Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Real Life Ordinary Person Chosen to Play Ordinary Star Wars Person

When the special thing about your character is that they’re totally un-special:

“Rose is smart and she’s confident and she’s loyal. She’s going to be such a cool character because she’s someone who isn’t a model. She’s not a superhero. She’s just kind of an everyday person, and that’s something special about her. She’s someone who is able to face her fears in the face of adversity even though she kind of is a background player in the Resistance.” — Kelly Marie Tran

Is this even a good idea…?

Well let’s look back at some classics of the pulp era to put this into context.

  • Dejah Thoris from A Princess of Mars is the “daughter of a thousand jeddaks.” She’s not just a princess character… she’s the Platonic ideal of the concept taken to its purest and most extreme form.
  • Lady Ywain of Sark in The Sword of Rhiannon is basically the Darth Vader “heavy” of the tale… which only makes her redemption and transition into being the love interest that much more dramatic.
  • The feminine foils from C. L. Moore’s Northwest Smith stories all take allure, attraction, beauty, and seductive powers to mind-blowingly weird and science fictional levels.

All different characters that are as unalike as can be. But all of them exceptional– all of them take some aspect of humanity and human nature to an astonishing level. That’s the only thing they have in common!

Question for you here, though. Why would it even cross someone’s mind to go into a field… and then introduce something into it that not only hadn’t really been done in it before, but also was in many ways antithetical to the medium itself?

Just asking…!


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9 responses to “Real Life Ordinary Person Chosen to Play Ordinary Star Wars Person

  1. natewinchester January 2, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    It’s like they’ve heard of the idea of Frodo & the hobbits but didn’t quite grasp the point of the tale. (Nor that for much of the adventure, they had the most exceptional people in middle-earth helping them.)

  2. Jon Mollison January 2, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    A boring exemplar for boring people to aspire to. It reminds me of the 90s and later rule that you had to have a kid in every movie so that the kids could identify with somebody despite the fact that no kid wanted to be Short Round – he wanted to be Indy! Now we get soft-bellied losers because Hollywood thinks people don’t want to see big dang heroes because they know they will be depressed that they will never be the Big Dang Hero in real life.

    Well, they won’t with that attitude, bucko!

  3. MishaBurnett January 2, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Personally, when I come across yet another character who is The Super Special Extra Powerful Chosen Hero I tend to lose interest in the story. Because you know that they are Destined To Conquer and hence there isn’t any tension in the story. It’s like watching someone play a video game with all the cheat codes.

    I want to see ordinary people who are put in extraordinary situations and rise to the occasion because they have to. Rose was one of the few characters in TLJ who had any sort of moral agency–everyone else was just playing out the roles that Fate (or The Force) had chosen for them.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, Rose and Finn were the only characters that I liked in the film, and I thought that their relationship arc was the healthiest one in the whole series of films.

    • Jon Mollison January 4, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      Time and place. Misha, you are absolutely correct that stories of the regular guy triumphing against ridiculous odds have a charm all their own (why, hello there, Die Hard), and I agree with you completely. It’s just that the main story arc of Star Wars just isn’t the time or place. It’s a space opera. Celebrating the diminishment of the characters from the horned helmet wearing woman with the spear and the great big heaving…braids into timid little mouses is a bit of a “stupid cats don’t even meow” thing.

      I’d even go so far as to suggest that a street-level Star Wars movie could be a nice change of pace. Since Disney is determined to turn Star Wars into a story setting more than a story arc, there should be room for intimate stories of people caught in the cracks between the Rebellion and the Other Rebellion With a Big Cannon Fetish. Turning your tentpole movies into arthouse flicks isn’t the way to do that, though.

    • Cirsova January 5, 2018 at 9:39 am

      I think this is where the new Star Wars movies have failed the most for me. The characters that they could’ve told those stories with got hopelessly shoved to the back. Poe got put on a bus what felt like 20 minutes into Force Awakens and Finn existed to be shown up by Rey until he got KOed.

      That’s also why, despite having a mess of a story that completely jacks with the continuity of other films and completely undermines the first 20 minutes of New Hope, I enjoyed Rogue One, because it was “d6 Star Wars–the Movie” featuring characters who’d rolled middling stats and died in a TPK at the end of some beardo’s “you’re gonna steal the death star plans” saturday night one-off.

  4. brtrain January 4, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    To be credible, every Don Quixote needs a Sancho Panza near him.
    http://www.orwell.ru/library/reviews/McGill/english/e_mcgill (final paragraphs)

  5. Paul January 8, 2018 at 4:42 am

    The more ordinary person as hero can work. One great example is Tan Hadron of Hastor.

    • jeffro January 8, 2018 at 8:27 am

      That’s beside the point. Rose Tico is not a heroic character. In fact, the whole point of her scenes is the set her up to spoil/mock/redirect an act of self-sacrifice. The people that made the film are extremely uncomfortable with the theme of heroism in general and seek to undercut it and water it down in every way possible.

      • Paul January 9, 2018 at 4:47 am

        I’ve not seen the film, so I can’t comment about her role in it. I get your point though. I remember Charles Stross saying on his blog that he doesn’t like heroes in fiction. That’s fair enough, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but it is interesting to see, especially when it reverses the polarity of at least 6 previous films.

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