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Small Heroes, Big Fun | Ant-Man and the Wasp Reviewed

Kat returns from the Quantum Realm with the verdict on Ant-Man and the Wasp

~This review contains minor spoilers for Ant-Man and the Wasp~

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) isn’t your typical superhero. He hasn’t got the virtue of Captain America or the swagger of Iron Man. He’s just an awkward dad trying not to let house arrest get in the way of his daughter’s fun. He’s just doing his best, and in Ant-Man and the Wasp, his best is finally good enough.

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The film picks up post-Captain America: Civil War. Scott is on house arrest as part of his plea deal for the Leipzig airport debacle. He’s not on speaking terms with his ex, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), or her father, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). That is until a spooky dream brings them all back together. Hope’s mother, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), was lost in the Quantum Realm 30 years ago after shrinking down to the molecular level to save the world. After Scott returned from the Quantum Realm in the events of Ant-Man, Hope and Hank realize they might still be able to save Janet. What’s stopping them is a greedy businessman, the FBI, and a mysterious fighter who can phase through objects, hence her name, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). Ensue shenanigans.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is a lot of fun. It’s funny, it’s light, it’s action packed. The stakes feel high even though the only world Scott is saving is his own. You don’t miss the grandeur of Avengers: Infinity War in the least, partly because the pacing is phenomenal. The film never drags, always running at peak energy. It shifts between action, humor, and drama with practiced ease. The fight choreography is fresh and surprisingly less violent than recent Marvel Cinematic Universe entries. The first Ant-Man isn’t one of my favorite Marvel films, but this one probably breaks into my top 10.

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Putting the film under a microscope

There are two main ways the film stumbles. The first is the way it fails to vilify the primary antagonist. Ghost is a great villain. She’s complex, she’s spooky, she’s qualified. But she is not evil. She fights clean and even worked for the corrupted SHIELD. She is merely a victim of unfortunate circumstances who is fighting for her own life. The film expects the audience to side with Scott and the Pym family and their quest to find their missing matriarch over Ghost’s need to save her own life, merely because the great Marvel hero making machine has declared Scott & company to be Always Right. I definitely empathized with both sides, but watching our heroes physically prevent a woman from finding the cure for her illness felt uncomfortable. If the film had depicted Ghost as more evil, or made it clear that only Ghost or Janet could be saved, rather than leaving room for a compromise, perhaps I wouldn’t have found myself rooting for Ghost as much as for our heroes.

ant-man-ghost.jpg

Ant-Man and the Wasp is the first MCU film to give a female character equal billing. Despite this, the film still falls short in elevating the Wasp to the equally shared spotlight. Hope is extraordinary. She’s an accomplished fighter, a technological genius, and a genuinely great person. She certainly gets more attention and screen time than almost any other Marvel lady. But the film is still told almost entirely from Scott’s point of view. We only get a few moments from Hope’s perspective. There’s no interiority and little development to her character. I would, of course, still die for her, but there’s more work to be done with the Marvel ladies on screen.

Even with these two issues, the film is a solid 20th entry into the MCU and an impressive follow up to Infinity War. The humor is energizing, the performances are stellar, and you barely even remember the events of Infinity War (until a certain moment!) as you’re watching. It’s a pleasure to watch and another step in the right direction for Marvel Studios.

Thought Bombs with Bright Tree

Leia Hugs Kylo, Overrated Jedi, and Who Cares About the OT?

Pretty sure the Ewoks won’t survive the Thought Bomb…

I recently listened to one of my favorite Star Wars podcasts, straight out of the Sanctuary Moon, Bright Tree Radio with Phil and Soph. This particular episode was part of their Thought Bombs series and originally aired on June 30, 2017. In Thought Bombs, thought-provoking — sometimes hypothetical — questions are raised about the Star Wars Universe. The first edition discussed the following issues:

  1. Does the Original Trilogy (OT) really matter to new fans?
  2. What if Leia confronted Kylo Ren on Starkiller base instead Han?
  3. Were the Jedi really all that great, or were they just part of the War Machine?

http://brighttreeradio.podbean.com/e/thought-bombs-with-bright-tree-radio-no1/

Disney has apparently found the magic solution to bring onboard new fans each and every day to Star Wars. You may have remembered a time as I do — sometime between 1983 and 1999 — where you would have done anything to get your hands on new material from the SWU. Now, however, Star Wars is everywhere. (I for one am fine with this.) We have the cartoons The Clone Wars, Rebels, and I’m definitely counting The Freemaker Adventures. We have the comic books like Darth Vader and Doctor Aphra. The number of canon books is also growing, including my favorites Bloodlines, Catalyst and Tarkin. With so much Star Wars material now at the fans’ fingertips, how much does the Original Trilogy actually matter to understanding the story?


When Phil and Soph originally posed this question, I thought to myself this is pretty cut-and-dry. Of course you need the OT to understand what Star Wars. I agree with Soph in that the OT, being the original creative masterpiece from George Lucas, is “the heartbeat of Star Wars.”

Then Soph asked, “What is your Star Wars?” This question gave me pause. So much so that I actually paused the podcast. It struck such a chord with me. She consolidated all the reasons I personally love this story into one succinct question. At first I felt a little guilty not thinking the OT was truly “required viewing” anymore, for as Phil pointed out, you don’t need to see Luke blow up the Death Star to enjoy the Darth Bane Trilogy. Or even to enjoy The Force Awakens, for that matter.

But that is what makes Star Wars so great. The movies are more than giant lasers, oversized starships, strange aliens, or even the Force. Star Wars means something uniquely different to each person who watches it. I pride myself on knowing more about the movies than anyone I know, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. If a kid just watches The Freemaker Adventures, that is his Star Wars. If a little girl only watches Forces of Destiny on YouTube, that is her Star Wars. If you only like to read the Expanded Universe novels, that is your Star Wars.

You should be watching Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures

That being said, don’t feel bad if your friends will not watch the OT with you; we’ve merely taken our first steps into a larger world.

“Now for something completely different!” What would have happened if Leia traveled to Starkiller Base and confronted Kylo Ren instead of Han Solo? First off, I can’t tell you how much I love “what if” questions. Nothing gets the brain going like wondering about alternate realities. I don’t want to spoil what Phil and Soph thought, so I’ll just give you my theory.

“Ben!” she cries out from the end of the platform, tears welling up in her eyes. He slowly approaches her, both the light side and the dark tugging at his very soul. “I’m sorry,” she says, softly.

“Why should you be sorry?” he asks defiantly. “It was Ben’s father-”

Your father,” she pauses for a moment to let those words sink in, “is only human. And he is flawed,” Leia smiles dryly, “like the rest of us.” Kylo Ren’s mother begins to use the Force ever so gently to ensure her words get through to her son. So gently in fact that he cannot sense her using it. But it works. “But I am your mother. And I bear responsibility for everything bad that has happened to you.” The two both begin to cry. Together. “I let you go. I let you go train with Luke. I didn’t tell you sooner who your grandfather truly was — both good and bad — and I should have. I should have.”

“Mother-”

“Let me finish. I withheld things from you. I didn’t always love you the way I should have. While I was busy with the Republic and now this Resistance, I let Snoke get to you. And I…am…sorry. But it’s not too late to make things right. You, me — together. We don’t need your father,” she says with a wink. “Come home with me, and help me make things right. Starting with us.”


Light escapes the room as Starkiller Base drains the remaining energy from the nearby sun as Leia and Ben silently turn to leave. Seeing Rey and Finn atop a towering platform, Leia motions to them victoriously and the four of them quickly make their way to the Millennium Falcon.

The group safely aboard moments before the planet’s destruction, Chewie makes the jump to hyperspace. BB-8 looks up quizzically at Leia and Ben sitting alone at the dejarik table. She grasps her son’s hands, kisses his forehead, and simply says, “Thank you.”

As it turns out, my thoughts on the last topic are vast enough to warrant their own topic, so we will save that for later. But to sum up: Phil is right, Soph sounds to me like a Jedi apologist, and the Jedi are responsible for their own downfall. The end.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this review of Bright Tree Radio’s Thought Bombs. This podcast is fun, entertaining, and like I said before, thought-provoking to say the least. I’ve included the link to this podcast above, and they can also be found on iTunes, twitter, Spreaker and on PodBean.

Let us know what you think! Share this article, leave a comment, and let’s continue the conversation on twitter @StarWarsChief. And as always, may the Force be with you.

Ewoks & Opees & Hutts, Oh My!

A look at the Star Wars collectibles I found at Soda City Comic Con


Today I took my kids to the third annual Soda City Comic Con in Columbia, SC. The Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center was the perfect locale for the occasion. The floor room was full of vendors selling art, jewelry, games, comic books, and of course what I went there for, toys. You grownups call them “collectibles,” I believe. I wanted to share with you some of the goodies I was able to snag.


One of the first things we picked up was this sweet coloring book. This particular coloring book was published by Disney and this is the Lootcrate Edition. It has 30 different pictures to color and only cost a few bucks.


My eight year old son has a thing for the Funko plush toys, so we were pretty stoked when we found Jabba the Hutt with Salacious Crumb.



There were so many awesome action figures! I was especially happy to find Prince Xizor, 8D8 and Ishi Tib. In case you were wondering, Maul and Xizor will be staying in the package — we are totally playing with the rest.


I’ll be honest with you; I think I missed a lot of toys around the Episode I era. This Opee is freaking scary! He already ate Sebulba I think…


This Power of the Force Yoda on Dagobah set is going to look fantastic in my Star Wars sanctuary.


Don’t be fooled — these aren’t actually Legos! But really, can you tell the difference? For the price I paid, I can’t complain at all. The boys love them. Some of my favorites are Darth Nihilus, Darth Revan, Darth Malgus, Satele Shan, M-OC and of course, Wicket!


I have been wanting one of these for a long time. This is a Photo Slate depicting an AT-AT attack during WWII. P.S. Punch more Nazis!


I saved the best for last! Confession time: the Ewok Village was my favorite playset as a child. (I even heard someone say, “someone is buying their childhood,” when we passed them!) As I type this, my four year old boy is playing with it, so I believe my job is done as a father.

I hope you enjoyed the things we found at Soda City Comic Con. What were some of the best things you ever purchased at a comic con? In fact, what were your favorite toys as a kid, and would you still play with them today? Please share this article, leave me a comment, and let’s continue the conversation on twitter @starwarschief!

And as always, may the Force be with you!

