Star Wars Reading Update

I’ve been busy reading the last few Star Wars canon releases, and thought I’d give my thoughts about them here.

Battle Scars, by Sam Maggs. I was really looking forward to this one, as I’ve been wanting a novel about Cal Kestis and the Stinger Mantis crew for a long time. As a non-gamer, I wanted to know more about them in a media that’s familiar to me. This book did a good job with characterization, and I feel like I know these characters so much better now. The story was fine, but nothing galaxy-shattering. The crew pick up a defecting Imperial on one of their missions, and this person–Fret–convinces them to go after some new cloaking technology called The Shroud that could turn the tide of their fight against the Empire. Merrin begins an affair with Fret, but her loyalties are tested when Fret’s information isn’t exactly as they thought. In fact, the entire crew’s resolve is tested as they encounter Imperials, the Haxion Brood, and an Inquisitor–the Fifth Brother. I’m not sure if this book was advertised as Young Adult, but I got a lot of YA vibes from it. Not on the top of my list as favorites as far as Star Wars books go, but these guys are fun to be around.

Quest for Planet X, by Tessa Gratton. This is the middle grade book of Phase 2 Wave 2 of the High Republic. As expected, it focuses on a group of young people, including Jedi Padawan Rooper Nitani, a young prospector named Dass, and a transgender character named Sky Graf. Dass and Sky convince Rooper to accompany them on the Great Hyperspace Race, but what both Dass and Sky want is to find the legendary Planet X. Dass and his father had found it some time ago with the help of a prospector named Sunshine Dobbs, but he betrayed them. Now Dass wants to find his ship, left behind on the planet. Sky wants to find their father, who went missing while looking for planet X. They’re helped out by an ancient hyperspace artifact. But they get mixed up with the Path of the Open Hand, who know that Planet X is where the Nameless come from–the strange, terrifying creatures that reduce Force-users to a husk. Rooper is the moral compass of the group, convincing both of the other kids to do what is right in several different situations. The High Republic middle-grade books have been consistently good and entertaining, and they always tie in with the adult novels it comes out with, so this one coincides with Cataclysm, below.

Cataclysm, by Lydia Kang. This is the second adult novel of Phase 2 of the High Republic, and I have to tell you, it’s fantastic. It builds on the events of the first adult novel, Convergence, and while I enjoyed Convergence, it necessarily had to do some legwork to get us here, so it was a bit slower. Cataclysm also builds off of the events of the audiobook The Battle of Jedha, which I also enjoyed. Cataclysm grabbed me from the very beginning and wouldn’t let go. It’s told from several points of view and several groups of people and Jedi who ultimately converge on the planet of Dalna, where The Path of the Open Hand, the cult that caused so much chaos on Jedha, has retreated to. As more Jedi arrive to investigate their involvement, the Path become aggressive and release their member-soldiers, enforcer droids, and the Leveller, the creature that reduces Jedi to ash, culminating in a relentless battle. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering who was going to live and who was going to die. The characters in this book are compelling, as well, including Axel Greylark, the wayward son of Chancellor Greylark, the Chancellor herself, the many Jedi involved, and Xiri and Phantu-Zenn, of the warring planets of E’ronoh and Eiram. Oh, and Yaddle is in it, which made me happy, as she’s become one of my favorite characters since seeing her in Tales of the Jedi. Eagerly awaiting the last book of Phase 2, Path of Vengeance, which comes out May 2nd.

The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy, by Alexandra Bracken. I read a sample of this book some time ago, and for some reason thought, nah. I think maybe I thought it was too YA-ish, which at the time, wasn’t something I regularly enjoyed. But something told me to give it another shot, and I’m glad I did; I really enjoyed this book. It’s a retelling of A New Hope, but from the particular perspectives of Leia, Han, and Luke. The first third of the book is from Leia’s point of view. so we get her perspective on the Tantive IV, her time on the Death Star, her torture by Darth Vader (which still isn’t too graphic; it’s middle-grade, after all), and the destruction of Alderaan. The middle third is from Han’s point of view, and we get his perspective on the cantina scene, meeting Luke and Ben Kenobi, his meeting with Greedo and then Jabba the Hutt, their capture on the Death Star, rescuing Princess Leia, the garbage masher, and escaping the Death Star. Finally, we get Luke’s perspective on Yavin, a battle-ready simulator test given by Wedge, his meeting with Biggs, and the trench run on the Death Star and its subsequent destruction. Each point of view was perfect for the events it covered, and we got some nice insight into the characters we can’t really get in the film. It’s a new way of seeing this story that’s been around for some 40-odd years.

