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Star Wars: Made Easy

Christian Blauvelt: Open Book

Christian Blauvelt: Open Book

We recently caught up with Christian Blauvelt to chat Kowakian monkey-lizards, asthmatic cyborgs, and the unbeatable power of Star Wars. Christian is an award-winning film and pop culture journalist and Deputy Editor of BBC Culture. He’s the expert author of our book Star Wars Made Easy.

Christian Blauvelt | Editor & Entertainment Journalist

Your work in five words:

Sharing the fun with you.

If a movie was made about your life, it would be called:

Get Thee to the Geek

BB-8, R2-D2, or C-3PO?

C-3PO. Most of us don’t want to be like C-3PO, because we know deep down we’d act exactly like C-3PO in the situations he faces.

We’ll admit it: we’re very jealous of your career! How does it feel to do work around the fandom that you love?

I’ve been an entertainment and culture journalist, covering everything from classical music to Comic-Con, for almost a decade, and I’m still pinching myself. The things I cover are things I genuinely love and am interested in and fill up much of my time even beyond work. Star Wars has been central to that – I first started covering the saga in-depth around 2010 for Entertainment Weekly by recapping The Clone Wars. Fans loved all the crazy details I’d add connecting the show to Star Wars novels and comics that are now under the Legends banner. And I had the pleasure of getting to know many of the stars of the show: Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, and, of course, the maestro himself, Dave Filoni. After moving over to BBC Culture I stayed in touch and hosted one of the first-ever Star Wars Rebels panels, as the show was nearing launch.

I’ve been genuinely impressed by everyone I’ve worked with at Lucasfilm over the years. It’s an amazing feeling to know that the company behind a saga you love so much is full of people just as passionate and energetic about it as you are. And there’s nothing like the Star Wars fan community – it’s an arena of pure passion and I’ve made so many friends among it. I’m lucky enough to bridge the world of the stars and the world of the fans – I’m in a position where I can go from hosting a Q&A with Natalie Portman to hanging out with amazing voices in fandom like Johnamarie Macias, Eric Geller, Rocky Blonshine, and Bria LaVorgna.

Star Wars is so much more than a film franchise – it’s a fully-developed story world full of rich history, nuanced culture, and complex characters. Was it challenging to simplify this in Star Wars Made Easy?

Well, I’ve been called the world’s foremost expert on Kowakian monkey-lizards (a lengthy analysis of which does not appear in this book, don’t worry!) So I did have to restrain myself a tad to distill Star Wars to its soulful essence and reach a general audience, not just fellow Kowakian monkey-lizard obsessives. Star Wars is so beautifully detailed, but its central themes and ideas are very universal, which made my job easier. Of course, as an entertainment journalist I’ve spent my career trying to reach a general audience, since I do cover much in the worlds of film and TV beyond Star Wars, so that experience aided in the process.

What’s your earliest Star Wars memory?

If you were a kid who grew up in the ‘90s, like me, it seemed like you were aware of Star Wars and knew a lot about it before you even saw any Star Wars movies. I remember being entranced by a copy of Shane Johnson’s Star Wars Technical Manual, from Del Rey, that a friend brought to the playground at school one day. And of course, there was Star Tours at Disney World. I grew up in Florida so I rode Star Tours before seeing the movies, also. When I finally did watch A New Hope, as a VHS rental from Blockbuster a couple days before my 10th birthday, I was very surprised that the StarSpeeder 1000 was not in the film!

What’s your favorite piece of Star Wars technology?

The hyperdrive, because it’s not just a faster than light technology, it’s a much-much-faster than light technology. I love how the Emperor travels from Coruscant to Mustafar in a matter of minutes so he can rescue Vader in The Revenge of the Sith. As someone who loves travel and discovering new places, the hyperdrive would be very helpful for exploring the galaxy.

In your opinion, who’s the most under-rated Star Wars character?

General Grievous, because he coughs and I had asthma as a kid.

Forty years is a long time for a franchise! Star Wars has stood the test of time, and keeps producing stories and characters that audiences love. How do you think the franchise has changed over the years, to remain so true to itself and yet so current?

Star Wars has never repeated itself – it only goes wider and deeper as time goes on. I also love that with every new Star Wars film and TV show the cast of characters gets more diverse and becomes more reflective of the world we live in – all the better to create a universe we can all feel part of. In particular, some of the biggest Star Wars fans I’ve ever encountered have been women, so I think it’s spectacular that Star Wars is continuing to expand its roster of amazing female characters.

What would you say to someone who’s new to Star Wars and not convinced it’s for them?

Open your mind to Star Wars and it’ll find a way of sneaking into your heart.

Do you have a favorite spread from Star Wars Made Easy?

Gotta say it’s the “Han Shot First?” debate spread. Do we resolve the controversy? Pick up the book and find out! (How’s that for a plug?)

 

© & TM 2017 LUCASFILM LTD. Used Under Authorization.

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