Star Wars

Tunesday: Jyn Erso

It was only recently that I discovered Wildwood Kin, an alt-folk trio from Exeter, England. Listening to a Spotify-suggested playlist, I suddenly found myself surprised and mesmerized by the three-part harmonies of the women and their beautifully blended instruments in the song “Warrior Daughter.” As the music washed over me like a wave, the lyrics to “Warrior Daughter” took root in my mind, intertwining as they did with Jyn Erso, the hero in the Star Wars film Rogue One. Art moves and affects us all in different ways, and in the case of “Warrior Daughter” the raw power and symbolism in the song about a daughter who has “been made warrior” led me back to Jyn Erso, to her relationship with her parents Lyra and Galen, and her selfless actions to steal the Death Star plans.

While I dare not set out to interpret every way I view Jyn Erso as the “Warrior Daughter” described in the song, wishing instead to allow you to create connections for yourself if you so choose, I am never-the-less motivated to share one association that captured me. In short, I could not help but imagine the song’s narrator being one, or even both, of Jyn’s parents describing the “strength and courage” that “lies within your [her] heart.” To this we can add the lyrics “you have been made warrior/for your heart belongs to me” which, to me, reinforce the notion that as Jyn grew up – after she had physically lost her parents as a child – they were never-the-less always a part of who she was, her heart belonging to the parents she loved.

On this point, I am reminded of Jyn’s declaration to Director Krennic on the Scarif Tower late in Rogue One. When Krennic emphatically inquires “Who are you?” our hero declares (with strength and courage) that “I am Jyn Erso, daughter of Galen and Lyra.” I am Jyn Erso; I am the warrior daughter of Galen and Lyra. Krennic might have been responsible for the pain of physically removing her parents from her life, but he never removed them from who she was, for her heart always belonged to them, and they have always resided within her. 

Listen to “Warrior Daughter,” check out the lyrics, and leave a comment either here (or on Twitter @ImperialTalker) with your thoughts on the song I chose for Jyn Erso and also to share songs you would choose for her.

Lyrics to “Warrior Daughter”

you are a warrior

they call to me and strike at night
clothe yourself with all the rough alikes
and though i made you gentle for a time
your spirit’s strong enough to fight

you are a warrior
strength and courage lies within your heart
daughter, can’t you see your power never fades
for my armour keeps you safe

ride ahead; you fight for what is yours
so take your sword; protector of them all
the heart may be a battle in its own
don’t hesitate; you’ll never be alone

you are a warrior
strength and courage lies within your heart
daughter, can’t you see your power never fades

you are a warrior
strength and courage lies within your heart
oh oh oh oh

you will not grow weary
you will never cease
you have been made warrior
for your heart belongs to me

for your heart belongs to me
for your heart belongs to me

oh oh oh oh oh
for your heart belong to me
for your heart belongs to
for your heart belongs to me

for your heart belongs to me
for your heart belongs to
for your heart belongs to me

**Lyrics taken from musixmatch.com**


Tunesday is a new, monthly series on The Imperial Talker where I present a song that I believe reflects a Star Wars character in some way, shape, or form. New Tunesday posts will arrive on the third Tuesday of every month so be sure to check back in for the next edition!

Haikuesday: Queen Amidala

Unique Politics:
Young, female monarch and an
old, male Senator.


Queen Amidala.
Elected at age fourteen.
Leader of Naboo.


Her first name: Padmé.
Comes from Sanskrit origin.
Its meaning: lotus.

Hindu Religion –
Padma, the sacred lotus,
symbol of beauty.

Vibrant and lovely,
rich with color, the flower
and Queen Padmé’s gowns.

“Queenliest flower”
wrote poet Toru Dutt in
Sonnet: The Lotus.

Growing in ponds, lakes.
Untouched by water or mud.
The lotus is pure.

We literally watch
Padmé blossom as Queen in
The Phantom Menace.

Goddess Shri-Lakshmi,
depicted with the lotus.
Shri-Lakshmi…shmi…shmi.

I’m not gonna lie:
teaching Hinduism in
haiku form is tough.


Trade Federation.
Blockade of peaceful Naboo.
Iron-willed Padmé.


Not wanting a war
but war is forced on the world.
What will the Queen do?


Inquisitive Queen.
“You’re a Gungan…” she asks Binks.
She’s never met one?

Haiku Addendum:
One would think that Naboo’s Queen
has met with Gungans.


Bodyguards, decoys.
Like their highness, they are brave.
The Queen’s handmaidens.


A clever disguise!
The Queen dresses as one of
her own handmaidens.


