Archive for ‘In Pop Culture’



From World War to Star Wars: Spaceships, Submarines, and Seismic Charges

Cole Horton | April 15, 2014

While many of the ships from Star Wars were inspired by planes from World War II, the space combat seen in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Two episode “Cat and Mouse” took space combat to new depths — literally. This Clone Wars story introduces Star Wars fans to a Republic stealth ship that draws on many parallels to submarine warfare of the past.

Submarines and stealth ships in Star Wars: The Clone Wars

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Star Wars: The Muppet Connection

Chris Hamilton | March 28, 2014

Miss Piggy, Yoda, Kermit, and Luke Skywalker on Dagobah

With the release of Muppets Most Wanted in theaters this week, you may see Muppets everywhere. Did you know that there is a long history of Muppet connections to Star Wars? They may seem very different but over the years there have been many fun crossovers between these worlds (or galaxies). Here are a few favorites.

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From World War to Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Cole Horton | March 21, 2014

Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Just as World War II impacted every corner of our world, the events of Star Wars: The Clone Wars seemed to touch nearly every corner of the Star Wars galaxy. The six seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars gave us a deeper look into the far-reaching implications of a galactic conflict that had only been glimpsed in the Star Wars films. In 2008, George Lucas said that the upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars was “like Band of Brothers only with Jedi,” but little did we know then just how much the award-winning show would draw from history as inspiration. With the complete series of The Clone Wars now on Netflix, now is a great time to look back at just how World War II inspired the galaxy’s greatest conflict.

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Star Wars-Inspired Music Guide (Including, Yes, Pipe-Organ Albums)

Mark Newbold | March 20, 2014

Star Wars vinyl albums

I’m going to take you on a journey. A stereo journey. Back to the mid 1970s, when a little fancied sci-fi film called Star Wars changed the world of cinema and exploded into popular culture like Bazooka Joe’s bubble gum. It was a world of 7″ and 12″ vinyl, cassettes, and 8-tracks, when your dad’s music setup was often housed within a sideboard the size of a Morris Marina and when the Walkman was still a long-distant dream. So for kids of the day, desperate for as much Star Wars as they could get their hands, eyes, taste buds, and ears on the music of the film was an evocative and much-prized treasure.

Today the music of Star Wars is as iconic as any aspect of the film, weaving its way into the cultural subconsciousness and launching a thousand imitators. The original soundtrack, a double album with booklet released in May 1977 by 20th Century Records, sold in millions and revived not only the popularity of the orchestral soundtrack but also the mass appeal of movie soundtracks in general. It made a global star of the already Oscar-laden John Williams and, completely incidentally, gave a plethora of artists and labels — some non-licensed — the impetus to go out and record some of their own versions of the films score. In these far savvier days, when a cursory glance at the internet would tell you instantly whether or not you were buying the “real thing” the thought of picking up one of these albums might seem crazy, but when kids were clamoring for anything remotely related to the galaxy’s greatest film these releases sold well.

Here then is a look at just a few of those unique releases, some reasonably well-known (MECO hit number #1 on the Billboard Top 100 with his “Star Wars Theme” and today can be heard over the end credits of all RebelForce Radio shows and some not so much (“The Sounds of Star Wars” by The Sonic All-Stars anyone?)

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The Cinema Behind Star Wars: Indiana Jones and The Lost Missions

Bryan Young | March 18, 2014

Club Obi Wan in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Like most people reading this, I spent a whole Saturday binge-watching the Netflix premiere of the Lost Missions of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. We were rewarded for our patience with 13 episodes of a show we loved, which might have been 13 of the best produced. They were action packed, beautifully animated, thrilling, and, at times, heartbreaking.

But for some reason I really, really wanted to watch the Indiana Jones movies after this batch of episodes. It should come as no surprise that the Indiana Jones films might creep their influence into Star Wars projects as they have George Lucas in common, but there were three episodes of The Lost Missions that paid pretty blatant homage to everyone’s favorite archeologist.

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Where a Long Time Ago Meets a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Cole Horton | January 15, 2014

Star Wars is my favorite World War II movie. The saga is headlined by actual World War II veterans and tells the story of dictators, democracy, and empires. It is filled with Second World War sound effects, uses World War II props, features spectacular World War II dogfights, and is backed by a film score straight out of the golden age of Hollywood.

