Chicago Red Stars head coach Rory Dames has made no secret of his love for Star Wars. His latest tweet about the franchise linked the recently-released behind-the-scenes footage hyping The Last Jedi as part of Disney’s D23 Expo.
Game tonight!!— Rory Dames (@dames_rory) July 15, 2017
GOT tomorrow night!!
And now this...I can only handle so much excitement at a time...to tonight we go! https://t.co/d7PmtEDLSM
In case you’ve recently awoken from a coma, The Last Jedi will be the second in the new trilogy of Star Wars films following on from 2015’s The Force Awakens. It’s all part of a plan from Disney to create a modern Star Wars franchise around a new trilogy, with standalone films interspersed between their releases.
Hot Time in Old Town decided to take this opportunity to get to know Coach Dames better through his love of Star Wars. The things we like can sometimes provide clues to how we perceive and relate to the world; if this interview is anything to go by, Rory Dames is a man who loves good stories that don’t mind confronting a little bit of darkness, but still roots for the good guy to defeat the evil empire in the end. Prepare yourselves for the most in-depth interview with an NWSL coach on Star Wars you’ve ever seen.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length. There are spoilers for The Force Awakens and Rogue One below, but honestly they’ve been out forever, so that’s on you.
Hot Time In Old Town: What do you think of the new behind-the-scenes footage that you just tweeted about?
Rory Dames: I’ve seen it at least a hundred times for sure. All I did was lay in the hotel and watch it that day. [The BTS video dropped June 15, the same day Chicago played Sky Blue FC away.] It’s exciting, you know. I was four when the first one came out so I can remember going with the kids from the neighborhood to go see it…. We read all the books when we were growing up, we read all the stuff that it was supposed to be nine movies, and then it stopped at three, and they weren’t going to make any more, and then they were going to make the next three, and then they weren’t going to make any more. So it’s been very much an emotional roller coaster but I’m glad we’re going to see it through.
HTIOT: So you’ve read the Expanded Universe books that went into life after the original trilogy?
RD: Yeah. And the side things on the different Sith lords and the different Jedi as well as the – I’m embarrassed to say this but the cartoon that they have on. I can’t remember what it’s called now, I’m going blank. The Clone Wars [animated series] that was on for a while. If it’s Star Wars I’ve either read it or seen it for sure.
HTIOT: So if you were around for original trilogy release I guess you have strong feelings about it. Which one of the original trilogy is your favorite?
RD: I always think that it says a lot about you based on which one you pick. Probably gonna go with Return of the Jedi. But I’m a big Empire Strikes Back fan.
HTIOT: Well now that we have more films, we’ve got Force Awakens, we’ve got Rogue One, and we’ve got the prequels – although I don’t know if you consider those as actually happening. Out of all of them then, which one’s your favorite?
RD: Probably Rogue One. I like the fact that it was a little darker. The ending was somewhat disturbing with the way they all went down…but I like the fact that they weren’t afraid to go there.
HTIOT: Yeah. I really like Rogue One because for all that they tell us all these wars are going on, Rogue One is the only that feels like an actual war movie.
RD: Well, who hasn’t seen A New Hope a million times, so you always hear [Rebellion leader Mon Mothma] say a lot of people gave their lives for this, but you never really…I was like, ah. So the fact that they, from that little line, that little segment of that original movie, they took it into that entire new movie and laid out the whole way it transpired, I thought was probably the reason I liked that one the best. I like the way it played all the way through and how it tied back into the first one. I like how they paint pictures – the same thing I enjoyed with the books that were kind of offshoots. I like how it would take you on a more personal level of a smaller piece of the bigger story that you’d already seen, and then take you into this different side. I’m super excited for the Han Solo movie. How cool is that going to be, to see his early life and how he came about? I think all that stuff’s super cool.
HTIOT: Jumping forward, obviously you’ve seen The Force Awakens. What did you think about it? Do you think it’s a worthy heir to the original trilogy or did it need work in some places?
RD: I enjoyed it. It was very similar to A New Hope, right? The storyline wasn’t broke so don’t fix it. I like some of the new things that they added on. But I don’t watch them like that, meaning I don’t go to critique them and nitpick at them, I go there to enjoy them and try to find the storylines that tie into the old storylines that I got hooked on Star Wars originally. It would take something extreme for me to see something or read something Star Wars and not have a pretty positive opinion of it. I thought JJ Abrams did a good job of keeping the humor, some of the funny parts to keep it light when it needed to be and then pick it up and make it intense when it needed to be... Obviously I didn’t like Han Solo dying but I’m still coming to terms with it.
HTIOT: Who’s your favorite character so far in The Force Awakens of the new ones that got introduced?
