So before I start, I want to make something clear: I wouldn’t describe myself as a huge fan of Star Wars. I have watched the old films and I liked them, sure, but while I can recite the Harry Potter books line for line and could probably write a 10,000 word essay on The Hunger Games, it was never that much of a thing for me, growing up. 

But now? Now, hand me a lightsaber and call me Padmé, I am a signed-up Star Wars geek. I loved The Force Awakens and now I love the new film Rogue One. I have never felt more elated than when Rey turned on that lightsaber for the first time, and Rogue One was similarly delightful. If you’re um-ing and ah-ing over whether or not you should tear yourself away from the Quality Street to go and see it, here are five reasons why you definitely should. 

1. It will give you All The Feels

Without spoiling anything, if you’re a fan of going to a film and crying off all your mascara, Rogue One starts with a scene that had me full on ugly sobbing and the final third had me crying so much I had to stuff my fist in my mouth so I didn’t make a noise in the otherwise silent cinema. If a film can make you so emotionally invested you start honking because of your tears, it’s probably doing something right. 

2. Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso is a delicately featured, five foot three badass 

She doesn’t have a single scene where she is in a bikini or treated as an object to be lusted over. In fact, she spends most of the film dirty, sweaty, and Getting Stuff Done. It’s amazing to have a female character who is vulnerable and strong and clever and impulsive and an action hero and respected and sometimes a bit of an idiot, and now Star Wars has given us two in a row. It’s awesome.

3. It’s making a lot of stupid people on the internet very angry

I know this sounds like a weird reason to see a film, but stay with me. Whilst making people angry isn’t usually something I’m a fan of, these people are angry because the last two Star Wars films have had a black man and women as the main characters. They are insistent that women aren’t strong enough to lead rebellions (er, have they not heard of Boudica, Leymah Gbowee or Joan of Arc?) and that black men can’t be heroes because… well. I dunno, really. They’re just idiots. But the success of The Force Awakens and Rogue One is proving them wrong, and long may it continue. 

4. It is wondrous escapism

I spend most of my life in an anxious tizzy about something or other, but sitting staring at a giant screen that’s filled with utterly beautiful pictures telling me stories of rebellions and space battles is enough to take me away from it just for a few hours. Rogue One does this perfectly. It’s hard to care about your holiday Maths homework when the future of the galaxy is at stake. 

5. There’s an incredibly sarcastic seven-foot robot played by the guy who voiced The Duke of Weasleton in Frozen

Which is reason enough to see it on its own, tbh. 

@jimsyjampots

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Space nerds, rejoice! There’s never been a better time to be really into space, stars, planets and other examples of astronomical goodness.

Exciting new space discoveries are being reported everyday and the mainstream media is finally really, really interested in what the universe has to offer. Like, hello, who didn’t cry when the Rosetta space probe crash-landed onto that comet, never to be seen again? Not to mention, there are a bunch of badass female astronauts paving the way for our next new role models in space (we’re looking at you Jessica Meir and Nicole Aunapu Mann) and pop culture is obsessed with all things space and sci-fi right now.

So, if you want to indulge your wannabe space scientist or inner astronaut, here are our favourite movies, books and TV shows about exploring the stars, hopping onto a spaceship or maybe even meeting some aliens along the way. To infinity and beyond!

1. Interstellar

Interstellar

This epic movie was released a few years back and marked the start of a pop culture fascination with all things space-related. And we can totally understand why. It had a stellar (sorry) cast including Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway and… well, someone else who makes a surprise appearance. Bonus points for having plenty of female astronauts for us all to aspire to!

It’s about the stuff that makes space so damn fascinating, and kinda terrifying – like exploration, black holes and a big dose of fantasy time travel. But, and this is a big but, it’s also about human relationships and experiences too. So have some tissues at the ready.

