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RebelPilot Issue 54

Updated on March 15, 2017


This issue we have the privilege to publish an interview with John Morton, aka Dak Ralter, Luke's rear gunner in the Battle Of Hoth.

And there's heaps of other stuff you'll read about soon enough...

Community Service

Any diehard fans in the house?

I picked up a free magazine from my local video store (Dollar Video, Glendale). Actually I grabbed four of them so I could give one to each of my kids to tear apart (the eldest reads his but the others just 'devour' them whole).

And I thought to myself, 'I wonder if there's any completely-over-the-top-SW-fanatics on my subscriber list who'd like to have an Australian video magazine with an Episode I cover?'

If you're that type of person then send an envelope addressed to ME and inside have another envelope big enough to fit an A4 size magazine (it's only 28 pages, and has SW content on the front cover and a two page spread plugging the video release).

On the A4 envelope you'll need to stick on those International Reply Coupons (as well as YOUR address). Don't ask me what they are, how many, or how much they cost because all I know is that you'll need enough IRC's on it to have the postage paid for the return trip.

If you're gonna take up this offer then send me an email within the next week so I know how many of these free mags to pilfer. And I'll let you know what my postal address is.

And for the love of Yoda please NOBODY email me their postal address and ask me to pay for the postage as a special favour. Because you'll soon find out how angry a 'full-time Digital Art & Media student with four kids living on the poverty line' ezine editor can get.

And I'll also deny requests to export any native fauna (Koalas, wallabies, platypi (that's the plural for platypus), native birds, etc)

Contact me at the usual address to let me know you're hopelessly addicted to Star Wars and I'll email back my postal address immediately.

Useless Info

A parsec is about 3.26 light-years.

sent in by Joel DeWitt

I would have called this segment 'trivia' but seeing as Joel put 'useless info' in the email as the subject line I thought 'if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me'.

Free Email

I'm led to believe that you can register yourself an email account at

Though I take no responsibility for the longevity of this service because if it ain't Lucasfilm owned then it's on the endangered list.

(-o-)= = = = = :>o<:

But if you're after a cool email address with a life span longer than your average Alderaanian you can't go past

Brought to you by the same (sick? demented? twisted?) mind behind

Go to and stake your claim.

Now that word has gone out to RebelPilot Readers/Star Wars Fans you can be sure the darthmaul, obiwan, amidala, rogueleader (and similar) usernames will be snapped up quicker than a three legged swamp frog in a Hutt feeding bowl.


The undeniable beauty of ascii...
 o  /
Jedi Knight
©2000 Jan Biel
How easy is that! But it took a genius (Jan Biel) to think of it.
Simple yet so effective.
I've taken up his initiative and run with it.
| o
| o
|/ \
Darth Maul

  o  \o
 / \  \
Darth Maul makes a Jedi Kebab
/ \
Darth Maul after Obi-Wan has dealt with him
The other half of Darth.
I better stop before I do myself an injury.


John Morton is best known for his supporting role as Dak Ralter in The Empire Strikes Back. His character manned the harpoon and tow cables while Luke Skywalker flew rings around the large 'Snow Walkers' with the skill of a farm boy bulls-eyeing womprats back at Beggars Canyon.

RebelPilot catches up with John's 20 years after ESB and finds out important details like what a Taun Taun is likely to smell on the outside.

Interview with John Morton

REBELPILOT: What's your current job

JOHN MORTON: Conference Director (see I also write scripts for commercial videos, have had two plays produced and now circulating a play with music titled Dylan Plays Vegas which has been with Emmy Lou Harris for some time to see if she is interested in taking the lead role.

REBELPILOT: How did you get into acting and how did you score the part in The Empire Strikes Back?

JOHN MORTON: Acted in school and college. Was in London in early 70s working with lighting crew at Rocky Horror Show and playing floor spots at pubs as guitarist. Got discovered and cast in a musical which transferred to West End and led to being cast as Robert Redford's chaplain in A Bridge Too Far and I was off and running. TESB was one of eight films in which I was cast.

REBELPILOT: You've got a military background. In your professional opinion do you think the x-wing had a design flaw in not including a rear mounted laser cannon?

