A Gamer Geek's Cogitations, Conjectures and other Cortical Experiences

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How Much Do You Know (about)

HMDYK About Billie Lourd

It’s been quite a while since I have written one of these posts. Time just got away from me. I’ll keep doing these posts because they are fun and, hopefully, interesting (if you’re reading them). We just passed the 5 year anniversary of Carrie Fisher’s death so I feel like this is a good topic. How much do you know about Billie Lourd? Carrie Fisher’s daughter.

Billie Catherine Lourd was born in LA in 1992, her father is Bryan Lourd. When you hear Carrie joke about having terrible “gaydar”, Billie’s father is to whom she is referencing. I’m sure you are also aware that Debbie Reynolds was her grandmother, Carrie’s mother. She is an NYU graduate, majoring in religion and psychology. She has one child with fiancé Austen Rydell.

Star Wars and Leia’s Legacy

In 2015 Billie auditioned for the role of Rey in The Force Awakens. Obviously she didn’t get the part but J. J. Abrams wanted her in the movie (I assume because of her mother). So he created the role of Lieutenant Connix specifically for Billie. The Force Awakens is her first role, although the same year she was cast in Scream Queens. Her most recent role was in American Horror Story.

However, it’s not really about all of her roles that’s really made me admire Billie Lourd. Her connection with Star Wars and her mother is deep and special. She jokes that she had three parents when she was going up; a mom, a dad and Princess Leia. Mark Hamill affectionately refers to her as his “Space Niece”.

She fully embraced the role that made her mother famous. In every episode of Scream Queens she wore earmuffs as a nod to her mother. Billie even portrayed Leia in the flashback scene in The Rise of Skywalker. In 2019, 3 years after her mother’s death, TIME magazine wrote an article defining Billie Lourd as the Keeper of Princess Leia. You need to check out that article.

If there is ever anything developed during the sequel timeline, or after, I really hope Connix, and Billie, are part of it. I’d love to see more about that character. I think it would be cool to see that Connix is Force sensitive.

/MTFBWY

Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out.

HMDYK About Slave 1

Normally these posts are about actors in the films but recent events has me inclined to do something different. A new Lego set is causing minor ripples on the Internet. Disney approached Lego and specifically asked them not to use the name “Slave 1” on the newest Lego set of Boba Fett’s ship. I will go into an unbiased discussion of this topic later. In the meantime, how much do you know about Slave 1?

Slave 1 is a Firespray-31 class patrol and attack craft manufactured on Kuat. The ship was commandeered (stolen) from the prison moon of Oovo IV during a job. There were only six of this model, all of which were patrol vessels at Oovo IV. Slave 1 is the last of its kind. There is a long history of this ship over the course of subsequent films, books and television series. Its unique design and ominous role in the franchise makes it a fan favorite. I’ll never forget seeing it pop up in The Mandalorian. I think all the fans were squealing with excitement.

Seismic Charges – The Greatest Sound Effect Ever!

I know you can hear this gif

Once the ship was in possession by the Fett’s, the weapons system was upgraded. In the original trilogy we never saw Slave 1 in a dog fight. It wasn’t until Attack of the Clones when we got to see one of the coolest weapons in its arsenal; the Seismic_charge (click the link to hear the satisfying audio). It is still one of my favorite sound effects from the franchise.

Here is another interesting, behind-the-scenes, fact about the seismic charge. Ben Burtt is the genius behind the Star Wars sound effects. He’s usually very forthcoming about how he came up with all the different sound effects, but he won’t talk about this one. In fact, to this day he still hasn’t told us the secret of its origin.

What’s In A Name?

This ship is one of the most beloved ships among Star Wars fans, aside from the Millennium Falcon. What makes this ship unique is that the actual name is only ever spoken once in an episode of Clone Wars (Season 2, episode 21 Aurra Sing says “Bossk! Fire up Slave 1“). It stands to reason that there might be a reaction when Disney is trying to skirt around the name. As I said before, I’m going to try to remain unbiased. I’m only writing to inform and not to persuade.

There have been a couple of Lego sets for the Slave 1, all of which are now retired. These previous sets are branded with the “Slave 1” name on the box. However, it’s not uncommon for Lego to leave the formal name of a ship off the box. An example is the Night Buzzard a transport ship used by the Knights of Ren; the Lego set simply calls it “Knights of Ren Transport Ship”. Perhaps there is a marketing metric that indicates sales are often better using less esoteric branding.

One more point and then I’ll let sleeping dogs lie. While Disney’s request is to rebrand the name on the box, they are not canonically changing the name. In fact “Slave 1” is still the name of the ship on the Wookiepedia page and in the databank on the official Star Wars web site. Whether they ultimately change it or not, the fact of the matter is you can’t rewrite the past by simply rebranding. All the fans will still remember it, and refer to it, as “Slave 1”.

