Your Episode V locales include Hoth, Dagobah, Cloud City, and interiors of the Executor and Millennium Falcon, so action figures and toys from those settings will be the most appropriate. Also, check this out . . . awesome Star Wars snowflakes via Matters of Gray. Remember spending hours folding paper and cutting them into patterns that would vaguely resemble snow crystals? Now they can vaguely resemble iconic Star Wars characters and objects as well! Yes!

Enough with decor. Let’s get on to the food. Food is why we party is it not? I found this great inspiration: if you’re going to have a wintery party, you need to have hot refreshments, and what’s hotter than chocolate? I found this adorable inspiration for a hot chocolate bar on Pinterest (via), and figured with minimal effort, it could be Star Warsdized into a Hoth Chocolate bar. You have all your fixins’ for good cocoa, but I also have a recipe for real hot chocolate (not cocoa: that is, a block of chocolate melted with milk), and we could have a good old crock pot of that. Mostly it’s the fixin’s I’m in to — marshies, cinnamon, peppermint. Need cutesy Star Wars names for them, like “gimer sticks” and “Ugnaught brains,” etc. Also, maybe frozen hot chocolate.

“Hoth” Chocolate Bar

The real piece d’ resistance is, as usual, the cake. Oho! And what a cake I’ve got for you. The most iconic moment in Empire Strikes Back is, you guessed it! The part where Luke hacks off the wampa’s arm. (What do you mean, you thought it was ‘Luke, I am your father’? Who is Luke’s father? WHAT? OH MY GOSH . . . !!) Anyway, I perused the internet until I found a cake worthy of my wintery party, and it’s a gruesomely great severed wampa arm cake (via):

If Luke cutting off the wampa’s arm is foreshadowing Vader cutting off his hand, is the wampa somehow related to Luke?

Now, everyone goes on about how gross this cake looks, but I assure you, I intend to improve it by not using coconut. I know, I know, coconut is disgusting, and besides that, a full third of my guests are allergic. That isn’t why you thought it was gross? What? But . . . but it’s orange. Why is that gross?! The original blogger said one person ate the cake with eyes closed because it was too gross to look at, and I gotta tell you, I’m flummoxed. I may have closed my eyes every time Han cuts the tauntaun open until I was about 25 years old, but even I’m not squeamish enough to have my gag reflex tripped by . . . orange blood. *eyebrow* I don’t even know what guava jelly is. (Incidentally the wampa obviously didn’t bleed, but whatevs.) I intend to make it a red velvet with raspberry jelly, because when you’re making severed arms, it’s only reasonable that you use red velvet. Everyone knows this. And then I’m going to make white cotton candy to use for the fur. I think that’s a great cake.

cloudpops

Like twins separated at birth!

Also up for grabs on the dessert table, Boba Fett ice cream sandwiches, chocolate Han in Carbonite, pretzel lightsabers, and Cloud City cake pops. Because Cloud City looks like a cake pop, see? It’s abstract, okay! Because of the nature of the party is to be mainly hot chocolatey, I’m not worried about there being any sort of a main course, just desserts.

Naturally for entertainment — you have to ask? — there will be the watching of Empire Strikes Back and possibly lightsaber dueling it up with pool noodles decked with duck tape. You never know. Sabacc? Who here knows how to play Sabacc? We could use the deeds/money from Star Wars Monopoly for stakes. I know I wanna con somebody out of a Tibanna gas mine. Maybe weeding out all the Episode V questions from the Trivial Pursuit game is a thing.

Star Wars Party 4: Thirdenniel Extravagenza

That’s Right!

Episode III comes out in three-dee this September, but my party’s not slated until 2015, which is ten years since its release. That gives me plenty of time to really make this a party of epic proportions. It’s in very preliminary stages, but here’s a quick overview of some things taking shape.

