jake rants about something

Remember Revenge of the Sith? Pretend you don’t for a second. Instead:

  • The Senate, long corrupt and having interests on both sides of the war, votes to de-fund the clone troopers.
  • It’s the only way they can get around the Supreme Chancellor. Besides, they’re tired of the war and just want it to end, even if it means losing huge chunks of the galaxy to secession.
  • Realistically though this means a LOT of stranded clones in hostile territory, a lot of early-generation ageing clone veterans cut off from all support, not to mention the cessation of new clone creation.
  • Tension builds between the (clone) bulk of the Republic’s military and the Republic itself.
  • Anakin and Obi-Wan both sympathize with the troops, but Obi-Wan is more inclined to let the war end and go along with the Senate
  • Anakin refuses to abandon his soldiers, and he refuses to let the war end in defeat: they’ve come too far, done too many terrible things in the name of unity, for it all to come to nothing.
  • Meanwhile there’s a no-confidence vote for Palpatine and he’s placed under house arrest pending charges that he abused his power. “All to defend the Republic!” he and Anakin (and most of the military) insist.
  • Anakin leads a coup, arresting several key members of the Senate and liberating Palpatine. 
  • Palpatine confesses his dark side affinity to Anakin, but phrases it as necessary balance. “The Jedi cannot do what must be done if the Galaxy is to be preserved.” Anakin ultimately agrees. The Supreme Chancellor is back in charge, the war is back on: Order must be brought to the Galaxy- it can’t all be for nothing.
  • The Jedi counter-attack, seeking to overturn the coup. The clone troopers defend themselves against their former generals, hearts heavy and bitter at the perceived betrayal. No need for any programmed behaviors or Order 66. 
  • The attack is repelled- barely -thanks in no small part to Anakin’s personal ‘heroics.’ He begs his former comrades to stop, but they’re light-blinded idiots for the most part and treat him like a monster. It’s a treatment he gets used to, a treatment that gradually leads him to become what they perceive him as.
  • Anakin leads the clones- now loyal to him above even the Emperor, since he’s been their general for years and unlike all the others, he never turned his back on them. 
  • (Say what you will about how Vader liked to burn through Imperial Naval officers, he never once mistreats a Stormtrooper in the movies and even leads the boarding action against the Tantive IV. Dude leads from the front! He’s an excellent infantry officer. The troopers should love him.)
  • Padme begs him to turn his back on the new Empire/junta, but Anakin’s course is set- he’s done too many terrible things to turn his back now. He’s personally killed many of his former friends. It has to mean something. It has to be the will of the Force- he has to believe that. They separate. Nobody force chokes anybody, what the fuck.
  • Obi-Wan and Anakin have their climactic fight. It can even be on Mustafar, why not, that was a neat sequence. 
  • Padme Amidala leads many members of the Senate on their own daring escape. She and the Organas form the seeds of the Rebellion. Presumably she dies a few years later, but by god Leia has to be at least 2 before that happens or she’d have no memory of her mother “her real mother.” That line means something. Not a throwaway about Lady “no-lines-because-George-Lucas-is-rather-sexist” Organa.
  • Luke and Leia are born on Alderaan, but (hand-wavey bullshit about force-sensitive twins being like a beacon in the living force or some shit) they must be split up or risk discovery. The farther apart, the better. Obi-Wan knows just the place, a place that works for his exile, too. He takes the boy, because the little shit’s blond mop reminds him painfully of his best friend. I will do better this time, he thinks.

You know who I fucking adore as a villain? Emperor goddamn Palpatine.

But Jake, you say, he’s utterly evil for no discernible reason. His motivations are opaque beyond ‘for the evulz’, he’s utterly unsympathetic, he’s not even a real character so much as the embodiment of evil and corruption!

Yes, exactly. Which is why he works for Star Wars and wouldn’t work in a less mythic/melodramatic story. Plus, Ian McDiarmid is clearly really enjoying sinking his teeth into all the available scenery and generally hamming it up. And he is a delight to watch as a result. He’s practically possessed by the Dark Side of the Force (seriously, they even do the creepy reverb thing for his voice sometimes), Malice Incarnate. 

Look at this smug motherfucker

also, it’s become a little more normalized since Dooku started throwin’ lightning around in AotC, but compared to other Force-wielders in the original trilogy (and to a lesser extent, since) that lightning comes out of fucking nowhere

I have a bit of a headcanon re: Sith Lightning that it works more or less like the Cruciatus curse- you’ve got to mean it. You have to want to inflict suffering on another person. It’s clearly agonizing to be hit by it. I mean, hell, if it’s ‘only’ as painful as being not-immediately-fatally electrocuted through mundane means it’s one of the most singularly unpleasant experiences you can have and not immediately die. But i suspect it’s even more painful than that- it’s the ultimate manifestation of malice through the Dark Side. And so not just anyone can do it- Vader never does. He’s too direct: if he wants someone dead, he kills them. Maul never did for likely similar reasons. Similarly Kylo Ren- though also that’s probably got a lot to do with his deliberate under-training by Snoke. 

