“The fast draw is a bit overrated….sure it sells holoflicks, but in real life? I’ve seen more go down that way than just about any other. Sure, speed counts, but so does accuracy. It doesn’t do you any good if you shoot the floor five times while your opponent puts the bead on you for good….the real test is the look before the guns come out. When you look someone directly in the eyes, that’s what really separates the professionals from the amateurs.” — Han Solo, to historian Voren Na’al
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“The fast draw is a bit overrated…sure it sells holoflicks, but in real life? I’ve seen more go down that way than just about any other. Sure, speed counts, but so does accuracy. It doesn’t do you any good if you shoot the floor five times while your opponent puts the bead on you for good…the real test is the look before the guns come out. When you look someone directly in the eyes, that’s what really separates the professionals from the amateurs.” — Han Solo, to historian Voren Na’al
For a series with the word “war” in the title, it’s no wonder that war movies and Westerns would have an influence on the stories told inside the Star Wars universe.
We talk about the influence of films on the Star Wars movies and the cartoon so much, I thought it would be a nice break to discuss a few books in the Expanded Universe and the cinematic forces behind them.
A week ago I realized one of my childhood dreams. It happened at GenCon in Indianapolis, where ZOE (Zombie Orpheus Entertainment) premiered the third installment in their Gamers movie series: Hands of Fate. Not only was it a much-awaited sequel to one of my favorite movie franchises, but I got to play a Stormtrooper in it along with some of my 501st buddies! Not nice troopers, either. These guys chase people, cuff them up, and haul them off to the brig. No charity work here, sorry.
I never thought two of my passions would meet up like that. See, one of my alter egos is I’m a gamer. Specifically, RPG’s like the famous Dungeons and Dragons. The fandom world has lots of different sub-groups and genres and they don’t always understand one other. It strikes me as funny sometimes how passionately members of one fan base yearn to be recognized as a legitimate hobby, but then they smirk at another fan base for what THEY do. But more and more it’s becoming an eclectic affair, with people loving so many different hobbies.
Early last year I heard the news that the popular Gamers series was putting out another movie. For my Star Wars friends, that’s like hearing Episode VII would be coming out next year. That’s honestly how excited I was to hear about it! I can’t stress how much I love these movies. Funny, clever, rich in character development while keeping up the action (everything you love about Star Wars). And it’s obvious the creators have a love for the subject matter and for creating memorable characters.
When Lucasfilm became part of the Walt Disney Company, it sparked rampant speculation about the future of Star Wars in Disney’s theme parks. At Disney’s recent D23 Expo, one presentation confirmed future projects were on their way, but offered nothing more than tantalizing hints of things to come. As fans wait to learn more, take a look back at the original collaboration between Disney and Lucasfilm, beginning more than 25 years ago…
The influence of Star Wars on a generation of filmmakers is well-documented. But George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away has also inspired creators in other arts, including music. In Guitars and Lightsabers, a new series on the Star Wars Blog, musicians discuss the impact that Star Wars has had on their lives and their work. In today’s installment, Jason Shaw and Garrett Leister of HRVRD discuss what Star Wars means to them.
Jason Shaw: Few words have lasted as long in my life as “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The first time I ever saw The Empire Strikes Back I couldn’t have been more than four or five years old and to this day, at the age of 29, I think I can close my eyes and recount every minute of that movie. As a child it impacted me with immense enchantment, yet as I carried that enchantment through my adolescence and teenage years I began to evaluate the huge weight that this movie carried with me. That one simple line of dialogue, “There is no try,” spoken by a small green “alien” with pointy ears probably rings in my ears every day of my life. I could literally apply those words to every worry, frustration, anxiety, or challenge I’ve ever had in my life. I’m actually certain that with every challenge I’ve had, the first image that popped into my head was Yoda looking at me with a blank gaze just waiting for me to do something productive and positive to better my situation.
The Dark Times of the mid to late ’80s had passed and as we entered the 1990s brighter times lay ahead for Star Wars fans — but at the turn of the decade, that was yet to become evident to the wider Star Wars public. While rumors continued to float around about the prequel trilogy there was little movement from Lucasfilm on the Star Wars front. Indeded, Lucasfilm had recently completed their Indiana Jones trilogy and were in a busy period, releasing Willow, Howard the Duck, and Tucker: The Man and His Dream. ILM had worked on a number of special effects smashes in the late ’80s including Star Trek IV, Ghostbusters 2, The Witches of Eastwick, and Back to the Future II and III, and LucasArts was fast building a solid reputation in the computer gaming industry via such smashes as Labyrinth, Maniac Mansion, and Secret of Monkey Island. It would appear that Lucasfilm had outgrown its reliance on the galaxy far, far away and developed an identity free of Jedi, Wookiees, and Wampas.
However, in the late ’80s artist Cam Kennedy and writer Tom Veitch pitched an idea to Lucasfilm, who in turn was offered it to Marvel Comics, the longtime publishers of Star Wars comics who had let the license lapse in 1987. Marvel turned it down, despite going so far as to releasing a print ad for the series and the project – Dark Empire – found its way into the hands of Milwaukee comics publishers Dark Horse, a relatively new face on the comics scene who had proven to be adept at handling movie licenses. The title would go on to be a smash hit for Dark Horse, coming out in late 1991 after another dipping of the toes into the Star Wars pool proved to be equally as successful.
We’ve talked in the past the influence of Akira Kurosawa’s films on Star Wars, but I think the one that’s had the most consistent influence has been Seven Samurai. Seven Samurai, released in 1954, tells the story of a group of peasant rice farmers terrorized by bandits. When the bandits come too early in the season, they inform the impoverished farmers of their plans to return soon to loot their food. Instead of yielding, as they had every time in the past, they decide to hire samurai to protect them and find a misfit band of masterless samurai to defend them.
Steven Spielberg’s Jaws might be one of the most influential films in history. It set the stage as one of the first, true summer blockbusters in 1975, paving the way for the cultural hysteria Star Wars would cause just two years later. Add to the fact that it stands to this day as a fantastic, well-made film, and it’s no wonder that its influence has seeped into the world of film and has devotees among the elites of the entertainment industry. Bryan Singer’s production company is called “Bad Hat Harry” from a line on the beach in Jaws. Ain’t It Cool News’ best journalist, Quint, takes his name from Robert Shaw’s salty character. I once even accidentally proposed marriage to my wife in the middle of the USS Indianapolis speech. (True story, but one for a different time.)
Jaws is no less important to those who create Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The first time I realized there was a hardcore Jaws fan on the crew of The Clone Wars was watching the thirteenth episode of the third season. “Monster” served as our introduction to the now-iconic villain Savage Opress. The homage from Jaws was subtle and CG supervisor Joel Aron later told me that he thought I might have been the only person who noticed it. But in Jaws (and in a few other Spielberg pictures) there is a lovely shot of a night sky, a quiet moment, and a falling star streaks across the frame. The moment is repeated in loving memory in “Monster” and it brought a smile across the face of the film nerd inside of me.
When you become a parent, your whole life changes.
I know — that’s the understatement of the century, right? But I’m constantly surprised at how becoming a mother changed my filter of the world around me, and especially changed the way I view media now.
For example, as a relatively new mom, (my daughter is three and a half years old), I now see the Star Wars trilogies in a completely different light, and wonder about things I never ever considered in a million previous viewings.