On the Comlink is a feature in which StarWars.com writers hop on a call (virtual or old fashioned) and discuss a specific Star Wars topic. In this installment to celebrate Halloween, Kristin Baver, Dan Brooks, James Floyd, and Jennifer Landa talk about their favorite frightening moments, how their fears have changed over the years of watching Star Wars, and why the villains of the galaxy were made for this spine-tingling holiday.
Kristin Baver: We’re here to talk about scary Star Wars stories, which I’m very excited about. Halloween is [my favorite and Dan Brooks’s] favorite holiday, which I think shows on the website because there’s just a boatload of Halloween content. But also, I think Star Wars really lends itself to that. To start us off, I’m curious what you think: is Star Wars inherently scary?
Jennifer Landa: If you’re talking to the kid Jennifer, then yes, absolutely. When I was a kid watching Star Wars, I could really only stick with Return of the Jedi because Empire was just too scary for me. There’s a lot happening in that film: the family drama is kind of scary. Luke gets his hand cut off by his father. Oh, my gosh! So yeah, [Empire] was very scary for me as a child. I’ve always been a ‘fraidy cat, but Star Wars was cathartic for me because it allowed me to experience these scary moments and know that it was going to be okay. My daughter loves watching scary moments in TV shows or movies, and she’ll watch it over and over again, to conquer that fear. And so for me, that’s what Star Wars was. You might come across a scary beast. It’s okay because Luke defeated the rancor. Or maybe you’re a kid going up against somebody that is threatening. It’s helpful knowing that it’s possible for good to triumph. Doesn’t always happen in the real world, but in Star Wars, it did.
Kristin Baver: That is a great answer! James, you made a face… [Laughs] Do you want to talk about what that face was?
James Floyd: That is the opposite of my daughter. My daughter avoids the things that are scary. And what’s scary to her is not monsters and stuff. She’s seven, and the thing that really scares her the most is when people do things that would get them in trouble. If somebody is breaking the rules, that is what freaks her out. And she’s like, “Fast forward this part!” But as someone who grew up with Star Wars, while there were the monsters like the dianoga and the rancor, I think the part that really scared me the most was in Empire. It’s when Luke faces Vader in the dark side cave on Dagobah and pops his head off, and it’s his own face. That’s a little traumatic when you’re young. It’s like, what is that about, even? Trying to figure out, wait…wait, is Vader really Luke or what’s going on there? And plus, that face is pretty creepy because it’s just staring at you.
Kristin Baver: It’s Luuuke with all the “u”s [from Legends].
James Floyd: Luuuuuke! [Laughter]
Dan Brooks: Yeah. That scene feels very 1980s children’s storytelling, where they push it further than you think, like when you look at it through today’s lens. And that scene is very dream-like and really nightmarish, even. And I think as a kid, that’s kind of what you feel from that. To go back to the original question: is Star Wars inherently scary? I think it’s just part of the DNA from the beginning. And I think that all comes from, you know, stuff that George Lucas liked and probably grew up with. For me — and I said this in our debate article, Kristin — the rancor has King Kong vibes. Like, this big creature grabbing someone, pulling them up. Rancor doesn’t necessarily have the heart that King Kong does, but it’s a movie monster in that vein.
Kristin Baver: I don’t know. If you ask Malakili, I think he would say the rancor has a heart.
Dan Brooks: Oh, maybe I’m wrong on that one. That’s true. [Laughter] But I think it’s just there from the beginning. There is classically scary stuff that’s part of the stew of Star Wars.
Kristin Baver: Yeah, and it also has layers. When you’re a kid…I was scared of Yoda — of all things! — because my sister had…actually I have it nearby. [Kristin holds up a vintage Yoda hand puppet] My sister had this Yoda puppet, and I hadn’t seen the movie yet, and she would just make it silently nod at me. And it was the creepiest thing when you’re, like, two or three years old.
Dan Brooks: That’s scaring me now.