/MTFBWY

I’ll do it, on one condition – if I die, you have to build a statue in my honor. An Expensive one.

HMDYK About Peter Mayhew

Today would have been Peter Mayhew’s 77th birthday. We lost Peter two years ago, mere days after the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago. I was fortunate enough to be there and to snap a picture of him. My daughter was with me and she alleges that he turned and smiled at her. We miss you Peter. In honor of his birthday I ask, how much do you know about Peter Mayhew?

Peter was born in London, England. His towering height was actually a genetic condition called Marfan syndrome. People with this condition are typically tall and thin with long appendages. There are often pulmonary, visual and skeletal complications with Marfan syndrome but the cardiovascular issues are the more serious complications. Peter passed away after suffering a heart attack in 2019; it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a complication of Marfan.

Once Chewbacca, Always Chewbacca

Peter was working as an orderly for King’s College Hospital when he was offered a role in Star Wars. Just like his co-star, David Prowse, he was given the choice between Darth Vader or Chewbacca. He chose Chewbacca because he wanted to play the hero; just as David Prowse chose Darth Vader because he wanted to play the villain. How fortuitous for the both of them.

Peter has 26 credits on IMDB and for more than half of them he is Chewbacca. His Twitter tag is @TheWookieRoars (which is now the Peter Mayhew Foundation and maintained by his family). To say Peter loved being Chewbacca is an understatement. In fact, under Personal Details on IMDB, it lists “Chewbacca” as his Alternate Name.

His other credits, though few, include a recurring role in Dark Towers (1981) and some bit roles in shows or movies I’ve never heard of. In the movie Killer Ink from 2016, his character is Uncle Clyde and that would be his last credited character role.

He trained Joonas Suotamo to carry on the mantle of Chewbacca and it’s an amazing job. I hope Disney has some plans to bring Chewie back to the screen once again, big screen or the small screen. The Rise of Skywalker is dedicated to Peter’s memory.

Once again, RIP Peter Mayhew and thank you.

/MTFBWY

Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out.

HMDYK About Gina Carano

About Gina CaranoI know I’m probably taking a rather large risk here talking about Gina Carano. She is in some hot water recently and there are many who are fairly upset with her right now. I will not be offended if you chose not to read this post, however I assure you that I will not take a side. More on that later.

Be that as it may I still really like her character in the Star Wars Universe. Therefore I have no shame writing about her career and demonstrating that you’ve probably seen her more frequently then you thought.

From Fighting in the Cage to Fighting On Screen

Gina Carano was born in Dallas, Texas; she is the daughter of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Glen Carano. When she was 7 her parents divorced and she was raised by her mother in Las Vegas. In 2006 she began her MMA career in the Featherweight division. In 2009 she left Mixed Martial Arts, with a record of 7-1-0, to begin acting.

If I had to compare Gina Carano to another television and movie actor, it would be Chuck Norris. Coincidentally she received the first Chuck Norris Award for best female action star for her role in “Haywire”. By the way, if you haven’t checked out Haywire, I highly recommend it. Carano stars along side fellow Star Wars alum Ewan McGregor as well as Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and Michael Fassbender. She stars in a few other movies I plan to check out such as Scorched Earth and Heist.

You will also spot her in a couple of other more popular films. She is Riley in Fast & Furious 6 and Angel Dust in the Deadpool movie.

Social Media and Lucasfilm Controversy

In February of 2021 Lucasfilm released Gina Carano from further Star Wars projects as a result of some controversial social media posts. Again, I won’t take sides on this subject but I will say that I am upset this happened; I’m upset with both parties involved. I admire Gina Carano for sticking to her guns and standing up for what she believes, especially in the face of the intolerant liberal Hollywood. However, I do not agree with the manner in which she expressed her belief; she should have chosen a different metaphor. This is especially true given she’s had a target on her back since late last year. I think Lucasfilm was just waiting for the right time and, unfortunately, she gave it to them.

Lucasfilm’s response is exactly the action I expected so as to save face in an industry that is predominately left wing. However their response has made Gina Carano a martyr. It’s been over a month and I still see her and/or news about her popping up on social media. The content is often in support of her and, as a result, her martyrdom has further cemented Cara Dune’s legacy in the Star Wars Universe.

Whether you love her or you hate her, she is permanently part of the Star Wars family, whether her character lives or dies. Personally, the biggest disappointment in all of this is that it is extremely unlikely she will make any appearances at any Celebrations and/or Comic Cons. It’s a real shame because I’ve heard she is a very nice person. I hope for the best for her and I pray that her and Lucasfilm will, one day, reconcile and she makes a triumphant return to Star Wars.

