Here’s a battle between two lovely ladies for your reading pleasure. What do Leia Organa and Turanga Leela have in common, you ask?
Leela and Leia kind of sound alike, that’s what.
On to the battle!
Physicality. One is a young Carrie Fisher with either really long hair or a late 20th-century weave. The other is a Cyclops that is also a cartoon. Winner? Hey, who doesn’t find cartoons attractive? … Seriously, though, it’s a tie.
Is an interstellar space princess? Again with the redundancy, but I really enjoy saying “interstellar space.” Anywho, you know who’s an interstellar space princess? Princess Leia! Princess Leia is an interstellar space princess. Winner? Princess Leia!
Is a sewer-dwelling mutant? Hey, Leela doesn’t live in the sewers! But her parents do, and sometimes she visits, so we’ll call it “close enough.” Winner? Turanga Leela!
Has a ray gun? Everybody in the future has ray guns! Also, people living long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away. They also have ray guns. Winner? Everybody wins when they’ve got ray guns!
Has a better romantic interest? Princess Leia’s romantic interest is Han Solo. They’ve got a will-they-or-won’t-they thing going on, and it turns out they totally will, and everybody went squeeeeee! Han Solo is an interstellar space pirate who looks like a young Harrison Ford. Turanga Leela’s romantic is Philip J. Fry, a sweet-natured, slightly dim 20th century boy who ended up in the future through a wacky series of misadventures. Well, okay, just the one misadventure, really. Winner? As with Kara Thrace before him, anybody who goes up against a young Harrison Ford is going to come up just a wee bit short. Princess Leia.
Travels through space? In the future and also, apparently, in the past, everybody travels through space.
Winner? It’s a tie.
Looks good in a Slave Leia costume? If you’d think the winner would be obvious, then you haven’t see this image before:
Winner? Another tie!
Fights an epic evil? If by “fights an epic evil,” you mean “delivers packages to other planets,” then, yes, Turanga Leela fights an epic evil. But you don’t mean that, so: Winner? Princess Leia.
Pilots an interstellar delivery ship? Man, if there’s one thing Star Wars fans would love to see, it would be Princess Leia piloting an interstellar delivery ship. Unfortunately, she doesn’t, so they can’t. Winner? Turanga Leela.
Overall winner? Princess Leia coasts in to the finish line with a slight lead by having the good fortune to fall in love with Han Solo. (I’m not sure why I went with the finish line metaphor, because then these would be fictional character races, not fictional character battles, but we’ll just chalk that one up to creative license, eh?)
One’s an amorphous blob of indiscriminate evil, the other’s a hideous space alien.
Star Wars Jabba the Hutt in an epic battle against The Sopranos Tony Soprano. (By “epic,” I mean, these fictional character battles are usually longer than my other posts, kind of like epics are longer than regular novels.)
Which of these organized crime members will come out on top?
Will it be the guy in the show I’ve never seen?
Who knows, right?
Off to battle!
Physicality. Jabba the Hutt is a hideous space monster thing. He’s got stubby little Tyrannosaurus arms without the powerful hind legs to propel him. Tony Soprano is played by James Gandolfini, who’s got a little something sexy going on. Winner? Tony Soprano.
Has an interstellar space vehicle? I love redundantly saying “interstellar space.” Just makes space sound cooler, y’know? Anyway, Tony Soprano lives on earth, where the only people with interstellar vessels of any sort are the governments or, if you’re a conspiracy theorist, the rich and powerful. As a Mob member, I guess Tony could be rich and powerful enough to have an interstellar space vehicle, but you’d think it would’ve come up as a plot point then. Jabba the Hutt lives in the Star Wars universe, where everybody has an interstellar space vehicle. Because there’s no point in having a space opera without spaceships, that’s why. Unfortunately for Jabba the Hut, either he hasn’t got a space vehicle of his own or he’s just too goddamned heavy to get off Tatooine, because he’s always having that rascal Han Solo do his interstellar smuggling for him. Winner? Nobody.