Kristin Baver: Right? [Laughs] And so I remember being afraid of Yoda and then seeing the movie and being like, “I don’t understand what I was afraid of.” I was definitely afraid of the rancor even though Luke defeats it. It’s all snarly and it’s got too many nostrils; it’s all gooey and towering and terrifying. But I think the beauty of Star Wars is that it has those layers. So there are the things that scare you as a kid. And then as you become an adult and you watch it, there’s also so many thematic discussions of fear and corruption and what it can do to a person. It’s the classic good versus evil stuff. And I think a lot of that is also kind of scary even to an adult. It’s not the same horror feel, for sure. But it still has a lot of really interesting facets to it that force us to examine what scares us in our own world and deal with it. But it’s happening in a galaxy far, far away to these other people, so you can kind of look at it through that lens. It’s safe.
Dan Brooks: I just want to pick up on something you’re saying. I mean, we’re all kind of talking about our kids now, but I do think that when you have kids, it changes the way you see the movies and changes your relationship with them. Watching Return of the Jedi with my kids, I saw the end in a whole new light, and I felt it in a totally different way. Just the idea of being a father and making these terrible mistakes. And obviously, I’m not going to do the things Darth Vader did. But, you know —
Kristin Baver: You did name your kid, Ben, man. [Laughter]
James Floyd: That’s a setup.
Kristin Baver: You’ve got more of a Han/Ben Solo kind of issue coming up…
Dan Brooks: Well, I hope not. [Laughter]
James Floyd: Gets you right through the heart, man.
Dan Brooks: Yeah. They do punch me a lot. They seem to enjoy that. But the idea of, you know, as you get older and you have a family, are you making the right choices? And are you being the best parent you could be? That’s what I was getting when I was watching that scene again. It’s a way I never would have seen the movies before, but that’s kind of a fear. Are you living a good life as a father or a mother and doing the best by your kids?
Kristin Baver: It’s funny that you bring that up because my sister had a very different and visceral reaction to The Force Awakens than I did. She had this very parental reaction to the whole Han and Ben thing where she was like, “I would never do that! How is this possibly happening?” And I thought it was just so fascinating because you’re right. As you grow and change and new things develop in your own life, you kind of see these stories through a different lens. But Dan, you also mentioned our recent debate post. And so even though the internet now knows what he and I think, I’m curious, who do you think is right, me or Dan? [Laughs] But also, what do you think is the scariest creature in Star Wars?
Dan Brooks: Choose carefully.
Kristin Baver: That’s a setup. I know, it’s a trap.
James Floyd: It’s a trap!
Jennifer Landa: There’s so many to choose from!
James Floyd: I wrote a “From A Certain Point of View” post several years back about this. And I put my money on the acklay just because it is so lethal and ferocious and kind of a combination of every type of scary thing. It’s got the whole Harryhausen vibe, which is really, really cool with the claws and the striking motion. So it’s like a crab, a spider, and it’s giant. It shrieks really loud so it just instills fear. It doesn’t really have any weak points. It skewers that one guy just because. Obi-Wan throws a spear at it and it just pulls out the spear and bites it in half. That’s where I think it’s at for the most terrifying.
Jennifer Landa: That’s a good one. They’re just so many that are terrifying for a variety of reasons, whether it’s their teeth, the sounds that they make, their size. I mean, honestly, I think for me, one of the more recent ones would be the knobby white spider.
Dan Brooks: That’s a good choice. [Laughter]
Jennifer Landa: Is there an alliance here?
Dan Brooks: I think there might be.
Jennifer Landa: It’s fresh in my mind. And you know what it is? I don’t like spiders. Spiders are creepy. I think that a lot of people find spiders creepy because they move unpredictably, right? They show up on your ceiling, the next minute they’re under your bed. They’re terrifying. So that episode of The Mandalorian just cranks that up. The sound design with chittering sound is like nails on a chalkboard. They have that crunchy, slimy sound that they make when the babies hatch, and then the mom, I’m assuming she’s the mama. When the mama spider shows up, Mando is like, “Oh, we gotta go, now!” That’s kind of the first moment where we see he looks really panicked. So that’s my vote.
Kristin Baver: That’s a good one.
Dan Brooks: That’s a great choice.
Kristin Baver: It was also Dan’s choice.
