• David Amelotti

Getting to know Arezou, the newest BTBD contributor

Arezou Amin is a TV writer, geek, lipstick hoarder, and budding costumer according to her Twitter biography. She's also our newest crew member here at The Beyond The Blast Doors Network. She has developed an incredible voice in the Star Wars community with blog posts exploring the deepest parts of canon and the fandom. She and BTBD's David Amelotti sat down to have a conversation about her fandom including her first memory of Star Wars, the book she can't live without, and

The first question sometimes seems as the obvious start to learning another fan's story. What is your earliest Star Wars memory?

My earliest Star Wars memory is one weekend in 1998 when my parents, presumably because they knew The Phantom Menace was coming out soon, decided to sit my brother and I down to watch the original three movies. We spent the entire day in front of the TV, and although I didn't pick up on everything going on, I knew this was going to be different than the other movies my parents had shown me. Something in them resonated at such an emotional level and I was still swimming in the story at school the next day. Even at that age, a stand out moment was when the Emperor nearly kills Luke, and Vader finally becomes Anakin Skywalker once again to save his son, and it's still a highlight of that movie for me to this day.

I also have very vivid memories of the lead-up to the release of Episode I, when it was all anyone at school could talk about. There were images and promotional items everywhere and we were all hyped. That promotional campaign was really something else. I still can't start up The Phantom Menace without some part of me craving Mountain Dew and Taco Bell cinnamon twists. Until the release of the sequel trilogy, this was the only time I could participate in the hype leading up to a new Star Wars movie, so that mixed with the nostalgia goggles of childhood make that whole period a real golden age for me.

The story has evolved over the last 40 plus years, but what is it that keeps you wanting to explore the galaxy far far away?

For me, the story had kind of come to a standstill after Revenge of the Sith came out. I knew there was an animated TV series about the Clone Wars, but I had missed watching the beginning of it when it first came out and I'm not the kind of person who can watch half a TV series, especially the back half. But I also figured it didn't make much of a difference since the story was "over". The sheer volume of Legends books - the EU at the time - was also pretty intimidating.

Everything changed when Disney bought the rights and announced that they would be making more movies. With the promise of brand new movies, TV shows, and a whole clean slate of books, it was as good a time as any to give in to the hype and dive into the GFFA.

My favorite part of Star Wars is all the "freaky Force stuff" as I call it, and I love that as the story continues to grow, we're getting so many interesting insights and developments in that part of it all. It's not much of a secret that I'm not a fan of the way the saga ended, but I stay because I have to hope that things will get better, that the story will push boundaries and grow beyond the predictable. I love it too much to let it grow stale without a fight.

You will be doing opinion pieces and book reviews for the website. What is the best written Star Wars story that you feel all fans should take the time to read?

First things first, if you haven't read Matthew Stover's novelization of Revenge of the Sith, please do yourself a favor and read it now. While most novelizations are slightly expanded retellings of the movies, with maybe some deleted scenes, this one is something else. It has an almost mythic, legend-you-tell-around-the-campfire quality to it that is absolutely unmatched.

Beyond that, within the new canon, I highly recommend anything by Claudia Gray. If you want insight into how the First Order came to be, I recommend checking out her book Bloodline. If you want a tragic star-crossed love story, there's Lost Stars. Leia Princess of Alderaan gives a look into how a princess turned into a rebel leader, and Master and Apprentice is a wonderful look at how Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi learned how to overcome their differences and understand each other. I also recommend Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse, which is so good it makes me angry. It's tightly written, and really gets into Poe and Leia's mentalities following the events of The Last Jedi. If a funnier read is more your style, I recommend Daniel José Older's Last Shot or Kevin Hearne's Heir to the Jedi, which are adorable and hysterical in completely different ways.

You love to read and have your fair share of collectibles. Is there something in your Star Wars collection that you take the most pride in possessing?

I suppose the obvious answer to this would be my lightsaber from Savi's. My brother and I built one each the summer that Galaxy's Edge opened, and it was a lot of fun to do that together. Though it's one of the newest additions to my collection, it's definitely my most prized.

It probably goes without saying though, that every part of my collection is special to me in some way. I love my little Funko collection. I have a rapidly growing collection of little crochet figures that I've been making myself in lockdown, my favourite of which is my little Ben Solo, complete with tiny hole in his sweater.

As far as books go, the one I'm happiest to own is my very beat up copy of the junior novelization of The Phantom Menace. Between my brother and I, we read that book so much we almost wore it out as kids. It was the first time I realized that a novelization could go beyond what I see on screen and expand the story in a meaningful way. After all, where else would I have learned that Qui Gon thinks Obi Wan has a very bizarre and poorly timed sense of humour?

We are so glad to have you join us at BTBDNet. You are going to rock our world with your writing. What is something you want to see come from joining our Star Wars conversation?

Thank you! I'm excited to be a part of the team! I've been a "friend of the BTBD family", so to speak, for a while and I've loved seeing the energy you all bring to the fandom. I am excited to geek out over everything we find mutually interesting, and to bring my own unique perspectives and ideas to the table, ranging from the more serious to the fun and lighthearted to everything in between! I think it's possible to love something with all your heart and still want it to do and be better, and I'm excited to have those conversations when it comes to Star Wars!

Follow Arezou on Twitter @ArezouAmin to continue this Star Wars conversation!