So yeah- Palpatine is the single greatest embodiment of Pure Fuckoff Evil in cinema, and he’s so entertaining to watch thanks to Ian McDiarmid, I can’t help it. He’s a villain I love to watch ham it up. 

Corporal Badass Dwayne Mothafuckin' Hicks

So Pacific Rim gave us Raleigh Beckett, who is a fantastic example of a manly man character who spends the majority of his screen time being a good, loving, supportive friend/partner to the protagonist. (shut up, Mako is so the protagonist; she get the Hero’s Journey) Hooray! Glad this is a thing. Especially glad it’s enough of a Thing to be in a big summer blockbuster movie as one of the leads. 

But I’ve been thinking.

You know who else is a surprisingly good example of a macho male character (albeit not one of the protagonists) who is actually really supportive of the female protagonist and at no point acts superior or shitty to her?

Motherfuckin’ Dwayne Hicks.

At no point is he anything but supportive, and at all points he listens to Ripley because she clearly knows what the fuck she’s doing (which puts her rather out in front of all the other chucklefucks down on LV-426). When she takes over, he overrides his superior officer (asshole though Gorman is and always was) in her favor. If Gorman’s out of the picture, Hicks ought ostensibly to be in charge. Hicks immediately and consistently defers to Ripley. Why?

Because Hicks thinks with an actual mind instead of a lifetime of macho bullshit conditioning. 

When Ripley wants to bug out and nuke the entire colony? Hicks is on board. He’s not visibly frightened or panicking like Hudson. He’s cool under fire. He remembers that Ripley’s encountered this lifeform before, and he fucking listens to her advice.

When Ripley is finally doing something that could be construed as less than optimal- going after Newt inside the melting-down nuclear reactor that is full to the goddamn brim with horrible hostile alien warriors has to be a freakin’ suicide mission if there ever was one -Hicks grabs her and physically restrains her from just straight going after Newt right then and there.

But only so he can pull out the tracker he gave to Ripley earlier (presumably because he’s got a bit of a crush on her- and it’s also cool that he noticed she gave it to Newt and didn’t be a big baby about that but was like ‘cool, Newt matters to Ripley, I’m glad I was able to help them out’) and say “We can find her with this!”

We.

…I really like Corporal goddamn Hicks, okay? Ripley is the best character in those two movies by far (yeah I said TWO movies shut up she and Newt are safe and happy on Earth and Hicks is either a cool friend of theirs or he’s with Ripley and a good dad to Newt) and lots of people (myself included) have spewed vast quantities of words about how awesome Ripley is. 

He’s loyal, he’s sharp, he’s not here to prove anything. His masculinity is in no way threatened by Ripley being smarter than he is or in charge of him. What the fuck does he care for your patriarchal bullshit preconceptions? This is a man who is so absurdly badass that he literally falls asleep on a turbulent combat drop.

I ain’t gonna write a thesis about Hicks or anything (I could probably write one about Ripley) but I did feel this was worth a text post.

Left to my own devices, I generally make male PCs in things, because, you know, cismale dude here. My WoW main (and thus my Saints Row Boss) was a woman because I knew I wanted to play a Warlock, and I knew I wanted to play a human, and human males were comically burly and fugly as hell. I have to not shudder when I look at my PC, anyhow.

My main run of Mass Effect was on a dude, though I did do a second run on a woman specifically to romance Garrus. Come on, it’s Garrus. My canon warden was a dude who made kissy faces at Morrigan until she decided he wasn’t terrible. My Hawke is a dude who made kissy faces at Merrill. My first Inquisitor was a human male mage who made kissy faces at Cassandra but my canon Inquisitor is a lady elf zwiehander-wielding elfy paladin who made kissy faces at Solas because the narrative demanded it imo.

But I’ve noticed something about my wargaming armies. My space marines not only include female marines, which is unusual for 40k to say the least, but also pretty much any character worth mentioning is a woman. My Chapter Master, my Chapter Champion, my Chapter Bannerwoman, my 1st Captain. My Eldar are led by a female Farseer, her Warlock Council is ¾ female so far, and roughly half of my Dire Avengers and Fire Dragons are elf ladies. My Tau are… well, they’re Tau, they’re generally helmeted and there’s no reason they’d have visible secondary sexual traits apart from their funny head-crease things, so you can assume half of them are Tau women. My crisis commander is, visibly, a giant fighting robot, but I named her Shas’o M’ori after the protagonist from Pacific Rim so she’s also a Tau woman. 