Without the Fans There Can Be No Balance

Hyperspace Podblast Discusses the Impact of Fandom on the SWU


I recently listened to one of my favorite Star Wars podcasts Hyperspace Podblast hosted by Shelby and Bryan. This particular episode was entitled “Should Fandom Influence Star Wars Content?” (It’s episode 23 when you go looking for it after reading this article.) Before I get into the specifics of this topic, I want to say a little bit about the podcast itself. Even though Shelby self-deprecatingly asks “aren’t you a little short for a podcast?” I think it is the perfect length at about 25 minutes. Great for a car ride to work, or just for those of us with some degree of ADD. Bryan and Shelby are extremely welcoming hosts, so I would highly recommend Hyperspace Podblast if you are looking for a new podcast to tune into (contact information is at the bottom).


Now to the topic at hand: should “fandom” influence Star Wars content? First, the hosts astutely point out that there is a good chance that it already has. Without strong feedback from the fans, there is a solid chance that Grand Admiral Thrawn would never have “come back from the EU dead” in Star Wars Rebels. (If you’d like my take on if he truly needed to come back, please check out my article “Canon Versus Legends…Why It Matters.”) Disney and Lucasfilm, definitely having a solid grasp of their target demographic, have widely increased the representation of various racial and ethnic groups — as well as homosexuals — in their books, movies and cartoons.


As to whether Disney and LFL should take fandom into consideration during the creative process, Shelby and Bryan stress that there needs to be a balance. Where you don’t want Tim Burton making a Tim Burton Star Wars movie (I also especially love the example of Michael Bay), you also don’t want Little Timmy from down the street getting his every fanboy desire. The chances of you wanting nothing to do with those films are high. They’re very high. But I will take this opportunity — my blog, my say — to tell Bryan he is wrong:

Snoke is Plagueis. (There’s an article for that too but far be it from me to be a shameless self-promoter.) But I digress.

All in all, I agree with Bryan and Shelby. To be specific to a punctilious degree — you didn’t think I knew big words — I think approximately 5% of the creative process should be based on what the fans want. When I first started listening to this episode, I immediately thought of the documentary The People Vs. George Lucas. (If you haven’t seen it, watch it this weekend — you’ll thank me.) Uncle George received a great deal of criticism for the Star Wars Special Editions, but who owns the movies? The creators or the fans?

If fans got everything they wanted from the Star Wars movies, here are just some of the potential changes, starting from The Phantom Menace all the way to The Force Awakens:

– There is no taxation of trade routes.
– Jar Jar Binks was never born.
– Midichlorians didn’t exist.
– 9 year old boys wouldn’t be hitting on 14 year old girls.
– 14 year old girls don’t get elected Queen.
– 9 year old boys don’t blow up space stations.
– Darth Maul lives.
– Jango Fett lives.
– Anakin and Padme don’t get married after a five minute ultra-awkward romance.
– Anakin stops whining.
– R2-D2 can’t fly.
– C-3PO has his humor chip removed.
– Aayla Secura lives (okay, that one’s mine).
– Padme lives.
– Jyn Erso lives (okay, that one’s mine too).
– Lyra Erso is a Jedi.
– Chirrut Imwe is a Jedi.
– Luke stops whining.
– The Death Star misses Alderaan.
– Porkins lives (okay, no one ever said that).
– Tarkin lives (that’s my last contribution to the list).
– *No changes to ESB. It is perfect in all aspects and is the hallmark of cinematic genius.*
– Boba Fett doesn’t die like a chump.
– Ewoks never existed.
– Kylo Ren stops whining.
– Han Solo lives.
– Snoke just admits he’s Plagueis (I lied, I get the last recommendation).


While some of those might be decent recommendations, what is the end result? We have a completely different Star Wars saga. And minor differences aside, I hope we can all admit we love the Star Wars saga.

Should the creators have their fingers on the pulse of the fans, be in touch with them, and know what they like? Absolutely. But what if someone walked up to da Vinci while he was painting the Mona Lisa and said, “Hey man, she should be showing some teeth when she smiles!”


Needless to say, people would not be traveling halfway around the world to see a Renaissance gal with a big ol’ grin taking a cheesy selfie.

Enjoy the movies for what they are. You can bitch about them later.

So what do you think? Do you think fans should have an input to the storylines? Leave me a comment or continue the conversation on twitter @starwarschief. Now, thanks to Medium, I can finally say show your support for this article and give me “the clap.”

If you’d like to tune into Hyperspace Podblast, they can be found at:

Hyperspacepodblast.com
Twitter and Instagram: @hyperspace_pod
E-mail: hyperspacepodblast@gmail.com
You can also find them on iTunes, YouTube, Podbean, Stitcher, Google Play, Podchaser or your favorite pod-catcher app!

And as always, may the Force be with you.

Draven’s Raging Marauders!

Chapter 1: Mildly Aggressive Negotiations


In the three weeks since the destruction of both Alderaan and the Empire’s planet killing Death Star, the Rebel Alliance has been fleeing to all corners of the known galaxy, desperately attempting to evade the crushing grip of Imperial forces. Where Grand Moff Tarkin believed in rule by fear, now Emperor Palpatine has demanded complete submission or suffer annihilation.

Political leaders outwardly or suspected secretly of supporting the Rebel cause have been arrested and publicly executed following lengthy and thorough interrogations. More and more corporations believed to be supplying weapons and resources to the insurgents are being nationalized every day. Hope, if there ever was any for the Rebel Alliance, is quickly being extinguished.

Senator — or for a short time, former Senator — Bail Organa was killed along with 2 billion of his fellow citizens when Tarkin decided to test the full strength of the Death Star on his homeworld. Now Mon Mothma is the indisputable leader of the Rebel Alliance. Having abandoned Yavin IV, the former home of Rebel Alliance HQ, she has been coordinating both planetary attacks and evacuations onboard Admiral Ackbar’s Mon Calamari Cruiser Home One. She is joined in the main briefing room by her intelligence director, General Draven, and a newcomer to the Alliance, Carlist Rieekan.


Mon welcomed him with a warm smile, as she was known to do. “Carlist, I cannot tell you how devastated I have been since the…loss of your home. How are you?”

Carlist cleared his throat, and forced himself to return her smile. “As well as can be expected, Senator,” his voice clearly shaking. “I’m just sorry I couldn’t have done more for my people.”

Draven sat silently, his eyes continually shifting between his two compatriots. In conversations such as this, he was inclined to not say anything until something directly pertained to him. Until then, he preferred to read other’s faces and learn more about their motivations.

Mon moved to stand behind Carlist and laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. “First of all, I do not believe the title of Senator has suited me for some time,” she said in a mildly sarcastic tone. “In regard to your people, there is nothing you could have done to mitigate the Empire’s vile actions. However, you can still honor their memory by helping to destroy that which took so many innocent and beautiful lives.” She returned to the head of the table. “Carlist Rieekan, will you honor us and the good people of Alderaan by joining the Alliance to Restore the Republic?”

Rieekan stood proudly, straightening his uniform. “There would be no greater honor.”

“It is settled then. Effectively immediately, you will be commissioned as a General of the Alliance. Congratulations, General.”

General Rieekan’s smile was finally genuine. “Thank you.”

Draven stood at last, extending his arm to shake the hand of the newly appointed General. “Congratulations, General.”

“Thank you, General Draven,” he replied enthusiastically.

“Of course what Mon forgot to mention,” he said as he sat back down, “was that this was all my idea.”

Mon Mothma shot her eyes at him, but did not protest. “Well, as much as it pains me to agree with General Draven, for once he is correct. Now we must move on from these formalities. I am sure the two of you will adequately celebrate the occasion this evening in the ship’s cantina.” The two officers looked at each other and then nodded in approval. “Now however we must discuss our next maneuvers.” She activated her intercom. “Control, this is Mon Mothma. Please make a general announcement for Admiral Ackbar to report to the briefing room. Thank you.”


Draven pushed a button that brought up a holographic map of the galaxy. “While we wait for the Admiral, I will first discuss the status of our ground forces. In short: not good. Troops on those planets in open rebellion are mired in combat with Imperial forces. Losses thus far have been substantial.”

General Rieekan rubbed his chin, “I assume you are also still heavily involved in humanitarian efforts on those worlds and more.” The door slid open and Admiral Ackbar entered the room.

Mon greeted him, “Thank you arriving so quickly, Admiral. Please be seated.” She returned her focus to Rieekan. “Yes, General, where possible we are assisting in evacuations on worlds that have recently fallen under Imperial control. In the cases where the blockades have made such endeavors impossible, we have been smuggling in basic necessities such as food and medical supplies.”

The intelligence chief turned to his colleague, “Thus making any major land offensive implausible at the moment.”

Carlist thought for a moment. “You could withdraw from some of the outlying planets so we could centralize our forces-“

“Out of the question,” Mon snapped. “I will not risk the lives of billions for a pyrrhic victory.” Quickly redirecting, she added, “Admiral, if you would be so kind as to brief the status of our fleet.”


Admiral Ackbar rose. “Yes, ma’am. Good evening, everyone. Unfortunately we lost many good ships over Scarif. Darth Vader decimated the fleet of Admiral Raddus. We must be thankful that we even escaped with the Death Star plans.”

The rest of the room responded with a collective, “Hear, hear!”

“As with our ground forces, our fleet is currently too widely scattered to launch a major attack against the Empire. We may be able to attack smaller targets such as low output shipyards, but I fear our losses would be far too great to risk our ships and crews.”

“Then what do you all propose we do?” Rieekan exclaimed as he slammed his fists down on the briefing table. “The Alliance just won the greatest naval battle in galactic history, and now you all just want to climb under a rock? Surely Bail-“

“General, please,” Ackbar pleaded.

“No, Admiral I will not. My planet was just obliterated with no warning! If we do nothing, the Empire wins.”

“No, General,” Mon said calmly, “if we squabble amongst ourselves, only then will the Empire win. I stand here with three of the brightest minds in the galaxy; surely between all of us a successful strategy can be developed.”

Silence fell on the room. For the moment, all the brilliance that was in the room was being overshadowed by the colossal, if not impossible, task at hand.

“On Tatooine,” she continued, “they have a particular saying that suits our current situation very well. ‘When eating a bantha, a flea must simply take it one bite at a time.’”

“But right now that flea is getting stomped into a pulp,” Rieekan replied sardonically.

“I have an idea.” The whole room turned towards General Draven. “While it is true that we cannot yet afford to engage in any large scale maneuvers, smaller, more focused attacks on key targets throughout the Empire might spark the galaxy-wide rebellion we desperately need.”

“How is this any different from Saw Gerrera’s Partisans?” Ackbar inquired.

“I think perhaps Saw sometimes killed just for the sake of killing, Force bless his soul,” Mon said somberly. “What exactly are you proposing, General?”

“Shipyards like Kuat are impenetrable. The academies on Coruscant and other major systems are too heavily guarded. We need to hit low to medium value targets throughout the Empire. The Imperials will start to reallocate their forces accordingly so eventually we can hit the bigger targets.”

