Between 1999 and 2009 Lightsabre.co.uk brought news, fanfic, podcasts and much, much more to the masses. Our one hundred and fifth guest is the president of TeeKay-421 – Tim Veekhoven.
Lightsabre – Tim, welcome to Lightsabre.
TV – Hi, Mark. It’s an honour to be chosen for an interview.
Lightsabre – Star Wars has had a profound effect on all of us but what started you off on your Star Wars journey?
TV – My parents, actually. They took me to the movies in 1980 / 1981 to see Episode IV and V. Right afterwards I got some Kenner toys. I played so much with them that my family continued to get me Kenner toys. Around 1987 I started to realise that Star Wars was far more than just a successful toy series and I got interested in everything else about the movies and searched for every item with the name Star Wars on (that was still doable back then).
With the publication of the West End Games books, which I discovered by a little bit of luck around 1989 / 1990, a whole new world opened to me. I had always wondered about all the characters in the movies and those books were absolutely fascinating. I joined the LFL Fanclub and from then it has been one hell of a roller coaster ride. Since then I have been especially interested in the Star Wars universe and Source information. Meanwhile I continued to collect. In 1997 I co-founded TeeKay-421 with Christiaan Vertez and Laurent Bettens.
Lightsabre – TeeKay-421 is Belgium’s biggest Star Wars fansite. Tell a bit about how the site grew and developed to where it is today?
TV – Well the site has always been a part of TeeKay-421, the Belgian Star Wars Fanclub. In 1998 we constructed our first website and acquired our domain. We have always been blessed with wonderful webmasters. In 1999 our website won a prestigious award in Belgium for best “Non-professional website”. The website has now changed quite a few times and the current design has been online since 2008.
The website was created to be an online platform for the club where people could join our ranks, read reports about previous events, etcetera. A site can generate more interest than flyers but after awhile we realised it was also an excellent way to bring Star Wars news (in Dutch) to our members and the Star Wars community in general.
Those are still the goals of the site today. It’s a perfect way to learn more about the fanclub (what we do, what we did in the past, how to join) and it has become a major Star Wars news site in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Lightsabre – Which of the six episodes stands out as your favourite?
TV – This is always a hard choice. I’d say ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ is the best movie but ‘A New Hope’ is the best Star Wars movie. I like them all. I still believe ‘The Phantom Menace’ is a fine movie that is misunderstood or not understood at all.
TV – Well at first I just thought somebody was joking around. But it turned out to be serious. It came about as a combination of my Star Wars blog on the official site and because I was one of the first fans to have a story chosen for the “What’s the Story” feature with my Swilla Corey story. I guess I don’t need to tell you that it was totally cool to be chosen for an interview on StarWars.com.
Lightsabre – As a fellow fan you must have many golden Star Wars memories. Tell us about some of them.
TV – Yeah, a lot of memories. I’ll just try and recapture a few of them. Visiting Tunisia was great and meeting Star Wars actors has been cool as well. I’ve had dinner with some of them, I chauffeured some of them to conventions. Kenny Baker and his wife were really nice to me when I had to drive them to a convention at a time but lost my way in an underground parking lot. “Where is Artoo when I need him?”, Threepio must have wondered, but he was right there and said I didn’t have to worry about a thing.
I’m relieved that four of my stories were chosen for “What’s the Story”: Swilla Corey, Tzizvvt, Wam Lufba and Pontifex Maxiron Agolerga. I’ve always been involved with Source information and that contest was one of my ultimate Star Wars dreams come true. It gave me the confirmation that I was doing well and managed to catch the atmosphere of the Star Wars galaxy in my imagination.
And of course having started with TeeKay has enabled me to be busy with Star Wars every day in the last 10 years and to be involved with many great projects such as ‘Star Wars, the Exhibition’. I’ve also come to know a lot of friends and people through the fan club that I would never have met otherwise. So, that’s a great gift, isn’t it?
