This week's mailbag features thoughts on The Clone Wars, sharing Star Wars with kids, and Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm.
Sharing Star Wars With The Next Generation
Star Wars has been a huge part of my childhood, my adolescence and adulthood. How old am I? Well, I saw the Holiday Special the one time it was on TV. I had a vinyl copy of the soundtrack LP. We had an 8-track of it at my Grandparent's. I remember lining up forever to see Empire. Sounds like ancient history now!
Now I am a Dad finally and as my little 8 month old girl gets older I will be able to share that love with her. For my first Father's Day her mom got us matching "Baby Jedi On Board" stickers for our vehicles. : )
I work with kids and I can safely say Star Wars is alive & well with the younger generation. Granted, many of them know Star Wars as LEGO more than they do as movies, but okay, that's a start. It sure warms my heart when I see them wearing SW shirts or playing with toys. I blow their minds when they realize I know the names of the characters, species, vehicles, etc.
Unfortunately I'm the only adult I know who avidly watches The Clone Wars so in lieu of having friends my own age to discuss each episode with, I at least have you guys and the Clone Wars Roundtable to listen to. Sure it's a one-way exchange but it's nice to have the opinions and observances of my peers. Yes it's ostensibly a kids' show but we all know it's so much more than that.
Just wanted to say thanks for the quality work you do, the insights, the debates, the levity and the information of everything going on in the Universe we love so much.
All the best,
Chris Hamilton, White Rock, BC Canada
Thoughts on TCW's Onderon Story Arc
Just wanted to write in and let you know what a big fan I am of The ForceCast and The Clone Wars Roundtable.
I grew up in the 70s and like most people of the era, grew up being a huge Star Wars fan. It was really cool when my son became obsessed with the Saga at only 3 years of age and took me on a Star Wars journey that has continued for the last 6 years. First it started by assisting him in building his Star Wars toy collection, and later when he was 6, it was helping him create a blog about the Star Wars custom action figure community. It became a huge endeavor, but also a really rewarding one too. The blog really took off and we now have an audience from over 100 countries around the world and anywhere from 6,000 to 7,000 hits a month. Creating the blog really pulled me into the SW community in ways I never imagined. For the past 2 1/2 years I have created a new Star Wars custom action figure a week. It was never anything I ever saw myself doing, it was something I started simply because he asked me too.
Anyway, back to your shows. Your podcasts have been have been an incredibly valuable resource that provided me with more insight into the world my son loves so much. We especially love when Dave Filoni makes an appearance to discuss the Clone Wars. The podcasts and roundtables have helped foster many conversations at the dinner table and have really enhanced our Clone Wars viewing experience. Your commentaries are a means of establishing a hobby with my son that has provided hours upon hours of quality bonding time. Your shows have become an invaluable resource that really assisted us in the development of our Star Wars knowledge and helped me on more than one occasion when writing his blog. They're also great for helping me pass time on my long commutes to work. I just want to thank you for the services you, Jason, and the rest of your team provide to the community. We hope you keep it going for years to come.
If I could provide just one piece of constructive criticism...Please stop knocking George for his political Clone Wars episodes. George is one of the biggest patriots our country has in these troubled times. I know you guys crack on him when he makes episodes about tainted iced tea, but more people died in our country from tainted food this year than Americans died on the attacks on 9/11. I was really bummed when you guys totally missed George's critique of the "War on Terror" in the "Soft War" episode this week. A lot of these political episodes are direct commentaries on the events taking place in our world right now and George is drawing these parallels to educate us since the mainstream media isn't doing the job. Even more so he is attempting to do so in an entertaining way. The conversation between Saw and the General was made to help us reevaluate our views on the War on Terror. He asked us to analyze if the people we are labeling as terrorists truly are what we are labeling them, or if they are resisting an occupying force with their robot warriors (drones).
I'm not sure if the dodging of these issues are intentional, and I would understand if they are, but I would ask that if you could not attach a negative connotation to his patriotic efforts. I kind of feel the same way about it that you do when people call Star Wars fans "nerds and geeks". He is one of the lone voices out there that is showing an alternate perspective to the scripted mainstream dialogue and he should be commended for his efforts, not ridiculed. The political episodes have been some of my favorites. I understand that people who watch these episodes want to escape the problems of the world, but George Lucas should really be cheered for bringing these much needed conversations into our living rooms in a subtle and entertaining fashion. Star Wars has always been political. Taking the politics out of Star Wars would be taking a huge part of the Star Wars mythology out of the story. If you ever decide to do any kind of commentary on George Lucas the patriot, I'd love to donate my time to assist you.
Keep up the good work, and may the Force be with you always,
Was TCW's General Tandin In A New Hope?
I have thoroughly enjoyed the Onderon story arc on The Clone Wars, and I am pleased to hear that we will see the "Young Jedi" arc later in S5. I just wanted to mention that in The Clone Wars Roundtable you said it was Agen Kolar on the Jedi Council in "Revival" when it was in fact Eeth Koth (as his outfit is yellow). Koth is my favorite minor character -- he is shown little love in the EU and in merchandise -- and I just wanted to clear that up.
Anyway, before the most recent episode of The Clone Wars aired, Episode IV: A New Hope was on TV. I got so fed up with the ads that I just muted it. While watching the video, I saw a rebel who looked just like General Tandin from TCW. He appeared in only a few shots but he was in the medal ceremony at the end. Then I watched TCW, but afterwards I got out my Star Wars Insider collection, remembering an article about the Rebel medal ceremony by Leland Chee. This article is in issue #109 (June 2012), which has a 501st trooper on the front. Apparently the Rebel man's name is Commander Bob Hudsol. Both Hudsol and Tandin are listed on Wookiepedia, but no connection has been made. Seeing the distinct likeness and the fact that Tandin joins the Rebellion gives me the impression that this might be explored in the future -- especially since Yularen is in Episode IV also. I invite you to make up your own minds and discuss this on the Roundtable.