“What sort of ‘low to medium value targets’ are we talking about here, Davits?” Carlist said, suddenly using the General’s first name.

“Supply depots. Communications outposts. Refueling stations. Governors. Officers. Moffs.”

“Moffs?” Mon said, exasperated. “Come now, General. This truly does sound like Saw. I will not have marauders raging across the galaxy on behalf of our Alliance.”

“Oh, for once will you please drop the moral superiority? We are at war-“


“I will not,” Mon said definitively. “A just war is fought for a just cause, and equally by just means.”

“With all due respect, Mon,” Rieekan replied sharply, “tell that to the guy who just blew my entire planet.”

“I am sorry for your loss, Carlist. You know I am. But if we stoop to the Empire’s level, how can we possibly convince the galaxy that we are any better?”

“There is a middle ground,” Ackbar said, loudly enough to get the attention of all those debating in the room. “There is truth to what all you have said. Guerrilla warfare has proven highly effective in previous conflicts, but we must not allow ourselves to become simple terrorists.”

“And we cannot allow ourselves to become that which we wish to destroy,” Mon added.

“Therefore,” Ackbar continued, “I suggest we set up a strike force to hit those targets General Draven suggested, but those targets must be carefully selected. I recommend all targets be chosen by this council, specifically by Generals Draven, Rieekan and myself. Your Excellency will of course always have veto power.”

“And who shall lead this strike force?” Mon asked.

“I’ll do it,” General Rieekan said promptly.

“I do not think that would be prudent, General,” Mon replied. “You are new to our operations, and I plan to have you coordinating more of our large scale operations.”

“I understand. What about Garm Bel Iblis? This sort of thing seems to be right up his alley.”

Mon looked down for a moment, regretfully, and then once again lifted her head. “Suffice it to say our relationship has been less than amiable as of late. Perhaps one day he will come around.”

“This is my territory,” Draven said plainly.

“General, are you sure?” Mon asked with a highly concerned tone. “After what happened with Scarif-“

“After what happened with Scarif,” he paused for a brief moment, “I’ve never wanted to so badly to destroy the Empire. Besides, Mon, you know I’ve always exceled at morally questionable activities.”

“Maybe if you were a little less morally questionable, Alderaan might still be here,” Rieekan said venomously.

“I did my job. Well. The Death Star was destroyed with minimal casualties.”

“If you consider 2 billion ‘minimal,’ then I suppose you’re right. That was the most egregious intelligence failure in the history of the galaxy. And you wiped the Erso family from existence. From the reports I’ve read, that young woman would have made an excellent operative.”

Normally cool and collected, Draven could take no more. He leapt the table and grabbed Rieekan by the collar. Their faces were mere inches from each other. “I didn’t kill those people! The Empire did! Now I like you, Rieekan, but do believe me when I say I am the last person you want to cross.” He let go, and dusted off Rieekan’s uniform. He looked as if he was going to say more, but instead just gave Rieekan a courteous smile and returned to his seat.

“If you gentlemen are quite finished. General Draven I will agree to you coordinating these efforts, but I do not want you on the ground. I still need you here, coordinating the big picture. You will need to choose a squad commander.”

“Oh, I’ve got the perfect man in mind,” Draven said devilishly. He sneered at Mon.

“Oh no. Please do not tell me you are referring to our Kage…friend.”

“The same.”

Mon protested. “General! That man makes Saw Gerrera look like an Angel from the moons of Iego.”

“Then who better to strike fear into the hearts of the Empire? Palpatine himself will be shaking in his dusty old boots.”

Rieekan interjected, “Can someone please tell me who the hell we are talking about here?”

Draven grinned from ear to ear. “Ad Aileron.”

Meditations on the Living Force

Keeping Our Focus Here and Now Where It Belongs

I am no Jedi, but I know the Force.

In my article, “Your Thoughts Betray You,” I discuss the importance of keeping “your focus here and now, where it belongs.” By doing so you are able to get in touch with the Living Force. But what is the Living Force and why does it matter? In the Star Wars Universe, the Living Force is the energy field that is created by all living beings and is also the “light” that makes us “luminous beings — not this crude matter.” In our world, the Living Force goes by many names — soul, Being, Chi, Presence, God — and being in touch with this energy is what allows you to disengage your true self from your mind and its ever-present negative thoughts. In other words, you achieve enlightenment.

Being a Star Wars fan (which I assume you are because you’re reading my article), you are probably thinking that this enlightenment or connection to the Living Force can only be achieved by a spiritual being like a Jedi. To that I say you are wrong, and I will give a couple of examples. When I prepared for this series, I of course started by watching all of the films. (Any excuse, right?) I honestly did not think I would gain much insight by Rogue One or The Force Awakens, but it was actually these two films that taught me how to relate the Force to more common beings like you and me.

The most obvious example is my favorite Guardian of the Whills, Chirrut Imwe. He is admittedly not a Jedi but he is so in tune with the Living Force that it helps him overcome a physical disability that is his blindness. His mantra of “The Force is with me, and I am with the Force” aided him in hurdling one obstacle after another. While doing so he remains completely calm and fearless because “all is as the Force wills it.”

Though Chirrut’s use of the Force may seem unbelievable, perhaps a better definition of true “enlightenment” comes from the best barkeep in the galaxy, Maz Kanata. Her statement of “I am no Jedi but I know the Force” is my personal mantra as I write this series. She spells out the Living Force quite simply to Rey, who had little to no training up to that point. As she explains, “it moves through and surrounds every living thing.” She even describes (much like Qui-Gon) how to get in touch with it. “Close your eyes. Feel it. The light, it’s always been there. It will guide you.”

Throughout this series, I will be writing short articles — meditations, if you will — based on the Star Wars movies, cartoons, books and comics that will show how the characters were able to get in touch with the Living Force. We will go one step further and show how you can use those principles in your own life, and by doing so, how you can achieve enlightenment and lasting peace.

I will be using mostly Canon references, but I will not hesitate to delve into the Legends as well. If there is a particular character or topic on which you would like me to write, please feel free to leave me a comment. Hope you enjoy the series!

MTFBWY — Brad

Your Thoughts Betray You

How Star Wars Proves Your Focus Determines Your Reality


If you are like me, you probably long believed that the most universal truths Star Wars had to offer came in Empire Strikes Back when Luke started his mentorship under Jedi Master Yoda. My favorite line from Episode V has always been, “Do, or do not. There is no try.

The problem though is that it is nearly impossible to apply that principle (although I would not argue you should always strive to achieve it). The truth is that the most universal, and therefore basic spiritual principle Star Wars teaches comes in the first five minutes of Episode I, A Phantom Menace.

“Obi-Wan: I have a bad feeling about this.
Qui-Gon: I don’t sense anything.
Obi-Wan: It’s not about the mission, Master. It’s something elsewhere…elusive.
Qui-Gon: Don’t center on your anxieties, Obi-Wan. Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs.
Obi-Wan: But Master Yoda said I should be mindful of the future.
Qui-Gon: But not at the expense of the moment. Be mindful of the Living Force, young padawan.”

I’m sure you have seen that dialogue dozens of times by now (based on the average number of times most Star Wars fans watch these films) and never really paid much attention to it. I would ask you to stop and reread it though, focusing in on Qui-Gon’s words. How often throughout the day do you focus on “something elsewhere…elusive?” You may have been on what should have been a fantastic date, but were thinking about the term paper that was due in a week the whole time instead. Or perhaps you were sharing an intimate moment with your loved one and were being tormented by worries of how you are going to pay next month’s bills or about that promotion you didn’t get that you know you should have.

We miss all of life’s true beauty because we are never in the moment. If you are on a date, stop worrying about that term paper and simply enjoy the experience — you never know where it’ll take you. If you are spending precious moments with your loved ones, realize how precious few those moments are and put life’s issues on your mental back burner for a bit. You will be amazed how much happier you are just by keeping “your concentration here and now, where it belongs”. Read that scene one more time, and now you will understand why Obi-Wan seems anxious, and why Qui-Gon is at peace.


Yoda takes these teaches a step further with Luke and appears to somewhat recant his previous teaches to Obi-Wan based on his own life experiences. When speaking to Obi-Wan’s Force spirit, Yoda says of Luke, “All his life has he looked away…to the future. To the horizon. Never his mind on where he was — what he was doing!” You can see clearly that Yoda has more closely aligned his beliefs with those of Qui-Gon, proving you are never too old to unlearn what you have learned.

The point is not only that we should stop focusing on “elusive” worries, but we should also stop letting our mind spend so much time in the future because it just doesn’t exist. When I was younger I thought I knew exactly what I was going to be and what I was going to do when I grew older. As I did get older and my life began to diverge from my previously predetermined path, the difference in expectations and reality caused me years of angst and suffering. Had I just lived in the moment instead of comparing myself to a “future me” that was never to exist, I would have been infinitely happier.


Darth Vader is proof that the same philosophy is true for the past. Indeed Anakin Skywalker fell to the dark side because he could never escape his past. Anakin became one of the most powerful Jedi in the Order but would never be satisfied because he was unable to save his mother from death. He was also the youngest Jedi to serve on the Council but was unhappy with this because in the past, all those who had serve on the Council were Jedi Masters, a rank which he was understandably denied (although he could not see it this way).

Anakin became Darth Vader because his inability to stop dwelling in the past caused him so much misery. How true is this for most of us as well? Instead of appreciating our lives for the miracles they are, we are unhappy because we are constantly judging our worth based on past mistakes and failures. It is imperative that you focus on the “here and now”, for it is the only time that ever actually exists.

Obi-Wan did try to save his apprentice from this outcome, and herein lies the most essential spiritual teaching in all of Star Wars.

“Be mindful of your thoughts, Anakin. They’ll betray you.”

In the past week, how many of these thoughts have crossed your mind? I’m old. I’m fat. I’m lazy. I’m ugly. I’m not good enough for him/her. I’ll never get the job I want. I’m not really good at anything. I’ll never be happy.

Your thoughts betray you.


How often did someone say something along those lines throughout the Star Wars saga? There is very good reason for that. All this time I have misunderstood that line. I thought it basically meant, “Haha! I can read your mind!” No, it means exactly what it says: your thoughts betray you. The most basic definition of “betray” is “to be disloyal to”. This is a difficult concept to grasp because what I am saying is that your own mind is working against you, and you are not your mind.


Remember when Obi-Wan told Luke to bury his feelings deep down because “they could be made to serve the Emperor”? This again explains how Palpatine was able to subtly nudge Anakin towards the dark side, by feeding off and encouraging the young Jedi’s persistent negative thoughts. If your mind could be personified, I think we would find it would be much like Palpatine and it behaves in the exact same manner. It tells you that you should be the best, but in the next breath that you are not good enough. In its worst form it tells you that you can save someone you love from dying, and then tells you that “you killed her”. This is how our mind works.

