Five of Luke Skywalker’s Best Moments

I had fun writing about Obi-Wan’s five best moments, so I thought I’d continue on that theme and do the same with Luke Skywalker. He’s got plenty of great moments too, but these stand out as THE best to me:

  • Trench run on Death Star 1.
Trust your feelings.

This is Luke’s shining moment in A New Hope. He’s young, idealistic, and ready to do his part to strike a blow against the Empire. His compatriots are shot down (and he loses his friend, Biggs Darklighter) and it’s up to him to drop the torpedo into the tiny little opening of the shaft that leads to the reactor (but that’s okay, he used to target womp rats back home and they’re not more than two meters). He’s supposed to use a targeting computer to make the shot, but then he hears Ben Kenobi’s voice: “Use the Force, Luke.” And so he turns the computer off, which is a HUGE leap of faith, because he basically just learned about the Force like, two days ago, and only got a glimmering of it against a remote on the Falcon. But Ben had faith in him, and so he has faith in Ben’s belief that he can do this. And he does. Han Solo gets the TIES off his back, Luke gets the torpedo into the shaft, the thing blows, and they have a big celebration. He’s not a Jedi yet, but he’s certainly now a hero of the Rebellion.

  • Battle of Hoth
“Get ready to launch that tow cable!”

Not only is Luke a good pilot, but he’s also quite clever. The looming AT-ATs seem indestructible, so Luke comes up with a plan only a farmboy rustling some animals ( can come up with: they use cables to trip up their long, ungainly legs. This is his best moment in The Empire Strikes Back; the rest of the movie, he makes a series of mistakes and bad decisions that almost get him killed. The Empire truly does strike back in this one–but they lose a few AT-ATs on the way!

  • Saving Han Solo on Tatooine.
“This is your last chance–free us or die.”

Black-clad Luke in Return of the Jedi is a thing to behold: after the debacles, revelations, and pain and loss in Empire, Luke has lost some of his naivete and innocence and has learned patience, planning, and determination. His rescue of Han at Jabba’s Palace on Tatooine (with a little help from his friends) is brilliant and thrilling. He’s calm, confident, and impressive. Even Han doesn’t believe Luke is capable of pulling off the rescue, but lucky for him he’s very wrong on this point. Leia strangles Jabba, Boba Fett is sent falling into the Sarlacc (but not, as we now know, killed), the barge is blown up, and they pick up the droids from the sand on the way out. Easy peasy. The hard stuff is yet to come.

  • Vader’s Redemption.
“I have to save you.” “You already have, Luke.”

This is obviously the zenith of Luke’s character arc, and his very best moment (apart from his role at Crait, in my opinion, see below). Yoda himself said before he died that Luke must face Vader. I’m pretty sure he meant that Luke had to defeat him in order to become a Jedi. Even Obi-Wan, in his ghostly visitation on Dagobah, expected Luke to kill Vader. Obi-Wan, one of the most compassionate Jedi ever! But Luke insisted he would not kill his own father. “Then the Emperor has already won,” Obi-Wan replies. So defeatist. And short-sighted, one of the very few things that is disappointing about Obi-Wan, at least in this trilogy. Both he and Yoda had given up on Anakin a long time ago, and I understand that, after what they went through. But Luke isn’t ready to give up on him. Like the mother he never knew, he believes there’s still good in him. I’m not sure where this belief comes from, whether it’s wishful thinking, or that he senses it in the Force, or maybe because Vader didn’t want to kill him in Empire but join with him (on the dark side, but even so).

Whatever the reason, Luke goes willingly to Vader and the Emperor on Endor with the intention of trying to turn him back to the light, as he explained to Leia. He keeps his poop together for a while, until the Emperor reveals the trap which endangers his friends; he gets scared and desperate for them. And then, when Vader threatens to turn Leia to the dark side, he loses said poop and gets really angry. He gets mighty close to falling to the dark as he nearly kills Vader, although he realizes it before it’s too late. That’s when his best moment in the trilogy comes: he throws his lightsaber away and declares he’ll never turn. He’s willing to lose his friends, his father and his life at this point; but he will not turn. We all know what happens next: the Emperor nearly kills Luke with his Force lightning, causing Vader to rethink his life choices. He decides to save his son and throws the Emperor down the shaft, sacrificing his own life. A great, possibly the greatest, Star Wars moment.

  • Battle of Crait.
“If you strike me down I’ll always be with you–like your father.”

