Tags: star wars: prequels


Star Wars AU of the day

Before plunging into the fannish fun, a note on something closer to home: Southern California is burning down. This is all taking place hundreds of miles from my home, and it feels like it's some distant story on another planet - but a really, really depressing story.

I was surfing through the links at this Star Wars blogathon to see what was outside my usual circles. Now, the first thing I noticed was actually this: I was going down the list, looking at the contributors' names, and went, "Chris, Nathaniel, Scott, Bob, Jeff, Adam, Dan, Peter... you know, there's something different about this list... Oh!" I'd actually forgotten that women actually don't comprise the vast majority of Star Wars fans. (Now there's material for a snarky satire article: "OMG there are mens on teh internets!!!1! What could they want with a tool mainly used for communication, which everyone knows is a girl thing? Experts say they're there for arguments about who is the best lightsaber master ever.")

Anyway, while reading through an entry on RotS and the prequels generally, I came across this quote: "One of the major themes is not to judge a person’s worth by their appearance: R2, Ewoks, Chewie [say, shouldn't the Falcon be on this list?]; they can all look after themselves. So it’s a little shameful that Jar Jar is ultimately a fool figure."

Wait, that's not the quote I meant (though it's a good one). No, the one that really caught my attention spoke more generally about the prequels dropping the ball on really making a cohesive story that doesn't wander off in all directions:
It's this overall mess that is more frustrating than individual elements or moments. That is: Jar Jar Binks himself, Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters voice and all, is less galling than the total dropping of Gungans from the story by the time we reach Sith. If this trilogy were less of a mess, we wouldn’t hear Mace say the word Kashyyyk, and the big invasion would be about the nascent Empire slaughtering Gungans. That is what is set up in Episode I, and that should’ve been delivered in tragic spades in III.

Now, it's Star Wars tradition to randomly introduce new planets, aliens, and villains at any moment, even when there are already perfectly good ones who could do the job, but that doesn't mean Lucas had to do it in RotS too. We already get the montage of Jedi dying on a bunch of new worlds, and we already have new locations Utapau, Mustafar, and Polis Massa as well, so we don't really need yet another new planet. All those new planets keep the galaxy from feeling too small, but replacing one of them with a planet from a previous movie would keep RotS from feeling quite so rushed and scattered. Actually, the originals do this already: hi again, Tatooine! And hello, mysterious Jabba; good to finally meet you after two movies of ominous hints! See? Works great.

But I differ from the above scenario on one point: instead of cutting the Wookiees and slaughtering the Gungans, I say cut the Gungans and slaughter the Wookiees.Collapse )
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"The Despairing Girl in the Mirror," Padme and Merope flashfic

Originally posted in a comment elsewhere. Call it an "analysis of parallel scenarios in two works of fiction via hypothetical character interaction" rather than "fanfic" if necessary.

Title: The Despairing Girl in the Mirror
Fandom: Harry Potter, Star Wars (Disclaimer)
Categories: Gen (with Padmé/Anakin as background canon), PG, Drama
Word Count: 599
Summary: Padmé's trying not to worry about the absent Anakin or her pregnancy, and seeing Merope Gaunt in her mirror isn't helping.

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In other news, I double-checked my interests just to be sure I hadn't listed anything illegal and then forgotten about it. I think it's all fine, unless listing "Cylons" and "goblin rebellions" means that I endorse their fictional actions. But I think modifying my interests to read "Cylons, of whose genocidal actions I do not approve" and "fictional goblin rebellions" would be just too paranoid.

Also, membership in fandom_counts has jumped by about 3000 just since I joined an hour or so ago. Neat!

Now, back to other pressing concerns, like updating my resumé and finding a job.
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Another filk

So, I've been feeling nauseated all week and thought I was getting sick, but I finally figured out that it's just allergies or something and it's the post-nasal drainage that's the problem. I took an antihistamine and have been completely spaced out all day. Seriously, I took it at about eight AM and only within about the last hour or two have I been able to keep my train of thought long enough to read or write a sentence. And I slept for about four hours this afternoon instead of reading for school. But at least I don't feel sick... although that might be preferable.

