Local podcasts have the Star Wars franchise covered

New ‘Solo’ movie opens today

Audience members participate in last week’s live-audience taping of the 173rd episode of The Mile High Show podcast, which focused on the Star Wars franchise and the “Solo: A Star Wars Story” movie, opening today, May 25. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

Audience members participate in last week’s live-audience taping of the 173rd episode of The Mile High Show podcast, which focused on the Star Wars franchise and the “Solo: A Star Wars Story” movie, opening today, May 25. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

If the model number of the Millennium Falcon (YT-1300F) or the color of the milk consumed by Luke Skywalker (blue) are details that come easily to mind, several local podcasts might play right into your pop-culture IQ.

The online podcasts have been central to the local anticipation in recent weeks for the release of the latest Star Wars movie. (The countdown ends today with the May 25 release of “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”)

Among the staunchest of the local enthusiasts are the creators of The BlueMilk Podcast, a video production that is billed as dealing with “anything and everything” about the Star Wars franchise over its four-decade-plus run.

In fact, the very name of the podcast refers to a somewhat obscure detail from the original Star Wars movie (also known as Episode IV), in which central character Skywalker was shown drinking blue milk.

The BlueMilk show, which launched in 2017, is now well into a run of more than 30 episodes.

In their YouTube programs, the three BlueMilk guys ponder such weighty questions as: “If you had all of the Star Wars ships lined up in front of you, which would you pick?” and “What is the Force?”

Their enthusiasm for the franchise is palpable. Dirk Vandenberg, one of the podcast creators, says his affinity for the series dates back to when he was just 1 year old and took in the original Star Wars movie at a Phoenix-area drive-in theater.

“That’s my first memory of Star Wars,” Vandenberg said. “I remember the end scene and the music.”

Fellow podcaster B.J. Lordi calls the Star Wars franchise “A lifestyle choice,” while Jacob Sparks says of the podcast, “If I could make it my full-time job, I would be OK with that.”

The BlueMilk creators teamed up this past week with Matt Hinshaw of the Reel Film Nerds movie-review podcast to talk about Star Wars in general, and to make predictions about the upcoming “Solo.”

While Reel Film Nerds has a broader movie focus than does BlueMilk, Hinshaw is also a self-described Star Wars fanatic. His introduction during a recent podcast included a reference to his dog “Boba Fett” — named after the Star Wars bounty-hunter character.

Hinshaw credits the franchise’s “classic story” with originally catching his attention and keeping him interested through the years. “You’ve got the hero; you’ve got the princess,” he said.

On May 18, several dozen Star Wars fans gathered at Big Daddy E’s BBQ in Chino Valley for a live-audience taping of local podcaster Matt Santos’ latest episode of The Mile High Show. The podcast, which gets about 30,000 online views a month, is a guest-based program that focuses on local entertainment.

This week, that entertainment zeroed in on Star Wars and the two local movie-related podcasts.

In a free-wheeling question-and-answer session, Santos quizzed the podcasters on their favorite Star Wars characters, their ratings of the 10 Star Wars movies, and their predictions for “Solo.”

Along the way, Santos also invited audience participation, with prizes for correct answers on a list of Star Wars-related questions compiled by the local experts.

In response to a question on the record number of views of the Star Wars movies, one audience member impressed the crowd with her 27 viewings in a theater of the original movie.

All of the podcasts are available for either listening or viewing online. One caveat: While Santos’ Mile High Show is family friendly, the other two podcasts include occasional salty language and are therefore rated as being geared toward adult audiences.

Beginning today, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” — focusing on the early years of franchise favorite Han Solo — is at local theaters, with more than a dozen showings, starting at 9:30 a.m., and running until after 10 p.m.