So Luke Skywalker becomes a legend and a hero, and tries to live up to that over the decades that follow. Unfortunately, he’s a human being who makes mistakes. He loses Ben Solo to the dark side and blames himself (and probably deserves a little bit of blame, among a lot of blame that could be passed around). But instead of dealing with the mistake, he isolates himself. I do believe he thinks he’s helping his friends this way rather than hurting them–after all, look at the damage he did, is probably what he was thinking. He even cuts himself off from the Force, he’s so upset about it. He comes to believe that the Jedi must die, that their arrogance (his included) caused more problems than solved them. Rey doesn’t understand any of this when she comes to Ach-To; she’s still young and idealistic. She believes in the myth. Luke has become–let’s face it–cynical. It’s only after he opens up to the Force again to touch Leia’s consciousness that he decides to do something.

And what a something! He Force-projects himself to Crait to face Kylo and the First Order. Not to save Ben–he knows it’s too late for that, at least for him. But to distract the enemy long enough for the Resistance to get away. And he does it without harming a hair on anyone–except his own. It’s his atonement, as much as anything. And a very Jedi thing to do, in the truest sense. That wink to Threepio, the dusting off his shoulder after “surviving” the bombardment of the First Order, his “See ya around, kid,” to Kylo–I loved it all so much. It doesn’t quite reach the heroic and emotional heights of Anakin’s redemption, but it’s one of the best Luke Skywalker scenes, in my opinion.

Honorable Mention:

Coming to get Grogu.

“Talent is nothing without training.”

I can’t have a list of best Luke Skywalker moments without this scene from The Mandalorian (Season 2, Episode 8). It was so unexpected, but so welcome and exciting, most of us were laughing/crying on our couches. When Grogu reached out with the Force at the Jedi Temple, we had guesses and hopes about who might answer. The fact that it was Luke freaking Skywalker himself was just so satisfying and made our Star Wars hearts so happy. As soon as we saw that single X-Wing swing around and saw the other clues, our hearts skipped a beat. CGI Luke was a bit weird, as most CGI characters are, but who cares? He cut through those dark troopers like a hot knife through butter, and we cheered. But that Force crush he used for the last dark trooper is a bit…concerning. I do believe it’s considered, along with the Force choke, a darkside power. He could have just cut it down with his lightsaber, as he did the others, easily. But he chose to do the crush. Why? Hmmm….care to chime in with your ideas, dear readers?

So those are my (again, probably obvious) best Luke Skywalker moments. What are your favorites?

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Star Wars Fan Art: Women of Star Wars

Here’s a collection of great fan art I’ve been finding of the wonderful women of Star Wars:

I love images of Ahsoka with Morai, and this is one of the best I’ve seen.

Naturally I can’t find the artist for this one. It was uploaded by Dorothy on Pinterest, that’s all I know!

This is a simple drawing of Admiral Amylin Holdo, but I love the purple in it in honor of her awesome hair, lol.

I think the artist’s name here is Niki LeFay. Maybe?

Jyn is one tough woman but she looks pretty and vulnerable here.

No artist info, but it’s on displate.com.

This is a gorgeous portrait of Rey. Again, a tough young woman whose youth and beauty are captured in a still moment.

Alice X. Zhang, on wwprice1.tumblr.com

I could never find any Sabine Wren fan art that I really liked, but this one is great. I wanted one without her helmet on, since I like to see faces, although this one has a manga kind of feel. Love the colors.

Zyralynn on devientart.com

What “Women of Star Wars” fan art collection would be complete without Leia Organa? This one is lovely, capturing her regal face with an underlying sadness.

kittrose on devientart.com

I tried to find one of Hera Syndulla that I liked, of just Hera without Kanan, but most of them were either cartoonish or sexualized (or they didn’t look like her at all). I’ll keep looking. Do you have any favorites of Hera?

What do you think of these images? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

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Five of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Best Moments

It seems like an impossible task to pick out only five, since I feel that every single moment Obi-Wan takes breath deserves to be on the list, lol. But I forced myself to pick out five of his best moments in the Star Wars universe, in my opinion:

  • Defeating Maul Part I (TPM).
Kill my master? That tears it!

When Qui Gon and Obi-Wan face Darth Maul on Naboo in The Phantom Menace, it’s a really cool lightsaber duel (and John Williams’ soundtrack for it is fantastic). But when Maul cuts down Qui Gon, it gets real personal real fast. When Obi-Wan slices Maul in half, it was the first time a Jedi had defeated a Sith in a thousand years. And a Padawan, at that. Because of this, Obi-Wan earned his Jedi Knighthood and did not have to go through the Jedi Trials (whatever that is, lol). At any rate, this moment illustrates Obi-Wan’s excellent lightsaber skills and the kind of Jedi Knight he will become.

