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Between 1999 and 2009 Lightsabre.co.uk brought news, fanfic, podcasts and much, much more to the masses. Our ninety-eighth guest was a contributor to The Force.net – Mike Barrick.

Lightsabre – Mike, welcome to Lightsabre.

MB – Thanks a lot for having me!

Lightsabre – Star Wars has had a profound effect on all of us but what started you off on your Star Wars journey?

MB – I was born in 1979 so the first of the films I saw in theaters was Return of the Jedi. I don’t really have a defining moment that got me into Star Wars as a child for it was there as far as I can remember. I always had the 3 films on video cassette in some form or other but didn’t have many of the toys. I had a best friend with all of the vehicles and figures so needless to say I spent most of the time hanging out at his house. Not sure what he did with those toys as we’ve lost touch. I gotta look him up. The prequels rekindled some of that child-like excitement as an adult but the novels really pushed it into overdrive. I am a big fan of the EU and got into it just after Revenge of the Sith came out for I needed more great Star Wars stories.

Lightsabre – The Force.Net is an amazingly well known site, both inside and outside of fandom, making lists of ‘the best websites’ on a regular basis. How exciting is it, to be a part of that?

MB – I’m honored to be even a small part of it. I had been checking out TF.N daily for years and got hooked up with posting for the site almost by accident. Dustin, our content manager, needed some volunteer help posting the news and happened to remember my name from a few correspondences I had with the site and the Forcecast. He responded to an e-mail I sent over and asked if I’d like to help out and I jumped at the opportunity. This was April of 2007. At the time I had no idea what I was getting myself into, especially with Celebration IV just a month and a half away. I immediately felt the need to post as much as possible for I knew the site had a certain reputation and the last thing I wanted to do was let the site down. The ‘best website lists’ are very cool but, getting to be in contact with so many great and friendly Star Wars fans has been the best part. I’ve made friends and acquaintances all around the world including some people associated with the films and just feel very lucky to have that opportunity.

Lightsabre – The Clone Wars and the live action shows are on their way. What are your hopes for the new series, and do you think Rick McCallum is right, and we will be seeing multiple live shows on the air?

MB – The more the better. How great would it be to have both series on the air at the same time with reverberations from one to the other? (Kind of like what we are seeing with the Vector storyline in the comics) I could not be more excited for The Clone Wars and there is just so much that can be done with it. I think your dedicated Star Wars fans are just salivating for the theatrical release and hopefully this can bring back some fans that might not have loved the prequels. Love or hate the prequels, The Clone Wars time period is fascinating and ripe with great story ideas.

Lightsabre – What is it like to be involved with such an integral part of the Star Wars phenomenon?

MB – I’m not sure how much a part of it I truly am. I’m just a fan volunteer lucky enough to toy around in the Star Wars sandbox. I want to post anything and everything, for everyone has their own focus in the Star Wars universe. You might look at our front page one day and only 4 of the 8 new posts will interest you. On the other hand, someone else might enjoy all 8. Not everything is for everyone but everything is for someone.

Lightsabre – As a fellow fan you must have many golden Star Wars memories. Tell us about some of them.

MB – Some random memories…When I graduated high school, my parents gave me a wooden, painted poster of A New Hope that went with me to college and still hangs in my house now. (with a few battle scars) It’s one of my favorite possessions. When the Special Edition came out in theaters, I rushed home from college so my father and I could go see them together. That was pretty great. I went on family vacation to London back when I was 15 and the highlight of the trip was seeing Han frozen in carbonite in Planet Hollywood. Ok so there were a lot of greats sites to see and watching the World Cup in the UK was a great experience, but come on, that was frozen Han!

These days, having my almost 2 year old son making lightsaber and blaster sounds while cheering and clapping when I put Star Wars on the TV is better than any of my personal memories. He loves the Galactic Heroes figures as well.

Lightsabre – Which of the Star Wars character do you feel the greatest affinity for?

MB – How can I possibly choose? From the Original Trilogy I have to go with good old Lando Calrissian. Not that I really identify with him for I’m hardly the smoothest cat in the galaxy but he was just fun. Some of my favorite scenes are of him piloting the Falcon into the Death Star. (Loved him in Aaron Allston’s novel Exile as well) We named my son after him. I kept pushing my wife for Lando and she finally compromised with Landon. She’s a good and patient woman.

When it comes to the Prequels, Obi-Wan really stood out. I thought Ewan’s performances stole the films, especially in Revenge of the Sith. When it comes to the books, I’m huge fans of Wedge and Talon Karde. Karde reminds me of a sophisticated version of Han and well, who doesn’t love Wedge!

Lightsabre – What would you change about Star Wars if you could go back in time and make alterations?

MB – Now, that’s a tough one. How can I answer that without offending….I would have made Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar and Saesee Tiin put up more of a fight against Palpatine.

Lightsabre – The Force.net is a common destination for millions of Star Wars fans every month. How does it feel to have your site be one of the regular reference points for so many fans and official folks?

MB – It was a bit intimidating at first. Again, I was just constantly worried I would mess up or post something that I shouldn’t. Now, I don’t really worry about it all too much. Not that I don’t care, but we are all in the same boat. All of us out there that check out sites like Lightsabre and TF.N are just normal people who love Star Wars. We do our best to keep each other informed from posting the news to readers of the sites sending over new tips. We’re all a community and as long as we all treat each other well and respect each other’s varying opinions, all will be ok.

Also, you don’t really think of how many people might read a post when you’re posting early in the morning as everyone is asleep, and you’re alone in you office.

Lightsabre – Having started back in the mid-1990’s, TF.N has grown and changed enormously over the years. Tell us a bit about that progression.

MB – Hard for me to really speak on that for when the site started, I was at college. The only thing I used the internet for at that point was for various school projects that I may or may not have completed. Ah, college, what I can remember was a good time 🙂 It seems like the addition of the Forcecast has really taken the site to a new level in terms of fan interaction, access to Star Wars guests and just all around Star Wars coverage. I listen every week. I just wish I had the time to tune into more of the live broadcasts instead of just downloading them.

Lightsabre – Which of the original six Star Wars films is your favourite?

MB – I go back and forth between Empire and A New Hope. Empire is the superior story but I always love the initial discovery process of a hero in film. Such as the fist Spiderman, the first Matrix and naturally the first Star Wars.

Lightsabre – What do you foresee for TF.N in the future?

MB – Well, there are a lot of great Star Wars projects on the horizon from The Clone Wars to the live-action series to The Force Unleashed and more. It certainly doesn’t look like we’re going to be running out of Star Wars items to cover anytime soon.

Lightsabre – A quick question about our site. Any comments?

MB – I’ve been a big fan, coincidentally, of the interviews you’ve had on your site, especially your Rick McCallum 3-part interview. That was fantastic. One of the things I love about TF.N is my exposure to all sorts of other fan sites from around the world. There are some great ones out there, each having their own flare and ways to display their love for the Star Wars saga. Lightsabre is no exception.

Lightsabre – It’s been a great interview, and thanks for being our guest. Just one final question. George Lucas, Samuel L Jackson and Hayden Christensen are sharing an elevator when the subject of The Clone Wars CGI series is raised. Both Hayden and Samuel are outraged that they weren’t asked to voice their own characters. Suddenly the door opens and in comes Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor, similarly annoyed that they’ve not been asked. My question is – what does The Flannelled One do next?

MB – Whatever he wants. He’s The Maker for crying out loud!

This interview was originally posted on lightsabre.co.uk on 2nd March 2008.