Dan Brooks: Not to just restate what I said in our article, but I think part of what makes it so scary is the filmmaking of that episode and the way they presented it. To me, they were just leaning into, like, full-on horror movie mode. And I don’t think they’ve done that before, at least not to that extent where it’s like, nobody is having a good time in that scene. There’s none of that, “The sarlacc pit is underneath me but I’m going to do a cool spin to get out…!” There’s none of that. Mando is scared. Legit scared. Frog lady’s doing her frog jump.
Jennifer Landa: That was amazing.
Dan Brooks: Yeah. As a piece of horror filmmaking — I don’t know how long the sequence lasts, like, 5-10 minutes — it’s so good. So it’s a balance of the storytelling, and the filmmaking is great from a horror perspective. And then the creature itself, I think, really works. It takes something that we already have, that we are afraid of in our lives, and it just runs with it.
Kristin Baver: Yeah. And I think that whole episode, but especially that sequence, is also very different from the rest of the series, which is an interesting side road for it to take. And I believe the ice spider was also inspired by Ralph McQuarrie’s art and some of the original things that he created, I think, for Empire. But I can’t disagree with you. Spiders creep me out in real life, and I still can’t look at that spider from…is it Lothal? The spider from Rebels.
James Floyd: Atollon.
Kristin Baver: Thank you.
Dan Brooks: The kryknas?
Kristin Baver: Yes. It’s the krykna that they sell at Galaxy’s Edge in Batuu. And I just like, I can’t touch it. I can’t be near it. I know it’s a toy, but there’s something…
James Floyd: Ooh! I know what somebody’s getting for Christmas.
Kristin Baver: A whole box of them? [Laughs] Although my pick is still the Drengir. Partially because I couldn’t pick the ice spiders, but also because I think there’s something really creepy about the Drengir. You kind of discount them initially. “Oh, there’s nothing out there.” You look at it and you’re like, “Oh, no, it’s just some trees. It’s fine.” And then it comes to life, but also the way it’s depicted in the Marvel comics, where it’s like…
James Floyd: Yes!
Kristin Baver: It’s not only squeezing the life out of you, but the root system is going down your throat. It’s going up your nose. It’s getting into the veins of the Hutt and then bursting forth, kind of like in Alien, like a chest burster. It’s just really low-key horrific, which is fascinating.
James Floyd: Yeah. It’s kind of like a cross between trees and zombies that are just hungry and want you. And then almost like Venom; it’s the symbiote thing that just gets inside you and then lashes out. And we saw what happened to Sskeer.
Kristin Baver: Poor Sskeer. Although, that said, I feel like we don’t know enough about The Leveler yet to know for sure what it is. Is it a creature? Is it not a creature? Is it a man-made thing? I don’t know. But that first page of Trail of Shadows when you see what it did to Loden Greatstorm is terrifying.
Dan Brooks: I’ll say this for the Drengir. I think when you stack it against other Star Wars monsters, it’s wholly unique. I know I picked the ice spiders in our debate and in this discussion, but to a degree, it’s still just another creature. And this is much more. It doesn’t really have a set shape, obviously. And the way it gets you is different and creepy. So for originality points I think it’s really, really great. And my guess is we have Cavan Scott to thank for that. It’s got his fingerprints all over it.
Kristin Baver: He does love horror.
[Editor’s note: The Drengir is the product of several mad scientists, including concept artist Iain McCaig, and authors Scott, Claudia Gray, and Justina Ireland.]
And there are so many moments that just strike fear into our hearts. Jump scares or things that creep you out. Whenever we start talking about what we’re going to do for Halloween on the site, and I think I may have even written about it before, but my mind always goes right back to the Nightsisters crawling out of their seed pods.
Jennifer Landa: That is so creepy.
James Floyd: Yeah.
Kristin Baver: Lurching through the mist, which is one of those moments in Clone Wars, where I was both surprised because it was something unlike I’d ever seen in Star Wars. And also, I guess I was a little shocked because in my mind I was like, “This is a children’s show!” [Laughter]
There are some moments that might truly give a kid nightmares. So how do you define scary Star Wars and what makes it work?
