Friday, February 27, 2015

Star Wars: The Questionnaire

The blog is going to be heavily Bond-focused this year leading up to SPECTRE, but there's no way I'm ignoring the other, even bigger year-end movie. I've got thoughts about a series of Star Wars posts, but while those are percolating how about we kick things off with another giant questionnaire? I did one of these a few years ago and also recently talked about many of my Star Wars feelings on Nerd Lunch, but there are some different questions in this one, so let's go again.

Thanks to Kelly Sedinger for finding this and posting his answers. Like Kelly, I find some of the questions inappropriate for various reasons. The ones that are inappropriate for practical reasons (the questionnaire was created before the announcement of Episode 7, which makes some questions moot), I'll figure out a way to answer anyway. The one that's just disgusting, I'm gonna skip.

1. Which film is your favorite of the Original Trilogy?

Star Wars. I know that Empire Strikes Back is the technically superior film, but it has two major problems. One is that Joss Whedon is right and it's not a complete movie. The other is that Vader being Luke's dad - while an okay idea in itself - is clearly pulled from someone's butt and not at all supported by anything in the first film. Star Wars, on the other hand, is a satisfying movie all on its own. It introduces and opens up a galaxy that absolutely I want to come back to and explore, but I want more because Star Wars fires my imagination; not because it promises to resolve plot points.

2. If you enjoy the prequels, which one is your favorite?

I do enjoy the prequels; at least parts of them. Their issues get bigger as the trilogy progresses, but I like more about Phantom Menace than I don't and it's my favorite of them. Qui-Gon, Darth Maul, the podracing scene, the final lightsaber duel, and John Williams' "Battle of the Fates" all make it worth watching.

3. How old were you when Episode 1 came out?


4. Which of the movies have you seen in the theater?

All of them.

5. Did you go to any of them on opening night?

All of the prequels. Maybe Return of the Jedi? Jedi would have been the first one where I was old enough to drive myself to the theater, but I don't have a specific memory of seeing it on opening night.

6. Who is your favorite character from the Original Trilogy?

Chewbacca. Sometimes I want it to be Han, but I don't especially like his character arc and Chewie is consistently awesome. I love the monster-with-a-big-heart archetype and Chewie is one of the best of those. I also love the dichotomy between his fearsome appearance and his inherent cowardice, and how his fierce loyalty to his friends always leads him to overcome the latter.

7. Who is your favorite character from the prequels, if you have one?

Qui-Gon. He's gone too soon, but that might be to his advantage. If Revenge of the Sith didn't exist, my favorite would be Padme, but the trilogy loses her by the end. Qui-Gon on the other hand impresses me and then gets out of the story. He pushes a lot of buttons in my psyche, starting with the conflict between his faithfulness to the Jedi way and his questioning of its leadership.

8. Have you read any of the books or comics?

Lots; especially early on. Publishers eventually got to a point where they were producing them faster than I could read them, so I gave up. But for quite a while I kept up and loved it.

9. Favorite book or series? Favorite SW author?

Very hard to choose, but I think I'm going to have to go with AC Crispin’s Han Solo Trilogy (The Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and Rebel Dawn). It not only fills in more details of Han’s early life (how he became an outlaw, how he met Chewie, etc.), but also includes as part of its backstory some of my nostalgic favorites: Brian Daley’s Han Solo Adventures (Han Solo at Stars’ End, Han Solo’s Revenge, and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy) and the weird, but entertaining Lando Calrissian Adventures by L Neil Smith.

So Crispin might be my favorite of the EU writers, but I have to acknowledge Timothy Zahn of course for writing the excellent Thrawn trilogy and single-handedly reviving everyone's interest in Star Wars.

10. Favorite comic?

As goofy as it was - and maybe because it was so goofy - Marvel's run. Especially the issues between Star Wars and Empire. I also have a lot of fondness for the newspaper strips written by Archie Goodwin. They covered that same time period between Star Wars and Empire, which is apparently my favorite.

11. Favorite character from the Expanded Universe (EU)?

I so want to say Jaxxon. Okay, I'm saying Jaxxon.

12. Favorite villain from the EU?

Mosep Binneed, Jabba's accountant, though at the time of his introduction he was introduced as Jabba himself. When Jabba first appeared in the Marvel series, he hadn't yet appeared on film and no one knew what he looked like, so Carmine Infantino made up his own version. Later on, that was retconned and Infantino's version became an entirely different character, but I actually prefer the slimmer, more active take on the character.

