Written by Ollie.
In 1977, we met a hopeful boy named Luke Skywalker. A poor and lonely farm boy who would long to leave his dusty old planet of Tatooine to see the stars. His sister, Princess Leia, hoped for the safety of her people in a transmitted message to Obi-Wan Kenobi. This duality between the seemingly powerless and powerful, both with their unshaken optimism is a theme that I'd like to explore as part of our #MayTheFourth coverage on A Space Oddity.
In a time where we are all looking for even the smallest glimmers of hope, Star Wars has a surprising number of valuable themes, messages and lessons that we can learn from during difficult times. In a quote from 2017's 'The Last Jedi', Vice Admiral Holdo says:
This particular quotes resonates with me as it illustrates just how important it is to have something to belive in, to trust and to be hopeful for. Regardless who you are or what your background is, if you have hope, you have something to live for. This harks back to Luke as he stood on the sands of Tatooine in 'A New Hope', a seemingly ordinary individual that had the courage to believe in the extra-ordinary and the thought that peace could be brought to the galaxy.
The theme of hope transcends all the films in the Star Wars universe, including the anthology films. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a film that embodies this theme. We follow a group of (again, seemingly ordinary) individuals, who seek balance and order in the universe, if it means that they must sacrifice themselves in the process for the greater good and hope of a better future for others, then that's what it takes. Jyn Erso, the film's lead protagonist exclaims:
This unfailing hope shows us that despite all the odds, perhaps in the darkest of times, hope prevails, guiding us through the hard times as we continue to believe in all that's good.
In difficult times, it's hard to look past the nihilism that often consumes our thinking, but positive thinking and optimism are both ways in which we can break past and through the torrent of fear and pessimism. In The Phantom Menace, we heard Qui-Gon Jinn discuss how our focus can shape our reality. If we focus too heavily on the negative, we no longer see the positive - something I personally believe we all could do with during these times. "Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it, you’ll never make it through the night."
In times when your hope particularly begins to dwindle, remember that there's always light at the end of the tunnel. Just like Leia in her message to Obi-Wan, a message that was recorded out of fear and desperation, her calls were miraculously answered and it became the start of a journey towards freedom, happiness and most importantly a new hope for everyone. For Leia, hope aided her through the hard times. Whether it be the destruction of her home planet of Alderaan before her very eyes and the unfortunate truth that she'd lost her son to the dark-side, she remained her position that sometimes hope was all that was left, but that's "everything we need".
I wanted to close this short essay and discussion of the theme of hope with the man that started it all, George Lucas. It's easy to forget that these are all his words after all. The point of this article was to discuss the deeper meaning of some of our favourite films, and how the theme of hope is etched into every frame, in all its forms. As Lucas said, "there should be a point to movies. Sure, you’re giving people a diversion from the cold war for a bit, but at the same time, you pass on some facts and rules and maybe a little bit of wisdom". I'll leave you with this quote, a particular quote of his that stuck with me which is:
Have a very happy Star Wars Day 2020, and may the force be with us all.
- Written by Ollie
Written by Josh P.
Happy Star Wars Day everyone. Today is a sad but exciting day, as the Clone Wars has officially ended, with its final arc the Seige of Mandalore. However, is you're reading this and have never seen an episode of Clone Wars and you're a Star Wars fan, what are you doing? This has some of the best storylines Star Wars has to offer! I'll prove it to you, go and watch either the Death Watch arc Season 2 episodes 12-14, or the Battle of Umbara arc Season 4 episodes 7-10, then tell me you haven't fallen in love with the show.
Anyway back to my thoughts on the finale of this show. I writing this minutes after seeing the final episode of the Clone Wars 'Victory and Death' and to put it simply, wow, I am speechless and blown away by what I have just seen. This arc has left me stunned and brought a tear to my eye, as this series has come to a truly epic conclusion which every fan will love, something a lot of other TV shows have not managed to acomplish. I'm not going to say much, as I do not want to spoil it for you, as every Star Wars fan should experience these last 4 episodes of the Clone Wars. It is one of the best pieces of Star Wars media to exist to date. All the fans who have watched it also think so, as Episode 9 'Old Friends not Forgotten' has a rating of 9.8 on IMBD. The Phantom Apprentice has a rating of 9.9 on IMBD, Shattered has a rating of 9.9 on IMBD. And at the time of writing 'Victory and Death' also has a rating of 9.9 on IMBD.
