Between 1999 and 2009 Lightsabre.co.uk brought news, fanfic, podcasts and much, much more to the masses. Our one hundred and twenty-second guest is the webmaster of Star Wars New Zealand – Matt Glasgow.
Lightsabre – Matt, welcome to Lightsabre.
MG – Cheers Mark, thanks for the opportunity to be here.
Lightsabre – Star Wars has had a profound effect on all of us but what started you off on your Star Wars journey?
MG – I saw Star Wars in December of ’77, which is when it first came out in New Zealand…my first collectibles were a Kenner Stormtrooper mini action figure and issue #18 of the Star Wars comics from Marvel. I still have both, and have picked up a couple of other collectibles along the way too.
Lightsabre – Star Wars New Zealand is New Zealand’s biggest Star Wars fansite. Tell a bit about how the site grew and developed to where it is today?
MG – I took over the SWNZ “brand” in early 2003, redesigned the front-and back-end of the website, and consolidated it’s focus. It has just undergone its first major visual upgrade since that time. The principal goal is described on the SWNZ website (if you can excuse me using my marketing blurb) as being to support and encourage all Star Wars related hobbies in NZ, and to tie together the networks that constitute the wider Star Wars fan base.
SWNZ focuses on New Zealand content, but has international appeal in that it highlights the unique contribution made by New Zealand and New Zealanders to the Star Wars universe, and will chronicle regional events and collectibles not available elsewhere.
SWNZ is about enjoying the hype of the new Star Wars films, and about remembering the mythos of the original trilogy. SWNZ strives for original content (there being no need to mimic that which is already done well by the large, well-established Star Wars sites), but maintains tight links and affiliations to like-minded websites all around the globe.
That’s the long version. The short version is that I’ve tried to make the www.SWNZ.co.nz website in to the sort of site that I, as a Star Wars fan, would visit and come back to regularly, because of its relevant and unique content.
MG – It’s a tough call between A New Hope and Empire, to be honest. Very tough…there is plenty of classic imagery from Episode IV – iconic scenes and characters – that will always take me back to the initial release of this film. But…equally strong are the memories of anticipation once The Empire Strikes Back was confirmed…the tantalising, pre-internet trickle of details and pictures that took a long time to make their way to New Zealand.
Lightsabre – You also run Gerald Homes official site. How did that come about?
MG – Gerald got in touch with me in 2004, through the SWNZ website. After a bit of dialogue, I worked up a series of 3 interviews/articles describing his involvement in Return of the Jedi, including an exploration of his call sheets from that work, and script pages that contained lines later cut from the story. I offered to help him establish an online presence (www.GeraldHome.com), and, have continued to worked with him, and remained friends, over the years since.
MG – Well, as with most Star Wars fans, I can remember very clearly arriving home from seeing Star Wars the very first time, and not only spending the next few days pretending to be Star Wars characters, and trying to work out if Stormtroopers were people or robots (as a 7-year old, in the late 70s, such distinctions were less obvious). Something that has really stuck with me though, is the fact that I can remember the origin of every one of my early Star Wars action figures and related collectibles (even though it was 30 years ago for some of them) …the order in which I got them…if I received them as presents (and the events/people surrounding such celebrations), or from the shops I frequently visited looking for new product.
A very significant Star Wars-related event in my life did occur a little more recently though – my wife, who is also a very passionate Star Wars fan, and I got engaged at Villa Balbianello in Italy, on the spot where the Episode II wedding scene was filmed (photos from that trip can be seen on SWNZ.
Lightsabre – Which of the Star Wars character do you feel the greatest affinity for?
MG – There are a number of Original Trilogy, particularly A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, characters that carry particular significance. I think it was the robots and aliens that, to the my 7-year-old eyes of the time, had the greatest novelty value and impact. Amongst my favourites are the droids like 2-1B, FX-7, IG-88 and, of course, R2-D2 and the other astromech variations. It is my affinity towards the R2 and R5 series droids that lead me to spend about 5 years building a life-size, aluminium R2-D2 (with the help of the R2 Builders’ club).
Lightsabre – What would you change about Star Wars if you could go back in time and make alterations?
MG – Wouldn’t change a thing. Seriously! The fondness of my childhood memories are such that I don’t have a strong desire to propose alterations to the Star Wars canon. My attraction to the Star Wars universe stems partly from its effectiveness as escapism to a well-described alternate reality, and as such I prefer to just suspend disbelief and criticism and enjoy it. My Star Wars passion has been with me for a long time, and I resist the urge to suggest modifications that might dilute the nostalgia (and memories more recently established).
Lightsabre – What interests do you have outside of Star Wars?
MG – Where to start? I work full time, and study at university part time, both in areas that interest me greatly (medical informatics). After hours, I fill the hours with a multitude of hobbies, including costuming and replica prop building (Star Wars, and a few other genres). I’m fortunate that my wife shares a lot of these movie-related hobbies. Managing a number of websites (and administration of online forums) takes up a fair bit of my time. I’m also a bit of a fitness fanatic, having worked as a gym instructor/personal trainer before qualifying and working as a Sports Doctor.
Lightsabre – The television era of Star Wars starts with The Clone Wars and in 2010 with the live action show. What are your hopes for the shows?
MG – There have been a decent number of good sci-fi shows on television over the last few years (and currently), with engaging characters, and interesting plots and scenarios…I think that the small-screen sci-fi genre has matured a lot since the 1980s, keeping up with fans that can’t let go of their interest in it, and I hope that this carries through in to the upcoming Star Wars projects. I love the idea of ongoing official Star Wars material…but on the other side of the coin, I guess I have a *tiny*, but nagging, fear that overexposure may damage the franchise…I hope the potential for that is taken into account in the overall planning.
Lightsabre – What do you foresee for Star Wars New Zealand in the future?
MG – I see no indication that the fan scene or interest in Star Wars in general is waning. In fact, I’ve been finding it easier to report on interesting local events in the last year or so, as they crop and with greater frequency than, say, prior to Episode 3.
Lightsabre – A quick question about our site, Lightsabre. Any comments?
MG – I love websites with truly unique and exclusive content – even more so those with a decent archive of interesting material. On that basis, Lightsabre is just the sort of site I like to take time to explore. Keep up the good work!
Lightsabre – It’s been a great interview, and thanks for being our guest on Lightsabre. Just one final question. Boba Fett and Jango Fett are working together on a hunt. Young Boba is sneaking in to case the joint when he is found by a gaggle of Trandoshans, who start to advance on him. Unable to call for his Dad, Boba has to fight or flee. What does he do, and how does he do it?
MG – He knocks the weapon of the closest one out of its claws using his jetpack, cleverly and simultaneously activating the rockets so he can launch into the mouth of a nearby Sarlacc to escape and hide from the dozen or so other Trandoshans that rush him.
Interview originally posted on www.lightsabre.co.uk on 28th September 2008.