Archive for Jedi

Favorite Yoda Quotation

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , on 10 July 2014 by Megan

I don’t think I can do this. Yoda is not my favorite zombified toad — he taints everything he comes in contact with. Sort of like Thomas Jefferson, he’s a hypocritical old bat with a few highly quotable catchphrases. People get caught up on the Yoda train without thinking about it: he’s cast as the wise mentor, Obi-Wan bounces out a recommendation his way, and our minds (trained by generations of fairytales) accept him in spite of the fact that he never demonstrates the wisdom that we supposedly admire him for.

An entire generation misled

An entire generation misled

In the prequels, Yoda is like the worst boss ever. It’s not noticeable in Episode I because he doesn’t do much at all, but in Episode II, he twice goads Obi-Wan into speaking before promptly rebuking him saying anything! He would have done well to take his own advice about the trap of arrogance, because in Episode III, after encouraging Anakin not to care when others die, he insists on keeping the more glorious mission to himself. Even though Obi-Wan is better matched against Palpatine and Yoda could kill Anakin in a heartbeat — Anakin, whom Obi-Wan is incapable of killing — Yoda insists on going against the Emperor himself. When he fails, he arrogantly decides that killing the Emperor is impossible, dusts the fate of the galaxy off his hands, and hops on the speed train to exile. This in spite of the fact that there is no conceivable reason why Obi-Wan couldn’t make another attempt himself, thus preventing Palpatine from saving Anakin in the first place!

(Also — not really against Yoda, but it drives me nuts at the end of E2 when he mutters, “Begun the Clone War has.” How can he possibly know the name of the war? This is like English Prime Minister Lloyd George reading about Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination and saying, “I guess that’s the start of World War I!”)

In the trilogy, Yoda is at his most tolerable in Empire as he amusingly harasses Luke. However, everything he does in that movie is pointless and dumb. I know, I thought it was mystical and cool, too, until I really thought about it. He wastes Luke’s time for about a week, berating him for not being able to use the Force to lift an X-wing fighter out of the swamp after a mere couple days’ training, and continually throwing his faults and failures back at him. I know I learn best when constantly being rubbed with, “Hey, remember how you didn’t do that right? Remember how you did it WRONG?” He even tries to recreate Vader by telling Luke he should sacrifice the lives of his friends for the sake of his training.

No, shut up, or shut up!

No, shut up, or shut up!

The famous

Do or do not. There is no try

is probably the most-quoted line from Star Wars, and probably what the majority of people answer this question with. But this line has troubled me since day one.

First of all, I know this looks good on a bumper sticker, but there’s a reason we say “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Repeated efforts increase the chance of success. If Yoda had simply answered “Okay” to Luke’s “I’ll give it a try,” Luke would have continued working at lifting the ship until he did it. But because Yoda said you can only succeed or fail, Luke couldn’t do it on the first try and opted for failure. Yoda then berates him and shows him up, resulting in obvious discouragement and huge setbacks in his training. Imagine if this is how your parents taught you to tie your shoes! This is a terrible way to teach anybody to do anything. (Honestly I think Yoda was less trying to produce a new line of Jedi and more trying to set Luke up for ultimate failure in order to prove that if he couldn’t defeat Palpatine, nobody could.)

Secondly, I proved in my high school logic class that this statement is itself a logical fallacy. I actually took this quote and used it as the basis of my final paper. I don’t have the paper anymore, or I’d quote it. Suffice it to say, it’s a fallacy.

I’m sorry, I tried to think of any line from him that could qualify as a favorite, but he just made me so mad, I can’t do it. See also: A Character Everybody Else Loves That You Hate.

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Favorite E1 Moment

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , on 1 May 2014 by Megan

I know people hate Jar Jar Binks. If it’s one thing practically everyone in the universe knows, it’s that practically everyone in the universe hates Jar Jar Binks.

Why so much hate?

Why so much hate?

He’s not my favorite character, by any means whatsoever, but I think it’s unfair that he’s been made the entire scapegoat of why “everyone” hates a movie they were going to hate from the word go for the same reason they were going to hate ROTJ no matter what — the delivery did not live up to the expectation. Should George Lucas have bought into the idiotic notion that Star Wars was a kids movie and therefore construct a film for 7-year-olds? No. He should have understood that his primary demographic was far closer to 27 than 7 and given us a buddy Jedi (in the buddy cop vein) of Anakin and Obi-Wan kicking ass and taking names.

