Category Archives: Star Wars

Talking Tahiri Veila

Being raised by Tuskan Raiders and being shaped by the Yuuzhan Vong should make for a compelling character. Unfortunately, for Tahiri Veila, she’s cast into role of the pining lover, moldable apprentice and slave to her desires. As likeable as Tahiri is, the unfitting uses of her character threaten her position on the list of female heroes in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

Tahiri began her role in the EU as friend to a reluctant Anakin Solo. Orphaned and raised by Tusken Raiders, she has a vastly different background than her best friend. Tahiri and Anakin during the Junior Jedi Knights books act as children their ages often do as they go through their many adventures. She’s bright, bubbly and intelligent.

Tahiri pops up again during the New Jedi Order first in James Luceno’s Agents of Chaos II: Eclipse in a minor role. When the Yuuzhan Vong attack Yavin IV during Edge of Victory: Conquest by Greg Keyes, Tahiri doesn’t accompany most of the other students. Naïve about how the Vong truly are and feeling stifled by her age, Tahiri stays behind to fight alongside Anakin. Instead of the glorious adventure she envisions, she ends up captured by Shapers.

The shaping of Tahiri is one of the most horrifying and interesting events in the EU. The Vong Shapers have no qualms with eradicating Tahiri by replacing her with memories of another. They treat her as a science experiment, a game. The extent of the damage Master Shaper Mezhan Kwaad and Nen Yim inflict on Tahiri when they inserted the Riina Kwaad identity into the young Jedi trainee’s mind comes forth the strongest during the Force Heretic trilogy. While readers saw some of the effects before those, it’s only then does she have to fight the conflicting parts of her mind.

Tahiri and Anakin’s relationship turns from friendship to love during this time. It was short-lived, however, when Anakin died on Myrkr. Tahiri refused to kiss Anakin, telling him that he needed to return to receive it. It’s a common request seen in movies and books that the hero often fulfils, yet in this case, it adds another layer to the tragedy of Anakin’s death for Tahiri.

Tahiri appears to be recovering somewhat during her mission to Coruscant with Luke, Mara and several others including former Wraith Kell Tainer. Though subdued, Tahiri successfully contributed to the mission, especially when dealing with Lord Nyax. In addition, “Aunt Tahiri” and Kell’s interactions provide much-needed comic relief.

When Riina’s personality attempts to take control of Tahiri, she is forced to retreat into her mind to battle to deal with her two parts. She eventually merges the two and becomes a new mix of Riina and Tahiri. She’s harder, rougher, yet still maintains some of Tahiri’s brightness. It’s somewhat off-putting at first, but it makes sense with what has happened to her. During The Final Prophecy, Tahiri’s characterization continues to strengthen.

When the Killik crisis occurred, Tahiri became a Joiner. Despite that she suffered from depression from the loss of Anakin and that the Yuuzhan Vong part of her was known for blind devotion, Tahiri as a Joiner didn’t make much sense. Here was a woman who’d undergone a transformation into a more mentally sound person. She’d had her mind invaded once. It’d be logical for her to create some type of metal barriers against that happening again and be alert to it. This change would take time to become comfortable with, but it wasn’t as if Tahiri spent those five years on Zonoma Sekot in constant combat. She’d have time to recover. A world so rich in life and the Force seems like ideal healing grounds.

Moving past the Joiner kerfuffle, Tahiri’s characterization takes a major hit when she joins Jacen. Jacen manipulates Tahiri’s remaining feelings for Anakin to draw her into his trap. When it comes to dabbling in the Dark Side, Tahiri lacks the finesse of other Sith. While her fall to the dark side can be understood given the history, it’s the revelation during her trial for the murder of Gilad Pellaeon in Fate of the Jedi Allies by Christie Golden that Tahiri and Jacen were physically “involved” that does more damage to her—and her Sith Master. Tahiri pining after Anakin and then sleeping with his older brother is simply uncomfortable. It takes Star Wars to a place that it doesn’t turn to. In addition, it adds nothing to the story but sputtering by fans. The final verdict in her trial would have been the same without that particular development.

Tahiri returns to her role as a hero in Troy Denning’s Fate of the Jedi Apocalypse. She fought one of Abeloth’s forms with the help of Boba Fett. The alliance, if it can be called such, between such vastly different characters worked well. Tahiri also fights alongside the Jedi in the Temple towards the end of the book. In both cases, she shows the Tahiri unseen for years. She’s an assertive, decisive woman capable of holding her own in most situations.

