Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"No, I Am Your Grandfather."

As you already know, I want a guest spot on a Star Wars podcast. To do this, I've made my case with some amazing insights into the Star Wars universe to show what a great guest I would be. I've already noted why Padmé's death was a heroic thing and not some ridiculous plot point. I've also argued that Yoda is actually a (really old) human.

Now, we're going to explore the impact that Yoda's humanity has had on the Star Wars universe. This latest installment is entitled: "No, I Am Your Grandfather: Yoda's Influence on the Skywalker Lineage." Full disclosure: I don't actually believe any of this, but I find it interesting nonetheless.

Prepare to have your mind blown once again: Yoda is Anakin Skywalker's father.

Now, calm your shouts of "blasphemy" and "heresy." Just hear me out. I understand that this appears goes against the statement by Anakin's mother, Shmi Skywalker, when she told Qui-Gon Jinn that "there was no father." I also understand that there is another theory which claims Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious (or even Darth Plagueis) is actually Anakin's father, due to Palpatine's statements in Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, that Darth Plagueis was "so powerful and so wise he could use the Force to influence the midichlorians to create life." However, I would argue that Anakin's goodness could not exist if he were conceived as a result of Sith influences. Also, why would they not have picked him up sooner? Either one of them should have taken him away to raise Anakin as their own.
"No. I am not your father."
"So, how does Yoda come into the picture?" you may wonder. Well, it all happened a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, when Yoda was on assignment in Bespin. Shmi Skywalker - out with some girlfriends - was also there for spring break. Yoda and Shmi met at Bespin, which some say is the equivalent of Las Vegas in the Star Wars Universe. Since Shmi had a weird thing for older men - really older men - they hit it off. One thing led to another and, before they knew it, they got married at one of Bespin's 24-hour drive-thru wedding chapels.
"I need to explain something to you: I have a thing for older men... just like you have a thing for older women."
However, regardless of his feelings for her, Yoda would not leave the Jedi order. Shmi couldn't take it, so she ran off to Tatooine, where she didn't think Yoda would ever find her. After all, who would think to search for a college coed in the Outer Rim territories? However, she didn't count on falling into the hands of slavers. The bitterness she felt towards Yoda for her situation with a child in slavery led her to tell Qui-Gon, "There was no father."
"There was no father," said the woman who had been spurned.
Meanwhile, Yoda returned to Coruscant. Feeling rejected by the woman who fled for him, his heart turned cold and he began re-emphasizing the importance of celibacy in the Jedi order. He became a bit of a misogynist - yes, a misogynist - as evidenced by how few women were allowed on the Jedi Council.
Commander Gran: "The Droid Army is in full retreat."
Yoda: "Well done, commander. Bring me a sandwich."
Little did Yoda know that a few short years later, Qui-Gon would discover his son on Tatooine. Yoda realized that Anakin's extraordinary midichlorian count could only have resulted from his own high midichlorian count. Through the Force, Yoda sensed that this boy was his illegitimate son. He tried to push Anakin away by claiming that the boy was too old to be trained. However, the council went against Yoda's wishes. As Yoda tells Obi-Wan, "Agree with you, the council does. Your apprentice, Skywalker will be."

Yoda knew that if he had persisted in pushing his refusal, Mace Windu would probably go digging into why Yoda was denying Anakin training. The investigation would have led to DNA testing, which would have led to the discovery of the truth. So Yoda pulled a play right out of the Bible. Just as King David sent Bathsheba's husband into battle to have him killed, Yoda began sending Anakin on treacherous missions in the hopes of Anakin dying - along with the truth. Fortunately for Yoda, he could claim that he was merely pushing Anakin to be the best, in order to fulfill his destiny as the "chosen one." But this was all a cover for his efforts to kill Anakin.

Alas, Yoda's refusal to be a loving, doting father to Anakin, led to Anakin's choice to follow the Emperor and destroy the Jedi. If Yoda had just been willing to show a little fatherly love to Anakin, just think where the universe would be as we head into Episode VII.
"Need love and affection from me, you do not."
And so, this upcoming father's day, remember for show your children a little love. It might just shape the destiny of the galaxy.

Well, if I've convinced you that I would make a fantastic guest on any Star Wars podcast, send a message to the fine folks over at Rebel Force RadioFull of Sith, or any other such podcast and tell them they should have B. P. Draper on as a guest.

Still unconvinced? Well, just wait until next time... I'm sure I can come up with something.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Full of Sith

Well that was fast.

On Friday evening I e-mailed my theory about the bonus content for Star Wars: The Clone Wars to the three Star Wars-themed podcasts I listen to: Rebel Force Radio, ForceCast, and Full of Sith. I wasn't expecting much, so I was surprised to hear my e-mail being read when I listened to this week's episode of Full of Sith.

