This week at the Jedi Lounge, we are interviewing Kelly M who runs the great Team Ahsoka website!
1. Which Star Wars movie did you see first?
A New Hope, which I saw on television (or possibly VHS) in the late 1980s. It was quite literally my first step into a larger world.
2. What Star Wars means to you?
To me, Star Wars isn’t just the pinnacle of captivating and imaginative storytelling; it’s an integral part of my life. And it’s something I’ve been able to share not just with close friends and family but, thanks to social media, with countless other fans around the world. I’ve made quite a few good friends with people I’ve met online (my husband included).
3. What’s your favorite part of the Star Wars saga and why? (it can be one of the eight movies or even one of the tv shows)
This is a tough one as I’m pretty fond of all the movies and spin-off media. If I had to pick just one part, I’d choose The Clone Wars TV series as it did a spectacular job of fleshing out the themes and characters from the prequel trilogy and it gave us a glimpse into the realities of a galaxy-wide war from various points of view.
It also introduced a wide range of exciting and well-written original characters including my all-time favourite Star Wars character, Ahsoka Tano. I honestly can’t recommend this series enough to fans of the saga and urge those who disliked the prequel trilogy to give The Clone Wars a shot. It may even change the way you feel about the prequels.
4. If you had to choose a subtitle that sums up the Star Wars saga what would it be for you?
“Never give up hope, no matter how dark things seem”. This fortune cookie from The Clone Wars episode ‘The Wrong Jedi’ sums up the entire saga perfectly. And it’s great life advice!
5. What do you think of having anthology movies that don’t focus on the Skywalker saga and tell other stories ? And which anthology movies would you like to see in the upcoming years ?
As much as I love the Skywalker saga, I’m glad Lucasfilm and Disney have been bold enough to push on with their plans to create more anthology films. Lucasfilm had already begun to explore the wider galaxy in The Clone Wars and Star War Rebels (even if these tie into the saga in some way) so it’s great to see that they’re carrying on this tradition in the form of standalone films. It’s a big galaxy, after all, and I’m sure every inhabitant has a story to tell.
What I would really love to see is a Siege of Mandalore film, be it live action or animated (ideally the latter). Rogue One was a perfect lead-in for A New Hope, tying together the prequel and original trilogies. A Siege of Mandalore film would be the ideal set-up for Revenge of the Sith and E.K. Johnston’s Ahsoka novel. I know a LOT of Clone Wars fans would love to see Ahsoka, Rex, and co on the big screen again and it’d give the series the mind-blowing ending it truly deserved.
6. What did you think of Rogue One ? And how many times you saw it ?
I’d seen it four times at the time of writing and I wouldn’t be surprised if I see it a couple more times before it finishes its theatrical run.
I could ramble on endlessly about Rogue One but, for the sake of brevity, I’ll just say that it’s a beautiful tribute to the Star Wars saga that blends elements from the prequels and the original trilogy and sends a wonderful message: The road to a brighter future is often fraught with hardship and heartache but one should never lose hope.
7.Rogue One showed a different side of the Alliance, a side that is more questionable, what did you think of that ?
This is exactly the sort of thing I had expected to see in the film and I’m glad Lucasfilm didn’t shy away from exploring the morally grey areas of the Rebellion. If The Clone Wars and books like Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars have taught me anything, it’s that nothing is ever black or white. Even the seemingly noble Rebel Alliance has a few skeletons in its closet…
8. Were you satisfied with how Rogue One ended and with the fact that all the main heroes died ?
To be honest, I couldn’t think of a better way to end this film. The closing scenes with Vader, Leia, and the Tantive IV were beyond even my wildest expectations and the death of the entire Rogue One crew added a certain gravitas to the story. The crew’s sacrifice for the greater good was as bittersweet as it was inspirational and it will make me view the events of A New Hope in a whole new light.
9. Rogue One brought back Tarkin to life with CGI and a young Leia at the end, what were your thoughts of this use of CGI ?
Ethical issues aside, I thought ILM and Lucasfilm did a spectacular job of bringing Tarkin and young Leia back to life in Rogue One. From a technical point of view, it was practically flawless (the minor imperfections were more noticeable in the 3D screenings) and from a storytelling point of view, it made perfect sense to include these two iconic characters in the film.
That said, I’m not sure how comfortable I would be about using this technology to recreate Leia in Episode IX. Thankfully, it seems that Lucasfilm have no plans to bring Carrie Fisher back to life on screen but, should they change their minds, I hope it is done in a sensitive manner and in a way that respects her family’s wishes.
10. About The Force Awakens, how do you think it connects with the two other trilogies ? Were you satisfied about this opening to the Sequel trilogy ?
I know a lot of people have complained about the similarities between TFA and ANH but I found it thoroughly enjoyable (if not particularly innovative) and I do feel it brought back a lot of the fans that had all but given up on the saga after the prequels were released.
That said, a lot of the film’s success can be attributed to nostalgia so I am expecting bigger, better things from Episode VIII. I’ll be bitterly disappointed if Episode VIII turns out to be a retread of a previous storyline.
With regards to how TFA connects with the other two trilogies, I’d say it does a fairly good job of following on from the original trilogy, though there’s still a lot of the time period between Return of the Jedi and TFA that needs to be explored. I also found it a little disheartening that everything had gone so horribly wrong for our OT heroes and that the New Republic was already descending into chaos. I guess there’s no such thing as a happy ending in Star Wars!