2. The Long Way To a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

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This book has won (and is tipped to win) so many literary awards, it’s mind-boggling. The story is about Rosemary, who decides to get aboard a spaceship called the Wayfarer to see what life flying through the galaxy is like. There are plenty of people on board and adventures to be had as the Wayfarer crew decide to embark on a big mission to build a hyperspace tunnel.

There are relationships and personal dramas, some interesting takes on what it means to be a woman flying through space, as well as everything you’d expect from a book about interstellar travel – like aliens, fantastical space-time tunnels and lots of exciting, new, and sometimes scary, discoveries.

3. Firefly

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Made by the guy behind mega hit 90s/00s show Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly is all about the crew of a spaceship called Firefly, the adventures they get up to – and the baddies they encounter along the way. Eek! Watch out for the REEVERS. *Shudder*.

It’s definitely in the realm of sci-fi and fantasy rather than your run-of-the-mill trip to the moon, but the show is bound to appeal to those who love space and the idea of finding alien worlds. It also features an awesome main character, River Tam, who has a troubled past and a mean roundhouse kick.

If you get really into Firefly then check out the TV show’s spin-off movie, Serenity. Or try things the other way round if you want to be all proper and chronological about it. Firefly was made before Serenity, but Serenity tells you River Tam’s backstory properly. Phew, I know, it’s hard to keep up.

4. Gravity

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Gravity is probably the entry on the list that feels the most real, despite being set up in space. Meaning, it’s not in the future, there are no aliens and everything messes up gloriously – just like it always seems to in real life.

The soundtrack is nothing short of OMG-TOTALLY-EPIC, the spacey scenery is beautiful and Sandra Bullock puts in a really solid performance as Dr. Ryan Stone, a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission. It’s edge-of-yer-seat stuff, so prepare to shout “NOOOO!” at the screen repeatedly. And if you can, get it on a big TV rather than an iPad or computer screen. The visuals will blow your little mind.

5. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

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This classic sci-fi novel actually started off as a short story and was so popular it was then turned into a whole SAGA. It’s less space travel in the not-so-distant-future and more about adapting to a big alien threat in the very-distant-future after we’ve nailed that whole travelling between planets thing. Eek!

The story is all about Ender Wiggin, a young boy who turns out to be a tactical genius and maybe our only hope against the potential invasion. Maybe, I mean, we’ll see. It’s a big ask, after all.

Like most classic books nowadays, this one was made into a movie – starring Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley. Although that doesn’t tend to get as good reviews as the book does… so you’ve been warned.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy is more of a sci-fi, comic book movie than could-it-be-real-one-day? space movie. (Although we’d like to think one day the adorable little fluffy racoon thing in it might be real. Fingers crossed.)

It’s all about Peter Quill’s (although call him ‘Starlord’) alien-fuelled, laugh-out-loud-funny adventure through space where he meets all kinds of different characters, like Gamora, Draz, Groot and Rocket. Collectively, they become the Guardians of the Galaxy. If you love this, then you’ll be happy to hear there’s already a sequel in the works.

7. Chasing The Stars by Malorie Blackman

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Here’s another book that has won an award recently for the way it paints very real, human relationships in the very otherworldly realm of space.

It’s all about Olivia and her brother Aidan who are all alone on a spaceship hurtling back to earth after a virus has killed everyone else. (Sure, it’s not the most optimistic start ever.) On their way they pass another spaceship, and that’s how they meet Nathan. Nathan and Olivia fall for each other immediately and the book is all about the crazy things that happen in space and how it’s possible (or maybe isn’t possible) to fall in love out there.

8. The Martian

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The Martian was a huge blockbuster last year because it combined everything we all love about suspense movies, but casually relocated the action to Mars. The cast is great (hello Matt Damon) and it’s one of those timeless stories that will appeal to everyone – whether you’ve got a bit of a crush on all things spacey or not.

9. Star Trek

Star Trek

We know, we know. Bear with us. This might seem like something only your parents could love. But honestly, a lot of the Star Trek shows are still really watchable. You could go as far back as the first episodes and the Star Trek: The Original Series shows, or take a look at Star Trek: The Next Generation, which we personally really like here at betty. They’re just dated enough to be a bit funny – cheesy lasers and aliens, anyone? – but a lot of the stories are still really entertaining.