  • Satine’s Death (Clone Wars).
“Remember my dear Obi-Wan, I have loved you always. And I always will.”

This scene from Clone Wars (The Lawless, Season 5 , Episode 16 ), simply gutted me. Maul gets his revenge on Obi-Wan by killing the only woman he’s ever loved. In the episode, you can see the despair, and then the anger, that rises in Obi-Wan, but only for a moment. It’s in this moment that he fights one of the hardest battles of his life: resisting the urge to kill everyone in the room in his rage; to give in to the dark side. We get a glimpse into his emotions and thoughts in this moment in Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark, in the short story Kenobi’s Shadow by Greg Van Eekhout:

“…if Obi-Wan gave in to his desires, he’d be giving Maul exactly what he wanted.

He’d become the thing he’d dedicated his life to oppose.

He’d no longer be himself.

None of that was what Satine would have wanted. Not on her world. Not anywhere…

As Obi-Wan allowed the commandos to drag him away, only he knew of the painful victory he’d just won–and how he could not have done it without drawing strength from Satine Kryze, duchess of Mandalore.”

Maul had struck a blow to Obi-Wan–but he didn’t win. Obi-Wan’s “weakness”, according to Maul (his love and respect for Satine) is what saved him.

  • Defeating Anakin/Vader (ROTS).
“You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you.”

This is another tragic moment for Obi-Wan: his Padawan, his brother, his friend, Anakin, turns to the dark side and threatens everything Obi-Wan holds dear. It hurts him, but he will do what he must. Anakin’s arrogance causes him to make a mistake, and Obi-Wan maims him, leaving him to burn in the ashes of Mustafar. Some might wonder why Obi-Wan didn’t finish him off and put him out of his misery. He could have prevented a LOT of pain and suffering in the future if he’d killed Anakin. But he didn’t–he just walked away, leaving Anakin’s fate–and the fate of the galaxy–to the Force. Obi-Wan is a Jedi, and he will not kill an unarmed (pardon the pun) man. And perhaps he can’t bring himself to destroy Anakin at this moment–perhaps, somewhere in his heart, he still feels there’s hope. And of course, Obi-Wan is right. It takes a few decades, but the Force, in its way, brings Anakin face to face with his son, Luke, who brings about his redemption. By the time of A New Hope, though, Obi-Wan feels there’s nothing left of Anakin and there’s no hope of his ever coming back; maybe we’ll learn more about why in the upcoming Kenobi series.

  • Defeating Maul Part 2 (Rebels).
“Look what I have risen above.”

Like a bad penny, Maul just keeps turning up. He uses Ezra Bridger to find Obi-Wan, intent on finishing his revenge against his long-time nemesis. For years, Maul chewed on his hatred of Obi-Wan; meanwhile, Obi-Wan has let all of that go to focus on the most important mission of his life: to watch over and protect Anakin’s son, Luke. In this scene, you can see how Maul has stagnated in his hate; while the desert of Tatooine and his focus on his mission has burned everything else away for Obi-Wan. He is a sea of calm, focus, and wisdom. Maul doesn’t understand this Obi-Wan, and ferrets out that he’s protecting someone here. Obi-Wan narrows his concentration, not willing to let Maul endanger Luke, going into a readiness stance with his lightsaber. This, the prelude to violence, Maul understands. But he underestimates Obi-Wan, and the Jedi cuts him down ridiculously fast. Obi-Wan catches him as he falls and holds him as he dies, showing a compassion for Maul that is astounding considering the pain Maul brought him in the past. But as Obi-Wan told him, he’s risen above all that. He kind of reminds me of Gandalf the White here–he’s passed through fire and ruin, and is no longer the man he was. He’s burned down to his essence: a Jedi in the truest sense. Ironically, he reached this pinnacle in the act of letting go of being a Jedi Knight and becoming simply Ben Kenobi.

