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Quick FIre Questions: This Week, Mark Newbold Of Jedi News

mark newbold jedinews
Once you've stopped looking at the awesome Star Wars stuff
you  will find Mark just to the left
Chances are, if you're a Star Wars fan like me, then you're probably a regular visitor to the website, Jedi News. If there's news to be heard regarding Star Wars, then the team at Jedi News will be on it like a shot. The site is constantly being updated, and is always a valuable and reliable source for anything Star Wars related. One part of the team who helps make this site one of the best is co-news editor of Jedi News, Mark Newbold. He provides top quality content to the site daily, and on top of all this, he writes for Star Wars Insider and has featured on the official Star Wars website, where he wrote about the premiere of Star Wars: A Musical Journey. On top of all this Mark has contributed to the official Star Wars blog and only this week you can find some of Mark's writing where he reminisces about Star Wars in the UK: Late 70's and 80's.

As you can see, he is an incredibly busy person, so his taking the time to answer this week’s quick fire questions is very much appreciated.

1 You're stuck in a swamp on Dagobah.  What one movie, TV show, album and book would you take?
Ahh, the classic Desert Island Discs question!  Ok, film would be The Empire Strikes Back, the TV show would be Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (love all the Treks but DS9 was just stunning), album would be Earth vs The Wildhearts and book would be Have A Nice Day, wrestler Mick Foley's autobiography (random fact, author Jason Fry used to live next door to Foley).  Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy would be knocking on the door though, Douglas Adams has hugely influenced my geeky fanfic scribblings for 30+ years.

2 If you could invite any three people (alive or not, fictitious or not) to a dinner party, who would they be?
Hmmmm...Spielberg, because I could listen to him talk all day and he's an absolute legend.  Mick Foley again, because he's got associations with just about every great wrestler and could tell some fantastic stories, and David Lee Roth as I'm a HUGE Van Halen fan and Diamond Dave is the ultimate showman. I think we'd have an awesome table right there!

3 What is your favourite John Williams soundtrack?
Oh that's impossible to answer because it changes day by day.  I adore the Raiders soundtrack, think The Empire Strikes Back is the best Oscar nominated soundtrack not to win the big one, I have a HUGE soft spot for the E.T. soundtrack and think Close Encounters is an unmitigated work of genius.  Then again, The Phantom Menace soundtrack is an underrated classic full of superb themes for the major players.  If pushed, I'd have to go for Raiders (ask me again tomorrow, I promise it'll be different).

4 If you were invisible for a day what would be the first thing you would do?
Do you REALLY have to ask?  Ok, as this is a family site and I'm a married man I'll say I'd like to sneak into J.J and Kathleen's office and listen in as they break the story for Episode 7 with Arndt, Lucas and Kasdan.  And I might throw in a few thoughts myself along the way (MORE Hoojibs!  And a group of intergalactic pirates who sing and dance while they carry out their raids called The Jaxxon Five!)

5 When was the last time you cried?
The wrong jedi
Last Saturday watching the final scene of 'The Wrong Jedi' from The Clone Wars.  That episode, wow, it just blew me away.  It had everything, it answered so many questions and made Anakin's decisions and thought process in Revenge of the Sith make THAT much more sense.  And that score!  Just brilliant, hats off to Filoni, the cast (in this instance props to Ashley and Matt) and the whole Clone Wars team.  If that is the end of the road for the show, what an amazing way to go out.

6 What is your biggest fear?
Anything happening to my beautiful wife Ruth.  She's had some terrible health issues this past few years and deserves a break.  I'd totally 'go Anakin' if I knew it would make things better for her.
In terms of Star Wars it would be the fear that they totally abandon the post-Return of the Jedi EU.  I understand that the new scriptwriters need the lattitude to make their stories work, but if they need that breathing space then they could set the film 10 years further down the timeline.  Then, nowhere near as much (and I'm not being unrealistic, I understand some stuff will need to be changed) would need to be contradicted or even referred to.  Leland Chee knows this, ANYTHING can be retconned, but I think it would be a HUGE shame to bring in new writers and say 'write whatever you want, Star Wars is an open slate, this EU stuff doesn't matter anymore'.  It DOES matter, it's Star Wars!  Star Wars isn't just films, it's books, comics, computer games, you name it and if it has Star Wars on the cover then it's part of the larger story and history.

7 What was the most embarrassing moment of your life?
ewan mcgregor
Apart from the first 41 years?  How long have you got?  Ok, sending a question to Empire magazine, drunk, for Ewan McGregor and seeing it replied in print wasn't a highlight, especially as the question made zero sense and he called me an arse.
Shouting down a drunk heckler on stage at a gig with my band The Three Horsemen and seeing the shocked looks on the faces of the massive (20 strong) crowd as they couldn't believe what I said.
Ranting about an ex-girlfriend to a pal when I'd just got my first mobile phone and mistakenly texting the rant to her.  You know, the usual kind of stuff.
Actually one of the worst Star Wars related ones was on my old site  I'd got (or so I thought) an interview with Jake Lloyd and published it in good faith.  A day or so later his management got in touch to say that it wasn't him (this is in the early days of Facebook, when we were all so much more naive about stuff) and I took it down.  I never did get that 'real' interview with Jake, I must try and put that right someday!