Tahiri is yet another female character in the Expanded Universe whose potential is repeatedly misused. She’s stuffed into the box of the lost love and self-pity. While she received closure during Allies, I’m not convinced that the Anakin card won’t play again in her future. No one wants to see a depressed, wallowing Tahiri.

Tahiri’s destiny links with Anakin long after his death. Rather than force her to stay tied down to a ghost, let her move forward. She can still have fond memories of him without them dragging down her spirit. The relationship is a part of her, but shouldn’t define her entire life. Aaron Allston sent her in the right direction during Conviction and Troy Denning pushed it farther along with the events of Apocalypse. It’d be a terrible loss if Tahiri faded into the background.

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Filed under Allston, Anakin Solo, Expanded Universe, Fate of the Jedi, female characters, FotJ, Jacen Solo, NJO, Star Wars, SWEU, Tahiri, Troy Denning

SWTOR: Character transfers June 12, Patch 1.3 announced

Those curious about Star Wars The Old Republic can play for free—up to level 15—in July. Depending on how fast a player levels and what quests he completes, he should end somewhere near the end of the second world. Some may end up with their ships.

Let’s be honest. BioWare/EA needs to do something to bring players back to the game. Even though I cancelled my subscription, I have some times left so I logged on last night. I played the smuggler over on Hoth for a few hours. While playing, I remembered why I enjoyed the game. Then I went to the fleet to complete Chapter 2 of the story and amount of people on the fleet reminded me why I quit. Four. Four people and all four were in my guild.

Character server transfers are supposed to start June 12. Thankfully, BW and EA planned so people can’t pick a server that they think will contain a high population.

From SWTOR.com:

Therefore, we made the decision to strictly limit the initial phase of the Character Transfer Service to only allow transfers from selected groups of origin servers (where you’re moving a character from) to selected individual destination servers (where you choose to move a character to) based on the player populations of the origin and destination servers. In some cases, a large number of origin servers will be eligible to move to a single destination server. In others, very few origin servers will be transferring to existing high population destination servers. Remember, the goal here is to push almost every destination server to an active population that’s higher.

While the transfers are the immediate concern, additional content is also an issue. At E3, fans received details about patch 1.3: Allies. Features include a group finder feature, new unlockables for the Legacy system (including using a speeder at level 10) and adaptive gear among other things. With the transfers, people should be able to play Flashpoints, Warzones and Operations. Being able to play the content could make a huge difference in the number of players that stick with the game.

My decision to resubscribe lies in the success of character transfers. I need to be able to join a PVP or Flashpoint without sitting around for an hour. As I’ve said before, the game is fun, but it needs people there. A huge content update would help, but content doesn’t do any good if no one is around to play it. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope that the transfers do start on June 12.

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Star Wars Dream Team (Allston, Stackpole, Zahn) talks Star Wars novels

Aaron Allston, Michael Stackpole and Timothy Zahn provided an hour of side-splitting hilarity at Origins this afternoon. Not only did we learn that Bantam didn’t know if the X-Wing series would sell—especially given that the main characters of the film weren’t leading the stories, but also that the release of The Phantom Menace had a major impact on the beginning of the New Jedi Order. Below are some of the highlights and discussions.

Fun facts and funny quotes:

Krytos Trap knocked a Stephen King book off the best seller list for one week.

Zahn wanted to call Scoundrels “Solo’s 11” instead, but Lucasfilm said there might be issues.

Stackpole: “Boba Fett is in my car!”

Stackpole on giving Booster the Errant Venture: “It’s like giving an air craft carrier to a Somali pirate.” “I’m doing this because Tim is going to use it in his next book. And so they said ‘okay’.”

Stackpole’s second Errant Venture footnote: “By the way, I realize the best name would have been Enterprise.” (as it’s a business)

Specter of the Past, I, Jedi and Visions of the Future were sort of a trilogy. Zahn had introduced Elegos and pitched Stackpole the pages. Zahn saw what Stackpole did with him in I, Jedi and continued on with character. Zahn needed a “hotshot Imperial pilot” for Visions. He talked to Stackpole, who said Baron Soontir Fel. The two created Fel’s entire back story in one phone conversation.

Zahn explained that he tried to establish in VotF: “That you can either get maximum guidance from the Force or use maximum power of the Force, but you can’t do both. The more power you do, the less wisdom you have.”

Allston on the ignored Wraiths: “I was kind of looking forward to someone screwing up my characters.”