Hangs out with a more assorted gaggle of scum and other villains? Both these gentlemen (creatures?) spend their days with a gaggle of varying degrees of scum, from cops on the take to interstellar bounty hunters to whatever the hell that crazy band in Return of the Jedi was.
However, only one of these guys has a right-hand man who’s got tentacles instead of hair. Winner? Jabba the Hutt.
Was betrayed by a close compatriot? If you count being infiltrated by the Rebels and having your right-hand man getting his brains all Jedi’d, then, yes, Jabba the Hutt was betrayed by a close compatriot. However, if you count that, you’re wrong, because that doesn’t match up with the definition of “close compatriot” at all. Tony Soprano, on the other hand, had all sorts of close buddies go running to the Feds, including the hilariously named “Big Pussy,” a moniker that would get you all sorts of bullied if people didn’t know who your friends were. Winner? Tony Soprano.
Got to hang out with Leia Organa in a slave outfit? Jabba the Hutt has quite the eclectic taste in ladies. Winner? Jabba.
Is more evil? Now this one’s a toughie. Jabba the Hutt is pretty evil, what with the feeding everybody to the Rancor and Sarlacc. But he never straight-up murders his troubled, drug-addicted nephew (as far as I know. Don’t get all expanded universe-y on me, here). Winner? Tony Soprano.
Faces cooler foes? Tony Soprano only ever has to worry about the Feds, other Mob members and his wife. Jabba the Hutt gets his ass handed to him by everyone’s favorite heroes: Han, Lando and Whatsisname.
Winner? Jabba the Hutt.
Sees a psychiatrist? Or maybe it’s a psychologist, I don’t know. I already told you, I’ve never seen the show. (Stop recommending it. I’ll get around to it someday.) Winner? Tony “Panic Attack” Soprano.
Dies an ignoble death? If dying an ignoble death can truly be considered a “win,” then Jabba the Hutt, strangled to death by the very chain with which he tethered the Rebel princess Leia Organa to his throne, indeed wins. Winner? Jabba the Hutt.
Maybe doesn’t die? Actually, maybe I won’t get around to watching The Sopranos, if the ending is as irritating as I’ve been led to believe. Did Tony get to enjoy his meal with his family? Or was he shot dead in his, you know, prime or whatever? No one will ever know! Winner? Tony Soprano.
Is unaffected by Jedi mind powers? Hey, you know who’s unaffected by Jedi mind powers? Jabba the Hutt is unaffected by Jedi mind powers! Winner? Jabba the Hutt.
The tie-breaking question, because I’m running out of things I know about Tony Soprano: Has a better wardrobe? Tony Soprano’s wardrobe runs the gamut of stereotypical Mafioso style, from velour track suits to Hawaiian shirts to fancy silk suits. Jabba the Hutt sits around naked all the day long. Begging the question: Where the hell are his genitals? Winner? Tony Soprano.
Overall winner? In a shocking turn of events, Anthony “Tony” Soprano takes this one.
Two cocky space rogues enter a bar.
One shoots first.
But seriously, folks, please enjoy this battle between Star Wars’ Han “Han Solo” Solo and Battlestar Galactica’s Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, two of the best interstellar pilots you’re likely to run into in science fiction.
Who shall come out ahead?
Let the battle commence!
Physicality. Now there’s no arguing that Katee Sackhoff is a beautiful woman who cleans up good and has the body of an Olympic athlete, but she’s going up against a young Harrison Ford here.
A young Harrison Ford doing Han Solo cosplay. Apologies to the lovely Ms. Sackhoff, but nobody can come back from that. Winner? Han Solo.
More likely to murder a space-robot? Now if there’s one think Kara “Starbuck” Thrace hates, it’s Cylons. Which is robots, for those of you less nerdy than I. And if there’s one thing she enjoys, it’s murdering Cylons. It’s hard to blame her, since Cylons blowed up her home planet and keep bothering her about her special destiny and generally ruining her life and universe.