8 Excluding search engines, what three website would you choose if no other websites were available?
Good question.  I'd say Ain't It Cool News, the wrestling site WZR Online and probably io9.  They are the first three places I tend to go each day, before hitting the Star Wars sites (including your own unmissable site, great work here Rob!) Aw shucks! - Rob 

Being the Daily Content Manager for Jedi News requires a lot of research and luckily we have some loyal readers who send in news on a regular basis, as well as our own team who are always scouring the net for info.

9 Do you have any guilty pleasures?
I used to love a drink or five until I found out I only have one kidney, so that had to stop.  I love curry, Chinese/Cantonese food and eating out, I have WAY too big a sweet tooth, especially for someone who could do with dropping a stone or two.
Being a wrestling fan used to be a guilty pleasure, as folks pull a face and tell you (as if wrestling fans don't already know) that 'It's not real'.  I know it's not real, but I enjoy the story lines and feuds and am as into the backstage politics as much as the in-ring action.  In much the same way I first got into Star Wars, from a young age I enjoyed the making of and behind-the-scenes aspects of the saga as much as what was happening on the screen.

10 What are you looking forward to the most in the next six months?
Wow, I have a particularly busy six months ahead of me!  Ok, me and Ruth are having our very first holiday abroad together to Las Vegas, so I can't wait for that.  There are a few very cool conventions coming up here in the UK that Jedi News are a part of, so that will be fun.  I'm a  contestant in a new comedy show on Sky Atlantic called Don't Sit In The Front Row with Jack Dee and I'm on that, which was a lot of fun to do.  Of course Celebration Europe 2 is going to be off the hook, AND (hopefully) I'm coming across again in June to visit friends in and near San Francisco, so there's a lot to do and a lot to look forward to.  Plus making sure the site is on top of things, starting a new podcast and getting more content in The Insider, which gives me a huge buzz.

11 What is your most treasured possession?
ralph mcquarrie at work
I'd say Ruth but I don't own her, we're just on lifelong lease to each other.  In terms of collection items it would be one of two things.  I have a signed hardback first edition of Art of Star Wars signed by Ralph McQuarrie (nice! - Rob) and issue 15 of Bantha Tracks also signed by Ralph.  I met him about 16 years ago and shared a few minutes chatting and, especially now he's no longer with us, that was a very special moment for me.  If the house went up, they'd be the two things I'd grab first.

12 What is your biggest regret?
Not getting down to the set of The Phantom Menace back in '97 when I had the chance.  Not making it to LA for the queue like I'd planned.  Missing out on interviews with Phil Brown, William Hootkins and Michael Sheard just before each gentleman passed.  But on a grand scale there are few regrets.  I wish me and Ruth could have had kids,  She'd be an amazing Mom and I think I'd be a good Dad.  But what will be will be.

13 what are you most proud of?
In Star Wars terms, I'm most proud of Jedi News.  It was a HUGE decision for me to merge with the old Jedi News back in 2010.  So much of my time and identity was wrapped up in, plus I'd run it with close friends for a long time (over a decade, longer if you count the four years of other Trek and sci-fi sites that preceeded it).  James had been a good friend for a few years and the offer to merge made such good sense, and it's been the best decision in my on-line career by a country mile.  We have a top team, I think we're doing good work and hopefully folks see that every day.  I look forward to getting stuff on the site and keeping things fresh and interesting.

14 What is your favourite Spielberg movie?
I have to be obvious and say Raiders of the Lost Ark.  It's just the perfect film, packed with interesting characters and amazing action.  The soundtrack is lush, the effects still hold up 32 years later and it's from the golden era for both Spielberg and Lucasfilm.  As an avid Star Wars fan of ten years old, I totally lapped up Raiders as it was basically the same crew making that as had made Empire and would go on to make Jedi.  The sequels (and prequels) while fun turned many of the supporting cast into pale caricatures of their Raiders incarnations, but were still head and shoulders above any other comparable films.  With Raiders and then E.T, Spielberg cemented his reputation as a legend of Hollywood.

15 Where can people keep in touch or follow you?
You can always check out our work over at or on Facebook at  We're on Twitter @JediNewsUK and I'm out there on @JediNews2010.  Our YouTube channel is and we're adding more content to that as we go forward.  Basically, if you look outside and spin 360 degrees I'm probably out there doing something Star Wars related.

Great answers there from Mark.  I'm going to have to keep an eye out for that episode of Don't Sit In The Front Row.  If you've not checked out Jedi News yet then I strongly recommend heading over there and bookmarking the site.

Next week we have artist and host of Star Wars Trivia World Championships Kevin Liell.

Rob Wainfur


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