13. If you had your own ship from the Star Wars Universe (SWU), what would it be? It could be a mash-up/ugly.

A YT-1300 light freighter, naturally.

14. Would you rather be Sith or Jedi?

Jedi. They're not my favorite aspect of the Star Wars universe, but I do find their philosophy interesting. There's a lot of it I disagree with (and that's the direction I'm thinking about for a series of posts), but it's vastly better than Sith philosophy.

15. Would you rather be a Rebel or a member of the Imperial Navy? What would your role be?

Rebel. Preferably of the Han/Chewie/Lando variety: an independent agent working to further the cause rather than a cog in the military machine.

16. If you could be any species from the SWU which would you be?

Wookiee. Cool tree houses with technological perks. The Nautolans are cool too, though.

17. If you could date any species from the SWU which would you pick?

This is where the questions start getting weird and inappropriate for me. If I wasn't an old, married dude, I wouldn't have a problem with it, but I am old and married and I don't really think about fiction that way anymore. Younger, single me would have picked humans though.

18. If you could date/marry any character from the SWU who would you pick?

Same disclaimer, but Younger Single Me would have gone for Padme.

19. If you were going to bone just one Star Wars character and you never had to see them again, who would you pick?

There's no way for me to answer this question without feeling totally gross about myself, so on to the next one.

20. If you could BE one SW character, EU or not, who would you be?

As much as I love Han, I'm going with Lando on this one.

21. What would your SWU name be?

According to the Star Wars Name Generator, it's Smorphi Cheleb, a troublemaker from The Hypori Sector.

22. What color would your lightsaber be, what kind would it be (double-bladed, single blade), would you dual-wield, and what kind of grip would it have?

I'm a man of simple tastes. Gimme a blue lightsaber with the old-fashioned, Luke Skywalker grip.

23. Do you own SW merchandise?

24. How much, to date, do you think you’ve spent on SW merchandise?

No idea. Maybe a couple of hundred bucks?

25. What is your favorite SW possession?

The Millenium Falcon that fits the action figures and makes all the cool noises. That's probably half my lifetime Star Wars budget right there.

26. Do you have a favorite SW artist? If so, who?

Grant Gould.

27. Are there items you do not own but covet? What are they?

Not really. If I did, they'd be actual props from the movies and not replicas. Like Vader's helmet from Empire or the chess board from the Falcon.

28. Are there items that are not made but that you wish were made? What are they?

A working Millenium Falcon?

29. Did Han shoot first?

30. Did Boba Fett, in your opinion, ever leave the Sarlacc or did he die there?

He totally left.

31. Are there things about the movies you wish you could change? If so, name three.

The prequels are too easy targets for this question, so I'll stick to the original trilogy.

1) Boba Fett's death. I really don't mind that he died; it's how he died that's so underwhelming.

2) The Ewok battle. Again, I don't mind that they were able to defeat the Imperial forces, but a lot of the way they did it was ridiculous. Giant smashy logs are awesome, but slingshots with rocks are totally lame.

3) Luke and Leia as siblings. That should've been my first answer. Stupidest plot twist ever.

32. Which era would you want to live in?

The Rebellion. In many ways it's the toughest era, but it's also the most exciting to me. That could be nostalgia talking though.

33. What SW games have you played?

Not many video games except for some early Atari ones, but I ran a long campaign of the West End Games RPG. The players were all interested in playing bad guys and I fought against that for a while, but finally gave in. I let them go back in time and change the universe so that the Empire defeated the Rebellion, Luke Skywalker was killed, and Leia became Vader's apprentice. They really enjoyed it and it was an interesting way to play in that universe.

34. Do you play/own Star Wars Miniatures?


35. Favorite SW costume for men?

Darth Vader.

36. Favorite SW costume for women?


37. Have you ever dressed up as a SW character? Who/When/Why?

Halloween 1977.

38. Do you ever have SW sex fantasies? If so, have you ever acted them out?

Nope and nope.

39. Do you Ship any SW characters who aren’t together? Who/why?

I do, actually. Qui-Gon and Shmi.

40. Have you ever written SW fan fiction? Can we read it?

I have, actually. In 5th grade, we had to write a short story and I worked Threepio and Artoo into mine. I think I still have it somewhere, so maybe one day I'll transcribe it for the blog.

41. Have you been to a Celebration or plan on going to one?

Nah. I'm not hardcore enough anymore.

42. Have you ever been to Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World?

Nope. I love Disney World, but not when it's that crowded.

43. Do you wish they had Star Wars Weekends at Disneyland?

Sure. I've never been to Disneyland, but I'm sure there are many fans on that coast who would like that.

