Musical Christmas Wishes by Chewbacca & Deep Space Nine

Although the Star Wars and Star Trek fandoms have not always gotten along entirely peacefully, I hope that the two fan videos below show that singing is a pasttime shared across the divide.

Take it away, Chewbacca and the crew of Deep Space Nine.

Silent Night by Chewbacca via How It Should Have Ended

“Merry Wookie Christmas from HISHE and James Covenant! (

The brilliant idea for “Chewbacca Sings Silent Night” was actually created in 1999 by Scott Andersen (story here: and since then his audio has been shared many times, often without crediting him. You can download the original at the link above, or better yet support his genius by hiring him for web design at

“With Scott’s “blessing” and in honor of Christmas and Star Wars season, James Covenant (creator of the awesome Star Trek “Make It So” video: was inspired to create this new video for our channel to wish you all a very Star Wars Christmas!”

Captain Sisko & the DS9 Ensemble sing “Wonderful Deep Space Nine” by John C. Worsley

“In the grand tradition of Star Trek captains singing holiday standards, for your consideration: ‘Wonderful Deep Space Nine’ sung by Captain Sisko, Major Kira, Constable Odo, Lieutenant Commander Worf, Chief O’Brien, Congenial Barkeep Quark, Plain Simple Garak, and the rest of the Star Trek: DS9 ensemble. Special appearances by Morn, Martok, Moogie, and Vorta Iggy Pop.

Apologies to Berman, Piller, Brooks, Visitor, Farrell, Auberjonois, Siddig, Shimerman, Meaney, Dorn, Robinson, Eisenberg, Lofton, Grodenchik, Alaimo, Biggs, Marshall, Jens, de Boer, Barrett, Sadler, and Combs.”

We’re vacationing for the rest of the year. Until 2018, Happy Merry!

This post has been edited to correct language.

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Lost Heirs and Clever Peasants

(Note: minor spoiler ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi)

Our story-telling traditions often make a big deal out of family and descent. Part of the classic Campbellian Hero’s Journey is the son’s need to measure himself against his father. A Real Princess™ can tell when there’s a pea under a dozen mattresses, or needs a Real Prince™ to wake her up (apparently princesses do a lot of napping). Modern stories often reinforce the importance of true family lines in similar ways, whether they’re directly invoking the mythic tradition (like Star Wars) or just because family is still an important part of the drama of our lives ( like Harry Potter).

The idea that family lines determine our characters’ stories, abilities, and ambitions is such a big part of our narrative legacy that it can seem like a primordial principle of storytelling, but in fact these kinds of stories arise from specific cultural contexts. These contexts have to do with the assertion of class.

Small-scale societies historically tended to be egalitarian. When a culture contained only a few hundred people, everyone knew one another personally, resources were freely shared, and there was no real differentiation between rich and poor, powerful and powerless. As societies got larger, up into the range a few thousand people or more, social distinctions tended to emerge because people were no longer held together primarily by personal and family relationships. In societies of this scale, some families acquired more resources and more influence than others. Over time, these differences hardened into class distinctions, with prosperous families asserting their own superiority over the less fortunate. An aristocratic class with a sense of its own importance took shape.

A rising aristocracy, however, often struggled against the older traditions of egalitarianism and mutual support. To maintain their position, aristocrats had to create and disseminate a new ideology which justified their status. In many societies all over the world, this ideology was framed by stories about heroic ancestors and special powers passed down through family lines. If you weren’t part of the family line, you didn’t inherit the special powers, and therefore you didn’t deserve to be rich or powerful like them.

Many of the ancient stories that have been passed down and become part of our common narrative tradition were stories originally told by and for aristocrats and would-be aristocrats clawing their way into positions of privilege. When ancient Greek bards recited the tales of Achilles, Odysseus, Helen, and Penelope, they weren’t just telling stories to entertain the masses. Bards and singers depended for their livelihoods on the support of aristocratic patrons, and the stories they told were propaganda for the people who paid the bills. Greek aristocrats claimed to be actual descendants of the heroes of the Trojan War and other myths. The Homeric epics are quite clear that no one from outside the family line deserves to get anywhere near the heroes’ wealth and power.

On the other hand, our story-telling traditions also include narratives that are democratic (or at least anti-aristocratic). Some of these take the form of “clever peasant” tales in which someone from an unimportant background gets the better of the rich and powerful through luck, audacity, and wits. These tales often set up the aristocrats as buffoons who are humiliated in the end and forced to acknowledge the individual merits of people with no family claim to riches or power. Stories of this type are common in folk traditions, including English Jack tales and their analogues in other cultures.

Another type of story combines elements of both, often revolving around a lost heir or disguised royal. In these stories, the hero at first appears to be an ordinary person whose individual initiative and skill earn them acclaim and awards, but they turn out in the end to be the misplaced scion of an important family. Sometimes these lost heirs know their own identity and are in hiding; other times they are themselves unaware until their true identity is revealed. King Arthur, in some versions of the Arthurian mythos, fits this pattern: having been raised in obscurity, he comes into his true heritage when he proves his special powers by pulling the sword from the stone. Robin Hood—again, in some versions—represents a different take on the same pattern: by rights a nobleman, he hides his true identity and fights for the common people. This tradition represents a degree of compromise between the aristocratic and anti-aristocratic narratives. The hero acquires something of the common touch and has to get by on individual merits, but the aristocratic claims to a unique status remain unchallenged.

