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There are many wonderful stories that encapsulate the Christmas spirit, and emphasize the potential for human goodness and decency. These stories are time-honored traditions in the month of December, and I’m sure many of you have favorites that are sacrosanct for you and your families.  Perhaps there has not been a more retold Christmas story than the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, featuring the curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge. Upon recently teaching this class to my freshmen students, I was struck by the similarities between Scrooge and the correspondingly conflicted Darth Vader. Perhaps they are not as dissimilar as one might originally think.

Written in 1843, Dickens’ novella showcased the hardships endured by the destitute of England, and is best known for the aforementioned Scrooge and his journey of self discovery through his experiences with his past, present, and future. Scrooge, as most are aware, is the aptly named cantankerous, apathetic miser, who is as stingy with his money as he is with the spirit of generosity. He is visited by three spirits, and through these famous encounters, learns to embrace his humanity, and to look beyond himself and his pain. His sense of goodness and compassion, long dormant, is joyfully resurrected, revealing his true self.

jacob_marleys_ghost

The same could be said of Vader’s journey of self discovery; the Dark Lord must also learn to accept his humanity, and to think beyond his pain and previous life choices, in order to let his inner self turn towards the light. Vader’s tragic past came to fruition in Revenge of the Sith in 2005, and while the full extent is being fleshed out for Star Wars-philes, the comparisons between these two famous characters reveals an intriguing juxtaposition of themes that equate to powerful storytelling.

The past: In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is first visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, which represents memory in the Dickens’ novella; the Ghost literally has a head of light, which turns into the faces of different characters that impacted Scrooge in his younger days. Scrooge is horrified, and literally tries to suppress the light, to no avail. Similarly, Vader is encased in his own living tomb of darkness (the absence of visible light), and suppresses the visions of his past at the expense of others, not unlike the uncharitable, suppressive nature of Scrooge’s actions.

A Christmas Carol Past

More specifically, Scrooge suppresses the loss of his beloved, the aptly named Belle; Belle sadly states that she has been replaced by a new idol, “a golden one.” Scrooge’s heart is corrupted by greed, and a false sense of control, and he loses the love of his life. His choices define him, and sends him spiraling towards a singular goal: greed. Vader experiences similar loss, as he seeks to save his beloved, only to lose her in the name of saving her. Scrooge believes he can obtain money to find happiness, and Vader seeks to obtain power over death. Both seek power for selfish purpose; these expectations are unrealistic and vain. It is only when they seek to help others that they rediscover their respective place in each one’s particular universe.

The present: Both Scrooge and Vader exhibited complete and total disregard for their fellow man, and the result, on both accords, is the stuff of legend. When two gentlemen seek Scrooge out and inform him the poor and destitute are in need, Scrooge suggests “the idle” would be better off in a prison or workhouse. When told, “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die,” Scrooge shockingly states, “Then they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” As his name suggests, Scrooge is lacking in compassion, and has total disregard for those he deems rebellious to his status quo. Conversely, Vader has no tolerance for those who seek mercy, or are rebellious to the cause of the Empire. His lack of empathy helped to cement his place in the galaxy as a ruthless tyrant, incapable of compassion or joy.

Both men are capable of doing so much good, and for both of them, it takes a boy to guide them towards the Light.

The future: At first glance, Tiny Tim and Luke Skywalker appear to have nothing more in common than their status as male fictional characters, but upon further reflection, it is fair to say that their love, as well as their belief in goodness, lead both Scrooge and Vader towards an epiphany of their own that forever changes the course of history, and helps enact a more positive future. Tiny Tim will lose his life, due to his fading health and poor care, due, in no small part, to the lack of financial support his father, Bob Cratchit, is able to provide (thanks to the actions of Scrooge). Had Scrooge not reflected on the future, and changed the course of his actions, Tiny Tim would have died, and all hope would have been lost.

jacobmarley:palpatine

Both Scrooge and Vader are submissive to the hooded figures in black.

It is these glimpses of the future that help to influence the actions of both men. Ironically, both the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come and the Emperor are cloaked in black, and are harbingers of impending doom for all, if things do not change. Luke Skywalker is also dangerously close to losing his life, thanks to neglect from his own father on the second Death Star, and, if not for the metanoia of Vader, may very well not have been the New Hope that changed the direction of the galaxy. Fortunately, Vader’s transformation comes about, signaling the end of oppression, and, as both veiled figures depart from each story, they help to restore peace and freedom to each fictional universe.

Both Ebenezer Scrooge and Darth Vader experiences personal growth and overcome intense heartbreak to be the heroes of their respective stories. These changes inspire and promote compassion in the heroes, as well as in the audiences that enjoy these beloved tales of coming out of darkness, and choosing the light. Perhaps there isn’t a better metaphor this holiday season. Happy Holidays to all!

