Our series of interviews “From different points of view” highlights Star Wars fans from across the world and allows them to share their Star Wars fandom from their point of view and how it has influenced their lives and which direction it has taken them.
This week’s guest I met online through the Fangirls Going Rogue and Skywalking Through Neverland Facebook groups and we met up several times at SWCO and had a blast!
Our next point of view comes all the way from down-under in Australia. G’day to Ryan Stämpfli.
Ryan is a huge fan of Star Wars and an active member of Skywalking Through Neverland, he also has runs the “Travelling Chopper” Instagram (and on Facebook and Twitter)
Ryan when did your love of Star Wars begin and how has it influenced you?
I’ve been lucky enough to have a brother who is 8 years older than me who always liked this kind of thing so I can’t actually not remember not knowing Star Wars – even from before seeing all the movies as a kid in the early 80s, it was just everywhere, we had picture books, toys, bedsheets – it was what you played with your friends on the street as – I can remember a neighbour had a some of the old Kenner blasters, one kid’s dad made him a lightsaber out of a flashlight and a clear plastic tube and I can remember just putting a single glove on to be Luke post-Empire – maybe people thought I was into Michael Jackson, but I was a five year old so have no idea 😉
As for influencing me, it’s just been such a constant thing I’ve kept in my life in some way or another – I was one of those who still dreamed and did Star Wars things during the ‘dark times’ before things kicked off again in the mid 90s and I guess it’s become a part of my psyche. Little things like not wishing people “good luck” because of Kenobi’s opinion on that (I’d still wish them well, but just more thoughtfully than “good luck”) and trying to remind myself of Yoda’s wisdom of doing not just trying.
For the most part Star Wars has been my “safe place”, it’s the ultimate in fantasy escapism. Between well used VHS’s, novels, toys and video games, Star Wars was there for me when times were tough, particularly when I had some huge life changes as a teenager when moving from Australia to Venezuela in 1995 during highschool – I knew nobody over there, was just my parents and me. Having something I knew and could take with me anywhere like one of Tim Zahn’s and Kevin J Anderson’s novels that I’d been reading the year before I left meant I had this piece of normal wherever I was and was able to get more of.
When I met you at SWCO you were helping at The Skywalking Through Neverland live Podcast show, can you tell us how that came about?
I got to know the Skywalkers through my best friends Matt Clifton and David and Luann Manderville, firstly from social media shares and then meeting up with them all at Celebration Anaheim in 2015. I got to meet Richard and Sarah Woloski there and also got know Patty and Michael Hammond and so many others from that awesome group and the Podcasting Community at a kickoff party the night before SWCA began – you’ll be amazed how frequently some familiar faces will appear in crowds in the tens of thousands, love that.
As for at SWCO, I do the whole shed my introverted nature by hiding behind a camera and getting into the thick of things. Matt is my convention Jedi Master so when he was going to be helping out I was happy to do what I could to and then just get us much captured as I could – for me and anyone there.
Travelling Chopper where has he been and where will he go next?
Chopper started as a last minute decision – I wanted to do something fun and quirky on the trip to Celebration Anaheim – which was a crazy affair of driving for 12 hours from where we live in Western Australia to our state capital of Perth so we could meet up with another family and fly to the USA – grabbing my little LEGO Chopper was literally the last thing I did before walking out the door. So on that trip “Travelling Chopper” had photos taken at stops through the middle of Western Australia, Perth Airport, Sydney and then on to Los Angeles. Chopper then went along to Vegas and then had photos during the Amtrak trip we took from LA to Chicago, to Buffalo NY, Niagara Falls in Canada, then on to New York City, Washington DC and down to Orlando – then across to San Diego, California and finally he made it to Anaheim for the Convention.
The ultimate Chopper photo being a photo with me and Dave Filoni – Dave put Chopper on his hat (and then kindly repeated this at SWCO two years later) – since then Chopper has been to Singapore, Indonesia, all around Western Australia and with me for my first trip to the Eastern side of Australia when we went to Melbourne recently.
Usually the goal is to get a photo somewhere iconic – like in Times Square, by the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, with us when going to see one of the new Star Wars films, anything special.
What is your most memorable Star Wars Moment?
Nothing tops being with all your friends and “people” at the Celebrations, but the moment that I realised how insane Celebration was going to be was being in the hall for the SWCA opening ceremonies (especially as we didn’t expect to get in, but yay! Wristbands!!) and cheering ourselves hoarse with all the amazing things we were being shown. There is no other sound like 7000 people doing their best Chewbacca roar at the same time. But really, in that opener, being amongst the first people seeing and hearing “Chewie, we’re home” – I’m getting misty just thinking about it
What did you think about The Last Jedi?
I loved it, couldn’t believe it! I took my daughter with me to the midnight premiere like I did for The Force Awakens and it was too big a day for her and she couldn’t stay awake – this excited me greatly because I knew I’d have no complaints taking her to it again the next morning! I get that it’s not what people expected at all – and I love it for that, there were so many surprises and the characters were so much more real. If you want super powered heroes that can take any hardship and always be happy and victorious by the end of each film, go back and watch the Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies, you’ll love ‘em. IF however you want heroes with humanity and real spirits that can’t just keep bouncing back from everything life throws at them, you’re in for a treat.
The Last Jedi had heart, adventure, action, surprising twists, humour (that I really liked, I thought it was spot on and realistic) and that the movie took Yoda’s lesson to Luke in Empire of the need to “unlearn what you have learned” – too many have put limitations on where they think the stories should go and I thought Rian Johnson was brilliant in going beyond. Also great to see how clearly important gender and ethnic representation in actors is to Lucasfilm, I’m hoping that continues not just in actors but in future films also with alien main characters. I’d love that.
To end each point of view we ask some rapid fire questions, gut feeling and no hesitation…
1. Favourite Star Wars Film? Rogue One
2. Favourite Character? Luke! (but I have so many favourites!)
3. Most ridiculous random piece of merchandise? The boxes from my Lucasarts games from the 90’s like X-Wing, TIE Fighter and Dark Forces… like the LEGO Star Wars boxes, they take up a stupid amount of room and aren’t even looked at or touched for years – but I can’t part with them!
4. Holiday Special or Caravan of Courage? Caravan, totally. I loved the Ewoks as a kid.
5. Clone Wars or Rebels? Rebels, all the way, I love the Rebellion era
6. Worst Star Wars film? Holiday Special. It’s the safe answer I know but I don’t dislike any of them enough so say any one is the worst 😉
7. Porgs or Ewok? Porgs (I knew from the moment we saw the image of Chewie by a campfire what was gonna happen… his coat is warm)
8. Treasured Star Wars possession? My LEGO Chopper maybe? Over 30 years of touchstones to choose from there, it’s usually the little things I treasure because of where I was and what I was going through, I guess it’s nostalgia but I often attach emotions to things
9. What colour of lightsaber would you have? Blue
10. What planet would you visit? Aldera… umm the 4th Moon of Yavin. I live in the desert and it’s so green and has that special history for the rebels
You can find Travelling chopper on Instagram and Ryan on Twitter @iRebelRyan and Instagram at ryan_stampfli