Some fun writings and ramblings leading up to seeing Star Wars IX answering the questions here:
#1 - My earliest Star Wars memory is being a wee little tot, asking my babysitter to put on the Star Wars VHS "with the big worm in it". She put on Return of the Jedi, assuming I was talking about Jabba the Hutt- but my REAL favorite was Empire Strikes Back, with the Exogorth (giant space worm).
#2 - The Rebel/Resistance flight suit (especially when worn by Poe Dameron)
#3 - My favorite lightsaber is... mine! I built it for my 29th birthday in Savi's Workshop on Batuu. I am also working to recreate it virtually in Jedi: Fallen Order. The etchings on the side match the ancient Jedi texts from The Last Jedi. Somday I hope we find out what they mean!
#4 - The Weirdest Thing in Star Wars is... The Mind Evaporator- a virtual reality erotic entertainment simulator used by Chewbacca's father Attichitcuk in The Holiday Special. (The hologram's name was Mermeia, and she appeared as a human, but in the old lore also appeared in a variety of other holographic forms). I suppose that's not technically canon anymore. If I'm going for canon answers... uh... Sny Snootles. It's not that weird that there's alien pop stars in the Star Wars universe - I mean, no one takes issue with Fig'rin Dan and the Modal Nodes - but what's super bizarre about Sny Snootles is that she is the lover of Ziro the Hutt. It's pretty grotesque to contemplate... and also... weird... I'm curious to see how other Star Wars fans answer these questions!
#5 The look and half smile Obi-Wan gives Vader immediately before he allows himself to be struck down. It speaks of the kind of quiet confidence and serene, enlightened perspective I find inspiring.
I love Old Ben. Sir Alec Guiness breathed so much pain, and wisdom, and clarity, and benevolence into the role. He's my favorite character in the franchise, and while I could say just about any moment of his could qualify, that specific glance is my favorite A New Hope moment.
#6 - Top 3 Star Wars Tracks:
Hm... This is probably the hardest of all the questions. John Williams is brilliant and to narrow down the whole Star Wars symphonic universe to just three tracks seems almost impossible.
I'm going to try and just go with my gut and not overthink this.
1) Across the Stars - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wMiMDBHnJ0
The prequels had a lot of bad, but the music is so so good. Across the Stars is beautiful, and listening to it in high fidelity on a nice pair of headphones is so relaxing and emotional. You can feel the yearning - and I love the harp in it.
2) Ben's Death / TIE Fighter Attack https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADfAgqrNCsM
I chose this as a bit of a cheat- it features elements of so many other great themes, including Leia's Theme and The Force Theme - but the second part of the piece is what really gets me pumped. This is the track I associate most with my childhood "flight training" - playing X-wing and TIE Fighter and dreaming of being the best pilot in the galaxy. The DUN. DUN. Dun-DUN. DUN DUN DUUN DUN DUN - that's the sound of adventure right there.
3) Main Title https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9lapdvLSGw
This music sets the stage - it invites you to a galaxy far far away. It's triumphant, bold, and inspiring.
#7 - Pick a planet to vacation to:
I would have said Jedha, because ancient Jedi lore and mysticism would be super fascinating to explore, but it got blown up in a "mining accident". Most other Jedi temples and history was likewise disposed of (Illum, for instance, was turned into Starkiller base, then blown up).
As a tourist, I'd guess that Canto Bight would be have pretty good lodging, food, and entertainment, although it seems ethically dubious, so maybe not.
I'd assume Coruscant would have a hefty amount of things to do and places to see - big cities are great for that - but it might be a bit overwhelming.
Naboo has beautiful architecture, nature, and fascinating political history, so that would be a possibility. Yavin IV's Massassi temples are super beautiful and fascinating...
The thing is, my favorite places to vacation are places with deep and involved history. On Earth, my favorite vacation destination so far was Rome, because of the amazing museums.
Ahch-To is beautiful also, and had significance to the Jedi Order, but some girl stole the ancient Jedi texts and so they aren't even there anymore... Hm...
I might have to be cheeky with my answer, and say Batuu. There's a good bar, decent food, plenty of good shopping. There's lore to uncover and I hear you can partner up with Hondo Onaka for a quick smuggling job. The First Order and Resistance are both vying for control of the planet, which might be dangerous, but also gives me a chance to actually participate in the galactic war in a meaningful way... So yeah. Batuu.