Courtesy At Second Street

I found a really inspiring post on At Second Street, which pointed me to some inspiring murals on Painted Daisies; the idea is to cover the windows, etc. to make it feel like you’re inside a spaceship. Black plastic tablecloths, paint, stickers to complete the effect. “Coolglow.com” sells glowing paint for $10 a bottle, which looks like regular paint until you turn out the lights, and then it glows; the paint can then be used for stars and to recreate the crawl and opening titles. (They also sell glowing drink-ware and mini glowing lightsabers, so this is a site to hang on to for any kind of Star Wars party supply. Glow gives it that extra kick.) Another fun decor idea, courtesy of At Second Street, is to stick toothpicks in those little holes in action figures’ feet and use them for decorations. I also have my entire collection of Episode III merch, including posters and action figures like my enormous boga figure.

On to food! Drumroll, please, as I officially unveil the topic for the cake your friends will all be talking about for decades to come, the Episode III birthday cake:

"Why don't you try something more difficult next time?"

“Why don’t you try something more difficult next time?”

Obi-Wan’s starfighter being attacked by buzz droids! No, I don’t have the mechanics of how to make all of the buzz droids, but I’m going to use the cake balls for the domes. Anyway, there’s the cake. I have a recipe for a delicious-sounding lava juice, because naturally there’s got to be lava somewhere at an E3 party. I also want to give some more thought to main courses — “Han-burgers” are extremely over-done, I think, but I want to do something clever.

Entertainment obviously focuses around watching Episode III. There’s always Mad Libs and Obsessed With Star Wars to play, too. Plenty of time to work that out.
Party Planner via Hundredaire Socialite.

Advertisements

A Character Everybody Else Loves That You Hate

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , on 11 April 2013 by Megan

And this is why I went with Mace Windu for my least favorite male character. Because I can contentedly hate him all on my own, but for this one, everyone else’s love contributes to my bafflement, which adds to my hate. I’m talking about . . .

I hate this muppet's stupid face

I hate this muppet’s stupid face

Yes, you aren’t interpreting that wrong. You’re on a Star Wars blog, dedicated to the love of Star Wars, and the blogger is here to tell you that Yoda is a despicable pimple on the face of the whole franchise, and I’d love to squeeze the pus right out of him.

I don’t understand where his reputation comes from. I don’t know why he is considered “literally the wisest being in the universe” (I read that on a blog recently), or beloved, or a great teacher, a great warrior, great anything, or any of the other things that people find him.

Here’s what Yoda is: a great deceiver. And this is not a sentiment that requires acceptance of the prequels as canon; in fact, ESB taken by itself will bear this out. All the films together create a great tapestry of the unbearable troll. But I’ll start with his performance in Empire. It is likely that Yoda caused Luke’s instruments to malfunction so he would crash in the swamp on purpose; what kind of teacher has to take advanced measures to make sure his prospective pupil can’t get away from him? Particularly when said pupil was seeking him out with every intention to stay and do whatever he was told? You can say it was a test, but here’s the thing about tests — they are to establish possessed knowledge. Since Luke’s training had not even begun, what exactly was it meant to test him in? Frankly, everything about Yoda’s initial interactions with Luke are designed to frustrating and exasperate him — a dismal teaching method.

Because the next thing Yoda does is assume a fake identity (talking about himself in the third person with intent to confuse) and harass, tease, and harry Luke until his frayed nerves give out, and then, revealing himself to be the object of Luke’s quest, he belittles and derides him for the outburst he himself provoked. He has done everything in his power to make sure Luke has the worst day ever, criticizes his having feelings, and then ventriloquizes Obi-Wan’s voice to have an argument about how he’s not going to train Luke, to further draw out his would-be pupil’s supposed weaknesses to taunt them. (No, I don’t really think that’s actually Obi-Wan talking to Yoda in ESB. I think Yoda is doing all that himself to manipulate Luke.) Also, what is with Yoda’s “this one, a long time have I watched”? Creepy. Finally, after making Luke apologize for living and defend his every decision — most of these accusations aren’t even true, such as “all his life has he looked away to the horizon,” which Luke has clearly not been doing for the last three years as an innovative commander in the rebel alliance — Yoda acts badgered into agreeing to train Luke. And the last thing he says is the distinctly unjedi assurance that Luke will be afraid.

