Little Miss Star Wars

“SAM, STOP TALKING ABOUT STAR WARS!” Here’s why I like it so much.


I grew up on Star Wars. I was introduced to the saga in the fifth grade, a few months before Revenge of the Sith was due to be released in theaters. Needless to say, I was hooked. I collected newspaper clippings – most notably the front cover of The Stars & Stripes Pacific (I lived on a military base in Japan at the time), which featured Darth Vader’s face and the words “The End of a Trilogy”, or something like that.

When my dad bought the original trilogy on DVD, I held onto that gold little box like it was my life; this was something that was a part of me now. I watched the films over and over again and I always marveled at and admired the scene in A New Hope where Luke stares out at the twin suns of Tatooine, longing for adventure. Not long after I watched the saga, I roamed the hallways of my elementary school, breathing into my hand as if I were the notorious, black armored Sith Lord, spouting out phrases such as the iconic “Luke, I am your father…” and “…search your feelings, you know it to be true.” The films made me feel like I was on my own adventures; made me feel like I could shape my own life – which I eventually learned was a real life thing, the ability to choose your destiny. The films definitely sparked the imagination of this wide-eyed and idealistic 10 year-old.

I wanted a lightsaber so badly. (I never got one.)


I was introduced to the wonderful world of theatre in the fifth grade by my wonderful teacher, Mr. Cal Grossheusch (Mr. G!). I played the lead role, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, in a play he wrote with one of his friends, titled The Case of the Missing Nose (you can tell the entire plot from the title). I loved it; I loved being on stage. (It was at this point in my life that I realized I was also very much a lover of the spotlight, something I eventually grew out of.) Participating in a show for the first time inspired me to want to write my own plays.

Guess what I wanted to write first? A Star Wars play. I collaborated with the boys in my class (and one other girl), and as I was making the cast list, I remember stating that I really, really wanted to play Luke Skywalker. I wanted to fly an X-Wing fighter, wield a majestic lightsaber, and beat the bad guys. Of course, some of the other boys wanted to play Luke Skywalker. I fervently demanded that I play Luke, because little girls should be able to play kickass people.** I think I also wanted to play Leia, too (because she is literally the Queen of Everything). They were twins! However, we did eventually “assign” the role to the only other girl helping plan this out. Though the play was never written (teaching me a very valuable lesson about planning before executing), the idea and inspiration still stuck with me. I guess you can say that Star Wars (and Harry Potter, of course) was one of the reasons why I wanted to get into screenwriting in the first place, to give people the same inspiration I was given back then.


Revenge of the Sith came and went. I remember feeling such a rush watching it. It was the first time any new movie premiered on the Naval Base I lived on the same day it was released in the United States. The film was a big deal on base; all the showings were sold out, but my parents managed to get tickets for an afternoon showing. I cried when I watched Obi-Wan and Anakin fight. I felt chills when Darth Vader broke out of the binds on his gurney, mourning the loss of Padme (who deserved so much more – but that is for another post, another time).

The void after the film was released was so real. I immersed myself in the extended universe after that, occasionally reading articles on Wookiepedia to get up to speed on what Disney would eventually consider non-canonical.


Tonight, I watched the trailer for Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens. I felt oddly nervous and excited at the same time; for the past few months I’ve been going crazy, looking for news and new footage to fawn about to tide myself over before the film is released this December. When the first trailer premiered during the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim this year, I was beside myself in the Student Union, flailing and flapping my arms everywhere, attempting to suppress my excitement in public. Tonight was no different; I rushed home as soon as I heard the trailer was released and watched it on the projector my apartment-mate rented from the university library.

I won’t say too much about the trailer itself – it’s something you have to experience, especially if you are a die-hard Star Wars fan (well you probably watched it about 50,000,000 times by the time you’ve stumbled upon this article if you are a die-hard fan). It is definitely an awakening, no, a re-awakening, a herald for fans to fly back to that galaxy far, far, away. Everything looks so real, and it truly does feel like the Star Wars universe, lightyears better than what Lucas tried to provide with the prequels.

I felt like I was that ten year old who wanted a lightsaber and to be Luke Skywalker again; the ten year-old who held the original trilogy box set in my hands for the first time. With my heart racing, hands flailing, chills running down my spine, endorphins filling up every fiber of my being; I can safely say that “Chewie, we’re home.”

(However, the question still stands: where is Luke Skywalker?)

TL;DR: I really love Star Wars. I am a big nerd. Please watch Daisy Ridley (who is playing Rey in TFA) crying over the trailer on the Facebook. Then you will see how I feel. I still need a lightsaber.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released on December 18th, 2015, and December 17th in select cinemas.