Dan Zehr is a high school English teacher with an MS in Teaching and Learning, and is a  member of the Rogues (as Blue Leader), a network of teachers that incorporate Star Wars in the Classroom. He also runs Coffee With Kenobi (with co-host Cory Clubb), a Star Wars podcast that analyzes the saga through critical thinking, analysis, interviews, and discussion.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/darth-scrooge

Earlier this year the cameras began to roll for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Abu Dhabi and while only time will tell what exactly was filmed on May 16, we can take a look back in history and explore the first days of shooting for the first six films in the saga. We start this two part series with the original trilogy of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

A New Hope

After a difficult pre-production phase of nearly three years, in which it was difficult to even find a studio willing to invest in the movie, the time had come to start shooting Star Wars (as it was originally called). Cast and crew left the UK with not all the preparations finished, there were still problems with some costumes like C-3PO and the stormtroopers, and back in the US, ILM was struggling with the technology required for the special effects. It seemed that the cast and crew were in for a difficult shoot. This proved true the moment they arrived in Djerba where they had a lay-over in a big hotel sprawling with German tourists who could not find their rooms, while production was to wake up at 6 a.m. for a long drive to Tozeur. The trip itself was also taxing for the drivers because it was difficult to see the dark-clothed native Berber people while driving in the night. In Tozeur they ran into their next problem: the big hotel of the city was closed for renovations and the cast and crew for the 12-hour long miniseries Jesus of Nazareth had booked the best alternative hotels, as well as most of the local technicians and rental cars. Cast and crew ended up in fourth-rate hotels, sometimes doubled or even tripled up in rooms. Producer Gary Kurtz would say later of this: “That was okay for two weeks. We could survive that. But if it had been two or three months, we would have had a riot on our hands.”

March 22, 1976

Shooting Star Wars on March 22, 1976.

March 22, 1976 – For this first day of shooting the following scenes where planned to be shot: parts from the scene where the droids Artoo and Threepio are being purchased, as well as parts for Luke watching the twin suns scene and the scene where Threepio and Luke rush out of the homestead to look for the escaped Artoo. The scenes were all shot around the set of the igloo and the treadmill wheels of the sandcrawler that was build earlier on the salt lake of Chott el Jerid, near Nefta. The call to begin was at 6:30 a.m., which was way too early for Anthony Daniels because he had slept terribly again after not getting much sleep in Djerba, and the two hours it took to put his costume on did not help with his mood, either. Still, like a professional, he soldiered on despite the costume being too much of a tight fit, hurting the actor whenever he had to move. Mark Hamill, on the other hand, quite enjoyed the first day as Luke Skywalker.

The rush to get started with shooting the movie proved to cause even more problems on this day, especially with the astromech droids. The production found out that the batteries they had put in them were too quick to deplete and not easy to replace, and that Artoo’s middle leg would not come out — whatever they tried. Another problem was that the droids would not always respond to their remote controls, causing them to go everywhere and not stop when they had to. A special problem case also was R5-D4, the red droid that Luke almost bought instead of Artoo. The crew had discovered that the exploding head was also where the parts were located to make him move, so they could not blow the head up. Still calm on the first day, Lucas and his team found creative ways around this, like pulling R5-D4’s backup droid on a rope so that they did not need him to move anymore, and Lucas knew that he would be able to use lots of smaller cuts in the movie to mask whenever a droid started to do something that it was not supposed to do.

They ended the day at 7:20 p.m., after shooting the night scene where Luke and Threepio are trying to find the escaped Artoo. Due to poor weather conditions the scene with Luke watching at the twin suns setting was scrapped and would eventually be filmed on March 29. The poor weather conditions on this first day would be a prelude to the big storm that would plague the production later, along with more accidents and problems that caused George Lucas to step down from directing for the next two movies.

The Empire Strikes Back

Just like with A New Hope it was decided to start shooting for The Empire Strikes Back on a location, this time it was the ice-planet Hoth, which was filmed in a small town called Finse in Norway. Most likely due to the newfound popularity for Star Wars and its upcoming sequel, a press conference was held in Oslo on February 29, 1979. There it was revealed that shooting would start  the next Monday (March 5, 1979), that Harrison Ford would fly over later because his scenes were scheduled for the second week of shooting and that Carrie Fisher wanted to come, despite not having any exterior scenes on Hoth, because she could not bear to miss the location atmosphere.

The next two days, cast and crew left Oslo in stages, but just like with Tunisia not everything went smoothly: there were not enough porters to carry all the luggage from hotel to bus to train, the luggage itself was way more than expected partially in thanks to Mark and Marilou Hamill, who were packing extra luggage with them just in case their son Nathan would be born prematurely in the remote shooting location. Also, the cast and crew stood waiting on the wrong track for the Oslo-Bergen express train, causing them to have to run quickly to the right track when they found out.

March 5, 1979

Irvin Kersher and Harrison Ford, March 5, 1979.

March 5, 1979 – Ever since arriving in Finse the weather had gotten even worse, reaching the point that over the previous weekend multiple avalanches had occurred causing train tunnels to be blocked completely by the snow, in a sense trapping the cast and crew from the outside world. At the location itself they found that the resulting whiteouts from the heavy snowfall also made it impossible to travel along the glacier to the two base camps where they had prepared to shoot scenes like the battlefield. Not that it mattered because the carefully excavated trenches had become completely filled again due to the heavy snowfall.

