Syfy Wire: ‘Jar Jar Binks is the misunderstood, unsung hero of the Star Wars saga’

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From Syfy Wire:

“Jar Jar Binks is the misunderstood, unsung hero of the Star Wars saga.

That might seem like an overstatement, but George Lucas created a clear thread of influence for the character from the beginning of Phantom Menace that extends all the way to the end of Return of the Jedi. Taking into account the chronological story of the films, there’s every chance that without Jar Jar’s story thread, the Ewoks might have never gotten into the fight against the Empire on the forest moon of Endor. […]

Qui-Gon could have left Jar Jar for dead there with Boss Nass, but he calls in the life debt that Jar Jar pledged to him. Even Obi-Wan is incredulous about this, viewing Jar Jar as pathetic. So why does Qui-Gon keep letting Jar Jar tag along? It’s the same reason he butts heads with the Jedi council: his connection to the living Force. His compassion is greater than the rigid and, frankly, arrogant views of the Jedi.

By keeping Jar Jar around for his goodness rather than potential worth, Qui-Gon enables Queen Amidala to see a side of the Gungans to which the prejudice of her people had closed her off. Because of this, Jar Jar brings her to the Gungans and unites their people. It saved Naboo, Gungans and Humans alike, from Palpatine’s machinations.

This is a classic story in mythology: the creature you’re nice to will unexpectedly help you in the end. Beauty and the Beast teaches the opposite version with the idea that the “worthless” person to whom you’re awful has the power to curse you. […]

By the time Revenge of the Sith rolls around, Jar Jar is as forgotten as the lesson he helped teach Qui-Gon. But during the dark times, what voice is left with Yoda to understand the failures of the Jedi? Qui-Gon.

This is why Yoda acts like Jar Jar when Luke first meets him. He’s the same sort of obnoxious clown whose power Luke doesn’t realize at all. Luke lashes out at him and Luke fails this test. That’s why Yoda doesn’t want to train him. […]

Return of the Jedi shows us this wiser side of Luke. When Han Solo was going to blast every single Ewok on the forest moon of Endor because they were annoying to him, Luke stayed his hand. They could have taken those Ewoks apart, but instead they allowed themselves to be captured and became their allies. […]

 

Jar Jar Binks is the lynchpin of the Star Wars universe and we hardly realized it. The only reason Luke learned this lesson was because Jar Jar taught it to Qui-Gon, who taught it to Yoda, who taught it to Luke. They defeated the Empire on Endor because Qui-Gon taught those who came after him you have to be nice to everyone, even if you find them obnoxious. Without Qui-Gon teaching this message of acceptance the galaxy would be a very different place.

It’s a stunning piece of storytelling that almost slid by, right under our noses.”

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Anakin’s name comes from Greek goddess Ananke, according to George Lucas’ son

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From StarWars.com:

“MY FAVORITE SCENE: I AM YOUR FATHER

STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II‘S IDEN VERSIO HERSELF, JANINA GAVANKAR, ON WHY SHE LOVES EMPIRE‘S SURPRISE TWIST.

[…] Since starting work on Star Wars Battlefront II, I’ve had the insane, only-dreamed-of opportunity to be a part of the Star Wars family. I have had deep conversations with the Lucasfilm team, superfans, and even proudly call George’s son, Jett Lucas, a friend. All of this has allowed me to find new ways to appreciate this scene. Jett recently told me a very interesting character tidbit about Anakin, and the origin of his name: Anakin is based off the Greek goddess of inevitability, Ananke. This made me stop in my tracks. That was what I was always feeling. The slow, burning throttle of inevitability. It was inevitable that Luke and Vader would meet like this. It was inevitable that good would triumph over evil, no matter how long chaos reigned, because it was inevitable that someone would come along. YOU SEE!? YOU GET IT? (I’m sorry for yelling, but when I connected those dots, my mind exploded.)”


From Wikipedia:

In ancient Greek religion, Ananke (/əˈnæŋkiː/), also spelled Anangke, Anance, or Anagke (Greek: Ἀνάγκη, from the common noun ἀνάγκη, “force, constraint, necessity”), is a personification of inevitability, compulsion and necessity. She is often depicted as holding a spindle. One of the Greek primordial deities, Ananke marks the beginning of the cosmos, along with her father and consort, Chronos (not the Titan Cronus). She was seen as the most powerful dictator of all fate and circumstance which meant that mortals, as well as the Gods, respected her and paid homage. Considered as the mother of the Fates according to one version, she is the only one to have control over their decisions (except, according to some sources, also Zeus).

According to the ancient Greek traveller Pausanias, there was a temple in ancient Corinth where the goddesses Ananke and Bia (meaning violence or violent haste) were worshiped together in the same shrine. Ananke who represents Fate or Necessity or Force is frequently identified or associated with Aphrodite, especially Aphrodite Ourania who represents celestial Love, as the two are considered two sides of the same power that dictates life. Her Roman counterpart is Necessitas (“necessity”).”

