anghraine: from the 2005 p&p: darcy standing at a piano while georgiana plays it (muse)
[personal profile] anghraine
Per this resolution, I'm re-watching A New Hope to try and see what the original background looked like. I've gone over about the first fifteen minutes, and jotted down every thought or question that crosses my mind as I do it. Of course that's a bit random and scattered, so here are the main points.

[Warning:  TV Tropes links!]

(1) The battle the Alliance just won is their first victory; how long have they been around?

(2) Many droids are more or less identical to C-3PO. Are they built off the same template?

(3) Leia tangled with the Empire on some previous occasion, but escaped under the cover of a mercy mission. R2D2 and C-3PO were likely present, and perhaps Vader as well.

(4) Stormtroopers act independently and seem to be perfectly normal humans.

(5) Spice is some unknown substance which comes from mines on some place called Kessel. C-3PO is afraid (reasonably or not) of being sent there.

(6) As far as clothing is concerned, soldiers and officers are firmly on the futuristic side of things, while capes, cowls, and robes seem a common look for civilians.

(7) Leia and Darth Vader are reasonably well acquainted. She greets him with a strangely complimentary insult and treats him as if he were generally regarded as a loose cannon, which is backed up by the later behaviour of the Imperial officers.

(8) Leia is an ambassador on a consulate ship, under the auspices of some unknown Senator.

(9) While Vader’s breathing is obviously mechanized, his voice has normal tone and inflection. Perhaps it’s simply amplified?

(10) Vader comes up with cunning plans on the fly, listens to his subordinate’s doubts without anger and explains his rationale, and responds to a spectacularly foolish mistake from another subordinate by simply telling him how to fix it. He’s controlled, collected, and even his hair-trigger temper tends (chillingly) towards Tranquil Fury.

(11) The Senate has sufficient authority that both Leia and Vader’s aide, and to some degree Vader himself, treat their responses as something to be concerned about. However, the Emperor is able to dissolve the Senate itself without repercussion.

(12) Vader may or may not have a military rank. While obviously in command of his ship, beyond it the actual officers treat him as a slightly unhinged outsider they’re forced to cooperate with – a superpowered consultant, basically.

(13) R2D2 and C-3PO have been through a number of adventures at this point; we don’t know how many or for how long, but it’s obviously been awhile. (Though twenty years seems excessive.)



---------------------------

For anyone who's interested, here are the original train-of-thought meanderings:


— the Alliance just won their first victory ever; um, exactly how long have they been around?  They got the plans via spy during the battle itself.

— most of the droids appear to have been built off the same template as C-3PO.  (Making it vastly unlikely that he was designed by a creative nine-year-old scrounging for parts.)

— C-3PO:  There’ll be no escape for the Princess this time

So this isn’t the first time this has happened, nor (in all probability) the first time C-3PO and R2D2 were along for the ride.  Though I suppose they could just have heard about it.

— the stormtroopers seem very human; they glance around, bend over fallen comrades, speak with normal inflection.  They definitely don’t seem at all mass-produced.

— C-3PO: We’ll be sent to the spice mines of Kessel . . .

What the hell is spice, anyway?  I keep thinking of Dune but obviously that’s not how space-travel works in the GFFA.  Is it a drug?  It doesn’t seem to be illegal – the stolidly respectable Owen comes up with ‘navigator on a space freighter’ as Anakin’s profession.  Besides, since when do you mine for drugs?  And what’s Kessel, anyway?  Some kind of horrific gulag for droids?  Why would anyone mine for a spice?  Why would any spice require mining to get at?

I’m so confused.

— Vader is really frigging tall.  The stormtroopers are dwarfed by him, and we know they’ve got minimum height requirements.  (Heh.  Poor Luke.)

— The clothing happily mixes the spacey with the fantastic; Leia’s and Vader’s especially learn towards the fantasy look (capes! cowled robes!) and should look ridiculous next to the uniformed Rebels and Imperials.  Instead they just look badass.  Perhaps capes and/or cowls are a reasonably common look for civilians.  Cloaks definitely are.

— Vader’s mouthless mask is really, really creepy.  How does he eat?  Does he eat?  Oh, and the eye thingies are a little reddish.  Does he actually see in red?  Is that why he wants to see Luke with his own eyes in Jedi? 

(Aside of the obvious reason, of course.)

— does Vader usually lift people in the air with his bare gloved hands?  I thought he mostly just Force-choked them, but that could be Flanderization.

— DEAD REBEL: This is a consulate ship! 

So Leia’s a consul?  Presumably the head of the Alderaanian consulate on Coruscant Imperial Centre?  Well, that would explain why she’s always addressed by her Alderaanian rank.