Not a bad run of Star Wars books! Have you read any of these? What did you think? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Five Star Wars Moments That Give Me Joy

My last two list-type posts–about sacrifice in Star Wars and Order 66-were definitely on the sad side, so I thought I’d write a post listing the moments in Star Wars that give me joy. Star Wars can hurt sometimes (okay, a lot), but let’s face it, we also love it because it’s fun, hopeful, humorous, or just heart-warming in general.

The big victories of the good guys (Triump of Good over Evil) are certainly joyous–the destruction of the two Death Stars and Starkiller Base, the defeat (twice) of Palpatine, etc. are all excellent examples of this. But I wanted to look deeper and point out the smaller, maybe quieter moments and themes that make me stop and think, yeah, this is why I watch. Again, no books or comics, just movies, shows, and animation to simplify it. There’s actually a lot, so I limited myself to five joyous moments or situations in Star Wars (in no particular order):

Not a dry eye in the house with this scene.

The relationship between Din and Grogu (Found family). These two are just a sweet pair. Grogu is initially just a job for Din, but after he delivers the “asset” he changes his mind and goes back to save him. That moment is so satisfying, when he gets on his ship and fingers the little round silver ball the child likes to play with. Nope, he thinks, and goes back with guns blazing. Din knows what it’s like to be an orphan in a dangerous galaxy; he had the Children of the Watch to adopt him and become his found family. He decides he will be the one to look after this child.

I love this scene so much.

Rey/Finn/Poe friendship (Found Family, Friendship). I love that these three are all just good friends; there’s no need for romance between any of them. Sure, there’s plenty of shipping that goes on (Rey and Finn, Rey and Poe, Finn and Poe, etc), and I do have my own opinion on that, but for now they’re all just friends and I like that. All three trilogies had their two men and one woman formula, with a romance thrown in there somewhere. And while I like a good romance, sometimes it’s just not needed.

Yee-haw! Let’s blow this thing and go home.

Anytime Han does something selfless (Being A Better Person). Han worked hard from the very beginning to convince everyone around him (and us) that he was a scoundrel. But we knew better. There’s a heart in there, whether he likes it or not. When he and Chewie come back to help Luke destroy the Death Star, we cheer. We know he’s that kind of guy. When he falls for Leia, when he joins the Rebellion, when he confronts his deeply troubled son to try to connect with him again (and dies for it)–this is why we love him. Even in Solo: A Star Wars Story, when a young Han is desperately trying to build his scoundrelly image, he gives the coaxium to Enfys Nest for her cause. He doesn’t join her, but he gives up a lot of valuable assets, because he knows it’s the right thing to do. We need more scoundrels like him in our lives.

Ezra and a Lothwolf. Kanan also communed with the lothwolf, and those scary spiders!

Anytime Ezra (or any Jedi) communes with an animal through the Force (Compassion). The Jedi are a big part of what I love about Star Wars (the Jedi at their best, that is). Their compassion for all life forms, especially animals, just grabs my heart. We see examples of this with several Jedi, but Ezra in particular seems to have an affinity with them. Lothcats, lothwolves, purgill, an assortment of scary beasts–he connects with them with the Force and can communicate with them at a certain level, getting him and his friends out of some sticky situations. Ezra and other Jedi view the animals as living beings in the galaxy who deserve respect and compassion.

Senator Chuchi, Howser, and Echo. I love how Senator Chuchi is trying to give the clones a voice in the Senate, and just generally help them.

Rex and Echo helping their Clone brothers (Family, Loyalty). The Bad Batch has been focusing on the Clones after Order 66 and what their fate will ultimately be. Clone Force 99 themselves have had to reassess what their purpose is, but clones like Rex, and lately Echo, have felt the call to help their brothers in this new, cruel Empire. Many clones come to realize the wrongness of Order 66 and go AWOL, many are facing decommission in the face of the stormtrooper program, and others are being arrested for “insurrection” and brought to Mt. Tantiss for Dr. Hemlock’s nefarious experiments. When Hunter asks Echo what the point of fighting the Empire is when they can’t win, Echo replies, “It’s not about winning. It’s about helping our brothers.” Well said, Echo.

These are more like situations and themes than single moments, but you get the idea. These are the things that warm my heart, give me joy, and keep me invested in Star Wars. Along with a lot of other things, like awesome lightsaber duels, thrilling space battles, aliens, larger-than-life heroes and villains, and everything else that defines Star Wars.

