Posted on

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.


star-wars-episode-7-image

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!

103012-star-wars111

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.

Star_Wars_Episode_VII_The_Force_Awakens

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.

star wars a new hope 1_edit-xlarge

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!

Posted on

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.

12045298_1032897560075206_4886884940212660605_o

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.

Posted on

Spector for Hire: The Force is Strong in 2015

This year will definitely be an exciting year for Star Wars fans, young and old (like me).  Hey, “when 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not.”  There is a LOT to look forward to!

Star Wars: Rebels

Yes, I’m still reeling from the loss of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Yes, I understand, in part, why they had to stop.  But hey, Star Wars Rebels rocks!  Five years before the events taking place in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, comes the story of the Rebellion’s beginnings while the Empire spreads tyranny through the galaxy.  Sitting down to watch this show with my son is often the highlight of my week.

The second half of Season One of Star Wars Rebels hit the airwaves on January 5th.  The episode, entitled Path of the Jedi focuses on a key trial all Jedi must overcome.  Will Ezra be up to the task?

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

The folks at runDisney have created the race you’re looking for this January at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.  Well, I guess it’s the race you’re looking for, unless you’re like me and would prefer an event in Florida during Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World….

Can you say Imperial Challenge?!!!??  Come on runDisney, let’s make it happen!

Feel the power of the Force during the first-ever Star Wars Half Marathon run at theDisneyland® Resort.  It’s a 13.1 mile intergalactic adventure in the most magical place on Earth. Your course takes you through Disney California Adventure® Park, past Disneyland® Park, and then on to the terrestrial streets of the surrounding areas.  There’s also kid races, a 5k and 10k and a Rebel Challenge for completing both the half marathon and 10k distances.

_rD_wookiee

Star Wars Celebration

In April, Star Wars Celebration will take over the Anaheim Convention Center in CA.  The official convention of a galaxy far, far away, will herald the premieres of both Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith in 3D and the Season 2 premiere of Star Wars Rebels.  On top of that are appearances by Star Wars actors and creators, panel discussions, more merchandise than you could smuggle past an Imperial blockade, and of course exclusive reveals which will no doubt be about The Force Awakens!!!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU9a0t174N4&w=560&h=315]

Marvel Comics

While Dark Horse certainly created some great comics over the last twenty years, I am very much excited for the upcoming releases from Marvel.

The first issue, which comes out on January 14th, already has over a million pre-orders which sets it up as perhaps the highest selling comic of the year already.

Yours truly may or may not have gotten his grubby little hands on an advance copy….

_sw1_mine

Yep, this is the comic you are looking for.  It’s fantastic!

Buy it.  Read it.  Love it.  Oh and grab some amazing variant covers too.

_sw1_skottie

_sw1_quesada_sw1_ross_sw1_campbell

and of course the piece de resistance…..

The Force Awakens

It’s going to be a great year to be a Star Wars fan!

~Rob