Gather ‘Round Padawans: Lessons From Star Wars (Part Three): Darth Vader

All I need to know in life I learned from Star Wars. Well, okay, not everything, but a lot of stuff, most of which I didn’t consciously realize had penetrated my cortex until the hubs and I launched Operation: Engeekify Spawn.

Darth Vader by Kieran Gillen, Salvador Larroca, Lenil Yu, Joe Caramagna, and Jordan D. White is a phenomenal book.

It is definitely not aimed at kids and you may want to pre-screen before sharing it with yours to decide if they’ll be comfortable with some of the tougher subject matter. There is a lot of killing, though very little blood, and a couple of seriously sadistic droids, lying, cheating, stealing, bounty hunting, and many other unsavory and potentially upsetting things.

But there are things we can learn from the Dark Side.

Continue reading Gather ‘Round Padawans: Lessons From Star Wars (Part Three): Darth Vader

There’s No Better Time to Join the ‘Rebels’ Than “The Siege of Lothal”

© Disney / Lucasfilm
© Disney / Lucasfilm

Star Wars Rebels is kicking off its second season in a big way with the premiere of “The Siege of Lothal” on June 20. The 1-hour movie is the action-packed introduction to the new season, which returns later with new episodes in the fall.

It’s a pivotal moment for the crew of the Ghost. The Rebellion as we know it is still in its infancy, but is becoming a force strong enough to be noticed by the Empire. It’s time for Kanan, Hera, Ezra, and the others to decide what role they’re going to take next. Should they remain unnoticed and assist in their own small ways, or become part of a bigger mission? One particular figure of the Empire has already taken an interest in their efforts, however: Darth Vader.

If you have ever wanted to see the Sith Lord live up to the reputation we always hear about in the original trilogy, tune in for “The Siege of Lothal,” even if you’ve never seen a single episode of Star Wars Rebels. (This is an ideal jumping in point for the series.)

Star Wars Rebels © Disney / Lucasfilm
© Disney / Lucasfilm

Forget the stiff, lumbering armored figure half-heartedly fighting Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope. This is the Vader you’ve always wanted to see in action, a dark, menacing, and brilliant tactician. I literally had goosebumps as Darth Vader emerged from the shadows in an unforgettable scene. James Earl Jones returns to voice the character in a significant role for the first time since the films, so you never lose the feeling that this is Darth Vader.

Star Wars Rebels continues to get better with every single episode. “The Siege of Lothal” premieres on the Disney XD network on June 20, 2015, at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

GeekMom was provided with a promotional screener for preview purposes.

Darth Vader Menaces ‘Star Wars Rebels’ in This Sneak Peek

Star Wars Rebels © Disney / Lucasfilm
Star Wars Rebels © Disney / Lucasfilm

And here I thought only the new The Force Awakens teaser was the only trailer from Star Wars Celebration that would have me cheering at the screen.

Disney and Lucasfilm also debuted a sneak peek at Star Wars Rebels season 2 this weekend, and suddenly the new season can’t get here fast enough.

Warning: Major spoilers if you haven’t seen the first season finale.

Not only are there fan favorite characters from The Clone Wars making an appearance, Sarah Michelle Gellar will play a major role in the new season—although her character remains a mystery.

Star Wars Rebels returns this summer to Disney XD with a two-hour event, followed by all new episodes in the fall.

Would You Survive Order 66?

Poor Plo Koon....\ Image: Savanna Kiefer
Poor Plo Koon….\ Image: Savanna Kiefer

Order 66 is the order that was given by Darth Sidious (the evil ego of Chancellor Palpatine) to the clone troopers to kill the Jedi they had been serving alongside during the Clone Wars. The desolation of the Jedi is one of the most significant events in the Star Wars universe. Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda famously escaped their own executions, while many younglings and other Jedi were not so lucky. Master Aayla Secura was gunned down by her squadron, Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker) lead the 501st Legion into the Jedi temple to kill everyone they came across, and Master Plo Koon was killed by Captain Jag. It was a dark time for the Jedi—to survive, you had to be good or pretty darn lucky.

The question I have for you is…would you survive? Take my quiz to find out!

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May the Party Be With You—How to Throw an Epic Star Wars Party!

As a Star Wars geek and 501st Legion costumer, I know how to throw a Star Wars party. You could say the Force is strong in me. This summer, with a little help from ThinkGeek, I’m going to throw my son’s friends a party to remember.

My Star Wars party consists of three elements:

  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Games

First things first, we need to pick out the entertainment.

There are six Star Wars movies and six season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars to choose from. It would take over 44 hours to watch all of the animated series, seven hours to watch the prequels, and just over six hours to watch the original trilogy. If you’re planning your party on a weekend and to make sure you don’t behave like a Sith on Monday, I would stick to just watching either the prequels or the original trilogy.

Once that has been decided, on to the second most important part of any party… the food!

The menu for this shindig consists of:

Yoda Soda (this can be a bit strong for some people, so a Tatooine Sunset is a nice alternative)
TIE Fighter Ties
Lightsaber Ice Pops
Clone Trooper Cakes
Death Star Popcorn
R2-D2 Treats

Yoda soda has a bit of a kick to it, so if you feel yourself fading into the force during the movie, a sip of Yoda soda will wake you back up. Pick up the R2-D2 measuring cups to make sure you add just the right amount of force to your dishes. If you have adults at your party, be extra careful when making your TIE Fighter Ties to avoid any dark side jokes. For the lightsaber ice pops, I prefer red or green colored juices (red and green Powerade works great).

Lightsaber Popsicle duel \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Lightsaber ice pop duel \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Now that the kitchen has been taken over by the Rebels, it’s time to decide on the games!

