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NPR Radio Show - My Thoughts

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Ever since reading Anchorhead's high praises of the Star Wars NPR radio show, I have been determined to find it. To experience a more comprehensive take on Star Wars hooks the curiosity of any die-hard fan.

So now I finally have my hands on all three installments (ANH,ESB,ROTJ). I'll naturally start with ANH in sharing my thoughts on each episode.

Do share your thoughts also, if you have any questions, or have listened/are listening to it.

Episode 01 - A Wind to Shake the Stars: The narrator tells us there are millions of different systems in this galaxy. The way he speaks, really sets the tone for just how much potential there is for this story. The first setting is Tatooine, and we find out that Luke's "friends" are really a bunch of assholes that push him around, save for Wendy (a guy).

Luke has his sights set on the Imperial Academy. He wants to become a galactic-reknown pilot. His friends, being the pessimistic ultra-conservatives they are, have a serious problem with that. Anyway, Luke challenges Fixer, Alpha Male asshole, to a race with their Skyhoppers. While his co-pilot Wendy freaks out, Luke takes a dangerous short-cut that could very well cost them their lives. Fortunately, our hero not only survives, but wins the race.

We then go to the Moisture Farm. It's evident that most everyone on Tatooine hates people with pie-in-the-sky dreams. Uncle Owen berates Luke for having his head in the clouds, and Aunt Beru is always having to come to her nephew's defense. I imagine Aunt Beru being a lot younger in this version of the story, given her voice.

Luke goes to work on some ancient moisture vaporators, with the assistance of an equally ancient droid that seems to be malfunctioning. I don't blame Luke for bitching the droid out. Randomly spotting something in the sky, Luke uses his (what is the equivalent of) high-powered binoculars to get a closer look. There are two space ships firing at one another! Presumably he's seeing a Star Destroyer subduing the Tantive IV. If I remember right, this scene with Luke working and spotting the space battle was actually shot for the film, but of course later deleted. Luke races off to Fixer & Co. to tell them about his discovery, only to find that his (one and only) true friend, Biggs Darklighter, has briefly visited home from the Imperial Academy.

Biggs and Luke hop into a speeder and zoom away for a canyon where they can catch up on old times. To be honest, I almost was sure that Luke was coming onto Biggs during their subsequent conversation. His inflection when speaking to his friend was pretty sensual.

Biggs reveals to Luke that he has plans to jump ship and join the Rebellian against the Empire. He tries to convince Luke to get off of Tatooine, basically telling him that Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru are dead weights, and on Tatooine he has no real future. Luke rebuffs Biggs, and there's a little argument. He then drops Biggs off at the power station, but not before they make out up. Luke promises that he will join the Academy the next season.

The narrator then gives this epilogue to episode 1:

With the abruptness he will find difficult to believe, Luke Skywalker's life is about to change beyond his wildest dreams... as he's swept up in the bitter war between Rebel Alliance and Empire. And soon, a captive princess' desperate plea for help, a final quest of a legendary hero, and the key to the empire's most awesome weapon, will be decided by the actions of a young farmer boy from Tatooine.

 

So far I really like it. The story as we know it from the film has yet to even begin. The foreshadowing, complemented greatly by the John William's score, is among the best I've come across. The voice acting is superb. When Luke and Biggs are talking, it doesn't seem acted at all, but is like listening to two close friends interacting. That adds a realistic and relatable quality to the story.

"Fuck you. All the star wars movies were excellent. none of them sucked. Also, revenge of the sith is the best."

- DarthZorgon (YouTube)

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Glad you're digging it, man.  It's by far my default way to experience Star Wars. Much deeper story in this form.

 

That said -  the credit goes to C3PX.  He's the one that put me back in touch with it.  I hadn't heard it since I was a kid, when it was originally broadcast.  Back then I only heard a few portions.  It would have been lost forever for me, if it hadn't been for him.

 

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

So shines a good deed in a weary world.

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Hey there Anchorhead. Yeah, I always enjoy C3PX's posts.