“Training” consists of him making Luke carry him all over Dagobah, while barking and snapping in his ear the entire time and telling him shallow, zen-sounding things about the Force. Luke, who can’t have been on Dagobah more than 72 hours at this point, dares to ask a question, at which Yoda outbursts in an impatient fury, “There is no why! Clear your mind of questions! Nothing more will I teach you today.” Frankly, he never seems to have taught him anything. Then he sends his as-good-as-untrained pupil into the Dagobah death cave, where Luke fails some unstated, unexplained, and incomprehensible test. Yoda is pleased to constantly remind Luke of his “failures,” deriding him when he makes more mistakes, and chewing him out completely over his game attempt to lift a multi-ton spaceship out of a swamp. “There is no try” is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard anyone say — because if he’d let Luke try, Luke would’ve stood there until he got it right. As it is, it’s no one’s favorite method of teaching to be mocked into doing something, fail, and have the teacher show you up.

Despite all of this, Yoda remains some sort of a beloved figure. The smartest thing Luke does is escape this supposed “training” and run to help his friends on Cloud City. Yoda does not think anyone should have friends, of course, and wants Luke to let them die. He also tells Luke pointedly that because he failed the unspecified test in the cave, he will die on Cloud City. A teacher with no confidence in his pupil is a touching thing to see. Luke goes anyway — it is his triumph that he learns Vader is his father, not his failure (as Yoda posits in the next film). Yoda would have kept Luke ignorant and tricked him into killing his own father out of sheer arrogance: this is where the weight of the prequels has bearing. Yoda believes that because he was unable to destroy the Emperor, no one can.

In Episode III, Yoda refuses to send Obi-Wan to face off against Palpatine, even though Obi-Wan is the greatest warrior in the Order. (The novelizations consistently have conflict between Yoda and Obi-Wan’s greatness, warring to accommodate them both, when only Obi-Wan’s is really demonstrated.) Instead, Yoda sends Obi-Wan after the less glorious prize — the rogue Jedi he didn’t want to admit into the Order in the first place. Obi-Wan, unable to kill Anakin — and having told Yoda he couldn’t do it — allows for the creation of Darth Vader. Yoda, by refusing to take Anakin out himself, creates the Empire, Darth Vader, and all the rest, and concludes that because he couldn’t stop it, it is unstoppable. His arrogance is shocking.

Stepping backward, he is also responsible for the creation of Vader because he tells Anakin not to care when people die. This is great advice for a would-be psychopath. In Episode II, he criticizes Obi-Wan for faults more evident in himself than in the younger master (like when he accuses Obi-Wan of arrogance), criticizes Obi-Wan for answering questions Mace Windu put to him, screws up his own dialect a lot, and makes an eerily strange comment about, “Begun the Clone War has,” when he can’t possibly have known it was going to be called the Clone War. That’s like someone seeing Archduke Ferdinand get shot and remarking, “There’s the beginning of World War I!”

He’s intolerable in Episode I, too, in case you were wondering. Affection for Yoda seems to come out of his mismatched speech and meaningless zen statements. His vague empty-headedness is camouflaged by the fact that he never says anything real, and he strikes me as an intense liar. His fight scene in Episode II is embarrassing, as I’ve mentioned before. And the way everyone hypes him up with nothing to back it up is just plain offensive.

Oh, Luke, hold me!!

Oh, Luke, hold me!!

In short, the only reason to endure Yoda’s yammering in the original trilogy is . . . Luke’s biceps. Holy freaking cow.

Favorite Villain

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , on 4 April 2013 by Megan

All right, Star Wars Librarian, let’s not overanalyze this question. It’s tempting, I know. Villainy gets to be one of my favorite subjects, so I sit here and think, “Who’s really villainous? Who’s really evil? Who do I love who is really evil?” I must rein myself in, or never answer the question, and settle frankly on what the creator of the challenge meant by villain — antagonist — and what Star Wars fans and creators alike consider when they think of villain — empire. So even though I do not consider this man villainous, I love him and am satisfied to make him my answer.