When modern stories draw on these older traditions, they don’t always think about the implications of them. Star Wars, for example, has always awkwardly balanced the democratic ideals of the Republic, Rebellion, and Resistance with the mythic focus on the Skywalker bloodline. This is why I am so happy that The Last Jedi decided that Rey is not part of the Skywalker family or descended from Obi-Wan Kenobi or any other established Jedi but just the cast-off child of drunken scavengers from nowhere. (Assuming, of course, that Kylo Ren is telling the truth or even knows it to begin with, which is not a trivial assumption, but I’m going with it until we hear otherwise from a canonical source.)

Star Wars has always been told in the mode of myth, but myths don’t come out of nowhere and they aren’t just stories. Myths are stories that mean something. If Star Wars is going be meaningful in the world we live in today, it’s time to democratize the Force. We need more clever peasants these days, not more lost heirs.

Image: Arthur pulling the sword from the stone from An Island Story by Henrietta E. Marshall, New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1906, via Wikimedia

History for Writers is a weekly feature which looks at how history can be a fiction writer’s most useful tool. From worldbuilding to dialogue, history helps you write. Check out the introduction to History for Writers here.

Star Wars Cantina Music for Piano Four Hands

When you’ve been looking forward to something for a long time, the closer it gets, the harder it is to wait. So, to keep you entertained in this last week before The Last Jedi comes out, here’s a father-son duo playing the classic Mos Eisley cantina music on the piano. Enjoy!

Star Wars Cantina Band by Brian Lockard

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.


Quotes: A Question that Pretty Much No One Actually Asked to Be Answered

Aaron Pound at Dreaming About Other Worlds reviews the Star Wars movie Rogue One and includes this delicious bit of analysis:

“The obvious slicing and dicing of the intrigue and adventure in the early parts of the movie would be forgivable is [sic] one were able to think that it was done simply to try to cram as much of that as possible into the story, but instead the movie keeps shifting away from Jyn, Cassian, K-2SO and the rest of the intrepid rebels to focus on what can only be described as the deadly dull office politics of the Imperial Officer class. In large part, all these scenes really do is provide a really long-winded answer for the question ‘How did Grand Moff Tarkin become the commander of the Death Star’, which is a question that pretty much no one actually asked to be answered.”

– Aaron Pound

Reader, I LOLed. 🙂

Pound, Aaron. “Review – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. Dreaming About Other Worlds, June 01, 2017.

Serving exactly what it sounds like, the Quotes feature excerpts other people’s thoughts.


Ending of Rogue One Seamlessly Connected to A New Hope

This nine-minute video by Barre Fong combines the very ending of Rogue One seamlessly to A New Hope:

“Rogue One” Spliced with “A New Hope” by Barre Fong

Nice job! It was pretty clear from just seeing Rogue One in the theaters how well the team not only wrote but propped, set-dressed, and costumed their movie to match the George Lucas -led original. This merger makes it very explicit, though. A hat-tip to all involved.

In general, I really enjoy comparing originals and recreations (or originals and adaptations), and the pleasure is multiplied when the successor is expertly and thoughtfully made. That’s one reason why Peter Jackson et al.’s making-of documentaries for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies are still the gold standard for movie extras—hearing about the design process is fascinating.

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.


A Little Droid Love for Star Wars Day

When a droid meets a droid…

Star Wars inspired crochet patterns by Luvbug026 via Etsy

Sometimes they feel a special connection…

BB8 and R2-D2 romance t-shirt via Teepublic

And that leads to…

R2-D2 and BB8 wedding cake topper by SpecialDesignForYou via Etsy

Now, personally, I always thought of R2-D2 as a precocious kid. When I saw The Force Awakens, BB8 seemed more like a very smart dog. But, hey, if other people want to see them as friends and soulmates, who am I to argue?

Happy Star Wars Day, everyone! May the Fourth be with you!

In Character is an occasional feature looking at some of our favorite characters from written works and media to see what drives them, what makes them work, and what makes us love them so much.


Han Solo: A Smuggler’s Trade – A Fan Film par Excellence

More fan projects from the Star Wars universe! This short, unofficial, non-profit Han Solo fan film really nails the mood and attitude:

Han Solo: A Smuggler’s Trade – A Star Wars Fan Film by Jamie Costa

The story is by Nathaniel Nauert, and the screenplay is by Nauert plus Jared Bell and Keith Allen. Allen also directed the short.

The production did a fantastic job with propping, lighting, sounds, music, and effects. Nice work!

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.


Jyn Erso’s Crystal Necklace DIY-ed

It’s a little over a month since Rogue One came out, and my head’s still firmly in the Star Wars universe. I was therefore delighted to run into this version of Jyn Erso’s crystal necklace:

Jenuine Mom jyn-erso-kyber-crystal-necklace-finis3-768x1225
Jennifer Marx at Jenuine Mom

It’s made by Jennifer Marx at Jenuine Mom – isn’t it great?

I don’t remember there being any gold at the top of Jyn’s crystal, though – an excuse to see Rogue One again, oh boy! 🙂 Nevertheless, this version looks elegant enough to wear every day, not just for cosplay or fan events.

Check out Jennifer’s tutorial for more!

In Making Stuff occasional feature, we share fun arts and crafts done by us and our fellow geeks and nerds.


Quotes: It Hurts All Three of My Feelings

Actor Carrie Fisher lays it out in a Twitter comment on criticism of her appearance in The Force Awakens and proves she was so much more than a pretty face.

Serving exactly what it sounds like, the Quotes feature excerpts other people’s thoughts.


R.I.P. Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher, actor, author, advocate, script doctor, and Resistance General extraordinaire, has passed at the age of 60.

Carrie Fisher Homepage

Rest in peace, dear Ms. Fisher. Your honesty, fearlessness, and spirit will be missed.

In the words of Tough Love Leia on Twitter:


Image via

Post edited for formatting.