If you've spent much time on social media, you may have seen some funny Star Wars photoshops inserting Constable Zuvio into interesting places. Heath Williams is a self-described history nerd, baseball and pizza fan, Rebel Legion cosplayer, and co-host of the Rogue Podron podcast. I caught up with Heath recently to find out more about his ideas and his love of perpetual pegwarmer Constable Zuvio.
Mediocre Jedi (MJ): Heath, please tell us a little about yourself.
Heath: I've been a Star Wars fan since I was 10, when the special editions came out. My grandfather took me to see A New Hope and I was excited beforehand that I vomited and almost couldn't go. But I was hooked from the very first scene. The prequels were my jam – it was a great time to be “coming of age” as a Star Wars fan. I'd spend the majority of my free time during those years on the forums at TFN. I was kind of obsessed.
When they ended, I kind of slipped out of fandom – didn't really pay attention to The Clone Wars or anything while it was happening. Then when Disney bought LFL and said they'd be making more movies, I jumped right back in. One weekend in I think it was 2014, I watched all of the movies and just totally fell back in love. That's when I discovered there was a “Star Wars Twitter” with like-minded fans, podcasts, and all the rest. Four years later, here I am!
MJ: Why did you start photoshopping Star Wars pics?
Heath:There's an amazing account, @darth, that Photoshops tons of photos, usually related to current events and politics. It's one of my favorite accounts, and I'd been working in Photoshop for work stuff and thought I'd kind of do what darth was doing but for the Star Wars corner of Twitter. I started just replying to tweets of people I knew by Photoshopping something into their photos, and it kind of evolved from there.
MJ: What was your first?
Heath: Oh god, I honestly wish I knew. If I'd been smart about all of this, I'd have saved all of the things I've done in some folder or something so I could go back and look, but of course I didn't do that. It was probably something stupid like putting a Vader mask on someone.
MJ: What’s your most popular so far?
Heath: I've had a few that really took off. This past summer, The Star Wars Show asked for Porg Poems from people, so I took that as an invitation to take famous books of children's poetry and make them about porgs. That's how we ended up with One Porg, Two Porg, Red Porg, Blue Porg, and Where the Ahch-To Cliff Ends. The “fathier” photoshops I've been doing recently have done pretty well – the first one, with Vader telling Luke he's his father with a fathier's head so instead he's saying “I am your fathier” really took off. That one surprised me.
MJ: How about your most controversial?
Heath: Hmm, this is a good question. I try not to do anything that would be really controversial or anything. Sometimes my sense of humor just doesn't really click though, or something might be a little too weird. Like this week I photoshopped a bunch of shirtless Kylo Ren's to spell out the word “THICC.” That was admittedly really weird, but hey, I thought it was funny. I hope some other folks did, too.
MJ: Your habit of sneaking Constable Zuvio into other fan’s photos has become quite the running joke. Why Zuvio?
Heath: Zuvio's a really interesting thing that's happened because I first started making Zuvio jokes and photoshopping him or his action figure into things completely as a joke. The joke of course being there's this character who was a big part of the marketing for Force Awakens who wasn't even in the film and now a bunch of people own his action figure and there are a bunch on clearance racks. It was a really easy joke to make, and Zuvio's been a bit of a joke in the fandom since Force Awakens came out.
But the more I made the joke and the more I photoshopped him into stuff, it kind of morphed into this new thing for me where I became fascinated with how there's this whole character that a design team spent a ton of time designing just right who has a whole backstory and everything and yet folks who just watch the movies have no idea who he is and a lot of people who do watch the movies view him as a joke. For me, Zuvio ended up representing what makes Star Wars so great: it's a universe that just captivates your imagination and the characters that inhabit it – no matter how small, or whether you can actually see them on the screen – are fascinating and can really take on a life of their own outside of the movies.
So yeah, Zuvio started as really nothing more than a joke for me but now when I say I love the guy I'm not joking anymore. I still think there's humor there given his perception among the rest of the fandom, but there's an appreciation, too.
MJ: Thanks for your time, Heath!
You can follow Heath on Twitter – I highly recommend it – and see some of his recently collected work on his Instagram and Tumblr accounts. You can also hear him talk about the EU X-wing Rogue Squadron books on the Rogue Podron podcast.
Until next time, thank you for reading, may the Force be with you, and remember –
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