And Another Thing

It’s been a slow day over here, but I am happy to announce I’m back in the mode of outward creation. I also have some burning questions about the Star Wars franchise.

Why can’t R2 units speak? 3P0 talks. All those droids walk around making corny jokes. In fact, most of those robots speak thousands of languages. But the only way R2 can communicate is through a series of boops and beeps? Is there a sinister background to the R2 units inability to speak?

…and another thing

When Luke loses his hand he’s hooked up with a new one that is exactly like a human hand. But Darth Vader still has to go on as a stumpy, charred remnant of a man in a suit? I understand the significance behind the Darth Vader visage, the foreboding breathing – all of that. But it must be part of the reason Anakin stayed Dark Side, having to wear an iron lung for the rest of your existence is more than enough reason to hate everything. I mean, there’s no way he’s getting laid, right?

That’s all I got for today folks, thanks for reading.

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12 thoughts on “And Another Thing

  1. All right, I’ll bite. I have to ask first, though, have you seen the prequels? I will be referring to them, especially with your second question.

    The R2 (and other R-series) units are of the astromech droid class. They are designed for repair, maintenance, and navigation support for starfighter ships. This has been fleshed out a lot in recent years, but I do remember even the licensing from my childhood (i.e. the ’80s) made it very clear that astromechs were limited to binary.

    C3PO, on the other hand, is of the protocol droid class. Note that he introduces himself as “C3PO, Human/Cyborg Relations.” Protocol droids are translators; either for humans, or for machines.

    The two are basically comic relief characters, and they were marketed to kids before fanboys shat bricks about Ewoks and Jar-Jar. That role seemed to be less in the prequel movies as Lucas was establishing their connection to Anakin.

    As far as the cybernetics– well, again, I don’t know if you’ve seen the prequels. For one thing, Anakin accepts Palpatine’s deception that he killed Padme Amidala (and has no knowledge Luke and Leia were born). There was tons of conjecture why Obi-Wan (as Alec Guiness portrayed him) said he was more “man than machine, now” in licensing literature, until Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith revealed he lost his arm in the Battle of Genosis (which started the Clone Wars) and his legs in a duel with Obi-Wan, just before he was revived by Palpatine in the suit.

    Another part of the answer is that the original trilogy movies were Super B (B as in budget) and the prequels came after Lucas’s foray into CGI (Pixar was his company before he sold it to Steve Jobs, who later sold it to Disney, who now owns the whole Star Wars franchise… ironic and coming full-circle, isn’t it?)

    I apologize for a rather post-length comment. It was difficult to answer your questions more succinctly. I refreshed my memory a bit with the official Star Wars site (starwars DOT com) and Wookieepedia.

    • I’ve definitely seen the prequels, I love Star Wars and I’m not a snob about any of them – though I am partial to the original trilogy, I’ve seen the newer three many times. The scene on Mustafar, when Anakin is stumping around in the lava, while Obi Wan mourns the loss of his apprentice, his son, is one of my favorite (that probably says something really weird about me).

      The Darth Vader suit is sweet, and yes if you want to talk about the Star Wars universe solely as it’s marketable, real world entity – it had to be. But in this galaxy – the one far, far away – where they can slap a new hand on a guy within hours of him losing it, it is hard to believe that they couldn’t repair Darth Vader a little more, at least over time. It’s essential to the character to be in the suit, that’s easily explained – he can still be scarred, have that weird blue/gray skin tone (they had sexy green chicks, they could have done this!) – forced to wear his ugliness and pain. He’d want to continue hiding that from the world beneath the mantle of Vader, and for a large majority of the time. But he could at least have the ability to slip out of it at bedtime, or to just get some sunlight now and then, go swimming, maybe even visit the beach. I can imagine him and Palpatine taking a vacation, both withered and gray and unsightly, but for that moment – old pals.

      The two are basically comic relief characters.

      So there is a sinister reason behind R2′s affliction – for the comedic relief of others his thoughts, and the thoughts of his people, are wasted on humanoid ears, who can understand only the most base of their depth and meaning. I don’t trust the 3P0 units to convey these messages properly. 3P0 only occasionally shares something he quotes R2 for. Otherwise it’s all poetry lost within the singular, sad collection of boops and beeps, with punctual zings. Keats with his fingers cut off and tongue removed.

      • I don’t think it’s weird at all– I’ve made Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey a big focus of my blog, and of course, Atonement with the Father is one of the Monomyth stages. I just don’t write about Star Wars in that vein often because Lucas said publicly he was very influenced by Campbell (at least for the original trilogy). The prequels don’t follow the Monomyth much because it’s a different sort of story, of course.

        Yes, the Darth Vader suit IS sweet– I think the mask alone is one of the hardest parts of it to draw, so I’m impressed with your drawing.

        One theory that was explored in the comics (Dark Horse, I think it was?) was that Palpatine was extracting small amounts of flesh from him at a time, replacing it with robotics.

        The Expanded Star Wars universe has a lot more wiggle room than the movie canon– Anakin Vader has appeared in games without the top of his helmet, and other concepts of Sith Lords in other games often ditch the mask to keep a sinister face.

        Vader and Palpatine withered gray old pals at the beach… you have an odd sense of humor, hehe. As long as it doesn’t descend into slash, I think it’d be funny to read some fanfic about that.

        R2’s affliction? Hahaha, all the astromech droids are like that– the explanation goes that he never had a memory wipe and got a weird, roguish personality. Of course Anthony Daniels has already explained that he decided to play C3PO as a stuffy British butler. I suspect R2 is to Star Wars like Kenny is to South Park– you can’t understand him, but if you did, you’d find he actually says the rudest things compared to any of the others.