Can you turn it off? Not exactly, but you can negate its harmful, sometimes destructive, effects. You do this by heeding Obi-Wans words, “Be mindful of your thoughts”. Realize and understand that you are not actually fat and ugly because a voice (not the real you) in your head said so. You can find true happiness, despite any negative thoughts to the contrary. Be mindful of your thoughts, and they will stop ruling your life.

I hope you have found this article as helpful as much as Star Wars has helped my spiritual well-being. Please leave a comment, let me know what you think, and as always, may the Force be with you.

Darth Vader: Rebel Conspirator (with audio)

Was the Death Star more of an inside job than you can possibly imagine…?

https://t.co/owWperZN2g

Since Star Wars first came out in 1977, we were all perplexed as to how the Empire could make an omission allowing direct access to the Death Star’s main reactor via a 2-meter wide thermal exhaust port.

Now that Rogue One has been released, the suspicions of conspiracy theorists like myself have been confirmed; the Death Star was an inside job. Reluctant Imperial scientist Galen Erso purposefully built this flaw into the blueprints to allow the Rebel Alliance a chance — infinitesimal as it may be — to destroy this planet killer.


But could the traitorous plot to destroy the Empire’s premier battle station go much, much higher than we previously thought? Could it might go nearly straight to the top: Darth Vader.

After a test fire of the super laser destroys the Holy City of Jedha, Darth Vader makes his feelings known in a conversation with Director Orson Krennic while in his private palace on the planet Mustafar. When Director Krennic pleads for a face-to-face with the Emperor to discuss the Death Star’s “remarkable potential,” Vader quickly responds with, “It’s power to create problems has certainly been confirmed.” He would rather make the false claim that Jedha was destroyed in a mining disaster rather than taking credit for having a Death Star.


Following Princess Leia’s daring escape with the secret plans, Vader is “unable” to recover them, his weapons officer foolishly refusing to shoot down an escape pod from her ship on the flimsy reasoning that there were no life forms onboard (knowing their mission was to recover the stolen Death Star plans). Shortly thereafter, Darth Vader reveals more of his feelings in a meeting with all of the high-ranking military officials of the Empire in a conference room onboard the space station. “Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed,” he says to Admiral Motti. The Dark Lord continues, “The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.


These may be all strong opinions against the Death Star, but are they strong enough to call them a motive? Probably not. What other reasons would Darth Vader have to allow the Death Star to be destroyed?

Remember the nature of the Sith master/apprentice relationship. Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the Dark Side was based on a lie. Darth Sidious had told the powerful Jedi Knight that he held the knowledge to save his wife, Padmé, from certain death if he would become the Dark Lord’s apprentice. After helping to kill Jedi Master Mace Windu, Anakin ultimately became Darth Vader and learned an unfortunate truth: Sidious apparently did not hold that knowledge.

Sidious was then able to convince his apprentice that he would have to hunt down and kill all the Jedi to have enough dark side energy to save Padmé. All of this culminates with Vader nearly being destroyed by his former master on Mustafar, becoming “more machine than man” and being told by Sidious that he was responsible for his wife’s death. He would never even learn that his wife had given birth to their children until years later (see the in-canon Marvel comics coverage of this revelation).


In the Sith master/apprentice relationship, it is the master’s responsibility to give the apprentice knowledge, but never enough to use that knowledge against the master and keep them yearning for more. It is the master’s responsibility to make the apprentice stronger and more powerful, but not to the extent where the apprentice could possibly destroy them and take their place. Conversely, the apprentice must relentlessly try to become stronger, smarter and more powerful to one day destroy their master and take on their own apprentice. The Rule of Two.


In short, Darth Vader knew the destruction of the Death Star would weaken his master and the Empire, and it would embolden the Rebel Alliance. Why would he want this? As always, to overthrow the Emperor. Before he even made his infamous offer to Luke Skywalker, he made his intentions clear to Padme shortly before her death. “I have brought peace to the Republic. I am more powerful than the Chancellor. I can overthrow him, and together you and I can rule the galaxy.” Just think about how much the next few years would make him want this even more.

So, that is motive — how about opportunity? Darth Vader already knew full well that the Rebels had the plans to the Death Star and would know how to blow it up. When he sensed how strong the Force was in the X-Wing pilot ahead of him while he flew in his TIE Advanced, he had his opportunity. All he had to do was not kill him.

If you watch that scene again, you can see how easily he takes out the other ships. He has plenty of time to kill Luke. He takes shots at Luke though, right? Notice how they are all non-critical hits (well, unless you ask Artoo). Never forget how talented of a pilot Darth Vader is. Did he do this on purpose? Sure Luke may have been strong in the Force, but at this point, he still was nowhere near as powerful as Vader. Did he let Luke live, and let his son do the rest?

Now, I have provided you with motive and opportunity.

Maybe — just maybe — you’ll join me in pondering Darth Vader’s complicity in the first Death Star, Grand Moff Tarkin and 300,000 of its most loyal service men and women.

It leaves us asking the question, which Skywalker really played a bigger part in the destruction of the first Death Star?

I’ll leave you to ponder that one for yourselves.


Why We Need Forces of Destiny (with audio)

The development of female role models in the Star Wars universe

https://bit.ly/2wEsQhD

Violence erupts in the Holy City of Jedha. Stormtroopers representing the Imperial War Machine have been ambushed by rebel forces in a coordinated attack masterminded by the extremist Saw Gerrera. Explosions rock the city streets, but the debris, shrapnel and laser fire caused by the conflict do not discriminate in terms of whom they kill.

All around innocent civilians of all races and species are wounded, and many perish. In the middle of it all, a small girl frozen by fear cries for a mother she can’t find. Laser bolts zip by just inches away from her face. Just as it seems she will be another nameless casualty of this endless violence, a young boy watching the fighting from far away points and happily exclaims, “Jyn Erso is going to save her!


That young boy is three years old, and he is my son.

His name is Dylan, and I am confident that in about two years, his knowledge of Star Wars will exceed my own (and I’ve been immersed in the SWU since 1983). His favorite movies in the saga are Rogue One, The Force Awakens, and Return of the Jedi. He is also a huge fan of the Star Wars Rebels franchise and has seen every episode. What I am most interested in, is the fact that some of his favorite characters are Rey, Princess Leia, Sabine Wren, and the aforementioned Jyn Erso.


As a father, you have many proud moments. Your daughter gets on the honor roll in school. Your son gets his first hit in little league baseball. Oddly enough, one of my proudest moments came a few months ago when I took Dylan shopping for toys. Obviously our first stop — and usually our only stop — was to the Star Wars aisle. Searching for another action figure (because a few hundred just isn’t enough), I always let my kids choose their own toys.


My proud moment came when Dylan passed up no less than five male characters to pick Jyn Erso, and the sheer look of joy when I placed the package in his hands. I looked at him and thought, “My God, that is amazing”, and in writing this I get the same goosebumps as I had that day.

I began to do some introspection as to why I found that simple act so powerful. The fact of the matter I believe is: it shouldn’t be. A little boy choosing a female action figure over her male counterparts because he admires her more should be the norm. Sadly, however, even in 2017 it is not the norm.


In a previous article I wrote entitled “A Hero’s Journey” I discussed how George Lucas gained much of his writing inspiration from famed mythologist Joseph Campbell. Campbell was a major proponent of matriarchal societies. On numerous occasions he talked about the significance of powerful goddesses such as Hera, Athena and Aphrodite.

Moreover Campbell explained the significance of the philosophy of Gaea, or “Mother Earth.” Whereas Man destroys life, Woman creates life. As all life starts in the womb, the woman was therefore put on a pedestal. Ideas were also seen to start this way, and hence why ancient authors would plead to the muses (also female characters) for inspiration. It should be noted as well that although both Athena and Ares were gods of war, the soldiers and generals chose to worship and plead to Athena because she was the goddess of war and wisdom. Ares on the other hand was not well respected by gods or man because of his arrogance and immaturity.

George Lucas took Campbell’s teachings to heart. They influenced how he created the iconic character of our now beloved Princess Leia. 40 years later Lucasfilm continue to put women at the front and center of the franchise.

The job, however, is far from finished. As I write this, Disney has just announced a new Star Wars project called “Forces of Destiny,” focusing on characters such as Rey, Leia, Jyn and Ahsoka have had on their universe. That is certainly encouraging, but considering some of the anti-feminist backlash that has already occurred because of this announcement, it looks like we still “have a long ride ahead of us.”


Oh great, another feminist article, some may think, and what’s worse from a dude.

I feel I needed to write this short post though; after all, it is because of characters like Ahsoka, Jyn, Sabine, and Hera that my daughters — ages 13 and 10 — have no inhibitions about jumping right into “Jedi versus Sith” in the backyard and not feel weird about it, or not go to school wearing their “I Rebel” t-shirt and be ashamed of it.

It allows my son to feel comfortable opting for the female character in the toy isle.

More importantly it teaches all children that there is nothing in this galaxy that they cannot accomplish if they have the heart and determination to do so.


Tips and Tricks for Writing Sci-Fi Military Scenes

All images are subject to copyright and can be removed upon request.

Author’s Note: If you are looking for writing tips from a professional writer — STOP! You have come to the wrong place. Alexander Freed, author of Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company has an informative and immensely helpful website if you’d like tips from a true professional. I am writing this article simply as a man who has spent the last fifteen years in the Navy, and who therefore cringes when he watches Battleship and can no longer bring himself to watch Crimson Tide.

Recently a friend on Twitter messaged me saying that he loved to write science fiction and wanted to make his military scenes as realistic as possible. Noticing that I was in the armed forces, he kindly requested to probe my mind on this topic. As you may have guessed, I am highly passionate about military writing so I agreed. I answered his questions but realized there is so much more that can be written about this, so here we are. I realize that science fiction is about escapism, but the more realistic the dialogue and the action sequences are, the more the reader can immerse himself or herself into the story. That’s my goal here.

A couple more quick notes first. When I give examples on how to apply these principles, I will reference Star Wars. Why? Well, just click on my profile for that answer. Secondly and lastly, while my experience comes directly from the Navy, most of these principles can be applied to any branch of the military. Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s go!

#1 — DO YOUR RESEARCH.

Remember how I said I can no longer watch Crimson Tide? That’s because there are no dogs on submarines! (Among a plethora of other inaccuracies, of course.) Never write about a sailor on a vessel and say, “He went downstairs to go to bed.” That is something we do not say. Instead, write something along the lines of, “He had to go down two levels in order to find his bunkroom.”


