My New Film Column Debuts on Sundance.TV! This Week: Star Wars Showdown

Here’s a little something I’ve been keeping a lid on until this very moment: I’m back in the film commentary business. The folks at Sundance asked me to write an occasional column on film (every couple of weeks or so), and I said, “heck, yeah,” because, well. I started writing professionally as a film critic, have published two books on film, and love being able to keep a hand in. So yes — I’m once again officially a film columnist. I’m thrilled and pleased Sundance is giving me the space.

To start off, we’re doing something thing fun with Star Wars. Today is May the 4th, which is an unofficial Star Wars holiday (“May the Fourth be with you”), and in honor of that, we’re asking: In a battle between the dark and light sides, which Star Wars character will stand as champion? To determine this, we’ve created two sets of brackets, one for the light side and one for the dark side. You will decide which characters make it out of brackets for the ultimate showdown between good and evil in the Star Wars universe.

This week we’ll vote them down to the final two. In the next installment in a couple of weeks, we’ll put those two head-to-head for the final confrontation. It’ll be fun. Lightsabers might be involved.

Here’s the link. Do me a favor and follow it, and vote. And then tell your friends about it. I’d love to have a good first week on the job. Thanks!

36 Comments on “My New Film Column Debuts on Sundance.TV! This Week: Star Wars Showdown”

  1. Stormtroopers have historically bad aim for the main characters, so maybe not so much on the winning on their part…if The Narrative is in play.

  2. Stormtroopers were able to conquer millions of worlds. But are we talking Clone Stormtroopers or recruit stormtroopers? My geek mind needs more details!

  3. Well, I’ve been doing my best but the site loads so slowly the iPad decides there are better things to do with its time.

    I hope this means the site is deluged with Scalzi seekers; I’ll try again later..

  4. I find your lack of Ewoks disturbing. Seriously, though, fun poll. Pulling for my man Sheev Palpatine all the way.

  5. The voting was a little wonky (normally it’s one round at a time with a time limit), but the pros and cons were amusing.

  6. I used to really enjoy your previous column, and missed it when it ended, so this is great news!

  7. Wow, John that’s an awesome assignment! Congratulations and good luck.

  8. Since this is a form of Bracketology, shouldn’t Duke be an available option for the Dark Side bracket? After all, Darth Maul was the epitome of a “One and Done.”

  9. Ok, that was fun! Yoda ‘da man! (at least for now)

    How about doing one for Star Trek? Khan vs. Apollo! The Gort vs. The Horta! Tribbles vs….uh, well, I don’t know…pretty much everything?

  10. How the heck is Boba Fett making it so far in the evil round? I consider him more of an amoral character, not evil.

    And Boba Fett beating out Grand Moff Tarkin? He’s one evil sonofa… Ordering the destruction of an entire planet as a tech demo!

  11. I read that as “fifth columnist”, and was all “The Puppies were right!1!”

  12. Was wondering if you were going to do a review on “Avengers/Ultron”. Nice to see you back in the movie business.

  13. @Jay: Tribbles v. Quadratriticale.
    @Mason, I had the same thought. This is a man who blows up and entire planet for P.R.

    Sigh, Stormtroopers didn’t even make it out of the first round. I’ve always loved their armor. :-(

  14. After I did the brackets and was thinking about May the Fourth, I thought of a fun t-shirt to make geeks’ heads explode: A hand with the Vulcan salute and under it the caption “May the Force be with you.” I wouldn’t be surprised if it already exists, though.

  15. I was trying to figure out how Chewbacca lost to a scruffy nerf-herder. I mean, did wookies give up tearing opponents limb from limb?

  16. No way Tarkin should have lost out to a measly bounty hunter. That is just not right.

  17. Vader. Vader all the way.

    I was gunning for Mace Windu and Princess Leia on the light side, but no….:(

  18. I remember when May the 4th being ‘Star Wars Day’ (or, as I heard it at the time ‘Luke Skywalker Day’) was just an amusing pun someone told me. I remember waiting a full year so I could use it myself (yes, I’m that dedicated to telling bad puns).

    In the past few years, the joke has spread, which sadly means that for me at least, there’s a Darth of the humour that I once enjoyed. I guess I’ll just have to Luke for a new joke, and Leia wreath on the grave of that one. Someday I’ll have another pun to Han to you. I’ll find it and say, “Yoda one I’ve Ben looking for!”

    I hope I do a good Jabba it, and that Chew enjoyed my Ewok down memory lane.

  19. Still not working for me but what the hell.

    You have not really lived until you have heard the music of Star Wars played on a gigantic cathedral organ by a brilliant organist passionately attached to Star Wars

    Ok, this may not be quite the way you do things on your side of the pond but we celebrate the day as well, and trust me, that organ makes the soundtrack seem skimpy…

  20. I too was disappointed in Tarkin going out so soon. He was a Grand Moff! Top of the Empire right below Palpatine and Vader. In charge of the biggest weapon ever and in command of who knows how many people/clones. Blew up an entire planet for funsies AFTER getting the info he needed. No way he should have lost to a bounty hunter who got eaten by a giant sewer after getting hit by a half-blind guy. Really, people.

  21. Apparently the results evolve. Some of the closer results mentioned herein have already been overturned.

  22. Since the new films, it’s not just anger and hate that leads to the dark side, but feelings themselves. So what happens when the protagonists meet the “Love Sith”?

  23. Thrilled to hear you’re back in the film commentary biz. It’s my favourite part of the blog.

    Felicity Banks

  24. Just a small nit that needs picking, second paragraph, first sentence;

    “To start off, we’re doing something thing fun with Star Wars.”

    Other than that, carry on.


  25. You can see where the Dark Side tourney is going just looking at the brackets. I mean, sure, a real tournament wouldn’t put the top seeds up against each other in the first round. But this is just a poll: I say settle the Vader v. Fett question, then see if anything interesting pans out. At least the Tarkin v. Fett vote was close.

    Anyway, welcome back to film commentary and all but, uh, they paid your for that? It’s a lovely 15 lines of clickbait, er, copy and all, but I mean, are there no interns at Sundance? Oh, I think I get it: your job is to poke the interns!

    I kid, of course. It’ll be nice to have you writing on movies again. But I am clearly in the wring line of work. (I’m a high school science teacher, so that kinda goes without saying, but still.)

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