And if you like the characters, then go and watch past versions and catch up on the movies, too. There are plenty and lots of new ones still being made.

10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle

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A Wrinkle in Time is a sci-fi classic written for children that feels a bit like The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for space lovers. It’s about a boy called Charles who travels through ‘a wrinkle in time’ to find his dad. But instead, he finds himself on an alien planet enslaved by a big brain called ‘It’. Definitely one more for the quirky sci-fi fans than those who just want to think about nice swirling galaxies and twinkling stars.

So what are you waiting for? Go get a taste for space… without even leaving the sofa.

@BeccaCaddy

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The week is finally (almost) over and there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. Half term is just around the corner, the iOS update is more fun than we thought and Taylor might be making all our dreams come true.

Here’s the betty weekly round-up of everything we’ve been reading, watching and loving this week.

Happy Day of the Girl!

Tuesday 11 October was International Day of the Girl – a day where we all put our heads together and try work out how to make the world a little bit better for girls. We went along to Women of the World’s Day of the Girl Festival at the Southbank Centre where we saw some amazing speakers, including the brilliant Caitlin Moran. If you want to know more about the day, read our write-up here.

To mark the event, the Guardian made this amazing-but-incredibly-depressing video about how global inequality starts before girls are even born. Watch it, get angry and let’s try to make things for girls better by next year. Or even next week.

Laura Bates slays, as per usual

Following the outrageous footage that was released of Donald Trump making sexist and generally revolting comments about women, Laura Bates (the founder of the Everyday Sexism project and author of ‘Girl Up!‘) appeared on BBC Channel 4’s Today Programme and ended up teaching the male presenters a lesson about why what Trump said was DEFINITELY NOT, in no way ever, a compliment.

(Psst… we recently chatted with the wonderful Laura, watch this space over the next few weeks for our interview with her).

Brexit is causing more break-ups

British staples like Marmite and PG Tips were removed from Tesco’s website on Wednesday. It’s the first time consumers have been directly impacted by Brexit and the falling pound, as Tesco and Unilever are in the middle of a monumental row over pricing. Tesco has decided to stop stocking Unilever’s products until they kiss and make up, leading to panic up and down the country. It’s the supermarket equivalent of unfollowing your ex on social media, but with disastrous consequences for everyone’s afternoon tea.

Karen with the good hair 

I complain almost every time I wash my hair. It’s boring and time consuming and then I have to blow-dry it which is also boring and time consuming. But when Karen Nyberg was in space in 2013, she made a series of videos explaining her beauty regime – and it turns out there’s something weirdly mesmerising about watching someone perform vaguely mundane tasks in zero gravity. Our new obsession.

Surprise! There might be a Swift release on the way!

If you have a working internet connection, you’ve probably heard that T. Swift is rumoured to be dropping a new album some time towards the end of this month. Specifically October 23rd. Where did this date come from? Well, almost all of her albums have been released in October in order to make the most of Christmas sales. Plus, surprise albums are really in right now (Bey was bae, of course). Taylor’s also playing a concert the night before in Texas (her first since December 2015) which her fans believe she might be using to launch her new album.

Fingers crossed! Come October 23rd, we just hope there isn’t a blank space.

taylortwift

iOS? More like iO-YES!

And in more best news ever, this week we discovered completely by accident that iOS 10.0.2 has a cool new feature. If you iMessage ‘Congrats!’ to someone, they’ll get an influx of confetti on their screen. Obviously we spent the next 15 minutes trying to work out what other animations we could find – so far we have ‘Happy Birthday!’ balloons and ‘Happy New Year’s Eve!’ fireworks. Let us know if you find any more!

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Now go and congratulate all your friends for being awesome and watch the confetti fly…

Happy weekend, we’ll see you on Monday!

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