With the new year well underway, specialty chocolate boxes and hearts of red, white, and pink on display signal that February has arrived. Valentine’s Day is often thought of as a day for romance and lovers. While talking about the mid-month event on the latest episode of Fangirls Going Rogue with my co-host Teresa Delgado and special guest Amy Ratcliffe, we recalled how we celebrated the holiday in our youth. For children, giving Valentine’s cards isn’t so much about romance, but rather a way to remind others of our friendship. In an age of social media friends, when connections are often electronic, the three of us all decided that the holiday provides a good incentive to express not just romantic feelings, but also to reach out and remind our friends that we were thinking about them too.
In its third year, Seattle’s GeekGirlCon highlights what fans can accomplish when they put their hearts and minds into a passion project. The convention, which is run by fans for fans, sold out before the doors opened. My experience with GeekGirlCon exemplifies the best thing about conventions: getting to meet new people — specifically, in my case, lots of new Star Wars fans.
On September 3, Malala Yousafzai opened a library in Birmingham, England. To the crowd she said, “Some books travel with you back centuries, others take you into the future. Some take you to the core of your heart and others take you into the universe…I truly believe the only way we can create global peace is through educating not only our minds, but our hearts and our souls.” Her dream of an education almost cost the young woman her life. Yet she fights backs with books and words, encouraging others to pick up a book as a step toward independence.
Today marks the release of the new novel Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion — Razor’s Edge, which headlines Princess Leia in a story set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Like last month’s Star Wars: Kenobi, the stakes are more personal for the main characters, and Razor’s Edge takes a deep dive into the motivations that drive the Rebel leader. In an interview at Hollywood.com, author Martha Wells talked about her approach to the character: “I think the key is not just seeing Leia as a stereotypical strong woman character, but as someone who is young but is a leader, who has taken on huge responsibilities, but also as someone who has an epic temper and can be sarcastic, and can make mistakes. She’s not a perfect princess, she’s a person with flaws and vulnerabilities who manages to do what she needs to do anyway, and I think those things were conveyed in Carrie Fisher’s performance.”
Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has come to a close. With so many great things to do and see, even attending two of the weekends I still needed the internet to keep up. On Sunday of week three, for example, Tom Wilson, best known to many as Biff from Back to the Future, joined the Behind the Force stage show. During week four, James Arnold Taylor helped the audience wish Star Wars Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni a happy birthday. The list of the spontaneous moments from the event goes on and on. Sometimes they involve big surprises, but for me the most impactful memory this year came during a conversation I had while standing in an autograph line.
Beyond blood ties, families are built around traditions. In my family, it’s tradition to embark on grand adventures together once a year. From driving into the midst of migrating herds in the Serengeti to wandering in the ancient ruins of Ephesus and Pompeii, we’ve created a treasure trove of memories shared through the generations. So last year when my father, our unofficial travel agent, suggested a trip to South America in the spring, I was very excited. I also told him, “Whatever you do, don’t interfere with Star Wars Weekends.” He honored my request, booking a tour that would return us to the US in early May.
In mid-March, Entertainment Weekly announced that Return of the Jedi would be screening at the CapeTown Film Festival. As an intrepid Star Wars blogger, my eyes lit up. This could be really exciting to attend, and on May the 4th no less… That’s when the realization struck: I was going to be in South America on that day, on a tiny touring boat in the middle of the Galapagos Islands. The prospects of Star Wars fun and mayhem, sharing in potentially exciting news breaking, came to a screeching halt.