So instead of posting the TPM thingy I had hoped to have finished a few days ago, it's the last two unposted song filks (one's really short) I have on my hard drive. (I figure I need to keep in the habit of posting or I'll just get lazy.) This is terrible, because now I realize how important keeping a backlog of meta and filks and various things on my hard drive is to my... I want to say something like "style" or "method of operating" but neither sounds right. Damn drugs. Anyway, I work better when I have several things gestating in a form I can see and tweak than when I'm completely winging it.

Enough drug-induced rambling. Collapse )
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Varykino Retreat. Two of them, actually.

I watched the 1965 David Lean film Dr. Zhivago recently. There's a lot to say about that movie, but for now, I'll stick to the fannish point of interest: Varykino.

Wait, that sounds familiar, I thought when I first heard it. Didn't Padme and Anakin go to Varykino?

Sure enough, they did.

In both movies, a couple flees from a war (or soon-to-be war) to an isolated, seemingly idyllic estate called Varykino. Coincidence? I don't think so. Especially not given the Alec Guinness connection.

Some background, because Dr. Zhivago is a long movie and probably not everyone has seen it. In Dr. Zhivago, the couple is Yuri Zhivago and his wife Tonya. (They also bring their young son and Tonya's father.) They don't actually get to live in the main house at Varykino - it's boarded up by order of the new Soviet government. They live in the guest cottage. But later, Yuri does live in the main house at Varykino - with Lara, the woman he has loved for years. It's one of those tragic, doomed affairs. They met after Yuri was married - to a really nice woman whom he does care about - and they're stuck in this revolution they don't want any part of which is tearing their lives to pieces. Eventually, they're separated, Yuri dies a few years later, and Lara disappears into a labor camp - though not before leaving behind her and Yuri's daughter (and another daughter with a different father, but I don't know what happened to her). Alec Guiness, who plays Yuri's brother, tracks down this daughter and tells her the whole story. She keeps insisting that Yuri and Lara are not her parents, though I think she warmed up to the idea at the end.

In Star Wars, the couple is Anakin and Padme. They're also caught up in a war (though they're more involved in it than Yuri and Lara), they're fleeing from danger, they have a tragic, doomed affair. Anakin "dies," from a certain point of view, and Padme really dies. But not before leaving behind a son and a daughter, whom Alec Guinness (/Ewan playing Alec playing Obi-Wan) - the guy who thought of Anakin as a brother - watches over and eventually meets. (Well, at least he meets Luke.) Luke and Leia weren't all that thrilled to find out who their father was, either, though for very different reasons, and eventually they (mostly Luke) made a sort of peace with it.

Whoever came up with that name for the Naberrie home in the Lake Country must have had so much fun planting that little connection for us to find.
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Er, I found this famous senator's corpse totally by accident...

I'm surprised this question didn't start niggling at me a long time ago. Maybe there is an official explanation, but if so, I missed it.

How did Padmé's body get from Polis Massa to Naboo?

Supposedly, the official story was that she died during the Jedi insurrection. But she was last seen on Coruscant, and of the Imperials, only Vader, Palpatine, and possibly some lackeys knew Padmé went to Mustafar, right? And only Obi-Wan, Yoda, Bail Organa, and unnamed extras knew where she went after that. Obviously Obi-Wan and Yoda couldn't take her back, so that pretty much leaves Bail. But Bail couldn't just show up announcing that he found Senator Amidala's lifeless body somewhere, or Palpatine would have a lot of questions for him. (And how did you stumble upon the exact location the Jedi dumped the body mere hours after they left, Senator Organa? Blind luck, you say? Sure...) So what happened?

If Bail managed to smuggle the body back to Coruscant and plant it somewhere for someone else to discover it, Palpatine would definitely suspect something, but he might not be able to connect it specifically to Bail. He might think Obi-Wan or Yoda did it, for instance. Bail would probably have had to make sure those close to Padmé, like her handmaidens, knew nothing so they wouldn't get in trouble. They could still discover the body, maybe - they just couldn't be in the know.