Despite his best preparations, Irvin Kershner, the new director taking over from Lucas, discovered that the extreme cold caused many more problems, from the difficulty in making notes by pen and paper with gloves because his tape recorder would freeze up immediately, to cameras that had lenses that would fog up or not work at all. It was clear that Lucas’ advice to not expect everything to work would become prophetic.

Determined not to let the production run over schedule, Kershner decided to start filming from the back of the hotel, calling up on Mark Hamill to be working this day for his scenes in which he escapes from the wampa and staggers on the plains of Hoth. Kershner also put Denis Lawson (Wedge Antilles), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and Des Webb (Wampa) on the call list, but they end up not filming that day. Another important decision that Kershner took to not further delay shooting, was to call for Harrison Ford to come over so that they could film his scenes, starting the following day. After making some phone calls Ford was able to catch an afternoon flight from London to Oslo. However by the time he had arrived in Oslo, three avalanches had occurred, cutting Finse not only off by rail, but also by any other means of transport other than a big and slow-going snowplow. Ford managed to take the train to Geilo, a ski resort 30 miles from Finse, from where he took two cabs, bringing him another seven miles closer, to Ustaoset where production manager Bjorn Jacobsen found him with the snowplow, bringing a bottle of vodka with him that they shared on the drive back. It would be close to midnight when they arrived with the snowplow back in Finse, ready to start filming the next day.

Return of the Jedi

For Return of the Jedi, new director Richard Marquand, along with co-producer Robert Watts, decided to start in the EMI Elstree Studios, which in hindsight looks like a smart decision considering the previous movies and the problems that came with starting on location. After carefully looking at the schedule, Marquand had decided that the sandstorm scene on Stage 2 was the first scene he wanted to shoot. He reasoned that it may not have been the easiest one for the actors, but he could do the entire shoot for the scene in one day, freeing the stage quickly for the bigger, and more difficult to build, Dagobah set. With the shots carefully laid out in the way Marquand wanted to shoot them and with a press release ready to be released before dawn the next day, Marquand and the rest of the cast and crew settled in their London hotels, expecting finally a smooth start for a Star Wars film shoot.

January 11, 1982

George Lucas and Richard Marquand, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, January 11, 1982.

January 11, 1982 – Sadly that was not meant to be and the first problems arose even before everyone was well inside the studio. Carrie Fisher found out that the heating system in her room was bellowing toxic fumes and the car that was supposed to take Mark Hamill to the studio was stolen overnight.

Despite this, spirits were high and while the cast was in makeup, the Ewok extras were exercising to get in shape for their roles. The life-size Millennium Falcon was brought out of storage, and stood ready alongside an X-wing and a lot of fans with a broken-cork substance to simulate the blowing sand. And as soon Marquand said “Action!” the problems with Artoo started again, with the droid veering off to every direction, except the one he was supposed to go. Another problem was that the fans with the cork substance were way too loud and obscured everything, causing one of the camera teams to miss the cue from Marquand so that nothing of it was shot. With the views already obscured and difficult to see for the human cast and crew, Anthony Daniels especially had it difficult with the tunnel vision that his Threepio mask gave him. Rehearsing the scene beforehand gave him some of the direction he had to walk in, but the moment he had to do it with the sand bellowing around him, he just kept walking until suddenly he saw crewmembers, and while he was contemplating on what they were doing in the middle of the scene, he hit a rock and fell over.

After the first completely successful take it was time for a quick celebration before finishing up the rest of the scene. Mark Hamill was the last of the cast to finish shooting the scene, and this made him the only person to have filmed on all three of the first days of shooting. With the cast back in their hotels, the day was not yet over for Marquand and some other key staff members, who went to Stage 6 to see the final costume test of Michael Carter as Bib Fortuna, followed by some more preparations for the next day.

Join us next month for part 2 in which we take a look at the first days of shooting for the prequel trilogy!

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/first-days-of-shooting-part-1-the-original-trilogy

When I was a kid watching Star Wars for the first time, like so many others I was awed by the scope and scale of the planets and technology in that galaxy far, far away. The worlds were both primal and futuristic, and I was instantly fascinated. I’ll never forget my awe at the scene of the Millennium Falcon getting caught in the Death Star’s tractor beam and the sense of scale the visuals accomplished when the ship gets pulled into the massive battle station’s docking bay. As a kid intrigued by the structure of things, I was blown away.

Now, after training as an architect and over 20 years in the cast concrete business, it’s with great pleasure and reverence that I get to make my very own concrete Death Star — and hold something that has always been in my mind such a massive and impressive entity right in the palm of my hand.

Using Death Star ice molds and a few tools and materials from the hardware store, you too can make your own fully armed and operational concrete battle station. Kids — please be safe and get an adult to help! Now let’s begin!

Materials:
Most items can be purchased at a hardware store like Home Depot.

  • Death Star ice mold (available at ThinkGeek.com)
  • Concrete mix (we recommend “Rapid Set Cement All”)
  • Mold release spray
  • Funnel
  • Small mixing bucket
  • Mixing tool — drill with attachment or mix by hand with a metal shovel or trowel
  • Tape
  • Smaller container to pour
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Protective eyewear

Instructions:

1. Spray mold release on the inside of the Death Star mold.

Concrete Death Star

2. Align notches on mold and place together, secure with tape.

Concrete Death Star

3. Wearing gloves, protective eyewear, and a dust mask, follow the directions on the box, put the cement in the bucket, and add water gradually to reach the desired consistency. Mix until fully blended and easy to pour.