What do you love about Star Wars? What part of it gives you joy? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

The Mandalorian Season 3 Thoughts

Since I was kind of lazy about writing up each episode this season, it’s time for a Season 3 cumulative impressions post.

This season was markedly different from the first two seasons, in that the first two were focused primarily on Din and Grogu, their relationship, and Din’s efforts to get him back to his “folk.” Season 3 breaks into a wider world, that of Mandalorians and their quest to reclaim their homeworld of Mandalore. Din and Grogu are a part of that, but are players in a larger story that includes the Children of the Watch, Bo-Katan, and her assembled Mandalorians. I enjoyed it, but if I’m being honest, I enjoyed the first two seasons more. Or maybe I was just side-tracked by the simultaneously-running The Bad Batch, which, if I’m again being honest, was far more compelling to me for some reason. Go figure.

So Bo-Katan didn’t have to fight Din for the dark saber. I thought it was a fairly clever way of getting it back into her hands, as Din never wanted it in the first place.

There was a lot of Bo-Katan in this season, naturally, as she aspires to unite the Mandalorians; but since Din had the dark saber for most of the season, her people trickled away. I found it ironic that Bo-Katan and her people initially ridiculed the Children of the Watch for their silly ways–their no-removing-the-helmet rule, their saying “This is the way,” etc. But she didn’t have a particular laser sword, so she can’t lead them? Mandalorians are weird, lol. But it wasn’t until they were willing to set aside their respective rules–Bo-Katan keeping her helmet on while with the Children, and the Armorer accepting that she straddles both worlds and should take it off and unite them–that they find success.

I never really liked Bo-Katan in the animated series. The fact that she was opposed to her peace-loving sister Satine (who, um, wanted to unite Mandalore) and joined Death Watch and initially supported Maul made her more than a bit villainous to me. She came around in the last season of Clone Wars as she fought Maul with Ahsoka, and then received the dark saber from Sabine in Rebels. In The Mandalorian, her character arc came full circle as she ‘fessed up to her past mistakes and worked to bring Mandalorians together. She even earned Din’s respect, and he hers. It was nice to see.

Din’s character on the other hand fell a bit flat for me this season. He sought redemption in the Living Waters on Mandalore and received it within a couple of episodes. I was kind of hoping he’d move beyond that, join Bo-Katan and her people and remove the helmet, but no. He’s remained staunch about the rules, lol. I suppose the Children are the people who saved and raised him, so their traditions run deep in his bones. Mostly, I just wanted to see Pedro Pascal’s face again, but oh well.

“No. No. No. No. No.” Grogu is a Jedilorian.

Grogu is, of course, as adorable as ever. He’s grown, too, stronger in the Force and not needing a nap right after using it. He’s starting to come into his own, with the paintball competition with Paz’s son, going to find Bo-Katan with R5 when Din was in trouble, and helping Din and Bo-Katan fight off Gideon. He’s a big, helpful boy, lol. And I loved his new ride in IG-11. I was hoping for his first words, but I didn’t expect them to be “yes” and “no” in IG’s voice. Grogu is a new sort of Mandalorian–one who is clearly not human, first of all (and I love that he was accepted as Din’s apprentice without hesitation or comment on that), and he clearly has Jedi sensibilities. Not just his Force abilities, but the fact that he makes Jedi-like choices. When Axe and Paz were having their silly fight about a game, none of the Mandalorians intervened–that’s not what you do–but Grogu did. I was so proud in that moment! That’s our boy.

Moff Gideon in his beskar-plated armor. He wanted to combine the strengths of the Jedi and the Mandalorians without understanding the cultural significance of any of them. Typical of the Imperials–taking without understanding.

The finale was a great episode, with lots of action and plot resolution, but it did seem rushed a bit. I was surprised that the dark saber was destroyed, but I suppose it’s symbolic. Mandalorians don’t need their “trinkets,” as Gideon called it, at least not anymore. Gideon’s clones were super creepy, but were destroyed by Din as soon as we learned about them. To my surprise, the season ended with a happy ending–Gideon was killed (unless one of his weird clones somehow escaped and shows up later), his Mandalorian base and clones destroyed, no good guys were killed (at least main characters), and the Mandalorians relit the Great Forge. Din and Grogu got a nice little cottage on Nevarro, and it seemed like a series finale more than anything else. Will we get a Season 4, or will their story continue in the Filoni Mandoverse movie? It truly doesn’t matter to me; I’m just kind of relieved it ended on a positive note. After the trauma of The Bad Batch, I don’t think I could have taken more tragedy.