But all of that aside, Jar Jar Binks is neither the worst nor the best character in the prequels, and certainly not the most embarrassing. Ahmed Best didn’t deserve what he got from the movie at all. And my favorite moment in Episode I (not to be confused with the funniest) also happens to be the first clip I ever saw.

obi40-f

Oh, hey guys.

I was 14 and I watched all the news religiously in order to hear reports on Episode I and see bits. And one morning (May 13, 1999), George Lucas was interviewed on NBC and they showed this clip from Episode I — Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Jar Jar meeting in the swamp on Naboo.

If they find us, they will crush us, grind us into tiny pieces, and blast us into oblivion.

Honestly I love this scene from the moment Qui-Gon snaps, “You almost got us killed! Are you brainless?” all the way up to where Jar Jar spins around, forcing Obi-Wan to duck his flying ears. I’ve been charmed by this scene since day one, and it never ceases to be funny.

Neither Obi-Wan nor Qui-Gon behave in a very appropriate manor for a couple of monks. They are short-tempered, demanding, and bully a stranger — clearly some kind of mentally handicapped young person — into taking them to his people’s hidden underwater city, knowing full well that he faces execution for doing so. It’s only after Qui-Gon’s conscience smites him that he asks about Jar Jar’s fate and, with much protest from Obi-Wan, brings him along to save his life. They take what they want until they get to the capital city. All of this actually falls in line very neatly with how Jedi are known to behave — ends justifying the means, absolute selfishness, etc. etc. — and even the two best Jedi the Order has ever known fall into that trap.

And, come on, Obi-Wan has to duck so Jar Jar’s ears don’t hit him! He has to duck! Ah, ha ha ha, I can’t get over that. He ducks! Oh, I love it. I have to go watch this movie. Bye.

It Makes Me Angry

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , on 17 April 2014 by Megan

A scene that makes me sad or angry — when I’ve already told you the Saddest Moment and What I Wish Didn’t Happen. And yet in the latter of those posts, I didn’t go into much detail about the E2 Atrocities, so allow me to delve! There’s only one moment in Star Wars that made me cry. However, there’s a couple that infuriate me every time I think of them . . .

These scenes are all prequel fight scenes, and most specifically those featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi. This was a problem that didn’t exist in the OT; Lucas only had two people — a good guy and a bad guy — who could use a lightsaber at all, so the fights were very straightforward. In fact, given that one duelist was old, the other had his limbs roasted off in lava, and the third was an untrained kid, these fights aren’t the eye candy they could be.

Lacking eye candy in more ways than one.

Lacking eye candy in more ways than one.

But then the prequels! For the first time, we get to see Jedi in their prime. But here’s the problem — Jedi don’t go anywhere alone. There’s always two of them. Now, a duel with three combatants is even more awesome than one with two, so that’s not hard. But what Lucas becomes utterly incompetent about is when he wants to “showcase” two of them at a time — which requires knocking the odd wheel out. And every single time, it’s Obi-Wan getting taken out like an absolute chump.

Seriously, how many times can you get kicked and not bleed?

Seriously, how many times can you get kicked and not bleed?

In Episode I, that’s all right. Obi-Wan’s a student. He and Maul are both in their physical prime, but they’re still apprentices, and it’s reasonable enough that the hotter (in more ways than one) fighter gets pushed out of the battle.

Evidenced by how hard it is to find pics of this

Evidenced by how hard it is to find pics of this

However, when this happens in Episode II, it’s flat out disgusting. Lucas wanted two things: a confrontation over blades between Anakin and Dooku, and a chance to use newfound technology to make the “wars not make one great” muppet a warrior. So once again, Obi-Wan gets kicked out of the fight. Like a puppet with its strings cut, he is completely flattened by two minor burns and is reduced to lying on the ground helplessly throwing his saber to Anakin. Anakin, by the way, who has never been an object of fantastic swordsmanship in the canon, only a brilliant pilot. Obi-Wan is far too good a Jedi to be taken in by Dooku’s mad baiting: “You disappoint me! I thought you would be better!” But Lucas needed Obi-Wan to move over. He  is supposed to be the master duelist but he spends more time on his back in Episode II than Ewan McGregor’s other movies combined (there’s a joke about his infamous sex scenes in there…).