On Palpatine's end, he would have to make sure that any air traffic controllers who could bollix up the official story by mentioning that Padmé left Coruscant before she died stayed quiet. Or come up with an elaborate cover story - but the more complicated the story, the more likely people are to find holes in it. Maybe that is what happened. "Senator mysteriously killed by Jedi with no witnesses during Palpatine's ascension" already sounds fishy, so maybe he figured a little fisher would make no difference.

Whatever happened, I'll bet that Padmé's death became one of those near-legendary mysteries on Naboo, with everyone having their own conspiracy theory, right up there with "what really happened to the Princes in the Tower," "what happened to Jimmy Hoffa" and "who really shot JFK." (I wonder how Bail figures in these stories? Probably in many roles.)

I think she's a prime candidate for the Elvis-style conspiracy theories, too - many Naboo would probably say she's not really dead, you know, it's a wax dummy in the coffin and she's really still out there, in another galaxy or disguised as Sabé or Mon Mothma or any of a thousand others, helping the Rebels from afar and planning her return. Or she's in a secret Imperial prison, bravely resisting every torture they can invent, a symbol for resistance and the Empire's eventual failure. Or maybe the Arthurian version - she's in the coffin, but she's really just in an enchanted sleep, and someday, when Naboo needs her most, she'll wake up and return to lead them again.

Wouldn't that make a great bedtime story?
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Apprentice Legislators of Naboo

At the age of eight, [Amidala] joined the Apprentice Legislature and became an Apprentice Legislator at age 11.... She served as supervisor of the city of Theed for two years before being elected Queen of Naboo.... By 14, she was elected Queen of Naboo.
- The StarWars.com Databank

Am I the only one who thinks this is a little odd? I don't mean the actual system. Apprenticeship was and is a widely-used method of passing on job skills because it works. I have no problem imagining special "future legislators" schools and young apprentices following legislators around, learning the craft. (Though I feel sorry for all the kids whose parents pushed them into it.) No, the part that I find strange is how short Amidala's apprenticeship is. She studies for three years, is an apprentice for one year, then is elected Princess of Theed at age twelve. As if that weren't enough, she's elected Queen of Naboo two years later. Usually when you finish an apprenticeship you start at the bottom of the job ladder. If you're exceptionally bright, you might skip a few rungs, but not most of the rungs! This just can't be normal, even on Naboo.

I suspect that most children in the Apprentice Legislature study for more than three years before becoming Apprentice Legislators. They must have massive amounts of legal theory and history to learn. Not to mention languages, economics, the mathematics necessary to understand their economics lessons, probably computer skills, classic futhork calligrahy, ceremonial dress, how to walk without tripping over the ceremonial dress, etc. And I suspect that, once they become Apprentice Legislators, they spend longer than one year in their apprenticeship before running for any office, let alone one of the highest offices on Naboo. The Naboo might value "purity of heart" over experience, but I doubt they'd be willing to let all their leaders be inexperienced children. You notice Amidala's advisors are all adults, and not particularly young adults.

Why the exceptions? Sure, Amidala is unusually bright, but child-queens don't seem all that rare either. There's another child-queen, Queen Apailana, only a few years after Amidala's term expired. And Amidala was not the youngest queen ever elected.

The Databank again: "While Queen Amidala was the ruler of Naboo she had a large staff of advisers and aides that handled the day-to-day affairs. Sio Bibble, for instance, was Naboo's governor." It sounds like the Queen's job is to set the general direction of the government, not to do much actual governing. Furthermore, "The Queen's elaborate gowns and make-up were steeped with historic symbols important to the Naboo" indicates that the office has a lot to do with upholding tradition. The Queen is a symbol of continuity and stability, a reassurance that the "Nabooan Way of Life" goes on. Technically, the Queen has a lot of power, but usually she does not use it. That's what the governor is for. Perhaps one of the reasons Amidala is so beloved by the Naboo is that she was an active queen as well as a good one. A monarch who earns her keep! Fabulous!

So while Naboo does elect child-monarchs, most Apprentice Legislators probably don't actually start legislating until the ripe old age of fifteen or twenty, and they probably start with fairly minor posts. Most Naboo government officials are adults.

At least I hope they are. The idea of fourteen-year-olds running a planet is frightening.