James Floyd: Besides the Nightsisters, the brain worms episode of Clone Wars. A worm that goes in your nose is creepy enough. Like the tentacles of the Drengir getting everywhere. And then it changes who you are, that you don’t get to be you anymore. Something else has taken control, and that’s scary, too. So it’s like a combination of those things and that your friends will see you as the enemy and you’re not in control of your own body. And there’s a worm in your brain.
Kristin Baver: [Laughs] Oh man, which can actually happen with a neti pot and a little amoeba thing that gets into the water. It’s freakin’ terrifying.
Jennifer Landa: Ugh, that’s right!
James Floyd: Great! Now you just made it even worse. [Laughter]
Dan Brooks: When I think of scary Star Wars, it’s the great villain designs and, again, the great monster designs.
In terms of relating it to Halloween, one of the reasons why I think Star Wars works so well with it is, honestly, because it became part of Halloween culture. Because of how easy it lends itself to Halloween costumes. And I think that’s just part of the way we feel about it now, especially around this time of year. I think people always couch Star Wars as like, a space fantasy or science fiction. But the horror elements have always been there from the beginning.
Kristin Baver: Yeah. And I think to your point, Darth Vader is one of the most recognizable designs in pop culture. And part of that is because he’s terrifying. He has this unreadable mask of a face. And you can tell that there are eyes of some sort, but you have no idea what’s going on behind that mask. And it does make for a great Halloween costume.
James Floyd: And he can kill you with his brain.
Kristin Baver: Yeah. He can just kill you by looking at ya. What’s more terrifying than that? And also, fatherly.
Dan Brooks: I remember the first time I saw General Grievous, and I was like, how awesome is this guy? He’s just so cool and scary. Halloween’s the time to celebrate the scary stuff. Bad guys are scary. And Star Wars has some of the best in pop culture.
Kristin Baver: Absolutely.
Jennifer Landa: For me, I think Star Wars is scariest when it’s unexpected. Moments where suddenly John Williams’ score disappears or it gets very quiet. There’s often a lot of fog or mist. I know that something is going to happen, and I don’t know when or what it is. It could be a beast. It could be a person. And Star Wars has always been safe for me when that happens. I’m like, “Okay, it’s not going to get too scary.” But I will say, in The Rise of Skywalker with dark side vision Rey — when “good” Rey sees herself and then “bad” Rey lunges at her, it literally made me jump in my seat. And that’s when I thought, “Oh, Star Wars is really scary now.” [Laughter]
It is very unpredictable. I legit got scared at that moment! And it’s all thanks to the performances, the sound design, visual effects, and the music. All of that lends itself to creating these really terrifying moments that are unexpected.
Dan Brooks: Yeah. Just to pick up on that. The end of Rogue One, the hallway scene with Vader. That was really shocking because it felt almost like, “Alright, so you always wanted to see Darth Vader be Darth Vader? Well, here it is.” And it’s like, the most horrifying thing you’ve ever seen. I love it. It’s a really powerful scene, but it’s a disturbing scene and that’s up there for me with scary Star Wars, for sure.
James Floyd: I think going back to what Jennifer said about things that are just unexpected. I’m totally cool with Vader in the hallway scene. That doesn’t scare me or terrify me, but it’s things like the Tusken Raider just popping up, the jump-scare thing. Or the mynock hitting the window, especially since we see the way the characters react to and those things get me. Yeah, the jump scare gets me.
Kristin Baver: Yeah, Bor Gullet also creeps me out. [Dan laughs, Jennifer grimaces]
And I feel bad about it somehow.
James Floyd: Back to the tentacles.
Kristin Baver: Right? I don’t think Bor Gullet’s necessarily evil but just the way…
Dan Brooks: Maybe it’s saying hello in that scene.
Kristin Baver: Yeah, it’s just like, [Makes a slurping noise while touching her temples] “Hello!” [Laughter] Or just the way it scrambles the brains of the people that it encounters is just next level.
