Star Wars, nothing but Star Wars…
The SF-Fantasy behemoth is returning to the theatres and that’s why we decided to crown our favourite characters from the saga, both original and prequel trilogy.
Read the choices of our The Supernaughts– contributors and guest author Ernest Rister and tell us what you think of them in the comments!
Stalkeye: Lando Calrissian
Actually I have a few faves from the series but just for the hell of it. I’ll pick a wildcard.
I’ll go with Lando Carissian.
Why you ask? Simple, when we’re are first introduced to the administrator of cloud city, he comes off menacing toward Han (Solo) only to reveal himself as this charming charismatic Man.
Too good to be true? Hells yeah!
Prior to running into Solo and company who sought refuge in Cloud City, it seems that Lando had made a deal with the Devil as in Darth Vader. Lando was obviously forced into setting Han up for captivity, however, his conscience gets the better of him and manages to free Leia and Chewbacca in hopes of rescuing Solo But alas too late . I’m a sucker for redemption storylines and Lando’s arc was another reason of why I loved The Empire Strike Back so much.
Also I have to be honest here, it was cool to see a Brotha in a major SciFi epic and just as important, not some stereotypical buffoon like Jar Jar Binks. Aside from Solo, Lando is a cool Motherfucker!
Insert language of binary here. I’m not what you would call a Star Wars fan in perpetuity. I don’t collect anything, nor have I ever pretended to have a light saber in my hand. I don’t watch them as a rite of passage, nor am I nostalgic for them as some imprint of my youth that needs to be regularly remembered so I can continue functioning on this rock. The first SW film I saw was Return of the Jedi in the theater and only came full circle to the others years later. Completely out of sequence as I knew the end before the beginning. No Beta(Max) did not have the SW films on them and there was no way I could see them, as I had the superior machine and could cradle it like a baby with a smug look on my face. Starts crying.
But one character that left a mark on me was IG-88. Someone I saw in a pic far later and who only appears in Empire. The pre-Terminator, Terminator. We don’t know anything about him. We don’t speak his language. And we barely see him, were it not for one scene where he disappears among other bounty hunters. He’s a essentially a metal skeleton with a rotating visor and some red-sequencing dots. He wears gear and operates as if he has purpose outside of his programming. I don’t know if he belongs to someone or is a Wookiee- like companion. But his mystery is what preserved the series for me and the promise of seeing him again fleshed out later in some other incarnation. Something today I would not want to see in fact. After all we’re on the precipice of the alien space-jockey’s background being filled in. Not to mention the entirety of the SW uni paved over with Disney’s promise to see every corner of it filmed. I think I will stick with half-shadows and my own imagination of who that character was rather than see the last vestige of a seemingly dead galaxy revealed.
PS: No I am not against the new films. I’m indifferent…although they do look good.
AsimovLives: Wedge Antilles
Wedge Antilles, The Galactic Hero
When Detective Dee suggested that I participate in this article, I accepted it and immediately gave the name of my favorite star Wars character. But in truth I hesitated, as for me Obi-Wan Kenobi is a character I enjoy a lot, both when we first met him as a cool old dude as played by Alec Guinness who could still kick ass, and later as the young man played by Ewan McGregor who kicked major ass. He’s one of the major jewels of the series.
But in the end my choice goes to Wedge Antilles. He’s my favorite and he’s the saga’s greatest bad ass. Here’s why:
He survives the 3 major battles in the original trilogy unscathed, and not only he survives to tell the tale, in the 3rd movie he’s responsible to destroy the even bigger Death Star, surpassing Luke’s achievement in the first movie. And he does so without the help of the force. He’s a regular guy who is very good at this job. He doesn’t need the force cheat mode to accomplish great deeds. That’s a bad ass!
He’s also very smart. In the briefing room in A New Hope, he shows scepticism in the feasibility of the rebels’ plan to destroy the Death Star, which he views as a suicide mission, which it is. Thus proving he’s just not some mindless just following orders drone. Yet, despite his misgivings, he acts like a professional and goes along with it. He’s dedicated to the rebels’ cause.