Concrete Death Star

Concrete Death Star

4. Put the mix into a smaller container for easier pouring.

Concrete Death Star

5. Hold the funnel over the opening on the top of the mold and slowly pour the mix in.

Concrete Death Star

6. When the mold is full, place a finger securely over the opening and gently shake the mold to remove bubbles. Do not shake vigorously — this will create more bubbles.

Concrete Death Star

7. Place back on the table and pour more mix to fill the mold to the top. Gently tap exterior to minimize bubbles.

8. Leave overnight to dry.

Concrete Death Star

9. Remove tape and carefully pull the mold apart.

Concrete Death Star

10. Gently chip off any excess concrete around the seam.

11. Sand the base to remove any excess concrete from the mold opening and to create an area that will sit flat.

Concrete Death Star

12. Enjoy your indestructible concrete Death Star. May the Force be with you!

Concrete Death Star

Concrete Death Star

With a background in architecture, Mark Rogero decided to pursue the path of architectural cast concrete, founding Concreteworks in a small artist warehouse in 1991. His work in cast concrete spans from traditional countertops and bars to innovative furniture utilizing the latest cutting edge technology.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/how-to-make-a-concrete-death-star

Earlier this month, we looked at the first days of shooting for the original trilogy; next up is the prequel trilogy, including The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

The Phantom Menace

After waiting more than 15 years, Star Wars would return to the silver screen with The Phantom Menace. George Lucas had begun writing the script as early as 1994, with pre-production starting around that time, as well. In the couple of years it took Lucas to write the script, he was at the same time checking daily on the progress of the designs for the many new worlds, aliens, droids, and other things to be featured in the movie. Returning to the director’s chair, he wanted to test the ongoing transition from filming on tape to filming directly in a digital format. It was decided that some shots would be shot digitally to check if they would stand out when edited together with the other shots.

June 26, 1997

Darth Sidious and Darth Maul on Coruscant, shot June 26, 1997.

June 26, 1997 – While the outside world and the press made a big deal of George Lucas returning as a director after 20 years, business went on as usual for the cast and crew. Producer Rick McCallum had arranged the first month of shooting to take place at the Leavesden Studios in London with sets as well as blue screen.

The very first scene that was to be shot was the conversation between Darth Maul, played by Ray Park, and Darth Sidious, played by Ian McDiarmid, on a Coruscant balcony. Wanting to keep the identity of Darth Sidious a secret, security was tight and no one was allowed on the set unless you wore a special badge with your name on it. Even George Lucas wore a badge — though it read “Yoda.” This joke was repeated on the clapboard where Yoda was listed in the spot of director. To mark this historic moment, the first photo to be released of The Phantom Menace was Rick McCallum holding this clapboard on set. This tradition was repeated earlier this year with the photo of the clapboard for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Also shot on this day was a scene between Natalie Portman and Ian McDiarmid in the quarters of Senator Palpatine. Due to the efficiency of the cast and crew, every setup that needed to be filmed that day was actually filmed, causing no delays on the schedule.

Attack of the Clones

After successful tests with the new digital cameras for The Phantom Menace, production decided to shoot Attack of the Clones entirely on digital, using the then new HDW-F900, developed by Sony and Panavision. Lucas once again decided to direct.

June 26, 2000

Shooting Ian McDiarmid in the Senate, June 26, 2000.

June 26, 2000 – The first day of shooting for Attack of the Clones was exactly three years after The Phantom Menace started filming, and once Ian McDiarmid was the first actor to appear in front of the cameras. Together with David Bowers (Mas Amedda) and Sandi Finlay (Sly Moore), he climbed in the Chancellor’s podium to shoot their side of the discussion regarding the Military Creation Act vote. While the Senate in the movie is filled with many floating Senate pods, the reactions of the other senators and Natalie Portman were filmed at later stages, added to the scene thanks to ILM and clever editing. The dialogue of Portman and the other senators was read off-screen by the script supervisor. Just like with the sandstorm scene that was filmed on the first day of shooting for Return of the Jedi, this scene would be cut from the movie.

The day went by in a smooth and easy-going fashion with everybody in high spirits. George Lucas was seen walking around, talking and joking with the cast and crew. Except for a small problem with their power supply, the new digital cameras performed admirably.

This day was also important for a very different reason: After 13 years, Anthony Daniels was once again inside the costume of C-3PO, which he last wore in 1987 for the recording of the droids’ appearances in the first Star Tours ride. (Because C-3PO was too skinny in his unfinished wires-showing look for The Phantom Menace, Daniels was unable to wear a costume, and had to puppeteer Threepio’s movements from the back.) Accompanied by people to make sure he would not trip over loose cables, Daniels made his way to the set to greet Lucas.

Revenge of the Sith

June 30, 2003

Shooting part of the Palpatine rescue scene, June 30, 2003.