  • Sacrifice to Vader on the first Death Star (ANH).
“I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

I didn’t recognize the significance of this scene when I first saw it in my youth. I probably didn’t even really understand it. But I didn’t know Obi-Wan all that well back then (none of us did before the prequels) and just figured he sacrificed himself so Luke and his friends could get away. And he did, but there’s more to it than that. At this point in his life, Obi-Wan believes he’s fulfilled his destiny: he protected Luke and brought him into the fray at a critical point. Now he must do what all Jedi must master–to let go. Of everything. That look he gives Luke before he allows Vader to cut him down–that knowing smile–he trusts in Luke, and in the Force, and that everything will work out the way it should. Or not. He simply trusts, and like the time he walked away from a burning Anakin, he leaves it all to the Force. And as he tells his former apprentice, Vader, he’ll be more powerful in death than in life. He’ll be one with the Force. And we find out later that as a Force ghost he can more easily guide and advise Luke. He’ll always be there (though not at Luke’s beck and call, lol). I love that Obi-Wan chose his moment of death, that he was in complete control, and was at peace with it. It’s a fitting death for one of the greatest Jedi who ever lived.

So these moments are all probably obvious, but nonetheless, they really do define the kind of Jedi Obi-Wan was.

Obi-Wan doing the Thing

What do you think are Obi-Wan’s best moments? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

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Star Wars Fan Art: C3PO

C-3PO has never really been one of my favorite droids–he was more annoying than anything else, lol. But over the years I’ve softened toward him. I especially liked him in The Rise of Skywalker. And I’ve seen a lot of great fan art of him. Which is impressive, because what do you do to make a droid, whose face remains the same all the time, interesting? You do whimsical, that’s what you do!

I love this series by Kyle Hagey, who puts Star Wars characters into beautiful meadows of flowers while having tea or knitting or some such thing. Threepio is daydreaming here, an idea that tickles me. What does Threepio daydream about? Safety, probably. No laser battles, people behaving, things going as they should. Oil baths. Artoo not getting them into trouble, that sort of thing, lol.

Kyle Hagey on etsy.com

This is another artist whose series I like. I just love the slapdash colors and sense of movement. It looks like confetti is coming off of Threepio, as if in celebration of him.

Alessandro Pautasso on curioos.com

This outfit just seems to fit Threepio. A Victorian English gentleman overly concerned with propriety.

Greg Peltz on buzzfeed.com

Who knew the innards of Threepio’s head would be an interesting subject for art? Funny thing is, I never noticed that thing sticking out at the top of his head. Has that always been there???

Dash Martin, devientart.com

Another Victorian, or possibly Edwardian, Threepio. This time he’s got a title: Baron von C3PO. I think he’d be quite pleased with that.

Baron von C3PO by Terry Fan, wanelo.com

This one’s great because he looks like some kind of droid fashion model strutting his stuff, lol.

Pascal Merlin, pascalmerlin18150.wixsite.com

What do you think of these images? What’s your opinion of Threepio? Let me know in the comments, and we’ll talk about it!

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My Five Favorite Things About Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I’m on the final installment of my Five Favorite Things in the Star Wars movie trilogies, and it’s been so much fun. And honestly, if I did it again, I’d have different answers to each and every one, because these films are filled with great moments, both big and small. Here find my picks for the superb Rogue One: A Star Wars Story:

Favorite Scene

Darth Vader hallway scene. I think pretty much everyone loves this scene. Darth Vader is in supreme badass form, something we hadn’t seen for awhile, and it’s thrilling. The way he moves relentlessly down that hallway, taking out the Rebels in pursuit of the Death Star plans just kind of takes your breath away. It also fills in what happened just before the events of A New Hope–how close it was, how harrowing and terrifying it was for those in the Tantive IV to be pursued by Vader, the sheer number of casualties in getting those plans into safe hands. Everything that had come before in this movie, the sacrifices made, the pain and loss and terror, comes down to this moment. Even though we know that the plans will make it to Princess Leia, who then hides them in R2-D2, to eventually make it to Luke and Obi-Wan on Tatooine, we’re still on the edge of our seats when we see that red lightsaber light up in the darkness.

Favorite Duel/Battle

Battle of Scarif. Rogue One is, essentially, a war movie, and this battle illustrates that to perfection. The small force of Rebels taking on the garrison of Scarif, trying to distract them so that Jyn and Cassian have a chance to get the plans, and dying in the process, is moving to a terrible degree. To see Imperial Walkers stomping through this otherwise beautiful tropical world, cutting down the Rebels, is jarring; to see Blue Squadron streak past overhead to come to their aid is awesome. To see them all die anyway is heartbreaking. But their sacrifice is not in vain, as they accomplish the mission they set out to do. They don’t know for sure if they succeeded before they die; but they played their part and can only cling to hope with their last breaths. Chirrut’s death, as Baze holds him, is especially hard for me, as he’s one of my favorite characters in the movie. That’s why I chose….

