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The Female Perspective: What “Star Wars” Was Like For Me

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


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In a galaxy far, far away called Coventry,

a young girl watched in awe as Star Wars first made itself know in her world.

She marveled at the bravery, the space-y-ness of it all,

the glamor of Leia. The roughness of Solo.

The goodness of Luke.

And her mind expanded…


I wasn’t even born when the first Star Wars came out in 1977 and I was pretty young for the sequel but I remember watching them on video when I was young and loving them. Watching them over and over again. I admit, I was also the perfect age to love the Ewoks and it is a love for all things Star Wars that has stuck with me my whole life. You can imagine then that I am quite excited to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I admit without any shame that I teared up when I saw Han and Chewie back again in the first trailer. I am 99% certain that I might cry during the actual movie. Not because it is sad, but because I have been waiting for so long to see this. To finally see a Star Wars movie on the big screen.

I was disappointed in the prequels, and by disappointed, I mean I hated them. That first one, ugh. The middle one I have never seen the whole movie (and maybe one day I will rectify that) and the third one, the best part is the last 15 minutes!

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Regardless of all this, I remember being a kid and getting Star Wars action figures to play with. It was the 80’s so I got the “girl” toys and my brother got the “boy” toys, aka, the cooler ones. I remember having every single Princess Leia imaginable and one random Boba Fett (why the Fett parents? Why?) while my brother had all the characters along with the Millennium Falcon. We would combine our toy forces and play together so I got to be the “boy” characters every once in awhile.

As a kid, when I played Star Wars with my brother or friends, there weren’t a lot of characters open to me, or at least I didn’t think there were, because this was the ’80s—girls were supposed to play girl characters, and boys were supposed to play boy characters. ~The Mary Sue

The thing was, yeah, I liked Princess Leia. She was brave, beautiful and outspoken. She kicked butt right next to the guys and didn’t get all girly and stupid. But the character I really liked? Han Solo. That dude was a bad ass! He did what he wanted and most of the time he did the right thing. He clearly had a history of doing bad things but now he was a good guy, awesome!

I’ve always had a history of identifying with the anti-hero or even the villain in films. When I first saw the Tim Burton Batman, I loved the Joker more than I did Batman! I thought Batman was a big old stick in the mud whereas the Joker had fun … Sure, he killed some people, but … Yeah, there’s no way to justify that so I’ll just continue on.

A short while ago I came across an article about how other women identified with Han Solo, not in a sexy way, but in a way where she wanted to be him. I dug it. It made sense to me. Of course, Harrison Ford is super sexy, there is no denying that, but when I was a kid, it wasn’t about his pretty face and roguish grin, it was about his ability to fight and be brave while also being just a little bit bad. It seemed super cool to me. It also seemed kind of like the wrong way to think, so I kept it to myself. It’s only now that I’m older that I fully understand that these feelings are good, they’re okay, they’re totally normal and that a lot of young girls and women have them. You cannot help what character in a story you identify with and feeling shameful of that is a product of a society that still has “girl” toys and “boy” toys along with “proper” gender roles. The fact is, be proud of yourself, be proud of what character you like the most and never, ever feel ashamed of who you truly are.

[I]t seems so simple: you should be able to be whoever you want, no matter your gender, race, or your sexuality. You can be drawn to a character without being limited by a crush on him or her. ~The Mary Sue

Now, as an adult and a writer I realize that my female characters are very often variations and versions of Han Solo. They’re all brave, they’re all ready to fight if need be and many of them have mysterious pasts. One of my favorite characters, Magenta from “The Last Daughter Of Lilith,” is the perfect example of that. She is scarred up both emotionally and physically, you know she’s been through  a lot of bad stuff and she’s come out on the other side of it rough and tough. Maybe she doesn’t have a roguish grin and a lot of witty quips but I know that before all the really and stuff went down, she did have a grin and some witticisms. Time has changed her, matured her, made her tougher, sadder and braver.