During the battle, he takes down some TIE Fighters, something only a few of the rebel pilots achieve. With Luke he’s the last of the remaining rebel attack force, thus proving his worth as a pilot. When his craft his hit and damaged, he leaves. This again proves he’s a smart fighter. By then the fight was basically lost (Han’s last minute intervention was unplanned and unexpected by all), he had good reasons to think the battle was lost and retreat to fight another day instead of wasting his life on a suicide run. Without Han’s intervention the rebels would had lost the battle and the command destroyed. Wedge, by surviving, could fight another day, perpetuate the cause of the Rebel Alliance.
Some might think that it’s the duty of a fighter to give his life, period. This is not so. As American General George S. Patton once said: “It’s not the duty of a soldier to die for his country, but to make the enemy die for theirs”.
Yet, for all his efforts, Wedge gets shafted, not being rewarded the medal he so deserved, as much as Han or Luke (but so did Chewbacca and R2-D2 and they got chaffed too). So Wedge is both a hero and an underdog. Twice the sympathy. As such, for this and other reasons, my favorite Star Wars character is Wedge Antilles.
Hail Wedge Antilles, the true galactic hero of Star Wars.
Dr. Newton Geiszler: Han Solo
Han Solo is the definitive badass for me, tied with Indiana Jones. Chicks wanted to be with him and dudes wanted to be him (or vice versa!). His cool starship, equally badass friend, and an exciting, dangerous life definitely appealed to most kids.
I can recall a time when I was a kid living in Kansas getting into arguments with my cousin about who would play as Han Solo, as I’m sure other kids at the time were wont to do. But that’s probably not why we all dig the man.
I think it has to do with the fact that he’s a representation of what we become as grown ups. At some point in our lives, we were all young, idealistic, and full of hope and we were so sure of ourselves. But the truth is life is one mean bastard that batters us down relentlessly until we accept that nothing ever changes, that there is no point in doing the right thing, and that hope is a mistake. So we try to take measures to protect ourselves from what life throws at us and thus we form a façade so that we won’t get hurt again. We become more skeptical because we’ve been let down and lied to that it becomes so goddamn tiring to give a shit.
But deep down inside of us, there is a part of us that still believes in helping others, because life can’t take away our conscience. Even if it’s a really idiotic thing to do at the moment. But you do it anyway because who else is going to do it? Anyway that’s my take on Han Solo….oh, and the fact that he’s in debt is kind of a universal thing. So, like, pay your debts off because if you don’t, they’re going to carbon-freeze your ass and a space gangster worm will put you on display in his lair.
Dee: Admiral Ackbar
I cannot count how often I changed the choice of my favourite character from the Star Wars saga. There are just so many great ones, particularly from the original trilogy.
With each revisiting, I saw new qualities in the different characters and my favouritism shifted from Han to Vader over Chewie to Lando and so on. A lot of that has of course to do with my progressing age and the life experiences that inevitably come with it, unspectacular as they may be. Lando for example is now a much more compelling character to me, a more complex, mature and overall superior version of Han Solo in my eyes.
Other characters I initially embraced, then rejected them, only to find some redeeming qualities again later on. A good example for that would be the Ewoks. Every kid loves those fuzzy little teddy bears, but most of us got sick of and embarrassed by them later on. Yet, when I see them today I can’t help but be impressed by those brave little guerilla warriors and I am saddened by the lack of respect they get. The Ewoks rock, deal with it.
But if I had to pick a favourite character nowadays, I’d go with Admiral Ackbar, the leader of the rebel fleet that won the Battle of Endor and blew up the second Death Star, as seen in Return of the Jedi. 1983 was maybe the last moment in history you could call a race of fish-like aliens “Mon Calamari” with a straight face and get away with it.
Star Wars had its share of great alien designs, see Hammerhead and Gran and by ROTJ the budget had become high and the make-up/puppetry FX advanced enough so Lucasfilm and the Jim Henson Creature Shop could present us some of their finest creations. The sequence in Jabba’s palace would seem seriously drawn out and overlong if the place wasn’t stuffed with wacky puppets that lurked in every corner, one reason why it is one of my favourite segments of the whole saga.
Oh, and while we’re at it: Oola > Slave Leia.