Whether it be an aircraft carrier or an Imperial Star Destroyer, directional and geographical words remain the same. For example, “left and right” do not exist, but rather “port and starboard.” Learn how to use words like “amidships” and “dorsal.” For speeds, don’t settle for, “They went as fast as they could go to catch them.” Instead, thrill the reader by saying, “In order to prevent the escaping pirate ship from making the jump to hyperspace, the Gozanti’s captain ordered it to flank speed in order to intercept.” Please note that flank and “full speed ahead” are not the same thing.

How do you this research then? NOT by watching films like the aforementioned. If you find a writer you enjoy (like Alexander Freed, whom I mentioned earlier), feel free to incorporate their style into your writing approach. For actual information on vessels, tactics, etc. however, I would recommend military history books, the internet (trust but verify), museums, or just converse with someone that has firsthand experience like I was. Bottom line: the more realism you bring to your military scenes, the more the reader will be able to understand the deeper meaning of your story.

#2 — So what do we talk about anyway?

I cannot count how many times I have seen or read such forced dialogue between members of the military in movies or books. Truly cringe-worthy. Do you want to know the most realistic dialogue in all of Star Wars? It’s the stormtroopers discussing new or outdated speeder models, or responding to a creeping Jedi by saying, “Probably just another drill.” (Note to reader: we hate all the drills.)

When we are in the middle of operations, communications must be entirely formal. Orders are given and they are acknowledged. Once completed, they are reported back as such.


But in our downtime? Oh, man. We talk about anything and everything. We talk about the new movies (holos) coming out that we are regrettably missing because we’re out on this stinking patrol. We talk about relationship fails and also the ones that went really, really well (if you catch my drift). Most importantly though, don’t forget that all of this conversation is to help us cope with the fact that we miss home greatly. Naval warships are routinely out for months at a time, sometimes with little to no communicate back home. Babies are born two weeks after you leave and are eight months old when you get back. You can rest assured that if you live on Coruscant and you are patrolling the Outer Rim, this would be the exact same case.

#3 — Ships require A LOT of work. And things break all the time.

When you witness the Rebel armada and the massive Imperial fleet clash above the forest moon of Endor, what you are seeing is the culmination of months of tedious work. The ships amassing near Sullust needed to have carefully calibrated navigational systems to make an accurate jump that landed them right at the doorstep of the unfinished Death Star. Dozens or even hundreds of crewmembers worked on those systems to make that happen.

Those turbolasers that hit with pinpoint accuracy probably have all kinds of maintenance issues. In numerous scenes they are furiously venting, so perhaps they experience overheating. Their targeting systems undoubtedly have failed diodes and capacitors, so the gunners would have to aim manually until that is fixed.


Well you might be saying, “No one wants to hear about a technician replacing a turbolaser circuit card.” Think about some of the most memorable lines said in space, though. “Bring me the hydrospanner!” Don’t forget Rey gleefully saying, “I bypassed the compressor.” Not only does equipment breaking lead to stressful situations and exciting dialogue, but you can also make powerful use of the mundane tasks. If two technicians are tirelessly and seemingly endlessly working on the hyperdrive, think about how much you can reveal about those characters over the course of their conversation. This is gold in character development. (We all want to be Han Solo evading Star Destroyers, but that is only made possible by Chewbacca thanklessly maintaining the ship back on Hoth.)

So these were just a few tips on how to bring more realism to your science fiction military scenes. If this helped you in any way or would like to read more tips on writing action scenes, please drop me a comment and let me know. As always, thank you for reading and may the Force be with you.

Supreme Leader Snoke: Skywalker Patriarch?

Unravelling the mystery of Snoke’s identity within the new Star Wars canon

Palpatine teaches Anakin about Darth Plagueis the Wise.

“The dark side of the Force is the pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.” Chancellor Palpatine: Revenge of the Sith

*The Future of the Force team enjoy fan theories on the saga, particularly discussions on the mystery left by the aftermath of The Force Awakens. Join regular contributor Chief, ISD Avenger as he unravels his theory on the identity of Supreme Leader Snoke*

Nowadays theories on the true identity of Supreme Leader Snoke are about as numerous as fleas on a bantha. He’s Anakin Skywalker one day and Wilhuff Tarkin the next. Some fans are even so cruel as to propose he is Jar Jar Binks turned Sith. My personal theory is not a new one, nor do I believe I was the first one to seriously consider this theory. What’s my belief? Snoke is Darth Plagueis, and that makes him the Father of the Skywalker family.

Tarkin’s suspicions

The evidence I will present to you today is 100% canon; in fact all evidence presented here is from the Star Wars movies themselves. Much of the original supporting information for this theory came from the book Darth Plagueis, written by James Luceno and published in 2012. As we all know however, that book is regrettably no longer considered canon, so the stories contained therein cannot be used to make the claim that Plagueis is indeed Snoke. If you’ve read it though, I’m sure you know what I’m referring to, and if you haven’t, you should certainly give this book a read at your earliest opportunity. It should be noted that James Luceno also penned Tarkin, in which Tarkin considers the possibility of Palpatine being a Sith, and the book also makes mention of Plagueis himself. I do not believe it is a coincidence that Luceno was responsible for both these masterful works.

The cover art for the novel Darth Plagueis, written by James Luceno

So let’s take it from the top, chronologically speaking. In Revenge of the Sith, Chancellor Palpatine tells Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker “The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise.” Palpatine explains to Anakin that “the dark side of the Force is the pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.” Knowing full well that Anakin was worried about losing Padme in childbirth (I also believe the Sith Lord may have been responsible for Anakin’s nightmares, but that’s a separate article I suppose), Palpatine tells the young Jedi that Darth Plagueis could influence the midichlorians to keep people from dying. Midichlorians were first introduced in The Phantom Menace as microscopic organisms that allowed living beings to interact with the Force. More importantly to my theory however is when Palpatine states Plagueis “became so powerful he could even influence the midichlorians to create life.”

Palpatine lures Anakin to the dark side with tales of Plagueis

That takes us to The Phantom Menace. When Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn first met young Anakin Skywalker, he immediately noticed how strong Anakin was with the Force. Thinking possibly that he may have descended from a Jedi, Qui-Gon asks Shmi Skywalker, Anakin’s mother, “Who was the father?” The key to my theory rests in Shmi’s simple answer.

“There was no father.”

Shmi explains to the Jedi how she carried and raised the boy, but couldn’t explain his origins. This is precisely why Qui-Gon rushes to tell the Jedi Council that he has found a vergence (or nexus point) in the Force. Anakin’s remarkable ability to use the Force and the fact that he was apparently born out of the Force leads Qui-Gon to believe Anakin is “The Chosen One” from ancient Jedi prophecy, said to bring balance to the Force.

Shmi Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn

An even stronger connection between The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith occurs when Qui-Gon runs a simple blood test on Anakin. Obi-Wan Kenobi is astounded when they receive Anakin’s midichlorian count, which is “over 20,000.” Although these numbers are never explained in great detail in the movies, that is a number so high that it even exceeds Master Yoda’s, considered by many Jedi to be the most powerful of them all. So how could Anakin have a midichlorian count that is literally off the charts? By Darth Plagueis influencing the midichlorians within Shmi “to create life.”

Since I know you pay close attention, I’m sure this is the part where you say, “Well, all that may be true, but Palpatine clearly stated Plagueis’s apprentice (Sidious himself) killed the Sith Lord in his sleep.” True. He did. And admittedly this is where I ask you to take a minor leap of faith, but based on a couple of facts. First, Palpatine was a liar. He routinely used falsehoods and half-truths to get exactly what he wanted. So maybe he didn’t even kill Plagueis. Maybe over the years he had told that story so many times he had actually come to believe it. Second, if Plagueis was so powerful with the Force that he could create life, is it so hard to believe that he could have influenced the midichlorians enough to keep himself alive after Sidious believe that he had killed him?

That would surely explain Snoke’s ghastly appearance, as well as the (lightsaber?) wound down his forehead. Lastly, how cool and Sith-like is it to know that Palpatine, who singlehandedly engineered the downfall of the Republic and the destruction of the Jedi Order, was being played the entire time by his former master?

Is Snoke Plagueis?

Now, finally we can fast forward to The Force Awakens. If the creators of this film inserted certain clues just to make gullible folks like myself incorrectly believe that Snoke is Plagueis, they went to awfully great lengths to do so. The first subtle clue is the accompanying music that is playing when Kylo Ren initially speaks to Snoke. It is nearly identical to the music that is playing with Sidious tells Anakin about Plagueis. If you don’t believe me, I encourage you to listen to John Williams’s masterpieces “Snoke” and “Palpatine’s Teachings.”

Kylo Ren with Snoke. Notice any similarities?

When Han Solo confronts Kylo Ren — also known as Ben, Solo’s son — Ren tells Solo that “the Supreme Leader is wise.” If you recall, in Revenge of the Sith, Sidious refers to his master as “Darth Plagueis the Wise.” Again, this is a long way to go merely in an attempt to throw us off.

Perhaps you’re calling all this evidence “flimsy at best,” and maybe it is, but I would like you to consider why Snoke wants Rey so badly. The obvious answer is: he wants to train her. Think more deeply though. When he finds out how powerful she is, he immediately tells Kylo Ren, “bring her to me.” Why? Because don’t forget he can influence midichlorians to create or sustain life. He can drain the Force from her to keep himself alive. Farfetched? Think about Han Solo telling his son “Snoke is using you for your power. When he gets what he wants, he’ll crush you. You know it’s true.”

Solo tries to persuade his son

After all this, if your response is, “But his name is Snoke, not Plagueis,” I will simply tell you that you can count on one hand how many people in the galaxy actually called Palpatine by his Sith name, Sidious.

In conclusion, Disney and Lucasfilm have made it clear that the core Star Wars movies are about the Skywalker family, and Snoke being Plagueis makes it the ultimate family affair. Plagueis begets Anakin, Anakin begets Leia, Leia begets Ben. That makes Snoke — you guessed it — Kylo Ren’s great-grandfather! (And if Rey does turn out to be related to Kylo Ren, that makes it even more convoluted.)

And you thought the midichlorians would never matter….

May The Force Be With You

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A Hero’s Journey

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Joseph Campbell

When he first began writing the Star Wars saga in the early 1970s, George Lucas already had a tremendous vision for the movies he wanted to create. Influenced strongly by serials like Flash Gordon, Lucas knew he wanted to produce a “soap opera in space” full of lasers, spaceships, aliens, yet true down-to-Earth human interactions as well. What he lacked though was a depth in the story.

That is when he turned to the most popular mythologist of the 20th century (if not all-time), Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell, born in 1904, had been studying and writing about mythology since the 1920s, and taught on the same subject until his death in 1987. He first fell in love with the symbolism of Native American mythology, but would later delve into many of the world’s ancient myths, especially that of Greek mythology. Campbell would also become enamored with the story of Buddha’s enlightenment, a source for a plethora of his writings.