Sandy, sun scorched world.
The Queen wishes to learn more…
…by sending herself.

I have to be frank:
I’m sure Qui-Gon Jinn knew that 
Padmé was the Queen.


“You’re a slave,” she asks.
“I’m a person,” he declares.
Someday they will kiss.


Fate in a boy’s hands.
Handmaiden Queen admits that
she does not approve.


Jedi are reckless,
the handy Queen tells Qui-Gon.
Yeah, sometimes they are.


Boonta Eve Podrace.
Fly real fast, go left sometimes.
She cheers for Ani.


The Queen is worried.
Her people are suffering.
Will the Senate help?


Speaking to Senate,
Queen Amidala calls for
no confidence vote.


Begging for their help,
Amidala bows to the
greatness of Gungans.


Queen of the Naboo.
Military strategist.
Fourteen but gifted.


Leading from the front,
Amidala risks her life
to save her people.


Viceroy Nute Gunray
deceived by Keira Knightley!
Decoy “Queen” Sabé


Here is a fun fact:
I am two days older than
Ms. Keira Knightley.


The Royal Decoy
orders the real Queen to clean
astromech R2.

Haiku Addendum:
I can’t help but wonder if
that made Padmé mad.


At last, there is peace!
Amidala and Boss Nass
commit to friendship.


Haikuesday is a monthly series on The Imperial Talker, a new post with poetic creations coming on the first Tuesday of each month. The haiku topic is chosen by voters on Twitter so be sure to follow @ImperialTalker so you can participate in the voting. Now, check out these past Haikuesday posts:

Droids (February 2017)

Ahsoka Tano (March 2017)

Darth Vader (April 2017)

The Battle of Scarif (May 2017)

The Truce at Bakura (June 2017)

Ryloth (July 2017)

Star Wars Without End

I spend a lot of time pondering the internals of the Star Wars universe – the characters, events, factions, spaceships, philosophies, etc. – but I also spend quite a bit of time thinking about the Star Wars franchise in general. These days, it’s hard not to think about the trajectory of the franchise since Disney – which purchased the franchise from the original creator/owner George Lucas in 2012 – has been announcing and releasing new content left and right. Movies, TV shows, novels, comics, video games, and more are adding to the already rich trove of stories that populate the universe, while an endless line of new merchandise in every shape and form pops up on a seemingly daily basis. Plus, Disney is building two different Star Wars-themed lands where fans can enjoy “being in” the Star Wars universe.

As a lifelong fan of Star Wars, the fact that the franchise is going strong definitely makes me happy, but this also comes with a catch – too much of a good thing isn’t always great. While I am excited there are new Star Wars stories being told and merchandise being sold, there is also a certain amount of burn out that also comes with all of this. Admittedly, it is a bit odd for me to say this since I maintain this site devoted to Star Wars, but it is also the truth – at times, being a Star Wars fan can be utterly exhausting.

Some of this Star Wars exhaustion is a natural symptom of over-indulgence, a symptom which necessitates moving away from the franchise for a while so I can enjoy it more fully another day. Having a site like this where I write about Star Wars certainly adds to this particular form of burn out, and at times, I have to step away from the computer or notebook, giving myself time and permission to not even think about Star Wars.

star-wars-celebration-1140x502
I’ve never been to a Star Wars Celebration, the so-called “ultimate fan experience,” and have little desire to attend one. Perhaps someday I will if I’m feeling adventurous and want to put my crowd anxiety to the test.
Photo Credit : Lucasfilm/Disney

On the other hand, some of this burn out is just a general fatigue associated with having to maintain interest in such an expansive franchise, one that is not going to stop growing anytime soon. Just as I look up at the night sky and have difficulty processing the vastness of space, a similar feeling of being overwhelmed hits me when I think about the vastness of the Star Wars franchise, a vastness that encapsulates past, present, and future. While I can appreciate all that Star Wars has to offer, providing fans of every type with something they will love, on a personal level, the more Star Wars grows, the more exhausted I’ve become trying to keep up with it. 