Highlights

Stackpole and Allston compared on their experiences working large projects:

Stackpole and James Luceno studied what made the Original Trilogy so popular while creating the perimeters for the New Jedi Order. Some of the events were moved around later on, which negatively affected the series.

Stackpole sent in an outline that used the Horns, which was rejected and he was instructed to lose Corran and the secondary characters. He knew that those were the characters we readers liked. After the release of The Phantom Menace, he was told to bring Corran back into the story. Stackpole went through two edits of Onslaught. He was told to add R2 into the scene with Luke and Jacen on a Vong-formed planet. The idea was R2 could scan the plant. Stackpole argued that if they found evidence that R2 could and had scanned plant life before, then he would add it in. In addition, Onslaught was thought to be the intro for many to NJO because some fans wouldn’t want to pay for Vector Prime in hardback.

The beginning of NJO was affected by the buzz about The Phantom Menace. Not only was the movie receiving criticism, but Vector Prime and R.A. Salvatore faced serious backlash for killing off Chewbacca. Stackpole was a huge defender of Salvatore.

Stackpole explained why Chewie had to die: “We looked at all the major characters and said if we ranked them top to bottom, whose death hurt the most. We realized with all the major characters, any death would hurt a lot. We knew equal impact there. So we had to ask ourselves a second question: From which character’s viewpoint can we best tell the story of that hurt and Chewie is the only character that you can’t tell a story from his viewpoint. Therefore, Chewie had to die. That is what we had to do to set the New Jedi Order apart.”

By the time Allston joined in, he said everything had calmed down quite a bit. He cited that it’s hectic and overwhelming at times, with all the emails constantly being passed around and details to keep up. In addition, if the authors don’t click, some subplots seem difficult to write in his books.

“When I was working on my two books there were rumors all over the ‘net saying they brought Allston in to kill Wedge. So I wrote a scene that made it look like I was going to kill Wedge,” Allston said.

In the midst of the discussions, various ideas started flowing. Allston, Stackpole and Zahn joked about each writing a book that took place in a different era, but where one trilogy. In addition, Zahn wants the Vong war stories never told, including the Baron Fel clones “ripping up the rear” in Chiss space during the Vong war. Allston also joked about pitching one book with three stories in the Vong war, one from each of them, among other fun ideas.

On Mara’s death:

“Mara should have never died that way, for many reasons,” Zahn said.

Allston admitted to bringing up the idea of a sacrifice in Legacy of the Force. “During the meeting, I floated the notion that there would be a category of Sith who believed that they were maintaining integrity…by devoting themselves to a pattern of self-sacrifice. If they are always sacrificing.”

The discussion eventually went to Mara. Zahn then asked if the decision was made then to tell Zahn, which led to a hilarious confession by Allston.

“No one was happy with the notion. It became the decision,” he said. Zahn learned two months before publication. Zahn cites the Mara situation as the reason for the four year gap between his Star Wars books.

Allston said that they decided Jacen would fall, but his death wasn’t known at the beginning.

A huge thank you to Aaron Allston, Michael Stackpole and Timothy Zahn for a great panel.

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Filed under Allston, chewbacca, Fate of the Jedi, Michael Stackpole, NJO, Origins2012, Star Wars, SWEU, Timothy Zahn, Uncategorized

Finding Character in Clothing: The costumes of Padme Amidala

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Senate gown

The Prequel Trilogy displays a wider variety of dress than the Original Trilogy. The Jedi Knight’s gear is simple as practical, as expected. The politicians dress formally with some unfortunate incidents (Bail, a ruffled collar is not okay). When it comes to the costumes of the PT, however, the focus rests on the shoulders of Padme Amidala. What she wears makes a major impact on her characterization and the feel of each of her scenes.

 

The Phantom Menace

The most ornate outfits in all six movies belong to Queen Amidala. Rich in color and details, each outfit shows a bit of the planet’s culture and the situation. Her first outfit, the Red Invasion Gown, makes Padme appear regal, yet as if she’s too young to be sitting at the throne. The headdress appears heavy, like the burden on her shoulders. The dark red contrasts brilliantly with the white face makeup. The split lip makeup, red dots and Naboo symbol on the front piece of the dress show the importance of maintaining Naboo’s culture, something Padme carries on throughout the movie (the symbol can be found on most of her outfits from each movie). The lighted globes at the bottom of the dress resemble something found in nature, like in an underground cavern, furthering the beauty of Naboo.

