Archive for Obi-Wan Kenobi

Prequel Appreciation Week

Posted in Opinion, Questions with tags , , , , , , on 1 August 2015 by Megan

Turns out somebody out there decided to have a Prequel Appreciation Week! I found out via somebody in “the” Star Wars group, and with a bit of searching found the information from the friends over at SWPAS. The original idea, though, belongs to this Tumblr, and you’ll be able to find more posts and, as Tumblr-always, gifs by checking them out.

This sounded like something I should seriously get in on and do, so here we go, amid all the new construction sawdust etc., it’s time to talk Prequels!

Day 1 of the Prequel Appreciation Week. Your favorite prequels actor.

All too easy, as Darth Vader once said.

There is almost no other way to answer this question than by saying Ewan McGregor. In many respects, Ewan McGregor made the Prequel Trilogy.


I mean, yeah, the first time I saw the Episode I poster, I didn’t care about Obi-Wan. I didn’t like Ben Kenobi, and didn’t care about who he was going to be in the movies. He was the guy who ruined Vader and who was old and annoying — “Where did you dig up that old fossil?” So all I cared about as Episode I rolled around was Qui-Gon. Man, that guy looked cool!

I don’t remember when exactly I first noticed that young Obi-Wan was hot. I was 14, so it probably didn’t take long. It did take me a long time to think Ewan was hot in non-Obi-Wan roles, and I signed a petition in 2000 begging George Lucas to put off the beard until distant “Episode III.”

But as it gets toward 17 years since I first watched The Phantom Menace, as I mature and my relationship with Star Wars matures, . . . oh, do I see stuff in his performance that justifies my opinion that Ewan makes the prequel trilogy worth watching.

He isn’t given much to work with in Episode I, I’ll grant you that. I remember a ’99 interview where he said he just stands around and scowls. But Ewan still manages to express Obi-Wan’s fundamental personality, the dazzling skills and rule-bound hesitations of a man destined to become one of the Order’s greatest generals.

Hey, old buddy!

Like everything else in the Prequel Trilogy, Obi-Wan gets the short stick in Attack of the Clones, and some of his best moments are in Revenge of the Sith. Pause for a shout-out to my beloved Dex and the Dex’s diner scene — Obi-Wan is a man who cultivates relationships, friendships, and allies anywhere and everywhere, because you never know. Surely this is something he learned from his master, whose unusual liaisons  throughout the Jedi Apprentice books showed Obi-Wan that support could always be found somewhere outside the Temple if not in it.


But for emotional roller coasting, Ewan gets the full gamut in E3, from pride to disappointment, shock and betrayal, self-assurance, victory and defeat. It’s all in there. If “You were the chosen one!” doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, you might not be human. And if I’m being honest, it was Ewan’s performance in Revenge of the Sith that finally made me enjoy A New Hope. He flawlessly channeled Alec Guinness and made a character I never cared much about (cf.) into someone I’m essentially in love with.


There is no disconnect whatsoever, I really believe the guy in Episode I is the same as the guy in Episode IV, and no matter how frustrating, no matter what shortcomings, that’s pure acting genius right there. Ewan McGregor  has it. And holds it. He’s the man.

Favorite Obi-Wan Quotation

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , on 3 July 2014 by Megan

Two of my all-time favorite quotations come from Obi-Wan (seen here), so I’m really working to avoid redundancy. I really love both of those lines.

I'd much rather dream about Ewan

I’d much rather dream about Ewan

Well, that’s a nice face for inspiration. When I first saw this question in the challenge, I had a brief but dim hope I might find an OT quot of his I like. But after realizing just how much I dislike old Ben, I knew that was never going to happen. Since I gave him a quot from E2 and E3 already, fairness should have me pick one from E1 — but surprisingly, one line did pop into my head here and keeps going around.

The sober Jedi master

The sober Jedi master

Dreams pass in time.

There’s something vaguely annoying about this line. Like the serenity is forced. Or it’s a brush off. But at the same time, I’ve always been drawn to this line.

Ewan said in an interview that George Lucas told him he was very Alec Guinness with that line. And there is a certain depth to it, where Obi-Wan is trying to offer his Padawan something, but Anakin’s problem is so far beyond the league of anything Obi-Wan has ever had to deal with that he can only offer this bit of Jedi insight. Anakin prefers to change the subject. And really, that’s the best his master can give him? The tautology that eventually he won’t have the dream because he’ll stop having the dream?

