Between 1999 and 2009 Lightsabre.co.uk brought news, fanfic, podcasts and much, much more to the masses. Our ninetieth guests was the webmaster of www.lightsabre.co.uk for ten years – Mark Newbold.
Paul Bateman, assistant to Ralph McQuarrie – If the Star Wars universe really existed, (just kidding, I know it’s a documentary) who would you hang out with and where would you like to live?
MN – Ok, I’d be a smuggler just like my alter ego Jan Lomona, so if we’re talking the official stuff I’d be based out of Corellia, hang out with Han and Lando, Talon Carrde, dudes like that. I’d probably have a thing for Jabba’s dancers, so I’d be at the Palace a lot. Yep, if there was a choice to live that documentary I’d be quite the bad boy…
Neil Baker, documentary filmmaker and writer/artist Turning to the Dork Side – What does it mean to be a British Star Wars fan, as opposed to an American fan (do you suppose)?
MN – Being a British Star Wars fan means a number of things. Most of the cast were Brits, the original trilogy and The Phantom Menace were made here, there have only been three Star Wars directors and one was a Brit, so there’s a deep connection to the saga, a sense of ownership that I would say was equal to the Americans and the Aussies. And of course these days with t’internet and the like we’re all one true global community. In days past we were very fragmented, but now it’s easy to mix and share work, ideas and thoughts. And of course, British Star Wars fans can go and win Junior Mastermind, which is pretty neat too.
Anthony Harding, LucasArts Beta Tester – If you could pick ONE Female from ALL the films who would you choose? (be imaginative, Yaddle not applicable) :p
MN – Apart from Yaddle? Sheesh, it would obviously be every 30-something guys first crush Princess Leia in that bikini or Mara Jade as portrayed by Shannon McRandle. And Natalie Portman has a classic, Audrey Hepburn-like quality. The six breasted dancer from Jedi was a hottie, and Gragra from The Phantom Menace had her charms. And Oola could bust a move…
Sarah Mills, friend and sci-fi fan – The classic desert island discs question – one movie, one album, one book.
MN – Movie, I’d probably plum for The Empire Strikes Back, although Star Wars is the only one of the 6 that can stand alone as a self-contained entity. Album would be the Empire soundtrack, although The Phantom Menace is a stupendously good listen that gets better with age. Book would be either Han Solo at Stars’ End or Revenge of the Sith. Stars’ End was the first Star Wars book I read after the original novelisation and Sith is such a clever novel with the way it gets into the characters heads, it almost outshines the source material.
PB – Which location/set would you like to have visited?
MN – That’s a goooood question. It would have to be either Chalmun’s cantina from A New Hope or Cloud City from Empire, beautiful sets both. The Cantina was captivating to me as a kid. The alcoves, all those untold stories, and the Millennium Falcon speaks for itself. Saying that, the sets in the prequels were fantastic and I have a big soft spot for Anakin’s slave quarters and Watto’s Shop (just saying ‘Watto’s Shop’ takes me back to 1999). The Emperor’s Throne Room from Return of the Jedi was brilliant, as was the Sail Barge set.
PB – What’s your favourite EU character, from the books, comics, anywhere?
MN – Easy. Plif the Hoojib from the old Marvel Comics run. Seriously, if he hadn’t had mileage as a character then he wouldn’t have been in the storyline for as long as he was. Mara Jade totally rules, as does Cade Skywalker (loving the Legacy comic), and pretty much all of the characters in John Jackson Millers Knights of the Old Republic are brilliant, a great ensemble cast.
AH – If you could be involved in some way with DIRECT input in the upcoming TV series what would you choose? (Direct, Write, Artist e.t.c)
MN – Wow, I’d sweep the bloody floors if they’d ever let me on the set! I think I would like to either be a recurring background character or involved with the writing. Lightsabre is primarily a fanfiction site, although obviously we’re best known for the interviews these days, and our 200+ stories are woven together quite neatly. I think I’d have a pretty fair shot at growing a continuity and thread with something that expansive. So Rick McCallum, if you’re reading this, you know where to find me…
PB – Do you have a favourite episode of (Gendy Tartakovsky’s) Clone Wars show?