Old habits, amiright?

Old habits, amiright?

And then the Yoda fight. What can I say? It’s sick. If I accidentally see any of it, it infuriates me to the point of nausea. It is idiotic and pointless. It’s out of character, looks foolish, and makes no sense in the arc of the story. And Obi-Wan suddenly can’t even use the Force to keep a pillar from landing on them — Yoda has to “interrupt” his fighting to do so — which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I always fast-forward this scene. When E2 was in theaters, I used to get up and stand in the lobby while it was going on. If it ever comes out in 3D (SCREW YOU GEORGE) I’ll do the same. It’s not hyperbole to call it disgusting; it fills me with overwhelming disgust.

Not lame at all...

Not lame at all…

High hopes for Episode III notwithstanding, the first thing Lucas does is have his Jedi General, this ultimate warrior do is get Force-choked, knocked down some stairs, and unrealistically squished under a fallen balcony. Seriously, the shot clearly shows him getting a broken femur, the way his leg collapses under that thing. And all this so Anakin and Dooku can exchange a few threatening words, and then have no one around to stop Anakin from killing him. There were so many other ways to handle this. Like having Obi-Wan send Anakin in after the chancellor alone while he goes to help another Jedi, perhaps?

Yes, Obi-Wan gets a brilliant fight with Grevious, and I’ll talk about that in upcoming weeks, but even skipping the slightly disturbing fact that Obi-Wan gets kicked over a ledge there too — ledges are obviously his kryptonite — that fight is totally incongruous with his fighting seen up to that point.

Let's face it, this is AWESOME

Let’s face it, this is AWESOME

Lucas wanted a brilliant duelist . . . but the brilliancy of his dueling was getting in the way of cheap story points the man was determined to crowbar in. All of this leads to the inevitable conclusion that, had the Hutt with the Death Star-sized ego been willing to let the PT be as collaborative an effort as the OT was, these later movies might have been just as awesome. Instead, however much I love these movies, however high their highs and scintillating their special effects, they remain the stiff efforts of a movie maker well past his prime and motivated by money more than the story he used to want to tell.

I have a fantasy where, in another parallel universe, Lucas didn’t try to make the PT into a one-man show. In this fantasy, they are collaborative as the originals were. As writing prep, Lucas sat down and watched the OT back to back and wrote down every potential inter-reference. Gore Verbinski directed Episode I to critical acclaim, Baz Luhrman brought Episode II to its full potential, and Christopher Nolan made Episode III gleam darkly. The special effects are eye-popping, but not expected to carry the entire show because the actors themselves — with appropriate feedback and directorial support — do what actors do best. And in those fights, those amazing, breathtaking fights, Obi-Wan doesn’t get taken out like a chump within 34 seconds every time just because Lucas wants someone to say a dumb line.

In some cases, this improves the dialogue

In some cases, this improves the dialogue

Favorite Battle

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , on 20 March 2014 by Megan

It is Star Wars, after all! Where are the wars? If you’re bored with me answering Return of the Jedi to every question, well, you might as well pack it in now and go home without reading the rest of this, because my favorite battle is the Battle of Endor!

Raise your saber if you're surprised!

Raise your saber if you’re surprised!

See, as I’m sure I’ve made clear, A New Hope has just never done it for me. It’s consistently been at the bottom of my preferred SW movies, and if you tempt me, I can give you a lengthy treatise on its general weakness and other et ceteras. I will concede, though, that recently the Battle of Yavin has been climbing in my estimation. Yavin is one of my favorite systems, and ever since Fanboys pointed out that “the greatest thing Luke Skywalker ever did was take down the Death Star — and that’s all you’ve got to do, just find your Death Star,” I’ve been more attracted to the whole thing. I got cold chills when I listened to it the last few times on the radio drama, even.

But, it’s not favorite material. It’s just honorable mention material. Favorite is and always will be the Battle of Endor, which is the reason I love Star Wars in the first place.