#8: Favorite blooper
There are many, many delightful bloopers from the Star Wars movies. Perhaps I'm partial to the ones from Attack of the Clones because it is, by most counts, the weakest of the saga. It's nice to watch the bloopers and realize that Natalie and Hayden and Ewan were just actors being actors inbetween takes. I especially enjoy the blooper (which has since been immortalized in gif form) of Ewan's Obi-Wan jamming out as he drives a hovercar.
I also enjoy watching Hayden biffing it. Not entirely out of schedenfreude - I think it shows how hard he was working to try and pull off what George wanted. The movie may be pretty cringey, but the blooper reel helps humanize it a bit. Enjoy!
I have fallen behind on my Star Wars countdown, and we are only 7 days away til the premiere of Rise of Skywalker! I am so ridiculously excited to see the film and experience the next chapter in the story!
I'm going to condense the list to a few of my favorite prompts and issue them rapid-fire.
My favorite moment from Empire Strikes Back is the line
"I don't believe it."
"That - is why you fail."
My favorite moment from Return of the Jedi is Luke throwing away his lightsaber and declaring that he is a Jedi.
As a kid I was always confused by his choice to throw away his lightsaber- after all, the Emporer was still dangerous!
But as I've grown older, I've realized the strength in tossing aside his weapon. Of course, he had no idea how dangerous Palpatine was, but he had, in this moment, rejected Palpatine's temptation to "strike me down".
Luke was on the verge of losing himself to the Dark Side. He had the best of intentions - saving and protecting Leia - but once he recognized that he was becoming what he was striving to stop - he did the right thing, threw away his lightsaber, and declared himself a Jedi. He passed the test.
Favorite Moment from The Phantom Menace.
But first, some context - I was in 4th grade the year The Phantom Menace came out - but I had been a Star Wars fan as long as I can remember. What shocked, amazed, and delighted me more than anything was that my peers were talking about Star Wars again. I went from playing make-believe Star Wars games with only a couple of friends in 2nd and 3rd grade (Rayla Shumway Cassinat, Brock Fish, and Chance Cherry for instance) to feeling like half the playground were suddenly my friends, and I remember having giant make-believe Star Wars. I still have a journal from that time, with a handful of pages of my own 4th grade fan-fiction interpretations of our exploits...
But even before it came out - I remember seeing the very first trailer for it - I have no idea what movie it was- but the trailer confused and delighted me - more Star Wars? I felt like the universe was creating it specifically for me - who loved Star Wars more than anything and thought it was a closed story, never to be touched or opened again except by Expanded Universe novels of varying quality.
Making the trip down to the Valley to see it with my cousins, I remember asking my aunt Myrna Harris (who had seen it before me) if she liked it. I remember being perplexed at her response; "I think YOU will like it."
As an adult, I think that was a pretty good answer to give a 9 year old.
I definitely feel the prequels had a lot of mis-steps. I think George Lucas is visionary but that all great art requires adversity - and without people to edit, check, or question his decision-making, he created a very odd, very bloated, very incoherent plotline without any clear protagonist and very loose connections to the actual story of Star Wars.
So - what is my favorite moment?
It would be a cop-out to say my favorite moment from TPM was the epic playground battles, or the thrill of seeing Star Wars merchandise back on store shelves (instead of the small dedicated section of action figures it had been). Episode I: Podracer was an absolute blast that I played for hours and hours as a boy, and loved every minute of. Musically speaking, John Williams' "Duel of the Fates" is one of the best tracks in the whole galaxy far, far away, and I might also say that Weird Al Yankovic's "The Saga Begins" might be the single greatest contribution TPM made to the Star Wars fan culture.
I suppose my answer for the movie itself might be the moment Qui-Gon kneels to meditate during a brief respite in his duel with Darth Maul. As you can probably tell by my previous answers, I'm always fascinated by the spirtiual aspects of the Star Wars universe, and the idea of this incredible warrior taking time to breathe and calm himself while his opponent glowers at him - it is cool. Of course, it doesn't pan out for him in the long run. :<
Favorite Moment of the Attack of the Clones.
By my estimation, the worst of the Star Wars movies, although I can understand why some might make the case that The Phantom Menace is worse. (It's kind of a sin of ommission vs comission thing - TPM does almost nothing for the story, AotC does bad things, so...)
My favorite moment is the seismic charge detonation in the asteroid chase scene between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jango Fett.
It's a pretty superb visual and audio effect, and seeing it in theaters was awesome - the silence followed by the otherworldly explosion. (A beat that is somewhat echoed in The Last Jedi with what some fans call The Holdo Maneuver, although that one adds an even more incredible visual effect that never fails to take my breath away)
The whole chase sequence feels very Star Warsy, and doesn't feature acting or dialogue that breaks immersion.