The Black Invasion Gown worn by decoy Sabe gives off defiance. The feathers remind of a bird, which is free to fly. She looks like a bird of prey, daring someone to make an attack. The dark color creates a stark contrast between Sabe and flame gowns worn by the handmaidens.

Padme retains her status as queen even dressed as a handmaiden. In both the flame gown and the outfit she wears on Tatooine, she rarely lets her guard down. The only times she does is with Anakin Skywalker. With everyone else, she behaves as she would as queen.

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Parade Gown

The kimono-like dress she wears on Coruscant while meeting with Palpatine and the darker colored gown she wears while talking to Jar Jar convey the emotions of that point in Padme’s fight for Naboo. The kimono dress is lighter in color and subdued a reflection of the combination of hope and dismay. The dress worn after the session in the Senate is shapeless and dark, almost depressing.

The gown worn by Padme in the Senate contains the most weight to the role of queen. It screams royalty and attention. Between the large headdress, voluminous outer robe and large sleeves, Padme create the image of someone imposing. The thickness of the sleeves and layers of the costumers make me think of the protective shield Padme must surround herself with at all times. She must maintain her queen image no matter what.

Padme’s parade dress is my favorite. Her makeup is lighter; she appears more relaxed and truly happy. The gown isn’t as restricting as the others she worn during the film. The symbol of Naboo appears on the front of the dress. The design combines both parts of Padme into the perfect representation of her spirit—and that of the end of the movie.

 

Attack of the Clones

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Purple Senate Gown

At the beginning of the film, we see Padme in costumes that still hold to the formal, slightly out there style worn by the queens of Naboo. Gone is the face makeup and overly complicated gowns, but she still wears intricate hairstyles and dressy clothes. Padme’s outfits while meeting with Palpatine and the Jedi and packing both demand respect. Her face free of the white and red coloring makes her appear more human. Her dresses fit her body rather than make her appear more imposing as some of her gowns did when she was queen.

Upon arriving in the Lake Country, Padme transforms into the former queen and senator to a woman. She starts with a pastel backless dress. The fabric flows from her neck without any hindrances. The way the sleeves fall resembles ripping water, acting as a nice contrast to Anakin’s personality and background. The softer color adds to the romantic ambience. The backless feature of the dress makes it appear more natural than it would look like a backing. Her seashell style hair also adds to the water illusion.

A fan favorite, the picnic dress embodies love, fun, joy and other positive emotions that make up Padme. Between the detailed flowers on the bodice and headband to the neutral, soft colors, the picnic dress adds to the feel of young, forbidden love. It’s light and airy. Padme behaves as relaxed as possible while wearing this dress. She’s comfortable in it. Even the hairstyle appears natural. It’s Padme in her true state: determined, fierce, loving, spontaneous and observant.

The black dress worn at dinner with Anakin and during the fireplace scene takes a dramatic turn from everything else she’d worn. It’s tight, slinky and not something to wear to a dinner with a friend. While eating, she wears a feathered shrug. Once removed, the corset is revealed. The dark color and fit of the dress works well with the overall feeling of the scene: Padme and Anakin are restricted from what they want, yet cannot stop it. While some could see this dress as a fanboy service, it seems to me more akin to Leia’s metal bikini. It serves a purpose in the story. Padme isn’t intimidating by what she is wearing. She wants to be with Anakin, but can’t. That’s what the dress represents.

Padme wears three costumes (counting the deleted scenes) that use the color blue. Blue appears often in her wardrobe, which works nicely with the contrast of

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Picnic Dress

water and fire between she and Anakin. The two-piece blue outfits worn on Naboo and Tatooine are much more casual than anything she’d worn before. Even though the two show off her midriff, there’s still a regal air to the two outfits. Padme appears comfortable in both. In the first, she acts completely comfortable and happy. In the second, she’s confident yet concerned about Anakin and their situation. After wearing such constricting clothing, outfits that are freer would feel like a relief.

The third blue costume Padme wears is the poncho and skirt combination on Tatooine. It’s quite casual and relaxing. The loose fit is appropriate for the weather on Tatooine. Her hair is down in natural curls. She blends into her surroundings.

The white outfit Padme wore in the arena is practical for the scene. She’s expecting action, though determined to find a peaceful way to rescue Obi-Wan. The basic white shirt, white pants, boots and cape (which she lost) work well. Padme not only makes it through the droid factory, but also saves herself from instant death before the two Jedi can come up with an escape plan. Her monster is the nexu, a fierce feline-like creature. Padme fits the nexu and is injured. While the injury fits the story, it’s incredibly unrealistic that with one swipe, the nexu would rip off the bottom half of her shirt and a sleeve like it did. Tear the back and upper part of the sleeve, sure. Remove the front of the shirt as it did? Absolutely not. The nexu didn’t latch on, it scratched, something that’s clear while watching the scene in slow motion. That decision completely ruins the costume and tarnishes everything that had been established about Padme’s role in the film.

