04 May 2009

May the Fourth be with you

A Happy Star Wars Day to one and all!

It may come as a bit of a shock to some of you, but I'm actually a bit of a Star Wars fan.

There were a few clues if I'm honest. There are several Star Wars toys (yes toys - not 'collectibles' - they are for uber geeks and never get out the packet. Mine are for playing with) dotted around the living room.

I own somewhere in the region of 20 t-shirts that are in some way Star Wars related, possibly even more. I don't want to think to hard about it, let alone count them for fear it is actually much, much higher.

There is an 18" Darth Vader guarding my desk at work.

Even the web forum I use for work related activities has a Yoda avatar.

The more alert of you will have noticed I sport a tattoo on my right shoulder, which is normally hidden beneath clothing, but is now clear for all to see on my profile picture.

This too, is from Star Wars. I've never regretted having it done, but since 1999 have sometimes felt the urge to explain exactly when I had it done, because this makes a world of difference.

Because once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away.....there were two types of Star Wars fan, those who followed the Rebel Alliance, and those who sided with the Empire.

If you don't know your Star Wars, then maybe being in the Rebel Alliance appeals to you? It sounds..you know..kind of rebellious.

Guess again! It's not. The rebellion are the good guys, and whereas they will ultimately win out, they're not rebellious. They're a crowd of goodie goodies with a semi-Buddhist mantra, and a penchant for brown hooded capes.

But the Empire...now you're talking. They get the best spaceships, best outfits, and a complete disregard for entire planets.

So when I decided I wanted a tattoo, first rule had to be, it should be significant to me. No Celtic Band, or Oriental symbol that had no bearing on my beliefs. It had to be Star Wars, and it had to be Empire.

Considering that a picture of Darth Vader or a TIE fighter might be just a wee bit shit, I looked for something that an unbeliever wouldn't recognise, but would be clocked by a fellow geek.

Now the Empire does have an insignia, but it's not plastered all over everything. You can see it on some of the Stormtroopers uniforms, most noticeably on TIE fighter pilot helmets. So that's what I had.













But then something terrible happened.

The Phantom Menace came along, with it's silly characters, cod mysticism, and plot holes so large you could hid a Death Star in them. There was no Rebellion, no Empire, just a Republic and a Trade Federation.

The Trade Federation were the baddies, with their Droid Army, so in order to protect themselves, the Republic (with Jedi's as their guardians), decided they needed an army of their own.

This didn't arrive until the next film, with Jedi's investigating who actually ordered an army of clones, as unbeknown to them, they were actually part of an Evil plot by the head of the Republic to turn it into an Empire.

So come the end of Attack of the Clones, this Clone Army arrives, and they look suspiciously like Stormtroopers. We know that they are eventually going to be the best baddies in the universe, but for the time being they are the dogsbodies of the Republic, and general goodie goodies.

And they all have my tattoo on them.



Worse still, George Lucas then makes a cartoon series based around the Clone Wars, so the symbol becomes more and more synonymous with Clones not Stormtroopers.

Why oh why oh why when the Emperors plans paid off did he not have a rethink on the insignia? A change of regime always leads to a bit of rebranding, or did they not have PR companies on Coruscant?

As these are set before the first three films, this would of course mean that I get to keep my tattoo, and the designers really should have come up with something different for the clones.

So if strangers recognise my tattoo as being from Star Wars, I am very quick to quantify just when I had it done.

I should say it was pre Phantom Menace, or pre 1999, but if I want to check for myself just how geeky they are too?

I say it's post Order 66

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