JOHN MORTON: Agreed. A rear mounted laser cannon with something like an automatic target recognition (ATR) capability with identification friend or foe (IFF) would go a long way to eliminating the six o'clock threat.

Continued after the Amazon ad...

The John Morton Interview continues...

REBELPILOT: The Empire Strikes Back is a rarity in movie history that it didn't suffer from 'sequelitis'. Was the cast aware how big and hugely successful the trilogy would become? Was it daunting to be involved in the sequel to the biggest and most successful movie made at that time?

JOHN MORTON: We knew that George was intending to produce nine films and that the series would be with us a long time. We also knew that the first film was very big in the U.S. I had seen it in October 1977 on E 86th St. in NYC long after it opened. But, you know, we were in the U.K. and were used to hearing about big film band wagons in the U.S. I was in NYC just after Aliens opened and that seemed big. I was in L.A. and sat in the front row at the Cineramadome for the first showing of Close Encounters in late 1977. And that seemed big. What I am saying is that we knew Lucas had a grand vision that would be with us, but we had no idea that it would be qualitatively greater than anything else. It wasn't daunting, it was a job. But George led the effort so well, and as a result, everyone had a commitment to the film that was extremely unusual, especially for a big budget film. His moral leadership was very evident in the way he exemplified his vision, especially in the way that he handled his people and expected his subordinates to handle people.

REBELPILOT: Darth Vader had a point of contention with certain people "underestimating the power of the Force". Do you think the Imperials underestimated the power of the harpoon and tow cable?

JOHN MORTON: As the U.S. found in Vietnam and the Brits found in the Revolution, high technology does not always triumph over the will of people who are prepared to fight for what they believe and are resourceful in the way they use low-tech capabilities.

REBELPILOT: Slipping into the character of Dak Ralter, just how BAD do Tauntauns smell on the outside?

DAK RALTER: Like a goat who has eaten too many canned baked beans.

REBELPILOT: Was Luke Skywalker known to be excessively flatulent when in the confined space of a snowspeeder?

DAK RALTER: Well, he spent a lot of time with bean eating Tauntauns. But then again, so did I, so that kind of off-set the effect, if you receive my drift.

Continued after the Amazon ad...

The John Morton Interview continues...

REBELPILOT: Out of all the Imperials which do you regard as the most fearsome? Eg: snowtroopers, TIE Pilots, stormtroopers, etc.

DAK RALTER: As you know, I escaped from Kalist 6 and with Breg went hand to hand against a number of stormtroopers. That was pretty hairy. It was odd fighting men like that, but being unable to see their eyes. I wonder how good they would have been without their armor which slowed down their reaction time. As for TIE pilots, when we were on Tierfon, we did a lot of attacks on Imperial convoys protected by TIE fighters, and their guys were very good. One on one, we did well. However, they were very effective in defensive group tactics used to counter our first pass. They were hard to surprise and would respond with tight formations that would virtually be offensive. If you, as a single starfighter, could survive that and break up their formation, they were not so fearsome one on one.

REBELPILOT: Prowse, Jeremy Bulloch and others had a 'Men Behind The Mask' convention tour. What chances is there of ever having a Rebel Pilots tour and getting Ian Liston, Denis Lawson and the others together for a world tour?

JOHN MORTON: Probably not likely since their acting careers are still very current.

REBELPILOT: Who do you find scarier, Darth Maul or Vader?

JOHN MORTON: Vader. Maul certainly is scary, but unless he comes back to life and reveals more about himself and the origin and power of Sith evil, we are left with a very nasty flash without a tail.

REBELPILOT: You're a guitarist. Do you play much and can you play the Star Wars theme?

JOHN MORTON: I play about twice a month in a church band. We do a lot of black gospel and high energy Christian rock. As for the Star Wars theme, I should learn it.

REBELPILOT: Star Wars licensed novels. Have you read any? And which are your favourites?

JOHN MORTON: Stackpole and Zahn. Know them both and love Mike's stuff especially.

REBELPILOT: If any, what unfulfilled ambitions do you have?

JOHN MORTON: I have two plays that I really want to get produced and could be good films.

Continued after the Amazon ad...

The John Morton Interview continues...

REBELPILOT: They say success is motivated by one of four desires: desire for love, desire for money, desire for recognition or desire for power. Which applies to you and why?