Veers

General Maximilian Veers

I love the Empire. I love a man in uniform, and I love Imperial uniforms. General Maximilian Veers is first seen in Empire Strikes Back as the leader of the Imperial forces. He is present on Vader’s command ship, and leads the AT-ATs in the ground assault on Hoth. In many respects, he is quite safe from Vader throughout the film because he is not in control of any situation on board the flagship. A good soldier, he follows orders and tells his superior what he wants to hear — but nevertheless he sounds tense during the Hoth battle because he knows Vader has a sharp temper and is easily displeased even with good news.

Veers-hd

Veers reports to Vader

I have no idea why General Veers is the one who reports to Vader about the fleet coming out of hyperspace. However, you can tell he dislikes and disagrees with Ozzel, and is not much perturbed at his demise.

Veers, portrayed by the handsome Julian Glover (he of the velvet voice), is a very expressive character, and you can tell he is a good military leader. He has a great backstory as well; he rose quickly in the ranks as a young officer, fell in love with a beautiful woman, and had a son (Zevulon) with her before her unexpected death. Devastated by the loss, and not having access to a convent offering the services of flighty would-be nuns for governesses to fall in love with and repair the wounds of broken hearted military men, Veers sent his son to a military school and thrust himself into Imperial service with a vengeance. He invented the AT-AT, as a matter of fact — although I experience disgust with the would-be chronicler who tries to claim he subversively murdered another soldier who pointed out the weakness with the legs — Veers would not commit an honorless murder like that! Get with the program!

Anyway, tragically, his son turned to the rebellion, never appreciated, knew, or loved his father, and pretty much set out to destroy everything he believed in because he felt rebellious. So many people involved in the Rebel Alliance have so much more convoluted or mistrustworthy motives! It just goes to show you that things are not often wholly black or white in a conflict. Yes, okay, Death Star, WMD are evil and a bad idea, but I mean in general, the Empire was just an organization of law more efficient than the Republic had been or could be, and what the Rebellion should’ve focused on was getting a more appropriate leader on the throne. But I guess they all believe the myth that “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” which is just nonsense.

I was talking of Veers. Well, he’s a great man.  I think I have no reason to find conflict with the comic that kills him off six years after ROTJ. He was involved with Thrawn’s alliance, but gets killed in the rising of the Emperor Reborn. A tragic figure, but my favorite Imperial of all time.

(I could not with conscience choose Boba Fett for a “villain” because he just . . . it doesn’t work. I love Boba Fett, too, but he’s just too lawful neutral to even begin to fit in this category.)

Least Favorite Romance

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , on 14 February 2013 by Megan

You should know as I answer this question that I do not like romance. All romance is my least favorite romance. I don’t think I need to tell you that I don’t like the romance between Padmé and Anakin, because I already established that Padmé is my least favorite female character. And knowing how invested people are in this, when I answer today’s question the way I’m about to, you may feel tempted to ask if I have a soul. Well, as far as I know, I do, but it does not care about romance.

A Princess and her Smuggler

A Princess and her Smuggler

Long story dramatically short: Leia does not deserve Han. Their romance is blighted the entire time by the fact that she is a shrill, shrewish, shrieking royal with a silver spoon and an attitude problem. (The post about Padmé was making me feel really warm about her daughter, but I take it all back.)

So Leia is a 22-year-old senator when she meets Han. Like her unknown mother, she has to face the dichotomy of being a royal figure in a democratic universe — a vestigial person striving to prove herself still relevant, a fighter for freedom and the re-institution of a republic who is still universally referred to as “Princess,” even after the planet she was princess of is destroyed and furthermore even after it is revealed she was only ever adopted into that family to begin with. Her strength is mainly absolute bullheadedness, and frankly, she is not good with making decisions.

