May. 4th, 2017

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Sometimes you just need a character who can provide little snippets of exposition, someone who can help the audience navigate the twists and turns of a fast-paced plot or intricate world-building. And if you're going to be that character, why not do it with with gusto, fully embracing the role of Captain Obvious? Such is Ric OliƩ.

I love everything about this goofy minor character. Ric's lines are never complex or nuanced; they're simply the necessary connective tissue to help us understand that the ship is in danger, or Artoo has just miraculously saved the day, or they're arriving at the city planet of Coruscant. But his delivery is so earnest, so wide-eyed and fully invested, that I can't help grinning every time he opens his mouth. His lines are memorable to me not in spite of but because of their cheesiness. "There's the blockade!" "That little droid did it!" "Coruscant! The entire planet is one big city!!" Always with an exclamation point. I love it.

I enjoy "Power's back!" in particular because it's infinitely quotable. I feel obligated to say it every time a power outage is restored, with that same intense Ric-ish delivery. It's almost as fun as saying, "Commence primary ignition" when starting a car, or "Full reverse! Chewie, lock in the auxiliary power" when you're about to drive backwards. It's simple; there's no brilliant hidden meaning or subtlety, but Star Wars isn't all about deep meanings for me (though obviously that's a big part of it). It's also just plain fun. I don't think it's a mistake that the character Ric interacts with most, other than his fellow pilots, is Anakin, the little boy who's about to have the whole galaxy opened up to him. The thrill of seeing Coruscant and Naboo for the first time, and learning how to fly a ship -- we get to see that through Anakin's eyes. And Ric's delight at sharing it with him is infectious. When you think about it, there's something pretty special about a very busy pilot who still takes the time to listen to a newly-freed slave boy and give him an impromptu lesson or two. Cheesy lines, yes, but Ric's a good guy.

Next time, something from Jar Jar...


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