Where would the universe be without love? The fate of the Star Wars universe has been decided several times by the consequences of love for the better and for the worse. The forbidden love between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala sealed the doom of the decaying Galactic Republic. Anakin’s fear of losing Padmé led him on a quick and dark path that enabled Darth Sidious to complete his triumph over the Jedi Knights. But then again, it was his compassion for Luke that made Darth Vader break free from Darth Sidious’ oppression and allowed him to spend the last moments of his tragic life in the companionship of his son. Luckily, not all romantic relationships in the Star Wars galaxy had repercussions that made the entire universe tremble with fear. In this blog we’ll have a look at some of the more unusual couples from the Star Wars universe.
Archive for ‘The Movies’
Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO aired on ABC in the US in 1985 and 1986. The cartoon was developed by Nelvana, but it only lasted one season (13 episodes) and one special (“The Great Heep”). The episodes aired during the Ewoks and Droids Adventure Hour, which also showed an episode of Nelvana’s other Star Wars cartoon: Ewoks. Droids was a typical US cartoon (though Nelvana itself was Canadian) from the mid-eighties, so it couldn’t show physical violence. Droids also aired in other countries, such as Spain and France, where it was very popular.
Droids takes place 15 years before the Battle of Yavin. Our beloved droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO, hook up with three different masters and they meet a lot of new friends and enemies during these adventures. There is no sign of any of the other heroes from the movies. Still, the series looks like it’s a part of the Star Wars galaxy and from time to time it shows ships and vehicles from the movies (Lambda-class shuttle, Bantha II Cargo Skiff, and TIE fighters) and even from Kenner’s vintage line of toys (probably to promote toys that didn’t sell very well).
Something you might not immediately realize is the fact that the show features several elements or designs which have also appeared in the prequels. Some have been used almost literally, others have been used as a concept or are similar in design. One of the people at Lucasfilm who worked regularly on Droids was sound designer Ben Burtt. Burtt wrote the last story arc about the droids’ encounter with adventurer Mungo Baobab. Art director and conceptual designer from the original trilogy, Joe Johnston, co-wrote the elusive episode “Cody and the Starhunters.” It is not exactly known how and why several elements of Droids ended up appearing in the prequels, but it could have been Ben Burtt who offered George Lucas or the conceptual team some ideas for a particular name or design.
Let’s have a look at how Droids influenced the prequels!
The Guns of Navarone came out in 1961 and, to my mind, is one of the greatest World War II films to ever come out of the 1960s and it seems to me that it must have been influencing Star Wars since the beginning. It tells the story of Keith Mallory (played by Gregory Peck) and a group of allied soldiers (including David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Anthony Quayle, and James Darren) as they work to destroy a pair of the biggest and well-fortified ship-destroying guns the allies have ever seen. If the guns aren’t destroyed within a few days, all of the allied soldiers being ferried through that channel for a rescue mission will be killed.
The story is entirely invented, there’s no island of Navarone, there were no British soldiers stranded on the isle of Keros, and the actors were all too old for the roles they were playing, but that doesn’t negate the charm and suspense of this effects laden picture.
Both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi have echoes of the plot. In the original Star Wars picture, the Rebel fleet must destroy the Death Star before it makes it within range of Yavin IV and it works out well. It inverts the tension with the bad guys attacking instead of passively hiding on an island. But Return of the Jedi is where the influence is felt the most.
Sitting here in 2014, the 34th year since its release, it can be hard to believe that The Empire Strikes Back wasn’t always lauded as the movie masterpiece it clearly is. On the contrary, its arrival back on May 20, 1980, was welcomed with an array of mixed, lukewarm, and indifferent reviews on both sides of the Atlantic from newspapers, magazines, and TV critics alike. But of all the entries in the saga, time has been kindest to Empire‘s reputation and standing. Not to us fans who have adored the film since its release, but to the wider world who perhaps needed the resolutions brought to us by Return of the Jedi to fully appreciate the nuances and dangers that Empire presented.
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.
The Star Wars Holiday Special celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. The show aired in the US on November 17, 1978, on CBS for the first and only time. The 97-minute special would also air in other countries. It’s safe to assume that it probably wasn’t what most fans had expected it to be. It featured Leia singing lyrics to the Star Wars Main Theme, it featured Luke who apparently hadn’t visited a Sullustan Barber (and with a lot of make-up), and it showed a bunch of strange (musical) intermezzo’s that were more than awkward. Since its initial release, there hasn’t been much love and appraisal for the Holiday Special. Therefore it has never been officially released on any medium by Lucasfilm.
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.
I told you ’bout the dino and me. You know that we’re as close as can be. Well, here’s another clue for you all…
While no man has ever seen a dinosaur from the mesozoic era, other animals from the Star Wars universe are actually very familiar to us. The absence of Earth is an important element in Star Wars‘ status as fantasy and space opera. Jocasta Nu would say: “Earth simply does not exist.” But several elements from our own planet have nevertheless slipped into that galaxy far, far away. Indigenous lifeforms from Earth (humans for example) are one of these elements.