I am open to comments and thoughts, however, any comment I deem rude and/or intolerant will be denied/removed.

Visit ginacarano.net

Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out.

HMDYK About John Hollis

about John HollisHow much do you know about John Hollis? Many of you are probably asking “WHO??!” because he is probably pretty obscure but a cool character from Empire Strikes Back. He is Lando’s cybernetically enhanced aide, Lobot. His birthday was back in November and several Star Wars Facebook groups shined a light on him in celebration of his life. He passed away back in 2005 but Lobot is a cool character so I will happily talk a little bit about John Hollis.

His Life and Career

I’m unable to find a lot of information about his personal life. He was born Bertie Lyn Hollis in London and he was married twice. He is the father of Sarah Hollis Andrews who is a former English child actor and continues her acting career under the name Holly Hamilton.

His acting career spans 71 credits. It seems he’s most known as Lobot in Empire Strikes Back, however he’s been in a couple of other recognizable films and tv series. He was in four of the six episodes of the Doctor Who Mutants story arc. He plays a bald, wheelchair-bound villain in the opening sequence of For Your Eyes Only but he isn’t credited. Apparently there were legal disputes over the rights of Thunderball. His final television appearance was in 1999, six years before his death.

He seems to always play the minor roles; from a German porter in “The Dirty Dozen” to a Krypton elder in Superman I and II. The connotation of a minor role doesn’t exist in Star Wars. In fact I’m inclined to argue there are no minor roles in Star Wars. While nobody pays any attention to John Hollis in any of his other roles, Star Wars fans still acknowledge his spot in the universe. So much so that we honored him on his birthday.

Is there anything you would like to share about John Hollis?

/MTFBWY

Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out.

HMDYK About David Prowse

We recently received the unfortunate news that David Prowse passed away. For those Star Wars debutants, David Prowse is the man that wore the Darth Vader costume in the original trilogy. In honor of his passing let’s see how much you know about David Prowse. I’ve always had a huge appreciation for him and I’m very sad to hear about his passing. Perhaps this post will give you a greater appreciation too.

David Prowse was a bodybuilderDavid Prowse was born in Bristol, England in 1935 and he was raised by a single mother. He found a passion for bodybuilding and weight training and he eventually won the British heavyweight weightlifting title. He became a “superhero” in the UK as the Green Cross Man, a character created by the British Road Safety Committee. The Green Cross Man is an aid to teach children general road safety. His role as the Green Cross Man ultimately earned him the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).

From Superman to Star Wars

About David ProwseSince David was a real life “superhero” he is obviously qualified to train a superhero. His passion for fitness lead to a career in training actors for films, including Christopher Reeve (RIP) for his role as Superman (1978). One day he receives a call from his agent to talk to George Lucas about a role in his upcoming “space opera”. Lucas offered David the option of two roles; Chewbacca or Darth Vader. He chose Vader and is quoted as saying “I took the part of the villain because everyone remembers the villain”. Oh how right he was!

In the original trilogy, Darth Vader is portrayed by three people; James Earl Jones the voice, Sebastian Shaw as the face (in ROTJ) and David as the body.  While he did not provide the voice for Darth Vader, he embraced the role and its impact on the fans. He was always loyal to Star Wars fans making frequent appearances in fan-films and conventions (until he was banned, boo on you George Lucas). He is actually an accomplished writer and often publishes books on health and fitness but he also wrote an autobiography entitled “Straight from the Force’s Mouth“.

David clearly has a penchant for playing the baddies. In addition to Darth Vader he has also portrayed Frankenstein’s monster on, at least, three separate films. He’s also been in A Clockwork Orange and several television appearances, including Doctor Who in 1972.

Tragic Irony

Despite the fact that he was in such excellent shape and spent his life promoting health and fitness, David Prowse had several health problems. He suffered from chronic arthritis that ultimately lead to his retirement from film and public appearances. In 2009 he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, from which he fully recovered. It was thought that he was beginning to suffer dementia (although he attributed the memory loss to old age). [EDIT] His recent passing was simply the result of a short illness (and not covid related, from what I’ve been able to find). It was recently announced that he passed away as a result of complications from COVID-19.

Although we never saw his face as Vader, we appreciate David’s contribution in bringing to life one of cinema’s most iconic and fearsome villians. From the first moment he stepped through that blast door on the Tantive IV, Vader’s looming presence will never be forgotten. Thank you David Prowse and May the Force Be With You.

You don’t know the power of the dark side.

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