June 30, 2003 – To commemorate the Star Wars journey with shooting of the prequel trilogy’s final film, it was decided that the first promotional image was to be one that mirrored a behind-the-scenes photo from The Empire Strikes Back. In that picture we see Lucas near a Hoth set, surrounded by the main actors Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. To mirror the image as much as possible, Natalie Portman took the place of Fisher, Hayden Christensen that of Hamill, and Ewan McGregor of Ford while George Lucas sat in the same position, joined by Rick McCallum. The usual picture of McCallum with his clapboard was also made, and appeared later in the making-of tome written by J. W. Rinzler.

The shoot itself started with several short and simple scenes in the Invisible Hand, the ship of General Grievous. These scenes were: R2-D2 is ordered to stay behind, Obi-Wan and Anakin are attacked by Destroyer droids, the Jedi stepping from the elevator, battle in the elevator, and Anakin waiting for the elevator to arrive with the wounded Obi-Wan carried over his shoulder. During the first take, Ewan McGregor noticed he could not hear the “Action!” cue from their position inside the elevator and behind its doors. Also Hayden’s cloak would get stuck a couple of times between the doors. “Very good for the outtakes.” Lucas said. After this, they filmed the ending of what would become a deleted scene: the Jedi escaping Grievous by going through the fuel tanks. The day wrapped after shooting a scene with Artoo at 19.10.

And that was the last first day of shooting for 11 years…

Sander de Lange (Exar Xan) from the Netherlands worked on the Rogues Gallery feature in Star Wars Insider and has written the backstory for Niai Fieso through “What’s the Story?”. He is an editor for TeeKay-421, the Belgian Star Wars Fanclub and an administrator for the Star Wars Sourcebooks page on Facebook Being born in Deventer, a city used to shoot the world-famous movie A Bridge Too Far, he always had a passion for shooting locations and tourism, in which he hopes to find a job.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-first-days-of-shooting-part-2-the-prequel-trilogy

There are many wonderful stories that encapsulate the Christmas spirit, and emphasize the potential for human goodness and decency. These stories are time-honored traditions in the month of December, and I’m sure many of you have favorites that are sacrosanct for you and your families.  Perhaps there has not been a more retold Christmas story than the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, featuring the curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge. Upon recently teaching this class to my freshmen students, I was struck by the similarities between Scrooge and the correspondingly conflicted Darth Vader. Perhaps they are not as dissimilar as one might originally think.

Written in 1843, Dickens’ novella showcased the hardships endured by the destitute of England, and is best known for the aforementioned Scrooge and his journey of self discovery through his experiences with his past, present, and future. Scrooge, as most are aware, is the aptly named cantankerous, apathetic miser, who is as stingy with his money as he is with the spirit of generosity. He is visited by three spirits, and through these famous encounters, learns to embrace his humanity, and to look beyond himself and his pain. His sense of goodness and compassion, long dormant, is joyfully resurrected, revealing his true self.

jacob_marleys_ghost

The same could be said of Vader’s journey of self discovery; the Dark Lord must also learn to accept his humanity, and to think beyond his pain and previous life choices, in order to let his inner self turn towards the light. Vader’s tragic past came to fruition in Revenge of the Sith in 2005, and while the full extent is being fleshed out for Star Wars-philes, the comparisons between these two famous characters reveals an intriguing juxtaposition of themes that equate to powerful storytelling.

The past: In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is first visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, which represents memory in the Dickens’ novella; the Ghost literally has a head of light, which turns into the faces of different characters that impacted Scrooge in his younger days. Scrooge is horrified, and literally tries to suppress the light, to no avail. Similarly, Vader is encased in his own living tomb of darkness (the absence of visible light), and suppresses the visions of his past at the expense of others, not unlike the uncharitable, suppressive nature of Scrooge’s actions.

A Christmas Carol Past

More specifically, Scrooge suppresses the loss of his beloved, the aptly named Belle; Belle sadly states that she has been replaced by a new idol, “a golden one.” Scrooge’s heart is corrupted by greed, and a false sense of control, and he loses the love of his life. His choices define him, and sends him spiraling towards a singular goal: greed. Vader experiences similar loss, as he seeks to save his beloved, only to lose her in the name of saving her. Scrooge believes he can obtain money to find happiness, and Vader seeks to obtain power over death. Both seek power for selfish purpose; these expectations are unrealistic and vain. It is only when they seek to help others that they rediscover their respective place in each one’s particular universe.

The present: Both Scrooge and Vader exhibited complete and total disregard for their fellow man, and the result, on both accords, is the stuff of legend. When two gentlemen seek Scrooge out and inform him the poor and destitute are in need, Scrooge suggests “the idle” would be better off in a prison or workhouse. When told, “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die,” Scrooge shockingly states, “Then they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” As his name suggests, Scrooge is lacking in compassion, and has total disregard for those he deems rebellious to his status quo. Conversely, Vader has no tolerance for those who seek mercy, or are rebellious to the cause of the Empire. His lack of empathy helped to cement his place in the galaxy as a ruthless tyrant, incapable of compassion or joy.

Both men are capable of doing so much good, and for both of them, it takes a boy to guide them towards the Light.