Possibly the most famous book ever written by Campbell was The Hero with a Thousand Faces, first published in 1949. It was from this book that George Lucas gained his true inspiration for Star Wars. One could argue this work acted as a muse for Lucas, and this is evident when Campbell once said that the filmmaker was “his finest student.”

The most popular theme from this book was “the hero’s journey,” and when watching Star Wars, it is easy to see Luke Skywalker transform through this process. In the hero’s journey, an unlikely hero begins his or her life as an ordinary individual — someone whose finest joy is going to the Tosche Station to pick up some power converters. Seemingly out of the blue, they receive a call to adventure — a feisty little less-than-honest droid who is carrying a message from a beautiful woman saying “help me!”

Two of most important elements of the hero’s journey are meeting a mentor, and refusing the call to adventure. Many mythological stories feature a wise hermit (“Hello there!”) who sometimes even comes bearing gifts — Excalibur, a lightsaber, etc. This mentor, this teacher, will show the hero that there is something larger in this world than their own existence, such as the Force. Overwhelmed, the would-be hero will often refuse the mentor’s suggestion to step into the larger world, saying “I have to stay here.” Something however, such as gazing at your crispy aunt and uncle, will make the hero cross the threshold and truly begin the heroic adventure.

From there the hero will make friends and allies to help him or her on the journey. They can come in many forms such as scoundrels, Wookiees, and even droids. One may even find a “damsel in distress,” who is hardly in distress, and would probably slap you if you called her a damsel. Together the group will go through numerous trials all while collectively and individually develop into higher beings.

The hero will then usually find themselves in a foreboding cave — sometimes this is also called “the belly of the whale.” This cave can take many forms, including a large trash compactor that is home to a not-so-friendly Dianoga. From this cave the hero will shed their old skin and emerge more confident and focused.

The pinnacle of the hero’s journey happens when the protagonist must apply everything he or she has learned and overcome a great ordeal. In Star Wars, this obviously happens when Luke Skywalker takes his X-Wing into the Death Star trench in an attempt to blow up the space station (with a special shoutout to Galen and Jyn Erso). Whereas other flying aces relied on technology to try and make the kill shot, Luke instead turned off his targeting computer and used the Force to make the shot. And boom goes the dynamite, or, in this case, the Death Star.

At the end of the journey the hero will earn a reward (unless your name is Chewbacca) and return home. The reward will come in different forms, but will usually mean a higher state of being, a state of enlightenment. Rarely do truly mythological heroes triumph in order to gain physical rewards.

There are some key things to remember about the hero’s journey. First, generally a hero does not go through this process just once. Luke can be seen going through this in every movie of the original trilogy. Second, sometimes these journeys can be part of an even larger adventure, as is the case with Anakin Skywalker. His particular story spans all six movies, and he does not receive redemption until the last ten minutes of Return of the Jedi. Lastly, the hero’s journey can happen in anybody’s life. If you watch closely, you can even see Han Solo go through his own journey who some find even more interesting than Luke’s.

With all that being said, I encourage you to study the works of Joseph Campbell (jcf.org) and apply this theme to all characters in the Star Wars universe. Jyn Erso and Rey (Skywalker? Solo? Kenobi?) are powerful female characters who go through their own unique journeys. But most importantly, I encourage you to apply the hero’s journey to your own life. Yes, every single one of us has the potential and the capacity to be a hero — just look at the work of the 501st Legion. Where are you in your personal journey? Many of us have received the call but have spent years refusing it. I strongly suggest you take the first steps into a larger world — you never know what’s waiting for you out there.

Listening to Star Wars: Part III

The original radio drama gets us to Alderaan

C-3PO on the mic — all images are subject to copyright and can be removed upon request

Following chapter one, episode one, the next part opens the same way as the first with the main theme and those very famous words. Come on, say them with me now:


After listening to the entire radio play, I can tell you that it starts that same way every time: opening credits score, narration about the formation of the Rebel Alliance and a summary of what is going to happen in the following part of the story. This was done in order to allow people to catch up, as it was originally aired over a multi-day period.

The chapter opens with something similar yet different to the 1977 movie. Princess Leia’s ship Tantive IV is intercepted by an Imperial ship, but this time over the planet Ralltiir instead of Tatooine, “and forced to land under escort”. It isn’t Vader who captures her, it’s someone named Lord Tion. Only having read a small selection of Legends novels, there is not much I can glean from this. I don’t recall coming across Tion — is he someone to be feared like Thrawn or simply some lower ranking Imperial sent to retrieve her? If anyone knows, please explain in the comments below.

Then — as per the movie — in order to hide her involvement with the Rebel Alliance, Leia repeats her standard line of her ship being that of a consular on a diplomatic mission. In my mind, I couldn’t help but add “to Alderaan,” as that is the famous line, even though that part has yet to come up. At this point, she is simply trying to re-equip the rebels on the planet below. It is only through her keen skills of diplomacy that she is able to escape this encounter without having her ship immediately searched. The catch is that she has to agree to have dinner back on her home planet with the arrogant Lord Tion, the man who captured her ship. What Leia does for the rebellion…

After agreeing and leaving in order to make way to her ship, she has her first encounter with the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader. Again, it is only due to her knowledge of Imperial protocol and Vader’s desire to keep everything legal that she is allowed to remain free. One problem down, another to go.

This part is interesting in that it shows yet another time Leia was able to skillfully slip through the Empire’s grasp. Not just the Empire’s, but Vader’s to boot. As she’ll later learn, escaping from him is not the easiest thing in the galaxy. To do so now re-enforces her knowledge of Imperial regulations and protocols.

Credit to Star Wars Wookiepedia and subject to removal upon request

After setting a trap for Lord Tion that will lead to an important discovery later on, she meets a wounded rebel solider who passes on important information.

Leia then makes her way back home to Alderaan via “the old roads” on foot. She does this in order to sort out her thoughts about what she saw on Ralltiir. Being as it is a day’s journey, it gives her a nice long while to think everything over and figure out how she is going to help them.

According to Leia, “people on Ralltiir have been chased from their homes, penned up like animals, executed without trial. Torture chambers are set up everywhere, they [The Empire] call them interrogation centers.” To this her father simply comments that it is the “usual Imperial procedure.” I found this fascinating because it shows two different levels of experience in this way of life. Her father has come to expect it and adjusted accordingly, while still of course disagreeing. His daughter, on the other hand, is still amazed by it all. It goes to show how an event that affects two people — in this case a father and daughter— can result in completely different reactions.

Hope to see you all next post. Until then, May the Force be with you…always.

Listening to Star Wars: Part II

Luke is torn between family and adventure in the original radio drama

All images are subject to copyright and can be removed upon request

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope you’re doing okay. If not, hopefully this will cheer you up. In this next section of the radio drama the excitement really begins. I’d tell you everything I’m going to be talking about, but that would ruin the surprise. So let’s get into it.

Picking up where we last left off, Luke now knows of his friend’s plan to jump ship and join the Rebellion. Just like in the movie of course.

Credit Lucasfilm Ltd. and National Public Radio

A new scene follows. Luke and Biggs argue over the former’s decision to put off going to the Imperial Academy another season, even though both know that there’s no place he’d rather be. In this debate, Biggs tells his friend that in the process of putting off his application it was cancelled, thus sending the point home that unless Luke applies again, he really is stuck on Tatooine.

During the course of this dispute, Biggs manages to really infuriate his friend by saying, “Your uncle uses that ‘I fed you and brought you up’ line to keep you here. Can’t you see that?” By doing this, he is implying that Luke’s uncle is simply manipulating him. While the young man may know this to be true, he is still tied between his duty to help his only remaining family — “My aunt and uncle are the only family I’ve got. They’re all I’ve got” — and his desire to follow his dreams off-planet into whatever adventure awaits him. Oh, if only he knew! This leads me to wonder what would have happened if Luke had left his family behind and gone to the academy. Well, that’s a topic for another day.

Luke eventually drops his friend off at his destination. Seconds pass before Biggs starts the conversation again, not yet ready to get out and leave. People in the Imperial Academy — and indeed the Rebellion — don’t know what will happen to them day to day. As such, he wants to leave things between himself and Luke as amicable as possible.

The first episode of the radio play thus comes to a close with the traditional end title score and a narrator giving the participants the credit they deserve.

So, what did I think of the first episode overall? It was…fun. Nothing too dramatic has happened yet, but it still managed to suck me in by giving more detail to one of the most well known characters in the saga: Biggs Darklighter. No, of course not, I’m talking about Luke Skywalker! Again, it was nice to see a more relaxed and playful side of him.

Credit to Miroslav Sunjkic The Pencil Maestro on WordPress — subject to copyright and can be removed upon request

The first episode does an excellent job of giving more depth to Luke’s character by showing exactly how good a pilot he is along with establishing his relationship with Biggs. While obviously not as big a character, it’s still nice to see more of him and get more depth to his character as well. Things like this really bring a story to life.

Before I go I would like to give a big shout-out to Phil Roberts for liking my posts and passing them on to Future of the Force, with whom I am obviously now working. Thank you so much! Also to everyone who has liked and retweeted my articles both on here and Twitter such as Andrew in Belfast, MonkeesbloodCreative, Bryan Fontaine, Stephanie Hope, Ken $olo, Wesley van Wensen, Stewart Gardiner, Chris White and Zoe Roberts. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart and I hope to see you in my next post. May the Force be with you…always!

Star Wars Rebels Warhead

Zeb, Chopper and Ap-5 Investigating

Hey everyone! Welcome back. Let’s jump right on into the newest episode of Star Wars Rebels Warhead.

Actually, before I do, I would like to give a big thank you shoutout to Phil Roberts for recomending my last two posts about Star Wars Rebels Ghosts of Geonosis Parts 1 and 2. Thank you so much! Every recomendation and follow helps more than you can imagine. I just hope this post lives up to my last ones.

Now on the review. Enjoy. Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

When I originally heard the title of this episode, I was surprised simply because I wasn’t expecting it. I think was simply due to the fact that I hadn’t looked at the titles for upcoming episodes in a bit due to being so focused on the 2-part return episode Ghosts of Geonosis Parts 1 and 2. (If you want to know my reaction to that, please read my two part post on it.) Originally, I thought this episode went by a different name. Oh well, shows my memory.

With that out of the way, let’s jump right into the episode. What did I think of it overall? It was pretty good and drew me in more than the previous episode. Although this was likely because the stakes felt higher. Thanks to the disguised Imperial droid, The Empire could find Chopper Base and force the rebels to move on short notice. Not this is hasn’t ever happened before in the show, just that moving on a short time frame, with part of the team gone, is never fun or easy. That and for a second during the middle part of the story, it looked like Zeb could actually get hurt. To me, that added up to higher stakes.