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It’s funny to be 37 and now just realizing how much of an influence Star Wars had on my creative side. Even Princess Leia gets in there, that same kind of toughness comes through in my characters. In my personality. Princess L taught me not to take any crap and even though it took me a long time to learn that and actually enact it, learn it I did. I think my beloved Star Wars characters were the foundation of the creative world I began to create. My female characters don’t need a man to complete them, sure romance happened, but it wasn’t the piece that makes them who they are. Other events, tragedies, life in general, created them, their ways and their attitudes. It’s only now that I realize that those movies I watched as  a kid, Star Wars, Star Trek, Supergirl, Labyrinth all had something in common…strong, brave and imperfect characters that are both male and female.

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For so many, Star Wars is more than just a sci-fi epic, it’s a lifestyle. It amazes me to this day how many of us will troop out to theater’s to witness the adventures of our favorite characters, to see how they’ve fared during these intervening years (where the heck is Luke?). Sure, they’re older, but we have to hope they’re also wiser while also being as brave and fun as they once were. I, for one, will be there this weekend and will report back.

What Han taught me is that you can be attracted to people and characters in many different ways. There will always be characters you can relate to and they can always tell you things about yourself to help you on your journey. You just have to listen. ~The Mary Sue

What about you? How did Star Wars influence you? Who’s the character that really spoke to you? Tell me about it in the comments!

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Trailer Snark (November 13, 2015 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: James Bond shakes and stirs the box office with a mighty $73M in receipts to take the top spot this week (greater than the combined box office of all top ten movies from last week).  The Peanuts Movie came in second with $45M.  The Martian held onto the third place spot ($9.3M/$197M).  Goosebumps was fourth ($$6.9M/$66.4M), and fifth place belonged to Bridge of Spies ($6M/$54.9M).  The rest of the top ten were as follows: Hotel Transylvania 2 ($3.5M/$161.2M), Burnt ($3M/$10.2M), The Last Witch Hunter ($2.6M/$23.5M), The Intern ($1.8M/$71.4M), and Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension ($1.6M/$16.2M).  And now let’s look at this week’s new box office entries……

By the Sea (Universal) – Drama/Romance
Rated R for strong sexuality, nudity, and language
Tag Line: None
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt
Plot: Set in France during the mid-1970s, Vanessa, a former dancer, and her husband Roland, an American writer, travel the country together. They seem to be growing apart, but when they linger in one quiet, seaside town they begin to draw close to some of its more vibrant inhabitants, such as a local bar/café-keeper and a hotel owner.
Running Time: 132 minutes

Jessica: I have no opinion on this one other than to say it looks like Bradgelina’s version of Eyes Wide Shut (not the story, the couple doing a film together that’s “edgy” and blah blah blah) though Angelina is a talented writer/director this just doesn’t appeal to me much.
Chris: I don’t know.  That was a strange trailer.  And it made me wonder how difficult it is for a real life married couple to act out such obvious marital angst?
Ken: Hilarious. It’s a dark comedy… No? No. Then it looks terrible.
Jim: Not sure how the movie will be, but the trailer is certainly well done. Moody and leaves me asking questions.

The 33 (Alcon) – Biography/Drama/History
Rated PG-13 for a disaster sequence and some language
Tag Line: Hope runs deep.
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Lou Diamond Phillips, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin
Plot: Based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days.
Running Time: 127 minutes

Jim: Looks good, I’m a sucker for disaster movies. The fact that it’s based on a real incident only adds to my interest.
Jessica: Looks good, not sure how accurate it is but it’s a home viewer.
Chris: I am with Jess on this one.  Disaster films are more home fare for me.  This one does look good, and retells a real event, which makes it a cut above the average disaster flick.
Ken: Well of course they’re going to make it out alive. It’s a movie. Duh. I’ll watch this at home where no one will see me cry.