Favorite Line

Chirrut Imwe (along with his companion, Baze Malbus), as I said above, is one of my favorite characters in this movie. I love that there is such a thing as Guardians of the Whills (or there used to be, at least), that they once protected the Temple on Jedha, that they are not Jedi and yet belonged to a religion centered on the Force. Not all of them are Force-sensitive, but Chirrut is, and that is why he’s never lost faith in the Force (as Baze, unfortunately, has). I love this prayer that he chants when he needs to do something nearly impossible; it almost always works to protect him, because he BELIEVES it will. (I love these two characters so much I read the YA book Guardians of the Whills, which tells a little more of there story on Jedha).

Funniest Moment

YARN | Are you kidding me? I'm blind. | Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)  | Video clips by quotes | bb87f0a3 | 紗

Are you kidding me? I’m blind! Another Chirrut moment, when he and Baze lead Jyn and Cassian to Saw Gerrera’s hideout and they put hoods over their heads so they can’t see where they’re going. K2SO has a lot of great zingers in this movie and I was torn, but this moment really got me chuckling the first few times I saw it.

Most Impactful Character

Jyn Erso. One could argue that Jyn Erso is a passive character: not really making any decisions, but only acting as events dictate. To some extent that’s true–she’s pretty much forced to into this conflict by the Alliance, and it’s either help them or go back to prison. You might say that her father, Galen Erso, is more impactful, since he’s the one who made the flaw in the Death Star in the first place, and he’s the one who sent Bodhi on his mission to defect. Everyone, in fact, except Jyn, is committed to the mission: Bodhi was convinced to do the right thing by Galen himself; Cassian, of course, believes in the Rebellion and will do whatever it takes to defeat the Empire; even Chirrut and Baze are refugees from a planet ravaged by the Death Star, and clearly want justice. But Jyn? She doesn’t care about any of it. I’m not sure I even liked Jyn, at first; she seemed cold and selfish, too traumatized by her childhood to care about anyone or anything. So why did I pick her for this category?

Clearly she’s the movie’s protagonist, but that alone won’t do. I think it’s the evolution of her character. Jyn, out of all of them, is the one that changes the most by the end of the film, as any decent protagonist should do. The others, by comparison, stay the same throughout (their commitment only grows stronger). Jyn, after seeing the holo image of her father, Galen, now has a personal stake in the mission, like the others have had all along. She comes to realize it’s the right thing to do, but only after seeing that her father believed it to be so, and that he sacrificed himself for it. She can’t let her long-lost father die in vain. She can’t let that evil man in white, who killed her mother and took her father away, win. It’s Jyn’s personal fire that keeps the team going (in the novelization–I can’t remember if it’s in the movie or not–, Baze asks Chirrut why she’s important, and Chirrut says, “She has the fire.”) In the end, she does make the decision, with the others, to go to Scarif without the Alliance’s blessing. Besides, she’s the one who recognizes the data tape codename–“Stardust”–as the Death Star plans, when no one else could have. Jyn is the fire that fuels the story.

What are your favorite moments in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

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Star Wars: Forces of Destiny

In my quest to watch more Star Wars content (I’m currently watching the animated show Star Wars Resistance) I came across Forces of Destiny.

These are two seasons of sixteen animated shorts (2-3 minutes) showcasing some women of Star Wars (Leia, Rey, Jyn, Ahsoka, Padme, Sabine, and others–even Q’ira with, of all people, Hondo!) having some action-packed adventures. They usually involve the character coming to the defense of someone against a threatening creature, stormtroopers, or even a crazed droid. No matter what the crisis, the character has to take some action that usually involves bravery, skill, and compassion.

They’re not in any particular order; the first two involve Rey protecting BB-8 from some sand monster on Jakku, and then some thugs who want to steal him; the next one has Leia on Endor helping some Ewoks against some stormtroopers, and then Leia again on Hoth helping Chewie escape a Wampa. Ahsoka, Padme, Sabine, Rey, then Leia again; the chronology is jumbled, but it doesn’t matter.

These clips are simple action sequences, but not all, and there are a few that I especially like:

Imperial Feast

“Imperial Feast” has Han and Leia on Endor after the defeat of the Empire; the Ewoks are about to cook some Imperial stormtroopers for dinner. Leia tells Han to go to Hera to get some ration sticks to give them instead. Han asks Hera for the rations, but she only agrees if Han will say that the Ghost is a superior ship to the Falcon. Of course he has to say it to ge the ration sticks, which almost physically hurts him.