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FOOTNOTES:
** – This was probably the birth of Feminist!Sami. You can also say it was when I wanted to be Ash Ketchum when my friends and I pretended we were in the Pokemon world when I was in kindergarten/the first grade.

***ALSO, I’M SORRY BUT I’M CRYING OVER THIS I LOVE HAN AND LEIA SO MUCH.

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Deconstructing “The Force Awakens” Poster & More

Earlier today, the Star Wars gods decided to grace us with a new gift: the latest Force Awakens poster. And, of course, with a new poster comes many, many questions. Created by the universe’s longtime artist, Drew Struzan, the poster features an array of characters, new and old. Check it out below:

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*sings the beginning of “Circle of Life” and raises poster up to the sky*

Now that you’ve gotten a better look at it, let’s deconstruct this thing.

1. Rey and Kylo Ren

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bro please

It makes me incredibly happy to see Rey (Daisy Ridley) right in the middle – seeing another woman lead the saga alongside Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa sends a really powerful message: women have always kicked ass in the galaxy far, far away. One thing that is super interesting about the positioning of Rey’s staff is that it directly aligns with Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver) lightsaber. In the past few months, there have been many fan theories floating around concerning the possibility of Kylo and Rey being siblings (with Han and Leia being their ~separated~ parents [please, no, no, no, I would rather fall into the Sarlacc Pit than to see them split up]). I, for one, am totally on board with this, and the fact that Rey and Kylo Ren are facing the same exact way, weapons all lined up speaks volumes. Or, it just makes really good, symmetric art.

2. #FindLukeSkywalker2k15
Okay, where the heck is Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)? His character’s role in Episode VII has been a mystery for a long time – we only get a voiceover from Hamill himself (ha, ha, Twitter pun intended) in the film’s teaser trailers, but we’ve never gotten a proper glimpse of him…well, unless this IS him, robot hand and all (I’m pretty sure this is him).

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It is pretty jarring to not see Luke on a Star Wars poster, especially on a film where he is featured. He wasn’t even on the last poster that was released – that one heavily featured my main man, Han Solo. Weird, huh? After talking with my good friend Hannah (who is also blogging about this crazy poster), we came up with our own theory that Luke may be on some “damn fool idealistic crusade” (to quote Obi-Wan in A New Hope) to restart and reform the Jedi Order, and that Finn may be a part of that.  And on that note, let’s talk about Finn and his lightsaber!

3. Finn’s Lightsaber
I am a fervent believer of the fact that Finn’s (John Boyega) lightsaber might be the one that Luke dropped while fighting Vader on Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back. It definitely has the same make (from what we can see of the hilt…in some angles), and obviously, the same color. But the question is: where did he get it from?

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How on earth did young Finn come across this lightsaber? When we first see him, he wakes up in the middle of Jakku in a First Order Stormtrooper uniform. I am trying to connect the dots here: in the second teaser trailer, Leia is given a lightsaber. Is it the one that Luke lost? Or is Luke lost himself? Was this lightsaber given to Finn by Leia after Luke supposedly goes missing? So many questions, and so many names! In the screenshot above, he is also fighting Kylo Ren. Did he have some form of training before this…from Luke? Will Luke be his Obi-Wan (but not die please)? We’ll see when the film is released in December!

NOTE: *We also know that Leia is Force-sensitive from Empire and ROTJ, so the lightsaber given to her might be hers. (Please, I need some extended universe stuff, PLEASE.)

4. That’s No Moon…

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THAT’S NO MOOOOOOOOON.

That’s (probably) some sort of space station! The giant sphere thing hovering behind Rey and Finn looks strangely like another Death Star. While I love the little nostalgic bits we’ve been given so far, I’m kind of not on board with having another Death Star-like object. However, while scrolling through Twitter during the madness, I saw someone suggest that as the poster is essentially split into the Dark Side/Light Side, as the Death Star Thing is on Rey and Finn’s side, it might be a…good thing? Then again, you can note that Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) is dead center on the poster, supposedly on the “light” side under where Rey and Kylo Ren’s weapons line up. It would be an interesting twist to see it on the Resistance’s side…but also a weird question of morality. If it is a planet-destroying object and is on the “Light” side, is it good? Oooh.

5. That One Character Next to R2 and C3PO

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At first, I thought: DOBBY? IS THAT YOU? No, it definitely isn’t Dobby. Come on, Sam, this is the Star Wars world. Some say that this little character might be female pirate, Maz Kanata, who will be played by the beautiful and extremely talented Lupita Nyong’o. Kanata looks very mini but mighty. I mean, she owns her own palace.

6. “I love you.” “I know…maybe.” 

Finally, a picture of the galaxy’s favorite couple, Han (Harrison Ford) and Leia (Carrie Fisher). I love Han and Leia a lot.

