Throwback Thursday Attack of the Clones and the Opening of the First Galaxy's Edgeby Todd King, contributing writer
Galaxy's Edge, Batuu's Black Spire Outpost, is Open for Business
MousePlanet's Exclusive Updates
Replay our nearly four-hour live stream from May 29, 2019, including video from inside Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and the discussion by MousePlanet contributors including Alan Dalinka, Todd Pickering, Chris Barry, Matt Krock, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, and me! We discussed and reacted to the media videos and followed our intrepid reporter Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix as she gave us a personal tour of cool spots in Black Spire Outpost. It was a lot of fun to be part of the team for the live stream and even though you probably don't want to watch a four-hour video, I link it here to capture our live reactions where you can skip around to parts you'd like to see. I thank Adrienne and Alan for including me in the festivities which, so far, is the closest I will be to Galaxy's Edge… for a while.
Also be sure to check out Todd Pickering's interviews with Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge cast members about merchandise and rides, and get hungry as he tastes the Ronto Wrap and blue milk—I'm jealous and a little hungry.
If you missed some of the official videos from Disney regarding the highlights of Batuu, see the MousePlanet playlist of the Disneyland Media Videos that include some great footage of the expansive area in Disneyland.
The setting looks amazing! It truly does. The architecture and design captures the Star Wars aesthetic by being both familiar and new. When you're there, does it feel like Star Wars? From what I hear, pretty much yes. There are gift shops, of course, and exit signs and bathrooms and tourists donning mouse ears—but there's also starships, stormtroopers, creatures… and don't forget the cantina! It's reality mixed with fantasy, which is what Disney parks are all about.
To add to the atmosphere there are otherworldly sound effects (not so much background area music as in other parks), patrolling stormtroopers, a busy Kylo Ren, an inauspicious Rey, and a conspicuous Chewbacca all there out in the open. They're just there, and that adds to the wonder of the place. The cast members are characters, too, who live on Batuu and haven't heard of Earth and our strange customs, but they're learning.
The resident hero, Vi Moradi, a Resistance spy, can be seen on her adventures live in front of your eyes when she escapes the First Order and gets help from fellow Resistance fighters. From what I can see so far it's just enough immersion to escape into this other galaxy, but enough Earthly necessities to feel comfortable. When it ages a little in a couple years (by the time I get there), some aspects of Black Spire will be weathered and tested and running to full efficiency… not to mention that the second attraction, Rise of the Resistance, will be open. I'll have to wait with the patience of a Jedi.
A shot from the Smuggler's Run queue viewing the Falcon's stern and while Big Thunder Mountain from Frontierland can be seen here, it doesn't seem too out of place from the black spires of Batuu. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Food of this Kind
I can't speak for the taste of the food, obviously (see Todd Pickering's videos), but the only required item that just needed to be there in my opinion was blue milk, and they have that, so I'm happy enough that it's simply present in the land. With a cantina, they need more drinks, and luckily there are plenty. With hungry guests, there are savory items like Ronto Wraps that look like they'd hit the spot by being not too outlandish but just weird-looking enough to be alien-ish. I don't think anyone has mentioned what a ronto is, or recalled where they're from but just in case, they're the dino-looking creatures that Jawa's attempt to ride, of course.
They really need some alien churros and dole whips.
A Star Wars fan and their money are soon parted. What more can I add to the items-that-follow-you-home other than it seems there really is something for everyone and every age—from lightsabers to plush toys, from on-your-shoulder puppets to costumes, from miniature droids to, well, all the stuff!
Since it is all in-universe these are things exclusive to the park, which is both brilliant and agonizing. Brilliant for the designers (and they work they've done to create these unique things) and the exclusivity of the items—but agonizing for those of us who have yet to make the trip (and who will not pay the scalpers on eBay). As a kid, the things I got in Walt Disney World were so special because I got them in the parks and couldn't get them anywhere else. It's different time now that we can buy things from all over the world, but I like that Disney is sustaining this idea of park-exclusive merchandise. I need to start setting my old republic credits aside to pony up for my own lightsaber.
The marketplace is concentrated into one main avenue which looks like a Star Wars mall and this is surely where your head will shake trying to decide what to get and still have money to get back to your Earth home. Photo by Disney.
Each little alcove is a different kind of shop with its own kind of objects like this creature pavilion where you can get a Kowakian monkey-lizard (like Salacious B. Crumb) puppet to carry on your shoulder so you can heckle the guests. Photo by Disney.
Another one is the Toydarian (as in Watto) Toymaker which has the cute stuff including the plushiest of Yodas and Ewoks. There's even a Princess Leia so you can have her strangle plush Jabba to death. Photo by Disney.
From left to right, tauntaun (will not freeze at the second marker), rathtar (safe to keep), wampa (arm not-removable), porg (not for cooking), puffer pig (the most-squeezable), and worrt (you provide burping sound). Photo by Disney.