However, Han Solo runs around space with one of the most annoying robots ever made: C3PO, that robot with a hyphen in there somewhere that I can never remember (nor care) where it is. Not murderizing that robot takes the patience of Job. Or possibly Lot. Whichever one of those guys was more patient and also hung out with more robots. (Robots is in the Old Testament, right?) In conclusion, this one’s a tossup, folks. Winner? It’s a tie.
Has a cooler spaceship? I love me some Vipers, I do, but c’mon! The Millennium Falcon. The Millennium Falcon! The Millennium Falcon!! Spaceships don’t get cooler than the Millennium Falcon. It is scientifically impossible. Winner? Han Solo.
Has a hotter significant other? Kara “Starbuck” Thrace enjoys playing the field, but deep down, she’s deeply in love with Lee “Apollo” Adama. Except for those times when she’s deeply in love with her husband, Samuel “I’m actually a Cylon” Anders. Han Solo’s significant other is Princess Leia, an interstellar space princess (what do you mean the “interstellar” implies the “space” bit? This is my fictional character battle, and it sounds good that way, so shut up, you!) of such magnificent hotness she had to have her breasts bound by duct tape so as to not further overexcite the males of Star Wars. On the other hand, though, have you seen Apollo and Anders? Winner? Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, because of simple math: Two hot guys > one hot princess.
Fights overwhelming odds and comes out on top? Kara “Starbuck” Thrace is constantly fighting overwhelming odds and coming out on top, except for that time she died, which was really sad. But then she came back! Which was kind of weird. And then she disappeared when they got to earth, because everyone was dreaming her all along. (Ha, no, seriously, I have no idea what was up with that. That part sucked.) Han Solo also fights overwhelming odds and comes out on top, except for that time he got frozen in carbonite, which was really sad, but makes for a cool Lego set. Also, he got rescued and then got to hook up with a hot princess. Winner? Han Solo.
Tries to have Gaeta executed for no reason other than sheer meanness? Luckily for Alessandro Juliani, he wasn’t old enough to be in the Star Wars movies, because he’d have probably shown up for two seconds and died. That seems to be a thing for him lately. Unfortunately for Felix Gaeta, Kara “Starbuck” Thrace is the queen of grudge-holding and is none too smart, so doesn’t realize that he was actually their mole on the inside and nearly gets my boy Gaeta thrown out an airlock, through sheer stubborn assholery. In case you’re wondering, no, I haven’t forgiven her for that and, no, I never will. Winner? Go to hell, Kara. You’re a Gaeta-attempted-murdering jerk.
Has a cooler weapon? Han Solo has a laser gun. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace has a regular gun. Also, their spaceships can shoot, I don’t know, also lasers? Winner? The guy with the laser gun always wins. Han Solo.
Has a cooler boss? Han Solo is subordinate to no man. Hell, even when he joins the resistance, he becomes a general, like, instantaneously. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, however, works for Cmdr. William Adama, a man so awesome he’s even better than Darth Vader. Winner? Kara “Starbuck” Thrace.
Either doomed or saved humanity? At various points in the Battlestar Galactica (re-imagined) saga, it is claimed that Kara “Starbuck” Thrace is either humanity’s savior or its doom. And then she dies. But she comes back, like Jesus! Except imagine Jesus is a bit of a jerk and a drunk. Also a lady. (Oh, crap, I just accidentally encouraged someone to re-imagine the life story of Jesus Christ, didn’t I?)
And then they find Earth and humanity is either doomed or saved! Han Solo helps battle the evil empire, with the help of his friends the rebels, and thus saves humanity! (Or possibly dooms it, because how are all those people going to get healthcare without the government to help them, evil dictatorship or no?) Winner? Nobody!