Love the Coopers (CBS Films) – Comedy
Rated PG – 13 for thematic elements, language and some sexuality
Tag Line: You can’t regift family.
Starring: Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Ed Helms, Marisa Tomei, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde
Plot: When four generations of the Cooper clan come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Ken: “Love” may be a bit strong. The Coopers are alright.
Jim: Love the cast, but not the trailer.
Jessica: Ugh. I love me a good Christmas movie but this does not really look like that. I’ll stay home and re-watch “The Ref” or “Christmas Vacation” thanks.
Chris: I am not sure I would cough up the $10 to see this one in the theater, but I am intrigued.  The cast is great.

James White (The Film Arcade) – Drama
Rated R for drug use, some sexuality/nudity, and language
Tag Line: None
Starring: Cynthia Nixon, Christopher Abbott
Plot: James, a 21-year-old New Yorker, struggles to take control of his self-destructive behavior in the face of momentous family challenges.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Chris: Looks unwatchable to me….and that is saying something.
Jessica: Don’t care at all about this one.
Ken: You guys are crazy, I thought this looked very good. Not go to the movies and pay $20 good, but good enough that if it was on TV on a Tuesday night I’d give it a watch.
Jim: Looks like a good, solid film, but I’m not sure if I want to do gritty and realistic this holiday season.

Entertainment (Magnolia Pictures) – Drama
Rated R for language, crude sexual material, a disturbing image and brief drug use
Tag Line: None
Starring: Greg Turkington, Tye Sheridan, John C. Reilly, Dean Stockwell, Michael Cera
Plot: En route to meet his estranged daughter and attempting to revive his dwindling career, a broken, aging comedian plays a string of dead-end shows in the Mojave desert.
Running Time: 110 minutes

Jim: Pretty weird. I dunno.
Chris: I wanted to reach through my laptop and stick a gag in Turkington’s mouth.  Not a good sign. Michael Cera only makes strange movies these days it seems.
Ken: That was so weird and I loved every minute of it. The sad clown humor totally tickles me.
Jessica: I was annoyed at the “existential masterpiece” comment and then clicked off when it started go nowhere. When I can’t bother with the trailer that’s a BIG miss for me.

My All American (Clarius Entertainment) – Drama
Rated PG for thematic elements, language and brief partial nudity
Tag Line: Hope never quits.
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Finn Whitrock, Robin Tunney
Plot: Freddie Steinmark, an underdog on the gridiron, faces the toughest challenge of his life after leading his team to a championship season.
Running Time: 118 minutes

Jessica: Football true stories are usually good, inspiration viewing.
Jim: No sports movie cliché left unturned.
Chris: Rudy for a new generation?
Ken: America loves an inspiring football story and this one’s all heart. It’s crazy to think that just 50 years ago there were no black players in college football.  

Kilo Two Bravo (Honora) – Drama/War
Rated R for disturbing and graphic depiction of war injuries, and for pervasive language
Tag Line: A film about bravery, courage, heroism and the ultimate sacrifice.
Starring: David Elliot, Mark Stanley, Scott Kyle
Plot: Kajaki Dam 2006. A company of young British soldiers encounter an unexpected, terrifying enemy. A dried-out river bed, and under every step the possibility of an anti-personnel mine. A mine that could cost you your leg – or your life.
Running Time: 108 minutes

Ken: A group of soldiers watching their friends getting blown to bits in a minefield. No thanks, not my idea of entertainment.
Jessica: A group of soldiers watching their friends getting blown to bits in a minefield. No thanks, not my idea of entertainment.
Jim: Looks intense, but I’ve seen this too many times before (The Hurt Locker, Survivor, etc).
Chris: The trailer did not do much for me in spite of my love for military flicks, but the buzz is pretty great which makes me think twice.

Tickets Purchased: One for The 33 (Jim), one for Entertainment (Ken), one for Love the Coopers (Chris), and Jessica stays home to watch Christmas Vacation on a constant loop.

