Star Wars Saturday: Representation Matters (and a Book Announcement)

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If we can’t write diversity into sci-fi, then what’s the point? You don’t create new worlds to give them all the same limits of the old ones. – Jane Espenson

In almost 40 years of existence, Star Wars has done some good work in terms of diverse characters, though there is still room for improvement, even in more recent creations.

Source: Wookieepedia.

Source: Wookieepedia.

I grew up with favorites such as Leia Organa, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. I fell in love with Mara Jade when reading Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire in the early 90s. I jumped up and down when we got Mace Windu, Bail Organa and Padme Amidala in the Prequel Trilogy. I can’t wait to see the new trio in Episode VII, as well as the new and returning characters.

Star Wars has had recurrent missed opportunities with depiction of disability. So far, most romance and characters presented were straight. I hope to see more characters of colors and other species have important roles in the future, as well as even more compelling female characters of all ages.

Yet, the franchise has done good things since it was created. It was what prompted me to return to my collection of essays A Galaxy of Possibilities: Representation and Storytelling in Star Wars, and revise it, as well as add two new chapters. Tackling the whole universe would be a lifetime work, but the following essays aim at shedding some light and discuss aspects of diverse representation in the franchise:

  • Introduction: Why Representation Matters and Why Star Wars has a Role to Play
  • Chapter 1: Star Wars Rebels: A New Text to Link the Old
  • Chapter 2 : Lando Calrissian : Iconic Scoundrel
  • Chapter 3: Star Wars’ Jedi Younglings: A Benevolent but Controversial Education System
  • Chapter 4: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II – A Milestone for Star Wars Female Characters
  • Chapter 5: Mara Jade: Pillar of the Star Wars Expanded Universe
  • Chapter 6 : Female Wizards: Jocasta Nu and Kreia
  • Chapter 7: Tenel Ka: Negotiating Acquired Disability
  • Chapter 8: Nala: The Missing Link between Disney Princesses and Leia Organa
Cover designed by Jennifer A. Miller.

Cover designed by Jennifer A. Miller.

The New Revised Edition will be available in Kindle format on September 9 (print version TBA later this year), on all Amazon sites, including Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada. You can also find the book’s Goodreads page here. I’m always happy to connect with my readers!

What about you, fellow Star Wars fans? What aspects of diversity do you think were well done in Star Wars and which ones do you hope to see improve in the future?

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Star Wars Saturday : Favorite Video Games

After David’s post about the franchise’s video games last weekend, I thought it made for the perfect opportunity for a Favorite Video Games Star Wars Saturday! With the large choice we have, I thought it would be difficult to pinpoint favorites. Against all odds, I came up with mine more easily than I had expected! Of course, the fact I only play RPG types of Star Wars games helped, just as naming series of games rather than individual titles did!

Source: Wookieepedia.

Source: Wookieepedia.

Dark Forces / Jedi Knight Series

These games aren’t young anymore but I still like them a lot. I played them as they were released and had a great time with each new title. Dark Forces was basic in visuals but I spent hours shooting things on it. The live-action cinematics of Jedi Knight were epic and Jan Ors is still a favorite female character of mine. I remember being so excited about the Mysteries of the Sith companion game, which featured Mara Jade. I was happy to have family in the US who could bring it to me as a gift when visiting, as finding it in France wasn’t an option at the time. I recently played Jedi Academy again and the experience was still good. I need to go back to Jedi Outcast because I don’t remember much about it!

Source: technologytell.com

Source: technologytell.com

Knights of the Old Republic Series

KOTOR I and II were my introduction to Bioware games and my love for them has never diminished since then. I love the Bioware Star Wars games as much as the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises! KOTOR I was my first ‘big’ RPG game, I think. When I can play a female character, I always do, which means that in my mind, Revan is a woman. So, the canon male Revan isn’t the only one existing in my head. The first time I played KOTOR II, I wasn’t so sold on it compared to the first one. When I played it for the second time last winter (years after my first round), I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Source: swtor.com

Source: swtor.com

Star Wars: The Old Republic

I never got into any MMORPG before SWTOR, even though I tried WoW. This type of game wasn’t to my taste. Then, I got sucked into SWTOR since the original early access. I have never regretted it. So far, I have finished the original game with all eight classes and enjoyed every story. I am in the process of experiencing the two first expansions on the imperial side (as I finished them with my Jedi Knight). I love the game’s narratives and the character development you can have. There are aspects I am not familiar with (I never did an Operation) or not interested in (Space Battles and Starfighter) but many others I enjoy a lot besides the main game, like PvP Warzones or the amazing new feature the Solo Flashpoints are!