A few last thoughts:

  • That pirate king who looked like plastic Easter grass–wow, lol. The camp was strong in that one.
  • Some complained about the CSI-like episode of “Guns for Hire,” but I thought it was refreshing. The appearance of Lizzo and Jack Black were a bit jarring, but I’ll chalk it up to more Star Wars goofiness.
  • R5 referred to as a “hero of the Rebellion” warmed my heart.
  • I loved the Dr. Pershing episode of “The Convert.” I always love seeing Coruscant. I didn’t trust Elia Kane for a second. She’s creepy.
  • Zeb! Purgill! I just can’t wait for the Ahsoka series.
  • The Mythosaur was cool. I thought we’d see somebody riding it into battle, like Boba on his rancor, but that’s probably for another season.
  • The Armorer fighting with just her tools is incredible. Don’t mess with her, lol.
  • Kelleran Beq! I wasn’t familiar with the character, but now I am and I love him. So glad for Ahmed Best, who deserves all the love.
  • The Shadow Council was intriguing. Seeing Brendol Hux, Armitage Hux’s father, is a nice tie-in to the sequels. And Pellaon–Thrawn is near!

I think that’s about it. What did you think of Season 3 overall? What’s your favorite moment? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Ranking the Order 66 Scenes in Star Wars

I was thinking the other day how, naturally, the Star Wars stories we get overlap quite a bit, and we see certain events from different perspectives. One big one is Order 66, and we have to relive the pain of the end of the Jedi Order over and over again, lol. What hurts the most is how the younglings and Padawans suffered, and in the instances below I’ve focused on how Order 66 affected them.

Again, I haven’t included any instances in books or comics, just live-action and animation. I’ve ranked them according to how sad it made me feel, or how much the youngling or Padawan suffered (and they all do). It was hard, but this is what I came up with, with the saddest at the top.

The Clone Wars. The Clone Wars ended on Order 66, viewed through the eyes of Ahsoka and Rex. They’re on their way back from Mandalore with Maul in tow when the Order is given. Rex manages to resist it just long enough to give Ahsoka a chance, but then succumbs to the programming. Ahsoka manages to get her hands on Rex and remove the chip, and they both fight their way off the ship as it crash lands. This last haunting scene of Ahsoka shows her grief and her love and respect for the clones who served at her side for so long. It shows how the clones were victims of Palpatine as well; and Ahsoka’s refusal to kill them, Rex’s tears, and the clone graves makes it one of the hardest, saddest scenes in all of Star Wars. The entire episode is amazing.

Obi-Wan Kenobi. This series kicks off with Order 66, showing a group of younglings running for their lives in the Temple. It’s revisited later in the show, as we find out that one of the younglings was Reva. This one was so hard because it actually shows Anakin killing a child, thrusting his lightsaber into her middle, something Revenge of the Sith didn’t do years earlier. It’s shocking and horrible. And then later, to see that youngling floating in the tank in the Fortress Inquisitorious–wow.

Revenge of the Sith. This movie is, of course, our first experience with Order 66, and seeing the clones turn on the adult Jedi is awful, but when we see Anakin turning on his lightsaber with these poor babies, it’s sickening. We don’t even see them die; we don’t have to. Just knowing Anakin kills children is sobering and shocking. Despite this particular scene becoming a meme for (uncomfortable) laughs over the years doesn’t take away from its horror. I still get a little tear in my eye when that sweet boy asks Anakin what they should do, and he answers with death.

The Mandalorian. We get part of Grogu’s memory of Order 66 in The Book of Boba Fett, as well, and we’re left wondering who saved him. We get that answer in The Mandalorian with Jedi Master Kelleran Beq. I don’t think this story is over yet, and it may get even sadder as we find out Kelleran’s ultimate fate; but seeing our sweet baby (even babier here) so scared and helpless rips my heart out.

Jedi: Fallen Order. I’m not a gamer, as I’ve stated many times before, but I’m familiar with Cal Kestis and his story. I got to know him even better in the novel Battle Scars, so his experience of Order 66 is still moving for me. Watching your master be attacked and killed by the clones you served with, and were probably friends with, is terrible for anyone, never mind a kid. He survives and goes on to fight the Empire, but Order 66 will always haunt him.

