E23 | Books | Star Wars, Series Breakdown
Duh duh duh DUN DA DYN, DUN DA DUN! Even typing it out you know exactly what that song is and it is now playing in your head. Star Wars has such a major cultural impact we felt like we needed to discuss it while sharing a drink! In this episode we discuss Blood and Bones, our choice sidekick, and some of our favorite people of all time (Favreau and Filoni) before diving into our series breakdown of the OG Star Wars Trilogy!
What's on our Flight (01:32)
Dalton’s drinking: Four Day Ray Brewing's Snow Shed Winter Ale. While not technically a type of ale, many of us can recognize a winter ale by the malty, thickly spiced profile that these ales present. Cinnamon and nutmeg are very forward here. SRM 24, ABV 6.5%. 2 cheers for this one. Worth a try, but there are so many others to try this season!
Nelson's drinking: Oak & Eden Bourbon and Spire. This forward, 2 year straight bourbon leaves a lot to be desired. It tries to force a spice profile that leaves a burnt, acrid taste in the finish. The toasted oak spire in the bottle probably doesn't help this problem. 1 cheer here. If you have to try it, take it watered back or with an ice cube to reduce the burnt flavor.
What's On Our Minds (11:50)
We managed to get in quite a bit of reading these last weeks, despite our preparation for the topic!
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Legacy of Orisha Book 1. This series has completely taken over my Mind this last month. A hybrid magic system with a Nigerian pantheon. There is excellent world building and storylines throughout and the book is told from my favorite narration style, first person present. If you like Avatar: The Last Airbender, this is a must read!
Nelson reviewed the recently announced TV series coming up in the Star Wars universe!
Visions, 10 episodes each telling the story of a different character. Set in an anime style.
A Droid Story, following our favorite lovable droids R2-D2 and C3PO.
Andor, telling further stories of Cassian Andor who was introduced to us in Rogue One. In fact, Tony Gilroy will continue his involvement from Rogue One in to this series which should help unify vision and continuity between the two.
The Bad Batch, dubbed "Clone Wars Season 8" by fans of the show. The super soldiers of Clone Force 99 will star in this show.
Lando, telling the origin story of a character from the original trilogy named Greedo Lando, obviously. We are hoping Childish Gambino, a.k.a. Troy from Community reprises his role here!
Rangers of the New Republic, a spinoff of The Mandalorian following the downfall of the Empire after Return of the Jedi.
The Acolyte, set 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, showing the story of Jedi in their heyday. Very excited to see where this one goes!
Obi-Wan Kenobi, which aims to bring Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen back to the franchise. Hopefully Hayden can hold his own and the writing is improved from the prequel trilogy!
Ahsoka, written by Dave Filoni who is repsonsible for Avater: The Last Airbender, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and The Mandalorian. We have very high expectations for this series!
The icebreaker question for this episode was submitted by m_cirocco! (29:58)
If you could have one sidekick or companion be your sidekick / companion, who would it be?
Nelson: R2-D2. Obviously on topic for the topic! He maxes out in usefulness and is down for whatever shenanigans you require of him. A top tier pick for sure.
Dalton: Jean Tannen from The Gentleman Bastards. Jean plays the role of a loyal brute enforcer among a band of thieves, someone I would always be happy to have in my corner.
Thank you so much for the question! If you are looking for us to answer a question, submit your question here.
Discussion starts at 36:17 in the episode
Star Wars defined an era. It is probably the most culturally ingrained series we will ever analyze on the podcast. We are so excited to talk about the Original Trilogy (OT) over drinks here! Our analysis will follow the topics we outlined in previous podcast episodes, including Magic System, World Building, Heroes, Villains, and Story Arc. Check out those notes if we are using terms you are unfamiliar with.
Star Wars is a primary example we pointed to for soft magic. The system is only loosely explained and is used (especially in A New Hope) to impart a feeling of mysticism and awe on the viewers. It is used to help the audience identify with Luke since we do not know or understand the Force just as he does not. Technology is also "soft" throughout the series, with the audience only gathering a vague understanding of technologies such as hyperspace, lightsabers, blast weapons, and the Death star. We discuss in the episode that the writers have a delicate balance when using the force to ensure that it is not too Deus Ex Machina, acting as a magical fix to whatever challenges face the heroes. The series avoids that by ensuring Luke has to go through several challenges before having the opportunity to use the Force, and by drawing Luke through arduous training before he becomes proficient.
A New Hope is a masterful execution of world building. The setting is shown to you through the opening crawl, costuming, and side conversations with characters. The audience immediately understands the impact of the civil war through the opening crawl and by being thrust in to a scene with ships shooting at each other in space. The clean surfaces, sharp lines, and harsh suits of the Empire contrasts with the dusty, rough, handmade clothing of the Rebellion and citizens like Luke, painting a vivid picture for us of the oppression and subsequent underground communities that exist in the universe.
Heroes and Villains
The story of the trilogy is driven through emotional character arcs that the audience becomes invested in, mostly through strong connections with Luke. Overall the series has a pretty clear delineation between good and evil, which helps ground the audience since the rest of the series is so strange and unknown. Along with strong hero connections, the series sports some of the greatest villains of all time. Vader is quite possibly the most iconic and recognizable villain in sci-fi, he imposes on the memory of viewers from his first moment on screen. Of all these categories, the success of the series is most influenced by the fantastic heroes and incredible villains developed throughout the story.
The story starts in the middle of action. The civil war is already underway and we see combat in the very first scene. We call this technique In Media Res, translating roughly to "in the middle of things." From there, story is driven primarily through large emotional narratives centering on the heroes who we build deep connections with. We see Luke right at the start staring in to the sunset, desiring to leave his simple life and follow in his father's footsteps as a Jedi. Much of the first two movies is driven by Luke's perception of a Jedi and the idealized image of his deceased father. At the end of Empire Strikes Back, this entire concept is betrayed to the audience in one of the biggest plot twists of all time. This plot twist is so successful because of the groundwork laid earlier in the films to establish Luke's father as the paragon and hope of Luke's dreams, a concept which is resolved in Return of the Jedi when Vader returns to the light side of the force and rescues Luke from Palpatine.
Thank you for listening through this analysis of one of the most iconic franchises to enter sci-fi and fantasy! We thoroughly enjoyed the preparation and execution of this episode, we hope you enjoyed listening to it!