If you're curious, you can listen to Episode XLVIII of Full of Sith for yourself. The discussion of my e-mail begins at 32:10. Admittedly, they shot down my dreams by mentioning the German TV press release that I've chosen not to believe. Also, they didn't mention my book, but I'll forgive them that. Either way, it was fun to hear my name. I figure I'm on my way to being a guest on the show. After all, they mentioned being impressed by how I researched my thoughts, rather than flying of the handle with wild rantings.

Below is the text of the e-mail I sent:

Hey Guys,
I wanted to run a theory by you all about the Clone Wars bonus content to get your input and see if my idea holds any weight. I know most people say there are approximately 3-4 story arcs, or around 12 episodes coming our way. Maybe I'm getting my hopes up, but I think we should be getting a lot more, and this is why:
1) Pablo Hidalgo, when hearing rumors in November that there were 10 episodes coming, tweeted, "That number sounds too low." Additionally, at D23 in August, he said "there's more than you think."
2) Clone Wars cast and crew often talked about working 3 years ahead. As I break it down, that means 3 years out is in writing/pre-production; 2 years out is in production, and 1 year out is completed and on the shelf. This is supported by the Rebels panel at NYCC, where it was said that Rebels would have a much shorter production schedule than The Clone Wars, which operated "approximately one year ahead of what was being aired on television" (see lightsaberrattling.com).
As I see it, the debate should not be about how much of season six we'll get, but rather how much of season seven we'll see on top of the full season six.
Anyway, I'd love to hear this debated on the show. If I'm missing something important that destroys my hopes, please let me know.
Keep up the good work,
B. P. Draper
Author of The Complete Bubby Anthology
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0080SNR54

Friday, January 17, 2014

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Rumor

Yesterday a press release about the bonus content (i.e. - season six) of Star Wars: The Clone Wars was leaked to Jedi News claiming that a German television station would be airing four story arcs (which are usually 3-4 episodes). At most that would make for 16 episodes being aired.

My first problem with this news is that I'm inclined to question any promises announced by Germany. My second problem with this news is that I want more episodes of The Clone Wars.

So, I have decided to start my own fairly-research rumor. Hold on to your hats Latino Review, you're about to get an anonymous source to reference in a future article (psst... it's me).

Spoiler Alert: The Clone Wars bonus content will include all of season six and part of season seven.

Cast and crew of The Clone Wars often talked about working three years ahead of what was airing on television. In fact, at New York Comic Con, on October 14, 2013, during a Star Wars Rebels panel, it was noted that Rebels would have a "much shorter production schedule than The Clone Wars which operated approximately one year ahead of what was being aired on television" (source: Lightsaber Rattling).

In other words, episodes being worked on three years out are in the writing/pre-production stage. Episodes being worked on two years out are in production and episodes one year out are in the can, on the shelf, waiting to be released.

In support of this theory we just have to twist the words of Pablo Hidalgo. Back in November there was rumor that there would only be 10 episodes of bonus content released. Pablo said the following:

Pablo didn't just call the idea of 10 episodes low, he called it "too low," so there must be a lot more.

Add to that Pablo's comments during a panel at D23 in August 2013, where he said the following:

That's right, he said "there's more than you think." Really? Since most everyone has been assuming 3-4 story arcs already, this must be wrong. As Pablo says, there must be more.

In other words, my rumor is right. Season six is already to go and the teams has just been working on finishing up a few episodes from season seven to add to the list.

Okay, Latino Review, take this rumor and run.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Why So Whiny?

About a month ago I wrote a post about how I show my love of Star Wars by finding justifications for the things that some people find off-putting in the movies. Today I'm going to delve a little deeper into a topic I mentioned in that post. Namely: why Anakin is so whiny (and why I'm okay with it).

First off, part of Anakin's whiny-ness is natural. He's a teenager in Episode II. In case you don't remember being a teenager (or haven't been around any teenager ever), here's a newsflash: teenagers are whiny (okay, not every teenager is whiny, but they all have moments of whiny-ness). That being said, I don't think what was shown in the films was over the top.

Secondly, you must understand just how damaging being a child slave and the death of his mother was to Anakin. The movies did a good job of pointing out that Anakin was upset by his mother's death. If you don't believe me, just ask the clan of Tusken Raiders he slaughtered in Episode II.
"Here's Ani!"
That he was upset about being a slave was better covered during the Zygerrian slavery story arc in season four of The Clone Wars cartoon than in the movies.

Any way you slice it, Anakin is hurting emotionally. He does not trust others to make right decisions because anyone in power of him when he was young abused that power. He's lacked control all of his life so his way to compensate for that is to gather all the power and control he can over others. He wants to make things "right," no matter the cost. Thus, whenever he is frustrated in these attempts to gain more power and control, he appears whiny, just like a child (since that is where his emotional maturity was stunted).