— No idea how old Carrie Fisher was, but Leia definitely comes across as a fully mature adult (early twenties? mid-twenties? something -- though IIRC she looked almost younger in ROTJ, so maybe the buns have something to do with it).  Even her enemies don’t show any of the condescension towards her that you might expect if she were a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old girl (compare Vader’s persistent references to Luke as ‘young X’ – though I suppose they might be what pass for terms of affection in Vaderland).

— okay, apparently the consul/ambassador is somebody else, since Vader’s all “if this is a consulate ship WHERE IS THE AMBASSADOR?! *snaps neck* ” Unless he’s actually referring to Leia, which I suppose is possible.

— Vader’s voice likewise does not sound mechanical.  I want them alive! comes out in an absolutely furious snarl.  I like to imagine that his ‘real’ voice sounds pretty much just like that, except quieter.  (And that Luke’s laughter sounds just like the Joker.)

— C-3PO and R2D2 have been together awhile, though I’m not sure how long. 

— there are a bunch of rebels who have obviously been captured.  Why don’t they just keep fighting and let the stormtroopers kill them?  I mean, that’s got to be better than torture or the gulags, and this is the Empire. 

— LEIA: Darth Vader.  Only you could be so bold. 

It sounds like she knows him personally.  Her tone is very, “oh, you again.”  And her “only you” makes it evident that he’s a loose cannon and generally regarded as such.  I suspect he was just as much of one as a Jedi.  (In this respect, I can’t quibble with the prequels’ characterisation:  we see the Determinator-on-crack thing, and we see it conflict with his desire for order and clearly defined rules.)

Also, “bold” isn’t exactly a cutting insult.  Particularly not from Leia, of all people.  The plot thickens!

— Huh, wonder what the Imperial Senate is like.  Leia seems pretty sure that the senators’ll act in some way – how much power do they have?  It can’t be too much, given that the Emperor summarily dissolves the Senate a few scenes later.  I suppose it helped keep the systems in line – as long as they had representation and some small authority, they didn’t complain too much?

— VADER: You weren’t on any mercy mission this time

Okay, this has definitely happened before.  Apparently the diplomatic cover worked on that occasion (mercy mission to where?).  Did they clash then, or does he know about it third-hand?

This is why I like epics, btw.  Well, the good ones.  (And Jane Austen.)  There are always these hints of more, even though we don’t see it – other stories, other details.  It gives the whole ‘verse a sense of ... well, that it’s really this huge place and there’s plenty going on elsewhere and – yeah, verisimilitude ftw. 

— LEIA: I’m a member of the Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan! 

So she is a senator.  Unless she has some ambassadorial position under the auspices of the Senate?  One where she’s apparently sent on diplomatic missions to her home planet.

— Vader’s assistant guy actually questions him.  Whoa.  Moreover, Vader not only listens to him but explains himself.  And then the assistant guy argues some more.  (Definite implication that the Senate and its sympathies are something to worry about, btw.)  And Vader is cool with that too.

It’s kind of bizarre.  This guy has nerves of steely steel.  Or Vader was a bit less apeshit before Luke showed up.  Or both.  In any case, it’s interesting.  (In a happier world, aide guy could marry Leia and they would have fearless superchildren!)

— VADER: Send a distress signal and then inform the Senator that all aboard were killed. 

What senator?  Leia’s, presumably – so she/the ship/the mission are under the auspices of some senator.  I guess she isn’t one after all?  *confused*

Also, apparently he comes up with cunning plans on the fly.  This is what awesome is all about!

— the Imperial commander tells Vader that no plans were aboard and they let the escape pod go because it had no lifeforms.  This, incidentally, is a spectacularly stupid mistake to make, given that droids don’t just exist but seem to be everywhere.  Vader explains this with astounding patience and does not kill him, but simply informs him that he should send a detachment down to recover the plans.  The commander does not appear surprised or even relieved, so either he’s a colossal idiot or Vader really is less crazypants at this point.

— I’m unsure what Vader’s actual position is.  The Imperial officers treat him as a superior – it’s all salutes and ‘yessir!’ – but he doesn’t (can’t?) issue commands to the troops himself.  I’m not sure if he even has military rank.

— C-3PO may be the most ridiculously human robot ever.  He actually has a temper tantrum and kicks R2D2 before stalking off. <3

— C3PO: No more adventures! 

Okay, they’ve definitely been through a lot together.  I wonder how long?  (And what adventures?  Aside of the mercy mission, that is.)

— R2D2's beeps are strangely comprehensible, even when C-3PO doesn’t translate.  I’m pretty sure he’s blowing a droid raspberry after C-3PO’s tantrum, and then trots glides off, whistling to himself.  In beeps.

When the Jawas come after him, the beeps turn plaintive.  I’m strangely reminded of that episode of Doctor Who where K-9 nearly gets melted and says something like, “Master.  The temperature is not conducive to my circuitry.  Master?  Master?  Master!”  All in his little mechanical voice.

Excuse me while I go bawl for a fictional robot dog.

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