Aside from the mention of the clone army and the odd Easter egg here and there, there wasn’t a great deal to connect TFA to the prequel trilogy…but I don’t think it was some sort of conspiracy to anger fans of the prequels. Remember, the events of the prequels are quite a few decades in the past by this point (the galaxy has moved on) and we still don’t know what Lucasfilm have in store for us in Episodes VIII and IX. So let’s give them the benefit of the doubt… 😉
11. Do you have any theories about Rey’s parents ?
Oh dear. This one’s a minefield.
Initially, I was almost certain that Rey was Luke’s daughter but lately I’m not so sure. I know there are quite a few theories floating about (some plausible, some downright daft) but I’m currently leaning towards the idea that Rey’s parents are a) characters we’ve never met and b) no one special.
She may very well be a Skywalker or a Solo or even a descendant of Kenobi’s but I’d honestly be happier if it turned out that Rey wasn’t related to any of these iconic characters. Let Rey be special on her terms.
12. Do you think it is a good idea to have three different directors for the Sequel trilogy ? Or would you have preferred just one director for the three movies ?
I think it’s hard to pass judgement at this stage as I have no idea what Rian Johnson or Colin Trevorrow have in store for us. Ask me again when Episode IX is out!
13. What did you think of the portrayal of classic characters Han and Leia in The Force Awakens ? Did you think it was a good continuation of how the characters were in the Original Trilogy ?
It was great to see that Leia was still actively involved in the fight against tyranny but a little disheartening that everything she, Han, and Luke had fought for in the Original Trilogy had fallen apart within a couple of decades. Not to mention the additional heartache of having a son succumb to the Dark Side and then murder your husband. Life certainly hasn’t been kind to poor Leia.
Han’s return to smuggling caught me a little offguard but I suppose it makes some sense (it’s familiar territory to him). What I’d like to know is what happened between him and Leia between the events of ‘Bloodline’ and TFA that pushed them so far apart…
14. George Lucas said about the first six movies “It’s ONE movie and it’s meant to be seen I through VI.” Do you agree with this statement and why?
I’d probably agree and disagree with his statement. Episodes I to VI do tell one long, fairly cohesive story (especially if you throw in The Clone Wars for good measure) but I’m not sure I’d recommend watching the films in that particular order.
That now-iconic revelation in The Empire Strikes Back loses its shock factor if you watch the prequels first, so I’d personally advise newcomers to watch the films in this order: IV, V, I, II, III, VI.
This would not only preserve Empire’s shock factor but also give viewers the chance to dip into Anakin’s backstory before seeing how his journey ends in Return of the Jedi.
15. How important do you think it was to have the Prequels telling this story of the rise and fall of Anakin, the fall of the Republic and the rise to power of a tyrant … and why do you think it was important to tell this story? For you, how does it connect to the First trilogy?
The prequel trilogy turned out to be somewhat different to what I had had in mind but I’m still fairly pleased with what we got. The three films serve as a warning that even those with noble intentions can fall victim to circumstance and make some spectacularly terrible decisions. They also helped humanize Vader and establish how a seemingly peaceful Republic can collapse into chaos or, worse, give rise to a tyrannical regime that attempts to rob the average citizen of their powers and rights.
Sadly, a brief glance at the news suggests that we haven’t learnt from the mistakes made by that Galaxy Far, Far Away…
16. What’s your favorite aspect of the story in the Prequels and why ?
It’s a tie between the politics (particularly during the tumultuous Clone Wars era) and the world-building. The prequels really gave us the sense that there was a huge, diverse galaxy out there waiting to be explored.
17. What did you think of the performances of the main cast in the Prequels ?
If I’m completely honest, I’d say it was a little hit and miss. But I’ve never let that affect my overall enjoyment of the prequels.
18. What impact has The Clone Wars left on the movies for you? How did it change your way of watching the movies?
I see the series as a perfect complement to the prequel trilogy as it delved into topics the films just didn’t have the time to explore, e.g. Anakin’s growth from troubled Padawan to confident Jedi Knight, and the actual Clone Wars themselves.
It also made the Order 66 scenes a LOT harder to watch. Poor Plo…
19. What’s your favorite aspect of the story in Star Wars Rebels ?
I tend to favour the Force lore-heavy episodes but the one aspect of the series that has really kept me hooked is seeing how a small rebel cell became an integral part of a much wider, larger rebellion and how the Ghost crew have dealt with the various obstacles thrown their way. All signs point towards us seeing the birth of the Rebel Alliance on this show (be it this season or the next). I can’t wait!
20. About the Ghost crew, who is your favorite and who is the one you like the least ?
It’s hard to pick a favourite as it changes from episode to episode. Sometimes it’s Kanan, sometimes it’s Sabine. They’ve both come a long way over the course of three seasons, coming to terms with who they are and who they’re meant to be, and I’m curious to see where they’ll go from here. Of course, I’m also a huge fan of our favourite murder-bot Chopper (who isn’t?).
As for least favourite, it’s Ezra. For whatever reason, I haven’t connected with him as I did with Ahsoka in The Clone Wars and while I certainly don’t hate him, I kind of wish Sabine had been the central character in Rebels.
For a while, I was hopeful that the writers were going to take Ezra’s character in a certain direction. His struggles with his anger and guilt at the start of season 3 made him a much more relatable character and his erratic behaviour really threatened to destabilize the crew dynamic. But, sadly, this seemed to have resolved itself within a couple of episodes. A missed opportunity, I think.
21. Where do you think Ezra’s story is headed in the future seasons ? Considering his name is Bridger and in Star Wars names have a meaning, what do you think he is supposed to bridge ?
I’d like to think that he’ll serve as a sort of bridge between the Light Side and the Dark (especially given his recent dealings with Maul) but I can’t help but feel that his family name is just a nod to the fact that Star Wars Rebels bridges the gap between Revenge of the Sith and the Original Trilogy.