Unexpected Company

“Unexpected Company” has Padme and Anakin on a mission together, and they’re happy to finally get some alone time while they’re at it. But Ahsoka comes along and says Master Obi-Wan suggested she go with them. They’re a bit chagrined, but later are glad Ahsoka came along to help them through a Separatist blockade. Ahsoka spies them embracing at one point, and it’s clear she figures out their relationship. She hints to Padme that she knows, but won’t say anything. And we get the feeling that Obi-Wan also knows, and purposely sent Ahsoka to spoil their alone time (that rascal).

The Path Ahead

The shows are mostly about all the Star Wars women, but we get a couple of bonus shows with the guys. One has Luke and Yoda on Dagobah. They’re swinging through the trees with Yoda in the pack on Luke’s back. I liked it, and I’m pretty sure Mark Hamill did Luke’s voice– but it’s his older, scratchier Luke voice, not young Luke’s voice, and it’s a little weird, lol. There’s also one of Chewie helping some Porgs get some hard-to-reach material for their nests.

These shorts are clearly meant for kids, and in particular, young girls, which I just love. With these clips, girls get some fantastic role models in strong, compassionate, helping women. Yes, these women often show their strength in a physical way, as in shooting a blaster, wielding a lightsaber, or running and jumping and fighting, but it’s not the point. The point is that these women are often coming to the defense of the defenseless (children, droids, Ewoks), doing the right thing (getting food to the Rebellion), or just helping each other. That is awesome.

The clips start with a voice-over by Lupita Nyong’o, who voices Maz Kanata. She says:

The choices we make

The actions we take

Moments, both big and small

Shape us into forces of destiny.

Forces of Destiny isn’t must-see Star Wars content, but if you have a child (especially a daughter) who loves Star Wars, they’d love this, I think. My daughter is 12, and never showed an interest in Star Wars (I still hold out hope, lol) and is perhaps too old for it now anyway, but younger girls could do worse than watching these great Star Wars women.

Have you watched this series? What did you think? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

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Star Wars Fan Art: Anakin Skywalker

Anakin is interesting, as there are two sides to him: the Jedi hero, and the conflicted human being tempted by the Dark Side. I wanted to feature mostly Anakin images here, and maybe do a Darth Vader post later, but I think these images contain one or the other aspect of himself (or both).

I love, love, love Jake Bartok’s Medieval Star Wars series, and his Anakin is no exception. I love how his sword shines blue here, as well as the inclusion of the metal hand wrapped in a bandage. He’s clearly heroic Anakin here, but there’s also something in his eyes that looks menacing and intense.

Jake Bartok on twitter.com

This image of Clone Wars Anakin is wonderful. We only ever saw an animated version of Anakin fight with the Clones in the war, so this one with Hayden Christensen seems to fulfill a deep need, lol.

Andreas Bazylewski on etsy.com

I thought this one was really interesting, as it portrays Anakin had he won the battle with Obi-Wan, destroyed Palpatine, and became Emperor himself. He cuts a regal figure.

Alvaro Fernandez, 9gag.com

This is the one in the bunch that I can’t find an artist for, but I wanted to include it. It’s a kind of flip on when Anakin was using the Force to float a ball above his hand when he was with Padme in AOTC. But here he’s gone Dark Side and the ball is the Death Star. Very cool.

There are many images of a split Anakin/Vader, but I like this one the most. I like the realism, the suggestion of dark energy around him, and the red shadows suggesting blood. It’s a very vivid, arresting image.

Anakin Skywalker by TwoFacedHero on etsy.com

Do you have any favorite images of Anakin? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

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My Five Favorite Things About Solo: A Star Wars Story

I forgot to put Solo and Rogue One into the timeline as I went along with my “Five Favorite Things” series. So here’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, a seriously underrated Star Wars movie, in my opinion.

Favorite Scene

Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

The Train Heist Scene. This whole sequence is just exhilarating. Han and Chewie have wormed their way into the employ of Tobias Beckett and his crew (Val and Rio) to steal raw coaxium from the Empire. It’s being transported on a mag-train winding around a snowy mountaintop. Han, Chewie and Tobias jump onto the moving train to secure the coaxium as Rio pilots their stolen freighter above. Everything is going according to plan until Enfys Nest shows up–a gang of masked thieves that always seem to know the group’s next move. Things go down from there, Rio and Val are killed, Beckett is furious, and they lose the coaxium, putting them into the debt of Dryden Vos. Big pickle. But a really fun, exciting scene.