Top row: Watto (can't be mind-tricked), a little roasted porg (?), Yoda (cute, he is), porg (not roasted), Finn (happy not to be going back to Jakuu), Chewbacca (chewb-awww-ca); Bottom row: stormtrooper (still a bad shot), Kylo Ren (stitched eight-pack not visible), a frog-dog (with bone), Rey (as seen in the infinite mirror, just off-screen), and also a bongo (not the Gungan kind), and that's either a Bith instrument or a cantina hookah. Photo by Disney.
For my money, I'd love to build either of these lightsabers in Savi's workshop. The top one is reminiscent of the Anakin/Luke/Rey lightsaber with its angled emitter, and the bottom one is reminiscent of Luke's from Return of the Jedi (which is itself reminiscent of Obi-Wan's from A New Hope). Photo by Disney.
You can choose your lightsaber blade color by selecting a kyber crystal of the color you want including: blue, green, red (which may give you a concerned look from your instructor), purple, white, and even yellow. There is also a slightly rare black/obsidian crystal which does the same as the red. Photo by Disney.
The existence of a yellow kyber crystal is a great nod to the vintage action figures where Luke inexplicably had a yellow lightsaber. The mystery of it thickens. Photo by The Star Wars Collector's Archive.
Throwback Thursday: Attack of the Clones, Siege of the Humor
In this journey through all the films with a comic lens, I was slightly apprehensive going into Episode II because much of the film takes itself quite seriously and I distinclty recall that seeing it in the theaters at its release, there were moments that audiences found unintentially funny (for example, Anakin waking up from his nightmare was awkward and lenghty). I went through the film in my mind and saw only flashes of funny things like Obi-Wan being annoyed at Anakin for flying through lightning and for skydiving through traffic.
What else was there as far as humor? As I have found with the previous movies, Lucas was always adding flares of comedy throughout his stories even in tense moments to offer relief and keep a good balance of moods in his brisk editing. There are moments that are just obviously trying hard to be funny but those often aren't as effective as the subtler moments that arise from situation and character. I hope to uncover some of those somewhat-hidden moments in this exploration. In the end, however, I found Attack of the Clones to have more humor than I remembered.
The movie begins with an attack on Padmé, which we find out was Jango Fett trying to kill her (i.e. attack of the clone, since he is the host of the clone troopers). It starts off with the death of one of Padmé's handmaidens serving as a decoy and so right from the beginning, the film takes on a sobering tone. With the introduction of our two main heroes (Obi-Wan and Anakin), things pick up a bit. But, it was the start of one of those unintentionally funny moments when the Jedi themselves, the two friends destined to fall apart are finally revealed to us in… an elevator. Maybe we weren't supposed to think of them as so great at this point. Certainly Obi-Wan has something to laugh about…
The first major action sequence involves a high-speed chase through a congested air space of flying cars. This is again Lucas's love of racing coming to the fore much like the pod race in Phantom Menace and the trench run in A New Hope as well as the speeder bike fight in Return of the Jedi. This one is less about the possibility of crashing and more about how to navigate this Jetson-esque location.
We may not be as annoyed at Anakin as Obi-Wan is but it does establish that Anakin is constantly unpredictable. It makes for an interesting character study as it seems this young Skywalker wavers between anger, joy, impulsiveness, melancholy, and bravery at the drop of a lightsaber. The funny part is that by the time we meet them here, Obi-Wan is already growing tired of it.
We think of Jedi as all-powerful and maybe this next gag should have tempered our expectations by poking fun of the fact that somethings just aren't that difficult for them.
Allusions to the Original Trilogy are essential ingredients in the prequels and references to them often make us fans excited to see the connections. This one, however, is funny but at the same time, makes a reference that maybe we shouldn't take so lightly.
Obi-Wan is Anakin's teacher wherever they go, even in a night club, where we presume Kenobi is being a jerk but it turns out they were setting a trap for Zam.
Kenobi decides to turn this hunt for a changeling into a "teaching moment" for Anakin. And so, naturally, he goes for a drink. Getting things done in bars and cantinas is kinda his thing. © Lucasfilm.
The Jedi mind trick has been a funny gag since the hapless Bib Fortuna was no match for Luke in Return of the Jedi. Here is perhaps its funniest use:
The Jedi mind trick has arguably never been funnier than in this moment when Obi-Wan is having none of this barfly offering him "death sticks." If only we could all get rid of annoying strangers this way. © Lucasfilm.
Star Wars has often been described as a Western in space. Add this moment to a list of the reasons why:
With all his subordination so early in the movie, it's great to see Anakin in this moment have a bit of comedy as he turns to the bar, "Jedi business. Get back to your drinks." I like the Old West/COPS vibe of the moment. © Lucasfilm.