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For some reason, both of them look like they are from two different worlds, despite getting together at the end of Return of the Jedi. Of course, this can be attributed to the fact that Han likes his comfortable clothes and would definitely hate being in some sort of fancy getup. Leia looks very regal and wonderful (THAT HAIR, THOUGH). I’m sort of scared that something definitely happened between ROTJ and The Force Awakens, causing the two to drift apart. Some are saying that Kylo Ren and Rey could be their kids as Rey looks awfully like she could be the granddaughter of Padme Amidala. Maybe something happened that forced them all to split up? Is that why this film brings them back together? When Leia is seen in the SD Comic-Con behind the scenes video, she is wearing stuff one would wear on a mission, kind of close to what Han would wear. I’m assuming they team up and find the Millennium Falcon and are “home” again. (Maybe they find the Falcon at Maz Kanata’s place?)


Those are definitely my biggest questions and theories. I think the poster looks fantastic, despite its little flaw: where in the Galaxy is Luke Skywalker? There are a few things that should be questioned and noted as well, aside from the main stuff above:

  • What exactly will Poe Dameron’s (Oscar Isaac) role be?
  • Where is Domnhall Gleeson’s General Hux?
  • Where is Luke Skywalker?
  • Did Kylo Ren make that lightsaber itself? It doesn’t have the proper, fluid energy flow that Finn’s obviously has. It looks like a makeshift one. Could he be some sort of Jedi/Sith fanatic?
  • WHERE IS LUKE SKYWALKER?
  • Also, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma: yes.
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pew pew pew

So much is going on in one poster. I guess we’ll get the answers to these questions and more when the film is released in December. If you have any fun theories, sound them off in the comments below! Now, I have to go do homework and laundry. May the Force Be With You!

favorite things this week #1: finals edition

Welcome to Finals Week, where procrastination rules and sleep is but a figment of your imagination. No one likes Finals Week. It’s that period at the end of the quarter or semester (whichever system your school follows) where you are either doing something or you’re not. I go to a school where there is no “Dead Week” (about a week between the last week of actual instruction and exams, designated for studying), and right after the last day of classes, we are thrown into the gauntlet.

And let me tell you: the gauntlet feels more like a slow drag through gravel. You either have in-class finals or take-home finals, or a nice and deadly combination of both. I have that combo this quarter. Take-home finals are the absolute worst. You either finish them right away or you take…days…to…finish…them.

To help me get through these tough times, I take many study breaks to make sure I don’t pull an Ultron and destroy the world as we know it. During these study breaks, I either read, scroll through my phone, or watch videos on YouTube. Here are some of those things – a.k.a., my favorite things this week:

1. Star Wars (2015) comics by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, published by Marvel

AVENGERS...ASSEMBLE! Wait, wrong series.

AVENGERS…ASSEMBLE! Wait, wrong series.

It’s no secret among my friends that I am a huge Star Wars fan. I was that annoying kid who walked around the halls of her elementary school breathing like Darth Vader. I attempted to write a Star Wars play in the fifth grade with my friends and demanded I should play Luke Skywalker (the play never pulled through but I still have my dreams). When Disney announced their merger with Lucasfilm, I kind of got really excited because, hey, more Star Wars movies! A bigger Star Wars presence at Disneyland! Yay!

With this merger with Disney came the erasure of the Star Wars expanded universe developed between the original trilogy and the prequels and continued even after the Revenge of the Sith in 2005. Thankfully, I wasn’t too well versed in the expanded universe enough to have extreme emotions about this, but I was still really bummed that my favorite Clone Wars cartoon on Cartoon Network was no longer considered canon (I am sorry, Genndy Tartavosky. I still love you).

However, as Disney and Marvel are good friends, they released a new series this year written by Jason Aaron. There are currently six issues. This series takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. I always wondered what happened between those two movies. There are also two other series that are running concurrently with this one – Princess Leia (another great read) and Darth Vader (which I plan to read this summer). 

This is a big year for the Star Wars franchise (I MEAN, EPISODE VII COMES OUT IN SIX MONTHS. HOOPLA), and re-establishing Star Wars as a part of Marvel was a great idea. These comics are definitely a breath of fresh air and gives fans a chance to jump back into the universe. I felt like I was at home as soon as I saw the first two pages emblazoned with the phrase “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” and saw my favorite characters in action. The art and writing are spectacular. They’re just a great tie-in to the Star Wars canon.

Yeah, Chewie, we’re home.