Here’s what we’ve got. The Battle of Yavin consists of three threads, plaited skillfully into an ultimate climax that is able to touch on, echo, or tie off themes and concepts throughout the entire saga. First, there’s the fleet.

Space battles: the nougat of SciFi

Space battles: the nougat of SciFi

It’s all come down to this. The rebel administration have been trying for decades to bring the Emperor down (ignorant of the fact that a little green toad prevented them from nipping the Empire off in the bud at its inception!) — they’ve had a few successes since the dissolution of the Senate, increasing sympathy throughout star systems, and they’ve also managed to build up a respectable fleet. It’s now an echo of their first major victory three years previous, another Death Star, but the stakes are even higher. The Emperor himself is overseeing the final stages of construction, which means that if they can repeat their feat of total destruction of the planet killer, they can defeat the Empire!

(Because there is no contingency plan for Imperial rule once the Emperor is dead. Because it’s not suspicious at all that the Empire allowed its super secret plans to leak, allowing the rebels to find an even more convenient self-destruct button than the last one. Because the Emperor sitting on this half-completed and relatively unprotected planet destroyer isn’t a bit of juicy live bait. You know, I think Ackbar could’ve squealed, “It’s a trap!” pretty much right after the rebel briefing started . . .)

But the point is that everything rides on this final battle! And with the unexpected functionality of the Death Star, it’s even more dire. Good thing the Emperor is too hyper-focused on his project of replacing his worn-out apprentice for the newer model, because otherwise he might’ve focused on his military strategy for two seconds and simply blown up the moon as soon as the prime weapon was functional! (SWL, stop poking holes in Imperial strategy!! Well! It’s not my fault!)

Then we’ve got the “pitiful little band” on the Sanctuary Moon.

Sneaky rebel scum

Sneaky rebel scum

This intrepid crew was sent down to knock out the power generator that keeps the Death Star II shielded. Without that shield, they can get in and take out the main reactor, oddly built even more exposed than on the previous model. (Perhaps the completed Death Star II would’ve been more protected?) Han leads them through the forests of this alien moon and, while they pick up some diminutive allies, they also find themselves confronting a huge threat by way of an entire legion of his majesty’s best troops. If they fail, the fleet fails. The Galaxy falls.

And finally, the irresistible chocolate ganache on the franchise, the Showdown in the Emperor’s Throne Room!

CLASH

CLASH

Now, the other two battle scenes rely heavily on each other. If Han’s commandos fail, the fleet fails and all is lost. But what happens if Luke loses? Well, then all is lost again. Because if Luke loses and turns to the dark side, he will become the most powerful enemy the Alliance can face. You know how Vader’s always going on about how the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force? I bet Luke could pull a Professor X and kill every enemy of the Emperor’s with his mind, he’d be that powerful.

But this is where the whole series has been going, the whole time. Luke and Vader — Yoda wanted Luke to crush Vader, but Luke wanted to redeem him. Luke isn’t a Jedi, he’s a son, a son who believes no one is truly lost. And while he walks along the slippery abyss to the dark side, he embraces his father’s legacy of light at the end. When he says “I am a Jedi like my father before me,” he holds out the hand of redemption to Anakin, who realizes (unlike Marlowe’s Faust) that he is not required to let the demons take him to hell. He can seize heaven in the last minutes of his life.

It’s probable that if Luke didn’t win — if Vader didn’t destroy the Emperor — that no amount of reactor core smashing would have destroyed the Death Star or saved the Alliance. (Remember all that “the Force is so much more powerful than blowing up planets”? The Emperor’s got to be good for something! He was so powerful, he made a Dark Side explosion happen at his death!)

So you see, all the parts are neatly connected and woven together. And the good guys win, and the bad guy is dead, and the other bad guy is a good guy, and all the neutral guys somehow end up losing and acquiescing the Empire because there’s no contingency in place for “death of the commander in chief” . . . okay, I won’t pursue that line.

Instead, why don’t you go read my post about Vader’s final moments, just to conclude all this neatly?