The Bad Batch. In the Season 1 opener of The Bad Batch, we start right off with Order 66. Jedi Master Depa Billaba is fighting Separatist battle droids when her young Padawan Caleb Dume brings in the Batch for reinforcements. Order 66 occurs during the battle, and Caleb witnesses his Master killed by the clones. The Batch, mostly immune to Order 66, don’t know what’s going on and try to help Caleb, but he only sees clones and runs. Crosshair doesn’t help the situation, as he is the only one of the Batch that reacts to the Order and tries to kill Caleb. Hunter allows him to run away and lies to Crosshair and the other clones about it. We know Caleb eventually grows up to be Kanan Jarrus and fights the Empire with his Ghost crew.

I think that’s it with live-action and animation, but please let me know if I’m missing an obvious one. Between this post and my last one about sacrifice, I seem to be on a theme of “How Star Wars makes me sad,” lol. And it does, but there are uplifting and funny moments, too, of course. Maybe I’ll try to cover that next time!

Which Order 66 scene affected you the most? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Sacrifice in Star Wars

One of the main themes played out in Star Wars is sacrifice, which is often tied to redemption, but not always. Saw Gerrera pays a lot of lip service to “sacrificing for the greater good,” but we rarely see him put that idea into practice himself. But there are other, far more noble characters who do (Can you tell he’s not my favorite person right now? Lol.) With the recent sacrifices made by characters in both The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch, I thought I’d explore characters in Star Wars who truly sacrificed themselves for the greater good.

For the purposes of this post, “sacrifice” denotes a character making a clear decision to give their lives for a higher purpose, as opposed to those “making the ultimate sacrifice” in war, like the clones, for example, or just regular soldiers dying in war (and I’m sure there are examples of soldiers making a clear decision to die to save their comrades, as well). I’m also not including any from books or comics, just to make it simpler.

Anyway, these are the main characters off the top of my head, though I’m sure there are more:

Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope

The sacrifice: Obi-Wan allows Darth Vader to cut him down in a lightsaber battle on the first Death Star.

Obi-Wan clearly stops fighting, raises his lightsaber and steps back, giving Vader the opening to strike him down. This was mostly to allow Luke and his friends to escape. From a story standpoint, Obi-Wan was the wise mentor that had to be removed from the equation to allow Luke to overcome obstacles on his own. And perhaps Obi-Wan felt it appropriate for his “failure” with Anakin, though he had long accepted and let go of Anakin’s turn to the dark side. Plus, he knew he would become a cool Force ghost, and perhaps help Luke better that way.

Pain scale: 5 out of 10. When I first entered the Star Wars universe, I saw The Empire Strikes Back first, so Obi-Wan was already a ghost. When I went back and watched ANH, the death scene was expected. If I had watched SW in chronological order, with prequels first, and the Clone Wars series, I would have been much more attached to him by the time I got to his death, and the score would be higher. He’s now one of my favorite characters, but his death was there from the very beginning.

Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi

The sacrifice: Vader picks up Palpatine, who was electrocuting Luke at the time, and throws him down an air shaft, thereby saving Luke but destroying the life support system of his helmet and chest plate.

Vader sacrificed himself for the life of his son. After years of being a slave to the dark at the Emperor’s side, he finally had enough. It took his son’s compassion for him to be reached, and Luke nearly died himself to save his father. This is one of the examples that involves redemption with the sacrifice. Is it complete redemption? I don’t know–after all the atrocities that Vader committed, what’s enough? Did he truly repent, or was he just focused on saving his son? Whatever the case, it was a very satisfying scene, and truly moving to see.

Pain scale: 5 out of 10. At the time I saw it, it was very shocking, and sad, but it didn’t pain me like some of the others here. Vader was a monster, after all. He was the villain (although a puppet of Palpatine, too, who was the real big bad) and was defeated, though in a very unexpected way. All I can say is that I hope Anakin has found peace in the Force.

Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi

The sacrifice: Luke Force-projects himself onto Crait from his location on Ach-To in order to distract the First Order so the Resistance can escape. The effort drains all of his Force energy, and he dies, disappearing into the Force.

Say what you will about Luke’s character in The Last Jedi, you gotta admit he made a very Jedi-like sacrifice in the film to save the ragged remnants of the Resistance–and his sister, of course. It was quite a clever ruse, and no one was hurt by his actions, proving it was a very Jedi move. Was there an element of redemption in there? Perhaps a little bit. Luke thought he was doing the right thing by staying out of it all, AND he was very grumpy doing it, lol. But he was wrong, by his own admission as a Force ghost in TROS. This sacrifice made up for it and more.

Pain scale: 7 out of 10. It was hard to see Luke, the main character of the originals, fade into the Force. But he went out on his own terms, and that’s satisfying.