 

***

Episode 02 - Points of Origin: We are zapped to a planet called Ratir (rah-teer), where the Tantive IV has been escorted to a space port, due to suspicions that its presence may be related to the rebel uprising there. Leia is confronted by (or rather confronts) an Imperial officer named Tyon (Tion?), who has a huge romantic crush on Leia. And so do I.

The Tantive IV is loaded with military equipment, so Leia has to play it smooth and find a way to evade any cargo search. Luckily for her, the rebels on Ratir have made a diversion attack, which requires Tyon to leave.

The diversion was created so that this information could be relayed to Leia and Antilles by an injured rebel who can barely hold his guts in: apparently, the Imperials will soon activate a damn-near-omniscient surveillance system that will monitor all conversations made in the area.

Out of NOWHERE arrives stormtroopers, accompanied by Darth Vader. Vader cuts all bullshit and tells Leia to give up her possessions so they can be searched through. Leia reminds him that this situation is under the jurisdiction of Tyon, so Vader will have to take it up with him before she's under any obligation to follow the order.

When the aforementioned survelliance system activates, Leia let's herself be heard while using some clever reverse psychology to escape aboard the Tantive IV unsearched. What she "tells Antilles" boils down to: "Tyon is kinda cute, but is an asshole. If he searches my ship, my father will be very angry, and we could never date one another."

Later on Alderaan, there's a dinner between Bail Organa, Leia, and Tyon. The latter wants to be even cuter to Leia with his upcoming promotion once the "secret weapon" is complete. Leia accidentally slips the codename "Death Star", which she couldn't possibly know unless she was associated with rebel spies. Tyon freaks out, there's a physical struggle with a blaster, BANG, Tyon is dead.

I want to say that Leia's voice actress did a splendid job of conveying emotional shock from having maybe killed someone.

A little later, Bail informs Leia that the Death Star plans have been stolen! She demands that she be the one to lead the mission over the planet Prowa to have them beamed aboard the Tantive IV. Oh, but there's something more.

"There will be a second part to your mission, Leia. In this struggle we shall need more than arms and interceptive plans. It's time we summon the help of one of our wisest warriors, and leaders."

"Who father?"

"The Jedi Knight... Obi-Wan Kenobi."

 

Great episode! Leia's feminine, crystal-clear, emotive voice is so very deeply enchanting. Visually, my imagination automatically created a different woman altogether from film Leia (saw her attire as that in the award ceremony from the film for whatever reason), but let me assure you, their personalities are exact replicas so far.

I like Vader's voice. It isn't too drastically different.

When Bail started talking about Obi-Wan, I got that same feeling I did at the end of Batman Begins. I'm anticipating something great... that while being familiar, excites me with the prospect of being encountered in a new light.

"Fuck you. All the star wars movies were excellent. none of them sucked. Also, revenge of the sith is the best."

- DarthZorgon (YouTube)

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Sounds pretty great so far.  I have a question, though.  How do they pronounce Leia's name in the radio drama?  Is it Lee-uh like in the original movie or Lay-uh like in the sequels?  I know that's something that Anchorhead has brought up before.

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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The radio drama is pretty well done, but I can't take it too seriously with other actors playing people like Leia and Han. The first episode was interesting. But the second one, the Leia ep, was lame. And I'm not terribly impressed with how Leia is performed. I wish the radio drama didn't feel the need to fill in every bit of the story. I guess we're lucky they didn't put in scenes for every time the characters went to do a crap. The stuff that's not in the movie or the deleted scenes feels a bit bogus to me. It includes some stuff that makes Han more ruthless and Tarkin less brave.

I also have serious issues with the ROTJ drama, because it includes various expanded universe stuff. Considering that the radio dramas are considered core stuff (I think they shouldn't be, but they are), expanded universe stuff from the 90s doesn't belong in there. They should have stuck to old stuff and tried to make a drama like it would have been had they made it in the earlier 80s rather than in the mid-90s. 

 

 

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Gaffer Tape said:

Sounds pretty great so far.  I have a question, though.  How do they pronounce Leia's name in the radio drama?  Is it Lee-uh like in the original movie or Lay-uh like in the sequels?  I know that's something that Anchorhead has brought up before.