Now, that's entertainment!
Now, that’s entertainment!
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The Female Perspective: STAR WARS: The Force Awakens … A Bunch of Trolls

Welcome! This is the weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


December 18th cannot come fast enough.
December 18th cannot come fast enough.

Unless you live under a rock you know that the new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out in all it’s Star Wars glory last night. Following a flurry of excitement and geeky goodness came the trolls.

The dang internet trolls.

Seriously, I really don’t like those guys (or gals).

What did they do this time? Oh, they created a hashtag that says “#BoycottStarWarsVII”, yeah, that’s right, there are actually people (at least, I think they’re people. Are trolls actual people? I’m beginning to think they’re actual trolls, like the ones that live under bridges.) out there that claim that the new Star Wars movie is “anti-white” because the star appears to be a black man.

According to FB the hashtag has been used over one hundred thousand times already.
According to FB the hashtag has been used over one hundred thousand times already.

Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. Somehow, someone, somewhere decided that from watching this 2-minute trailer that the entire movie is about this fellow and that means that the entire movie is now anti-white. Even though the other main character all appear to be white. Besides that point, there has always been diversity within the Star Wars world.  Lando is black, Darth Vader is voiced by a black man and I’m pretty sure all those aliens flitting in and about are of various ethnicities other than white. Just a suspicion of mine though and the fact is, I can’t possibly make this make sense. It’s so out there that my brain can’t even fully understand why someone would believe this, let alone make a specific hashtag to promote their racist propaganda.

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The fact is that whether this is “just” internet trolls, a cry for attention or nothing much, it is an important piece of the necessary dialogue about racism in this country. People try to say it’s gotten better because we don’t have slaves or separate rest rooms but that was obvious racism. What we have today is subtle racism and it is far more insidious and dangerous than the overt racism ever was. People can hide behind their computer screens or in plain site and yet, they are full of hatred for other races. This subtly is what brings us hashtags like this that go viral. It’s what stings in media stories that call black men “thugs” and white men “citizens”. The fact is that even if this boycott Star Wars hashtag is a joke, it’s not a very funny one.

Do not bring the children into your twisted logic. Kids aren’t born with racism.

In a world where we can put every single thought in our heads out into the mysterious internet, people are finding that other people say crazy, nutso, mostly insane things. That includes creating a hashtag to boycott what promises to be the biggest movie of the year.

I’m sorry trolls but you are going to lose this one. People who are true Star Wars fans are not going to run away because Luke Skywalker may or may not be the lead. They’re going to flock to this movie to see who the heck he’s become in all these years because, let’s face it, these trailers aren’t telling us much about our favorite Jedi, Smuggler, Princess and Wookie. We get little teases of their roles, little moments of seeing them on screen as some of our favorite fictional characters, it all leaves us wanting more.

I can't even ... There are no words ...
I can’t even … There are no words …

Besides all of that, the hashtag is clearly a cry  from white supremacists racists for attention.

You know some troll is sitting in their basement (yes, I’m generalizing here), enjoying a Mountain Dew and a microwaved burrito while laughing gleefully at the furor they’ve caused with their racist comments and hashtag.  Heck, I’m feeding into that with this blog but I can’t even help myself because the idea of someone saying that the new Star Wars is “anti-white” and everyone should boycott it just makes me insane.

At the end of the day, will this cut into the Star Wars money making machine? No way. The racists will not get what they want and the Star Wars franchise will soar on into movie history, as it should and as a movie with racial diversity in it’s cast. Not to mention, in the wake of “boycott Star Wars” has come it’s opposite, director Ava DuVernay, after expressing her own dismay, charged fans to co-opt another tag, #CelebrateStarWarsVII and some of the Tweets from that have been glorious indeed.

I because it’s giving us new, diverse voices and stories from a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars is for everyone!!!

I read an article from iO9 today that used this line that I wholly agree with and it also reminded me that with all the awful stuff we see online, there is always, always going to be good stuff too. As evidenced by #CelebrateStarWarsVII and it reminding us that for kids especially, seeing a black man in the lead role is a wonderful thing indeed and for many of them, it’s not nearly as big a deal as it is for some of us.

