- Who is your favorite character from the original trilogy?
Han Solo. He was always the guy I most wanted to be when I grew up. At least on the days when I didn't want to be Captain Kirk.
To tell the truth, though, it's very difficult for me to single out any one Original Trilogy character and call him/her/it my absolute favorite. After thirty-some years, they all feel like old friends to me and I love them all, even the bad guys and the minor characters. Even the non-characters, for that matter, like the little mouse droid Chewie frightens onboard the Death Star.
- How would you rank the original trilogy, in order from favorite to least favorite?
1. The Empire Strikes Back
2. Star Wars (that is its title, people, not this revisionist New Hope stuff...)
3. Return of the Jedi
- What are two of your favorite action scenes from the original trilogy?
The Battle of Yavin and the Battle of Hoth. Both still put me on the edge of my seat, even though I have virtually every frame memorized.
- What do you consider the most emotional scene from the original trilogy?
Difficult to choose, this is. There are so many moments in the OT that put a lump in my throat or send a chill through my body, even after all these years: Luke's dawning realization that the stormtroopers may have paid a visit to Owen and Beru; Leia's expression of anguish and Chewie's heartbreaking howl as the Hoth Base shield doors close for the night; the carbon-freeze and "I am your father"; Vader's decision to save his son from the Emperor.
But weirdly, the first thing that came to mind when I read the question was a small moment that probably doesn't even have much impact on most viewers: Red Leader telling Luke not to come to his rescue, because half his engines are gone and he knows there's no hope for himself. His screaming plunge into the surface of the Death Star marks the turning point for young Skywalker; at this point, everything hinges on the farmboy from that insignificant rock on the Outer Rim. Now it's not just the Princess he needs to save; it's everyone. And he knows it.
- Do you have any favorite toys or collectibles based off the original trilogy?
Uh, yeah, a whole basement full! My very favorite pieces, though, are things I've had since childhood, specifically the die-cast Millenium Falcon I got for my tenth birthday (my mom took me and a number of friends to see Moonraker, and the M. Falcon went along for that ride), and a 12-inch Han Solo doll that I never actually played with. It was probably my first display-only piece.
- Which character had the most unsatisfying death in the original trilogy?
I hate to go along with the crowd, but on this one I really have to say Boba Fett. He was built up to be the all-time badass mofo of Samuel L. Jackson-ish proportions (this was, of course, long because Sam Jackson actually became part of the Star Wars universe), and he's dispatched in a five-second bit of slapstick? It might have been okay if the gag had actually been funny, but it's so not. It was lame even when I was twelve.
I've long thought that since the original Star Wars borrowed so heavily from Westerns, the appropriate thing would've been a High Noon-style shoot-out between Han and Boba, maybe after the sailbarge sequence on some dusty street in Mos Eisley...
- What’s your favorite ship or vehicle from the original trilogy?
The obvious choice is the Falcon, but I'm also deeply fond of the X-Wings, the AT-ATs, the snowspeeders (I love how their braking flaps are always opening and closing), and the speeder bikes. And of course the Imperial shuttles and Star Destroyers.
- Who is your favorite character from the prequel trilogy?
Qui Gon Jinn. Liam Neeson is one of my favorite actors anyhow, but in this part he exudes such uncomplicated warmth, kindness, strength, and confidence. He perfectly embodies the role of a warrior-priest at the height of his order, before the rot and stagnation is revealed. I also appreciate the understated humor he brings to the proceedings, in such stark contrast to the broad "poodoo" jokes.
- How would you rank the prequel trilogy, in order from favorite to least favorite?
1. Revenge of the Sith
2. Attack of the Clones
3. The Phantom Menace
- What are two of your favorite action scenes from the prequel trilogy?
The duel between Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, in which we see for the first time Jedi who are at the height of their abilities, but a bit soft from not having faced an equal threat in so long; and the ground battle on Geonosis in Clones. I love the Republic gunships, especially the sound of their motors, and this sequence (unlike the big space battle in Sith) captures the chaos of a massive fight spread out across a vast territory without being difficult to follow. And we get to see a proto-walker being dropped off, for those who've always wondered how the Imperial AT-ATs get down to the surface of Hoth!
- What do you consider the most emotional scene from the prequel trilogy?
Like Jaquandor, I found pretty much the entire second half of Sith intensely emotional -- I spent about an hour with moist eyes, in between moments when I was freely crying -- but the thing that really got me, more than Anakin's betrayal of Mace Windu or Order 66 or the slaughter of the younglings, more than Obi Wan's anguished "You were the chosen one!" or the reveal of little Annie's carved japor snippet in Padme's dead hands, the thing that caused to me to outright sob... was Yoda's choked, utterly disconsolate declaration after fleeing from the Emperor: "Failed, I have." Those three words convey so much: the end of everything this character believed in, fought for, and lived by for centuries. Seeing Yoda -- Yoda, whose name is practically synonymous with wisdom and strength of character to we first-generation fans -- so utterly beaten broke my heart in ways that all of Anakin's evil-doing couldn't begin to match.
- Do you have any favorite toys or collectibles based off the prequel trilogy?