 

 Everyone in it pronounces her name "Lay-uh."

"Fuck you. All the star wars movies were excellent. none of them sucked. Also, revenge of the sith is the best."

- DarthZorgon (YouTube)

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These radio dramas just reinforce Mark Hamill's skill as a voice actor. I personally think he did a better job in the radio dramas than in the actual movies. :P

http://i.imgur.com/7N84TM8.jpg

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Vaderisnothayden said:

The radio drama is pretty well done, but I can't take it too seriously with other actors playing people like Leia and Han. The first episode was interesting. But the second one, the Leia ep, was lame. And I'm not terribly impressed with how Leia is performed. I wish the radio drama didn't feel the need to fill in every bit of the story. I guess we're lucky they didn't put in scenes for every time the characters went to do a crap. The stuff that's not in the movie or the deleted scenes feels a bit bogus to me. It includes some stuff that makes Han more ruthless and Tarkin less brave.

I also have serious issues with the ROTJ drama, because it includes various expanded universe stuff. Considering that the radio dramas are considered core stuff (I think they shouldn't be, but they are), expanded universe stuff from the 90s doesn't belong in there. They should have stuck to old stuff and tried to make a drama like it would have been had they made it in the earlier 80s rather than in the mid-90s. 

 

To each their own I guess, but having it expanded into a much larger story, and then serialized into a bunch of episodes is what really makes me love this so much. I loved the extra stuff with Leia and Bail. Maybe it sounds a little corny at times, but I think that is part of the novelty, it makes it feel like an authentic old time radio show. For some reason listening to the thing just brings me back to the days of staying up past bed time and secretly reading comic books with a flashlight.

Having different actors for many of the characters was just fine for me, when I listen to it I like to try to forget about the movie as much as possible and imagine everything in my head. May sound strange, but when I listen to this, the characters in my imagination are based off of the Ralph McQuarrie paintings rather than the actors from the films. 

I also don't care as much for the ROTJ drama. The first one is really my favorite, it stands on its own, and really has that classic sci-fi feel to it. ROTJ suffers from having been made over ten years after the other two. Losing Mark Hamil in the role of Luke kicks it down a notch as well. No doubt it would have been better had it been made shortly after The Empire Strikes Back, but I am glad they eventually got around to making it, just for the sake of completing the trilogy.

DarkFather, glad to see you have taken the time to track these down and listen to them. I am sure you'll find they were well worth the time and money.

"Every time Warb sighs, an angel falls into a vat of mapel syrup." - Gaffer Tape

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C3PX said:

Having different actors for many of the characters was just fine for me, when I listen to it I like to try to forget about the movie as much as possible and imagine everything in my head. May sound strange, but when I listen to this, the characters in my imagination are based off of the Ralph McQuarrie paintings rather than the actors from the films.

I agree.  The different actors don't bother me at all. There isn't any mental conflict for me when I'm listening to it.  Truthfully, Leia & Han have replaced the film versions for me.  Much deeper characters now.

 

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

So shines a good deed in a weary world.

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I very much enjoy these radio dramas as well .if anyone cares to go to you tube and type in star wars radio slideshow you can see an audio visual presentation of this that i made using windows movie maker and some other downloaded clips from the web.just a project i did for the fun of it.you can also find it by looking up my handle of darkempire37.please comment and tell me what you think.I hope you all enjoy it.

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For those interested....

 

There were 2 completely different limited edition boxed sets of these radio dramas.  One had SW and Empire...the other had the complete trilogy.

To add insult to injury, each had its own set of extras only available on the limited edition sets.  A crackpot like me was forced to buy both of them and combine discs. ;)

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What kind of extras did they have?

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I may have commentaries for the next 11 episodes at some point. Right now I want to just comment on Vader and Obi-Wan.