And so, I have found myself trying to reconcile my lifelong exploration of the “galaxy far, far away” with the continued growth of the franchise and the gambit of ways it is making me feel: overwhelmed, exhausted, burnt out, and at times even uninspired and bored. In other words, I have found myself for some time now in the rather peculiar position of trying to decide how I will continue being a fan of the franchise (talk about first world problems). What do I mean by this? Well, it means I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my relationship with the franchise in general, and the content of the Star Wars universe in particular. It means that because I do not have an endless supply of time, energy, and money – especially money – to devote to a fictional universe that will probably still be growing when I am on my death bed that I have to decide which aspects of Star Wars I will continue to participate in/enjoy and which parts I am just uninterested in/do not feel are worth the effort.

daala
Most people know that I’m obsessed with Grand Admiral Thrawn, but I’m also a huge fan of Admiral Natasi Daala who first appeared in the Expanded Universe novel Jedi Search.
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm/Del Rey

In truth, this isn’t an entirely new approach to the way I engage with Star Wars. We all have our personal preferences and gravitate towards certain things, and I have always been the type of person who likes parts of Star Wars more than others. Even before George Lucas sold the franchise to Disney I was selective about how I participated in the franchise, what merchandise I bought, and yes even which stories I gravitated towards. For example, I can honestly say that while I am well versed in the stories of the now Expanded Universe (EU; now officially called Legends…bleh), there are some Expanded Universe stories I have never touched and know almost nothing about. Case in point: The Old Republic online game. Perhaps one day I will get around to playing The Old Republic or checking out those EU stories I haven’t read, or maybe I won’t.

Like the Expanded Universe I am already treating the “new Expanded Universe,” the Disney Canon, the same way. While I have done my best to keep up with all of the stories being released, it became very apparent early on that it just wouldn’t be possible to do so. This hardly means I haven’t tried my best, but it does mean that I am well aware there are tales I have missed and probably will never experience. Since I have no interest in subscribing to Star Wars Insider magazine, I miss out on the short-stories that appear in each edition. I have certainly read a few here and there, but otherwise I’ve missed most of them and am not rushing out to read them. This is also true of the discontinued Star Wars Rebels magazine, each issue containing a story in the form of a comic. I’m sure those comics are quite fun, and perhaps I will check them out at some point, but for now I’m just not that interested in going out of my way to read them.

In turn, even of the new stories I have encountered in the Disney canon (and this goes for the EU as well), I’ve absolutely loved some, really disliked others, and have otherwise mixed emotions about a handful. I thought Kevin Hearne’s novel Heir to the Jedi was rather bland, have been underwhelmed by the novels in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath series, felt the Chewbacca comic series left a lot to be desired, and walked out of my first viewing of The Force Awakens asking myself what the hell I had just watched. On the flip side, I really enjoyed playing the now discontinued Star Wars: Uprising video game, absolutely love the Princess Leia and Lando comic series, was blown away by Christie Golden’s novel Dark Disciple and James Luceno’s novel Tarkin, and have really enjoyed the rich layers being added to the canon thanks to the animated show Star Wars Rebels.

Run2
The Grand Inquisitor, introduced in Star Wars Rebels, is now one of my absolute favorite characters. I am hoping he will get his own novel or comic series.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Rebels Season 1, Episode 14: “Fire Across the Galaxy”

But just because I love one particular story or dislike another doesn’t mean I find perfection/imperfection in everything. I might not love Heir to the Jedi but there are some very good moments in the novel, The Force Awakens has grown on me over time, the Uprising game was fun but also incredibly tedious, and even though I am really loving Star Wars Rebels I’ve been a vocal critic of the overuse of the Jedi and the Force in the series. For me, being a fan of Star Wars is not a zero sum game, a matter of either love or hate. Rather, more often than not it boils down to shades of gray, the acknowledgment that stories that I feel are wonderful still have flaws, and those I believe fall short do have some redeeming qualities. 

None of this is to say that my particular reactions/thoughts on each Star Wars story, or my moments of exhaustion, boredom and dispassion with the franchise as a whole, must be globally accepted. My personal fandom is no more or less important than any other fan, and my subjective experiences of Star Wars need not dictate the experiences others have. Besides, I can think of nothing more absurd than being a fan of Star Wars and lording my fandom over others. No, I am far more interested in sharing aspects of my fandom with others, engaging people in rich conversation about Star Wars. By maintaining this site, my hope is to always do just that: share aspects of Star Wars that stand out to me – the good and the bad, inspirational and discouraging – and open the floor for conversation. 

And that being the case, I have to ask: what are your feelings and opinions on the current state of the Star Wars franchise? Am I the only one who has moments of Star Wars fatigue and boredom, or are there others like me who are out there? If you care to share your thoughts and feelings, leave a comment. 

The Brick Side of the Force

When I was a little kid I had two great passions: Star Wars and LEGO. I won’t delve into all the reasons I fell in love with both, nor try and pinpoint a particular moment where these loves emerged. Instead, I’d rather point out something peculiar about my younger self: I rarely merged these two interests. Actually, come to think of it, I rarely tried. As I would sit building and playing with a new LEGO set, my Star Wars toys and books would sit idly by. And, when I was tired of playing with LEGOs, I w0uld shift back to re-reading the Thrawn Trilogy or creating epic battles with my Star Wars Micro Machines or action figures.