HIGHLIGHTS & SHOCKERS (with some spoilers): Luke vs. Boba Fett (LUKE FIGHTS HIM AFTER BEING BLINDED BY A FLASH BOMB Y’ALL), Leia throwing Corellian wine in Han’s face, Sana Solo (I mean whaaaaaaaaat), Vader finding out that Luke is a Skywalker, Luke vs. Darth Vader, Ben Kenobi finally communicating with Luke before said battle before Darth Vader, HAN AND LEIA DRIVING AN AT-AT

2. Watching the “Disneyland: Forever” fireworks…on YouTube

'DISNEYLAND FOREVER' SPARKLES IN THE NIGHT SKY -- 'Disneyland Forever,' a new fireworks spectacular at the Disneyland Resort, illuminates the sky above Sleeping Beauty Castle. 'Disneyland Forever' transports guests into the worlds of beloved Disney and Disney•Pixar films through traditional pyrotechnics, innovative projection mapping technology and surprising special effects. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

‘DISNEYLAND FOREVER’ SPARKLES IN THE NIGHT SKY — ‘Disneyland Forever,’ a new fireworks spectacular at the Disneyland Resort, illuminates the sky above Sleeping Beauty Castle. ‘Disneyland Forever’ transports guests into the worlds of beloved Disney and Disney•Pixar films through traditional pyrotechnics, innovative projection mapping technology and surprising special effects. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

I’m definitely one of those people who cry while watching theme park shows. I don’t know – I just get overly emotional about them. The first time I watched World of Color at California Adventure, I was a sobbing mess. Thankfully, I got splashed with enough water (I was in the very front row) that my tears were obscured and I saved myself from embarrassment. I just can’t help it. I even cry whenever I watch the Shamu show at freakin’ SeaWorld.

That being said, I was a mess while watching the 60th Anniversary fireworks on YouTube.  Not even at the actual park–on YouTube. It’s a beautiful tribute to the work of Disney Studios, and everything about it from the projections on  Main Street and the Matterhorn to the fireworks is simply spectacular. The Imagineers really stepped up their game this year! Without spoiling too much, I just want to say that the Lion King and Winnie the Pooh parts are probably my favorites.

Other things: PROJECTIONS! The music! Under the Sea! RING. OF. FIRE. I really can’t wait to watch it live this summer.

I am always so floored by the extreme attention to detail at Disney Parks. If I were a computer engineer or visual arts student, I would definitely apply to be a Disney Imagineer…but I’m not.

SIDENOTEUnfortunately, I can’t really say the same about World Of Color: Celebrate (except for the Star Wars segment and other stuff). I mean, what was the purpose of “Let It Go” besides pandering to Frozen fans? I mean I am a fan of Frozen – I saw it four or five times in theatres, but really? In World of Color at a point where it is not even relevant to the overall plot line of the show which already leaves much to be desired? Let it go. Honestly, I know I’m gonna cry anyway when I get to see World of Color: Celebrate live because I am a huge sucker for heart-wrenching music and COLUMNS OF FIRE.

3.「ねこあつめ」(Neko Atsume, or “Cat Collector”) | (On the App Store & Google Play)

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CATS! EVERYWHERE

I am allergic to cats, but I really love cat-related things. While scrolling through Twitter one day, I saw a tweet made by one of my favorite artists, Kate Leth. She posted a picture of a cartoon apartment FILLED WITH CATS. I had to seek out that app immediately. Thankfully, someone posted a link to download it from the App Store, and I downloaded it as soon as I could.

Neko Atsume, or “Cat Collector” (thanks to my friend Anna for the translation), is exactly what it is: you run a small little cartoonish apartment, buy things that cats like (food and toys) using sardines as currency, and attract an array of adorable looking stray cats to your humble abode. One thing, though: the app is entirely in Japanese. I could read some of it (because I did take some Japanese classes before), but not all of it, so I pretty much guessed my way through the app until I figured out how to use it. You can even name all of the cats! Needless to say, I named them all after Marvel characters. I have all but four of the cats in the guidebook. I’m ALMOST THERE. Tiana, give me strength.

Puny humans. I named this one Thor, but now that I think about it...this should be Loki.

“Pitiful humans. Feed me.” I named this one Thor, but now, after some thinking… I think this should be named Loki.

There are so many different cats. There’s even a cat that looks like Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. It can only be summoned to your apartment with an expensive plate of sashimi and a gold and red hammock. Hilarious. Take a look:

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What a queen.

The main reason why I was so attracted to this app was because I used to be obsessed with an app similar to it: Kawaii Pet Megu, a modern-day alternative to Tamagotchi. It shut down last year. Rest in Peace, Kawaii Pet Megu. You were such a good app. I miss you, my Megu. Never again will I see you wear your perfect smile.

HIGHLIGHTS: Anna Wintour Cat, the really, really catchy music, the art of the game in general. It’s a good stress reliever, unless you are like me with my “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” attitude and really have to make sure you get all of the cats in the guidebook.

Well, there you have it – my first “Favorite Things This Week” post! Good luck on finals, quarter system people. May the Force be With You.