It’s obvious why she would go after Han (and I do like the adoring look in her eyes in the above picture) — his roguish good looks, mysterious and presumably checkered past, and gruff ways are like lady catnip. However, her pride, upbringing, recent traumas, and natural perverse streak cause her to resist this attraction with every fiber of her being and she insults, snaps at, and derides him the entire time. Luke, despite being her rescuer, is too agreeable. She’s used to people falling at her feet with obedience and agreement to her every thought. She is not used to being challenged. In a nutshell, this is why she falls in love with Han.

Yeah, she's mine, I know it.

Yeah, she’s mine, I know it.

But Han has absolutely no reason to fall in love with her. Days before meeting her shrieking ungrateful worshipfulness, he received the heartbreaking news that his first love, Bria, the first woman to ever gracelessly abandon him, was killed by the Empire. Again, Leia derides, disagrees with, and demeans him at every available opportunity; now, this doesn’t have an effect on Han because he’s heard it all. But there’s no reason for it to attract him, either. And while Leia has an uncanny ability to have utterly pristine makeup whether she’s being tortured by Imperial agents or grubbing about on a backwater planet, she’s not a great beauty. She’s neither a bimbo nor a genius; she is also neither his match, nor a challenge, nor his opposite. Leia has an all-consuming passion for politics, government, espionage, and warfare. In other words, Leia’s chief appeal seems to be availability.

Mmm, you're so . . . available.

Mmm, you’re so . . . available.

So apart from the fact that I can’t see why Han falls for her — and Han is the girl at the beginning of ESB, hurt because Leia (acting the part of the man) refuses to acknowledge his feelings for her or express any in return. He’s hurt, angry, and tries to provoke a confession of attraction, and he leaves in a fury when Leia hotly denies any interest in him whatsoever. But apart from not being able to see why Han falls for her, I have to say that frankly Leia doesn’t deserve him. This is not hugely apparent in the films, though traces of Leia’s selfishness, fitful changeability, and bad temper are seen throughout. It becomes undeniable in the EU.

Leia spends four years refusing to marry him and comes shockingly close to marrying a stranger for political benefits. Han actually kidnaps her in order to press her into marriage. Over and over again, Han is the girl in this relationship. Leia wears the trousers. He  begs for marriage and she demurs. She betrays him by accepting a stranger’s marriage proposal, doesn’t even tell Han about it, and then is bemused that he isn’t willing to accept the situation. In every case, the Republic comes before him, before her family, before anything. She tells Han to sit and he sits; she teases him, puts him off, puts him on, runs hot and cold, and in all other ways is a maddening example of a girlfriend from hell. Luke and Han may be as close as brothers, but Leia is an absolute bitch.

The little possessive snuggle he gives her at the end is cute though.

The little possessive snuggle he gives her at the end is cute though.

Although I have no idea why Han would love her, it’s impossible to miss how genuine his affection is. He loves her and is so relieved to have her, despite how badly she treats him. I know they’re considered the poster children of scifi romance, but it’s just not there.

Tauntauns

Posted in Questions with tags , , , , on 20 April 2011 by Megan

What is the average weight of a tauntaun and in which season do they prefer to mate? — Jesse

Taun tauns in the wild

Tauntauns from the Field Guide

Tauntauns, a semi-reptilian mammal,  are one of the few lifeforms living on the frozen planet of Hoth. While there are several different species of tauntaun, the one seen in the film  is a giant common tauntaun. These are typically 8’2″ tall and about fifteen feet long. Their internal organs are protected by a thick layer of blubber and thick white or gray fur. While none of the sources I have on hand speculate on weight, it seems safe to assume they are well over 3,000 lbs.

Hoth does not actually have seasons, per se, but tauntauns can have up to two young at a time twice in the Hoth year. Their young are born live, and while the female tauntauns do not have mammary glands, they can provide a milky sustenance from their crops for the newborns.

You can read more about tauntauns in The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide (ISBN 9780811828697), pp. 46-9. It is possible that more of the specific information you’re looking for could be mentioned here — though I would not guarantee it.