The final outfit Padme wears is the wedding gown. It’s incredibly detailed and has an antique look to it. Padme and Anakin surrendered to love, the greatest and oldest power in the universe. It beautiful and simply Padme.

 

Revenge of the Sith

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Green Cloak

Padme’s wardrobe takes a much darker turn in Revenge of the Sith. Several try to hide her pregnancy, like the velvet cloak (with buns similar to Leia), the burgundy dress, the purple senate gown and the peacock and brown dress.

The navy dress with the shawl that Padme wears when Anakin realizes Obi-Wan’s been in the apartment looks a bit like something someone would wear in mourning. It’s clear that she’s pregnant and comfortable, but there’s a certain sense of something holding back, like doubts of what her husband is going through and what he will become.

The green cloak with the purple sash that she wears while watching the Jedi Temple reminds me of Leia’s Senatorial Gown. Though they really aren’t much alike at all, there’s something about how Padme appears in it that reminds me of Leia, especially in the images that show the hood up. The long cloak makes her look like she’s hiding something—as we know she is. This is perhaps one of the most powerful scenes in the entire Prequel Trilogy. She’s forced to think about what is going to happen with she and Anakin and what the right path is.

The sleeveless outfit worn during her final moments with Anakin is, like the arena outfit, practical and comfortable. Her pregnancy is cleared in this and the two nightgowns worn earlier in the film. At the top of the gauntlets, the Naboo symbol rests. Padme never forgot where she was from and whom she was serving throughout her personal crisis. Had the scene involving Padme, Bail Organa, Mon Mothma and other senators remained in the film, her struggle would have appeared more complicated, aiding in her characterization.

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Funeral Dress

Padme’s funeral dress fits her so perfectly it’s eerie. The blue-green coloration and the impression of waves made by the fabric back her character. She can be serene, like water, but an unwelcome disturbance will make her rise up and fight back. There’s the obvious balance between Anakin’s fiery rebirth and Padme’s quiet death. Her hair sits in natural curls around her, dotted with tiny flowers. Her hands clutch the japor snippet over her apparent pregnant form. She looks like an innocent beauty from the sea, a treasure the people of Naboo are returning home.

The costume decisions for Padme are a good representation of her character. They reflect her mood, situation and (most of the time) her role in the story. The ripped arena costume shows that Padme is stilted for no real reason while the casual outfits worn on Tatooine and Naboo during AotC show off Padme’s true nature. Clothing choices aren’t just a necessity; they’re a statement to the person wearing them. When they match the character, she feels natural and real, not like a manufactured role.

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Let’s talk about the Hapans

Click here to read Fangirl, Kay and I talk about the Hapans and their female dominated culture. It’s the first part of the discussion, so look for more in the future!

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Filed under Discussion, Expanded Universe, Fangirl, female characters, Hapes, Star Wars, SWEU

Finding character in clothing: The costumes of the Star Wars Original Trilogy

Costume choices make just as strong of an impression as dialogue and behavior do. The costumes of Star Wars not only capture the characters themselves, but the environment and tone of a scene. Even the smallest detail, like the embroidery of the Naboo symbol on Queen Amidala’s Red Invasion Gown in The Phantom Menace, tells a story.

Over the next several weeks, look for blog posts discussing the costumes of the Original Trilogy, Prequel Trilogy and Expanded Universe. In addition, there will be a post regarding costumes from other movies. Costumes add another layer to storytelling and can, at times, tell more about a character than the words they say.

 

A New Hope

Perhaps the costume that stands out the most in A New Hope is Princess Leia’s Senatorial Gown. Unlike the dresses worn by princesses in other movies, Leia’s dress wasn’t at all revealing, tight or restricting. She wears two different styles of the gown. The one worn on the Death Star, the Alderaan Princess, has short, less bulky sleeves and heavier while the Yavin version uses more voluminous sleeves and a more lightweight fabric.

The Senatorial Gown covers Leia from neck to toe. It’s loose fitting, white in color and simple. The color and fit insinuate purity while the simple design seems more appropriate for someone younger. The only accessory Leia wears is a silver and white belt. The hood in the back doesn’t appear bulky, merely practical. Leia’s practical and confident, yet she’s naïve in many aspects of life, including romance and military life. Her costume relays all these traits and more.