Also, while watching Episode IV, I noticed that in Princess Leia's message, she says, "Years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars." However, this has not been shown, despite Bail Organa appearing several times, so will this be in the future? Not so sure about this one, but maybe the war goes to Alderaan and Obi-Wan protects Bail. This is another point you can discuss in the Roundtable.
Tension in TCW: It's Needed!
Loving this week's roundtable about "The Gathering." Great to have Steve on; I'm a big fan of his podcast too -- if you haven't done so yet, listen to his two podcasts where he dissects the journeys of Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Great to Jason back, he asks the tough questions that spark interesting debate. I really love your debates!
As far as for how long this Young Jedi arc/series thing was in development -- whether because of Disney or not -- Jimmy is right on that, I'm sure. However, I think that the Disney thing is now a happy coincidence of a good fit. I really think that these episodes were moved at the last minute to air around the time of the Disney announcement. It's like one of those things where they were like, "Oh yeah, this show will really fit with long-term Disney programming for kids." Look, I think the 'future is always in motion' of any Star Wars project; it's like the painter metaphor Lucas always talks about. He has a blank canvas, he doesn't know where its going, he works on one part (TCW), steps back works on another (Young Jedi) and he lets the art kind of find its home organically. During that process, the more fighting, arguing and creative tension the better.
The schizophrenia of the show is what makes it good. That means everyone who is involved is passionate. I'm gonna say something here, I think that's the edge of the original trilogy and the show - they had the creative tension. I love the Prequels, love them! But they needed a little more arguing. If Hayden fought with Lucas like Harrison did, things would have rung a bit truer for things like love dialogue. I'm just saying. Enough of that though. I'm as tired as anyone about prequel criticisms. What I'm saying is, all this schizophrenia is actually a good thing in the long run.
I don't agree that the kids' fate is decided. They could hide, etc. Anything. The canvas is still a work in progress.
So much Star Wars to talk about with you guys! It's awesome.
Force be with you all!! :)
The New Films
Thank you so much for the show. The ForceCast is a large part of a fan community that I am proud of and proud to be a part of. Thank you also for your Oct. 31st show. It made me feel better about the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm—not that I’m the type of fan that quickly assumes that any change is negative, but still, a change this big to something we love so much is a bit scary.
Towards the end of that show however, when you guys were speculating about the next trilogy, I was reminded of my greatest concern regarding a continuation of the saga, and that is simply that I don’t want the significance of the current Star Wars movies to be lessened. Star Wars has permeated the social conscience and has become such a powerful entity because at its heart, it is the story of a farm boy who follows his path to redeem his father, who in turn destroys the galaxy’s evil, and in Disney terms, they live happily ever after. Star Wars is so popular because it is mythology.
If we find out that Darth Vader simply threw a clone Emperor down that chasm, or if Luke turns to the Dark Side after Return of the Jedi, then everything that we love about the original films is compromised. Even Han Solo being offed a few years after Jedi would take away from the happily ever after feeling. I hope that Star Wars will always be in good hands. I also know that as fans, our opinions do have an impact—so I hope that as we continue to have fun speculating and speaking about what we want to see in future Star Wars films, we keep in mind what we love about the films we already have, and I hope that the creators of these future films keep this in mind as well.
Thanks so much again guys, and may the force be with you, always.
Haters Not Welcome
First off, I want to pass on a sincere thanks for everything you do for us, the fans of Star Wars. Like so many others, finding your podcast has reignited my love for the Saga, and kept the conversation going when so few of my friends still share my passion for the 'Wars.
But the reason I'm writing you: I think that now, more than ever, we the true fans need to be positive and loud! We have to mobilize, and scream our love at anyone who will listen!
As VII, VIII, and IX start to develop at Disney, the people making decisions are going to have to take a serious look at the fan community - and like it or not, make a final decision about our value to their franchise. We run the serious risk of becoming stereotyped as the nerd-rage filled haters, screaming the automatically-negative view of some so-called fans. Even from the coverage of the announcement, it's clear that most of the media would rather tell the 'pissed off fanboy' story rather than the 'exciting new chapter' story, and you can bet that for the next decade, we are only going to get more comments from people about who is responsible for 'raping their childhood'. If the decision is made that a 'Star Wars fanboy' is someone who 'used to like Star Wars', then why would they care what we think going forward? If the decision is made that the fans are going to hate whatever the final films end up looking like, the new-bosses would be right to say 'it's time to move forward without them'!
We need to show the love! We need to prove that the true fans who have love the Saga still have an opinion that should matter. If we expect them to remain true to the originals, true to what we have loved and the cannon and characters we are so invested in: we have to show them why. We need to prove the value of our fandom.
The fan community needs to show the powers-that-be how important it is that they continue the Canon.. Because honestly, they could just as easily remake the whole thing with a twilight Cast if they wanted to! We have to convince them to keep our history alive, convince them that Mark and Carrie (and Harrison if he will do it) own those roles.. We have to fight to make sure what George and Dave have built does not get torn down. If we want them to build and improve, rather than start from scratch. Keep it loud and proud, and share the Star Wars love!
May the Force be with you guys. I really hope you get some of that Mickey-Money.
DISNEY: ENDORSE AND SPONSOR THE FORCECAST!
Thanks to all of this week's mailbag contributors! Keep your emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listener Mailbag: December 21, 2012
Listener Mailbag: December 6, 2012
Listener Mailbag: November 21, 2012
Listener Mailbag: October 20, 2012
Listener Mailbag: September 25, 2012
Listener Mailbag: September 17, 2012