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May the Fourth brought an unexpected surprise this year with seven all-new episodes of Star Wars Forces of Destiny. Featuring Padme Amidala, Hera Syndulla, Ahsoka Tano, Sabine Wren, Princess Leia, Rey, BB-8, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Finn, and Porgs, Forces of Destiny gave us another round of adventure with some of our most beloved characters from across the saga.

Below you will find recaps and reviews for episodes 9-12, “Chopper and Friends,” “Monster Misunderstanding,” “Art History,” and “Porgs!” There are spoilers, so be sure you watch the episodes before proceeding!

Star Wars Forces of Destiny | Episode 9 “Chopper and Friends”

Kicking off these new episodes of Forces of Destiny, we have the return of Star Wars Rebels characters Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall) and Chopper (Dave Filoni, is that you?) to the forest moon of Endor in “Chopper and Friends.” We previously saw Hera and Chopper on Endor post-Return of the Jedi in the episode “An Imperial Feast” when Hera and Han Solo compared piloting skills. This time around we see Hera once again piloting the Ghost as stray Imperials are detected in the skies over Endor.

Hera springs into action. Chopper’s been working with a few Ewoks, but Hera orders him to get on board. They need to move, now! Chopper thinks they need a crew, but there’s no time for that as the Imperials pose an imminent threat to the Ewok village. The Ghost lifts off and engages the TIE fighters. Hera tells Chopper to get to the guns, but he has an idea. The crew he’s recruited might be helpful. A confused Hera turns around to see the two Ewoks chattering away.

Chopper argues they helped in the battle, but Hera is not convinced. Until the Ewoks scramble and to the gun turrets. Turns out Ewoks are handy on the ground, and in the sky! Chopper’s instincts were correct. As someone once said, “Short help is better than no help,” and those words were true. Never underestimate the size of someone’s courage in the face of danger.

It was good seeing Hera and Chopper again. Rogue One confirmed Hera and Chopper were with the Rebels at Yavin 4, and “An Imperial Feast” and the finale of Star Wars Rebels showed us they survived to the Battle of Endor. I was hoping Kanan and Hera’s son, Jacen, would make an appearance in this episode, but perhaps in the future.

Star Wars Forces of Destiny | Episode 10 “Monster Misunderstanding”

In this episode, Padme arrives on the scene of a Sando Aqua monster repeatedly ramming the docks on Naboo. The guards are doing their best to fend off the creature, but are no match for the huge beast. Padme immediately senses something is distressing the creature, so she leads the guards on an investigation of the docks.

Once inside the building, Padme and her detail come upon poachers who have captured what appears to be the offspring of the Sando Aqua monster. After assessing the situation, Padme acts and fires upon the rig holding the baby creature captive. She warns her guards not to fire on the baby, as it just wants to be reunited with its mother. They open the doors to reveal mom waiting just on the other side, full of joy at seeing her baby unharmed. The two then set off, happily, and the poachers are taken into custody.

This episode takes place while Padme (voiced by Catherine Taber) was still Queen of Naboo. Whether it was before or after the events of The Phantom Menace is not clear, although my guess would be after. When Padme reveals her true identity in TPM, the only ones who seemed not surprised by her real status were her handmaidens and Captain Panaka. Her attitude here seems to fit more with her persona post-TPM, and closer to the senator we meet in Attack of the Clones. It’s nice to see Padme on her own in this adventure. She always seems to be paired up with either Ahsoka or Anakin, which is fine, but she needs her moments to shine, on her own terms.

The animation in these shorts has improved considerably, in my opinion. I always appreciated the overall look, but the quality and colorization seem deeper, more rich. The lesson this episode imparts is a simple one, but not insignificant. Before you go blasting away at something, look to see of there is another solution, some aspect you’ve overlooked. Be mindful.

Star Wars Forces of Destiny | Episode 11 “Art History”

In “Art History,” Sabine (Tiya Sircar) and her younger brother, Tristan (Ritesh Rajan) are on a secret mission when they come upon an ancient statue of Tarre Vizsla, and early ruler of Mandalore. Sabine recalls how her father took them to see the statue when she was a young girl, and Tristan just a baby. Upon closer inspection, Tristan notices stormtroopers using the statue as an outpost. This angers Sabine, owing to the historical and artistic significance of the statue to the Mandalorians.

Sabine sets off to destroy the girders supporting the outpost on the statue, but Tristan warns her of the risk to their greater mission of freeing Mandalore. Sabine knows you also need to save items of cultural importance. What would be left of Mandalore if it is stripped of what makes it and its people unique? Tristan understands, and joins her.

Wielding the Darksaber, Sabine cuts loose the girders as Tristan strategically places explosives designed to bring the outpost down, but leave the statue intact. Their plan works. The outpost falls, and the statue of Tarre Vizsla is restored.

While it can be easy to be dismissive of art from other cultures (or worlds), the larger purpose of such work is to define a people, to tell their story to those who come after. We’ve seen before in Star Wars the Mandalorians are mindful of that, so Sabine’s actions here — and the risks she takes to save a statue — are part of the larger mission of saving her people.

Star Wars Forces of Destiny | Episode 12 “Porgs!”

Porgs! Chewbacca! R2-D2! What more needs to be said? Okay, a few things. “Porgs” starts off with Chewbacca puttering around the Millennium Falcon on Ahch-To while Rey is busy trying to persuade Luke Skywalker to train her as a Jedi and return to the larger galactic conflict. Suddenly things start to go haywire. As Artoo looks on, Chewie checks out the issue only to find Porgs have infiltrated the innards of the Falcon to steal wiring. They fly off, while Chewie and Artoo give chase.

The two arrive in time to see the Porgs add the wires to a nest they’re maintaining. They fly off, and Chewie looks inside to see two adorable porglets, who instantly take a liking to him. The parents return to the nest and Chewie, understanding in part what they’re trying to do, gives them a piece of fabric to pad the nest. That won’t do, however. The Porgs chose the wiring because it resembles vines on a tree high up on a peak they can’t reach due to the high winds.

Chewie heads up the rocky outcropping, facing strong headwinds, but finally reaches the tree. He pulls off some of the vines, and returns them to the nest. That did the trick! The porglets nestle up, and mom and dad are so grateful they return the wiring to Chewbacca, and reward his helpful nature with snuggles.

It’s a simple story taking place during The Last Jedi, but it gives us a look at how Chewbacca filled his time, and perhaps how he took his mind off the loss of his best friend, Han Solo. You can find solace in the little things, and nothing is littler than porglets who need a warm and cozy nest so they can grow and thrive.

Also, I think it is safe to say Chewie never got around to eating Porgs.

Overall, these first four episodes were solid. Each one contributing a little something to the Star Wars universe, whether by adding to the meat of the saga, as with the important message found within “Art History,” or in showing the small ways we deal with grief, as Chewie must have during The Last Jedi. All parts lead to a greater whole.

Look for part two of the Forces of Destiny recaps and reviews for episodes 13-15 can be found here.

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