Archive for the ‘Star Wars’ Category

The Intern Menace

Thursday, 19 January, 2012

Spent a fun lunchtime today with our group of a dozen or so summer interns at work, helping Andrew S. show them how to swede a movie. We’re running a short film competition for the interns, with fabulous prizes for the best film. The idea is to get them to use cool Canon equipment and have some fun.

So today we gave them a lesson in how to make a short film. And to do so, we recreated Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. From the collective memory of the interns (without help from Andrew and me, and without any reference to a script or other material). And we shot the whole thing in one lunchtime.

We did a total of 16 scenes. Jar Jar died in the third scene. Palpatine became President of the Galaxy by winning a “Ben Hur” race, when Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s ship crashed into R2-D2 just before the finish line. But the people weren’t happy and attacked Palpatine in a mass fight scene. And in the final scene, Jar Jar came back to life, but Qui-Gon and Mace Windu killed him again.

We filmed it on the lawn in front of our building. Several onlookers were eating lunch nearby – I hope we kept them entertained!

Yoda @ Hogwarts?

Thursday, 2 June, 2011

Is it just me, or did John Williams re-use the “sparkly” bit of Yoda’s theme in his Harry Potter soundtrack score?

Fan vitriol

Tuesday, 1 June, 2010

Being one of the creators of Darths & Droids, I take some time every now and then to trawl forums and blogs for new comments and reviews of the comic. The comments are generally good, although there are the odd few people who say, “I looked at it, it sucks.” But we can live with those.

One interesting trend I’ve noticed is just how much people seem to hate the Star Wars prequels. I mean not just dislike but actively hate. As in they think George Lucas went back in time and raped their childhood and shot their dog and the prequel films should be burnt, stabbed through the heart with a stake, and buried at a crossroads.

The slightly disturbing thing about this (besides that these people should try directing their passion into something positive for a change) is that it’s instantly leapt to when Darths & Droids is mentioned. A typical mention goes something like this:

Hey, check out this webcomic. It’s hilarious and it actually makes the prequels entertaining. This is the only possible justification for the existence of the prequels. Ha ha! look at the fun they’re poking of the stupid prequels! Hilarious!

Now, while it’s nice to have a reason why people like our comic, this actually worries me a bit. Because another thing that many of these posts seem to do is assume that we’re making fun of the prequels. As in just the prequels. I fear that many people haven’t read the FAQ, in which we state that we have a storyline plotted for all six movies.

What’s going to happen when we reach the end of Episode III, and start on Episode IV? Are people suddenly going to think we’ve stopped poking fun at the hated prequels and are now desecrating the original classics? I don’t know.

I’m not poking fun at the prequels because I hate them. They’re not masterpieces, and there are certainly groanworthy moments that are difficult to watch, but they’re still fun if you don’t treat them like they’re supposed to be the ultimate expression of cinema. I prefer the original trilogy, but I wonder how much of that is just nostalgia. There are also cringeworthy moments in those films.

As a resource for making the comics, we drew up a list of “Stupid things we need to explain” for each movie. People seem to think it’s hilarious when we point out how stupid something is in one of the prequels. Plot holes, bizarre character actions, ridiculous technology that defies physics and/or common sense, and so on. But you know what? We have lists of pretty much the same length of things just as stupid in each of the original trilogy films. When we use these to point out something silly in the original films and make jokes about it, what are the readers going to think?

Honestly, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if our readership dropped by half or more when we move from the prequels to the original trilogy. I hope it doesn’t, and that the story we are telling keeps readers hooked, and that the majority of people approach it with the same view of affectionate parody that we’re actually aiming for in the prequels, and stay to enjoy it. But I’m not sure that will happen. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Getting excited about Star Wars again

Wednesday, 3 March, 2010

Over at Darths & Droids my friends and I are approaching the end of our treatment of Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Which means it’s time for us to sit down together and watch Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, so we can prepare for the writing ahead.

When we announced this on our Facebook page, we suggested that readers might like to join us in watching the movie at the same time, making it into a global event of sorts. Someone responded that we should host an IRC chat during the movie and, not being people to shy away from an intriguing idea, we decided to do so. (Not that this was intended to be an ad, but it’s at 09:00am GMT, Friday 5 March, on the Freenode IRC network, channel #darths, because I know someone will ask.)

It’s hard to say how many people we’ll actually get, but there are some fans making very excited posts about it. Now I’m stopping to consider what this really means.

We may have a significant number of people excited about being up at times like 1am (West Coast USA) or 4am (East Coast USA), on a Friday morning what’s more, to watch a Star Wars prequel movie. I’m not sure if that’s happened since 1999.

If you put your mind to something and share it with the world, it’s amazing what you can accomplish. Darths & Droids began as just something we do in our lunchtimes. We do it because we like creating something new and hopefully interesting out of the cultural legacy of Star Wars. We genuinely like Star Wars, and want to be able to say we did something positive for the community of fans out there, whether they be loyal and as enthusiastic as ever, or somewhat jaded and disappointed by recent(ish) additions to the canon.

Getting people excited about Episode III, either again, or perhaps even for the first time. That’s just cool.