I think it’s because wargaming is so often shitty and sexist as hell that it makes me get my back up and be as aggressively feminine in my armies as possible. Women with thunder hammers smashing apart sexist dudes’ giant robots. Elf women casting doom on their precious macho tempestus scions and then scything them down. Tau women dropping into position right behind their lines and mowing down their brave little mans. 

I’m so damn friendly and courteous at the table it took me a long time to realize it but I am goddamn mean with my wargaming tiny womans. I want them to break other people’s armies. 

In Which I Have Too Many Opinions About Star Wars

Unpopular Opinion Time!

-Star Wars Edition-

Gather ‘round, everyone! So you may or may not recall that back in the late 90s George Lucas went back in and sort of… remastered the original trilogy while working on the prequel trilogy. There was great hue and cry from the fanboys, 'how can you change it, this thing I have grown up with’ that sort of thing. This was also when he made Greedo shoot first, if I recall correctly, which was a bad decision for reasons others have detailed exhaustively in other places. (tl;dr there’s no reason Han shouldn’t shoot first, it’s perfectly in-character and sensible for him to do so)

Then after the prequel trilogy concluded, he went back and tweaked the original trilogy again. He added little visual references to the prequels, changed Anakin’s force ghost at the end of Jedi to be Hayden SonofChrist, and so forth. The outrage was tremendous. Lucasfilm was besieged by an army of Molotov-cocktail-wielding fans. People built functional plasma swords and swore eternal enmity with the Jedi. Blood flowed in the Venetian canals of Skywalker Ranch. Separatist commandos literally turned Saturn’s moon Mimas into a functional Death Star and blew up the Earth.

At least that’s what the drama levels coming from the fanbase made it seem like. Here’s the unpopular opinion.

Many- perhaps even most- of the changes were good ones.

  • Expanded the sense of a 'used Universe’ established in the original trilogy by making certain locations- Mos Eisley and Cloud City come to mind -appear larger and more bustling. The galaxy seems less empty. Less… like a sound stage.
  • Added a sunset palette to the clouds of Bespin in Empire Strikes Back as the film reaches its climax. Affects the scene, the emotional impact, the symbolism, all in positive ways.
  • Replaced Boba Fett’s original voice with Temuera Morrison. Morrison is a better actor, with a cool accent. He sounds like a bounty hunting hardass. The original actor was… nasally. Not impressive at all.
  • Replaced the image and voice of Emperor Palpatine in Empire with Ian McDiarmid, who played him in four other films. Good for continuity even if McDiarmid wasn’t one of the best things about the series (the prequels in particular). He is, though. Not quite *the* best thing, but one of them to be certain. Chew that scenery, Ian. We love you for it.

Some of the things they added were more controversial, and some were just bad. I’ve already mentioned the “Han shot first” fiasco, and the scene with a younger, smaller, poorly CGI’d Jabba the Hutt really added nothing to A New Hope. The Death Star explosion was improved. Yes it’s still a little goofy, but it is an improvement given how uninspired the original one was.

The part at the end of Return of the Jedi, where they replaced Anakin’s force ghost with Heyman Shishishen is often singled out as one of the worst changes.

I actually think it’s fine. Not great, because it reminds us of Magnus Magnusen and his terrible acting (“In my opinion the JEDI are evil” shut the christ up you fucking pissbaby everyone knows the Jedi are sanctimonious pricks how can you ruin this so badly) but not the travesty it’s made out to be.

Yes yes, I see you going for the torches and pitchforks but while you’re doing that, lend me half an ear for a minute.

Yoda was kind of a fuckup (you can debate me on this but let’s be honest- he oversaw the single greatest disaster in the history of the Jedi; no head of state would be regarded highly in his place) but he did his level best to live a life of compassion and integrity. He’s as content as he can be. When he manifests a form out of the Force, it’s as he was when he died.

Ben Kenobi is full of turmoil over his own failures but he dedicated his life to justice and the defense of those in need of aid. He literally made his peace with his biggest mistake in the moment of his death/ascendance. He lowers the lightsaber as if to say 'I failed you, Anakin, but I can do better by your son if I allow you to strike me down here’. He’s as content as he can be as well, given his turbulent life. So when he appears to Luke, he also appears as he was at the end of his life.

Anakin (in the revised version) appears as Keanu Reeves, which is a bit odd until you stop to think about it. Ben describes Anakin as dead, having been murdered by Darth Vader. The last time he was content, he didn’t look like the boiled egg Luke unmasks; he looked like broody Luke. Having been redeemed, he finds a place within the Force as the man he was before he fell victim to bad writing the machinations of Emperor Palpatine.

So there. That’s why I’m more or less fine with, and even sometimes happy with, the revisions, despite my general opinion that once a work of art is given to the public the creator should leave it the fuck alone.