Hamilton meets Star Wars plus… the Muppets?

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

J.J. Abrams Defends “Black Stormtrooper” Against Racist Star Wars Critics.

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theatres on Dec. 18 – or the night of Dec. 17th, for us diehard fans who already have our tickets – we’ll finally get to see Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) brandishing his insane-looking broadsword lightsaber, and find out how Finn (John Boyega) came into possession of that familiar blue blade. Abrams revealed on Monday night that “Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote music for a bar scene in the upcoming “The Force Awakens.” Abrams said the freestyling rapper approached him during intermission at a performance of Broadway’s hit hip-hop historical and said, “Hey, if you need music for the cantina, I’ll write it.” It’s no surprise that the new “Star Wars” film would have a scene in a bar — tavern scenes with jaunty music appear in “A New Hope” and “Return of the Jedi” — but it is odd that the latest version would feature music by Miranda.

The director addressed critics during SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show on Monday, Nov. 30. “All I know is John Boyega does an extraordinary job in the movie,” Abrams, 49, told Howard Stern. “I think the people who are complaining about that probably have bigger problems than ‘there’s a black stormtrooper.'” (Last month, Abrams also joked about being shocked about a black stormtrooper during a Saturday Night Live skit.) Boyega, 23 — who plays Finn in the adventure fantasy — has previously addressed the matter. The secret remained safe until Abrams revealed it Monday night on “The Tonight Show.” Even the show’s bandleader Questlove, who co-produced the cast album to “Hamilton,” said he didn’t know about the Abrams-Miranda partnership. Way back in 1999, simply seeing Darth Maul fire up that twin-bladed lightsaber for the first time elicited actual gasps from the audience, and the battle – set to composer John Williams’ awesome Duel of the Fates – was amazing and intense. Obi-Wan taking on the four-armed General Grievous was mighty cool, and the climactic lightsaber battle involving Yoda, Obi-Wan, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) was a good’un. But with Boba Fett being one of the most beloved and badass characters in the Star Wars universe, it was freakin’ incredible to watch his dad Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) fight Obi-Wan in a raging thunderstorm.

The ferocious duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan at the end of the movie carries a lot of weight – it’s how Anakin ultimately became Darth Vader, after all – but the wee, nimble Yoda confronting future emperor Darth Sidious (Ian McDiarmid) was the ultimate clash of the titans. Saber-swinging and Force-flinging, the two fight in the middle of the sprawling Galactic Senate chamber, with Sidious hurling massive floating platforms at the diminutive Jedi. We didn’t really know what to expect from the original Star Wars, nor how important lightsaber battles would become to each subsequent film in the franchise. Instead, we just watched wise, kind old Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) go up against big, scary Darth Vader (David Prowse, with the voice of James Earl Jones), in what seemed like a wildly unfair fight.

The climactic fight between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Cloud City, with Luke’s speed and technique being countered by Vader’s raw strength, memorably ends with Vader revealing that he’s Luke’s father. But the dramatically shot battle that leads up to that famous scene is so fraught with tension and emotion that it still gets our hearts racing to this day. But when the Skywalkers once again clash in the films’ last installment, Luke’s skill and confidence have increased by magnitudes, and Vader is no longer casually wielding his lightsaber one-handed.

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