TV – This is just as hard as picking a favourite Episode. I’ve always liked Han and Lando in the classics. They have many skills (Xena would utter) and usually manage to get out of a dangerous situation. They’re shady characters but their heart is in the right place. In the prequels, I really love the characters of Qui-Gon Jinn and Count Dooku. But I like the whole bunch of heroes. I even like poor Jar Jar Binks.
Lightsabre – What would you change about Star Wars if you could go back in time and make alterations?
TV – I think there are very few things about the Star Wars movies that I don’t like. It’s not that I’m free of criticism; I just feel we shouldn’t exaggerate with criticism. It seems that a lot of fans hate George Lucas or his decisions. How can you do that? George Lucas is the highest authority on Star Wars. You have to accept his point of view, even if you don’t like it. And luckily for me, I do.
Though I like Jar Jar, I would have omitted a couple of his ‘jokes’ in ‘The Phantom Menace’ like stepping into the ‘icky goo’. Maybe I would have included some scenes that were deleted but I wouldn’t go back and change the ending of ‘Return of the Jedi’ or cast another actor as Anakin Skywalker.
Lightsabre – What interests do you have outside of Star Wars?
TV – I like sports (football / soccer & cycling). I am a supporter of RSC Anderlecht (winner of 3 European cups). Star Wars has broadened my general interest. I have become a movie fan and I’m interested in many things. I like ‘The Simpsons’, I like David Lynch, I like history (I have a degree in history), I like geography, I like the Prehistory, I like fairytales and mythology, etcetera.
Lightsabre – The television era of Star Wars starts in the autumn of 2008 with the Clone Wars and in 2009 with the live action show. What are your hopes for the shows?
TV – I hope that the people who will run the shows will remain faithful to the SW universe created by Lucas. I wouldn’t want them to turn the shows into something like all those post-‘Return of the Jedi’ novels. I’m really glad that George Lucas is involved to guide the people.
The Clone Wars will be exciting. I have no doubts there. I liked the cartoons of Tartakovsky and I’m sure the new series will be able to develop the Clone Wars even further.
I hope the live action will turn into a great series such as ‘Heroes’ or ‘Carnivale’ with good actors, interesting stories and likeable characters. It could generate an entire new generation of Star Wars fans. But … if the series would fail, it could also mean the end of new television-spin offs.
And I also hope for some tie-ins with ‘Droids’. I’m a big fan of those cartoons. The designs are very Star Wars-like, which has been proven in the prequels where several things from ‘Droids’ have been used once more.
TV: Well of course I hope that TeeKay-421 will continue to exist and make many members and fans happy. TeeKay has become dear to me.
Yodapedia is much younger and is controlled by the people of Wikipedia. So I might not have the final word when something would ever happen to it. I hope Yodapedia will continue to exist for many years and that people will start to notice the differences between Yodapedia and Wookieepedia. It has been hard work for the two of us (Kevin Beentjes from the Netherlands and myself). But I’d rather contribute with two good administrators instead of spending time to correct entries from others that do not take Yodapedia seriously. Kevin and I are both perfectionists when it comes to the SW universe.
Lightsabre – A quick question about our site. Any comments?
TV: First of all, congratulations for being around that long! We both know that many sites come and go. My respect goes out to all those sites that keep on going. I also like the fact that Lightsabre isn’t the typical Star Wars site.
Lightsabre – It’s been a great interview, and thanks for being our guest. Just one final question. You are a protocol droid but you have a fatal shortcoming – you can only speak three languages. One is Huttese, the other basic, but what would the third one be and why?
TV – I guess Bocce. Bocce will get you chosen by farm boys with a heroic future ahead of them. An Astromech Droid can come in quite handy when being a Protocol Droid so I just need to understand Droidspeak, don’t I? Let’s hope we’re not doomed by all these answers…
This interview was originally posted on lightsabre.co.uk on 27th April 2008.