Lately Ackbar has been, due to his infamous “It’s a trap!” line, reduced to a one-note joke character in countless memes on the web, suggesting that his rank should be downgraded from Admiral to Captain (Obvious).
That’s a little unfair, as funny as those memes are. In the few minutes he is actually on screen, he conveys a vague idea of a fully formed character with rich backstory, a marvellous feat that the original trilogy pulled off many times, even with the most insignificant supporting/background characters. As I stated before, the make-up/mask FX is still very impressive, with this incredibly detailed mask that gives him the aura of a breathing, living creature. The wobbling rubber hands only add to the charm.
For a character that is inspired by sea creatures, Admiral (sic!) Ackbar is also surprisingly expressive, with the most soulful eyes I ever saw on a squid-lobster-fish hybrid. When he suspends his stoic, controlled temper for a moment to smile and then leans back with the expression of relief as the rebels blow up the Super Star Destroyer, it’s so infectious that we cheer with him. A great shot and a great decision by the filmmakers to give him that moment.
PS: I still love seafood and eat it without bad conscience.
Ernest Rister: Watto and Luke
As a cheat, I’m going to pick two. One pick for the prequel trilogy, and another for the original, classic trilogy.
Starting with the prequels, here’s a bit of not widely known information, at least outside of the sphere of hard-core Star Wars fans. There’s a running theme in The Phantom Menace involving blood-suckers. The next time you watch the film, look at the mouths of the Neimodians (the Trade Federation goons in the back-pocket of Darth Sidious). You’ll notice they have fangs — they’re small, but they’re there. Lucas is essentially referencing vampires. Their much-maligned accents were misconstrued as “Asian” accents, when George Lucas claimed he directed the voice actors to speak with a Bela Lugosi “Dracula” accent. “I vant…to suuuck…your bluuuhd!” Lucas wasn’t employing some sort of ethnic stereotype, he was referencing classic movie vampires.
This takes me to my pick for my favorite character in the Prequels…Watto. Part giant mosquito (blood sucker), part Telly Savalas, this mendacious parts dealer can’t be trusted, and he seems to be having a fine old time making life hell for Qui-Gon and company. He’s deceitful, conniving, he cheats with loaded dice, he’s scum and he knows it, and he doesn’t care. He’s having too much fun. In a film that lacks many colorful characters, he’s one of the few that pops. When I first saw Menace, by the time the party found themselves stranded on Tatooine, I began to feel something was terribly wrong. No one on screen seemed to be having any fun, and I wasn’t having any fun. Then in flapped Watto, and for a while, the movie seemed to regain a sense of Star Wars whimsy and sparkle. Watto also appears in a cameo in Attack of the Clones, with a grizzled beard and flat hat looking for all the world like Al Pacino in Serpico, and I was glad to see him back, if only briefly.
As for the original trilogy, I’m sure most would choose Han Solo or even Lando or Darth Vader, but I’m choosing Luke Skywalker. Kids in decades past had their heroes and role models, from The Lone Ranger to Davy Crockett to Batman and Superman. I was six years old when I first encountered the universe of Star Wars, and Luke was my “in” to that world. Over the course of the three films, it was a terrific experience to see him grow from impatient, immature hothead to the thoughtful and compassionate warrior who brings down the Empire by refusing to fight and throwing down his sword, resurrecting the conscience of his father.
Luke was a true hero, and a great role model. I vividly remember that first screening of Return of the Jedi, with the Wicked Emperor taunting and tempting Luke to join the Dark Side using diabolical extortion. As each moment of that confrontation played out, I found myself increasingly concerned and worried for Luke, no more so than the moment he grabs his saber and takes a swing at the Emperor. My heart was in my throat. I wanted to yell at the screen, “No! Luke, no!” After beating the snot out of Vader, repeatedly chopping at Vader’s arms like a enraged lumberjack, Luke pulls himself together and passes the test. He throws down his sword, and does what his father could not — he rejects power, and practically lays down his life. He finally earns the title of Jedi, and his act of self-sacrifice helps Vader return as Anakin and save the world. Attaboy, Luke!