Has a better sidekick? You’d think a guy with a name like Solo wouldn’t have a sidekick, because he’d feel compelled to live up to the solitary implications of his last name. Also, George Lucas is none too subtle at naming characters, so you’d doubly expect him to not have a sidekick. But you’d be wrong, because a sidekick he does possess! One of the most awesome sidekicks in the history of sidekickery: Chewbacca the Wookiee. I never know how many vowels that has, I swear. Does Kara “Starbuck” Thrace have a sidekick? No. No, she does not. Probably because everybody’s mad at her for trying to kill Gaeta. Winner? Han Solo.
Overall winner? In a sound trouncing, Kara “Starbuck” Thrace loses this battle against Han “Young Harrison Ford” Solo.
So, the other day, my father asked me: “Have you seen the ad for the new Star Wars movie?”
“New Star Wars movie?” I cried. “New Star Wars movie? That’s just the prequels. In 3-D.”
“Oh,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said.
“You said that with so much derision,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said.
(Note: Portions of this exchange are probably fictional, especially the part where my dad actually said something like “derision.”)
Like their sons (er, spoiler alert, I guess) before them, it’s time for these two to face off in battle. A fictional character battle.
Darth Vader is …. You know what? If you don’t know who Darth Vader is, I’d like to welcome you to the future and find out more about the time machine you built in Victorian England. If you haven’t got a time machine from the Victorian era, then you know who Darth Vader is.
Cmdr. William Adam is actually Admiral (I don’t know the abbreviation for that, how silly of me, right?) William Adama, but I totally got used to calling him Cmdr. Adama after the first season and a half of Battlestar Galactica, so Cmdr. Adama it is. Anyway, Cmdr. Adam is in Battlestar Galactica, and is far superior to his son, Lee “Apollo” Adama, in every way that counts except for the glory of his chest.
Anyway, on to the battle!
Physicality. Darth Vader is a hideously disfigured monster who goes around in one of the most iconic bad guy suits of all bad guy suits. Cmdr. Adama isn’t really hideously disfigured, but he has got that craggy face, soooo…. Winner? Let’s go with “tossup” on this one.
Sounds like James Earl Jones? Darth Vader sounds a lot like James Earl Jones. As we all wish we did! Winner? Darth Vadar.
Sounds like Edward James Olmos? Cmdr. Adama not only sounds like Edward James Olmos, he looks like him too! Winner? Cmdr. Adama.
Commands an awesome interstellar battlestar of some kind? Cmdr. Adama, coincidently enough, is called such because he commands an interstellar battlestar known as the Galactica. So, yes, he definitely commands an awesome interstellar battlestar of some kind. Darth Vader is often seen on some kind of a space station known as a “death star,” which is even scarier sounding than battlestar, even though they’d both wreck your shit up but good. Also, he kind of second-in-commands it, but I think that’s close enough. Winner? It’s a tie.
Has the power to kill you with his mind? Darth Vader harnasses the power of the dark side of the force, being an evil Sith lord and all, and totally kills people with his mind, like, for pointing out he left his evil zipper down or something. Cmdr. Adama is very intimidating and probably causes people to wet themselves in sheer terror, but he doesn’t actually kill anybody with his mind. Winner? Darth Vader.
Has a lightsaber? Darth Vader has a lightsaber. Winner? Darth Vader.
Has a scarier boss? Darth Vader’s boss is The Emperor, a guy who has the power to shoot lightning bolts from his fingers and look really, really ugly despite not being thrown in a volcano. He’s pretty scary. But Cmdr. Adama’s boss is Admiral Helena Cain, commander of the Battlestar Pegasus, one of the scariest ladies in the whole 13 colonies. She’s seriously scary! She makes President Roslin look like a cuddly little bunny rabbit, I swear. Scary! Anyway, thank God she’s dead. Winner? Cmdr. Adama.
Once leapt a Battlestar into a planet’s atmosphere, just to create an ominous portent of doom? OK, and also to rescue the survivors of humanity who had been captured by the Cylons. Winner? Obviously, it’s Cmdr. William “Bad. Ass.” Adama.
