When I first saw The Force Awakens after a fully funded summer media apparatus of hype in the winter of 2015, I remember the following Christmas morning my mother turned the corner, threw me a Force Awakens pillow, and coldly chuckled “Merry Christmas.” It was a good joke — like many the Force is moderately strong in my family — but it left me to wonder, what Christmas spirit at Walmart possessed my Mom to buy me this gift? I suspect my mother may have unknowingly become a Disney market research statistic. But after the last five years and our predestined Rise of Skywalker, I am largely left to ask the same question.
by Jamal Igle
(Warning: This essay is filled with spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker)
With Rise of Skywalker and the end of the Skywalker Saga at the end of the month to look forward to, Hard NOC Life is going to be a Star Wars podcast for the month of December. Because there aren’t enough Star Wars podcasts on the internet! Each week, Dominic and Keith will be breaking down a different trilogy that make up the beloved Star Wars franchise.
The month of May holds a special place in the hearts of Asian American and Pacific Islander Star Wars fans. For starters, May has been AAPI Heritage Month since 1990, though it originally began as “Asian Pacific Heritage Week” when it was proposed in Congress by Representatives Frank Horton and Norman Y. Mineta in 1977. That’s right, 1977. You know what else debuted in May 1977?
Stormpilot: It’s the fandom pairing of the decade! And it just might come true.
“Girl, please,” you might be saying, but just listen to me! Not only could it happen, but if it does, it’ll change the game forever (and in a good way.) First let’s get into the timeline. Keep in mind: the timeline is intense. Let’s get into it:
Note: No big spoilers here, at least nothing beyond what’s shown in the trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and what occurs in the first 15 minutes of the film.
The essential psychology of the Star Wars saga is mindfulness. “Using the force” is all about embracing the present moment. That’s what Yoda taught Luke and it’s something Anakin never picked up from Obi-Wan.
Mindfulness continues to be a part of J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I can’t get into specifics because things would get spoilery, but it’s safe to say the climax of the film is a moment of mindfulness. We also see new characters develop meaning in their lives, just like Han Solo did in the original trilogy. The way The Force Awakens honors the past mythology (and psychology) of Star Wars while also refreshing it for a new generation is a big reason why I’m a fan of the film.
by Jamal Igle
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a juggernaut. Critically acclaimed and the current holder of the title of “biggest film opening of all time.” It’s an engaging film that engrosses the viewer and harkens back to the early days of franchise. As it is with all things pop culture, particularly in the age of internet piety, the film also has its detractors. The complaints range across the spectrum but one of the most pointed complaints have been towards Finn, the character portrayed by British actor John Boyega. Two writers whom I’m good friends with — Hannibal Tabu and Joe Illidge — have both written pieces complaining about the character for similar reasons, calling him inept, and even neutered.
I love you guys, you know I do, but I couldn’t disagree with you more. Now this is going to be a rather spoiler filled piece, so if you haven’t seen the movie, now’s your time to hit the eject button and go look at Buzzfeed.
You might not have known, but a little movie opens this weekend. It’s called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Heard of it? Well, it’s already shattering box office records worldwide, and it’ll probably be the highest grossing movie of the year. And there’s only two more weeks left in the year.
Anyway, a bunch of the NOCs have already seen the movie and want to share their thoughts. We’ll be updating this Roundtable throughout the weekend as more of us head out to the multiplex. In the meantime, know that anything and everything after the jump are massive Star Wars spoilers. Be warned.
There’s only one thing about Star Wars: The Force Awakens that scares me…
It’s not the question of whether or not it’s going to be any good, because I know it will be. It’s not the possibility that the movie will birth an everlasting big screen dynasty, because it’s too early in the game to speculate on that. It’s not the intentional absence of Luke Skywalker from everything, because I think it’s admirable to preserve such a fundamental question for the actual movie. It’s not even minor spoilers, though I am taking some protective measures, and have sworn off any further clips, now that I have my Finn focused TV spot to watch over and over again.
No, what I’m afraid about more than anything else, is the true revelation of Finn’s overall role within this new trilogy.
First off, so very many congratulations for your role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I doubt that any of us can be as happy as you are about your casting, but most of us are ecstatic that you are more than just a one-off or a token in the Star Wars universe. Since being cast as Finn you have been rendered, effectively, immortal and omnipresent. You will be in films, made into toys, on posters and trading cards, possibly even comic books, we will be able to play you in video games, your face will be emblazoned on novels… you will be everywhere, for a very long time. Unless something happens where all media is destroyed, you will be famous for the rest of your life. And probably for some time after. Congratulations. I cannot imagine how heady a feeling this must be for you. Continue reading “Dear John Boyega…”
Originally posted on Ebony.com
Even a galaxy far, far away can feel the effects of racism and White paranoia. Over the weekend, a group of our less enlightened brethren got the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII to trend. Why would anyone want to boycott one of cinema’s most venerable franchises? Well, according to some, the new Star Wars film (to be released on December 18 and helmed by geek-favorite J.J. Abrams) promotes “White genocide.”
