“The Squad: A Star Wars Story” supplemental materials
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Sure, there’s some Endor equivalent of bears or mountain lions, but the Ewoks simply rule. Evidence of this is shown throughout Return of the Jedi. It’s made clear in the movie that they will absolutely wreck you. They will bring the pain. Cute, fuzzy pain.
But let me back up, before we get to that. I have an admission to make: I wrote some Star Wars fan fiction.
Yes, I know. Fan fiction is one of the most disreputable genres in which one can work, slightly above Penthouse letters. People love to point out that dreck like Fifty Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction. There’s no way to put lipstick on that particular pig.
Perhaps this is because so much fan fiction is personal wish fulfillment. However, I can assure that this is not the case with this. Unlike The Force Awakens, there are no Mary Sues here. Luke doesn’t come over and beat up my enemies and then be all “let’s be best friends forever.” Anyway, if J.J. Abrams can be paid millions for creating mediocre Star Wars fan fiction 1, why can’t I do it for free?
This whole project started out as a joke between a friend and I at lunch. You see, Werner Herzog appears in The Mandelorian, but I want to see a Star Wars movie directed by Herzog. For the uninitiated, he prefers bleak themes about life on the absolute edge, like obsession driving someone to destruction. He also dwells on the notion that nature will absolutely destroy you and won’t feel bad about it afterward, eg, Grizzly Man.
If Herzog were really tasked with telling the story of a galactic empire falling, it would be decidedly different than what we got. He would never bother himself with the affairs of privileged scions of the galaxy’s most powerful family and their daddy issues as they fight over who gets to be in charge. That’s the least interesting story to be found during those events.
But don’t let any of this blather scare you off. It’s still fan faction so it’s also totally loaded with shameless fan service.
And this is the part where I pretentiously list my influences.
- Alien Lots of movies and stories exist that have the basic premise of this movie: That if you venture out into the unknown you will find unspeakable horrors that are simply unknowable. And unknowableness is what makes them terrifying. The Alien sequels / prequels 2 have done everything they can to ruin that basic fact, but the original movie remains the gold standard of this idea.
- Blood Simple The Coen brother’s first movie, has really only four characters, but they constantly make bad decisions based on partial information. By the end of the movie none of the characters actually has a full picture of what has transpired.
- Lonesome Dove In this book, the author builds up a character, a hapless lawman. You follow him as he heads out into the plains to find a runaway bride, for about one-third of what is a very thick book. Then he’s killed off in a single paragraph. You’re like “shit, did that just happen?”
- Redshirts This book by John Scalzi is based on the conceit of a bunch of Star Trek redshirts who realize they exist only to be cannon fodder. I didn’t want that level of meta awareness, but I did borrow from it.
- Psycho Hitchcock pulls off a perspective switch from the protagonist Marian Crane to Norman Bates in the space of one scene so masterfully that viewers don’t even realize it happened.
If you managed to finish the story, you might be thinking that this was too dark and grim to be a Star Wars story. Well, tauntaun guts aren’t pretty either, and we got those in Empire. What do you think was in the Death Star trash compactor? Rose petals? And our heroes in Return of the Jedi would have met the same fate as our heroes here had Luke not intervened by levitating See-Threepio around the Ewok village.
Not to mention multiple scenes of Ewoks beating stormtroopers to death with their bare hands and other instruments of death.
Because, well, Ewoks are apex predators.
- Also mediocre Star Trek fan fiction. It’s bad enough he ruined one of our greatest sci-fi franchises. But nope, he got both.
- With the exception of Aliens. That movie is a fucking masterpiece.