The Force, it’s calling to you.

So I’ve fallen in love with Star Wars again, and the more I think about it, the more I know why that is. (Scroll down for the art if you’re not into rambling.)

Last week, I dug into my old diaries and found what I wrote when I first saw Episode 1. I was surprised to read myself gushing over a movie that is today considered as bad as they get. I even loved Jar Jar Binks. But even then, I wrote that I loved it all because it was so bad. Literally. I’d been prepared to love it all and when it turned out to be silly, I told myself I loved it for the trash factor. Back then, I was okay with that.

Now, after seeing The Force Awakens twice, I’m only slowly understanding how much the prequels let me down, and how much Episode VII lives up to its very first sentence spoken: “This will begin to set things right”.

Yes, the obvious plot parallels to IV and V bothered me after the first viewing. Not so much after the second. JJ Abrams felt sure Star Wars needed a reboot, and I think it worked fine. My only qualm remains Starkiller Base, but I can apply my Episode 1 practice here and like it because it’s just so ridiculous.

What I love more and more is the characters. Those characters! I can’t even decide which I love most.

JJ Abrams gave us a female protagonist whose gender isn’t even an issue, as well as a black hero whose skin colour is never even mentioned. (It reminds me of the novels of David Weber, where skin colour and gender are totally secondary.) He gave us a daredevil pilot who is kind and likeable instead of selfish and badass. He gave us a villain that is so much your typical entitled manchild that teenagers hate him and adults love him for being such a complex figure.

 

poe_col

Poe Dameron

How can you not love Poe? I’m hoping the rewrite of Episode VIII will enlarge his role.

Video of the painting process is here.

You can buy the original painting here.

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Scarred

I didn’t fall in love with Kylo Ren until really late in the day, but as you’ll have noticed, fall in love I did. I can’t wait to find out what turned him to the dark side, and whether anything might turn him back to the light. I’m also semi-guiltily digging through Youtube to locate anything with Adam Driver in it. I can’t believe how versatile he is.

You can buy the original painting here.

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Han Solo

I never really liked Han in the original trilogy. “I happen to like nice men”, and as opposed to Leia, Han never managed to convince me he was one. But in this film, he breaks my heart. He started out as a cocksure smuggler who hadn’t even realised he’d lost his way; he found a terrific girl, found purpose, and ended up losing purpose, and the girl, and his way, as well as their son. The Force Awakens gives us what Han Solo “used to be” and tries to be again, but too many things have happened to be that person again. The Force Awakens is so psychologically astute and I connect with it on so many levels, and I keep discovering new ones.

If you like these (or my other work, to which I’ll no doubt return to, in case you were beginning to worry) – please consider supporting me on Patreon! Early access, special deals in my Etsy shop, digital and physical content, and a chance to win commissions and other goodies!

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11 thoughts on “The Force, it’s calling to you.

  1. I have never seen Star Wars before, but my mom who does not like cinema at all saw The Force Awakens and said it was good, then I looked at your paintings and they persuaded me to go and see it too. And I loved it! I loved the action that was blended with human feelings (I did not really expect it in an action film), I loved the characters and all these great parallels with Tolkien world that I found in it. So, I decided to see all the episodes and was really disappointed with the first one, it is so bad, not a “professional” film at all (hope they don’t make films like this now). I will see the original trilogy this week, and even if I do not like it, I am already in love with the new episode and your new painting trend :)

    • This is really interesting to hear, from someone who has never seen Star Wars before. The Force Awakens was probably the best possible entry into that world. The original trilogy is much, MUCH better than the Prequels (I’m not surprised by your verdict), but it is forty years old and looks very quaint in places. Star Wars has always been about human feelings; that’s what I loved about the original trilogy, and what was horribly missing from the prequels.

      The new movie rectified a lot of things that were off for the OT. I don’t blame the OT for it – it was the seventies, and Leia, while still not a very dynamic female character, started a long line of different females on the screen. Rey is one of the best female heroes I’ve ever seen in a movie, and it makes me insanely happy that she resonates with so many fans, old and new, male and female.

      The Force Awakens really looked at all that didn’t go well with the old films, particularly where the Dark Side was concerned. Vader was a formidable villain but didn’t work *quite* as well when it came to his redemption. Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side never worked at all. With Kylo Ren, they’ve created an absolutely awesome villain that is both dynamic and sympathetic.