Speaking of Cylons, faced two generations of Cylons and won? Man, these last two categories aren’t even fair to poor old Vader. On the other hand, there’s no lightsabers in BSG, so whatever. On the other other hand, I wouldn’t call what happened at the end of Battlestar Galactica winning, per se, so…. Winner? Ha! I’m just kidding. Of course it’s Cmdr. Adama.
Has a tragic love? Before Darth Vader became Darth Vader, he was Anakin Skywalker, a character that I never knew would bore me until I saw the prequels. And during that (incredibly boring) time, he met and fell in love with Natalie Portman, because, really, who wouldn’t? She died giving birth to their twins or something, in the prequel that I managed not to watch, leaving some of my fond childhood memories of Star Wars mostly intact. So that’s pretty tragic. But! Cmdr. Adama falls in love with President Laura Roslin, who is dying of cancer and also most of humanity has been killed. Tragic to the utmost! Also, they have a theme song that’s really, really beautiful. Winner? Cmdr. Adama.
Has a hotter son? I’m sorry, Mark Hamill, but have you seen Apollo? Winner? Cmdr. Adama.
Overall winner? Wow! It looks like it’s Cmdr. William Adama in a stunning upset. I mean, I really thought Darth Vader would take this through sheer nostalgia alone. Really! I had no idea that I secretly liked Commander William Adama much better.
In the Star Wars trilogy (there are no prequels! The prequels are dead to me!), if there was one thing any of us noticed, it’s that if your name wasn’t Han, Leia, Luke or Chewbacca, things weren’t going to turn out so well for you in the end. I’d include R2-D2 and C3-PO (I can seriously never remember where the damn hyphen goes, and I can seriously never get myself to care enough to google the correct answer) in that list, but those are less “names” and more “identifying model numbers.”
That is, except for Wedge Antilles, the only non-main character to survive the whole damn thing.
(And don’t tell me they killed him off in one of the Star Wars novels, I don’t even want to know.)
Wedge, the heroic pilot who helped blow up a Death Star or two, was played by Ewan McGregor’s uncle, Denis Lawson. I just realized it’s been so long since I cared about Ewan McGregor that I originally spelled his last name MacGregor. I am so embarrassed.
But this post isn’t about Ewan McGregor, so who cares if I spell his name wrong?
It’s about Denis Lawson, and whatever happened to him anyway?
Well, it turns out that whatever happened to him is that he’s led a very long and successful career, and I just forgot what he looks like.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s find out what got Lawson to where he is today. (Which, as I mentioned before, is successful.)
Lawson’s career began at the ripe young age of 22, with a role as Andy Donald in Dr. Finlay’s Casebook, a television show from 1969. There were other TV series and made-for-TV movies on the horizon, and Lawson took those roles like a champ. There were quite a lot of them, so please excuse me for not listing them, except for 1977′s Seven Faces of Woman, because that is a silly name.
You know what else happened in 1977? Star Wars: A New Hope happened in 1977. Also Holocaust 2000, where Lawson’s role was as “2nd journalist,” so probably nothing to really write home about, except maybe to say, “Dear Mom, thanks to my role as 2nd journalist in Holocaust 2000, I could afford to buy toilet paper this week. Love, Denis.”
More TV series followed, like 1978′s Armchair Thriller, leading me to realize that Lawson has been in a LOT of European television shows, so no wonder I thought he had started selling real estate or something. 1980 brought The Empire Strikes Back, and Wedge Antilles continued to earn our love by not dying horrifically, and then it was back to television, including something called The Good Companions.
In 1983, Lawson made one last trip back to the Star Wars universe for The Return of the Jedi, and then it was back to European television and off my radar forever. He did have a role in a movie called Fried Crumbed Brains in 1996, which was an Italian film, judging by everyone’s last names but his. So nobody saw that either. Maybe some Italians.