Favorite Battle/Duel

The Maw. There are no lightsaber duels in Solo, but there are plenty of battles and action scenes that I could choose from. All of them are terrific, but when the crew flee from Kessel with the hot coaxiam, they need to get it refined, like yesterday, before it blows them up. When the Imperials show up to make things worse, Han decides to go off the beaten path and find a shortcut through the Kessel Run. Not good, as they encounter a giant space monster (a summa-verminoth) and an enormous gravitational-sucking maw that wants to pull them into oblivion. They manage to survive, Han finishes the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs (yes, distance, not time–finally figured that out), and they get the coaxium to the refinery in time. The Falcon is pretty banged up in the process, though, which leads to…

Favorite Line

Lando: “I hate you.” Han: “I know.” This is a great twist on the famous “I love you, I know” lines from Han and Leia in Empire. I also love when Han says, “I have a really good feeling about this,” on the Falcon during the Maw crisis, another twist on a famous line. It’s nice to have good feelings for a change, rather than bad ones, lol.

Funniest Moment

There are SO many funny moments and lines in this movie, it’s almost impossible to pick just one. From nearly everything that comes out of L3-37’s mouth, to the way Lando deliberately mispronounces Han’s name, the chuckles are frequent and delightful.

Most Impactful Character

Han Solo - A Star Wars Story

Han Solo. The movie is called “Solo,” so of course it’s all about Han Solo. The movie is about what made Han into the man we meet in A New Hope, an older, cynical man who nevertheless has a heart in there somewhere. Q’ira sees this in him when she tells Han he’s “the good guy,” while he blusters about being an outlaw. Q’ira is also the one who breaks his heart and sours him on love (until he meets a certain princess). The movie is filled with the people who influenced Han in his youth: not just Q’ira, but Tobias, who turns into a mentor and cautions him to not trust anyone; Lando, who loses the Falcon to Han and becomes a kind of frenemy until the events of the OT solidify their friendship; and of course Chewbacca, a lifelong and dedicated friend, and the only one Han trusts (despite what Tobias says). So yes, the movie centers on Han, but all the supporting players impact him in so many important ways.

There are so many things I love about this movie. The cast is excellent–Paul Bettany as the Crimson Dawn villain Dryden Vos is particularly wonderful, and Donald Glover as Lando is just a joy to watch. The movie is fast-paced and fun, and I think Alden Ehrenreich did a great job as young Han, capturing his youthful zeal, ambition, and devil-may-care attitude. For a Star Wars movie with no Jedi or lightsabers (the closest thing is Maul’s brief appearance at the end) I just love this movie.

What did you like about Solo: A Star Wars Story? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

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Star Wars Fan Art: Yoda

I found a lot of mystical portrayals of Yoda, which makes sense, as he’s deeply in touch with the Force and is one of the wisest Jedi Masters who ever lived. I like the aesthetic of this one; you can sense a lot of movement, like the spinning of worlds and galaxies. He looks like he’s in a deep, meditative Force dream.

Raymond Swanland, imgur.com

I like this one because it shows how alone Yoda ultimately was (or perhaps as alone as any deeply committed Jedi was). He stands alone on an outcropping in the Dagobah swamp (I’m assuming this is where he is), contemplating life and the Force and the cosmos, and whatever else crosses his mind. Darkness encroaches, but the light filters through to illuminate him.

Aaron Nakahara, crossconnectmag.com

Since Yoda is so old (about 900 years) and all we’ve ever known is the old Yoda, it’s fun to think about what he was like when he was young. This one is pretty awesome; it shows him wearing very different clothes, with all kinds of accoutrements that is a sharp contrast to the simple brown robe he wears in his later years. I like the necklace, and wonder what the symbol means, if anything. Anyone know?

Young Yoda, by Vincent Chambin, artstation.com

This one is just fun, colorful, and happy. The artist has done other paintings in this style with several other characters, but I feel it’s particularly apt for Yoda, as it captures the playful, mischievous personality beneath the serious Jedi Master.

Alessandro Pautasso, curioos.com

This is a beautiful piece with an Eastern flavor that I just love. Lucas took a lot inspiration from Eastern film and philosophies, so it seems apt for Yoda, a wise warrior-monk of the Jedi.

Tsuneo Sanda, mymodernmet.com

I can’t seem to find the artist for this one (there’s always at least one, lol) but I just love it, even though it’s kind of sad. Here he seems to be on Dagobah thinking about the tragedy of the Jedi, the tragedy of Anakin, heck, the tragedy of the galaxy. The image is framed by dark tendrils, as if it’s the opening of the dark side cave, but Yoda is surrounded by light. It’s lovely and sad and moving, and I wish I could find the artist’s name. Anyone know?