        Suffice it to say, though, if I ever get a d20 Star Wars game running again, I’d strictly forbid the players to have droid characters. I don’t completely understand why, but Star Wars gamers have a merciless penchant to abuse droids. It’s consistently worse than Jawas, Ewoks, and even Gungans… they seem to delight in destroying or otherwise messing them up.

        • One theory that was explored in the comics (Dark Horse, I think it was?) was that Palpatine was extracting small amounts of flesh from him at a time, replacing it with robotics.

          This is a theory that I particularly like, because no one would put that past Palpatine at all. I will admit that I haven’t delved much into Star Wars comics, the comics I’m usually drawn to are things like Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, various IDW titles, and for a large part – the DC universe. But there’s that part of me that just can’t see R2 as the snide, darker entity that we simply can’t understand – but that’s just me refusing to part with the whimsical, kind R2 that I want to exist.

          And I have to say I am surprised that role players go after the droids more than the Gungans, because among the other Star Wars fans I know there is no other character that seems to be hated quite as much as JarJar is.

          • Good taste with Neil Gaiman and The Sandman– that was an excellent series, although I will say it was intensely gritty at times.

            Yes, the fanboys (and fangirls) detest Jar-Jar Binks with a bloody murderous passion, but droids have more presence throughout Star Wars gaming, offline and on, and there’s just more opportunities for them to bear the brunt of it. Hence I would always INSIST that they be NPCs, unless players could garner trust from me otherwise not to abuse them.

            • I’ve very recently started reading Gaiman’s (who’s novels I also really love) The Children’s Crusade, and I’m finding that some part of me enjoys it more than I did The Sandman. But I’m also a bit of a history buff and I love when comics incorporate history, especially if they pull it apart and make it supernatural and awesome.

              East of West is one my very favorite comics of all time, and it carries a huge amount of American history. This has lead me to other great things written by Hickman – I’m currently pushing my way through The Manhattan Projects, and just as the title suggests – there’s history there too.

              Is this d20 play you refer to based online? It does make a lot of sense that they’d catch more overall flack because of their more consistent presence in the story, I never really put that together.

              • This d20 was controlled by Hasbro, actually, by way of Wizards of the Coast. Sadly, it was discontinued and is currently out of print. And in my experience, it’s easier to find people who like to play West End’s old d6 version although points-based character creation and the “wild die” system is a headache for Game Masters, or, at least, it was for my long-time GM/DM.

                There’s no online component that I am aware of. No D&D Tiny Adventures on Facebook, or anything like that. From what I understand, the fans are mostly focused on the Knights of the Old Republic MMO, and I mean, the new one, not that other one that devolved into Wookies with rainbow lightsabers.

  2. I’ll say upfront that I probably wouldn’t be considered a “fan” by most, because I don’t read graphic novels, game or trawl through fan sites of any of the stories/characters I adore (Doctor Who, Star Wars probably being the main two among many). So my views are unorthodox and based solely on my interpretation of the movie canon of Star Wars, in particular Episodes IV, V, VI. (Doctor Who: strictly only the TV episodes + missing episodes, not the movie, which I refuse to watch!)
    I always thought R2D2 was an “old soul” – having gathered intelligence and insight beyond his original design through centuries of existence. Surprisingly, this dovetails somewhat with what jaklumen said above.
    I’d never noticed the Vader/Luke paradox before! Which surprises me. Now that you point it out, Yes, I would say he almost chooses to wear the suit, as both the source and fuel of his hatred for the free.
    But then, what are my opinions worth, founded on such a small knowledge base? 🙂

    • I firmly believe that everyone’s opinions have worth, and I love getting the opinions of what I like to refer to as “Goldilocks Nerds.” The group of people who are not too hot, not too cold. This group comes in with the great ability to see these universes and stories with fresh eyes and new opinions that haven’t been overly sullied like the more stringent fans.

      I think I will keep on hoping that under it all R2 is an old soul, I like this image. He consistently saves the day, even when 3P0 insults him in the process. I think if R2 hates anyone, it has to be 3P0. And I can definitely see Vader choosing the suit, especially saddled with the guilt he has over Padme’s death.

      Also, I absolutely love Doctor Who. I will forever fangirl way too hard for David Tennant, but I’m really excited to see what Peter Capaldi will bring to the Doctor’s sense of humanity, and how he and Clara will interact. It’s all so exciting! Thanks for commenting 🙂

      • No worries!
        Probably my favourite Doctor of all time was Christopher Eccleston, but honestly I come to love each as they come and then sadly go. (I remember loving Tom Baker … Peter Davison … wasn’t as enamoured of Colin Baker … and so on!)
        Have you heard the audio of the missing episodes? Of course you have! It beggars belief that those audio recordings survived despite the episodes going missing.
        David Tennant: what is it about him? I enjoyed his time, but unlike many didn’t fangirl too hard. One of life’s mysteries!

        • I love the lost episodes audio! They apparently recently found some more lost episodes and I’m waiting in anticipation to get my paws on them.

          As for David Tennant – the phenomena seems to be stronger among American fans, which I am. I felt the he was the most “well rounded” Doctor, I loved his portrayal in a way that I can’t quite explain. But like you said – each actor inevitably finds their way into your heart, each unique and wonderful in their own way. The Doctor can never be just one man, none of us would be the same person for 900 years, after all. 🙂

          • Too true! Don’t worry, there are plenty of Tennant fangirls over here in Australia – I’m just not the fangirl type 🙂 but you probably figured that out by now!
            What did you think of the 50th Anniversary movie?

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