One thing I want to make sure we also talk about today is LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales. It’s a really fun way that Star Wars explores its scary side and really does celebrate Halloween, but in a space that, because it’s LEGO, it’s also funny and kid friendly. And somebody compared it to the What If? series that’s on Disney+ right now from Marvel, because you’re getting all these very twisted takes on things.
It’s really just a fascinating way to put a joyful spin on some of the really scary stuff, but still have it be a little scary. I don’t know about you guys, but “The Monkey’s Paw,” which is the genesis of “The Wookiee’s Paw,” has always creeped me out. I remember seeing it on The Simpsons Halloween special as a kid. They’re carrying around this severed hand from an animal, and it’s magical and the fingers keep moving, …as soon as I saw “The Wookiee’s Paw,” even though it’s LEGO, and even though it’s gentle, I just had a very visceral reaction to that.
Dan Brooks: Yeah, it’s weird. It’s just weird.
Kristin Baver: It’s super creepy! But also severed hands are very Star Wars. And I think I hadn’t seen The Lost Boys in many years…
James Floyd: I’ve never seen that.
Kristin Baver: Ahh! If you watch it…
Dan Brooks: You should.
Kristin Baver: You should. There are definitely some shot-for-shot moments in “The Lost Boy.” [Laughs] I actually had to go back and re-watch part of it because when they’re at the bonfire scene and the Bith just shows up to start serenading them… [Laughter]
It felt familiar, but also so weird that it couldn’t possibly be something I’ve seen before. But…that’s exactly what’s in the movie.
Dan Brooks: That’s in there.
Kristin Baver: It sure is.
Jennifer Landa: So hilarious.
Kristin Baver: And the third tale…one of the scary Star Wars things that we didn’t talk about yet today is Maul, who I think is so frightening, both in character design, the amazing design from Iain McCaig, as well as what that character has been through. And to go back to our ice spiders and how much we’re all creeped out by spiders, except for, I guess, James, I don’t know. Next time I have a spider in my house, I’m just going to call you. [Laughter]
James Floyd: Sure. I’ll just hop on a plane.
Kristin Baver: But, you know, Maul, out of his mind with his trash spider legs is one of my favorite things. And also I think it’s just a super scary element from Star Wars. But when it’s put through that LEGO lens in Terrifying Tales, it becomes something else altogether, which is fascinating.
James Floyd: And then he gets some good one-liners in at the end.
Kristin Baver: Yeah. [Laughs] He’s very punny. So one other thing about Terrifying Tales, not necessarily that’s scary about it, but that I found really amusing is they kept one-upping themselves. Where like, to your point, James, he’d make a pun and I’d be like, “Ah, that’s funny.” And then he’d make another pun, and I’d be like, “Okay, that’s probably it.” Then he’d make a third pun and I’d be like “He’s just going to keep going!” And the same thing happens in the training montage in “The Wookiee’s Paw.” You have Vader taking on the mantle of all of the great teachers that Luke has had. He’s like Obi-Wan, training him with the helmet. And he’s riding on his back, Yoda-style, and teaching him things. So I already thought this was amazing. But then the third I-can’t-believe-they-did-this-one moment is when Vader leans over and gives him a kiss for luck. [Laughter]
Jennifer Landa: I lost it when I saw that and my two-year-old had no idea why I was laughing. She thought it was just Vader being sweet to Luke. [Laughs]
Dan Brooks: Actually, I did LOL during that moment.
James Floyd: Yeah, I did, too. That was just so awesomely wacky and hilarious that broke the show for me.
Dan Brooks: I’m a big Halloween fan, and part of that for me was always the Halloween specials growing up. Every year it seemed like shows would have a new one or there’d be the classic ones you re-watch. That was a big deal, and Star Wars has never had that. Because it’s in a galaxy far, far away, it really couldn’t. But with this, they figured out a way to do it. And I thought it was great. I thought it felt like, you know, the classic specials of old, but with a real modern sensibility and a great balance of LEGO humor and then just creepy stuff.
James Floyd: And Vaneé is a creepy dude.
Dan Brooks: Yeah, oh yeah. He’s very much like the Emperor for me, where he’s evil and he loves it.
Kristin Baver: Oh yeah. He’s not apologetic about that in the least. He doesn’t mind. He’s not conflicted at all!