I also think "Across the Stars" is a beautiful love theme, which also sprang from this film.
Favorite Moment of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
My first answer comes from the novelization - wherein author Matthew Stover does an excellent job of telling the thematic and heartrending story in a much better way than the film does, by my estimation. He has these neat exposition cutaways in the middle of action sequences to try and help convey the gravity and nuance of each character's legacy. Each of these sections start with the phrase "This is..." There are sections where "This is Anakin Skywalker... This is what it means to be Count Dooku... this is Yoda... This is what the friendship of Anakin and Obi-Wan means". They're written poetically- and they're delightful.
My favorite is his description of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
"This is Obi-Wan Kenobi: a phenomenal pilot who doesn't like to fly. A devastating warrior who'd rather not fight. A negotiator without peer who frankly prefers to sit alone in a quiet cave and meditate.
Jedi Master. General in the Grand Army of the Republic. Member of the Jedi Council. And yet, inside, he feels like he's none of these things.
Inside, he still feels like a Padawan...
He smiles now, and sometimes even jokes, and has become known for the wisdom gentle humor can provide. THough he does not know it, his relationship with Anakin has molded him into the great Jedi Qui-Gon always said he might someday be.
It is characteristic of Obi-Want that he is entirely unaware of this... Greatness was never his ambition. He only wants to perform whatever task he is given to the best of his ability.
He is respected throughout the Jedi Order for his insight as well as his warrior skill. He has become the hero of the next generation of Padawans; he is the Jedi their masters hold up as a model. He is the being that the Council assigns to their most important missions. He is modest, centered, and always kind.
He is the ultimate Jedi.
And he is proud to be Anakin Skywalker's best friend."
The whole book does so much justice to Obi-Wan's character- it really merits a read and is probably one of the main reasons Obi-Wan is my favorite Star Wars character.
In terms of my favorite moment from the film... Hmm... I'll go with the spectacle that is the opening sequence. George Lucas was so impressed by the cinematography of Pearl Harbor that he hired the same cinematographers to build a giant space battle above Coruscant, at a scale that was never before seen in the space battles. Yes, Endor might have had as many ships or more- but we didn't see Capital ship artillery wailing on each other the way we did in that amazing opening sequence. (Yet again, having a hard time finding a decent GIF- so enjoy this one instead)
Favorite Moment from The Force AwakensI was shocked, amazed, and delighted when news of Episode VII was first announced. I recall the first trailer being dropped and showing it to my second grade class to ask their opinions (if it looked cool, what did they know about Star Wars already, etc).
TFA was also the first Star Wars premiere I got to attend with Rachael! We went in costume, and my breath caught at the opening title card - "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...."
So in terms of, moment in my life, TFA has that moment of sharing the love of this galaxy with the love of my life.
In terms of my favorite moment from the film... This is probably one of the most obvious picks, but...
The Last Jedi
Ooooh boy. I've already written essays about The Last Jedi. I will say that currently it is probably my favorite of all the films.
I love so many things about it - and yes, it is imperfect- but what is good in there is so, so good. It finally answers questions and dares to boldy forge new paths into the lore and characters that even I, lifelong supernerd that I am, could not expect or predict. And yes - it certainly challenges the viewer in a way not many blockbuster films dare to do - it makes you question yourself for not trusting Holdo, it makes you question whether Luke Skywalker ever actually was the good guy you spent years assuming he was- and at the end of it, it assures you that "no one is ever really gone".
This movie is phenomenal - it didn't add a ton to the scope of the Star Wars universe- but it did add depth, character arc, and heart in the best dose since The Empire Strikes Back.
My favorite moment... has got to be the aftermath of the battle in the Throne Room. In the theater- watching it for the very first time, I experienced such conflict during this scene - I didn't know what was going to happen, and I certainly didn't know what I wanted to or hoped would happen. I felt pity for both of the characters, and a little bit of despair as I realized the happily ever after wasn't coming so easily just yet...
I think Adam Driver is brilliant, and Kylo Ren is by far the most fascinating character in the sequel trilogy so far (don't get me wrong, I love them all!)!
My friends have confirmed that loving something does not mean it is perfect. Keep that in mind as you enjoy any space opera movies you watch this week, and SPOIL NOTHING.
Don't worry. I will be back to write A LOT once I have digested episode IX.
Until then my friends, May the Force Be With You.