The Senatorial Gown wouldn’t be so memorable without the infamous double buns. The style combined an out-of-this-world feel with royalty. The buns hold her hair tightly to the scalp. Nothing is askew or hanging freely. Such is the life of Princess Leia for a third of the trilogy. The double buns, just like her, appear completely together, as if nothing can shake them loose. Emotions, a trip through the trash, nothing breaks through either.

At the medal ceremony on Yavin IV, Leia changes into a slightly more relaxed yet formal dress. The scooped neck, less rigid hair and gauzy cape remove some of the stiffness the Senatorial Gown cast on Leia. She still wore white and maintained that royal, pure look, but it’s clear that while she is still the same Leia, she has allowed herself to feel some joy at the destruction of the Death Star.

Leia’s hairstyle at the end of A New Hope consists of a crown of braids on the top of her head with one trailing behind. The crown of braids maintain her position, while the one trailing down acts as a sign of a touch of relaxation, regardless of how short that moment is. By that point, she needs a brush with joy after the loss of her world and family.

Everyone’s favorite farmboy Luke Skywalker wears a getup that solidifies his youth and role. The loose fitting tunic, pants and boots all indicate working hard in the heat. The lighter color is not only practical for a planet with two suns, but also give Luke an air of innocence and naivety similar to Leia’s. His garb is more casual that Owen Lars, who wears a robe and undershirt. Luke isn’t as focused on his life on Tatooine as his uncle is.

Luke’s second costume is the orange flight suit later worn by the Rogue Squadron. The insanely bright orange color acts as a drop of color in the drab grey and black color scheme that plagues the Empire. The suits, helmets and gear were based off what various military units wore or designed. In a way, that mixture is a strong indication of what the Rebel Alliance is: a mixture of various parts that wouldn’t normally work together, but when they do work seamlessly.

Luke’s final costume is the yellow jacket ensemble he wears for the medal ceremony on Yavin IV. With the blaster slung midway down his thigh, black undershirt and yellow jacket, some of that naïve boy from Tatooine blends in with a man who has witnessed death and destruction.

Han Solo’s clothes scream rebel. With a blaster as far down on his thigh as possible, a dingy looking shirt and black vest, it’s clear that this man sets his own rules. Even when presented with a medal at the end, Han sticks to the black vest. Even as he is being honored for his role in the destruction of the Death Star, he gives no outward indication of a change of heart. Even though his views changed, he wasn’t quite at the point of showing it.

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi robes first appear worn and comfortable. The long tunic doesn’t suggest that he is a fighter, more of a mentor. In that way, it captures the essence of Obi-Wan. Throughout the Saga, he teaches, tries to negotiate and fights only when necessary. More on the Jedi robes in the prequel post.

Darth Vader’s suit is the ultimate sign of an evil villain. With its mechanical appearance, it screams that the wearer is someone evil. Add in the loud ominous breathing and low dangerous sounding voice and the package is complete. His helmet and suit hide him completely, forbidding anyone from thinking he has any humanity left in him. The suit contains no decoration or alludes to style. It intimidates and keeps the man inside alive, that is all.

The Imperials wear uniforms featuring olive green, black and grey. Their costumes contain various features, like the riding pants that are based off what the Germans wore during part of the 19th century. The Imperial uniforms are drab and formal, similar to any military unit’s garb. There is no color aboard the Death Star, nor would there be. The colors play on the mood found aboard the space station: order, fear, destruction and desperation.

 

The Empire Strikes Back

In the next installment of the Original Trilogy, the costumes follow the changes in the characters, particularly Leia and Luke, much clearer. Given the multiple locations and opportunities to change, there are more costumes in the movie.

Leia is still wearing white, still her barred-off self on Hoth. The cold climate demands some type of protection from the cold, as seen by everyone. While the snowsuit isn’t formal, it certainly doesn’t belay any indication of relaxation. If anything, Leia appears more closed off than she did during ANH.

Leia keeps her hair up in braids. Again, her hairstyle is practical, perhaps more so than the double buns. Leia eventually sheds the vest portion of her snowsuit on Bespin.