Dan Brooks: No, it’s really fun. And I think it’s kind of a payoff of a lot of the stuff we’re talking about. All these things that we see in Star Wars and that are in bits of Star Wars storytelling. It’s just kind of pulling them out and really shining a light on them. And again, shout out to Cavan Scott because it’s really the Tales from Vader’s Castle comic series that he wrote for IDW over the last few years, that I think was kind of the springboard for this — establishing the fact that you can do Halloween with Star Wars. And with Vader’s castle being the perfect Gothic horror setting.
Kristin Baver: Yeah. I love that Vader’s castle is essentially like the haunted house in this case. They keep finding these Sith artifacts and these really dangerous things within the walls. And so it’s just kind of brimming with the ghosts of his past. But one thing that is missing from Terrifying Tales that I hadn’t really thought of before, is creatures. There really isn’t any of that in Terrifying Tales, and I think part of that may be that LEGO Star Wars creatures are flippin’ adorable, like the LEGO rancor is too cute. It just might not work as a terrifying beast, but there’s definitely some really kind of creepy and haunting elements to Terrifying Tales. The kids, I don’t know what movie this is actually from, when the kids are in the circle and they’re singing in Huttese?
Dan Brooks: I know from my love of horror movies. It’s A Nightmare on Elm Street.
James Floyd: I never watched any of that, like really scary, ‘80s slasher stuff because my parents wouldn’t let me. And then I was just like, [in a kid voice] “That seems too scary for me in general.”
Dan Brooks: That is a funny thing, though, about LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales — the fact that it’s got Nightmare on Elm Street references in it. My kids watch this thing and it’s like, they have no idea that it’s from that. But I do. And that just takes it to another level for me. It’s just so funny to me that they’re taking the scariest of horror movies that have no place for kids and they’re throwing it in there. I love that. I think it’s hilarious.
Before we go, did we do favorite scary scene or moment?
Kristin Baver: We didn’t, really.
Dan Brooks: I think we danced around that a little bit, but maybe we should. Maybe we can all talk about our favorite scary moment in Star Wars, and it could be a book, comic, TV, movie, whatever.
Jennifer Landa: I love the hallway scene in Rogue One, which we talked about. From The Clone Wars, the Nightsisters arc, which we also touched on, but specifically the “Monster” episode where we meet Savage and there’s that whole testing sequence with Asajj Ventress and the Nightbrothers. The scene goes dark, and the sound design and the music are just perfect. We hear Ventress cackling off in the distance. We hear her chain sickle slicing through the different Nightbrothers, which is terrifying, but it’s thrilling to watch because we know it’s going to be okay. But that is a favorite. I always re-watch those three episodes just because it’s so enjoyable and so different from a lot of Star Wars that I had seen up until that point.
James Floyd: I like the monster stuff that we talked about — the rancor or the arena beasts on Geonosis, that kind of goes back to classic movie monster stuff. And I really like that because we’ve got the very lethal crab thing, the acklay. We’ve got the super-lethal nexu, the cat that will just shred you. And then we’ve got the reek who, I guess, is pretty dangerous, too. [Laughs] He’s just like a really angry rhinoceros, but just ’cause it calls back to all those [Ray] Harryhausen movies and stuff that I grew up with, like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and stuff. So I really like that.
Kristin Baver: I’m actually going to go with the Mortis arc from Clone Wars because I think that one does a really excellent job of exploring the emotional depth of fear in Star Wars. You’re seeing all these things manifest through the Force. Are they happening? Are they not happening? Is Ahsoka actually infected? Is she evil? Is this all just a weird vision while they’re asleep on their ship? Who knows? But especially that scene where the Son shows Anakin his future and he sees it all the way through to the end of the younglings and Padmé dying and him becoming Darth Vader. Just watching him actually have to see all of those things and come to terms with it, even briefly, is really quite scary. But I think I’m seeing that as an adult. “This is what your life could be like if you don’t make better decisions!” Whereas I think if you’d ask kid Kristin, it was actually the rancor scene, because I would be freaked out by that every time, even though I knew that Luke was going to be okay. Even now, when it just kind of comes lumbering in and it’s doing its thing. [Moves her fingers as if they were claws] I don’t know how you’re gonna transcribe this. [Laughter]
Dan Brooks: “Grabby.”