Then on top of the higher stakes was also AP-5. For a second I thought of the name K-2SO because of how similar these droids are. The main difference I’d say is that AP is able to regulate what he says while K2 literally can’t help but speak his mind. Kind of like me at times. Might be why I like him so much.

AP had so many standout lines in this episode that it’s hard to pick a favorite. Even before the rest of the Ghost crew leave Zeb alone with him and Chopper, AP is already cracking jokes such as, “Did they seriously leave you in charge of this entire facility” and “I just always assumed you were more of a lift heavy things and punch anything in your way type. You know, a grunt.” Of course Zeb doesn’t take too kindly to this and banters right back.


Speaking of him, Zeb did have his own funny moments in this episode as well. The comedy for him started when the rest of the Ghost was leaving for what I’m assuming, going off of Hera’s words towards the tail end of the episode, was a multi day training exercise. He kept emphasizing how he was going to be bored to death being left alone with Chopper and AP-5, then bantering back with the latter. In repsonse to AP being suprised that he was left in charge of the entire base, Zeb shot back, “Something wrong with that” to which AP responded and Zeb just grunted back, thus partially proving the droid’s point.

Side note, I only wish I could have been in the studio when Stephan Stanton and Steve Blum were recording this episode as it must have been crazy fun. How they even got one clean take, I don’t know. I also wonder how many of AP-5’s lines were improvised as Stephan seemed like he was having too much fun not to have done some.

Moving on though, I would have to say that one of the stand out lines from this episode was of course AP-5 to Zeb after the former asked the latter if he wanted to help him inventory (Zeb: counting) the base’s munition supply depot, “Is that because you never learned to count? I can teach you.” He is just so insultingly helpful you can help but love him. At least I can’t.

It was like, from beginning to end, this episode was almost non-stop comedy with some drama thrown in for good measure.

On a side note, I actually once talked to someone in the industry who told me that dramedy couldn’t be done in a half hour. I like to think this proves him wrong, and that as long as you’re skillful, it can be.

Back to the episode, the more serious drama stuff starts after Zeb is sent to check out “an astroid that took out a perimeter sensor in sector six”. Turns out, it wasn’t an astroid after all. It was an imperial infiltration droid in disguise. This means it remained docile and in “protocol mode” until it heard the words “rebel base”. After this, it transformed into it’s true form and went on a rampage, taking out anything in its way.

From here on out, the show goes from straight comedy, to dramedy, with AP-5, Zeb and Chopper all working together to keep the location of their base secret from the Empire. They of course succeed (sort of), and send the droid back just in time to explode on one of their Star Destroyers.

So overall, what did I think of this episode? I thought it was pretty fun and interesting. The only problem I had, and this may be a nit pick, was when the droid scanned all rebel inventory and Zeb, Chopper and AP-5 all thought nothing of it. Even if it didn’t belong to the Empire, information like that shouldn’t just be allowed to get out. If it got into the wrong hands, who is to say that it couldn’t wind up in the hands of the Empire. I could imagine that information like that would fetch a nice price. Also, the bit with Thrawn at the end, fun as well. He always makes me smile in nervous concern.

In closing, even after watching this episode several times to get everything I needed for this, it’s still just as fun as the first time around. I could watch and listen to Zeb and AP-5 banter all day.

Star Wars Rebels Ghosts of Geonosis Part 2

Asking Questions

Welcome back everyone! Let’s get started with part two shall we? It obviously picks up where part one dropped off.

More spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

Saw has just released the Geonosian after aggressively questioning it. Shortly after, the newly named Klick-Klak draws what we know to be the infamous Death Star in the dirt, the one that orginally upped the anti. To me it was just funny how Saw, Rex and Ezra kept bringing up the different things that the circle inside a circle could be. First they think it could be the planet, then later in the episode the egg it was carrying and finally the gas canisters that they find. It was funny to me because obviously living outside this fictional world, I’m able to look down the line and realize what it actually is. Although it’s more of that, nervous kind of laughter.

Moving on, as much as I am a rebel through and through, I have to admit that it was nice to see a female in charge of an Imperial ship. It’s not something you see too often, although luckily that is changing. Yes her ship eventually gets destroyed (and her likely killed from the exploding gas canisters later in the episode), but it was still cool to see.

Now, following along with the episode, Zeb and Sabine arrive back at the Ghost with a military grade shield generator they managed to grab and Hera immediately calls for him. Upon hearing him groan, I couldn’t help but laugh in sympathy as the same thing has happened to me many more times than I bother counting at this point. Come through the door after a long hard day, only to hear my name called. Kriff! No rest for the weary as they say. Sorry Zeb, I really feel for you big guy.

Shortly after this, I am once more forced to laugh as Klick-Klack again draws what we know to be the Death Star. I laugh this time because I can only imagine Ezra and Rex’s face when they finally realize what he was really drawing in the dirt years ago, assuming they’re still alive of course. Well Rex may be, but Ezra…uh, yeah, sorry, you have no plot armor. May the force be with you though. *Nervously smiles and two thumbs up*

“Stupid sand. It gets everywhere.” Now you guys know why I don’t like the beach…well besides constantly getting sunbunt due to my light skin that is. As put off as I was by Hayden’s delivery of this line years ago, I also couldn’t help but internally laugh at how I was able to relate. Aside from Kayaking, running and the occasional bonfire, I don’t go there. You can try all you want to get me to go there for any other reason, but I wish you luck as it’s likely not happening. The difference this time around though, was I was able to let out a bigger and more appreciative laugh for two reasons. One, I liked the call back, no matter how much that movie utterly sucked, and two I still agree with it to this day.

Fast forwarding to further into the episode and we see Saw shocking the poor Geonosian. He did nothing wrong, he was just trying to protect the egg. I hated this for two reasons. One because it was just plain torture and two because it just comes out of nowhere. Yes we know Saw is an extremist and has all but admitted to this fact, but for me this torture seems to come out of nowhere. One minute he’s tolerating the bug and the next he’s torturing him. This part just didn’t work for me. This is only compounded by the fact that he threatens to shoot the egg, the last chance this species has of surviving after being denied use of the Phantom.

Speaking of the auxiliary ship, did he honestly think he could get away on it, with Klick-Klack as well? I thought he was supposed to be smart…apparently not. I couldn’t help but drop my head and think ‘dude, you’re an idiot’ at this part.

Luckily the next part cheered me back up: rocket troopers! Again, as much as I am a rebel, I have to admit I liked these guys, because how can you have good heroes without good villains? These guys are cool. Well that and like with the female in charge of the Star Destroyer, it’s not something you see everyday.

Speaking of rocket/jetpacks, it was nice to see that Sabine had fixed hers. Guess she finally has that jetpack that she’s always wanted. Since we weren’t given a chance to get a good look at it, I wonder how she designed the outside? My guess is maybe with her Starbird symbol. Either way, like Ezra, I want one. “I know.” -Sabine.

Then, watching the end of the episode where Hera takes off practically vertically out of the tunnel, I couldn’t help but laugh and think, ‘And I thought commercial airliners took off steep.’ They had to be feeling some G-forces during theirs. If this weren’t a science fiction show, I’d be surprised that the missiles left the tubes with how many G-forces were likely pushing against them.

If I’m wrong and this would actually work, someone please tell me in the comments as I’m honestly curious. Yes I know that’s what killed the cat, but it was satisfaction that brought it back. No, I don’t take credit for the second part of this saying, I just remember hearing it years ago and have been using it ever since.

Since the episodes ends shortly after this, I am going to end here and say thank you all for taking the time to read this. I greatly appreciate it and want to give a special shoutout to Phil Roberts for following me. It means so much and I hope you continue to like my work.

So until next time everyone, bye!

Star Wars Rebels Ghosts of Geonosis Part 1

Show opens as per usual, only this time with Bail

Before I get started reviewing this episode, please just let me take the time to say how extremely sorry I am for not updating this sooner. Due to a personal reason that some of you may have read about on my Twitter, this sadly had to keep taking a back seat. Please believe me when I say that even with my personal situation going on, I honestly felt back for every day that went by where I didn’t post for you guys. Due to that, I’m going to give you a double dose. Instead of posting my review on two consecutive days, I’m going to post them both today. Don’t worry. They will be in two separate, hopefully bite sized as usual, chunks. With that explained, I will now finally get on to my review.

Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

So originally I watched this episode at eight in the morning after getting very little sleep due to being a night owl (and more than a little excitement about this coming back due to how built up it was). I’m still not sure what woke me up at that time, up I was up and decided to watch the new episode.

To start with, let me just say that while I have been hearing everyone singing the praises of this episode, I actually thought that was very…underwhelming. I thought that after I saw it the first time and I still think it now. I mean, I guess I can see why people would think it was great, but I just didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there were things in it that I enjoyed, but overall it just didn’t impress me much.

Ok, so, what did I like about the episode? Well to go in order, it was nice to still see Kanan still attempting to guide himself with his hand. Shows that he hasn’t completely mastered using the Force as his new set of eyes. You can see him do this when he first enters the save with Rex and Ezra. It’s only a quick second, but still visable.

The second thing I liked was Chopper actually listening to someone other than Hera and demonstrating that he actually can be serious and more than everyone’s favorite grumpy cat. He does this on a few occasions throughout the episode. As much fun as it is to see him tease and torment (and kill) others, at the same time, it also gives him more depth to know that he is actually capable of following orders when needed.

Something else that was cool was getting the Geonosian’s point of view when Kanan was first looking…er listening for it. Sorry Kanan! Anyway, moving on, it was something I LOVED in the battle of Scarif in Rogue One and it was something I loved her. Outside of first person video games, it’s not something you see much, so it’s nice to get it every now and again.

One thing I actually loved in this episode though was Rex’s line, “He’s no Skywalker”, to which Kanan answered back, “I heard that”. It’s funny because while Rex is right, to me it’s not for the reason he thinks. He’s right because Kanan is no Skywalker, he’s better. I’d like to see Anakin make a leap like that blindfolded. Heck I’d like to him do even half the things Kanan does, blindfolded. It would definitely make a more interesting prequel story than we given, am I right?

Now, to briefly go over the things I didn’t like. In short, it was Ezra’s constant questions, Chopper not getting a vote and the code names. To start with, while I know the questions were natural and needed to help move the story along, it would have also been nice to have Kanan ask one or two so it wasn’t just coming from one character. Guess I’m just not a fan of one person asking so many obvious questions. Don’t know what caused it or why they did so, so let’s investigate.