JOHN MORTON: In one of my plays, Hubris, the hero says that he's heard success comes from luck, talent or ambition and that if you have any two of the three, you can make it. My character who says this adds another, patience. What you posit is very wise, and I am not sure what exactly applies to me. At different times of my life, I could have answered any of those four. I'm tempted to say all. But at almost 53, I look at life differently than when I started. You know, when you are young, you are awed by your own powerlessness in the larger sense but hubristically filled with the notion that you can take charge of your own life whatever you may face. Then the two realizations clash and continue to do so for the rest of your life, until you have some kind of epiphany. In 1986, I returned to the Christian faith and realized that I am just a vessel for God to do His work through me. If I am "successful," it is by His grace and for His glory. If I am not, then I must see where in my life I have had my successes. Most important there is how well I have loved and parented my daughters, loved my wife and family and friends, served my community, however large or small it may be, and done my duty as a professional in the service of truth.

REBELPILOT: Have you played Rogue Squadron on the N64? I can't get past the Battle Of Hoth level. Any tips from a veteran?

JOHN MORTON: This is definitely an area where I have had absolutely no success and thus have no tips except do or do not, there is no try.

[MHisFBWY (Rom 8:14) DAK]


Reasons Why Queen Amidala Is Better Than Princess Leia...

Amidala was elected to power, not born to it

None of Leia's outfits have feathers

Amidala never kissed her brother

Three words - No cinnamon rolls

Amidala was elected queen at fourteen, Leia was at least eighteen before she was elected to the Senate

©1999 Leia's Lists

@(-_-)@ @(-_-)@ @(-_-)@ @(-_-)@ @(-_-)@ @(-_-)@

Reasons Why Princess Leia is Better Than Queen Amidala...

Princess Leia doesn't need Jedi Knights to rescue her

Leia's husband never turned to the darkside

Leia never betrayed her "strongest supporter"

Amidala is old enough to be her mother, oh wait...

©1999 Leia's Lists

Letter Of The Month

I got this email after the 'Polar Star' issue. My comments are in italics.

From: William E Noll

Greetings from Arizona.

Have been reading RebelPilot for a couple of months now. Interesting perspective's!

'Interesting'? I would have said 'warped' :)

If you were impressed by a Coast Guard vessel, then you surely would have appreciated the sight of an American Aircraft Carrier! They are typically over 1000 feet long, top the scales at 80,000 tons+, and carry 5500 sailors, Marines, and airmen.

It wasn't just ANY Coast Guard vessel. When I think US Coast Guard I'm thinking of vessels similar to the ones at the beginning of Clear & Present Danger.

My dad was a merchant seaman. I've been on all manner of seagoing cargo ships and even a super tanker. But they've never had crew anywhere near the size you're talking about.

Unfortunately, Australia's policies regarding nuclear power and nuclear weapons generally forbids our ships from making port calls in Australia or New Zealand.

Nothing personal, we just don't want to take any risks or glow in the dark :)

You also mentioned your previous role as a gun maker.

Prior to working at Australian Defence Industries (formerly known as the Lithgow Small Arms Factory), I had never fired a rifle. During my apprenticeship I had a hand in almost every stage of manufacture for almost every part. We also got to fire the weapons in the indoor and outdoor ranges. I was kept on after my apprenticeship and landed a coveted position in Quality. I was on afternoon shift (in charge of myself) and used coordinate measuring machines in a temperature controlled room (20 degree Celsius). It was a comfortable job. I read a LOT of Star Wars novels. And was responsible for signing off on the quality. The machines used had an accuracy of 2 MICRONS. (.02 of a millimetre or in layman's terms 'cut a millimetre into 100 parts and it's two of them')

Letter Of The Month continued...

How have Australia's recent anti-firearm laws been affecting you guys down there? So far our 2nd Amendment is holding strong in spite of a scandal-prone President!

No effect whatsoever. I've never owned a firearm. I have gone shooting though. The downside of the 'Guns Buy-back' is that responsible law-abiding people handed over firearms. It also made it somewhat harder for farmers to buy rifles. Collectors have also been hit hard. I find it unfortunate because some of the small arms they own don't even work.