Do you have any favorite images of Yoda? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

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My Five Favorite Things About The Rise of Skywalker

So we’ve come to the last film of the sequel trilogy (and of the Skywalker Saga) and I had to pick out my five favorite moments of The Rise of Skywalker. (Solo and Rogue One will come next, as I forgot to put them in the proper timeline, lol). Here are my picks:

Favorite Scene

“Dad..”” I know.” This scene was incredible in several different ways. First, I never thought Han Solo would make any kind of reappearance in Star Wars again, and yet here he is. And it wasn’t just for nostalgia’s sake; it was a very important thread of Ben Solo’s redemption. I’ve seen some fans comment that it should have been Anakin’s ghost he talked to–No. No, no, no. That WOULD have just been for nostalgia’s sake. It had to be his father. Ben never knew Anakin, and misguidedly worshipped Vader. The conflict and crux of his dilemma had always been his father, and it needed resolution. One of the other ways this scene is amazing is the way it was done. Obviously, Han is not a Force ghost. It’s a projection of Ben’s memory of his father. Maybe it’s so vivid because of his connection to the Force, I don’t know, but it was a way for Ben to seek his father’s forgiveness so he could do what he had to do next. It was also a clever reverse on the dialogue between the two when Kylo killed Han. Maybe it’s Ben’s way of “correcting” that scene. That’s my take on it, anyway. However you interpret it, it’s a powerful scene, possibly the most moving scene (for me) in all of Star Wars.

Favorite Duel

Kylo vs. Rey on Kef Bir. Kylo and Rey had a confrontation on Kijimi, which was interesting in its own way (Kylo doesn’t want to kill her; he’s still trying to lure her in), but this one on the Endor moon is epic. At this point, Kylo is trying to kill her, as she’s proving quite stubborn in not joining him. That makes him, well, mad. She’s also furious at him for destroying the Wayfinder they all worked so hard to find. They battle out their rage at each other on the wreckage of the second Death Star, with huge swells of water crashing down around them. They’re both equally skilled, but Kylo is obviously physically stronger, and Rey is still a bit drained from healing the Vexis. It comes down to Kylo nearly killing Rey, until Leia reaches out to Ben. He hesitates, and Rey takes the opportunity to stab him with his own lightsaber. She then heals him, when she could have left him for dead. The water imagery really comes into play here, as it serves as a kind of baptism for Kylo: he’s reborn as Ben Solo again, all the hate and anger and bitterness is washed away, leading up to the scene with Han. The whole thing is quite visually stunning, as well as emotionally satisfying.

Favorite Line

“I am all the Jedi.” This is a great line as a counter to Palpatine’s claim that he is all the Sith; it also happens to be true, as all the prior Jedi spoke to Rey and gave her the strength to get up and face Palpatine again. They’re with her. It’s also the culmination of Rey’s character arc, as she accepts who she is, gains confidence from that, and defeats Palpy once and for all.

Funniest Moment

C-3PO: They fly now! Finn: They fly now?! Poe: They fly now!

Most Impactful Character

I adore Rey’s lightsaber.

Rey Skywalker. Yes, Rey Skywalker. Some people took issue with her choosing the Skywalker name, but those people are the ones who generally dislike the sequels, and Rey in particular. I don’t really care which name she chose (Skywalker, Palpatine, Solo, Organa); it’s the fact that she chose it. Throughout the entire sequel trilogy, Rey is on a mission of identity–we don’t know who she is, or where she comes from, and neither does she. It agonizes her. “Who are you?” Luke queries her on Ach-To, and the question burns in her. Everyone wants to put labels on her: Kylo claims they are a dyad, and she’s meant to join him in the dark side, even though she’s “nothing”; Palpatine claims her as his granddaughter and heir, the Empress; even Finn, her good friend, thinks he knows her: “Rey, that doesn’t sound like you.” To which she replies angrily, “Everyone thinks they know me. I’m afraid no one does.” This is after she learns of her Palpatine heritage, and now, after finally learning who she is and where she comes from, it’s almost worse than not knowing. By the end of the film, however, after claiming “I am all the Jedi,” she’s come to accept who she is: she is all of these things. Part of a dyad, a Jedi, a friend, a Palpatine (though she ultimately rejects it), and someone who chooses her own destiny. And her own name. You can’t choose your blood family, but you can choose who you identify with, who you honor, and who you love. For Rey, that’s the Skywalker family. And oh yeah, she saved the galaxy and stuff.

What are your favorite moments of The Rise of Skywalker? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

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Check out my sister blog The Star Wars Reader. I regularly review Star Wars books, both Canon and Legends.