Then more television, and I can’t believe America hasn’t grabbed this guy yet. What the hell? In 2006, he had a guest bit on a show called Feel the Force, which possibly had nothing to do with Star Wars. He’s also been in a TV show called Jekyll and one called The Passion, and also Mumbai Calling.
The most exciting thing for me was learning that he had a guest role on Law and Order: UK in 2009 because that means there is a Law and Order: UK.
Lawson’s most recent effort is a little television series called Marchlands, so there you have it. Our boy Wedge continues to live, love and fight the good fight, except it’s in the UK or somewhere, so we never really knew.
That’s right, folks. Today, we’ll find out which of these two is the whiniest whiner couldn’t-live-up-to-Daddy’s-awesomeness poor-poor-me of the two space operas. Lee “Captain Apollo” Adama or Luke “I am a Jedi, like my father before me” Skywalker.
This will be a tough one.
Let the whining … commence!
Physicality. Sometimes, when I go to my (internal) happy place, what greets me there is an image of Lee Adama’s chest. It’s a well-sculpted, nicely defined chest. I think he had other body parts too, but I can’t be certain. Luke Skywalker? Ummm, I’m sorry, I’m too busy thinking about Apollo’s chest. Winner? Apollo’s chest.
Ass-kickingest sidekick/friend? Apollo’s bff was his occasional frak-buddy, Kara “Starbuck” Thrace. I love me some Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (la-la-la, her last scene didn’t happen, la-la-la, my eyes are closed and my fingers are in my ears, la-la-la!) and her cigar-smokin’, hotshot-flyin’ ways. Luke Skywalker’s bff, however, was someone called Han Solo, also known as the hottest man in science fiction ever except for Indiana Jones, and really, it’s just a matter of do you prefer space operas or adventures in your preference. Winner? Luke.
Just how cool were the robots Apollo/Skywalker hung with? Well, Luke was saddled with C-3PO (um, is there a hyphen there? Too lazy to research! Pressing valiantly on!), whom history has decided was the first gay robot ever chronicled, and not the fun kind of gay like takes you out dancing and calls you girlfriend, and R2-D2, who was basically an oversized Swiss army knife. Apollo gots to hang out with all sorts of hot cylons, plus the centurions. Winner? Apollo.
Never had to wear a fat suit? Luke, you lucky bastard, you didn’t have to face the first part of Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica. Apollo, you looked like an utter wanker. Where did your chest go, sir? Where did your chest go? Winner? Skywalker.
Biggest daddy issues? Oh, God, why did I even go there? First Luke thinks his dad was a good Jedi who died. Then he learns out his dad is a bad Jedi who is trying to kill him. Then he learns his dad was Hayden Christensen. You’d think that would be enough to earn him the crown here, but noooooooo. Apollo could never live up to the supra-awesome that was his father, Admiral Frakkin’ Adama, and you had better believe it, because Apollo’s a weiner and Adama is a demi-god. From episode to episode, he alternated between trying to get Daddy’s approval to trying to piss Daddy off, and occasionally he took his shirt off, which made everything OK. The winner? This? Is a big fat tie, because, seriously, stop whining about your dads, you two. Gods.
Made out with his sister? A lot of people called Apollo and Starbuck the wonder twins, but they weren’t actually related, whereas Leia and Luke were real twins for reals, and ewwwwwwww. Winner? If you can win this category, it would be Luke “Incest is best” Skywalker.
Saved humanity? Ehhhhh, Apollo convinced everyone in the BSG universe to give up technology when they finally found earth, so it’s more like he doomed humanity, really. Oh, sure, it was to prevent more cylons from being made, but did he take notice of how hot they were? Stupid Apollo. Skywalker tossed the evil emperor to his doom. Winner? Luke Skywalker.
Overall winner? Luke Skywalker. Look, he may have whined a bit, but in the end, he did harness the powers of The Force. Apollo? Not so much. Even his dad couldn’t stand being around him anymore. I mean, did you see how fast he took off when Roslin was dying? See you in hell, Apollo, am I right?