The ridiculous part is that ADI (Small Arms Factory) had to hand over some of their collection. They had a FANTASTIC museum. Every chance I got I took the opportunity to have a look. Seeing as ADI was government owned it meant that the government (using taxpayers dollars) had to buy back what they owned. It would have been cheaper if I filled the barrels with cement and kept them for myself. I promise I would have taken good care of them.

On the other end of the scale the US is having all sorts of trouble with kids and guns. I wouldn't recommend doing what Australia done because you'd have a civil war on your hands. But the Megadeth song '99 Ways To Die' is certainly thought provoking.

I missed it on the news but apparently Charleston Heston was quoting some statistics about how the Anti-Gun policy over here has adversely effected a rise in crime. It might have been better if he kept his mouth shut. There has been no rise in crime to speak of. Unfortunately others would believe and repeat what he's publicly stated.

I haven't checked any facts or figures but I have heard the only 'rise' in assault has been from knife attacks. Ordinary run of the mill low life perps can't get hold of guns so they've had to resort to knives. Laws on that have tightened too to stop minors from buying 'elaborate' knives.

It's hard to have a balance. In a perfect GALAXY we could go the way of Alderaan and have NO weapons. But looked what happened to that peace loving planet. In a perfect WORLD we might have a little leniency and allow people to attack each other with marshmallows.

"Regarding toilets, I'm not sure that those American ship toilets are all that different from those in American businesses. Commercial grade toilets are usually a bit larger than residential. Is it true that toilets flush counter-clockwise down there? (Coriolis Effect)"

William Noll

Tonopah, Arizona, USA

Letter Of The Month continued...

The rest of this is just my comments

Haven't you seen that episode of The Simpson's?

Everything else was cliched stereotypes and I laughed my head off. I liked the fact that the creators admitted that they DIDN'T want to come down to research. They thought it would be more fun if they only went off what they THOUGHT they knew about Australia.

Yes, when we let out the water from the tub or sink it goes down CLOCKWISE. The toilets however are a different matter.

That was one of the differences. Your US Coast Guard lavatory filled up with water and then drained out.

Over here it's a flush that's akin to a raging wave. The water comes out with a bit of force, creating a churn and as it's flooding in, the water (and the other business) is pushing out through the s-bend.

I could perhaps video the whole sequence but then we've got the other problem of different formats. We have VHS but we use a PAL system. So we couldn't swap video tapes. Fortunately the Internet is compatible the world over but we have some differences in spelling (use of 's' in some words instead of 'z' and '-our' instead of '-or'). Despite all the differences Australia and the US and it's people have probably got a lot more in common than with any other nation on this planet (with the possible exceptions of Canada and the UK.

I think I'll have to get myself a big wall map of the world and pin peoples names in the position of where they live.


Occasionally I get an email or three that pretty much ask the same questions. Some are Star Wars, some are personal, some are to do with Australia.

This issue I was going to link to a html file I planned to upload to my little bit of GeoSpace. But as it completely slipped my mind and I didn't even have time to paste the proposed contents into a html page I'll paste it AFTER the credits and disclaimers at the end of this issue. It'll also be after the big arse ASCII that I enjoy putting in much like a hidden track on a CD.


This ezine is in no way sponsored or endorsed by: George Lucas, Lucasfilm Ltd, LucasArts Entertainment Co, LucasBooks, Skywalker Sound, THX, Industrial Light & Magic or anything else that George has his fingers in. Star Wars and all its characters are © ,® and Lucasfilm Ltd. And whatever other little symbols George wishes to slap on his creative works.

All witty remarks, retorts and repartee is ©2000 RebelPilot unless otherwise specified. Any use of the contents from this ezine without permission is strictly prohibited... and frankly, not a very nice thing to do.

That's all for this week. Less 'chapters' than usual but more stuff in each.

Next week we have a chat with Matt Busch, I post the URL for The Irreverent Guide To Australia which will answer any questions you've ever had about the Great Southland, Ruben van der Leun reports on the latest short film or trailer that he's downloaded and the ASCII stockpile is sadly out of Matt Lake Creations but there's plenty more Joe Reiss.

There's that and all the other unexpected things that you've come to expect in your average issue of RebelPilot.

See ya later.


gLeN a.k.a wraithfive ~~~~:>o<:

RebelPilot:>o<: = = = = = = = = = = = (-o-)

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