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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Mostly, as I watched this, I wished I could go back to a time when I hadn't seen a thousand parodies and references and riffs, and I could just appreciate the stellar storytelling in this film. It was tooo easy for Ben and I to quote Family Guy and the Bad Lip Synch videos, talk about mistakes the prequels and sequels made, joke about Alec Guinness hating being a part of Star Wars, talk about our knowledge of the Expanded Universe. I felt torn, watching this, because it made me feel like a kid again but it also made me realize how long ago that really was, in a galaxy far far away, and that as much as I love a spoof, that knowledge feels a little like innocence lost.

We watched the 4K version on Disney+ in order to test the capabilities of our new TV, which meant that we watched the 1997 Special Edition - decidedly not the Star Wars of my childhood. But my god is the 4K pretty. Even as I was making fun of Luke's teenage angst, I got distracted by the beauty in the shot of Luke watching the setting suns, eclipsed further by John Williams' score. (There was much discussion, as we watched, that without the score, and the presence of legitimate, world-class actors, no one would have taken this movie seriously. But as usual, the right combination makes magic.

I find I'm in a state after watching. I'm honestly feeling a little disappointed in myself for being overwhelmed with parody. Disappointed isn't the word, but it's close. So I'm going to jump to random thoughts. Because I can.

Random thoughts:


-I've always been vaguely annoyed with C-3PO but this time his middle aged drama queen routine delighted me to no end. "We seem to be made to suffer. It's our lot in life." Come. On.

-I love how many paunches there are. So many puffy middle-aged men in the background.

-The added Jabba scene drives me up the wall but what really wrecked the pacing of the movie for me were the stuck in "establishing shots". So much bad, 90s PG movie slapstick. So much unnecessary CGI.

-Space Mom. It's fun to see where Carrie Fisher started and just how feisty she always was. We were so lucky to have her and so unworthy.

-I'm not much for sci-fi and I tend to classify Star Wars as adventure in space but this time through I was enamored of the aliens! So many! Such great makeup/prosthetics for that time! And so...

Watercolor and ink.


-Her name is Kabe (thanks EU - all I could think to search was "mos eisley cantina bat") and she is one of three women I'm aware of in A New Hope and I love her. I didn't know that until I was looking for reference images and learned her fun backstory. (She steals things to support her blue milk habit. For real.)

-Monochromatic watercolor work is *fun*. Not much use for it in costume design but it's becoming one of my favorite tools in the toolbox.

-This is how I feel on the rare occasion I go to a bar. You know, in the Before Times.

-This is the first piece from this project I'd consider hanging up in our home. It could go with my other Cantina art on the Star Wars wall. I'm not even joking.

-This is the smallest painting I've done for the project so far (6x9") and I wish I would have done some other pieces to this scale, specifically All That Jazz. The background wash was so much easier to handle in this size.

Here's your reminder that your art doesn't need to be perfect to be awesome. Just do it. Do the thing that's always in the periphery of your noggin. And please share it with me. :)

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Shannon Heibler
Shannon Heibler

As usual, you deliver! Thank you!!!


Robert Mitchell
Robert Mitchell

My recent rewatch led to my own reckoning with how remarkable the film is especially with how many other films have imitated it.

Since you’re on a kick and you want more women in Star Wars (hell yeah, me too!) I highly recommend these three books from the new post-Disney canon:

Bloodline, by Claudia Gray

Phasma, by Delilah S Dawson

Black Spire, by Delilah S Dawson

The first is a portrait of Leia at the zenith of her career in the New Republic senate. It wrestled with legacy, extremism, and dark secrets in a way that feels far too cerebral for pulp fiction and I loved it.

The second is Captain Phasma’s origin story, interwoven with a tale of espionage.…

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