Amilyn Holdo in The Last Jedi

The sacrifice: Holdo pilots an empty Rebel ship into a First Order Super-Star Destroyer by going into hyperspace, thereby destroying it by going through it at light speed.

Some people were frustrated with the character of Holdo, mostly because she wouldn’t tell Poe and the rest of her crew her plan to evacuate the Resistance to the planet Crait. While I do wonder why she couldn’t simply tell them the plan, I do think Poe was out of line to disobey her and mutiny. But that’s a debate for another post. She redeemed herself at least in Poe’s eyes by sacrificing herself so the Resistance could get away. A really cool way to go out, all told, and I bet she didn’t feel a thing, lol.

Pain scale: 4 out of 10. We’d just met Holdo in this film so it wasn’t a great wrench to lose her, though it’s always sad when the good guys die. I usually tear up a little bit when Leia says, “I can’t take anymore,” but that’s Leia’s pain I’m feeling, not mine.

Ben Solo in The Rise of Skywalker

The sacrifice: Ben Force-heals a near-dead Rey, draining what’s left of his own Force energy, and dies.

Ben Solo giving up his Kylo Ren persona and rushing to Exegol to help Rey was a very satisfying part of his character arc. We only got about ten minutes of Ben Solo, which saddens me. The fact that he had no dialogue (except “Ouch,” I guess) is telling–Kylo liked to shoot his mouth off a lot, but Ben’s actions spoke louder than words. Giving all his Force energy to Rey so she could live is a pretty big act of redemption. Almost makes up for him killing his father. Not really, but the scene of his memory of Han Solo goes a long way in helping us forgive him.

Pain scale: 8 out of 10. Even though I swore when I saw The Force Awakens that I’d never forgive him for killing Han, by the time of TROS it really hurt to see him die. Mostly because we had just met Ben Solo, and then he was gone within minutes. I would have liked to get to know him better.

Kanan Jarrus in Rebels

The sacrifice: Kanan uses the Force to keep the flames of an explosion from killing those he loves, and when he uses the Force to push them back out of the way, the flames overtake him.

I was a little late to the party with Rebels, so I already knew through various social media channels that Kanan was going to die. Did that make it any easier? Not by a long shot. In fact, because I knew it was coming, there was a horrible dread clinging to me as Season 4 got nearer. And the fact that he already made a sacrifice, though not willingly–his sight–made it all seem so unfair, even though the blindness endowed him with a deeper wisdom. I do like that he knew his death was coming (thanks to the Lothwolf), so he could prepare for it and say his goodbyes.

Pain scale: 9 out of 10, because I really, really liked this guy. The way the Force gave him back his sight at the last moment so he could see his family was a nice touch, and cranked up the tear factor.

Tech from The Bad Batch

The sacrifice: Hanging over a precipice from a malfunctioning rail car, Tech decides to sever the connection and fall to his death rather than bring the whole squad–his family–with him.

So this is one of the most recent losses, and it is still an open wound for me. It totally blindsided me and I’m still coming to terms with it. I cried about Tech’s death in this post here, if you want more of my grief. It hurts so much more because it didn’t have to happen at all, if it wasn’t for a CERTAIN SOMEONE insisting on blowing up the place with no discernable results at all. There’s a lot of debate about whether Tech is still alive or not, and I’m about 50/50 on it. But until Season 3 comes along and we learn otherwise, I’m in total mourning.

Pain scale: 10 out of 10. Probably because it’s so fresh, so unexpected, and he’s a sweet nerd boy who shouldn’t have died. But he’s a hero in my book.

The Rogue One Crew in Rogue One

The sacrifice: Virtually all the members of the Rogue One crew are killed on Scarif in their attempt to steal the Death Star plans.

So even though I said I didn’t want to include military sacrifices, this one is a bit different, in that the Rogue One crew were, well, rogue. They all made a clear decision to disobey orders, go to Scarif on their own to do what they could, without any expectation of back up. They didn’t necessarily choose to die in the moment–their lives were just taken from them–but they had a pretty good idea that they probably wouldn’t be coming back from this mission, or at least, that chances were low of coming out alive. But they chose to go anyway, and that’s why I’ve included it here.

Pain scale: 8 out of 10. I figured several of them wouldn’t make it out alive, but ALL of them??? I loved them all, but to see even Cassian and Jyn waiting for the blast of the Death Star to consume them….it hurt. Knowing they accomplished their mission and that cursed space station was doomed helped a little bit.