Something else I didn’t like during the first part of this episode was Chopper not getting a vote when Rex, Kanan and Ezra were attempting to figure out whether or not to continue looking for Saw and his group without backup. The only reason I can think of is because depending on how Chopper voted, it could have been another deadlock. Either that or Ezra was just being a dick. Although that when then bring up the question of why Kanan allowed it in the first place. I thought Chopper was a part of the crew and as such was allowed a vote. Huh, guess not.

Now, on my final point of things I didn’t like in this episode was the use of the code name ‘Specter’, when they also use their real names on the same communication system. I thought that the point of code names was to cover one’s true identity, not give it away by saying it shortly after. Hey, what do I know? I have been known to be wrong from time to time.

In closing, while it does seem like there were more things about this episode that I liked than disliked, somehow it was still underwhelming for me. Might have just been because the stakes didn’t feel all that high in this episode, but who knows? From the look of the trailer though, it looks like this will eventually change.

So hope to see you in part 2! Bye!

Star Wars Rebels Mid-Season 3 Premiere

Star Wars Rebels Mid-Season 3 Premiere

Ezra finally in a Spacesuit

Hey guys. I’m back. Well we are little more 24 hours away from the mid-season 3 premiere of Star Wars Rebels. Although for some lucky people reading this, it’s even sooner. So, who’s excited? (Waits for a show of hands) Oh wait, I can’t see any of you. Oh well.

Spoilers ahead. If you have yet to see the trailer, please go to my previous post.

If you’re reading this, then I take it you are excited and looking for more information on it. Obviously you aren’t the only one. While I can’t provide anymore than what’s already been released in the previous days, what I can do is explain my initial reaction to the trailer to you. To keep this as short as possible, I’ll just talk about the main points that stood out to me.

First off, Ezra in what looks to be pajamas. Cool. Not something we’ve seen before. When we have seen him sleeping before, it has been in his standard orange jumpsuit which makes sense. When part of a rebellion, one always has to be dressed and ready to go at a moments notice. So to see Ezra in them is cool and interesting.

Tie Defenders. Cool. Haven’t really seen them before as I’m not much into video games (sadly no time). From what I have heard about them though, when the rebels go up against them, they’re basically dead. As such, I can’t wait to see how they get away from them.

Death troopers and Thrawn, awesome! The question is, where did they come from? Were they on loan to him from Krenic? If so, why did he give them to Thrawn?

Now, even though I am a rebel through and through, I can’t help but like these guys. After all, what good are heroes if they don’t have good villains to fight? After hearing what I have about them (that they are basically the Navy Seals Special Forces guys of this universe), I have to say that they are pretty terrifying. Not as much as Vader or Thrawn, but still up there.

As we thought, Thrawn knows who Fulcrum is, he’s just waiting for the right moment to reveal it and thus kill Kallus. I’ve already told other fans that my money says he’s either dead by season’s end or forced to betray the rebels for his life.

Thrawn getting hands on. Nice to see he’s more than just a tactician. Although for him to do so must mean something’s gone horribly wrong. Can’t wait to see what it is. Also, just putting this out there, but Thrawn training, hot. Still hate him, but hot none the less.

Kanan training Sabine with the Dark Saber, awesome as well. Didn’t think we’d get to see that. I thought that like Ezra learning to use his first saber, it would happen off screen. I don’t know why, but it’s just so cool to see one character training another in anything. Also, where did that whip that Sabine uses to retrieve her saber come from? It looks kind of like a light whip that was used during the Zygerian slave trading arc in The Clone Wars episodes.

Something else it looks like Sabine is using during the trailer is Ezra’s saber during her fight with Fenn Rau. Not sure how or why this happens, but it looks like that is what she is using for whatever reason.

Was that Admiral Yularen and Ezra in a space suit? Cool! Two more things I thought I wouldn’t see in this series.

Now to the grand finale, Obi-Wan “Old Ben” Kenobi. Before I go any further, please just let me say that unlike most, I went into this trailer knowing nothing. To me, him showing was a strong possibility, but not confirmed. After watching various other peoples’ reactions on youtube, I came to learn that apparently I was in the minority and that this information had previously been released. That left me to ask one question, where the heck was I when that happened?

Anyway, seeing him in the end of this trailer obviously confirmed it for me and caused me to really go nuts. It was at this point I was severely grateful I was home alone. My screams as I saw this part…let’s just say that it was a good thing I had something to stuff in my mouth to quiet my screams. Words could not explain how happy I was to see this.

So with that, I thank you all for reading this longer than usual post and AndrewinBelfast for recommending my last one. Thank you so much and I hope to see all of you in my next one with my review of the episode. Bye!

Star Wars Rebels Mid-Season 3 Trailer

Spoilers for the mid season 3 trailer. If you have yet to watch it, please click the video on the left. You have been warned.

Ok wow. Ever since watching this earlier today, I cannot stop thinking about how good it was. From the music to James Arnold Taylor’s Kenobi continually saying “warning” through out the entire thing to actually seeing him at the end with Maul. Everything was just brilliantly done. There were a few parts where I was literally had to stuff part of my blanket into my mouth (as I woke up to see this had dropped), just to keep from screaming too loud. Although truthfully, even that didn’t help much.

So, where to start with this trailer? I’ll go with the part about Obi-Wan saying ‘warning’ throughout the entire thing. Being as it kept the beat of an alarm I’ll say that this could have been for one reason, to warn us as fans about the dark direction the rest of this season is going to go. If the trailer is anything to go by, it’s going to get crazy dark. In one shot, it looks like something big happens to Chopper, Sabine debuts her new Dark Saber that her people want to fight her for, Thrawn gets ‘hands on’ as opposed to directing from above, and we get to meet members of the alliance such as Mon Monthma and maybe even Cassian Anador whom we first saw in Rogue One.

Now, the reason why I specifically referred to James Arnold Taylor’s Obi-Wan in the opening is because shortly after watching this twice through (as I needed confirmation that I really just saw what I thought I saw), it was confirmed that Stephan Stanton, the voice of Admiral Raddus in Rogue One, along with Tarkin and AP-5 in this series is also voicing this new (or old depending on how you look at it) Obi-Wan. What I mean is, while James Arnold Taylor’s Obi-Wan can be seen and heard in the beginning of this trailer coming from Kanan’s malfunctioning holocron, it’s actually Stephan that is voicing him in this show. While I think he does an amazing job at voicing him, I still can’t help but miss JAT’s take on him. It’s just something I’ve grown so used to hearing.

Moving on, we have “formerly Darth” Maul. From the looks of the trailer, we’re finally going to be seeing him and Obi-Wan meet up (on Tatooine?) for their long awaited battle. Being as we only see the former in the Original Trilogy, I think it’s safe to say that the latter does not make it out of the battle. This is something I can’t wait to see, Obi-Wan finally killing Maul off for good. Then again, who’s to say that he does make it out alive and is just doing his own thing in another part of the galaxy? Eh, who am I kidding, smart money says we see Obi-Wan finally kill him once and for all.

So overall, what did I think of this? Well, now like this morning, there are no words to describe it. Sure I can talk about it as I did here, but to describe it would be difficult. Again, from the music to Obi-Wan continually saying “warning” throughout the entire thing like an alarm to actually seeing Kenobi more than likely facing off with and killing Maul….just wow. The places they’re able to go in this show that is supposedly for kids.

Well until next time everyone, bye!

The Wynkahthu Job: Star Wars Rebels 3.9 Review

You can’t keep a good Hondo down…


Beware spoilers! Spoilers?! Oh, that’s a classic!

“The Wynkahthu Job” was written by Gary Whitta, who provided the first draft for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Before it aired fans were wondering what that name could mean. Actually, it’s very simple, Wynkahthu is the name of the planet where the episode takes place.

We got another adventure with the one and only…Hondo Ohnaka! The last time we saw him was during the season 3 premiere — he had been captured by the Empire and “helped” our heroes, depending on the perspective you see things from (as always with Hondo). With Hondo back, it obviously means troubles because it’s him and don’t forget the lies. Even though you may remember what he once said: “Oh the stories I could tell, so many of them true.” He’s always up to something and he never comes to see the Ghost crew for a friendly chat, if he’s there…he needs help. This time he asked the Rebels to work with him and Azmorrigan (yes, him, the one who tried to kill Hondo and who also tried to kill the Ghost crew). The job was to go to Wynkahthu to retrieve proton bombs for the Rebels and for Hondo and his new friend some treasure left by the Empire on the cargo ship.

So we’ll split the treasure? — Zeb

Split the treasure, oh that’s a classic. — Hondo

As always with Hondo, he gave us some extremely funny lines typical of him. I think this dialogue with Zeb was the best of the episode (something we had seen in the trailers already).

As you may have guessed, this mission to an abandoned Imperial Cargo wasn’t without surprises. First, it was Hondo’s fault the cargo was in a storm on the planet and one of his Ugnaught crew members had been left there … Additionally, there were some new Imperial battle droids reminiscent in design of the Aqua Droids from Star Wars The Clone Wars. Previously, we had seen Azmorrigan as a tough criminal but this episode showed us that he was more like the contrary. When he killed the first droid he was so happy, barely believing it and already seeing himself as a hero.


The Rebels did manage to bring back the proton bombs on The Ghost. However, the only gift Hondo brought back was his crew member, friendship being the most important treasure…or not really, well, you know, depending on the situation for Hondo.


This episode also marked the return of AP-5A voiced by Stephen Stanton.

Another interesting element to talk about this episode was Zeb. From The Ghost crew, Ezra, Zeb and Chopper went to help Hondo. And I think for the first time in the series, we saw Zeb leading the group. It was great to see him take on more responsibilities and get a bigger role in the team. Now his dynamic with Ezra works better than it first did which is also a nice to see development.

6.8/10 A good adventure as always with Hondo — troubles and fun!


Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Reviews on Future of the Force:

https://futureoftheforce.com/steps-into-shadow-star-wars-rebels-3-1-3-2-review-11d4d7585584
https://futureoftheforce.com/steps-into-shadow-star-wars-rebels-3-1-3-2-review-11d4d7585584
https://futureoftheforce.com/steps-into-shadow-star-wars-rebels-3-1-3-2-review-11d4d7585584
https://futureoftheforce.com/steps-into-shadow-star-wars-rebels-3-1-3-2-review-11d4d7585584
https://futureoftheforce.com/steps-into-shadow-star-wars-rebels-3-1-3-2-review-11d4d7585584
https://futureoftheforce.com/steps-into-shadow-star-wars-rebels-3-1-3-2-review-11d4d7585584
https://futureoftheforce.com/steps-into-shadow-star-wars-rebels-3-1-3-2-review-11d4d7585584

A Conversation With Star Wars Visual Effects Legend Dennis Muren

A rare appearance by Industrial Light & Magic at the BFI London Film Festival

Continue reading A Conversation With Star Wars Visual Effects Legend Dennis Muren