But there’s more to this fraction of a haiku than initially meets the ear. Ignoring the fact that these guys are tuned into an energy field connecting all life in the galaxy into a single organism, which means they should have trotted out to Tatooine as soon as Anakin started having extremely detailed visions about his mother’s death. Skipping that mumbo jumbo entirely and focusing on the truth of it — it’s one of those statements like This too shall pass, a statement that can’t be wrong.

One more for good measure

One more for good measure

You could also start thinking of dreams in their metaphorical sense, not the merely literal — Anakin told Qui-Gon he dreamed of being a Jedi who came back to free all the slaves. We all have aspirations of one sort or another, toward greatness of one definition or another. (Even the humblest life’s dream can be great to the one dreaming it.)

I know the kneejerk response when someone says “you’ll stop wanting it eventually” is to be defensive or depressed. After all, the only acceptable way to stop wanting something is to get it, so you don’t need to want it anymore. But this is myopic.

A New Hope focuses a lot on dreams, I came to notice as I listened to the radio drama. “You can’t begrudge him his dreams!” Aunt Beru flares at Owen. Luke’s dream was to go to the Imperial Academy and become a pilot — that dream was replaced by the dream to see his father avenged by killing Darth Vader, and that dream also passed when he began to dream of seeing his father, Vader, redeemed. At the end of the trilogy looking back, do you think even the slightest part of Luke wishes he hadn’t given up becoming an Academy-certified pilot? Of course not.

My own dreams have been on a roller coaster for the better part of a decade. And for awhile there, I was getting fairly apathetic about wanting anything, about dreaming anything at all because the more I wanted something, the more likely I was not to get it. First I wanted to be a novelist; then I wanted to be an English professor; then I wanted to go to school in Scotland; then I wanted to not be alive anymore; then I wanted to be a library director. Now I’m a cataloger. I’m dreaming of going to Washington DC now; although I feel I have only a slim chance, my sister observed to me that it’s not a one shot deal. If I don’t get it this time, I try again. Dreams pass in time, but they don’t leave a void behind them. They’re like hermit crab shells — as you grow, you get new dreams that better accommodate your maturing self.

Except if your dream is that your mother is getting tortured to death by a savage tribe on a remote desert planet — maybe don’t wait for that dream to pass. Maybe go ahead and call her right now and make sure she’s all right.

Dislikeable Character

Posted in Challenges with tags , , on 19 June 2014 by Megan

We all know dislike is my stock and trade. At least we should know, after my explanations about hating Yoda, Mace Windu, and Padmé. Disliking a character isn’t really the same as hating one, though. I’d like to focus on the OT for this one, because I don’t want to make it sound like I direct an inordinate amount of dislike the PT’s way, so let me think about this.

There are three characters in the Original Trilogy whom I rather dislike. And I’m not talking about characters you’re not supposed to like, like random Imperials or Darth Vader, and I’m not talking about spit minor people, either, like the woman who coughs in the Hoth sequence of Empire Strikes Back. (Actually I know her name and life story but that’s not the present issue.)

I have never particularly liked Artoo. My earliest feelings toward him were of bemused toleration, sort of how Threepio acts most of the time. I liked Threepio from the get-go and related to him well, since he was constantly suffering with the knowledge that nobody ever wanted to listen to him talk. (Poor Threepio. Get a blog, it helps!) And he seemed to have some valid criticisms about Artoo. After I became aware of the sweeping, nearly universal fan adoration for him, well, my disinterest leveled up to dislike. What do people see in him? He’s rude. He squeaks, he beeps, he manipulates everybody to get his own way. I guess he’s a determined little creature, but, still, nothing about that droid recommends him to me. I just am never going to love that astro droid.

Princess Leia is another one I just really don’t like, which you probably should’ve gathered from my least favorite romance. I explain there pretty thoroughly why I don’t like Leia: she’s bullheaded at the expense of reason, proud, hotheaded, contrary, and ungrateful. She shrieks. And then, to complete the package, she is exactly average — neither plain nor beautiful, neither brilliant nor bimbo. She’s not regal or challenging. The reason she gets pegged as such an awesome character all the time is that she’s no “damsel in distress,” but “not helpless” is not a great recommended of females in my book. I’d rather have an intelligent and logical female who can treat the men around her respectfully as equals even if she does panic and need rescuing when the going gets tough. Leia treats Han horribly. Her consuming passion for politics and the black and white of wrong and right cause more harm than good. A little less ranting and a little more discretion on her part might have gotten the Death Star plans into rebel hands without losing Alderaan — or at least little common sense on her part might have gotten them to the rebellion without risking Yavin. She’s just so . . . ugh.