That’s how it went for years, my love of these two interests swinging back and forth on a pendulum but never coming to a confluence. One week LEGO, the next Star Wars, and so on (with other interests mixed in). Sadly, becoming a teen meant that playing with toys became less cool and eventually my collection of LEGOs found its way into the attic. On the other hand, my love of Star Wars shifted as well, and I found myself much more engaged in the books, movies, and video games than with the Micro Machines or action figures – which were also packed away.

Shifting interests are natural as one grows up, of course, and thinking back on my youth I am neither dismayed nor discouraged that I stopped playing with LEGOs or my Star Wars toys. Besides, now that I am an adult, those two loves have been combined into a hardcore obsession with the LEGO Star Wars sets I started collecting in 2012. Needless to say, this collection makes my inner-child very happy. Admittedly, 2012 was a bit late to the LEGO Star Wars scene because LEGO actually began introducing Star Wars sets in 1999. Plus, I didn’t even think about buying any sets until after I met a friend in grad school who had a sweet LEGO collection of her own (check out her blog). But hey, better late than never!

So, all that said, I figured I would have a little fun and share some of my ever expanding collection with y’all. Enjoy!!!


 

ARC170

My LEGO ARC-170 on patrol in my Star Wars room. It is one of my absolute favorite sets, was fun to build AND I got it at Target for only $30. #Winner

Clones and Jedi

Clone Troopers and Jedi stand in front of the AT-TE,    AT-AP, and Republic Gunship. Can you spot Clone Commander Gree?

DookuVentress

Count Dooku and Asajj Ventress prepare to lead battle droids into a fight. I purposefully spent a little extra to get a set with Ventress.

Malgus

Darth Malgus might be an EU character, but that doesn’t make him any less intimidating. Look at those eyes!!!

Destroyer

This sweet thing was a birthday gift from me to me.

Three Clone Commanders

Captain Rex, Commander Gree, and Commander Cody discuss strategy.

The Ghost Crew

The crew of The Ghost pose for a picture.

Freeco Speeder

Although small, the Freeco Speeder was a really fun build and came with two sweet minifigures: snowsuit Anakin and Talz Chieftain Thi-Sen.

YwingAttack

A Rebel Y-Wing goes on the attack.

Boba and Lando

Boba Fett hangs out on a desert skiff with a disguised Lando Calrissian.

Droid Assembly

It took a while to assemble all of the droids that came with the Battle Droid Troop Carrier.

LEGO Rey

Who is LEGO Rey?

AV-7 Anti-Vehicle Cannon

AV-7 Anti-Vehicle Cannon

AT-DP

AT-DP from Star Wars Rebels. 

LegoVeers

Lego Veers takes his job very seriously.

Sebulba

Some smaller sets on the mantle.

Qui-Gon

Qui-Gon Jinn sure is a handsome lad.

Mando

A hidden Mando base.

Talkernado

Gozanti-class Cruiser “Talkernado”

The Empire

Imperial soldiers and officers – Colonel Yularen in the center – stand at attention behind the Emperor and Darth Vader.

 


This post is part of the Star Wars ComLINKS series. Check out more Star Wars ComLINKS over at Anakin and His Angel.

swcomlinksbanner1

Would Princess Leia’s “Real Mother” Please Stand Up… (Part I)

Princess Leia: Luke, what’s wrong?

Luke: Leia, do you remember your mother? Your real mother?

Princess Leia: Just a little bit. She died when I was very young. 

Luke: What do you remember?

Princess Leia: Just… images really. Feelings.

Luke: Tell me.

Princess Leia: She was… very beautiful. Kind, but sad. Why are you asking me this?

Luke: I have no memory of my mother. I never knew her.[1]


For the inaugural post on The Imperial Talker, I thought I would dive right in and wrestle with a continuity issue that has bugged me since I first saw Revenge of the Sith – and it relates directly to the exchange between Luke and Leia in Return of the Jedi which I provided above. In fact, as a good Star Wars fan, you probably already know where I am going with this, but for those who are unsure, I will clue you in:

Leia’s (and Luke’s) “real mother,” Padme Amidala, dies at the end of Revenge of the Sith immediately after giving birth to the twins.

Whoops! That is a bit awkward.

