TRANSMISSIONS FROM A GALAXY FAR, FAR, AWAY:

EPISODE XV

This is the 15th column in a weekly series from The Rock Father James Zahn. Check back Fridays for the latest in what’s happening in the galaxy far, far away, or read them all here.

It didn’t hit me until recently, but for many children, 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope just may have been a first look at how some grownups kick back and unwind with a cold beverage. It’s sort of weird, but at its core, the Mos Eisley Cantina is pretty much just the diviest of dive bars, the one that was famously declared to be a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” by old Ben Kenobi. It’s a dirty joint that’s filled with shady characters and the overwhelming vibe of uncertainty and danger in every nook and cranny.

But it was such a cool place!

Kids and grownups alike were instantly fascinated by the happenings of the Cantina, and the intergalactic watering hole was soon immortalized in plastic and cardboard as part of the Kenner Star Wars collection, twice. It hit the scene as my oft-mentioned childhood favorite, the Sears-exclusive Cantina Adventure Set, and as the mass-marketed Creature Cantina Playset. Kids ages 4 and up were playing with a bar, and that was just fine.

The allure of the Cantina and its colorful inhabitants has remained an inspiration throughout the Star Wars Saga, with similar, but nowhere-near-as-cool spots popping up in future installments like Attack of the Clones (Wanna buy some death sticks?”) and The Force Awakens (Maz’s Castle). Even The Last Jedi’s vice-laden Canto Bight owes a great deal of debt to that dive on Tatooine.

After inspiring toys and real-life pop-up bars, now comes news that fans wishing to truly knock one back amongst the galaxy’s most questionable characters will now be able to do so in real-life when Oga’s Cantina opens its doors in Orlando and Anaheim next year as part of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park and the Walt Disney World Resort.

Announced on the Disney Parks Blog, Oga’s will be open to serve galactic travelers, bounty hunters, smugglers—and yes, kids! Here’s what Disney has to say about it:

“Visitors come to this notorious local watering hole to unwind, conduct shady business, and maybe even encounter a friend…or a foe. Run by an intriguing alien proprietor, Oga Garra, the cantina adheres to a strict code of conduct that tries to keep its unruly patrons in check. But with a history of being a smugglers’ safe haven and a popular stopping point for those seeking to avoid the authorities, you can bet that the cantina has a story or two to tell.

Oga’s Cantina is the kind of establishment that attracts some of the most interesting and disreputable characters in the galaxy. And you never know when a stormtrooper or a familiar face will show up. Patrons of the cantina come from across the galaxy to sample the famous concoctions created with exotic ingredients using “otherworldly” methods, served in unique vessels. With choices for kids and libations for adults, the cantina will make for a great stop!”

It should go without saying, but please enjoy your intergalactic cocktails responsibly.


Star Tunes: Celldweller – The Imperial March

This week’s featured piece of Star Wars-inspired music is a cover of John Williams’ Imperial March, as first heard in The Empire Strikes Back. Covered by Celldweller and released in honor of Star Wars Day 2015, the industrial-flavored take on the iconic song was created using no samples – just instrumentation and voice.


Further Transmissions

  • Fans got their first behind-the-scenes look at Star Wars: Resistance thanks to a new featurette that looks at the main heroes of the series, Team Fireball.
  • Speaking of Cantinas and shady characters… Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm Story Group has penned an intriguing new in-world book that focuses on intergalactic crime. Star Wars: Scum & Villainy – Case Files on the Galaxy’s Most Notorious features beautiful artwork and weaves tales narrated by three generations of law enforcers. It’s out October 23 via Epic Ink Books.
  • Battlefront II has been out for nearly a year, and still it appears that EA is trying to make up for all the backlash that came with it. New DLC from The Clone Wars era has arrived, and the game maker has issued a full roadmap for what’s yet to come through the end of the year. Looks like fans will get their money’s worth!
  • While many fans know him as a Hobbit in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, I figured that I would forever think of Dominic Monaghan as “Charlie Pace” of the band Drive Shaft on LOST. That looks to be changing, as he’s joining the cast of J.J. Abrams’ currently-lensing Star Wars – Episode IX.
  • And also on the Episode IX note, Variety broke the news this week that Matt Smith of Doctor Who fame is also headed for the stars in “a key role.” No word on what that might be.