Take something dumb and toxic, and turn it into something wonderful and funny. That’s also what the internet is about. ~iO9

Take that trolls, whatever toxic garbage you toss our way, we’ll always combat it with goodness and light because guess what? With darkness there is always light and as a good friend of mine always says, the light will win.

The Force is with us all.

Is it just trolls being trolls, nonsense or something to be worried about? 

Tell me YOUR thoughts.

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The Female Perspective: Where is My Wonder Woman Movie?

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


Where is My Wonder Woman Movie?

Wonder Woman. She kicks serious butt.
Wonder Woman. She kicks serious butt.

Think Ladies Don’t Care about Comics? Think Again.

  • The Guardians of the Galaxy audience was comprised of 46% female viewers.
  • The audience for this years San Diego Comic Con was 40% female.
  • Wonder Woman is the longest continually published comic book character to date.
  • She kicks serious butt. Just sayin’

In Case You Didn’t Know

Published by DC Comics, Wonder Woman was created in the 1940’s by the American psychologist and writer, William Moulton Marston. She made her first appearance in 1941 and she has been a constant publication for DC Comics ever since. She is an Amazonian Warrior Princess who, when outside of her homeland of Paradise Island (a land that is free of men which may sound fun but really isn’t), is known by her alter ego Diana Prince. She has a wide range of skills, from superhuman strength to combat and battle skills. She has various weapons, my favorites being the Lasso of Truth, her bullet proof bracelets and her invisible airplane.

In recent years there has been a lot of speculation about when a Wonder Woman movie will make an appearance on the cinematic landscape. The story we fans get is that the studios simply don’t have time (but they do have time to make movies like “The Interview” or other such nonsense). I wonder really if they are so clueless as to think that a Wonder Woman movie would tank. I think studios are completely out of touch with what people want and right now people are digging superhero films! What often amazes me is that, years ago Joss Whedon (who created Buffy the Vampire Slayer) went to them with what I can only imagine was an amazing script for a Wonder Woman movie and he was turned away.

I suspect that whoever made that decision is no longer working at that studio because Joss Whedon writes women as strong, smart and more than capable of saving the world. His Black Widow is fantastic in The Avengers and honestly, Buffy is and always will be a prime example of how to write a strong woman well. He made Buffy powerful but he also made her vulnerable to every day troubles. Boyfriend problems, friend problems, life problems all made there way into the Buffy-verse every episode. All while she fought her way through hordes of demons and vampires. I hope that one day Mr. Whedon gets another chance at the Wonder Woman movie. I honestly cannot think of anyone directing/writing today that could do it better.

Wonder Woman has always fought for truth, justice and equality. According to stats found on Wikipedia, Wonder Woman was named the 20th greatest comic book character by Empire Magazine. Wonder Woman also placed fifth on IGN’s “Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time”. Her legacy will endure for years to come and she paved the way for other strong female heroes like Buffy, Black Widow and even the new female Thor. Wonder Woman proved that a woman can be strong, sexy and smart without being trashy or angry.

Still Not Sure? Check out the below Video

The Future…

In the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel we are going to see the first ever big screen version of Wonder Woman. It will be the first time she gets to go head-to-head with both Batman and Superman. While details of her role in the plot movie are scarce, there is hope that she will be as big a part of the storyline as the guys. I am really hopeful that she will be fighting toe-to-toe with these guys.

I am also hopeful that she will make a big enough impact on movie studios that they will finally see the value in a Wonder Woman movie. There is a lot riding on Gal Gadot’s portrayal of this iconic character. I am nervous that they will somehow minimize her role or make her weaker than the guys. Regardless, I will be there opening week with popcorn in hand, hoping that I’m wrong and that Wonder Woman will kick just as much butt as Batman and Superman!

Actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Zak Snyder Superman movie.
Actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Zak Snyder Superman movie.