Favorite Jedi

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , on 30 January 2014 by Megan

Last week I told you about how much I love the Empire. While this doesn’t necessarily mean I would hate the Jedi, unfortunately, the Jedi have very little to recommend themselves. Back in the day, sure, they were a wholesome organization, but like the Republic, the Order grew musty and stale and ineffective. The bureaucratic council, ineffectively led by a couple of “lifers” who let egotism get in the way of the Jedi mission, pretty much bogs them down into uselessness. Yoda, the most venerated Jedi ever, is short-tempered, derisive of his pupils, and allows Palpatine to take control out of sheer stubborn pride. But the Order is more than just the sum of its parts, and some of those parts are awesome. Yes, Qui-Gon Jinn is my favorite male character, but if we’re narrowing the field to Jedi . . .

Young Obi-Wan

Young Obi-Wan

Not only is Obi-Wan my favorite Jedi, he was arguably the greatest Jedi in the order. Matthew Stover has some pretty cheap prose, but he hits on Obi-Wan’s personality very neatly in the novelization of Episode III — a warrior who hates to fight, an expert pilot who doesn’t like flying — he is attuned to the Force, the right mix of politic and stubborn. Truly greater than all his teachers combined, all of his experiences have led to him becoming the real last of the Jedi.

Obi-Wan was nowhere near being a favorite of mine until I started reading the Jedi Apprentice series. Now, these are heavily formulaic kids’ books (how formulaic? In each book, Obi-Wan loses his lightsaber and Qui-Gon hurts his shoulder), but the events they cover are canonical enough. He started off as a 13-year-old approaching the cut off date for apprenticeship. Qui-Gon, deeply burned by his last apprentice who went dark, is extremely reluctant to train anybody, but gradually he and Obi-Wan form a tight bond, very father-son. (I can give you conspiracy theories where Qui-Gon is Obi-Wan’s father. Seriously, two names of that formula, and they’re not related? *eyebrow*)

By Episode I, he’s clearly late for his knighthood, almost as if Qui-Gon is stalling for some reason. (Yes, late: he’s 25, but Anakin is champing at the bit to be made master when he’s 22? Anakin’s no prodigy. Even using SWL’s Expanded Fix-It-All Timeline™, Anakin’s 25 in E3 and there’s no reason Obi-Wan should be blasé about continuing as a Padawan at 25 where Anakin is literally hysterical at not being made a master.) He demonstrates stubbornness, some headstrong impatience, but mostly, Obi-Wan shows his trademark clear logic and intelligent strategy at a situation. He gives in to his anger to slaughter Maul, but I’m not convinced that’s truly “dark side.” Another story for another day.

I can't find my hairdresser's

I can’t find my hairdresser’s

13 years later (as per SWLEFIATL™), Obi-Wan is a mature Jedi master with a “big Jedi mullet,” as Ewan would say. Working on his own more while his Padawan plays husband-and-wife games with his protection detail, Obi-Wan spends less time fighting and more time trying to analyze what is going on behind the situation. When confronted with Dooku, for example, you can almost see the gears working in his mind. The disappointments of E2 are so truly disappointing because it was worked up to be quite a decent mystery, but the lack of round ups in E3 really killed the whole thing. You can see how attuned to the Force his by how he jumps out the window to catch the tracker droid, but George Lucas’ fan-wank insistence on having Yoda fight really destroyed any chance of Obi-Wan’s sword skills coming into play. Sadness.

Mature master

Mature master

And now the galaxy has fallen into civil war. Obi-Wan, a mature master at 41 years of age, has become a general, though once again most of his fighting genius takes place off screen and Lucas’ inconvenient plot has him impotently falling over in the first duel so Anakin can dispatch Dooku unchallenged. But that’s not the point. The point is Obi-Wan is one bad . . . What? Just talking about Obi-Wan!

Ewan even gets to bring some of his proper acting skill to light in his “You were my brother!” speech at the end. If that doesn’t make you cry . . . ! I’ve analyzed this deeply over the years and found that 1) Anakin never escaped the slave mindset of wanting someone to command him. Palpatine commanded him, therefore Palpatine got his loyalty. 2) Obi-Wan “failed” Anakin in that he never realized Anakin was looking for a superior. Anakin says Obi-Wan is like a father to him, but Obi-Wan thinks of him as a brother. This unequal relationship never gives Anakin the grounding he needs to break the dark lord’s grip.