The Clone Wars mean a lot to me. I grew up watching the prequels and loving them, it was only when I started using social media that I relealised many people didn't like them. They still hold a big place in my heart, with Revenge of the Sith being my second favourite Star Wars film. The Clone Wars took these characters from the films and created layers of depth upon them. They created stories for Jedi that only have a few scenes, like Jedi Masters Plo Koon and Kit Fisto. But most important of all, this show took soldiers which are all clones of each other and made them each have a personality, and made us fall in love with each clone we spent time with. That is why Order 66 is so heartbreaking in these final episodes, as it tears down everything this show has accomplished over 7 seasons. Darth Maul is outstanding in these episodes as he reestablishes why he is one of the best villains in Star Wars, and even has a scene that rivals Darth Vaders hallway scene from Rogue One. Ahsoka is also on top form these last few episodes. We have seen her grow as a padawan from being 14 on the frontlines of Christophsis, till now where she has become one of the most skilled Jedi, and a fan favourite amongst everyone. The animation in these final episodes are fantastic, with some beautiful scenes being shown which contrasts the drastic events.
I am going to leave it here, as I am still speechless by what I have just witnessed. This is the peak of Star Wars and I urge every fan to watch it, as they will not reget it. Thank you for reading this. Happy Star Wars day, and may the force be with you.
Written by Ollie C.
It’s undeniable that the unfortunate outbreak of Covid-19 coronavirus has had sweeping and saddening effects across all industries and sectors across the world since its inception in December 2019 in Wuhan, China.
Being an entertainment news source and blog, we thought it would be interesting to discuss the socio-economic impacts that the outbreak has had, is having and will continue to have on the film and television industry.
It came as a surprise today that the worldwide release of the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die, will be postponed from April to 25th November due to worries surrounding the outbreak and health security. This has caused many to question whether other studios will issue announcements surrounding the rescheduling or postponement of their upcoming films. What effects will this have on the industry as a whole? Will small movie theatres survive a landscape of limited film releases? Let’s discuss.
Coronavirus in China
In January 2020, the Chinese government took it upon themselves to demand that Chinese film companies release their upcoming films online rather than in cinemas in response to the outbreak including ‘Enter The Fat Dragon’ and ‘Lost In Russia’.
Even the big global players in the industry have been affected, most notably Disney’s Mulan. The film that is set predominantly in China, was planned for release on 27th March but has now been delayed indefinitely according to Disney CEO Bob Iger. Only a week ago, Paramount Pictures announced that the seventh installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise, starring Tom Cruise, halted a planned three-week shoot in Venice due to virus fears in Italy.
China, being the second-largest film market after North America, has played a significant role in the strong performance of the likes of the recent $2 billion earning Avengers: Endgame and the ever-popular Fast & Furious franchise.
In terms of film festivals, of which there are many across the globe in the upcoming months, concerns have been raised surrounding the events as they often draw thousands of visitors from press and film. The Cannes Film Festival, on the French Riviera, is set to begin on 12th May, but spokespeople for the festival have said that the health and safety of the public will remain the priority.
But more locally, theatres in small towns and cities, especially those run independently could suffer drastically, as they see blockbuster films being pulled, and movie-goers choosing to stay at home. It remains to be seen the extent to which the virus will continue to spread, so it is worth noting that such concerns are currently hypothetical and only based on current box-office reports from the likes of China and Italy. The box office across Italy has seen a catastrophic 75% drop from that of February 2019.
The future remains unclear surrounding Covid-19, and its effects are of course incredibly detrimental to all parts of life. In the meantime, stay calm and safe.
Thank you for reading this special discussion from A Space Oddity editor, Oliver C.
Written by Ollie C.