When Vader comes aboard the Tantive IV to retrieve the stolen plans, a listener will begin to realize that this is a new spin on the villain from the film. While much of the dialogue and actions are the same, the tonality he uses when speaking gives us a villain with a different personality. His voice remains calm. While choking Antilles, Vader talks like an adult asking a child where the remote control to the television was hidden.

So this Vader isn't so much the brute from the film, but a more sophisticated and stoic villain.

Now for Obi-Wan Kenobi. Overall, the voice actor gives a flat performance. Obi-Wan seems too fatigued and "out of it" to be very engaging, and that's the first disappointment in the radio drama so far. Hopefully he gets better later on.

"Fuck you. All the star wars movies were excellent. none of them sucked. Also, revenge of the sith is the best."

- DarthZorgon (YouTube)

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Mielr said:

What kind of extras did they have?

 

There's a 30 minute making-of...commercials, interviews, alternate openings, the original "Get Well" message for Brian Daley...a ton of stuff.

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I recently got these, and I've had a chance to listen to all of ANH so far.

They are interesting, to say the least. During the parts with Hamill, I feel like I'm listening to some rare audio from the movie. All of the Luke and Biggs stuff is golden.

I thought the voice actor for Ben did a passable job, as well as Han Solo. Vader was just ... weird.

Leia grated on my nerves. When she launched into one of her whiny "Ohhhhhhh" tirades, I wanted to slap her.

I'm interested to see how ESB turns out.

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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I absolutely love Leia's voice in this.

"Fuck you. All the star wars movies were excellent. none of them sucked. Also, revenge of the sith is the best."

- DarthZorgon (YouTube)

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DarkFather said:

Now for Obi-Wan Kenobi. Overall, the voice actor gives a flat performance. Obi-Wan seems too fatigued and "out of it" to be very engaging, and that's the first disappointment in the radio drama so far. Hopefully he gets better later on.

I'm inclined to think Kenobi was the best of the performances.

DarkFather said:

I absolutely love Leia's voice in this.

I don't. For one thing, it's so not Leia.

 

 

 

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The Leia torture scene is classic. If your mind is in the wrong place, it can sound pretty dirty :O

 

 

I have said this on these boards before, as urking is Vader voice is to many, I love that it is so different from the movies. Really has that classic old sci-fi serial villan kind of sound to it. The biggest complaints I hear from people about these is that they are not enough like the movies, Han sounds nothing like Harrison Ford, Leia sounds nothing like Carrie Fisher, Vader sounds nothing like J.E.J. But that is what I like about it. They are not the movies and they don't try to be.

If these were exactly like the movies, I wouldn't care a thing about them. Hell, might as well rip the audio from the movies and put it on your ipod. Boring stuff. 

Great thing about this is that it lives on its own, independant from everything else SW. Completely disconnected from all the baggaged that followed in the years since 1977.

"Every time Warb sighs, an angel falls into a vat of mapel syrup." - Gaffer Tape

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The movie versions of the characters are THE versions. As such it is a fault to have the characters come off different.

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Again, might as well watch the movie with your eyes closed. Absolutely pointless.

"Every time Warb sighs, an angel falls into a vat of mapel syrup." - Gaffer Tape

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One thing I forgot to mention:

I thought it was clever the way they managed to communicate the story in a non-visual way. In a movie, it's easy to cut from one locale to another and not lose the audience. In radio, that's not as easy.

Think about the Death Star battle in the movie. The movie cuts from one cockpit to another, then to the control room on Yavin, then back to cockpits and external views of the fighters.

In the radio drama, we hear most of the battle through the comm system in the Rebel control room, just as Leia hears it.

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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C3PX said:

Again, might as well watch the movie with your eyes closed. Absolutely pointless.

 

 Well I never saw any particular point to the radio dramas in the first place.

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xx

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain.
"A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes"...James Feibleman (1904-1987)
www . axia . ws/axia

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...Axia, read the whole thread before commenting on one thread. Hell, read the person's full POST.  He was praising the radio drama.

Cept for vaderisnothayden, who is known for being the most negative out of all of us.  He makes Skyjedi look like a TFN user.

A Goon in a Gaggle of 'em