Still, how about that lava battle! And while some could identify a weakness in Obi-Wan’s reasoning for walking away and leaving Anakin to certainly die in far more agony than if he just killed him, I think there’s a strong case that it makes sense for him. Particularly if Obi-Wan found out that Padmé was cheating on him with Anakin, whom she secretly married. Oh, yeah, that’s right — I have a conspiracy theory that suggests Luke is actually Obi-Wan’s son and that’s why he slips off to Tatooine to raise him.

Like father, like son?

Like father, like son?

Nothing about Alec Guinness recommended me to Obi-Wan, though after the prequels I have a stronger respect for his ability to portray genuine emotional responses to a then-unknown backstory. Ewan McGregor was a brilliant choice because he is able to seamlessly suggest these two performances are the same person. As the mythological staple, the wise old mentor, Obi-Wan sets the new hero on the path to redeem the one his fallen father attempted.

One of those blue ghosts!

One of those blue ghosts!

And I like Hayden Christensen as the ghost, so sue me! Anyway, that’s my love of Obi-Wan. His whole life, dedicated to the Jedi, but beyond that, to the good of the Republic which he served. Misguided at times, but always sincere, Obi-Wan is my darling.

Favorite Climax

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

Weird question. But I have an answer, and it doesn’t even involve Return of the Jedi!

Come on, admit it, you can hear the soundtrack!

Come on, admit it, you can hear the soundtrack!

I mean, come on. As most of the internet seemed to agree as I was searching for images for this, no matter what your opinion is of the prequels, you have to agree that this is epic. One of the reasons this is one of my favorites is I had looked forward to it for so long: I remember borrowing a “Star Wars Scrapbook” from my Star Wars friend when I was about 13 and discovering that Darth Vader’s suit was necessitated by his falling into lava during his and Obi-Wan’s final climactic showdown. And at that moment, even though Obi-Wan was just this boring old guy and Vader was Vader, I wanted to see that fight.

May 19, 2005, a day I waited for for six years, was full of disappointments just like every other day of a person’s life, and the higher the anticipation, the greater the need to not have disappointments, the more disappointments flock in. This is so true that when the film broke just as it was about to start, I almost started laughing in the theater. Yes, no joke: two theaters, midnight showing, rabid Star Wars fans, movie anticipated for minimum six years, and the film broke just as it started. I kept quoting the line from Galaxy Quest, “I mean, this is unreal! They’re going to start eating each other out there!”

Anyway, as we got close to 3 AM, as the camera swept in to Mustafer, I began easing closer and closer to the edge of my seat. This was it. This was the moment I had wanted to see since I was thirteen. I had imaged it,  pictured it, satirized it: the fight over lava. And it was an entire planet (moon) of lava! Awesome! “You will try,” Anakin intoned like a death demon,  and suddenly the soundtrack burst into life. To this day, “Anakin vs. Obi-Wan” is my favorite track on a soundtrack, ever. It’s just thrilling. And the fight was thrilling.

That was one thing that did not disappoint me that night. The lightsaber duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan was exactly how I had imagined it. (Even, frighteningly enough, including a sequence of rope-swinging, which I had put into a song parody about the fight two years before.) And that crash of sabers in front of the volcanic geyser — I’m almost convinced that’s exactly what I saw in my mind’s eye the first time I read about their final confrontation. Obi-Wan’s final monologue and picking up of Anakin’s saber just completes it. This is a fight I can never watch without my pulse racing, without leaning closer to the screen. Which makes it all the more irritating how they spliced in fights of Palpatine and gross Yoda fighting! So enjoy this masterful YouTube cut that has the entire Obi-Wan/Anakin scene without any green trolls to bother you.

Favorite Non-Human Female

Posted in Spotlight with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 10 March 2013 by Megan
Something called "C-level canon"

Something called “C-level canon”

This post was ridiculously hard to accomplish; I’ve been agonizing about this for days, which was weird because I was positive with all the scifi and stuff that I’m in to, the nonhuman character question would be the easiest. Then I realized every nonhuman I like is male. Pickings were slim and I nearly gave up altogether, and then I realized that Aayla Secura didn’t need more than her few seconds of screen time in two movies to count — I’ve been crazy about her for years!

