Editorial – January 2016: Who let the droids out?

Hello everyone

Y’know, I did a newspaper quiz about ‘Star Wars’ in December and knew I had over 80% correct without checking the answers. One tends to know which answers are correct as the first three films and their background from the 70s are ingrained so much. Equally, I also know which questions I can’t answer, especially about the three Darth Vader origin films, especially as I still haven’t seen the third, ‘Revenge Of The Sith’, mostly because I lost the desire to see Anakin Skywalker turn into a human shish kebab. It also appeared that the questions-maker did as well because there was little about them in the quiz.

Excepting the odd memory lapse that will come back to me later, I have an odd memory recall for trivia although when it comes to writing articles and such for SFC, I do double-check just to be on the safe side when I write articles. Even with the Net, it’s more a matter of also making sure that the information out there is also correct and I tend to innately know when something isn’t right. Another reason why when reviewing, mistakes tend to stick out like sore thumbs and if we don’t point them out and you pick up said books and point them out if you know better, you’re think we were stupid for not spotting them in the first place. That doesn’t mean to say we’re perfect but it’s a good direction to go in. The world might also not be perfect but I’d rather it head that way than in the opposite direction and think everyone’s knowledge is perfect. The Internet could also be better off running that way but that’s a more complex world-wide issue. The only thing you need to be aware of is that we do tend to stop ourselves from making too many factual errors.


Although I won’t be able to see the new ‘Star Wars’ film until its disk release and still being careful not to pick up too many details even now so I can have a few surprises, watching the reaction objectively from the sidelines has been quite interesting. I’m still puzzling how Disney can announce a release of a new ‘Star Wars’ film annually when the special effects takes the most time to do and most megabusters take 3 years production time. That is unless, of course, they’ve been doing more than one film or extra scenes at a time, either live-action or effects to ensure they keep the pace up. Hardly something they’re going to admit to, especially with all that secrecy they keep around the sets.

If anything, it’s a demonstration of what is said against what can happen with a middle ground between them both. Even so, it’s an odd proclamation. This doesn’t mean it can’t happen, just not in the way its explained. Although in this case, time will tell. Although to meet such deadlines, it’s going to keep a lot of special effects houses away from other films and an ever growing credits list. Mind you, this only depends on whether Disney means a film a year in perpetuity or just the first trilogy or the third, depending on how you look at such things. Certainly, Disney are going to look at ‘Star Wars’ as a cash cow for some time to come after the multi-billion deal to buy it off George Lucas, although when you include merchandising, I reckon they’ll be in profit before the third film. Mind you, even with ‘Star Wars’, one must always contemplate saturation point and even ‘Star Trek’ is still recovering from that. I wonder if that new TV series is going to be called ‘The Next Next Generation’ or stay at the current time in the film pocket universe?

In the meantime, let’s hope that all these ‘Star Wars’ films doesn’t prevent the propagation of new SF films, just simply raise their quality and producers wanting to make a new series that will attract a new fan base. Even in the film industry, lightning can strike more than thrice.

I was also struck by something George Lucas said about the ‘Star Wars’ films being about families. Not ‘Star Wars’ being a family film for all to see but about the relationships within the film. That’s a layer that even the books about the films haven’t really explored although I suspect there will be books out on the subject by the end of the year and might even be giving Disney food for thought as, according the press releases, they hadn’t thought about it.

Oddly, I suspect this applies to all films, even in our genre. It’s more a case of joining the dots of relationships and how broken they are before they are glued together again, not necessarily in the same order, to work under different circumstances. For most, it’s just sub-text. We expect these things so don’t really examine it in detail. After all, disharmony amongst people is a standard trope in all stories.

How important relationships are depends on the film. Dramas rely on them totally. For SF, with so much else going on which might be deemed more important like destroying a tyranny, less so. In our own reality, I doubt if relationships are taken into account when overthrowing a dictatorship other than whether siblings are as dangerous as their father and need to be dealt with as well. Is this a failing or simply how we differentiate the difference between reality and fiction?

Although I doubt if George Lucas’ assertions will change what people think of any of the ‘Star Wars’ trilogies over the years, I suspect it will make you think about what do you go to see in the ‘Star Wars’ films for a few seconds. The epic battles? The close-up kendo fighting with light-sabres? Beating the Empire or what’s left of it at any level? Add beating the Sith and their desires to that as well, although there must surely be more than two at a time for them to keep going. Whether any of the female cast have bizarre hair style choices? Maybe someone else has a father they never knew they had? That’s about the only time when relationships really come into it and that’s a standard soap opera connection. Even love affairs are fleeting in a galaxy far, far away. Then again, it can all be put down to the ‘Star Wars’ experience and just accepting everything at one go. Nothing extraordinary with that as we do that with most films as we accept what is shown. Funny old universe or even a distant galaxy.

Thank you, take care, good night and may whatever be with you.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: SFCrowsnest.org.uk


A Zen thought: A rope always breaks in the same place.


Observation: There is one obvious flaw with ‘The Big Bang Theory’. Geeks would never live that close together or socialise or is that just me?


Observation: There’s a ‘Back To The Future Slot Car Race Set’. Has anyone given any thought as to what happens when that Delorean reaches 88mph?


Observation: After Jupiter turns into a star with its own planets in ‘2010’, whatever happened to the Tycho Monolith on Earth?


Observation: There’s an odd thing about ‘Blade Runner’. Why wasn’t Leon checked for guns before his initial interrogation? It isn’t as though he couldn’t use other means to attack Holden. After all, the Replicants preference is to crush the skull. Also, why doesn’t Tyrell offer one of the fatal solutions to ensure his own safety? They wouldn’t know it wouldn’t work and Roy Batty would be unconscious on an operating table.


Observation: Seeing how expensive some of the model kits are these days, does anyone outside of the very rich or the very expert in model-making buy them to make with the realisation that they could make a serious mistake when putting them together or see their efforts dashed when they fall to the floor? Maybe, they are just kept gathering dust in case their value rockets. This is a sure way to lose the art of model-making, especially of SF subjects, from upcoming sprogs and of a generation of special effects folk with no modelling experience.


Missed Opportunity: In the original ‘Star Trek’ story, ‘The Changeling’, Nomad is transported aboard the Enterprise. That being the case, why didn’t the crew just not reassemble it? After all, the transported is the ultimate disintegrator weapon. So many of their problems could have been sorted and left in the transporter buffer that way.


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