There will be a Star Wars Marathon Event featuring all eight Episodes on December 14

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From StarWars.com:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives December 15, continuing the epic story of Rey, Kylo Ren, and the struggle between the Resistance and the First Order. StarWars.com is thrilled to announce a galaxy of ticket offers, special events, and giveaways in celebration of the highly-anticipated film’s release:

Opening Night Events

Star Wars fans will have multiple ways to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. On Thursday, December 14, ahead of its official opening on December 15, fans can be among the first to see the film by attending one of three events: An Opening Night Fan Event. A Star Wars: The Force Awakens andStar Wars: The Last Jedi Double Feature. Or, a Star Wars Marathon featuring all eight movies in one epic journey. These premium events will include exclusive content, Star Wars collectible cards, and a special concession offer. Plus, Star Wars: The Last Jedi will start at 6 p.m. local time, one hour earlier than regular public show times. […]”

The Prequels Strike Back… Strikes Back! – Episode I – Like Father, Like Son

From Ministry of Cinema:

“A year ago, documentary film The Prequels Strike Back challenged viewers with new and interesting perspectives on George Lucas and his controversial prequel trilogy. Now, indie studio Ministry of Cinema is at it again with The Prequels Strike Back…Strikes Back!

Told in three parts, The Prequels Strike Back…Strikes Back! aims to cover missed material and tie up loose ends.

The first episode of The Prequels Strike Back…Strikes Back! will stream for free on Ministry of Cinema’s YouTube channel starting October 6th. Subsequent episodes will release in the months following.”

40 screenwriters ranked George Lucas 16th best screenwriter of all time

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From Vulture:

““To make a good film,” Alfred Hitchcock once said, “you need three things: the script, the script, and the script.” Yet while it’s easy to find (and argue over) lists of the greatest films ever, it’s difficult to find a list of the greatest screenwriters. We decided to remedy that — by polling more than 40 of today’s top screenwriters on which of their predecessors (and contemporaries) they consider to be the best. To compile such a list is to pose a question: What is the essence of the screenwriter’s art? Plot? Dialogue? Character? All that and more? We left that judgment to those who know best — the writers. Here are their selections (ranked in order of popularity, with ties broken by us), and representative testimonials for each. […]

16. George Lucas

Notable Scripts: American Graffiti (1973), Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
Oscars: Best Original Screenplay, American Graffiti; Best Original Screenplay, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.

Dialogue isn’t everything. For proof, look no further than the career of George Lucas, for whom human speech has served as an occasional stumbling block. Alec Guinness spent the bulk of his time on Star Wars complaining that his lines were “rubbish,” while Harrison Ford famously told Lucas, “You can type this shit, but you can’t say it.” No matter. A few clunky lines didn’t stop Lucas from dreaming up one of the most alluring and enduring universes in the history of cinema. In marrying the aesthetics of the pulp serials of his youth to formal lessons gleaned from Joseph Campbell, he quite literally created the template for 40-plus years of blockbusters. But his legacy isn’t limited to space operas. “Yes, the man created Star Wars, but want to see another side of his skills? Check out American Graffiti and weep because you’ll never be as talented as he is,” says Andrea Berloff.”

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Video: The Filmmaker’s Voice – George Lucas

From Alejandro Villarreal@Alamo City:

“Should a man’s life be defined by Jar Jar Binks? George Lucas is not a perfect filmmaker. But he is a genius. A genius who is able to communicate the best and worst of our common nature, and has done so in an unprecedented, universal cinematic language. Few have been able to equal his artistic success, because frankly, he makes it look easy.

I made this video essay to provide a window into the mind of a socially conscious filmmaker who is explored ideas about our common existence and tried to present them to in new, interesting ways to audiences. His goal was never to make an escapist film solely for the special effects and explosions, but it was to give his audiences a greater understanding of our shared humanity.

True, he sometimes fell short. “Attack of the Clones” is a bit weird, to be sure. But he was always true to himself, his voice and his stories. All this to say: I would rather watch a flawed movie by an imperfect genius than a movie made by a voiceless committee.”

Ian McDiarmid: ‘I don’t want anyone else to play Palpatine’

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From BBC:

“[…] Ian McDiarmid, who is currently appearing in What Shadows at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, first appeared as Darth Vader’s master in Return of the Jedi in 1983, overseeing the last stages of the second Death Star’s construction.

In an interview with BBC Scotland’s Timeline programme, the actor, who was only 37 when he got the part, says: “They wanted the oldest person in the world because in Return of the Jedi Palpatine is about 120 I think.

“They had cast someone who was nearer to that age than I was but for some reason he could not continue.

“I think the contact lens tests were rather unpleasant. They were hard glass.”

It was another 16 years before McDiarmid returned with the Star Wars prequels in 1999’s The Phantom Menace, which is set decades before the original films.

McDiarmid says: “I was alright for Return of the Jedi because I was under four hours of make-up so no-one really knew what I looked like or sounded like because I lower my voice very much for the film.

“So I could be anonymous.

“But when the prequels happened Palpatine was his younger self which was about my age then, in his 50s.

“Apart from a not-very-flattering hairpiece I looked like me, so privacy was over.”

McDiarmid says he is often recognised for his role but most fans are “very friendly”.

He says: “I don’t feel oppressed by it. I don’t feel every minute of every day someone is going to ask for an autograph.”

As the Star Wars universe continues to generate spin-off movies, McDiarmid says he has no idea if he will ever again be called on to play the Emperor.

He says: “I suppose there must be a chance but I think you’d find out about it more quickly than I would.

“As far as the new films are concerned, I’m dead. There is no question about that.

“But there is what they call the anthology series and actually the most recent one, Rogue One, was about the time when I was in charge.

“I was referred to a few times, Darth Vader popped up, but you did not see me.

“Maybe they are keeping me as a surprise for later but I have no idea. Of course, I don’t want anyone else to play him.””