Padme dying...how sad :-( Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Padmé dying…how sad 😦
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Things get even more awkward when one remembers that Revenge of the Sith was made 20 years after Return of the Jedi. One would have thought that to make this exchange work, George Lucas would have kept Leia and Padme together long enough for a young Leia to remember her “beautiful,” “kind,” and “sad” mother before she died. But he didn’t, and we are subsequently stuck with a pretty glaring continuity error, one that to my knowledge has yet to be fixed, let alone adequately addressed.

Now, at this point, one might argue that this error doesn’t matter, that the exchange about Leia’s mother is only one detail in the larger exchange between the siblings. On the surface, you wouldn’t be wrong.

As a whole, the entire dialogue between Luke and Leia works very well to establish the two as siblings and is rather moving, particularly when considered in conjunction with a number of other scenes.[2] Yet, the exchange about Leia’s mother begins this exchange and, as such, sets the tone for it. By asking about Leia’s mother, Luke does something that at no other point has he done before: he actually wants to discover something about his mom.

Think about it, when has Luke ever cared to find something out about the woman who gave birth to him? He has obsessed about his father, but his mom has been absent from his conversations with his uncle, his aunt, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda. But here, in this intimate moment with the girl he just recently learned is his sister, he asks a question about his mother, gleaning anything he can from Leia about this woman he never knew.

In turn, Leia provides a glimpse of her mother: that she died when Leia was young; that she can only recall images of her mother; and that her mother was “kind” and “beautiful” but “sad.”

Then, Leia asks a question of Luke: “Why are you asking me this?”

As a viewer, we know why Luke is asking, even though Leia does not: because Leia’s mother is Luke’s mother and we get to learn about this mystery woman along with Luke. It is unfortunate, then, that Luke, along with viewer, has been deceived…

When George Lucas made Revenge of the Sith, and showed Padme Amidala’s death immediately after Luke and Leia were born, this intimate exchange in Return of the Jedi was effectively watered down thanks to the creation of unnecessary confusion. Now, Star Wars fans and casual movie goer were left wondering: How does Leia know anything about her mother since her mother died only moments after Leia was born? Given the that the new and improved Star Wars universe is being carefully created, edited, and maintained by the powers at Lucasfilm/Disney, fixing continuity issues should be just as important as ensuring future continuity. As such, two initial solutions, albeit inadequate ones come to mind immediately:

Inadequate Solution # 1 – As a baby, only minutes old, Leia was able to form a complex physical and emotional understanding of her mother. I feel I do not need to explain why this answer is inadequate in relation to basic issues of early childhood cognitive development. Rather, I would argue that this answer falls flat because if Leia could form these thoughts, why couldn’t Luke?

Inadequate Solution # 2 – Leia is actually talking about her stepmother, Breha Organa. Let’s recall for a moment that Luke asks Leia if she remembers her “real mother” and that Leia explains to Luke that her mother “died when I was very young.” The implication here is that Luke and Leia both know Leia was adopted at a very young age by the Organa’s. Given that Leia was a member of the Imperial Senate and a ranking leader within the Rebellion, it would be unlikely that, all of a sudden, she is mistaking her stepmother as her real mother. In turn, if she were describing Breha Organa, then, this creates a weird contradiction in and of itself: that Breha died when Leia was young, something that the new Princess Leia comic series shows did NOT happen.

Inadequate Solution # 3 – Leia is knowingly lying to Luke. Besides the silliness of this possible answer, this solution falls short because the entirety of the exchange between Luke and Leia does not hint at any possibility of false information being presented. On the contrary, their dialogue is intimate, and as they continue talking – about Vader being Luke’s father, about the Force being strong in Luke’s family, and about Leia being Luke’s sister – they are actually drawn closer as siblings. If Leia is lying, then the scene would be watered down in a different way: by undermining the connection Luke and Leia establish as siblings, which is precisely why I call this solution silly.

Again, these are just initial solutions that pop into mind to make sense out of what Leia says to Luke. I am sure that other inadequate solutions could be thought up pretty easily, but I would rather move on to a more positive look at this topic.

Rather than continue to dwell on the confusing nature of this continuity issue, or the inadequate possibilities to solve it, I want to present my own fix for this continuity issue. So, in Part II, I will do just that – make sure to check back in a few days.

In the meantime, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on this issue and if you have any other continuity issues you would like to see me address in the future.

Thanks for reading and May the Fourth be with you!!!


[1] Dialogue taken from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

[2] Two in particular of note: 1) When Luke discovers Leia is his sister when talking with ghost Kenobi and; 2) When Vader taunts Luke about turning his “sista” to the Dark Side.