Here’s the thing. I love Twi’leks. Twi’leks — their name comes from their twin lekku, or head-tails — are beautiful and fascinating and pretty. They hale from the planet Ryloth, and are memorable to most people because of Jabba’s dancers in Return of the Jedi. Now, if you haven’t heard me describe Star Wars as a “coloring book” before, you haven’t heard me discuss why Star Wars is like a coloring book. Lucas made six movies that give you the outlines of a battle against good and evil, the rise and fall and redemption of a slave boy, the end and beginning of a noble bunch of peacekeepers with light swords. He’s not much a one for character development, backstory, timelining, or any of those tedious little details that could really give the saga depth and meaning, and that’s where the very unique aspect of Star Wars comes to light — it’s boldly left up to each fan to fill in the lines using whatever he deems best. Maybe you want to use crayons, maybe she wants to use oil colors, maybe he wants to use wads of used gum. The great thing is that this is all okay because Lucas never put in enough of his own information to prevent fans from making it any color they want. So, like with all things Star Wars, I have elaborately fleshed out Ryloth and the Twi’leks according to my own imagination and logic, and done, I think, a considerably better job than the published EU writers, who are typically focused on one thing: “Heh, heh . . . boobs.”

It is hardly my fault women have boobs and this is a women-based challenge

It is hardly my fault women have boobs and this is a women-based challenge

So here’s the low-down on Aayla Secura, my favorite non-human character. She is also a type of character, which is why I paused to emphasize my love of Twi’leks. There’s very little to be known about Aayla Secura, but a lot to be inferred: she appears on screen in two scenes in Attack of the Clones — she is in the background as Obi-Wan goes to ask Yoda about the missing planet in the Jedi Archives, and again during the battle on Geonosis — and her death is seen in Revenge of the Sith on the planet Feluca. So she is a Jedi, one of the ones brought by Yoda to rescue Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Senator Amidala on Geonosis; she later fights in the Clone Wars and is stationed on the planet Feluca, where her clone troops turn on her and kill her. Really, not much more to know than that. Her death scene is a little weird, but then, all of them are . . . for example, how can Yoda on Kashyyk sense what’s happening to Jedi all over the galaxy, when the Jedi can’t sense the intent of their clone troops who are literally about to pull the trigger on them? Makes me think the Grand Egotist (Yoda) was doing a little long-distance brain-fuzzing.

Anyhow, while it’s not unusual for me to pick random background characters and obsess over them, how did an obscure blue Twi’lek with only a few seconds on screen manage to get a name, an action figure, and such a following? You might as well know there are lots of comic books about her. I don’t comic book. (I also don’t idiotic-cartoons-based-on-cinema-classics.) But she did come from the comic books. In fact, Jon Foster’s cover art painting of her was what caught George Lucas’ attention, so that he asked for her to be included in two of the films.

The painting that started it

The painting that started it

Actually I don’t see anything appealing about that picture at all and her head-tails make no sense. (I’m sure it annoys people how I take over at Star Wars and act like nobody else has any good thoughts about it except for myself, but the fact of the matter is, no one else will approach it with a modicum of logic!! They are thicker and more muscled than her arms! How does that make sense? And the shape has nothing to do with the established shape of lekku! Also, her left arm is gross.)

But I’ve had a background fixation on Aayla Secura since just before E2 came out, and I was one of the ones eagerly awaiting the release of the action figure. While it’s disappointing she still has to prance around in various stages of undress — what, is it illegal for female Twi’leks to wear clothes — it is nice to see a capable warrior female Jedi who is also a Twi’lek. (Soap box time! It’s not that the Empire was ever anti-nonhuman — another thing that makes absolutely no sense in an ancient universe where humans are freely mingled with nonhumans on every planet — but it’s that the 80s and 90s Star Wars authors themselves couldn’t cope with the not-human, and their own specisism colored what they wrote and created layers upon layers of nonsensical behavior that I have to compensate for! What am I, the only person who can think? Bah!)

So that’s why I like her and stuff. Twi’leks are cool.

She will mess you up.

She will mess you up.

Day 19: Favorite Non-Human Female Character via Hundredaire Socialite.