What about you? What are your favorite Star Wars Video Games?

Star Wars Saturday: Favorite Starships

Star Wars is a huge fictional universe. Picking just one thing to talk about can be a challenge. When talking about writing semi-regular Star Wars contributions for Sourcerer, I wasn’t sure which approach to take. Then, I decided to talk about favorites! To kick start this, let’s talk about starships! Which ones are your favorites? I always have a hard time picking just one or two choices when asked such questions, so if you have five favorites or so, no problem! You will see I often name between three and five names for these features.

Here are mine:

Source: Wookieepedia.

Source: Wookieepedia.

Millennium Falcon

Of course, I had to start with my beloved Falcon! I have loved it since I was first introduced to the Original Trilogy when a kid. A Millennium Falcon toy was even my first Star Wars merchandise piece!

Source: Wookieepedia.

Source: Wookieepedia.

Imperial Star Destroyer

I have always loved their design. I often picture them when I hear the Imperial March. I prefer their sleeker design to their Venator Star Destroyer ancestors’.

Nabooyacht-NEGVV

H-type Nubian yacht

This one is my favorite Prequel Era ship. It suits the Naboo style so well. I find it one of the most elegant starships in the Star Wars universe.

EbonhawkSW

Ebon Hawk

While I enjoy several ships in SW:TOR and other Star Wars video games, the Ebon Hawk from Knights of the Old Republic I and II has won my heart years ago.

Ghost

The Ghost

Star Wars: Rebels hooked me more than I had expected. Beside the characters and the stories, I found the Ghost to be a great smuggling type of aircraft. It goes hand in hand with my liking of the Millennium Falcon and the Ebon Hawk.

Most of these ships are associated with characters who mean a lot to me, like Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Hera Syndulla and Padmé Amidala.

What about you? Which Star Wars spaceships are your favorites?

Blogging A to Z Day 29: Young Jedi Knights

Navigating the extensive Star Wars Expanded Universe can prove a tricky task. In almost forty years of existence, it has never ceased to grow. Some titles are still famous and others remain obscure. One of them is the youth oriented book series The Young Jedi Knights, written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. The fourteen volumes were released between 1995 and 1998.

The books focus on a young generation of teenage Jedi, learning at the Academy Luke Skywalker runs on Yavin IV. This includes the first born twin children of Leia Organa and Han Solo: Jacen and Jaina Solo. The main group also involves Chewbacca’s nephew, Lowbacca, Tenel Ka Djo, Hapan princess of Dathomiri ascendancy, and finally Zekk, a childhood friend to the Solo twins.

These books do a great job at developing the new generations, who get prominently featured in following adult Star Wars novels, as from The New Jedi Order series. In a way, I find that it is a linking ground, such as the recent Star Wars Rebels television show is to both prequel and original trilogy eras. Indeed, several well known characters appear in The Young Jedi Knights, including from the older generation.

Source: Wookieepedia.

Source: Wookieepedia.

The books are quite short and aren’t necessarily alike to how they would be written twenty years later. Maybe now they would be a bit grimmer and complex; but they nevertheless tackled certain serious topics, including the common pattern of acquired disability with the character of Tenel Ka losing an arm in the fourth book. It also presented a diverse cast, with the main group including three male characters, including an alien, and two female ones.

For those interested in these characters in the following books, this series meant for younger audiences, give a lot of background, not just about the characters themselves, but about their connections.

Regardless of the actual content and family evolutions the upcoming sequel movie trilogy, the previous stories told in the Star Wars expanded universe, including The Young Jedi Knights, participate to how fans pictured what happened to the original trilogy characters as they carried on with their lives following the downfall of the Empire and the reconstruction of the Republic.

These books aren’t easy to find at this point, but if you like Star Wars and have a friend who happens to own these, you may want to give this a try.