  2. It’s so exciting to read what people are saying about this new SW movie. I was barely 19 when the first ever SW came out, the now-named Ep 4. But at the time, nothing like it had ever ever been seen. New cameras had to be invented to make it, and the whole universe of movie possibilities expanded with this one movie.

    Back then, there were no multiplexes. Movie theaters were huge and had balconies (and seeing that first SW ever from the first seat in the balcony was like being IN it!–awesome!), and people waited in line for 2 hours, sometimes more. I remember my unemotional brother coming home so full of excitement that he couldn’t even hardly speak, telling us the story so excitedly, he called C3P0 the “golden droid”! He saw the first showing ever in our city then.

    The whole rest of the family (even mom and dad, who….this still amazes me they came to see this movie) went in week 7, and adored the movie! It set my creativity on fire, and everything was SW for awhile….I wanted a light saber, so bad, I made one out of wood, painted the blade with pearlized acrylic paint….

    But that’s not even the point! The whole world changed with this movie. It was covered on the news for months, serialized in the papers, and people at bus stops would turn to strangers and ask (or be asked) “Have you seen it?” It of course was THE movie. And animated, excited, discussions would follow, and strangers became friends. The movie was in the first run theater for a whole year, and the paper and news warned for weeks in advance when it was going to be moved the 2nd run theaters….and even old people stood in line those last weeks to see it if they hadn’t already (and even if they had). My sister and I saw it 12 times, which is my all-time record for seeing a movie in a theater.

    And now, watching the discussion about VII, it’s like that. It’s like that, but in a different way, because everyone is used to awesome special effects and green screen magic and mo-cap….but those didn’t exist until that first movie! Now, the talk is more characters and such, but the wonder is back. That’s the best thing to see of all–the wonder of Star Wars is again being talked about. Gone are the horrible prequels, and now we have the magic back. And you are painting it. You are adding to the wonder of this phenomenon.

    Thank you, Jenny.

    • Aw, Jean – thank you. I discovered Star Wars at 21. I was all of two in 1977 and the first I knew about Star Wars was my cousins watching “Return of the Jedi” on Super 8 in 1984. It was one of the things I could never relate to as a child. I grew up in a household that was almost militantly pacifist, and anything with “war” in it simply wasn’t for us. (Weirdly, my mother never extended that to Tolkien.) I was totally confused watching “Jedi” with my cousins, so that didn’t help either.

      Then 1996 came around. Star Wars mania was on the rise again thanks so the Special Editions, and the Latin students at Cologe University made Star Wars the topic of our annual parody play (“Bellum Stellarum”, it was). It was about the good lecturer Stefan Skywalker, who was seduced by the Dark Side of the Canon. (Weirdly, there was literally nothing about Anakin’s fall to the dark side that we didn’t preempt in that 1997 spoof.) I played Luke, and fell in love with the character through the performance! It’s kind of sad that no photos survive of me in a friend’s karate dress and sello-taped legs…

  3. I don’t think I really knew why I like Poe so much until I read what you said – “a daredevil pilot who is kind and likeable instead of selfish and badass”.
    Love the paintings! You may even convince me to like Kylo Ren a little bit. :P

  4. As for me, you already have convinced me to like Kylo Ren (although I really had hated him after watching the film) Well, your amazing art makes me again and again sympathize with characters I earlier disliked or didn’t care… :) And I don’t mean something “ohhh, he looks so awesome, I love him no matter who he is”-stuff (but, of course, they look indeed gorgeous), but that your pictures helped understand them a bit better, revealed such aspects of their character which I never considered before… So, thank you, you are fantastic! :)
    Teréz

    PS: sorry for my weak english, aber Deutsch spreche ich auch nicht viel besser…

    • Aw, thanks! It took me two viewings and a drawing request to like Kylo Ren, too – it wasn’t until I’d drawn him for the first time that his personality (and his level of mess-up) really touched me.

      And hey, both your English and your German sound great! :)

  5. These are all so, so gorgeous. I love the “dripping” look of Kylo Ren – that whole painting in general is just incredible (*squees*). And I love Poe and Han. (I also saw the Poe time-lapse video a few days ago and was wowed.)

    Anyway, just amazing. :)

  6. Jenny,wow…amazing work great paintings.I´m a long,long,long time fan of the Trilogy ,way back from the 80´s :-) and loved the new movie and waiting for the new movies.It was great to see the old cast “back in the action” and some new ones,BB-8 ?!
    Keep up the good work and MTFBWY!

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