The twelfth series of BBC's Doctor Who came to a dramatic and arguably controversial close last night, with 'The Timeless Children', and after ten weeks on our screens it's time to take a look back at the highs and lows of Jodie Whittaker's second series.
The Season That Changed Everything
Before Series Twelve premiered on New Years Day 2020, with Spyfall: Part One, claims that it was going to be a dramatic and consequential series were circulating around the internet and news publications. Chris Chibnall, show-runner from 2018 to present, claimed that it would be 'the season to change everything'- but was it?
It's safe to say that, for the most part, Series 12 stayed true to the tone of its preceding series that was a rather fun, happy romp with the occasional scare. But interweaved with these typical tones was a drastic change to Chibnall's risk free approach, bringing in huge reveals week after week. These included the return of the Master (portrayed by the wonderful Sacha Dhawan) along with Jo Martin's 'Ruth Doctor' - a mysterious past life of the Doctor we hadn't met before - and of course the grand finale in which the enigmatic Timeless Child was finally revealed.
This was a huge shift from what had come before, using the ten episode structure to give us a fantastic opening two-part shocker, a mid-season finale featuring a new Doctor and a bombastic conclusion featuring Gallifrey, the origins of the Time Lords, and of course more information about the Doctors elusive past. This certainly seems to be a structure that works for the series as we no longer have a dip halfway in the series where stories become stale and uninteresting.
The Thirteenth Doctor Arrives... Properly This Time
While Series Eleven of Doctor Who was by no means horrific, it equally wasn't particularly consequential, with Jodie Whittaker's 13th Doctor coming across as more of a watered down version of some of the more recent incarnations such as Tennant and Smith. But Series Twelve saw a much needed change, giving us a layered, vulnerable, determined and traumatised Doctor that we have rarely seen throughout any incarnation, let alone Whittaker herself.
Giving a stellar performance throughout the series, Whittaker's Doctor has finally cemented herself into the show, giving us an interpretation that is a stark contrast to what has come before. Standout moments include her powerful speech at the end of episode eight, 'The Haunting of Villa Diodati' and of course the two-part finale that saw her confront her past for good.
A Masterful Performance
Speaking of powerful performances, Sacha Dhawan, the latest incarnation of the Doctor's nemesis The Master, is truly outstanding in the role. Giving us a tortured, deranged yet nuanced portrayal, Dhawan's Master is truly a joy to watch, in particular giving superb performances in 'The Timeless Children' episode twelve, and of course the opening blockbuster in which his alter-ego of 'O' was revealed to the Doctor and friends.
Looking to The Future
As Series Twelve has now ended in dramatic fashion, with revelations surrounding the Doctor, the Timeless Child and Gallifrey, it's difficult to see where we could take the Doctor next. It's been revealed that the show will return over the festive period with the special 'Revolution of the Daleks'. It remains to be seen how the Doctor will escape her imprisonment, and how the three members of the TARDIS Team will return for what seems to be their final time. One thing we do know is that Chibnall is no longer holding back on putting his stamp on the show, and we look forward to seeing where the team take it next.
Written by Ollie C.
It has come as a great surprise today to hear that Bob Iger, Disney Chief Excecutive, has stepped down from his role. Having chaired the company since 2005, Iger has seen the company through a period of significant and exponential growth.
During his tenure, he oversaw the acquisitions of the likes of Marvel (which later became Marvel Studios), Star Wars' Lucasfilm, Pixar and most recently 21st Century Fox.
He piloted the company through perhaps its most prosperous time, as in the last ten years, 13 out of the top 20 highest-grossing films were Disney releases, and three of these titles entered the $2 Billion Dollar Club including the likes of Avengers: Endgame.
It has also been announced by Disney that Bob Chapek, formerly director of the company parks and products division, will take Iger's place as CEO in 2021. The future remains unclear as to whether the likes of Star Wars' Kathleen Kennedy will remain after her contract expires in the same year, but it will certainly be interesting to see how things progress.
It's certainly safe to say that Iger has put his stamp on the juggernaut that is Disney and he will be missed by many, being the one to bring in over 230,000 new employees since he started.
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