REVIEW: Star Wars – Doctor Aphra

An Audio Drama by sarah Kuhn

I’m not going to lie – when I first started listening to this, I absolutely hated it and just about decided not to finish it. I was utterly confused why THIS of all Star Wars-related media was so popular. I get it, she’s basically the Star Wars answer to Deadpool and Harley Quinn, comic characters that are huge cash-cows for their respective companies. But unlike with those properties, there really isn’t much of a place within the world of Star Wars for a character that is breaking the fourth wall, wise-cracking, and constantly zinging one-liners at such a velocity it would make Joss Whedon blush. Everyone hates Jar-Jar Binks right? The character that never took anything seriously and was constantly making jokes while serious stuff happened around him? Imagine that, but we have well over six hours of just that – it gets tiresome fast. As this went on, I grew to not hate the whole thing, but wholly emphasize with Darth Vader when he has to endure Aphra’s ramblings enough to muster the phrase “You enjoy hearing yourself talk far too much.”

“Dr. Chelli Lona Aphra, rogue archaeologist, is in trouble again. A pioneer in the field of criminal xenoarchaeology, Aphra recognizes no law, has no fear, and possesses no impulse control. To her, the true worth of the galactic relics she discovers isn’t found in a museum, but in an arsenal. This viewpoint has led to a lot of misunderstandings. After her latest plan goes horribly wrong, her roguish ways are on the verge of catching up to her, when suddenly Darth Vader, terror of the galaxy, swoops in with his lightsaber ignited and…saves her life?

Don’t get her wrong – it’s not like she’s ungrateful. Sure, her new boss is a lord of the Sith. And okay, she may have just become a pawn in a deadly game being played by him and his boss, who happens to be the Galactic Emperor. And yes, the life expectancy of anyone who disappoints Vader can be measured in seconds.”

To me, the character of Doctor Aphra works better in comics as she doesn’t really over-stay her welcome, here is too much. Just like with Deadpool , which is coincidentally my favorite Marvel character, it’s REALLY easy to make the character annoying – Take for instance the Daniel Way era where he suddenly had Mexican food-themed catchphrases that casual fans latched onto, much to the chagrin of long-time aficionados. I will say that as the audio drama progresses, it does get better – once more characters come into the fray things get a bit more serious and the plot is fairly interesting. It runs the gamut from talking about post-Clone Wars Geonosis, popular bounty hunters including Black Krrsantan, and even cameos from classic characters like Luke, Han and Chewie. I should have absolutely loved this, but the entire premise of having Aphra narrating the adventure via a diary entry where she constantly interjects zaniness into the narrative was not my favorite thing at all.

My opinion of this is not a kock against Emily Woo Zeller, the actress that portrays Aphra in this production, nor is it a knock against the writing. Everything is top notch, but became the “perfect storm” of things I don’t particularly like in Star Wars all rolled into one. I can see why people love both this story and the character itself, and why it is so popular, but I am definitely in the minority in thinking it’s all too much. Overall, this is a quality production that will bring tons of new fans into the medium, with the caveat that the fans of more mundane things such as descriptions of battles and drama will likely not enjoy as much. I’m glad I’ve listened to it, but I’m not sure I want more.

There is actually script book version of this, I wonder if I would have enjoyed that more?


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