Honorable mentions:

Leia in The Rise of Skywalker

Let’s not forget that Leia, still recovering from her unscheduled space-walk in TLJ, gave up the last of her life force to reach her son across the galaxy. I think it was more a personal need to try to reach her son one last time, rather than sacrifice her life to save anybody, but it turned out she did save Rey from Kylo Ren.

Pain scale: 6 out of 10.

Val from Solo: A Star Wars Story

Okay, so this one isn’t in service for a greater good. They were stealing coaxium from the Empire for Dryden Vos. But I was impressed how Val didn’t hesitate to press that button when her crew was in trouble. Unfortunately, the mission didn’t end well and she died for nothing.

Pain scale: 2 out of 10.

Paz Viszla in The Mandalorian

In the latest installment of The Mandalorian, Paz Viszla, a member of the Children of the Watch, sacrifices himself to try to save his people from Moff Gideon and the Imperials. It takes a whole squad of beskar-plated stormtroopers and three Praetorian Guards to kill him, the guy’s such a big brute. And perhaps there’s a bit of redemption in his sacrifice for the Viszla family, as Pre Viszla (from the Clone Wars, and maybe his father?) was the leader of Death Watch. I appreciate his sacrifice and am saddened, but his disposition didn’t go far to endear him to me, lol.

Pain scale: 3 out of 10.

Did I miss any obvious ones? I couldn’t think of any from the Prequels, what do you think? Whose sacrifice hurt you the most? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

My Thoughts on Star Wars Celebration 2023 Announcements

So Star Wars Celebration was this past weekend, and it was packed with information and fun. The more I see of Celebration, the more I’m convinced I MUST attend one at some point. Super Star Wars fun! Anyway, here are my brief thoughts on some of the more prominent announcements of Celebration:

Movies! So three movies seem to be in the works–one about the dawn of the Jedi, a Mando tie-in movie, and a post-sequel movie about a new Jedi Order. The first one, supposedly taking place 25,000 years in the past, will show the very first Jedi, perhaps the origin of the Force, etc. That’s cool, I guess, and I’d definitely go see it, but not particularly excited about it. The Mando tie-in is a no-brainer, bringing all the Mandoverse elements together from The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, Skeleton Crew, etc. Fun.

The one I’m most excited–and worried–about is the post-sequel film about the new Jedi Order, with our very own Daisy Ridley reprising her role as Rey. As a sequel fan, this is hugely exciting, and I’m hoping we’ll see other sequel characters joining her, including Finn and Poe, and one very particular Force ghost. But I’m not sure if John Boyega is willing to return to the role, or any of them, for that matter. It wouldn’t be the same without them. I’m frankly surprised that Daisy has chosen to return, considering all the hate her character received, and is still receiving, from the toxic fandom. You can’t let the bullies win, of course, but I hate to see her get more abuse. There are those jaded souls who will say, “Money talks,” and perhaps that’s true, but I feel like she can go in plenty of other directions for her career. So I’m hoping that this is a sign that the idea is worthwhile enough for her to come back to and risk even more tiresome vitriol.

Ahsoka trailer! The Ahsoka trailer was awesome, and I can’t wait for August when it premieres. We got the whole Ghost crew assembled, it seems, with Sabine, Hera, Chopper, and we saw Zeb in The Mandalorian, so I’m guessing he’ll be around. Oh, and Ezra in a hologram, like a Star Wars photo that Sabine has of him. There are plenty of villains, too, with Morgan Elsbeth returning, two new dark Force users with orange lightsabers, and yes, Thrawn. The big news is that the actor who voiced Thrawn in Rebels, Lars Mikkelson, will portray him in live-action. I think it’s a great decision, and seems only natural–come on, the guy even looks like Thrawn, lol.

The Acolyte! This show won’t come out until next year, but I’m very excited about it. It takes place towards the end of the High Republic era, and as a fan of the books, this is very cool. Whatever footage they showed at Celebration was not made public, but it sounds great. There are dark Force users (Sith?) and Jedi and intrigue and lightsaber battles, and come on, who’s not excited for this? Also, Vernestra Rwoh from the High Republic books, who is only 15 at the time of these stories, will be making an appearance here, which I think takes place quite a bit later (100 years? I think). But she is Mirialan, and so perhaps long-lived. I saw a fuzzy photo of her character in the Acolyte, and she kind of looks like Nebula from Marvel, lol.

Andor Season 2! This also will be coming out in 2024, and I’m looking forward to it. I believe in Season 2, every three episodes will constitute a year in time, so things will move right along. No sign of K2SO, but without doubt he will make his appearance. I’m ready to learn of Luthen’s fate and Mon Mothma’s family drama, and what happens to B2EMO?

