The 40th anniversary of Star Wars dominated Star Wars Celebration Orlando this month. In fact, a celebration of 40 years kicked off the convention. George Lucas, Warwick Davis, Mark Hamill, Hayden Christensen, Harrison Ford and many others recounted the history of Star Wars from 1977 to the present and began the conversation from the Galaxy Stage. Naturally, this lead to many conversations about the best and favorite Star Wars moments from the past 40 years. One of my most favorite moments was the release of the Star Wars: Special Editions. I’m certain this is a controversial pick. Many fans hate the changes made to the classic movies. However, I have many reasons for celebrating the 20th anniversary of the special editions. For now, I’ll focus on two, which include a personal reason and a content addition.
With Chuck Wendig’s Empire’s End arriving this month, I decided to review Aftermath and Aftermath: Life Debt. After my first read, I found these post-Return of the Jedi stories entertaining and engaging. For one, getting some details on how the galaxy evolved after the death of the Emperor and Darth Vader was fascinating. The new canon provides little description of this era. Therefore, I was trying to read these stories just a little closer this time around. One of the things I paid extra attention to was the character of Sinjir Rath Velus, the former Imperial loyalty officer. One aspect of Sinjir’s character struck me: he was willing to do bad for the greater good. This reminded me of Cassian Andor, who confessed to Jyn Erso that he had done terrible things on behalf of the Rebellion. This raises the question, where does the Rebellion draw the line?
The untimely passing of Carrie Fisher causes contemplation of many things Star Wars. Recently, I was taken back by General Organa’s first scene in The Force Awakens. After her arrival on Takodana after the battle between the First Order and the Resistance, Chewbacca interrupts her reunion with Han Solo for a hug. The affectionate smirk on Leia’s face when the “walking carpet” embraces her is quite touching. This got me to thinking about Chewbacca. For decades now, Star Wars fans have known that Chewbacca has a life debt to Han Solo. To my knowledge, the story of the life debt originally comes from Legends material. The “life debt” was a Wookiee custom of pledging service typically in response to rescuing that Wookiee or saving its life. Over the past couple of years, new material established the life debt in the current canon. However, the exact nature of Chewbacca’s life debt to Han Solo is vague. For many reasons, I find this more satisfying.
“When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not.” Yoda admonished Luke with that line in a moment of defiance to his age in Return of the Jedi. The venerable Jedi Master was nearing the end of his life, and he still had a little advice to impart on his young apprentice. What else must Yoda have been thinking as he neared the end of his very long life? Even more interesting, what was the passage of time like for Yoda over 900 years? How did it impact his relationships with those closest to him.
Everyone knows that Count Dooku is a Sith Lord. The Clone Wars made that very apparent. However, do you remember the first time you were introduced to the Count? For many fans such as myself, Attack of the Clones introduced the former Jedi. It occurs to me that I think I always knew that Count Dooku was a Sith. That is to say, through Lucasfilm’s marketing of the movie, I believe I knew Count Dooku was a Sith before I ever saw Attack of the Clones in theaters. With that in mind, I wondered how would my interpretation of the movie would change if I viewed it through the lens of not knowing Count Dooku’s no-so-secret identity. I decided to test it out and indulged myself with a viewing at home recently. Here is what I discovered.
I remember the promise of Episode One as it neared release. Not only would The Phantom Menace be the first new Star Wars movie in sixteen years, it would tell the story of a previous generation of heroes. Set in the days of the Republic, it would feature Jedi in their prime. Sure, Luke Skywalker was a cool Jedi Knight in Return of the Jedi, but he was barely trained. The thought that Jedi Masters would be gracing movie screens was exciting. The obvious expectation was that Obi-Wan Kenobi, the mentor to both Anakin and Luke Skywalker, would feature in these films. And, he did. However, it was his mentor, Qui-Gon, that was the first full-fledged Jedi of the prequels. Beyond being the first, Qui-Gon Jinn was significant for many reasons.
Some of the biggest news coming out of Celebration Europe concerned Rebels. Dave Filoni, Tiya Sicar, and Sam Witwer took the stage at Celebration to discuss many of the developments for the upcoming season of the Disney XD show. Sabine, Tiya Sicar’s character, is armed with many new gadgets. Chief among them is a jetpack. Darth Maul, voiced by Sam Witwer, continues to pursue Ezra Bridger as he searches for direction in the galaxy. Many other developments were revealed, but perhaps the biggest announcement was saved for the season three trailer. Grand Admiral Thrawn is coming to Rebels. Everyone is excited. Well, almost everyone. I’m ambivalent. Let me explain why.
The next sentence of this blog contains the biggest spoiler for The Force Awakens, and if you have not seen that movie, but are reading a Star Wars blog post anyway, you have been warned.
I’ve seen a lot written and I’ve heard a lot said about Lor San Tekka lately. The leader of the Church of the Force seems to have captured the imaginations of Star Wars fans. I recently watched The Force Awakens again (thank goodness for Blu-ray) and one of his lines caught my attention. “Without the Jedi, there can be no balance to the Force.” Whoa. Wait a second. Didn’t Anakin or Luke Skywalker bring balance to the Force? With that line, Lor San Tekka casts doubt that any balance that was brought to the Force by Anakin and Luke Skywalker is a lasting balance. The question is, what does he mean by this? Ever since the prophecy whereby the Chosen One would bring balance to the Force was mentioned in The Phantom Menace, a great deal of fan speculation has followed. What does Lor San Tekka’s declaration mean to the fabled “balance of the Force?”
It had recently occurred to me that my children had never had the privilege of viewing The Princess Bride. Along with Star Wars, The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies and has played a huge role in my life. For instance, early on in our relationship, among the many things my wife and I connected over was the novel for The Princess Bride. We would later dance to the theme song from the movie at our wedding. That is all good and well, but you may be asking what any of this has to do with Star Wars. Good question. I decided that my children needed to see this movie. So we had a movie night. The kids loved it, and I enjoyed experiencing it through their eyes. There was one other thing that caught my attention on this viewing: how the movie handled the concept of revenge. In some ways, it was different and yet very similar to the lessons on revenge taught by Star Wars. Read more