The red costume Leia wears on Cloud City shows a dramatic change from the uptight princess to a woman finally allowing herself to be free. The dark red color of her tunic and pants suggest a more romantic, vibrate, alluring attitude. The tunic isn’t revealing or tight. The long white sleeveless cover adds a touch of soft romanticism and femininity. It’s decorated with embroidery, adding to the flair. Leia’s hair is also more relaxed. Though in braids, the looped style is much softer than any seen before. She is still Leia, but begins to adapt more to the changes in her life. Red is a deep contrast to the white she always wore before. It’s the color of romantic passion, something missing from Leia’s life until that point. In addition, it also shows that she is coming to terms with her growing feelings towards Han rather than hiding behind a stiff façade. The outfit is so characteristically Leia that it’s eerie.

Sadly, the Bespin outfit doesn’t stay on screen long. She’s stuck back in the snowsuit, sans vest, after capture. At the end, Leia goes back to white, wearing a gown that is almost in mourning. It’s almost the same as the Senatorial gown, though instead of the double buns or tight braids, her hair is pulled up in a more casual pile on the crown of her head. The hairstyle portrays more about Leia’s character at that moment than the dress itself. It’s clear that such a style wouldn’t take much time or energy. After losing someone, it’s difficult to do anything special. Though the dress choice could indicate that Leia could go back to the person she once was, her hair shows that it’s not the case.

Throughout ESB, Luke undergoes his Jedi training. Once free of the military snow gear and flightsuit, he turns to the khaki pants, ribbed tank and khaki jacket for Dagobah. His appearance gives him a more orderly feel, especially when he wears the jacket. Once he sheds the jacket, though, it’s clear how hard he’s working to become a Jedi. His clothing is simple caters to what he needs at the time. More importantly, it doesn’t resemble the ensemble we see him wear on the Rebel Base. He’s stepping away from the soldier to become something more.

Luke’s final outfit is a loose fitting tunic and pants. He wears it while the medical droid installs his prosthetic hand. Like most hospital garb, it’s comfortable and nonrestrictive. Its light color meshes well with Leia’s white robes, casting a type of light in the darkness that recently entered their lives.

No look at costumes is complete without a talk of Lando Calrissian, connoisseur of the all that is fine and luxurious. In his flared black pants, v-neck blue shirt and suave cape, Lando’s smooth and sophisticated personality is apparent from the start. He’s a businessman, ready to oil the wheels when necessary to reach the finale profit. The blue is peaceful and calm, suggesting that Cloud City is a safe haven for Han, Leia and Chewbacca. The silky fabric shows his love for the finer things in life. The hip cape is the final touch. Not many people can pull off a cape without looking ridiculous, but Lando does it. It seems like an extension of himself, that extra flair to his outfit—and character.

 

Return of the Jedi

The most iconic costume in all of the films is Princess Leia’s metal bikini. Scores of websites are dedicated to the construction of the slave Leia costume. Rather than allow the skimpy garb and chained collar to weigh the character down, it served as a tool for empowerment and means of escape. Not once when Leia was laying on Jabba’s dais or watching Luke, Han, Lando and Chewie approach the sarlacc pit did she look as if she was allowing anyone to humiliate her. Rather than permit that chain to stop or beat her, Leia turned the symbol of slavery into a weapon against her captor. Rather than try to hide herself or allow the costume to distract her, she accepted it and moved forward. She isn’t held back by anything during the events of Jabba’s palace.

Leia fully integrates herself as one of the soldiers in the Rebel Alliance with what she wears at the briefing and on Endor. There isn’t a shred of white on her uniform, which also removes the “princess” from the battlefield. She wound her hair around her head in braids. It’s out of the way and very “Leia.”

The Ewok dress is a rather interesting piece of work. Leia appears vulnerable in it. Her hair almost completely unbound, held back by a braid. Her insecurities about herself come through while wearing this dress. It’s wilder, rawer than anything else she’s worn in the movies. When Leia learns the truth about her heritage, she’s knocked down to a dark place. Everything she’s known is sent on a tailspin. Even after the destruction of Alderaan, a horror only a few could relate to, she still had a grasp on her past. With Luke’s reveal, everything changes. She does have family out there and he’s a monster. The Ewok dress plays off these emotions quite well.

Luke sheds his farmboy clothes for good with his black Jedi uniform. It’s strict, darker and formal, as Luke now is. He still maintains his inner confidence and belief that good will prevail, but now he’s learning the discipline necessary to be a Jedi. He never loses the black uniform. Rather than change, he simply throws on a camouflaged poncho and helmet. Though a member of the Alliance, he’s set apart from everyone else through his dress.