Skeleton Crew! I haven’t given much thought to this one, but it sounds like fun, and any Jude Law is a good thing, lol. A bunch of kids get lost in space, and their parents are worried, and they meet the Jude Law character, who is at least Force-sensitive. It takes place during the Mandoverse era, so this crew will likely play a part in the big tie-in.

High Republic books! Phase Three of the High Republic books, called Trials of the Jedi, was announced, and I’m VERY psyched. Phase 2 has been quite good, but I’ve been itching to get back to the characters of Phase One. This publishing phase goes right into 2025, with three waves as with Phase One, so plenty of High Republic Star Wars on the horizon. Yay!

Tales of the Jedi S2! I really enjoyed Tales of the Jedi, and I’m glad there will be a Season Two, I just wish we knew more about it. It was simply announced there would be a second season, but no release date, no info on episodes. Oh well. Patience.

Return of the Jedi theater release on April 28th for 40th anniversary! I can’t believe it’s been 40 years since I lined up at the movie theater with other fans in 1983 when I was 12 years old to see Return of the Jedi. Did I ever think I’d be just as obsessed and enjoying all this Star Wars goodness with gray in my hair? Not in a million years, but here we are, and I’m so glad. I will not miss this re-release.

The Bad Batch will get a third and final season! I figured we’d get a Season Three, but I was kind of hoping for four, only because I love these guys so much. But three makes sense if it wraps things up in one more. Or at least, a satisfactory ending, which includes all of the Batch retiring comfortably on Pabu. Kidding, I know I’m asking for too much, lol. There was footage shown of Season 3 but of course, not made public. From descriptions I’ve heard, it looks like the Emperor will be making a visit to Mt. Tantiss, Omega and Crosshair are prisoners together there, and the others are going through a lot of action trying to find them. At one point Wrecker says, “Why are there always monsters?!” Indeed, Wrecker. Out in 2024, but no specific release date.

Visions Season Two trailer! This is Star Wars’ creative experiment with various animation studios, and Season One was very cool and very different. I loved some of them more than others, but each one brings a different flavor to the Star Wars universe. The trailer looks super cool and exciting, and I can’t wait to watch them all on May 4th.

Celebration 2025 in Japan! Celebration will apparently be skipping 2024, but it will take place in Japan in 2025. I was kind of hoping to make it my mission to go to the next Celebration, but Japan is pushing it for me, lol. I’m going to leave it at “The next Celebration in the US,” and sign it in blood. Definite bucket list item, which gives me an idea for my next post!

What did you think of the Celebration news? Did you go? (And I’m so not jealous!) What’s your favorite announcement? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Tech-nical Difficulties

Bad Batch Spoilers!!!

“Don’t you do it, Tech!” He did it.

[Deep Sigh]

So, I’ve been in mourning this past week, along with a very large segment of the fandom, over Tech’s death in the season finale of The Bad Batch. I’ve been obsessively reading and replying and commiserating with other fans on several social media fan groups, and the consensus is we’re all devastated .

Oh Star Wars, why do you insist on breaking our hearts?

I haven’t been this heartbroken since Kanan’s death in Rebels. But even then, we had clues. Clearly something very bad was going to happen to him (and I was a bit late to the party, so I already knew he was doomed, but still, it hurt). I didn’t see Tech’s death coming until he was hanging off that rail car and announced Plan 99. But, looking back over Season 2, I suppose there were clues. These episodes were quite Tech-heavy, with him strengthening his relationship with Omega, saving the day with the Riot Race, and the little kind-of romance with Phee. I didn’t know why we were getting so much Tech, but boy, was I pleased. Now? Not so pleased. They were making us love him even more, so when he died, the emotional impact would be epic.

I misquoted him in a previous post, but I think I got the gist.

But it’s a double-anguish, because–IF, in Star Wars fashion, he might still be alive, the only outcome I can see is Tech being taken by Hemlock and turned into something really awful. And that would break my heart even more. (I was going to be upset if Crosshair suffered that fate). So, given the choice of him being dead or being turned into a monster, I’d choose him dying as a hero. And he IS a hero, even if he does come back in whatever form. When he was hanging from that railcar, he knew the only way to save his family was to cut the line. That decision will not be erased by some “miracle” of him coming back. It wouldn’t be “for nothing,” as some fans suggested. In my opinion, he’s forever a hero.

That’s it. That’s the post. I loved Tech, and now he’s gone (forever? Only Season 3 will tell).

You will be missed, my awkward but still badass friend.

Art by nathalydraws on Pinterest.