From World War to Star Wars Movie Intro

Star Wars might just have more in common with a World War II movie than science fiction flicks. I’ve been making such bold claims for years now, after I started casually seeing references to World War II in various Star Wars books, documentaries, and interviews. One day, I started writing them down, until I had collected hundreds of ideas, stories, and quotes. Armed with these notes and pure excitement, I took the stage at Star Wars Celebration VI to share how “a long time ago” influenced the “galaxy far, far away.” Thanks to Star Wars Celebrations, I’ve shared some of these stories with audiences in the United States and Germany. Now I get to share them with everyone on the Star Wars Blog.

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Star Wars in the UK: Lyons Maid Ice Cream

Mark Newbold | January 9, 2014

swintheuk_logo_1

lyonsmaid_collage_1

Being a kid in the ’70s here in the UK was, in a word, brilliant. We had Grange Hill, Chopper bikes, flares, and Green Flashes, 8-tracks in the car, Judge Dredd in 2000 AD and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on the radio. ELO and Wings toured the world while the Sex Pistols caused scandal wherever they went, and the Bee Gees notched up what was then the biggest selling album in music history with Saturday Night Fever. Oh, and Ipswich Town won the FA Cup, beating Arsenal 1-0 (and my beloved West Bromwich Albion in the semi-finals), and the nation was still buzzing after the Silver Jubilee celebrations of ’77. But being a kid, and a hungry one at that, one of the best things about the late ’70s was the food. Monster Munch, Secret Agents, Pacers, Space Invaders, Spangles, and of course, Lyons Maid ice cream. And being a Star Wars kid in ’77 who was hungry for anything to do with the galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars tie-in with Lyons Maid ice cream was a scoop.

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When it Comes to Christmas Music, Is There Anything Better Than Christmas in the Stars? (Trick Question!)

Steve Sansweet | December 18, 2013
Christmas in the Stars 1980 LP cover

Christmas in the Stars 1980 LP cover

What can you get a Wookiee for Christmas when he already owns a comb? No, not a hairbrush. And if you don’t immediately get what I’m talking about, you’re probably not as much of a Star Wars trivia expert as you think.

Actually, despite the festiveness of the season, I’m perturbed. I’ve heard “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” at least four or five times on the radio already, but not once have I heard “R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” And what about “The Odds Against Christmas?” Those, along with “What Can You Get a Wookiee…” are three of the nine tunes on Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album, which originally came out as an LP (remember vinyl records?) in 1980 from RSO Records — and fairly quickly went out of print.

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Wil Wheaton Talks Star Wars

Bryan Young | November 11, 2013

One of my favorite things about Star Wars is that it’s the sort of thing you always remember where you were and what was going on in your life the first time you saw it or connected to it. Just about everyone has a very personal story about their early days in Star Wars. For my part, I was a young boy of three years old when I first saw Return of the Jedi in a darkened movie theater.

That moment changed my life forever and for the better.

It wasn’t just my first experience with Star Wars, though. The more I think back, I’m positive it’s my first visceral memory.

That’s the power of Star Wars. We all have that moment.

And that’s one of my favorite things about talking to people on the Full of Sith podcast. I get to talk to all kinds of amazing people about their first experiences or vibrant memories with Star Wars and how it affected them. And it’s a question everyone can answer.

I’ll be bringing you some of the best answers we’ve had on the show here to this space, but I wanted to start with a special one.

I spoke to Wil Wheaton and he agreed to do this segment for Full of Sith, discussing his most vivid memory of Star Wars from his youth and it’s quite a touching story. You can listen to it here (as long as you don’t mind listening to my co-host, Consetta Parker, talk about loaning her Boushh costume to The Big Bang Theory‘s Johnny Galecki for San Diego Comic-Con).

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Remembering the Veterans in Star Wars

Cole Horton | November 11, 2013

Known as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, or Veterans Day, November 11 serves for many countries around the world as a time to reflect on very real wars and the people who participated in them. The Star Wars universe was brought to life by a long list of veterans, including Ralph McQuarrie who served during the Korean conflict and numerous other crew members that served in Vietnam.

In my ongoing research for the Star Wars Celebration lecture series “From World War to Star Wars,” I’ve come across an ever-growing list of Star Wars cast and crew who were also veterans of World War II. Thanks in large part to their autobiographies we have first hand accounts of their life before Star Wars.

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