1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

A/V NPR's Star Wars Radio Dramas

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Triad Moons, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Triad Moons

    Triad Moons Jedi Knight star 2

    Jan 14, 2020
    (Not sure if this the place to talk about this, but) I've been listening to Niegel Langes's edit of the NPR radio dramas for A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back on YouTube. Stumbled across them completely by accident looking for a soundtrack cue, and they're really good. I wasn't expecting that.

    For the most part, I enjoy that the series of events are altered just enough that it's not a 1:1 duplication, but the skeleton the narrative remains largely the same. The benefit of the drama, same as a novel, is that there's a huge dedication to story elements that would otherwise drag a film down or have been better suited to a television show with x-mount of episodes.

    Never had a strong attachment to Leia or Luke as characters, but I came out of the end of A New Hope really empathizing with their circumstances. Luke's life on Tatooine, for instance, is something I really appreciated, same with listening to Leia plot out her intent to help the Rebellion. And that conversation between Han and Luke while they were waiting for rescue during the storm on Hoth was great as well.

    Leia/Han doesn't come off quite as unsettling in the drama (but not by much), and there's time afforded to Lando's already clear rationale in Cloud City as well (to the point where I wanted to kick Leia and Chewie for not listening to him).

    I'm currently listening to the Return of the Jedi drama, and I think the most jarring thing is whoever they've got as Lando Calrissian since Billy Dee Williams didn't reprise his role. Every time he speaks, I keep thinking, "Who's that white guy? Where's Lando?" It's so irksome.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  2. Jeff_Ferguson

    Jeff_Ferguson Force Ghost star 5

    May 15, 2006
    I love the radio dramas. Brian Daley is an amazing plotter and storyteller, and the format really allows his skills to shine, as it affords a lot more extrapolation of the films' scenes than a novelization or comic adaptation would. All of the bonus scenes are a lot of fun --- they give detailed background and introductions to characters and settings that just wouldn't be possible in a two hour movie, and they even include original characters and subplots of their own, like Lord Tion.

    The voice cast is fantastic, giving their own takes on the characters without coming even close to betraying who those characters are. Ann Sachs brings a quiet confidence and determination to Leia that's unique from Carrie Fisher's but still feels so right; ditto Perry King with Han's brashness and roguery. I'm not the biggest fan of Brock Peters's Vader, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it bad, and I know that tastes vary on it --- Beccatoria, who used to post here, mentioned once that she loved Peters's Vader but distinctly disliked Ann Sachs's Leia.

    The radio dramas are a whole lot of fun, and a wonderful addition to Daley's already stellar Star Wars legacy. Everyone who's never checked them out absolutely should.
  3. Triad Moons

    Triad Moons Jedi Knight star 2

    Jan 14, 2020
    I think Sachs' performance as Leia is my favorite between her and King, who kind've makes Han feel a little more, I guess, upbeat (???) than Harrison Ford. Someone compared his performance to a character to a "1920s gangster" and I cracked up because that's kinda perfect.

    Brock Peters as Vader is definitely the performance that took some getting used to, but it grew on me towards the end in ROTJ.
    Barriss_Coffee likes this.
  4. Old_Brown_Shoe

    Old_Brown_Shoe Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Sep 23, 2001
    Thanks for pointing this out! My aunt taped the ANH radio drama for us during a 1990s rebroadcast and my family would listen to it on long road trips. I always meant to look up the other series, but never got around to it. Incidentally, if anyone else here ever listens to old time radio, there's a voice actor I've long thought would have made a great Han Solo: Gerald Mohr, best known for playing the titular role in "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe".
    Triad Moons likes this.
  5. Ulicus

    Ulicus Lapsed Moderator star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 24, 2005
    Brock Peters's Vader is the best thing in it, for me. The "Red!Hot" Vader to JEJ's "Blue!Cold". I love that there's a hugely stark contrast. There's a lot of oddly prescient angry PT Anakin in the performance.

    Though, conversely, I found Perry King's performance so unpleasant it convinced me that Han Solo was an awful character only salvaged by Harrison Ford's charm.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
    beccatoria likes this.
  6. beccatoria

    beccatoria Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 8, 2006

    Oh my god, the radio drama, I love it so. I would say that ROTJ was not completed at the time, and was made like, in the 90s sometime, in order to complete the trilogy and as a result is shorter and feels less like the other two. But it's still worth a listen.

    I do indeed adore Peters' Vader. It definitely takes some getting used to and at the start I mostly just found him narrating his own choking scenes hilarious, but pretty soon the line between hilarity and genuine affection disappeared and now my love for him is 100% unironic.

    Also I think Jeff may be confusing my opinion on Leia with my opinion on Han, who is...well let's just say the radio drama made me ship Luke and Leia because I kept desperately hoping someone would come and rescue Leia from this creepy *******.

    Sachs' Leia I do, in fact, like. Although she...does kinda sound like she's in porn a good 20% of the time. Which is kinda fitting considering the sheer amount of accidental innuendo in this thing, sometimes in deeply uncomfortable ways. I mean, the scene where Leia gets tortured by the droid? Which is extended here? And ends up with her moaning on the floor while Vader yells, "Don't you want to please your father?!" is, uh, a thing that happened? As is AMAZINGLY UNSUBTLE FLIRTING between Luke and Leia while TRAPPED IN A CLOSET. As is an entire scene between Han and Chewie which I think takes place in a shared bathtub? As is the fact the Luke/Leia kiss lasts about seventeen seconds and Han tells them to come up for air. And like, this is just the stuff I remember ten years later...

    And NONE of it was intentionally dodgy because ANH and ESB were produced contemporaneously with the movies. o_O

    Basically, the Radio Dramas are 50% absolute crack and 50% genuinely high quality fantastic expansions of canon and I have a deep and abiding love for them.
  7. Triad Moons

    Triad Moons Jedi Knight star 2

    Jan 14, 2020
    Bringing this back to say I love that there's one rebellion fighter who told Han that he joined because "he notices things" (in TESB drama). It's a weird bit of humor that sprang a well of questions immediately after hearing the guy say that.