TRANSMISSIONS FROM A GALAXY FAR, FAR, AWAY:

EPISODE XVII

This is the 17th 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.

I’ve often said it, but the early to mid ’90s were a strange and magical time. It was an era that brought forth the explosion of independent films and alternative rock, both of which paired well in Kevin Smith’s 1994 debut, Clerks. Looking back on that film, it’s fascinating to see how it was both influenced by pop culture and influential on pop culture.

Among the most famous scenes from the infamous New Jersey Quick Stop is the one in which  Dante and Randal find themselves discussing “Death Star politics.” The argument, posited just 11 years post-Return of the Jedi, was that any independent contractor working on the construction of the second Death Star became an innocent casualty of the Galactic Civil War when Lando Calrissian and Nien Nunb took out the reactor core that was powering the incomplete battle station.

Star Tunes: Supernova – “Chewbacca”

Beneath the banter was Chewbacca,”  a song by Costa Mesa’s Supernova that would eventually see release as part of Clerks – Music from the Motion Picture, issued in October of 1994 by Columbia Records. The following year, the track would also appear on the band’s debut album, Ages 3 and Up.

A simple song with basic chants of “Chewbacca!,” “Chewie!,” and “What a Wookiee!,” 24 years later it’s still regarded as Supernova’s signature song, though Ages 3 and Up is a must-have record filled with memorable jams from beginning to end.

While Supernova has endured decades of ups and downs with some years of hiatus here and there, they’ve also become associated with another band that has some Star Wars ties: The Aquabats! In fact, Supernova surfaced on a 2007 episode of Yo Gabba Gabba!, a series created in part by Christian Jacobs, perhaps best-known by his alter-ego: Aquabats’ frontman, The MC Bat Commander.

Supernova’s connection to the stars goes well beyond wars, as legend has it that the band actually hails from the planet Cynot-3, and that part of their arrival on Earth is due to our abundant supply of tinfoil. I came face-to-face with these legendary spacemen myself once, even going as far as to don a tinfoil hat and shout along with “Chewbacca” in the bowels of a dank rock club in Davenport, Iowa. It was Monday, November 6, 1995, and the band rolled into town in their “spaceship” to play a $5 show presented by the Independent Truckers Alliance at The Underline—a club that was actually underneath another club. While I’ve never seen any photos or video from that show surface, a video from another date on that tour recently was unearthed thanks to YouTube. The Wookiee action takes place at the 48:00 mark, but the whole thing is a time capsule worth watching!

So what about those Death Star politics now? After seeing the incredible size and scope of Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens, it could be assumed that while The First Order employs a vast army in its ranks, there were likely civilian contractors at play there as well. One aspect of the Star Wars universe that we’ve never really seen before is military housing, and that’s an area generally served by civilian contractors from private companies. One would think that somewhere on the planet that housed Starkiller Base, there must’ve been somewhere for all of those troops to live. Perhaps General Hux even had a cottage somewhere? Alas, it was a dark day for anyone who happened to be working when The Resistance flew in. Still, as Clerks once taught us, anyone who accepts employment from The Empire (or what’s left of it) knows the potential risk involved.


Further Transmissions

  • There’s a lot of mobile games inspired by Star Wars, but the previously-announced Star Wars Rivals won’t be one of them. It was announced back in January and soft-launched in a few countries, but the plug has been pulled ahead of its U.S. release. It’s already been scrubbed from the official site.
  • Speaking of games, Star Wars has a long history with pinball, and for the past few years, numerous Star Wars table packs have come to Zen Studios’ Pinball FX platform. I’ve been a huge fan of Pinball FX3, and this week there’s a DLC update with the Star Wars Pinball – Solo Table Pack. It’s an in-game purchase available for Xbox One, Playstation 4, Steam, and Windows 10. The awesome three-table pack also comes to the Zen Pinball and Star Wars Pinball mobile apps. Get more details here.
  • More Maul? In this week’s episode of The Star Wars Show, Ray Park detailed the process of returning to his iconic role (sans the “Darth” title) for Solo: A Star Wars Story. There’s a cool look behind-the-scenes, and a little note about seeing it on the big screen for the very first time while seated next to Ewan McGregor at the premiere.

Fan Theory

On a recent episode of his Fatman on Batman podcast, Kevin Smith discussed a conversation with producer Brian Volk-Weiss (The Toys That Made Us) in which they discussed the possibility that Keri Russell is playing Ahsoka Tano in J.J. Abrams’ currently-filming Episode IX—a rumor that’s actually popped up in a few places since her casting was announced. The more off-the-wall part of this conversation is that Smith says Volk-Weiss posited the theory that Ahsoka could actually be Rey’s mom. It’s a fun idea, and it’s certainly one that’s been picking up steam by being shared constantly, but no one seems to notice that Ahsoka is a completely different species – a Togruta.