“Star Wars”, the brainchild of director George Lucas, is now property of the Walt Disney Company. Can Mickey Mouse and Yoda co-exist peacefully? Will R2D2 and C3PO play nicely with Hannah Montana? Fans of the mega popular science fiction space opera have followed Luke Skywalker and Han Solo’s exploits since 1977, when “Star Wars” exploded into cinema. Luke and Han – along with Princess Leia and others were good guys, but we all know what’s really fun – the baddies. From a disfigured Jedi named Vader to a grossly obese worm called Jabba, the bad guys cause trouble and wreck havoc long ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
“Luke, I am your father.” With these words, a maimed Jedi screamed in anguish, along with the entire cinema audience of planet Earth. Anakin Skywalker, young and idealistic Jedi, is introduced in the prequel movies as a man to always adhere to a moral high ground. When he marches around in the classic “Star Wars” movies, he’s little more than a glorified storm trooper – at the beck and call of the devilish Emperor. Lucas deftly gave us a villain, who while mysterious and iron fisted, is never out and out pure evil. He offers solace to his maimed son, at a price of course, yet in the end, he chooses the right path and protects his son from the spiritual black hole the Emperor offers all who defy him.
He’s a man of little words. He speaks in actions. And what action. Darth Maul, played by super martial artist Ray Park, lets his light saber and lighting fast kicks do all the talking and we’re dazzled by the intense body language. His devil red face, crown of horns and phosphorescent eyes speak of a universal evil to chill the heart of anyone, anywhere in anytime. The only debit to Darth delight is that he’s barely in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”, but when he’s onscreen, he owns the whole film.
Jabba The Hutt
Jabba is a man of action too – the constant action of eating, drinking and pleasure seeking. All of that indulgence has increased his girth to obscene limits, but the jolly mobster doesn’t seem to care, as long as he has his dancing girls and trophies like Han Solo frozen in carbonite. The puppetry wizard that went into bringing J Hutt to life in “Return Of The Jedi” is nothing short of spectacular. In the special edition of “Star Wars”, a smaller, digitally created Jabba waddles around with Han Solo, and while perfectly serviceable, the bloated puppet is still king when it comes to the Hutt.
Count Dracula meet Count Dooku! It’s not a stretch really, as the actor who brings the lightsaber expert Dooku to life, Christopher Lee, made his thespian reputation by playing the undead vampire in a handful of Hammer films in Britain. Dooku is probably the classiest of all the “Star Wars” villains, and his large size and sonorous speech make him formidable indeed. It’s said that although Lee was advanced in age, he did some of the dazzling lightsaber fighting himself.
He’s the darkest Lord of all the dark Lords, and though Darth Vader may be more popular, this is truly the villain to fear for his subterfuge. In the prequel movies, Ian McDiarmid plays Palpatine as kind, even loving father figure who is so fond of Anakin Skywalker, that he proposes to teach him techniques to help with that of life and death itself. This of course is the forbidden arcane secrets, the dark arts which lead to the ruin and devastation of the dark side of the force. Like a crafty puppeteer pulling all of the right strings, he enmeshes those around him in a web of lies and by the “Star Wars” saga’s end chapter, he’s hurling lighting bolts of the dark side at Luke Skywalker.