WXXI AM News

Star Wars

How much do you know about Star WarsThe Last Jedi comes out this week, and Star Wars fans are already making predictions about the film and the future of the franchise. But what if you’ve never seen Star Wars? Even if you’ve gone your whole life without seeing the films, surely you’ve absorbed some of the saga’s references through your friends and the media, right? Maybe not.

This hour, we talk Star Wars with super fans and with people (like producer Megan Mack) who have no idea who Boba Fett is. We also discuss diversity in casting, the direction of the series, and if the films still resonate today. Our guests:

  • Tiffany Staropoli, Star Wars fan since 1980, and broadcast producer and director
  • Dan HowellStar Wars fan and personal trainer
  • Katie Beczak, recruitment and communications specialist at RIT
  • Juan Vazquez, digital engagement producer for WXXI

Another Star Wars film, another protest, another round of allegations from white supremacists that the film is anti-white. What's the evidence? Why, the film's heroes include an empowered white woman, alongside men of color. And the film's villains are primarily white men. On top of that, some viewers detect political overtones.

Well, here's one point that's not debatable: Hollywood has disproportionately featured white men for years. Star Wars happens to prize diversity and female leads. What does it say about us that there is a boycott movement, or that the boycott movement is largely a failure? Our guests, all of them Stars Wars super fans, discuss all of that and more:

  • Tiffany Starpoli, broadcast producer and director, and Star Wars fan since 1980
  • Eric Stevens, pop culture writer, Star Wars fan, and host of a Comic Con panel called “Stop Taking My Hand: The Role of Women in Nerd Media”
  • Willis Brooks, PR rep at Entercom, aspiring actor, and Star Wars fan

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

His friends knew him as Eric Welch, a Penfield High grad, former Marine, personal trainer and owner of a gym in Canandaigua.

It's too late to change his yearbook picture, but you may see him around town with a new name, black mask and cape.

"I had like no true connection with my name. I grew up in foster care my whole life," says Canandaigua resident Darth Vader. "So I really didn't have like that name, for family's sake to be able to carry on."