Old Ben Kenobi

Old Ben Kenobi

But really, the person who is so much more annoying than either of them is the not-so-subtly named “Old Ben Kenobi.” (An aside — in early days, I used to wonder if Obi-Wan had been a clone of the Clone Wars because his name was so similar to the droids’ designations — OB1.)

Part of the reason I wasn’t really that in to Star Wars on the first watching was there was nothing terribly compelling about it. A squawky kid runs around with an old hermit and blows up a space station. Fun, but not fascinating. And it took all three prequels before I could actually enjoy ANH and not just look at it as something to get through to get to the “good ones.”

The chiefest reason ANH isn’t compelling? This irritating geezer! Sorry. But I’m serious. It took Ewan McGregor for me to take Obi-Wan off my list of least favorite characters, and nevertheless, I can’t help being all “boy did not age well! What a crank.”

Because seriously, what does he do? If you take the story in context, he hides out on Tatooine for twenty years while the Empire stockpiles its tools of war and entrenches itself throughout the galaxy. It’s all well and good for Joseph Campbell to write about the hero’s journey and the mentor, etc. etc., but what kind of warrior goes into hiding for two decades waiting for a “last hope” to age appropriately? And even if a guardian of peace and justice might take that route, why would he leave Luke with unbelieving relatives and only attempt to introduce him to the Force when he was, by Yoda’s observation, too old to ever learn it properly? What was stopping Obi-Wan from raising Luke himself? His phobia of diaper changing? It’s not like Luke or Leia had any legal status whatsoever — Padmé’s children were considered dead in her womb. Obi-Wan’s claim on the kid was just as good as Owen and Beru’s.

Obi-Wan does literally zilch on Tatooine for almost a quarter of a century, and when events finally conspire to bring him out of self-imposed exile, he loads Luke up with lies, half truths, and skewed views of the Force. He says using the lightsaber in the cantina was a last resort, but it was also his first response, so what’s Luke supposed to make of it? He warns that abuse of the Force leads to the dark side, but then proceeds to mind-manipulate Stormtroopers and even one old nonhuman buying speeders. No wonder Luke cries in frustration, “How am I to know the good side from the bad?” (and get a frustrating non-answer from Yode the toad). I’m just coming off reading I, Jedi, it’s true, but Corran Horn hits it with a hydrospanner when he observes that Obi-Wan and Yoda were poor teachers — and I’d add that they did Luke more harm than good.

Blue screen of ghost

Blue screen of ghost

Let’s talk about Obi-Wan and Yoda. Far more annoying than even old Obi-Wan there’s . . . Ghost Obi-Wan. Ugh. It’s possible Luke has had visions of Obi-Wan in the last three years, but then, maybe not, since he becomes convinced it was his delirium that sent him to Dagobah and not a vision in the Force.

If Obi-Wan in life is a dicey teacher and friend, ghost Obi-Wan is downright annoying. If regular Obi-Wan delivers whatever truth however he wants, ghost Obi-Wan is a study in vague abstractions and bad timing. He never offers an explanation for why he can’t interfere with Luke’s confronting Vader when he can show up any other time. In fact, the times he shows up are peculiar at best, and I have a serious suspicion that ghost Obi-Wan is in fact just a Force illusion cast by Yoda in an attempt to further manipulate the poor guy.

Favorite E3 Moment

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , on 15 May 2014 by Megan

For the sake of the fact that I already said the Mustafar Battle is my favorite climax, I will not rehash it, even though it is pretty obvious a favorite is a favorite.

But there is another battle scene in Episode III that made me sit up straight the first time, that I thought about repeatedly because it just came out of nowhere and smacked me with how awesome it was.

Your move!

Your move!

Yeah, this is the fight with Obi-Wan and Grevious, one of the only times in the prequels Lucas let us see that Obi-Wan is a master duellist. It’s frustrating how little George lets us see Obi-Wan own with a saber!

Anyway, Obi-Wan has been sent to Utapau to neutralize Grevious. Sidious doesn’t need him anymore and the Jedi play predictably right into his plans. He rents a giant bird lizard and goes off cyborg hunting.

Hmm, what should I do? I know, go in alone!