The future: At first glance, Tiny Tim and Luke Skywalker appear to have nothing more in common than their status as male fictional characters, but upon further reflection, it is fair to say that their love, as well as their belief in goodness, lead both Scrooge and Vader towards an epiphany of their own that forever changes the course of history, and helps enact a more positive future. Tiny Tim will lose his life, due to his fading health and poor care, due, in no small part, to the lack of financial support his father, Bob Cratchit, is able to provide (thanks to the actions of Scrooge). Had Scrooge not reflected on the future, and changed the course of his actions, Tiny Tim would have died, and all hope would have been lost.

jacobmarley:palpatine

Both Scrooge and Vader are submissive to the hooded figures in black.

It is these glimpses of the future that help to influence the actions of both men. Ironically, both the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come and the Emperor are cloaked in black, and are harbingers of impending doom for all, if things do not change. Luke Skywalker is also dangerously close to losing his life, thanks to neglect from his own father on the second Death Star, and, if not for the metanoia of Vader, may very well not have been the New Hope that changed the direction of the galaxy. Fortunately, Vader’s transformation comes about, signaling the end of oppression, and, as both veiled figures depart from each story, they help to restore peace and freedom to each fictional universe.

Both Ebenezer Scrooge and Darth Vader experiences personal growth and overcome intense heartbreak to be the heroes of their respective stories. These changes inspire and promote compassion in the heroes, as well as in the audiences that enjoy these beloved tales of coming out of darkness, and choosing the light. Perhaps there isn’t a better metaphor this holiday season. Happy Holidays to all!

Dan Zehr is a high school English teacher with an MS in Teaching and Learning, and is a  member of the Rogues (as Blue Leader), a network of teachers that incorporate Star Wars in the Classroom. He also runs Coffee With Kenobi (with co-host Cory Clubb), a Star Wars podcast that analyzes the saga through critical thinking, analysis, interviews, and discussion.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/darth-scrooge

Bespin Boba (a.k.a. Dak) most recently joined two other Fetts, Daniel Logan and Dickey Beer, for another billed Boba Fett Reunion. Fans will recall the Fett tradition started at Celebration Europe II in Essen, Germany, that was capped by five Fett’s performing a Maori haka onstage with Warwick Davis before 7,000 ecstatic fans. This September’s three-Fett reunion was during the 2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo at the Duke Energy Convention Center. The highpoint was a rollicking Reunion Panel before a full house on day three of the con, captured by an Expo video that the organizers have just posted on YouTube.

Followers of Jedi News may have read Dak’s report of the panel highlight: Dickey Beer’s reveal that Princess Leia literally saved his life during shooting of Return of the Jedi’s Sarlacc Pit battle scene.

Attendees — and his fellow panelists — were stunned to hear that Slave Leia laid on him the kiss of life…for real.

Featuring a host of Star Wars fans, the Cincinnati event was one of the most hospitable we’ve encountered. A welcoming spirit permeated the exhibit hall throughout the weekend. Outside the Duke Center, Downtown Cincinnati was in the midst of its Oktoberfest, and the nearby Fountain Square hosted a lot of Old World cosplay with Bavarian schuhplattler (slap dancing) and polka bands leading sing-a-longs of “Schnitzelbank.” Ja, a frothy gemütlichkeit was flowing through the Force.

Lifelong Cincinnatian and comics collector Andrew Satterfield founded the con in 2010 and is its director. His first Expo took place in the concourse of the Cintas Center at Xavier University. The following year, Satterfield moved it to the Duke Center. This year, he had worked with the 501st to create a Star Wars Zone complete with a Dewback.

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We three Fetts sat together in the Zone and were swamped by fans and innumerable Star Wars cosplayers. Note the land-line service adjacent to the Zone was little use to these two members of the Legion and 501st. ET isn’t the only one who can’t phone home.

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Ubiquitous at the con was Comic Book Central’s producer and host Joe Stuber who did a recorded interview of Dickey and Dak plus other con guests for his podcast. Dak’s daughter Emily snapped evidence of Daniel and Dickey with Ada, Ohio, video-gamer Courtney Walland.

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Indeed, Dak too was ever on the lookout for a uniquely catching interview. He couldn’t resist recording this shoulder tattoo below that captures the yin and yang aspects of the balance in the Force.

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Here modeling is the 23-year-old Emily Hannon, a Slave Leia cosplayer who is by day an administrative assistant at Transamerica Financial Advisors. “When I’m not at work,” she told Dak, “I’m reading science fiction, playing video games, or studying to obtain my life insurance license at my home in Fairfield, Ohio.”  Emily attends comic and gaming conventions through the year with her fiance, Anthony Johnson. “We cosplay as Mandalorian Johan Kordav and Slave Leia, Brock and Misty from Pokemon, Hobbits from The LOTR [The Lord of the Rings], and aspire for more. I’m interested in creating custom Mandalorian armor to join my soon-to-be husband in the Mandalorian Mercs.”

The Mercs were very much in evidence at Cincy. Bespin Boba’s clan, the Blue Moon Clan of Kentucky, was there supporting their hosts, Ohio’s Rancor Clan. With them was with his fave Merc, the beasthunter Skanah Dala (Abbie Rich), who is here below sitting on her speed racer.

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These fantastically committed Mercs gave us Fetts a huge welcome.

