Star Wars: The Trilogy
By Mike Derderian
An eight-year old sitting in his grandfather’s living room surrounded by his family is silently gazing at the television. His senses are benumbed, eyes dilated and mouth half open as he watches how Luke Skywalker draws a light-saber in the face of Jabba the Hut, defying hoards of alien creatures waiting to jump him any second now. Suddenly, a trap door opens leading our hero into a pit of doom to the echoes of Jabba’s evil laugh, where a nasty creature known as a Rancor awaits the incoming Jedi. Come and get it; it’s lunchtime.
Is it the end of our brave Jedi Knight? Well, sadly this is where I have to stop before I spoil the fun for those film fans, who still haven’t seen one of the greatest sci-fi sagas of all times and galaxies.
Watching Star Wars: Episode VI-Return of the Jedi (1983) before the first two parts New Hope (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) wasn’t in the best chronological order, even for a child, who didn’t need the extra dose of imagination either, believe me.
A year later, I found out that there were two other parts so I nagged on my father to bring me the whole trilogy from his friend’s video store. Imagine my happiness; finally the circle was complete. When I first watched it I was just a child, however, I became the child who proudly announced that he knew everything about Star Wars.
In this week’s Cinerama I’ll be talking in general about this galactic epic of good versus evil, the dark side of the force versus the good side of the force, incarnated in the struggle between Luke Skywalker and the coolest super-villain dressed in the hippest black suit ever with a matching glossy head piece, in addition to a great voice. Haven’t you guessed? I am talking about Darth Vader, the man whose authoritative deep voice was provided by James Earl Jones, the very same man who goes on television now saying: “This is CNN”. As for the man behind the mask, who gave the emperor’s henchman his strong sturdy figure presence, he goes by the name David Prowse.
Sorry I got carried away so let us go back to the plot of Star Wars that was created by one of Hollywood’s true geniuses, George Lucas.
Presenting the world with his vision of what an inter-galactic future war would be like, Lucas created one of the most acclaimed films ever in 1977, with a budget of 11 million dollars. New Hope stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Anthony Daniels and Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, the master Jedi, who mentors Luke into becoming a ‘force’-using Jedi Knight in the first of the trilogies. So, New Hope helps in establishing the unparallel experience of watching this all-fun and no-bore movie that managed to enlighten the imagination of children around the world for decades.
It introduced us to the colorful characters that captured our imaginations, even as we grew older and started to like works of drama based on real-life events and personnel.
New Hope introduced us to mercenary wise-guy Han Solo (a very young and handsome Ford) with his faithful companion Chewbacca (a never seen Peter Mayhew), who is a half-man-half-dog-like creature—and a very big one too. You’ll love him so much that you’ll wish to hold the cuddly thing.
Who can’t remember Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa; a renegade royalty who is trying to escape the evil clutches of the emperor’s rouge henchman Lord Darth Vader and join the rebels in their fight against the vile and evil emperor.
Star Wars also brought in a new attitude and a side you haven’t seen in the artificial intelligence of robots. Complain, complain and complain is all what C-3PO (Anthony Daniel) does as a golden looking robot who speaks with a rather fluent RP English (Received Pronunciation) accent. As for his less talkative and more beeping, short and round companion R2-D2, despite his weak appearance, he is the brains and muscles of the odd couple.
This brings us to Luke Skywalker (Hamill), who as an orphan, raised by his uncle at a farm on planet Tatooine, he had his doubts about the force; however, he fights against the ex-Jedi who betrayed the sect and joined the dark side, Darth Vader, without knowing who he really is—which is, by the way, the big surprise in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
I won’t ruin the surprise for those who haven’t watched it yet, but I’ll tell you this: the second part will introduce more characters, like Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Willams), mayor of the exquisite Sky City; bounty hunter and Jedi nemesis Boba Fett; in addition to the wise green Jedi Master Yoda, whom you’ll find familiar, especially if you listen carefully to his voice. Yes, it is Frank Oz, the man who gave the Muppet Show’s lady starlight Miss Piggy her voice.
As the name suggests, Episode V is when the baddies retaliate and kick some rebellious rear-sides, I’ll explain more in the three weeks to come.
And finally, in 1983 Episode VI: Return of the Jedi completed the trilogy—Did I say finally? Well, actually, in 1999 Lucas brought forth Episode I: the Phantom Menace and followed it in 2002 with Episode II: Attack of the Clones; and he is yet to introduce Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which is still in production and expected to hit theatres in 2005. In those latter prequels, Lucas retraces how the whole saga and characters came into existence.
If you want to know more about Star Wars join us again in next week’s column… May the force be with us!