Han Solo finally meshes the lovable scoundrel with his sense of responsibility on Endor. While he doesn’t give up his traditional pants, white/ivory shirt and vest/jacket combo, he adds a camouflaged jacket. Not only does this help him blend in to the forest, but also it gives a sense of similarity to the Rebel fighters.

Emperor Palpatine maintains a shroud of evil and mystery with his shroud. It possesses neither glory nor glamour. It is threadbare, old and rough as he is. His face stays mostly hidden by a low cowl. His cane isn’t smooth, its scraggly and eerier looking. The Emperor’s robes exude both mysticism and danger.

Acting as a stark contrast to the black of the Emperor’s robes is the red of the Crimson Guards. Their smooth helmets, inhuman appearance and bold color demand attention. No one around the Emperor can forget that it would be a very bad idea to try to harm him. The ceremonial weapons look intimidating, always within sight of visitors and ready to punish.

The costumes of the Original Trilogy reflect the overall feel of the three movies. The changes of the characters, the darker tone of the Empire and the lighter colors to Rebel Alliance paint a clear picture of the state of the galaxy. Life is dark in many corners and oppressive. The Rebel Alliance is the light in that darkness, restoring color and hope to the galaxy.

Look for an in-depth look at the costumes of the Prequels early next week.

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Filed under costumes, Darth Vader, fashion, female characters, Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Luke Skywalker, Original Trilogy, OT, Star Wars

10-year anniversary of Attack of the Clones-and Padme’s amazing wardrobe

ImageTen years ago today, a boy in first period Algebra dropped little tidbits about Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. He’d gone to the midnight showing, something I wasn’t aware the local theater participated. He spoke of an amazing lightsaber duel, plenty of action and that something happened at the end regarding Luke and Leia. I was particularly puzzled over the last bit.

I’d been looking forward to AotC for months. I spent more than a buffering the first theatrical trailer on the family’s old computer with dial-up internet. I taped and watched a variety of specials about the movie and Star Wars in general. I still have those tapes, but no working VCR. For some reason, I can’t make myself throw them in the trash. I collected various articles. That was how I found out about the Star Wars convention a mere hour drive away at the beginning of the month. Had I known about it before, I would have waited to have knee surgery.

That Saturday, a friend, my brother and I met at the movie theater. It was quite the experience. Anakin’s moment with the Tuskan Raiders shed so much more into his character. Obi-Wan’s one-liners and quick thinking impressed. Granted, his lightsaber skills at the end bothered me. He was so skilled in TPM and then fell flat. The excuse of a different fighting style doesn’t work. Qui-Gon would know how his Master fought and pass on the knowledge. Yoda stole the end with his fight. Count Dooku added a more complicated villain to the mix.

And then there was Padme.

ImageIt took about .5 seconds for me to think Padme was a fantastic character in The Phantom Menace. She didn’t waver from her convictions just because someone wanted to kill her. She maintained a desire for a peaceful solution over war, similar to TPM. Rather than wait to die or hope that Anakin or Obi-Wan would rescue her, Padme came up with her own plan to try to avoid death in the Geonosian arena. Instead of hiding behind Anakin’s lightsaber when the battle droids appeared, she grabbed a blaster and shot back. It never felt as if she was the one being rescued, or that she wasn’t an equal part of the team.

ImagePadme also had a killer wardrobe. Thinking back on it, it seems rather important to separate her from the others this way. Her costumes showed her personality. She could move in them, yet they added to her natural regale stance. They made her appear more comfortable, more like herself. The complex, restricting gowns wore as Queen of Naboo maintained a strict, somewhat rigid image. Padme became another person in those ensembles. It didn’t seem as if she had to dress prettier because she was a girl. The clothing choices fit the character.

I’m not sure which my favorite is. The blue outfit on Tatooine has a certain casual flair to it, while the picnic gown is gorgeous. Even her arena garb was done well—except for the tearing that was rather unnecessary.

It’s incredibly easy to rip on the corny lines spoken by both Anakin and Padme. They sound ridiculous if you take them at face value. In a movie, we tend to expect more smooth, touching lines. Most of Anakin’s dialogue actually sounded like what a 19-year-old man would say. Most people in love say things that sound cheesy to outsiders, especially at a young age. Yes, it would have been great if the lines were better, no argument there, but I can live with them.

Ten years later, despite the flaws, I still love Attack of the Clones. It’s hard to believe that it’s been this long since Yoda’s first big screen lightsaber duel.

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Filed under female characters, movies, Padme, romance, Star Wars