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Their booth was next to the equally welcoming Shadow Squadron of the Great Lakes Base/Rebel Legion and the 501st Ohio Garrison.

At the far end of the hall, was a large area that housed the Ohio Kentucky Indiana LEGO User’s Group (OKI LUG), one of Satterfield’s partner organizations. Its founder and current president is Rodney Dicus, a Lego artist, by day a firefighter/paramedic who also serves as a fire chaplain. Like the Expo, OKI LUG dates from 2010. The group is based in Florence, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. Dak was particularly taken with one LEGO construct that returned him to the scene of his demise at Hoth.

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Folks came to Cincinnati from afar. One cute little Ewok who came to our table was there with her mom and hailed from Cartersville, Georgia, an hour northwest of Atlanta.

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Her dad, Chris Bern, was running a booth for an outfit called Fans for Christ. Bern, a pastor and sometime stormtrooper, is one of the founders and also the current director of the fan group that serves as a ministry for Christians who are fans of Star Wars, comics, anime, steampunk, and Goth culture, sci-fi, and fantasy. Membership includes folks that cosplay, do gaming and roleplay gaming and attend conventions, renaissance fairs and gatherings of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) that recreates the arts and skills of pre-17th century Europe.

Further down the aisle was the Cinematic for the People (CFTP) booth that was featuring a locally produced DVD inspired by Star Wars called Star Odyssey. Founded in 1999 by Cincinnati radio DJ and videographer Jim Hanson and multimedia designer Mike Dellheim, CFTP is a home-made independent Internet-based television show and the riffing group. In 2003-06, Hanson and Dellheim kept the group going as a webcomic, before returning to video production.

Across the way was the Cincinnati Geek Meet table, hosted by cosplayers Karen and Peter. They are the ringleaders of a geek-oriented social club that numbers in the hundreds. The group is “about all things geek” and includes writers, artists, gamers, movie fans, cosplayers and musicians. The group was a testament to alternative Cincinnati scene that is a vibrant and creative corner of the Galaxy.

In sum, we Mandalorians had a most entertaining trip to Bountiful. And we’re next scheduled to reconvene on November 7-9 at the Shatterdome Con near Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia.

John appeared as Dak, Luke Skywalker’s back-seater in the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. He also appeared in the film substituting for Jeremy Bullloch as Boba Fett on Bespin when he utters his famous line to Darth Vader, “He’s no good to me dead.” Follow him on Twitter @tapcaf.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/boba-fett-reunions-its-getting-to-be-a-family-affairfor-clones

When December rolls around each year, I look at my holiday decorations to see what I can apply a Star Wars makeover to. It seems like there’s an endless number of crafts to make such as stockings, tree skirts, and ornaments. This year I turned my eye to snow globes. I’ve put a tauntaun in a jar of fake snow, but I’ve never taken the next step and added water. I learned that snow globes are surprisingly simple to make, and I want to make one for every shelf in my home. I started with a Hoth snow globe because of obvious reasons and because it’s one of my favorite planets in the Star Wars universe.

All supplies except the miniatures can be found at your local craft shop. Check the soap-making section for the glycerin. And as far as those miniature Star Wars toys, you’ve probably noticed from my DIY posts that I have an affinity for them. I use Micro Machines, loose pieces I pick up in used toy stores, Fighter Pods, Disney Parks Collectors Packs (they’re blind bags) — basically any miniatures I see. I’ve found eBay to be a great resource for amassing a stash of tiny toys.

Hoth Snowglobe supplies

Supplies:
Water tight jar
Glitter in the color of your choosing or Diamond Dust
Water
Few drops glycerin
Glue gun and hot glue
Miniatures like an AT-AT, a tauntaun, a wampa, a snowspeeder, an Imperial probe droid, or Darth Vader
Miniature pine tree

Optional:
Platform for figures, like a bottle cap or toy stand
Mod Podge

Remove all labels and residue. Hot water usually does the trick. Then, make sure the jar is actually water tight. Check it a few times. If it does leak but only a small amount, you may be able to seal it with hot glue.

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Take the lid off your jar and experiment with your figures until you set a Hoth-inspired scene you’re happy with. You can include a single AT-AT or as many miniatures as you can stuff in. I chose an AT-AT, Han Solo on a tauntaun, a small pine tree, and an Imperial probe droid. Pose all the figures on the base and make sure the jar fits over them. Once you’ve ensured that, see if you need to add a platform for the figures to stand on. I flipped the base from a Funko Pop! figure over and used it to give my Hoth scene more height. You can sub in anything plastic for the platform.

hoth snowglobe base

Use hot glue to secure your figures to the lid or your platform. Let them dry completely. If you’re using a platform that’s not white, you can conceal it by applying Mod Podge on all the bare areas and covering it with glitter or Diamond Dust. Lightly press the glitter or Diamond Dust into the Mod Podge and set it aside to let it dry completely. As an example, the above picture shows how the base looks without the figures on it. Remember that you want to glue on the figures first though and work around them.

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While the lid with your characters is drying, attach a miniature Imperial probe droid to the inside of the jar with hot glue. Mine is from the Star Wars Micro Machines pewter collection (they only look like pewter, they’re plastic). Hold the probe droid in place until it’s secure. Give it a few minutes to ensure it’s completely dry.