–Ernest Rister (guest author)
Booger T: Darth Vader
Source: starwarsidentities.com via nerdapproved.com
Star Wars has always been in my life going back as far as me being too young to fully remember my first viewing of it. I do remember very clearly, however, seeing that blockade runner’s door being cut open and the immediate massacre of the hallway of rebel troops that preceded the baddest motherfucker in the galaxy striding through the door and scaring the living shit out of me. I love Luke’s journey, everybody loves Han’s cool, and there’s always the inescapable lure of Boba Fett, but all things considered, Darth Vader is my favorite Star Wars character. Unfortunately, I have to qualify that statement by saying I’m only really considering the original trilogy, because the demystification he suffered from in the prequels, it’s sometimes hard to step back and look at what he used to be and forget obnoxious Annie and wooden Christensen and the pièce de résistance of the comical “NOOOO” from ROTS, but we can do it. We’re retro minded around these parts.
Something that’s missing these days with all the tentpole origin stories bombarding the cinemas is mystery. I don’t know about you, but I don’t WANT to know where Wolverine got his signature leather jacket, or how John Connor got that scar on his face. Those kinds of details are atmosphere, not questions to be answered. The thing about good filmmaking, which goes along with good just about anything, is lack of specificity that makes you feel something instead of noting it. It’s a vibe thing. If they do start paying attention to the universe’s background noise, fans can and will fill in the blanks about what the hell a “Kessel Run” is and what a “womp rat” looks like, and it’s much more fun that way.
The way the story of Darth Vader was handled in the original trilogy was the perfect thread between too much and not enough. Boba Fett was excellently designed and wonderfully enigmatic, but that was it. The EU had to make him into more of a badass than he was. Not Darth Vader, though. Darth Vader was Doctor Doom meets Ming The Merciless and just flat-out bad as hell. His look, his voice, his theme song, his unnervingly iconic breathing all exuded everything they needed to. Then the humanity crept in. We saw it mostly through the eyes of the heroes and when the mystery unfolded it became more and more real but never so real that you had to admit that he was ever your annoying little brother. Every wrinkle made him MORE interesting, raising more questions and making each of the imaginary stories about him we were all writing in our heads more and more fantastical and inventive. It wasn’t until The Phantom Menace when they reversed gears and started undoing all of that, putting dampers and restrictions on the epic fantasy of who Darth Vader was, and constricting his story down to a simple power-corrupts morality tale. For three movies, he was perfect.
You all know me. You know I almost never go with the common choices. Same is the case here, regarding “favorite Star Wars-character.” I’m gonna go with a character that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of screen time (or any actual dialogue, actually), nor any mentionable character history. But instead, he has a memorable look and presence. My pick is: Lobot. Or “Lando’s aide” as he actually gets credited in The Empire Strikes Back.
Why Lobot? Well, there was something instantly cool about a human-looking cyborg in a universe that’s filled with mechanical robots of all shapes and sizes (like the mouse droids, I never understood what their actual purpose was – cleaning the air ducts?). He stands out from all of those. He’s there in Cloud City as Lando Calrissian’s aide – kinda like his right hand man, if you will. And Wookieepedia also lists him as “city’s first and only computer-liaison officer” – so he is actually the city’s IT-support guy, if you think about it. There’s a creepy shot, when Lando pushes a button on a remote and a dormant Lobot suddenly opens his eyes, that kinda forever imprinted into my then 8-9 year-old brain as both scary and cool at the same time.
And when Lando was forced to escape from Cloud City, we never saw Lobot in the movies again. What happened to him? Was he enslaved/terminated by the Imperial forces or did he manage to escape? This was actually answered in the Marvel Star Wars- comics in a two-issue (#56-#57) story, titled “Coffin in the Clouds”/”Hello, Bespin, Good-bye!” where Lando returns to the city, finding it a ghost town because Lobot – malfunctioning due to a Blaster hit – is roaming the streets, violently attacking everyone he sees. After Lando manages to fix Lobot, the two have to deal with the returning Imperial commander and his troops. It was a really cool story and greatly expanded the bio of the character.
Give a salute to the guy with the coolest headset ever!
That’s all, folks. Thanks for reading! Who is the coolest SW-character in your eyes? Let us know!
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