Yes, you read that correctly.
All weekend, Disney and Lucasfilm have been prepping audiences around the world for the forthcoming phenomenon that is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In addition to running a series of trailers for a trailer to premiere during Monday Night Football on ESPN (of all places), but soon, we’ll all be able to reserve our tickets for that midnight showing (or seven-movie marathon) two months in advance. And the entire galaxy rejoices! Well, not everyone. There’s actually a segment of fandom that is boycotting The Force Awakens.
And you know what? If you’re one of those people who aren’t here for Episode VII, all we have to say is…
One week after retailers unleashed the power of #ForceFriday on Star Wars fans across the stars, Keith assesses the aftermath with fellow action figure and Star Wars enthusiast David Yeh (@coheteboy) of the Disney/Lucasfilm fansite Endor Express.
We also announce the winner of the Finn action figure from last week’s Force Friday giveaway.
Have you felt it? There’s been an awakening…
You’ve watched all of the unboxing videos. You camped in line outside Toys R Us, waiting for a special midnight opening. Now, #ForceFriday is finally here. Even though Star Wars: The Force Awakens is still three months away, you would be unwise to underestimate the power of Star Wars merchandising. Hell, you can’t spell swag with out SW, right?
Speaking of swag, we’re giving away some of it. Keep reading if you want to know how.
Over the weekend, Anaheim, CA was ground zero for the geek-o-sphere as pop culture junkies joined the throngs of Disneyphiles to experience the wonder that is D23 Expo. Now that the House of Mouse owns everyone’s fandoms, D23 rivals only San Diego Comic-Con in terms of hype-building. And this year’s Expo did not disappoint. In addition to teasing footage from Marvel Studios’ and Pixar’s 2016 (and beyond) slate of movies, the announcements that got our attention here at NOC HQ came from Lucasfilm on Saturday.
There is something to be said for having a shared experience with over 6,000 people sitting in an arena in Anaheim, California. A single, solitary moment when a giant video screen fades to black and you hear a voice that you recognize but can’t quite process quick enough before the visual hammers it home, “Chewie, we’re home.” Everybody around me immediately jumps up, fists pumping up high, cheers deafening, not quite processing everything about the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer. Luckily, we are able to see it again and are able to focus more on what we just saw.
“Chewie, we’re home.”
With those three words, the internet became the happiest place in the galaxy. For an hour on Thursday, millions of UPFs (ultra passionate fans, as coined by Mark Hamill, himself) around the world tuned in to YouTube to watch a live stream of the eagerly anticipated Force Awakens panel at Star Wars Celebration. And if you stuck around for the whole hour, it did not disappoint as director JJ Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy unveiled the second teaser for Episode VII. We
should have been working live-tweeted the whole thing. Choice tweets (and the trailer, of course) are after the jump.
As our friend Angry Asian Man broke the nerdtastic news this week that some fine fighters from The Raid would be joining the cast of Star Wars, it seemed as good a time as any to convene a roundtable of some of us martial arts film enthusiasts here at the NOC to talk about our favorite martial arts fight scenes.
Before we shared our favorite scenes with one another, we guessed there would be significant overlap, especially concerning the great Bruce Lee. Sure enough, each of us had picked at least one Bruce Lee scene on our individual lists. To avoid repetition, we decided not to double up, so as you can see some folks wrote about legendary Bruce scenes and the rest of us wrote about alternates — but please trust, we keep Bruce at the front of our fighting hearts.
Who’s not on the list, though? Uma Thurman. Just… no.
There’s nothing like the sight of a Black man starring in a science fiction movie that brings out the racist nerds. While most of us were just happy to get a glimpse of what the next generation of Star Wars will look like, there was a vocal portion of the fandom that didn’t appreciate seeing John Boyega lead off the trailer.
Since The Force Awakens is the first Star Wars film to drop in the age of twitter, we should have been more prepared for the idiocy that would soon follow. Thankfully, Boyega is an awesome human being and had this perfect response to the racists:
Those lines around the block you saw this morning? They weren’t Black Friday shoppers. They were folks lining up to get the first tickets to see Star Wars Episode VII next year!
We were taking the Thanksgiving holiday off, but then Disney and Lucasfilm had to go and release the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer on iTunes, and holy crap, I’m a Star Wars fan all over again! You can peep the trailer in the embedded video below.