MN – Yep, that would be Episode 12 of season one, where Mace is fighting a shed load of Battle Droids. No speaking, just monster action and it really showed what a Jedi could do when he cuts loose. There were a number of great episodes and I wish they’d just let Tartakovsky continue with the series in tandem with everything else. And I LOVED the final shot as the Battle of Coruscant was kicking off, really very cool.
PB – Why ‘Lightsabre’?
MN – You can blame my partner in crime Louis Turfrey for that. Back in 1998 when we were doing Wirezone – the site that became Lightsabre – we decided to rename and make it purely Star Wars focused. Back then we were all about our fan fiction, and I wanted a name that would link in to that, so I wanted it to be www.setninsector.co.uk or something like that. Louis very wisely bought the Lightsabre domain name and it’s served us very well. Despite every American who visits the site telling us we spell it wrong…
NB – You can be a character for one day – Han or Jan?
MN – Jan, because I’ve had that character in my head since I was 10, so to a large degree he’s the brash, cocky and confident ‘me’ that I would ultimately like to be. Sometimes I’m closer to him than others, less now as I get older, but Jan was lucky. He has a poodu-hot ship, loyal friends, a great job, money in the bank and he’s his own boss. Who wouldn’t want that?
PB – Do you ‘dig’ Mecco?
MN – If by ‘dig’ you mean shovel a large hole in the ground and push him in…then no. If by ‘dig’ you mean secretly tap my foot every time Star Wars disco comes on and look longingly at my 7″ vinyl version wishing I still had a record player then yes.
PB – What do you hope to see in the live action TV show?
MN – Lot’s of Jedi vs Sith action, lot’s of Expanded Universe references, plenty of underworld action – smugglers, bounty hunters, confidence tricksters, and a bunch of stuff we’ve not even imagined yet. I’m really hoping it will be like watching a new movie every month and it keeps the epic feel of the movie saga. What Revenge of the Sith did so well was close the gap between the two trilogies, and this looks like it will do the same, along with The Force Unleashed. And of course, some amazing music to accompany the show. I truly hope they make it and treat it like a movie, because Star Wars diluted for the television is a BAD idea – it has to tonally stay the same.
SM – Star Wars or sex?
MN – That’s kind of like saying ‘Choc ice or chips.’ Hmmmm, naturally as a fully grown geek I’d have to say sex, but then again Star Wars is always tempting. When I’m doing one I’m generally thinking of the other, so it would be a dead heat. Then again, mixing the two disciplines would make it ok, yeah? Ross from Friends got away with it, so I think I could give it a shot…
PB – In the live action TV show what do you hope they avoid?
MN – Over-marketing the show. Hasbro will think it’s Christmas every time a new episode hits, so I hope they reel it in a bit and I hope the cliches of genre television are avoided.
NB – What topic would you like to see for a fan film documentary? (yes – I’m reaching out here…)
MN – I’d like to see something that reaches deeper into the fandom. Not just the guys and dolls who dress up, or the obviously obsessed fans who think it’s real but guys like us. Daily fans, webmasters, convention goers. Plus it would be cool to hear from some of the celebrity fans out there. Sylvester Stallone, Eamonn Holmes, Tina Fey (bagsy me to interview her).
PB – If you could change one thing about The Phantom Menace what would it be?
MN – Nothing at all. That film gets better with age, and now set in the context of the surrounding movies it makes so much more sense than it did before. Great film that’s maturing like a fine wine, and eventually I really believe fans will see that Lucas started the saga just where he should have done. We needed to see where Anakin came from to understand the huge fall he took.
PB – Jar Jar vs. Wicket – Who do you think would win in a knife fight and how?
MN – Wicket, because that furry little dude really knows how to handle himself. Jar Jar would do the whole tongue-flicking thing, Wicket would catch it, tie it to Anakin’s Pod Racer and blast it into the Jundland wastes at 600 miles an hour.
PB – If the Star Wars Holiday Special ever got an official DVD release would you buy the two disk edition?
MN – Hell yeah, and the box set with the accompanying CD of Carrie singing ‘The Life Day’ song and anything else they decided to release. Hasbro action figures of Ackmena and Saun Dann that dance when she starts to sing ‘Goodnight But Not Goodbye’. If LFL ever get their fingers out and released it, the ironic value of owning it would be too much for any Star Wars fan to resist. It would outsell the trilogy box set.
Originally published on www.lightsabre.co.uk on 23rd December 2007. This interview has been slightly edited for content.