When it comes to Episode III, Anakin is less whiny. That probably speaks more to the matuirty that comes with age than any emotional growth that has been made.

The Jedi order does not exactly appear to be nurturing to Anakin. Even well-meaning Yoda tells Anakin what to do, rather than helping him to help himself during their Episode III therapy session. What he was saying was wise counsel, but not counsel that Anakin was ready to hear in his emotional state.
"Two of these midichlorian chewables you should take. Then call me in the morning you will."
Yoda was coming from an emotionally healthy point of view. Most of us are too. Sure, we've had lousy stuff happen in our lives, but we've adjusted and learned to handle our emotions in mostly healthy ways. For example, we are saddened when he lose a loved one, but we don't go out and kill someone in revenge. When we say we would do "anything" to save a loved one, we don't mean that we would kill a bunch of children to make it happen.

However, unlike most of us, Anakin had a really manipulative father figure pulling the strings behind the scenes. Anakin was persuaded to believe that the Jedi were truly evil. If you think about it from a twisted point of view, it makes sense. The Jedi order talked about being peacekeepers, but they sold themselves out to lead a war. They talked about not seeking power, but were reluctant to share power with Palpatine (nevermind that it turned out to be with good reason). From what Anakin could see - at least what Palpatine/Sidious let him see - the Jedi were a bunch of hypocrites bent on abusing their power. Growing up a slave, Anakin hated this. Add to this the side benefit of becoming powerful enough in the Dark Side to save his wife, killing off a bunch of evil Jedi seemed like the "right" thing to do.

Working with troubled teens, I've seen kids do some horrible things and feel completely justified because of what they learned from their family/life experiences. 99% learn to overcome their past, but some can't or won't.

Being "whiny" is key to Anakin's fall. No emotionally healthy individual would make those same choices. I for one am glad George Lucas created him that way. It makes sense that he would become Darth Vader. Not only that, it makes Darth Vader that much more intimidating - rather than less - because with his emotional instability you don't know what his limits are.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Zazzle

I recently tried to make a shirt to sell on Zazzle to fellow Star Wars fans. I thought it was genius idea. However, Zazzle seemed to think it infringed on a copyright (which is probably true).

So, since I can't make money off of this for Christmas, I'm going to share the image for free:
This image of a bottle of "Midichlorian Chewables" would have been on the front of the shirt. I had a couple different versions made up for sale. On the back of each shirt I had different captions, such as "Juicing Your Count Since 1999" and "The Secret of the Skywalkers."

Like I said, I thought it was clever, but certain parties seem to disagree. Anyway, you can now enjoy the image for free.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What It Means To Love Star Wars

In the interest of full disclosure, I am the sort of Star Wars fan that loves all six films. I don't make outrageous claims of George Lucas "raping" my childhood by tweaking the original trilogy (OT) films or by making the prequel trilogy (PT) films.

Rather, I choose to view the overall story as something to embrace and love while not getting hung up on the minor things that others choose to nitpick at.

"But I only rant about (insert concern here) because I love Star Wars," say certain fans.

Oh, really? That's like a man saying he only beats his wife because he loves her - that sort of logic is ridiculous!
"Relax Padmé. I'm only choking you because I love you."
Yes, I'm comparing your relationship with Star Wars to your relationship with a significant other. It is as if you "just learned the terrible truth" about her past (i.e. the PT). Now you have a decision to make: Either break up or figure out how to embrace it. Remember that you are not perfect, so you hardly have the right to demand that your partner (in this case Star Wars) be perfect either.

In the words of John Eldredge: "No woman wants to be analyzed, and many marriages fail because the man insists on treating her as a problem to be solved, rather than a mystery to be known and loved."

If you spend your time analyzing Star Wars you can find plenty of problems that you want to solve. However, it is just going to drive you crazy in the end. If you really feel George Lucas and Star Wars are so horrible, then get out of this abusive relationship and find something else to love. But don't come around me whining and criticizing what I love. It just makes you look bitter and unattractive.

If you want to claim to love Star Wars, then you should work to embrace whatever you find off-putting and try to view it as a "mystery to be known and loved." That is one reason I wrote the post about how I rationalize Padmé's death in Episode III. I'm hoping to write a few more posts in the future about how I not only justify Jar Jar's existence, but actually embrace it. I also plan to write about why Yoda would quit his fight with Darth Sidious in Episode III.