RD: You know, it’s funny you ask me that because I have a daughter who will be three in September and the fact that the main character is a female – I’m a big Rey fan now. And I have two nieces who are seven and four who dressed up as her for Halloween. I don’t know if I would have felt the same way prior to becoming a dad, but the fact that the lead character is a young, independent, extremely intelligent, powerful woman, I’m a big fan of.
HTIOT: I think one of the big questions around Rey right now is who are her parents, but I think if you ask people who they think her parents are, you also have to ask, do you think that it actually matters, or do you think if we never find out it’s fine? Because there’s also something to be said about the idea that Force users can come from anywhere. They don’t all have to be related.
RD: So I’ve read the conspiracy theories that she’s actually Obi Wan’s daughter. I’ve read the conspiracy theory that she [was made] the same as Anakin. And I’ve read…it was a character who was in the fourth one, no the fifth one, who was one of the Jedi before they got killed off but was one of the leaders of them and that she’s like an ancestor of [Rey] and I think that one’s a stretch. But it wouldn’t surprise me if she has Obi Wan Kenobi’s bloodline in her, either granddaughter or daughter. I don’t think it’s a Leia-Han-Luke kind of tie in. But I think she definitely has a bloodline somewhere into the Force… But who knows. That’s what makes it exciting.
HTIOT: What position do you think Rey would play on the field if she were a soccer player?
RD: Well it depends if she’s playing the game straight up or if she’s using the Force.
HTIOT: Straight up, no Force powers. She’s a team player. She believes in fair play.
RD: I mean I think Rey‘s probably a center back or a holding mid. I think she’d be lower, somewhere lower on the field. If she’s using the Force she’s definitely up front. But if she’s not using the Force I think she’s probably playing in the back line or somewhere in a lower block. I think she’s got good awareness of what’s around her for sure and a good idea…of what’s going on. So I think she’d be able to take some responsibility and pass some stuff out. It takes some leadership back there for sure.
HTIOT: Who on the Red Stars is most like Leia?
RD: Oh [Christen] Press for sure. I would just say Press would be the princess. [laughs]
HTIOT: Not the general, the princess?
RD: A little bit of both. Leia’s got a little bit of both to her. When she needs to be the diplomatic governor princess she is, and then when she just wants to be the princess that’s what she is. Christen I would say has the leadership qualities, the general in her, to direct and dictate stuff, but she also has the softer side, Princess Press. I would say Press.
HTIOT: Do you have anyone on the team that’s like Han Solo, kind of that cocky but heart of gold thing going on?
RD: [long pause] Let me think about this. There’s three that pop into my head. Let me clarify in my head. I would go with either [Julie] Ertz or [Sofia] Huerta. They’re kind of that easygoing, good heart, good people, and not cocky. Neither of them are cocky. But they’re confident and they’ll step up and do stuff and say their opinion. So one of those two probably.
HTIOT: Who on the Red Stars would you say is the Luke Skywalker of the bunch?
RD: Alyssa Naeher. Very quiet. Very soft-spoken. Very confident. And very much in control of her position and her domain. So I would correlate that to the Force.
HTIOT: So wrapping up, do any of the players on the team love Star Wars as much as you, or are you just out here doing your own thing, and they’re like coach, come on.
RD: No, there’s a few. Huerta’s a bit into it because her boyfriend’s big into it. Pretty sure her boyfriend has a Star Wars tattoo. So between him and I we’ve gotten her engaged a little bit. I’ll send her the trailers and the things I find so she can send on to him. I remember there’s two or three others, though for a lot of them, when Star Wars really came and you got into it was pre-them and when the next three came it was kind of post- the ages they would have been into it. So they kind of missed it and that block… I’m trying, don’t worry. I’m fighting every day to get them into it.
HTIOT: Do you have any final Star Wars thoughts that you need people to know?
RD: I would say two things. There’s really not a good reason not to watch them. And if you’re going to watch them, you should watch them the way they were released, not in actual numerical order. Those are my two big pet peeves. Don’t cheat yourself and watch I, II III, IV, V, VI, and then VII. Watch IV, V, VI, then watch I, II, III, and then watch VII so you can experience it the way everybody that’s a true die-hard fan has experienced it.
HTIOT: Do you think they should watch Rogue One before they start the original trilogy?
RD: I could see why somebody could make the argument to do so but I wouldn’t. I would want to see it in the exact way I saw it because I think it made me appreciate it that much more, because I was so excited to see what happened with that mission because I’ve already seen A New Hope. I don’t know that I would be as invested into the characters in Rogue One and what their mission was if I didn’t know how significant what they had accomplished was… You’re kind of sitting there with a little sense of tension and urgency because even though you know how it plays out you still know it has to happen.
Your next opportunity to hold up a Star Wars sign at a Chicago Red Stars game is Saturday, July 22, when they take on the Orlando Pride at Toyota Park at 2:30 PM CDT.