At this point, our two heroes are split up (Star Wars loves to split up the heroes); Anakin bodyguards Padmé while Obi-Wan plays Sherlock. On Naboo, the inevitable lvoe story begins and the awkward Anakin tries his best to impress the former Queen.
So I love the beach, who doesn't? But when I leave, I have to reckon with sand--I still find grains of it in the crevaces of my wristwatch (which I didn't even take to shore) half a year later!
The meme-spawning, "I don't like sand," scene has been dissected beyond recognition but I admit that when Hayden/Anakin said, "...and it gets everywhere," I laughed in complete agreement. As Vader, he never went near the stuff. © Lucasfilm.
Meanwhile, Kenobi is on his (as Ewan McGregor put it) "Dick Tracy" adventure trying to find clues leading him to Padmé's attacker (first it was Darth Maul, now it's Jango Fett, everyone wants her dead, seesh!). This takes him to a place Guy Fieri will one day feature on one of his food shows.
Obi-Wan's side quest takes him to a space diner and while it's silly, at least the filmmakers went all out with a waitress droid named Flo and the CGI Dex alien cook having to pull up his pants. © Lucasfilm.
Follow-up on the tip from the cook (after presumably trying an original ronto wrap, I mean why wouldn't they have their origin here?), Obi-Wan takes Dr. Indiana Jones's advice and does some research in the library at Jedi HQ. And even in space we can't escape the joke of the stuffy information literacy specialist…
She did everything but shush Master Kenobi. Jocasta Nu, Jedi Archivist, couldn't even escape our galaxy's clichés of the prideful stuck-up librarian. Hey Obi, did you even try to check secondary resources? I'm sure there's more than one star chart in the galaxy. © Lucasfilm.
Everyone is out to show just how much smarter they are than Obi-Wan Kenobi. The cook throws "wisdom" in his face, the librarian says her sources are infallible (you stupid man), and now Yoda gets a shot while in front of the kids!
Well, who's next to insult our Jedi teacher? Is it these tall elegant folks on planet Seattle?
Oh, nope. They're just happy he's there. In fact, they've been waiting for him, much to his surprise. He realizes right away that he's on to something much more than just the tail of an assassin. He's got to keep his surprise on the down-low.
Because the Kaminoans expected a Jedi to one day come and claim the clone army--all actually unbeknownst to the Jedi--Kenobi has to play it cool by saying to the Prime Minister, "That's why I'm here!" © Lucasfilm.
Nicely done! But nothing could have prepared him for the ominous discovery of an army of clone troopers ready to take orders from the head of the Republic--who just happens to be Palpatine. It would be much more fun to discover plutonium by accident #seinfeldreference
Before he leaves, Obi-Wan gets in a fight. This happens a lot to him wherever he goes in this movie.
And, ladies and gentlemen, one of my favorite tiny moments in all of Star Wars:
Before even landing on Geonosis, the poor guy can't escape the threat of death.
While Jar Jar Binks' role was significantly less here than it was in Phantom Menace, there's still a bit of goofy humor but now put in the capable circuits of C-3PO. Much of the silliness happens in and around this droid factory. Huh. Another droid factory with conveyor belts and robot parts moving along ... the building of droids has long-been a part of the Star Wars universe and it truly was showcased here. When Threepio walks in, he can't believe what he's seeing--almost as shocking as Obi-Wan earlier walking into the clone facility. I find it so fascinating that the entire war was not only fabricated (by Palpatine), but the troops on each side were also assembly line entities: droids and clones. We get to see each kind of construction here in Episode II.
First there was the Force-powered door-opening by Obi-Wan above and it's so fun! I wonder if Ewan McGregor had a say in that moment? Second, McGregor made me beam with joy when he (in my opinion) paid homage to classic monster movies by stabbing wildly in the air with a spear at his (unseen, to him) enemy. That's the way I see this tiny moment and if I ever meet him in person, I'm going to bring this up and thank him:
There's also a quick moment here when Obi-Wan belives he's finally beaten his monster. Only to find out he's only ticked it off. In three pictures:
For all she has to put up with, Padmé is the one who is the driving force for most of the positive outcomes of this story. She doesn't hesitate to go and save Obi-Wan, she's the one who wanted to stand up against the creation of an army, she's the one who escaped from the arena monsters first, and she's the only one who could see the good in Anakin--while he may have been awkward and even creepy, he was always better when he was near Padmé. Natalie Portman made the most of of what Padmé was on the pages of a script and maximized her strengths on screen. Finally, she gets one of the better comedic lines in the movie:
Padmé is all for diplomatic solutions but we know from Episode I that she will fight smartly when it must be done. And here she knows it's time for, as Anakin had put it, "aggressive negotiations." © Lucasfilm.
Did I miss any more funny moments? Put them in the comments below.
Next time, we'll finish off the Prequel Trilogy with Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and while it's considered the darkest chapter in all of the saga, there is still many moments of humor to be found ... some of it a bit devilish.