In 1992, authors Paul and Hollace Davids released the first book in their Star Wars series of young adult novels: The Glove of Darth Vader. This six-book series featured the adventures of Jedi Prince Ken as he fought alongside Luke Skywalker and friends in a New Republic spy organization known as SPIN. Perhaps most famously, the Glove of Darth Vader series introduced the world to the Prophets of the Dark Side, not one but two three-eyed mutants rumored to be the son of Emperor Palpatine, Jabba the Hutt’s long-haired father Zorba and, of course, the titular indestructible Sith gauntlet. Since then, authors have integrated these children’s stories into the larger Star Wars tapestry. This article seeks to pull back the curtain on SPIN, to reveal its origins and place in the New Republic as well as its lasting legacy.
Archive for 2013
The challenge: design and build a “real scale” exhibit incorporating approximately 25% of Han Solo’s beloved YT-1300 light freighter, the Millennium Falcon, then assemble it inside the New Exhibition Center in Pudong, Shanghai, China. The entire project, decided by the Disney China consumer products team for the China Toy Fair less than three weeks from the event, had to go from planning to drawing to construction to execution in that very short amount of time. I happily volunteered to help with design, content, and approvals, but could it be done?
The answer: “This is China. We can do anything.”
I heard that phrase much more than once while I was in Shanghai for Toy Fair and the Disney Consumer Products licensee meeting. I hoped to provide experience in and knowledge of the galaxy far, far, away, and help the process as best I could. I quickly learned that when my colleagues quoted the above, they were not kidding. We made changes and edits on the fly right up to the morning the show opened, but the result was a spectacular display that did indeed look like the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy on the outside, and house a Star Wars movie timeline and licensed toy exhibit on the inside.
Star Wars, by its very title, is a tale of epic battles. It’s a pageant of good versus evil, a struggle between conquest and salvation. It’s not called Star Romance or Star Force-Magic or any other title tied to one of its underlying themes. Those things happen against the back-drop of a good-old-fashioned war story.
People love a good throw-down. It’s in our blood to compete. Those of you reading this blog may not engage in tribal warfare like our ancestors, but we still find ways to identify with modern-day “tribes” of a sort. Sports are a clear example of that as an outlet. Sports fans identify with their teams like they are our tribes. We wear their colors, we cheer like maniacs, and we take a lot of joy (and regret) over watching them battle it out.
Two years ago I found a fun way to mash up my love of Star Wars with my love of watching football. I repainted an old set of Stormtrooper armor in Carolina Panthers colors just for fun. I reported in this blog last year the growing number of “Sports Troopers” who decorate their Star Wars costumes to match their favorite sports teams. The responses surprised me.
The Dam Busters is a 1955 British film set in World War II. It tells the daring true story of an Royal Air Force raid to destroy a trio of German dams, deep in enemy territory.
Conventional weapons simply wouldn’t do the job, so scientists had to develop a new way of delivering a bomb: skipping it across the water so it would wedge up against the dam. In order to hit the target, the pilots had to fly exactly 60 feet from the surface of the water and every bomber in the mission had to drop their bomb at exactly the same spot.