Jennifer Landa: “Grabby hands.”
Kristin Baver: Drooling and dripping and Luke seems really scared. There’s definitely something about the character in that moment. Luke is relatively early in his journey, and he doesn’t have his weapon, so he doesn’t feel as confident maybe as we see him later in that film. But there’s definitely a moment, where when you’re seeing it, especially for the first time, you really don’t know if he’s about to be eaten and he looks like, “There is a genuine chance that I’m about to die.”
Dan Brooks: I have to admit, my favorite scary scene would probably be the ice spider scene in The Mandalorian, like I’ve said. But since I’ve already talked about that, I’ll pick a couple of runners up that I think are really good.
Kristin Baver: Do you like the ice spiders?
Dan Brooks: Like do I want one as a pet? [Laughter] No. I don’t like them that way. But it’s so well done, that scene.
I don’t know that I would necessarily call this a scary scene, but it definitely made me feel uncomfortable: In Revenge of the Sith when Anakin basically betrays Mace Windu, and there’s that moment after he slices his arm off. I mean, I remember just having like, a pit in my stomach. Obviously, we know he’s going to turn to the dark side. I didn’t expect that. And I remember just feeling like, “Okay, this is the point of no return. This is it.” And it was a real disturbing moment for me watching that movie. And I still remember that feeling.
James Floyd: Well, that and the following scene of him going in the Temple and, [in a kid voice] “Master Skywalker…”
Jennifer Landa: Oh, that’s awful.
Dan Brooks: Yeah, yeah. It’s terrible. And the other one is, there’s a moment in Bad Batch when Wrecker’s inhibitor chip switches.
Kristin Baver: Ahhhh!
Dan Brooks: I talked to [Bad Batch executive producer and supervising director] Brad Rau when the season was over and we were talking about that scene, and he said that it was scarier in the original cut. They pulled back. He said there were moments where it was very much like Jason Voorhees was going after Omega. And I feel like you can still see a little bit of that when you watch it. And just the idea that he can’t control himself and he’s stalking this little girl in this shadowy place. It was a really scary sequence and really, really well done.
Kristin Baver: I think it’s also made scarier when you’re watching it, especially the first time, because with those characters in particular, there’s no guarantee that anyone is going to be okay. We don’t know where they will show up again later or if they will. Like, there’s always a little bit of a safety net when you’re watching the prequels, if you’ve seen the original trilogy, you know where this is headed. So maybe there’s not a safety net there for the characters as much as like there’s an expectation of, as adorable and mop headed as Anakin is going to be in The Phantom Menace, you know something bad is going to happen. And it’s interesting to try and kind of figure out what the point of no return is for Anakin’s journey, because I think there are a lot of moments where he’s just getting darker and darker. But you’re right. It’s the Mace window. “Mace Window?” Mace Windu going out the window… [Laughter]
And him just completely giving up and giving himself over to the dark side, that there’s just no coming back from it and he’s going to be doing its bidding. But yeah, I agree with you that the Wrecker and Omega scene is extra scary. And some of that is not knowing if, in fact, Wrecker is going to be okay and if Omega’s going to survive this. But also the fact that they had been friends and really close before that, and then he just completely turns on her and he’s this big hulking dude.
Dan Brooks: Yeah. When you step back, there’s a lot going on in that sequence, right? It’s like the evil of the Empire turning this guy, basically against his will. The fact that nobody can really stop him. They can’t measure up to him in terms of strength or power.
Kristin Baver: Yeah, not even [the baby rancor] Muchi. He and Muchi just tired each other out. If not even a rancor can beat Wrecker, Omega is in trouble.
Dan Brooks: Yeah. So anyway, scary Star Wars.
Kristin Baver: Scary Star Wars, everyone.
Jennifer Landa: [In a scary voice] Oooh!
Kristin Baver: [In a scary voice] Oooh! [Laughter]
This discussion has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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