11.17.2015

Patience, You Must Have

December 17th just can't arrive quickly enough. Exactly one month stands between the world and the first brand new Star Wars movie in ten years. If you're looking for some distractions to help pass the time between now and its glorious arrival while simultaneously keeping the force ever present in your mind, you've come to the right place. Below are 15 suggestions of various Star Wars related media you can choose to fill your time with by viewing throughout the next month. Before we begin our list though, I must give a word of caution: not all of these Star Wars related offerings are created equal. While all of these selections can help transport you to a galaxy far far away, just know that you should only embark on some if you're *really* desperate.


Spaceballs.Mel Brooks' parody of the original trilogy as well as other adventure films of its era, is both a loving nod to the Star Wars universe and an enjoyable comedy in its own right. The adventures of Dark Helmet, Lone Starr, Barf, Dot Matrix and Princess Vespa remain one of my absolute favorite imitations of all of Star Wars lore. There are so many solid bits and it never fails to make me chuckle. Spaceballs is available to rent on most online streaming platforms.


Fanboys The plot of Fanboys might sound eerily familiar if you've paid any attention to the news recently. A lifelong fan of Star Wars has been diagnosed with cancer so he makes it his life goal to see the newest Star Wars film at all costs before he passes. The difference between this fictious tale and that of real life Daniel Fleetwood, is that this story is set in 1998 with the then upcoming release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. That and the characters in the film don't exactly politely ask the filmmakers for a screening, rather he and his friends decide to take it upon themselves to travel across the country, sneak into George Lucas's house aka Skywalker Ranch, and steal a cut of the film. Fanboys is admittedly uneven as it was tinkered with by studio interference during its entire production, but there are enough loving homages for Star Wars fans to make it worth their while. Fanboys is available to stream on Google Play.


The Family Guy Trilogy: Blue Harvest, Something, Something, Something Dark Side, and It's a TrapThree separate episodes of Family Guy retell each of the original Star Wars trilogy episodes. A New Hope is tackled in the season 6 episode Blue Harvest, Empire Strikes Back came along in season 8 in the form of Something, Something, Something, Darkside,  and the parody saga was concluded with Return of the Jedi episode called It's A Trap. If you're a fan of Family Guy and Star Wars, this is a match made in heaven. If you only like Star Wars, there's still enough to appreciate here while wading through the typical Family Guy humor. Seeing each film directly redone in a condensed animated comedy version is kind of cool to see and definitely a good refresher to help get ready for The Force Awakens. The Family Guy Trilogy boxset is available on Amazon, or you can stream it there too.


Star Wars Robot Chicken: Episodes I, II & III. Like Family GuyThree complete Robot Chicken episodes were dedicated entirely to Star Wars. The difference here is that these episodes are broken up into smaller sketches and celebrate the saga as a whole. They somehow take George Lucas's characters and make them their own in the world of Robot Chicken.The Emperor and Boba Fett in particular, get pretty hilarious takes on their characters. If you really know and love Star Wars, these episodes are for you. The humor is a little sharper than in Family Guy and you just get the feeling that die-hards especially will appreciate the inside jokes and nods here. You can find every Star Wars Robot Chicken sketch on YouTube.



Star Wars: Clone Wars. If you want to learn more about the Clone Wars that Alec Guinness's Obi-Wan Kenobi alluded to in A New Hope, then briefly glimpsed in prequel Episodes II & III you've got a few options at your disposal. First, you can check out the hand-drawn animated series that aired on the Cartoon Network in between the release of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. There are only 20 episodes at 15 minutes each and they can easily be found on YouTube. Next you can watch the 2008 film and the series it launched. The digital animation series lasted seven seasons and was very positively received, especially with people that wanted some of the characters of the Prequel Trilogy to be a little more, shall we say fleshed out. The 2008 movie and series are both on Netflix, while you can find the hand drawn series on YouTube.


Star Wars: Rebels. After making the Clone Wars animated series, Lucasfilm brought Star Wars: Rebels into the world. Taking place after the events of Episode III, Rebels focuses on all fresh faces. If you haven't checked this out, now is as good a time as any! The four seasons are available to stream on Amazon.