Hmm, what should I do? I know, go in alone!

The first time, I was curious about how Obi-Wan would handle the situation as soon as he found Grevious and the council of traitors. I was afraid of Boga sneezing and giving away his position — but no! Obi-Wan leaps down into the thick of his enemies. He instantly neutralizes Grevious’ guards, and Grevious reveals his ace in the hole — he knows how to saber fight, too.



I gasped out loud in the theater when Grevious’ arms separated and he flashed out four sabers. I was terrified when he scuttled like a spider over the floor, and I was thrilled at Obi-Wan’s pursuit that involved that dizzying fall down the Utapauan crater.

Miles of green screen....

Miles of green screen….

I loved Obi-Wan’s final encounter with him, Ewan’s working in his trademark scream, and his grimly displeased use of a blaster. “So uncivilized!” Just everything about this fight is awesome.

Honorable mention: the first shot of the movie. Episode III’s crawl is by far the weakest and dumbest of the six, and the battle quickly becomes improbable and tiresome with squeaky voiced battle droids fresh from a helium bar, but that first shot is one of the most amazing things ever, especially when combined with the soundtrack. That is just awesome, and I will never stop wanting to see it in 3D. (Screw you, Lucas!!)

Boom. Boom. Boom.

Boom. Boom. Boom.

Favorite E2 Moment

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , on 8 May 2014 by Megan

There is a lot of great stuff in Episode II, even if it’s always been kind of the redheaded stepchild. This is, as I’ve said before, mostly because its brother Episode III refused to even associate with it. If Lucas had connected them more tautly the way ESB and ROTJ are, it would have been far stronger.

But anyway, even though there is an element of very plastic visuals, it’s also grandiose and there’s loads of visuals I just love. Ewan McGregor is always stellar. Literally, he is one of the heavenly bodies! (wink, wink.)

And while Hayden Christensen is awkward to watch, a struggling teenage actor with next to no help from the director, they do have some moments. And one moment is just before the arena battle.

Then we decided to come and rescue you.

Then we decided to come and rescue you.

Anakin grinds this line out between his perfect white teeth, much as he does every other line in the movie, and his utter resentment cracks me up. Mostly because Lucas’ writing makes his poor hero more split personality than Alan Tudyk on Dollhouse. In the very same breath, Anakin says Obi-Wan is like his father, and then adds that he won’t go rescue him. He claims this is because Mace Windu told him not to rescue Obi-Wan — but he was already told to stay on Naboo. In fact, if you pay attention, he was going to defy the Council’s order (“guard Padmé”) and leave her on Naboo to go after his mother; she just happened to insist on joining him. So when it comes to his “father,” why was defying the Council suddenly impossible? I have no idea. Because Star Wars was a better franchise when it was a collaborative effort and not a one-man word-explosion?

Anyway, Obi-Wan’s response is priceless. Who knows how long he’s been out chained to a post in the middle of the arena in the burning daylight in his 12, 13 layers of thick heavy clothing? And there’s grousing, grouchy Anakin. “We transmitted your message to Coruscant and then we decided to come and rescue you.”

Obi-Wan rolls his eyes upward, toward his bound wrists, and back to his Padawan now shackled to a stake himself. “Good job.”


“Good job.”

Absolutely. It’s one of those warm playful moments where you almost get to see the relationship between them, and then of course they proceed to do some happy fighting and whatnot. It’s the last good part of the movie before the vomit-inducing travesty of (shudder) Yoda lightsaber.

The more I sit here looking at this picture, the more infuriated I am that Lucas denied us a chance to see Obi-Wan’s fine biceps. Ugh, George, ugh.

Honorable mention: The map reader scene. Obi-Wan is hot and this map reader is cool; also, there’s a cameo of the name “Liam.” However, Obi-Wan’s question is stupid, unless he was deliberately testing these kids and not actually confused. Yoda’s response is stupid, the younglings would have been more lifelike portrayed by animatronic cardboard cutouts, and the kid’s tone of “Freaking duh, Master” sums up the whole thing well. Before E3 came out, though, I was pretty thrilled by this scene because of Yoda’s “dangerous and disturbing, this puzzle is” and “meditate on this, I will,” leading to the inevitable conclusion that there was a mole in the Jedi, some traitor whose nefarious deeds would no doubt come up in Episode III . . . but Lucas cut E2 off cold and none of this buildup went anywhere.

Simplest question ever

Simplest question ever

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.


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