Honestly, no. I bought a lot of prequel-related stuff when the hype was at its maximum, but now that I've gained some distance, I find that very little of it means much to me. Certainly not in the way the '70s and '80s vintage stuff does.
- Which character had the most unsatisfying death in the prequel trilogy?
Darth Maul. Like Boba Fett, his general appearance and behavior suggest extreme bad-assery, and I figured he would be an ongoing threat throughout the prequels. Instead, he gets rubbed out fairly anti-climatically at the end of the first film and we never learn a bloody thing about him, or why he has such a grudge against the Jedi, or even why we've never seen another creature in the entire saga who looks like him. I think it would've been far more effective to have him be the overt threat in Clones and Sith rather than Dooku and General Grievous, and have the Jedi only begin to think "there is another" after Maul goes down and Palpatine has already seduced Anakin.
At least he didn't die via slapstick, though.
- What’s your favorite ship or vehicle from the prequel trilogy?
While I mildly agree with the frequent criticism that the prequels could've used a signature ship that continued throughout all three movies, like the Millenium Falcon in the OT, there were a lot of neat vehicles to be found here. I already mentioned the Republic gunships, and the Republic battle cruisers are just plain cool in the way they evoke the Imperial Star Destroyers that lie in the future. I also like all the variants on the Naboo cruiser (or, as I like to call them, the chrome-mobiles), especially the big one that sounds like a B-24 bomber and gets blown away at the start of Clones. But I think the one ship I really like is Obi Wan's Jedi fighter in Clones, the one with the detachable hyperdrive ring.
I've encountered a lot of fans who think the prequel vehicles are too small, too sleek, and generally too unlike the designs in the OT, but that's kind of the point, isn't it? The era of the Empire seen in the original films is a degenerate time where everything is heavily industrial and utilitarian. The Republic was supposed to be a more elegant age, where aesthetics counted for something, and both the Naboo cruisers (and the Naboo fighters, for that matter) and the early Jedi fighters reflect that. I can imagine some designer somewhere who came up with the hyper-ring only after his superiors told him he had to give his little minimalist masterpiece lightspeed capability, and he probably spends the rest of his career griping to anyone who'll listen how The Man ruined his design.
- If you could get a personalized Star Wars-themed license plate for your car, what would it say?
"Red Five." And in my case, it would even be sort of appropriate, since between my father and I, there's a complete squadron of six red vehicles around the Bennion Compound.
- Do you have a favorite Star Wars-based video game?
I don't play video games, at least not the home console/PC versions that I suspect this question's author was thinking of. However, I pumped a lot of quarters into the original Star Wars arcade game, the one with the red, blue, and green vector graphics, back in the day. And in the more recent day (i.e., only 10 years ago instead of 30), I enjoyed the Star Wars Trilogy arcade game.
- Have you read any of the Star Wars books (expanded universe), and if so, what are your favorites?
Sure, I've read lots of them, both the very early Del Rey tie-ins and the Bantam tie-ins from the 1990s. When Del Rey regained the contract in the mid-90s, though, they started pumping them out so fast that I could no longer keep up. And considering the wide variance in quality and the general repetitiveness of many of the plots -- I remember thinking more than once, "Really? We're going back to Tatooine again?!" -- it wasn't any big loss.
Of the ones I have read, my faves are the Han Solo trilogy by Brian Daley (not to be confused with the later Han Solo trilogy by A.C. Crispin, which were fine but didn't really grab me like Daley's vision of our favorite scoundrel did) and of course Tim Zahn's Thrawn trilogy, which kick-started the whole Star Wars revival of the early '90s in the first place.
- Are you a fan of the “Clone Wars” cartoon series?
A casual fan. I don't have cable so I only manage to catch it once in a while when I happen to be at The Girlfriend's place at the right time. From what I've seen, I think it's a pretty good show -- recognizing, of course, that it's aimed at children and has only 22 minutes to tell a story, so it's not going to have the depth I, being a 41-year-old man, would personally like to see. Even with its limitations, though, it's not a dumb series, and it's not lacking in serious ideas. And Cad Bane is a pretty damn cool bad guy. In certain respects, he's what Boba Fett should've been in the Original Trilogy.
- What (or who) do you hope to see in upcoming Star Wars TV series?
Something different... a series that never once visits a world we've already seen in the six movies. Something about the "average guys" of the Rebellion might be good; no Jedi or Sith or Senators or big, important characters, just some galactic good old boys who joined up and are trying to do their part. Hey, maybe a series about Wedge Antilles and the boys of Rogue Squadron? Or perhaps something dealing with smugglers and con men operating on the fringes of the Empire? Or even of the Republic, so we can see the development of the Separatist Movement through the eyes of the average citizen?
- If you were stranded on a desert island with one Star Wars character, who would you want it to be and why?
The obvious answer is Artoo-Detoo, of course, for all the useful gadgetry he carries inside himself. The sexist answer is Padme or Leia or one of those Twi'lek chicks for, ahem, companionship. But the perverse side of me is thinking one of those Gamorrean guards from Jabba's palace would be good... good after roasting all day in a pit with some pineapple. If you're stuck on an island, you may as well have a luau, right?
Twenty Questions about Star Wars
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