Here is one common complaint: "Anakin was so whiny in the PT. I can't respect him as Darth Vader now," Well, Luke was pretty whiny too, if you remember anything about his wanting to go to Tosche Station. Honestly, an emotionally healthy person would not likely fall to the Dark Side. I appreciate that George was smart enough to make Anakin flawed (or "whiny") because otherwise I wouldn't have believed the story of his fall.

So why do us old-timers tend to rip on the PT and not the OT? Probably because we have a tendency to view our childhood through rose-colored glasses.

For example, we overlook that Yoda told Luke, before he left Dagobah in Episode V, that his training was incomplete and was reminding him of his failure in the cave. However, the next time Yoda sees him, he's telling Luke that he knows everything he needs to know to be a Jedi. I didn't see Luke get any more training, so, which is it, Yoda? Make up your mind! Maybe Yoda was just lonely and looking for any excuse to keep Luke around so he'd have someone to talk to. Hmm?
Yoda: "Luke! Leave me do not. Lonely I am."
Speaking of which, why do we believe that Luke was nearly fully trained through his short stay on Dagobah? Since this training occurred in the time span that Han and Leia were in the asteroid field, he couldn't have been there for more than a day or two. Even being generous with the clock, you would have to assume his training lasted less than a week. So how did he learn so much in that short time when it took Anakin - and every other Jedi - years of training to get so good? I haven't seen something happen so fast in so little time since I saw Belle fall in love with the prince in one day in Beauty and the Beast (Seriously, watch the Disney film. She goes to the castle one night and by the next night she's fallen in love with him).

We complain about Jar Jar, but seem to forget how annoying people used to consider C-3PO. Admittedly, I do not consider Jar Jar to be annoying, but I should note that my kids find him hilarious and love him - just like we embraced C-3PO as children.

Another issue with the OT is that we're supposed to believe that Princess Leia is a diplomat. Well, what sort of diplomat insults the opposition the way she ripped into Tarkin? If this had been in the PT, we would have cried foul, but in the OT we're perfectly fine with it.
Making fun of another person's stench - a classic way to start peace talks.
Lastly, I would like to point out that, even though Han had a head start on his way to Cloud City in Episode V and was flying the "fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy," somehow the Empire beat him there. Lando even says, "They arrived right before you did." Well, how is that even possible?

My goal in bringing these points up is not to disparage the OT. Rather, I want to point out that none of these films are perfect, but I love them anyway. Rather than nitpick, I try to find a way to love the weaknesses and turn them into strengths. I try to look at all six films as a "mystery to be known and loved."
Leia: "I love the prequels."
Han: "I know."
So for the love of all things Star Wars, try to use your imagination as you watch the movies. Find ways to make the so-called "weaknesses" fit. For example, on the last problem I mentioned, I assume the Empire called a nearby battalion of stormtroopers to go to Cloud City so that Lando could honestly say, "They arrived right before you did," while Darth Vader was still on his way.

In conclusion, go out and enjoy all six films. And if you can't get yourself to do it, then at least stop coming to me to bash some part of the series... I'm in a committed relationship and am trying to make it work for the sake of the children (i.e. - the Sequel Trilogy).

P.S. - If you hate my point of view, the best way to get even with me is to buy a copy of the The Complete Bubby Anthology. Honestly, I will totally feel your wrath if you just do that one little thing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Re-Branding Yourself

Remember a few years ago when Taco Bell was being sued for false advertising over the percentage of beef content of the meat their used in their food. The claims were that their "Taco Meat Filling" was only 36% beef. The rest was fillers. Taco Bell fought the suit and it was eventually dropped. However, I feel like this was a lost opportunity for the folks at Taco Bell. Just think about the possible advantages for them to have gone along with the claims of the law suit.

1) They could have marketed their menu items as "vegetarian friendly." This would have brought in a number of health-conscious customers.
Come on, this food has to be fit for vegetarians!
2) They could have marketed their menu items as "diet food." I can't think of a time that I've eaten their food where I feel like I didn't end up losing more in weight than I ate after the subsequent trip to the bathroom. Possibly they could have chosen to market their food as a laxative in a tortilla.

Speaking of laxatives: Haribo Sugarless Gummy Bears. Just read the product reviews. I am surprised that they haven't already thought to embrace the reviews and repackage these gummy bears as some sort of stool softener.

Now that we've gone down this disgusting road, you may wonder how this applies to anything on this blog. Well, I'll tell you.

When I published The Complete Bubby Anthology, I decided to embrace the fact that it was not ever going to win any awards or land on the New York Times bestseller list. I've gone so far as to admit that the book "sucks."

So, unlike the aforementioned products, I've embraced the negative side of my book. However, I think my lack of sales results more from not re-branding the negativity as something strangely positive. Perhaps I'm struggling to identify a positive spin because I am too close to the project. So, if you have any ideas, let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.