Fill the jar almost to the top with water and add a few drops of glycerin. The glycerin will help the glitter swirl more slowly. Sprinkle in glitter in the color of your choosing and/or Diamond Dust. As long as the figures attached to the jar’s lid are secure, put the lid on the jar and flip it over. You’ll have a snowing Hoth wonderland.

DIY Hoth Snowglobe

Glitter doesn’t photograph well so I amped them up in this photo.

Jars work well for this project (especially those with lids that screw on), but if you want more of a classic snow globe look, you can order snow globe kits online.

If you don’t want the whole snow globe effect, you can create a wintry Hoth scene by adding in more Diamond Dust or other fake snow and none of the water and glycerin. Add Diamond Dust into the jar, carefully put on the lid with the toys attached, and flip it over. Tada, mini diorama! You can see instructions for that process at my blog.

Happy Hothidays, everyone! If you make a Star Wars snow globe, please share links to photos in the comments or send them to me on Twitter.

Amy Ratcliffe is a writer obsessed with all things Star Wars, Disney, and coffee. You can follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek and keep up with all things geeky at her blog.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/diy-hoth-snow-globe

Everyone’s favorite tough-talking-to-Tarkin, mind-probe-resisting, scoundrel-liking princess is back in her own comic book series. Coming in March 2015 from the House of Ideas (also known as Marvel), Star Wars: Princess Leia is a five-issue miniseries written by the legendary Mark Waid (Daredevil, among many others) and illustrated by fan favorite Terry Dodson (Uncanny X-Men). The title picks up where A New Hope leaves off — the Rebels have blown up the Death Star, but Leia must come to terms with the destruction of her own home planet — and is canonical within the Star Wars universe. So, if you want to know the Alderaan princesses’ full story, it’ll be essential reading. (In case you missed it, StarWars.com spoke with Waid and the Star Wars line’s other writers shortly after Marvel announced each title.)

Check out some exclusive preview pages from issue #1 by Terry Dodson below (depicting the end of A New Hope‘s medal ceremony, which looks downright awesome in Dodson’s fun, cartoon-like style), and get ready for a new era of Star Wars comics and impatience for walking carpets.

Star Wars: Princess Leia #1 - page 1 Star Wars: Princess Leia #1 - page 2StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-princess-leia-1-exclusive-preview

The last time we saw the Emperor’s “little green friend” in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he was traveling to Force planets, encountering evil spectres of ancient Sith, and unlocking the path to immortality. Not a bad bit of work! But there’s no rest for a Jedi Master, as we’ll soon see on Star Wars Rebels.

As reported on TVGuide.com, Yoda will be featured in the upcoming “Path of the Jedi” episode. Since Star Wars Rebels is set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, this point in the timeline finds Yoda in hiding on Dagboah after the decimation of the Jedi Order. In the episode, he’ll appear only in the form of his disembodied voice — provided by Frank Oz, who voiced the Jedi Master in five Star Wars films and operated the original puppet in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi — communing with Kanan and Ezra. “I felt personally to keep Yoda as this disembodied thing it would confuse the audience less,” executive producer Dave Filoni told TVGuide.com. “I didn’t want you to think Yoda could be teleporting from planet to planet.”

“Path of the Jedi” will air Monday, January 5 at 9/8 CT on Disney XD, and will be available on the Watch Disney XD app beginning Monday, December 29.

Very, very awesome, this is.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/yoda-frank-oz-return-in-star-wars-rebels

Life Day has come and gone (and we hope you had a great one), but the holiday season isn’t over! To quote everyone’s favorite boots-wearing, magical, bearded old man — Count Dooku — “This is just the beginning!”

StarWars.com has always been active around the holidays, with videos, blogs, and crafts to help celebrate the season. So, just like getting the decorations out of the attic, we’re going into the archives for some of our best content that only comes once a year. Check them out below and enjoy!

VIDEOS

The Rose Bowl Star Wars Spectacular Highlights

BLOGS

Holiday Traditions, Star Wars-Style by Amy Ratcliffe

Who’s Who in the Star Wars Holiday Special Cantina by Tim Veekhoven and Kevin Beentjes

Star Wars, Christmas, and Droidels! by Steve Sansweet

The Best Holidays and Celebrations in the Galaxy…and Empire Day, Too by Tim Veekhoven and Kevin Beentjes

Christmas Troopers: A Little Naughty, Mostly Nice by Albin Johnson

Christmas in the Stars (the Star Wars Christmas Album) by Steve Sansweet

Marching with the Maker: A 501st Legion Reflection by Albin Johnson

The Sears Wish Book and Star Wars Toys’ Real Value by Brad Ricca

Star Wars in the UK: 1977, the First Star Wars Christmas by Mark Newbold

A Bowl Full of Hutt by Katie Cook

CRAFTS

DIY Wookiee Life Day Wreaths by Amy Ratcliffe

How to Make a Wampa Cave Shadow Box by Jennifer Landa

DIY Winter Star Wars Sun Jars by Tessa Braun

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/ghosts-of-star-wars-holiday-blogs-past