44. Best section you’ve experienced on Star Tours?

I've only ridden Star Tours a couple of times and don't remember much about the sections. What I do remember though is that the last time we went Diane was identified as the Rebel who kicked the whole chase into motion, which was pretty awesome.

45. What initially brought you to the SW fandom?

My dad. My brothers and I had a passing interest in Star Trek and Dad had heard that Star Wars was even better, so he took the whole family to see it. It was in the theaters for over a year and I lost track of how many times I went back after the thirty-somethingth re-watch.

46. Do you consider yourself a SW Fanboy or Fangirl?

I've never described myself as a fanboy or fangirl of anything.

47. Have you seen Fanboys? Favorite character and/or quote?

Haven't seen it.

48. Do you wish they would make 7, 8, and 9 or do you think they should be done with it?

I've always wanted it. Even when Lucas announced the prequels, I saw those as something we had to get through in order to have what I really wanted: the continuation of the story.

49. If they ever made 7, 8, and 9, do you think it should continue the Skywalker Legacy or use entirely new characters? Or something different?

Like Kelly said in his answers, it's not Star Wars without Skywalkers.

50. Do you watch The Clone Wars?

We just finished Season 2 as part of a re-watch of all the Star Wars movies and TV shows. The plan is to get through everything before Force Awakens. I wish the Jedi in it wouldn't conveniently forget to use their powers just to keep the plot moving, but it's mostly a great show so far. It helps a lot with Anakin's transition to the Dark Side and I'm curious to see if it'll actually make Revenge of the Sith more watchable. If nothing else though, The Clone Wars stands on its own as an excellent adventure series that understands what makes Star Wars great.


Paxton said...

Good one, I've saved my answers in a blog draft and I'll post it closer to May when we start the Star Wars movie Drilldowns on Nerd Lunch.

Michael May said...

Nice! I'll look forward to reading yours.

And I'll totally be okay if you can't squeeze me in, but I'd love to be fourth chair on at least one of those episodes (especially New Hope). :D

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

If Nerd Lunch is gearing up for a Star Wars episode than Geek Fallout may need to make a preemptive strike!

This is quite the interesting survey actually. I think we're on the same page as far as the original Star Wars being the best. Although my most recent rewatch was a cruel reminder of how clunky the dialogue can be.

Though we'll probably part ways on our interoperation of Padme, as I found her to be more a nuisance than Jar Jar because her character is written to be so flat and uninteresting.

Kelly Sedinger said...

Good answers! I think we may agree more than disagree on a lot of things when it comes to STAR WARS, which is an increasingly unfamiliar feeling.

Michael May said...

Erik, I don't entirely disagree about how Padme's written, but I think our different reactions to her points to something interesting.

As a writer, Lucas always makes viewers fill in a lot of gaps themselves. Whether he's throwing in terms like the Kessel Run without explaining them or just leaving us to wonder what the purpose was of the place where Qui Gon and Obi Wan fought Darth Maul, one of the things I love about his world-building is that he leaves so much for the imagination to play with.

He has a tendency to do that with his characters too, though, and that's where results are way more mixed. I agree that there's not a lot to Padme as she's explicitly written, but I enjoy filling in those details myself. That might just be because I'm fond of Natalie Portman though.

I'm way less willing to fill in details for Anakin, which is why his character doesn't work for me in the prequel trilogy. Ultimately, it's the writer's fault when viewers/readers don't connect with a character, but I do believe that audiences have to do some work too. We have to meet partway.

It doesn't work when a writer makes us do all the work in connecting with a character, but (and I'm not saying this is what you're suggesting; you just made me think about it in a new way) it's not fair or realistic for audiences to expect the writer to do all the work either.

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

I think my biggest issue with Padme is that she feels like she was assembled at a focus group meeting rather than emerged from some creative idea. She's a senator and thus can be important without having to DO anything important. She just seems there to model the clothes, be the shoulder to cry on and shoot laser in the action finale even though she'd been anti-violence this whole time.

Actually it's weird how excited she is shooting bug aliens in the end. Almost as excited as she was sending the Gungans to get slaughtered by the droids. I have a theory that she's a bit of a closet xenophobe judging by how she's all over Anakin after he admitted to killing Sand People, but is aghast when he murders human younglings.

Just saying...

Michael May said...

Well that just makes her MORE fascinating!

I'd want to see her grow out of that, obviously, but that's an excellent and valid interpretation of her.

I'd argue that she does do important things though. At least in the first two movies.

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

YES! Finally some Internet acknowledgement! haha


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