No party would be complete without some lightsabers. You can pick up the cheap ones at Target or the nicer ones on ThinkGeek. When the sun goes down, host a lightsaber battle outside. If you want your fight to have fewer bruises, grab some pool noodles and make your own lightsabers.

Once everyone calms down from dueling, hang up your hilts and get to work on your own 3D metal model of the Millennium Falcon or R2-D2. Due its complexity, this activity is more for adults than kids. My husband was challenged when putting his R2 together and I heard a few “beeps” that weren’t PG-13 while he was building it.

Other fun games you can play are “Vader Says,” a variation on Simon Says, but instead, the lead player wears a Darth Vader helmet and commands his clones.

If you want your guests to have a good laugh, take out a copy of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars and let everyone pick a character to read. I had several adult friends in stitches when reading my copy at home one day.

Once everyone has exhausted their energy with games and filled their tummies with Star Wars treats, it’s time to get them nestled in for the movie.

Of course, no Star Wars movie night would be complete without proper sleeping accommodations. The Tauntaun sleeping bag is so popular in our house, my husband and son have to fight for the right to sleep in it.

Makes you want to cuddle up with a Taun Taun doesn't it? \ Image: Dakster Sulliva
Makes you want to cuddle up with a Tauntaun doesn’t it? \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

For your guests who need something special to cuddle, pick up one of the Star Wars cuddle critters in either Tauntaun, Bantha, Rancor, or Wampa.

With that, the movie begins and the house goes quiet with only the sounds of star destroyers, machine-like breath, and an R2-D2, the most offensive droid in the galaxy (they beep out every word he says for crying out loud…ba dum dum!).

I hope I have encouraged you to pick a side in the battle of the Empire and Rebellion and have a Star Wars party of your own. May the Force be with you.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received review samples. 

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars—May the Verse Be With You

Alas, poor C3P0, I knew ye not \ Image: Gordon Tarpley
Alas, poor C-3PO, I knew ye not \ Image: Gordon Tarpley

Editor’s note: After a successful inaugural year with over 1200 events across North America, Star Wars Reads Day strikes back again today. GeekMom is getting into the celebration with a focus on Star Wars books.

When I heard that Ian Doescher was converting Star Wars: A New Hope (aka Star Wars Episode IV) into a Shakespearean play, I had some doubts about how good it was going to be. My fears were put to rest when I learned that Ian is both a fan of Shakespeare and Star Wars, and I was no longer afraid that this would be just another parody. After I got my hands on a copy of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, though, I was surprised at how much actual Shakespearean history Ian was able to add to Lucas’ original screenplay.

To start, let me tell you that I didn’t pick this up to critique Ian’s use of language or his inclusion of things like asides and exits. I picked it up because it looked fun to read and I was curious to see how true Ian could stay to the original screenplay. Personally, I think that Ian did a nice job of staying true to Lucas’ original story arc, while simultaneously adding in references to Shakespeare’s original works. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t catch every Bard-based allusion on the first go-round, but there were plenty that were obvious even to my ears.

For instance, do you hear a little Hamlet in this line from Obi-Wan?

“Seems young one? Nay, thou didst! Think thou not seems.”

Or, perhaps, some Mark Anthony in this opening exhortation from Luke?

“Friends, rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears.”

Ian did more than just add in subtle references to Shakespearean plays, however, he also used some of Shakespeare’s favored literary devices, including fables. A long time ago in a galaxy far away, Shakespeare apparently used fables to help shed light on various events at hand. Ian did a nice job including a few of these without making the reader feel as if he were abusing the Star Wars canon—his additions actually belonged in the Star Wars universe and made sense in the scenes they were in.

Of all the scenes in Star Wars: A New Hope, the ones I was most interested in reading were the battle scenes. By using a chorus during these complicated moments in the story, much the same as Shakespeare employed in Henry V, the story flowed nicely, with words and rhythm ably complementing the action at hand.

Something I personally found to be tremendously helpful in reading and understanding William Shakespeare’s Star Wars was the 19-page Educator’s Guide I discovered on the Quirk Books website. The Educator’s Guide gives a very nice overview of all the references to Shakespeare’s plays, as well as tips on how to interpret and understand the language.

One tip I found to be particularly helpful was to read the play out loud with a group of friends. Not only was reading the story more entertaining this way, understanding the language and the motivations of the characters became easier too.

Another great comprehension-aid for me was the wonderful art by Nicolas Delort. It was amusing to read through and see various scenes re-enacted in a Shakespearean manner with the characters costuming straddling a line between Elizabethan and Lucasian. My favorite image in the story was of Luke, holding up a stormtrooper helmet a la Hamlet and Yorick, as he acts out that most famous soliloquy:

Alas, poor stormtrooper, I knew ye not,
Yet have I ta’en both uniform and life
From thee. What manner of a man wert thou?
A man of inf’nite jest or cruelty?
A man with helpmate and with children too?
A man who hath his Empire serv’d with pride?
A man, perhaps, who wish’d for perfect peace?
Whate’er thou wert, good man, thy pardon grant
Unto the one who took thy place: e’en me.

When all was said and done, I had a newfound respect for the complexity of Shakespeare’s plays, along with a desire to go to my local library and check out some of his original works. If you are looking for a neat way to get acquainted with Shakespeare or you are a teacher whose students are having a rough time accessing the genius of the Bard of Avon, I highly recommend you give William Shakespeare’s Star Wars  a try!

Check out these great pics of my friends doing their best Star Wars Shakespeare poses. To join in the fun and send us a picture on twitter @GeekMomBlog of you #Shakespearing!

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Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review copy.