The Star Wars Holiday Special. For the casual fan of Star Wars, they usually remain blissfully unaware of The Holiday Special's existence. And for good reason. George Lucas did almost everything in his power to bury this abomination, and if it weren't for the Internet, he might have succeeded. Every now and again, I like to show bits and pieces of this to those such casual fans and blow their minds that this tv movie actually happened. The Star Wars Holiday Special was aired in 1978 hoping to capitalize off the success of the original Star Wars. The story (if we can claim there was one,) centers around Chewbacca's family as they await his return for the Galaxy's Christmas equivalent holiday known as Life Day. It's like Planes, Trains & Automobiles meets Star Wars! Oh and also some horrible 1970's variety show that should have never seen the light of day. Let's just say you've got to have a REALLY strong constitution to actually watch this. There are moments in this that will leave you absolutely stupefied at the absurdity. If you're brave enough, you can find The Holiday Special on YouTube.

Ewok Adventures: The Caravan of Courage & The Battle of Endor. Fortunately, this is definitely not as awful to watch as The Holiday Special, however, these films are almost just as unwatchable. Still, they've got that Star Wars look and feel, so if you need another way to be transported to the galaxy this is it. Just know that it's not gonna be a smooth ride, and in fact many of the things that happen in both movies will have you scratching your head and thinking "this would never happen in the Star Wars galaxy." Some things are better left in the memory of your youth, and this might be one of them. But if you're desperate for some time fillers, I'll let you make that call. Both of these made for tv films can be found on YouTube.


Droids, Ewoks. Did you know there were two animated series in the 80's about Star Wars? One was called Droids and was about the adventures of R2 and Threepio before the events of A New Hope. The other was called Ewoks and was about the life of the ewoks before they met the rebels in Return of the Jedi. If you, like me were unaware of this fact, you can watch the entire series of both on YouTube. Like the Ewoks films, this nostalgia might be a big time waster, but there's only one way to find out right?

Hardware Wars. This parody short of the original Star Wars is oh so 70's. There's nothing of real substance here but silliness, that said-- if you want to see one of the first caricatures of the famous characters and events of A New Hope it's kind of a fun watch. I mostly enjoy their version of Luke Skywalker and his ridiculous catchphrases. Hardware Wars can be found on YouTube.

Thumb Wars. Before Family Guy and Robot Chicken, the story of Star Wars was also told by...a bunch of thumbs. Creepy little thumbs with weird faces to be exact. This half-hour short often walks the line between silly fun and just being stupid, but if you're going to be a completist on all the versions of Star Wars give it a look. It has a couple clever moments. The full Thumb Wars movie can be found on YouTube.



George Lucas in Love, George Lucas Strikes Back. Now let's celebrate the man behind the galaxy himself: George Lucas. George Lucas in Love is an 8 minute short that explores what could have possibly inspired George to dream up the world of Star Wars. This is a fun and adept telling of what George might have been like in college and what things he drew from to create his classic story. On a similar note, George Lucas Strikes Back is a hilarious interpretation of where that genius might have went during the prequels. Both are absolutely worth watching for fans and available on YouTube.


Star TrekSuper 8,  Star Trek: Into Darkness. Refreshing up on JJ Abram's most enjoyable sci-fi hits is a surefire way to feel that the latest installment of the beloved saga is in good hands. Watching Star Trek along with its sequel can give a sense of how he previously reinvented and rejuvenated a blockbuster franchise. Revisiting Super 8 helps build confidence of the love and reverence he feels to the filmmakers that came before him and their work. As these are all recent releases, they should all be pretty easy to find via any streaming service.

Attack the Block, Inside Llewyn Davis, Ex Machina. One of the best ways to get really excited for The Force Awakens is by acquainting yourself with its new cast. Attack the Block is a great way to meet John Boyega in action and to get excited about what he can bring to the role. In Inside Llewyn Davis you can spend some time with both Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver (albeit in more of a bit part for Driver.) And with Ex-Machina you can spend even more time with Isaac, while also seeing the acting chops of Domnhall Gleeson. JJ assembled himself a fine cast, and getting yourself excited for what they bring to The Force Awakens will invariably happen if you watch some of their prior work.


Star Wars Saga. OBVIOUSLY the best and most thorough way to prepare yourself for the new movie is to watch the entire series again. Or at the very least just the old trilogy. Either way, by brushing up you'll once again become one with the force and entirely ready to take on a new story set in a galaxy far, far away.

Whatever you do to get yourself ready, now is the time to do it! So go forth, and may the force be with you!

1 comment:

Johanna said...

Is it weird that I want to watch the Holiday Special? I wonder how I missed it?